Peter Was a Racist

The apostle Peter, that is.

I don’t know how to put it any more plainly. He wasn’t a violent, village-burning, lynching, hateful racist. He just didn’t like Gentiles. He didn’t want to preach to them. He hesitated to baptize them. He didn’t want to eat with them.

Hmm. Three things. That’s kind of a pattern in his life, isn’t it? Deny Jesus three times. Be told three times to feed His sheep. Receive three corrections about his reluctance to reach out to non-Jews.

You remember the stories. God sent a vision of unclean animals lowered in a sheet or sail to convince the fisherman to preach to Gentiles. God sent the Holy Spirit to a group of Gentiles to persuade Peter they ought to be baptized, just like any Jews. God sent Paul to teach Peter some table manners when he wouldn’t fellowship Gentiles at dinner.

All of this took place long after Pentecost, long after we would assume Peter himself was immersed in both water and Spirit, long after he exercised church discipline in the extreme because of Ananias and Sapphira.

Can God use racists in His work? Does He instantaneously zap them into a Spirit of love and acceptance? Or does He just keep nudging, working with them as well as through them?

I responded to Greg Kendall-Ball’s righteously-angry post The More Things Change this morning that I think the problem with our nation’s reluctance to intervene in the Sudan is “the fact that such a small percentage of men are affected by color-blindness.”

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not at all delighted at the prospect of sending more people to war. I’m not at all certain that military intervention is even the right answer.

But would it kill us to fast and pray that God will nudge and work with/through some people who desperately need to become – or struck – color-blind?

Too many are being killed each day that we don’t.

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One thought on “Peter Was a Racist

  1. “If we are the body” huh…whether in the Sudan or our local battered women’s shelters we should be fasting and praying and acting with love and compassion on behalf of those who can’t…Sounds an awful lot like true religion to me.

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