A picture in the news this weekend showed three white men holding black shields and black flags.
It occurred to me that, though younger, they looked like me. Without their foolish garb, we could be mistaken as being very much alike. If I could hear them talk, we might even speak with a similar accent.
But I have little in common with those people. We may both have light-colored skin, but below the skin there is something different.
They spew hate; I do not even silently feel that for those who are different from me. They portray an attitude of bravado; I would much prefer to sit and talk. They bear all the signs of being afraid; I do not get what they are so afraid of.
Those three men in Charlottesville, Virginia, look so much like me, but they are not my people.
I worshipped with my people Sunday. I listened to an African-American layman unwrap the charms of Scripture in a Bible study class of whites, blacks and Hispanics. That is the world in which I belong.
Now here’s the interesting twist. I actually was visiting this class for the first time – my wife and I not knowing a person in the room before we entered it.
Despite our newness, the Christ followers who filled the room welcomed us, and we felt at home.
Family, tribe, race and other social groupings are very important, but Christians who get their identity primarily from those smaller groups are really missing something profoundly of God – connection with all people no matter their race, language, gender or homeland.
Faith in Christ opens this human flower for us to enjoy.
Paul reminds us in Galatians 3:27-28: “As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”
Remember what Jesus said when he was told his family had come to see him: “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it” (Luke 8:21).
The Nazi-saluting, Confederate-flag-waving, alt-right, KKK, white supremacists protesting in Charlottesville may look like me, but they are not my people because they have refused to love their neighbor as Christ instructed us – and which is how God intended for life to be lived.
I wanted to make that clear, and it is time more of us pale-skinned Christians proclaimed this difference more broadly.
If you think the Bible reveals God’s truth, then it is good to remember Europeans were not God’s chosen people, and God did not become incarnate in flesh as a European.
God chose a Middle Eastern people, the Jews, and came to earth as a man of those people – a rather dark-skinned man.
We white European descendants need to get over ourselves. We need to stand with God against the people who look like us and yet spew a hatred that is not of Christ.
Stand with Christ. As Edward Mote wrote, and we still sing, “On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand, All other ground is sinking sand.”
Ferrell Foster is director of ethics and justice for the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Christian Life Commission. A version of this article first appeared on the BGCT’s blog. It is used with permission. You can follow him on Twitter @ferrellfoster.
Ferrell Foster is Content Specialist for Care and Communication for Prosper Waco.