In their book “Divided by Faith” sociologists Michael Emerson and Christian Smith find that local churches in America are actually perpetuating systemic inequities in society. For instance, their research not only confirms that most evangelicals attend racially segregated churches, but also that evangelicals spend seventy to eighty percent of their time relationally with others who attend the same local church as they do. The conclusion is this: “Evangelical Christians today are not only racially segregated from one another, they are relationally segregated from one another, as well”
So how does the racial and relational segregation of Christians in America perpetuate systemic inequities in society? Well apart from ethnically and economically diverse relationships we cannot grow in our understanding of others different from ourselves; we cannot develop trust with others different from ourselves; we will not truly love others different than ourselves. Apart from understanding, trust, and love, we are less likely to engage with others different from ourselves, or to address the systemic inequalities and racial realities so often experienced by minorities throughout America. And without such involvement, nothing changes: systemic inequities are perpetuated, and the disparaging consequences of institutional racism remain deeply entrenched in our society.
As a movement, we at The Nett Church will strive to become a cultural creator, not merely a countercultural movement. We will gather together as one congregation (Ephesians 4:4-6).
Questions to reflect: