The church still has a long way to go toward eradicating racism, according to a British Baptist leader.
Policy statements on racial inclusion aside, the church still has a long way to go toward eradicating racism in denominational structures, says a black Baptist leader in the United Kingdom.
David Shosanya, a regional minister and director with the London Baptist Association, said in a recent article in the black Pentecostal magazine Keep The Faith that as a black minister working in a white-led denomination, some might accuse him of airing dirty linen in public.
“I would simply draw their attention to the fact that such individuals are very comfortable reading the text of the New Testament without appropriating the same sentiment to Jesus, who also offers penetrating critiques of the culture and faith by which he was shaped and from which he emerged,” he wrote in the article republished by the Baptist Times.
Shosanya said critics of black leaders who speak out on issues of race in predominantly white denominations often don’t understand “the sense of dis-ease we sometimes feel as we seek to defend or explain the unhelpful decisions and actions of our denominations to ecumenical friends.”
While predominantly white denominations prefer to save face about their shortcomings on racial-justice issues, Shosanya said, much of the posturing about being “one in Christ” is often anemic “when the rubber hits the road,” especially when that requires the sharing or relinquishing of power.
“Sadly, even liberal white leaders who appear to be vociferous advocates of the inclusivity agenda within mainstream structures can, and do, readily collude with denominational power structures,” he said.