Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Congregation Segregation

"We all know Sunday morning is the most segregated hour of the week." - Michael W. Smith.

While I'm not promoting his music, the infamous MWS has a good point. Segregation seems most rampant in the church. Work, school, and social life involve a diverse crowd for me. Church? Not so much. The churches I have attended have been predominantly, if not entirely, Caucasian. With catch phrases such as "All are welcome" and "Come as you are" why is it that American Christianity is one of the most-segregated aspects of society?

This subject was brought to the forefront of mine when I was visiting a church and the pastor used a graphic incorrectly in a sermon about obeying authorities. It was the symbol of the "raised fist" of the "Power to the People Salute" covered by a red circle with a backslash: the Universal No or Prohibition symbol. I was shocked; stunned. What kind of conclusions could be drawn because of his poorly considered graphics use in combination with the context of the sermon? What impact is this going to make on people who listen to this man? What kind of impression would that have made on African-Americans? Visitors? Non-Christians? What probably seemed to this man a small matter was something mind-boggling to me.

While racial segregation is something that deserves serious consideration (and it seems to be the most prevalent and worrying), there are other forms of segregation outside of racism that run unquestioned in the church. Segregation based on sex, age, and relationship status are also present.

I'm interested to hear your thoughts on why the segregation system is being perpetuated in church or any other observations you have.