Working to end racism and stereotypes at North Central
Last year as a freshman, I expected North Central to be diverse, culturally aware, and to have a passion for the inner-city. However, I experienced the opposite; I witnessed ignorant comments about our neighbors and a sense of fear of certain parts of our city. Moreover, I observed a separation between whites, blacks and Asians in our own North Central student body. I was upset by this and began to search for my own cultured community off campus in North Minneapolis.
“Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly” (John 7:24). This is a commandment from Jesus that North Central has overlooked. As the body of Christ, we are commanded to look at God’s children not with prejudgments and assumptions, but rather look at them with a fearless love.
Surrounded by opportunity
North Central is located in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. We are surrounded by black, white, Asian & Latino people in the Elliot Park Neighborhood and in our own student body. We are beyond blessed by our location and opportunity to share the gospel and learn from so many different people. I do not feel that North Central has taken advantage of its location and potential ministry.
Within the school, there are few opportunities for students to become engaged in the community. North Central’s ministry should be a daily blessing to the community, not only on community outreach day. In order to achieve this, we must look at some Biblical truths on being culturally aware.
Taking on the eyes of God
Cast out presumptions and stereotypes because these put limitations on our ministry and genuine interaction. The Bible teaches us how to love one another without biases. “For God does not show favoritism” (Romans 2:11). At North Central, I heard a student say: “I was walking by myself in Elliot Park before chapel and passed by some black people, it was sketchy.” This is a prime example of ignorance in the Church in regards to being culturally aware. In response to this, we must take action to have a more Christ-like and open perspective about the people around us.
It is not a charity work; you do not get “bonus points” in heaven for sharing the gospel with someone who makes you feel uncomfortable. “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28). For us, Christ is saying there is neither white nor black, neither urban nor suburban, nor is there American and Arab, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. We must look past our worldly differences and realize everyone is equally deserving of the grace of God.
Making the most of our words
Communicate to experience and understand; this means actually going and talking to people, rather than talking about them. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29). North Central students can make ignorant comments about the Somali people at Elliot Park Market, or we actually go and have conversation with them. It is sad when an intercultural studies major wants to go all the way to Africa, but won’t go across the street to get to know an African-American.
The Commission begins here
North Central, you are wonderfully and beautifully made. You have a passion for Jesus and are living life amongst so much diversity. God has given me a fearless love for North Minneapolis, where I live and attend a hip-hop church. I pray for divine appointments and a fearless love in your own ministry. Listen and learn from others without prejudgments and assumptions because of stereotypes. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). North Central, it is time that we share Gods truth with everyone in the Twin Cities. Go and make disciples of all nations, including our own Elliot Park Neighborhood.