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The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

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Black History Month and ubuntu: A united diversity

The theme of this year’s Black History Month (BHM), which comes to an end next Tuesday, is ‘Saluting our Sisters’.

As a Black African woman, I love the opportunity to recognise and celebrate the achievements of other Black women who might otherwise have been overlooked. As Chine McDonald reminds us with the title of her book, God is not a white man. Instead, in the opening pages of Scripture, God says, ‘Let us make humanity in our image’ (Genesis 1:26).

At the other end of the Bible, Revelation 7:9 paints a picture of the world as it will be one day – as it was always intended to be: ‘a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne.’ This dizzyingly diverse multitude beautifully reflects the vibrant, multifaceted image of our triune God – an image that can’t be reflected whilst some groups are neglected.

Let us be captivated by this vision of a better world where everyone is different, united, and equal before God – the body of Christ epitomising this notion of a united diversity.

However, positive as BHM is intended to be, I have to acknowledge that it’s still a divisive and emotionally charged topic. Racism in the UK is wrapped up in the legacy of the British Empire and, in one way or another, we’re all touched by it. But where racism is a man-made concept, ethnic and cultural diversity are beautiful, godly things. Racial diversity isn’t just an HR workplace agenda to check off, but points to God’s kingdom in the here and now.

Research shows that a typical Christian today is a non-white woman living in the Global South – without societal safety or proper health care. This represents a vastly different typical Christian to 100 years ago, who was likely a white, affluent European. We salute you, our sisters in Christ.

This begs the question: whose contributions are overlooked on your frontline? Who are the people of global majority heritage that you can celebrate, whose stories have been forgotten? You can use your voice, position, and influence to highlight and promote those people who would otherwise be missed.

There’s a Zulu word, ubuntu, which can be translated as, ‘I am, because we are.’ As opposed to seeing other people as competitors or threats, together we can rise, saluting our sisters and living out the spirit of ubuntu – which echoes the reality of the kingdom – well beyond October.

Ennette Lainchbury
Ennette is based in Nottingham. She has her own Christian yoga and wellbeing business, @imagodeiwellbeing, and has the joy of recently joining the staff team at LICC as our Emerging Generations Champion.

 

Comments

  1. “Racial diversity isn’t just a HR workplace agenda to check off, but points to God’s kingdom in the here and now.” Let me quote you on that, so well put! Thanks for this useful reminder (meaning the whole article!).

    By Martin Slabbekoorn  -  27 Oct 2023
  2. Please, enough with the CRT undertones (see Chine for more of that). This is not a belief system compatible with Christianity. This article certainly ticks the boxes: race, gender and socio-economic status.

    Btw just to highlight how DEI dimensions get fused together: I think suggesting a typical Christian 100 years ago was a “white, affluent European” would clearly raise questions with anyone thinking critically. Really? An “affluent” European in 1920s? This seems to attempt an appeal to the equity theme through socio-economic status.

    By Axel Stone  -  27 Oct 2023
  3. Welcome, Ennette! I looked at your website and was warmed, thank you. Hope being at licc is great for you and the people you minister to.

    By Catherine  -  27 Oct 2023
  4. In life, don’t we often seek the language to express what we deeply believe? Ennette just gave me the phrase I can now use: “Where racism is a man-made concept, ethnic and cultural diversity are beautiful, Godly things.” –Dirk, New Hampshire, USA

    By Dirk  -  27 Oct 2023
    • That grabbed my attention too. I’m a do called affluent white European but I love my brothers and sisters who are not the same as me and I celebrate the beauty of their culture or cultural heritage.

      By Bev  -  4 Nov 2023
  5. Great article Ennette. Thankfully in Christ we are all one and even a cursory observation of Creation confirms that our Heavenly Father loves diversity! Fascinating to observe that ‘Revival’ is now taking place in most places throughout the world, albeit somewhat less in the West. Still, let’s spare a thought for the plight of white European Christian women 100 years ago who had been devastated by the loss of husbands, boyfriends, fathers, brothers and sons in the Great War and were about to plunge into the Great Depression. Every generation and people group has its unique challenges to face when following Jesus.

    By Peter Riley  -  27 Oct 2023
  6. I think we are possibly trying to break out of a much more closed view that racism is one of the many areas that shines a light on it. The idea that a white educated, healthy heterosexual male is the ideal and everything else is somehow less. The other challenge is what this ‘ideal’ person should be like. This has caused problems for everyone including white educated, healthy male as to what they should be rather than the realism of what and who they are. Sadly with it came the idea that if you value others who are different that somehow diminished who you are. Also when only certain traits are valued those with different qualities have a tough time. For me this is why we have so many areas such as colour, sexuality, disability, nationality, level of education all challenging the imagined ideal. I know that is not what is necessarily thought of now but somehow some of these things linger for a long time as an undercurrent. I’m (only) in my fifties and still grew up with a view of boys being better, though thanks to God somehow still really valued being female.

    By Shayne Ardron  -  27 Oct 2023

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