What is God’s plan for a multiethnic world?
Two LTN alumni, Catherine Fowler and her friend Jamara Beard, explore this question together. Looking to Revelation 7:9-10, Catherine reminds us that Revelation’s diverse picture of the Kingdom is what we’re currently striving toward.
God got people back on track with his original design. As a result, we now find beauty in numerous languages and cultures.
To illustrate that God’s plan for humanity was always diversity, Jamara offers an alternate view of the Tower of Babel account from Genesis 11. Many people view the Tower of Babel story as one in which God confused the people’s languages and caused them to scatter as a punishment. While that may be a partially correct interpretation of the story, Jamara argues that God’s intention from the beginning was for mankind to “fill the earth and subdue it.” Instead, mankind had, up to that point, stayed in one place. By confusing their languages, God got people back on track with his original design. As a result, we now find beauty in numerous languages and cultures.
The problem today, though, lies in dehumanization—particularly the dehumanization of Black bodies. Where sin exists, so exists the tendency to dehumanize those who are different from us on the surface. But the truth is that we all have the same worth in Christ; this is the truth on which our fight against social injustice should rest. Catherine reminds us that even those of us who know Christ can still struggle to see people the way that God wants us to see them, and perhaps that is the first step in our journey toward biblical social justice. Our relationship with God allows us to see ourselves, and others, clearly.
“This isn’t just about being good people who aren’t racist,” Catherine says. “This is understanding there’s a Creator who made us intentionally in our ethnicities, specifically in our cultures, with our languages, and then he wanted to encounter us through Jesus so that we could now be reconciled to each other.”
In an effort to unlearn this tendency to dehumanize, Catherine suggests three steps: 1) watch Black media, and pray for the Lord’s help to learn from Black stories, 2) listen to podcasts that feature Black stories and explore biblical justice issues, and 3) pray, and ask the Lord to help you see people as he sees them.
To listen to the full discussion, visit @catherine_fowler94 on Instagram. Under the highlight labeled “Justice,” select Episode 3: Part 1 and Part 2 — God’s Plan for Our Ethnicities/Overcoming Dehumanization of Black People
“Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome” by Dr. Joy DeGruy Leary
“Ethnicity Matters” by Intervarsity
I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown
Love Thy Neighborhood Podcast (@ltnpodcasts):
When They See Us
Murder to Mercy: Cyntoia Brown Story
Atlanta (Hulu with paid subscription)
Insecure (HBO with paid subscription)
Genesis 1:27-28; Genesis 11:1-9; Matthew 22:37-40; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; Revelation 7: 9-10; Mark 8: 22-26
For more resources and further episodes in Catherine’s IGTV series on biblical social justice, visit her Instagram profile (@catherine_fowler94) and click on the highlight labelled “Justice.”