Read. Because Renee is so very, very awesome.
For my part, I keep coming back to the way that, as Christians, we manage to continually separate ourselves into those who are ministering and those who are ministered to. As I’ve said before, the “charity” model of Christianity doesn’t ever involve a relationship of equals, a sense of being truly “neighbours”, in that it’s always premised on the assumption that we have something to teach/give/reveal to them. The occasional vice-versa comes in the form of granting a kind of tokenistic “model of the simple life” status to certain chosen Others (in such form as the “noble savage”, the sweet young child with disabilities, etc), but there’s never (or very rarely) a sense of inherent, ongoing reciprocity or unity.
That problem is obviously not directly or exclusively connected to race, but it is connected to segregation and marginalization. Actual community is uncomfortable, and actual diversity makes it even more so. Not only is it far more difficult to ignore racism, poverty, inequality and injustice when it’s right in front of you in all its ugly, dirty, violent glory, it’s also far more challenging to believe in your own self-satisfied view of “helping”. Obviously, a lot of Christians do interrogate this, but as Renee points out, there’s still a lack of congregation along these lines, and it seems to me that solutions are not only not forthcoming, they’re not really being sought.
Harder than a camel going through the eye of a needle, indeed.