Prejudice is the unfair or unreasonable preconceived dislike and rejection of persons based on their identity, beliefs, associations or behaviors. None of us likes to think of himselfor herself as prejudiced. But all of us are in some ways. Whether we know it or not, our prejudices make us poor. We cut ourselves off from varieties of people and experiences that could broaden our understanding of human giftedness and deepen our appreciation of God’s goodness.
Prayerfully confess your way through a list of likely prejudices in our lives that are often revealed by a demographic snapshot of our churches. And form a confession if you see an area of prejudice.
•Racial and ethnic prejudice. Are there people of various races and nationalities in your community? Are they represented in your church?
•Class prejudice. Is there a mixture of blue collar, college- educated, low-income and well-to-do people in your church? Do they intermingle? Look at the people who make up your leadership teams. Are they the college-educated, successful business people, and the long-term “key” families?
•Educational prejudice. Who shapes the content of worship services and ministry programs? Are the “more educated” people in control? Do the “intellectual” people have a way of stifling the enthusiasm of people with less education, or any movement toward more simple and expressive spirituality?
•Theological prejudice. Does your church allow for different points of view to be acknowledged and understood, even if they are not promoted?
•Age prejudice. Are there any people under 30 in positions of leadership? How are senior citizens treated? Would a young person wearing shorts and flip-flops sense coldness for more reasons than the weather?
•Disability prejudice. Your church may not feel closed to the disabled, but where are the physically or mentally challenged? Are they getting the message: No place here for you?
•Mental health prejudice. Where do people struggling with depression or bi-polar disorder settle in your church? On the fringe or near the center? Are they likely to feel at fault for their mental problems?
(Acts 4:13) When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
(Galatians 3:27) There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
(John 3:16) For God so loved the world…