Biblical passages to which conservative Christians appeal on these issues can be interpreted differently. But even those convinced that conservatives do not interpret the Bible correctly in these cases must concede that they do so consistently.
The black theologian James H. Cone ripped me open and laid me bare, not with a knife but with his book, "The Cross and the Lynching Tree." And what he exposed was my own personal story of faith connecting -- or failing to connect -- to the issue of race.
We need to resurrect the message in MLK's Letter From a Birmingham Jail -- the message that continues to call us to seek justice and to understand that "a threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
While it is possible to find black representations of Jesus, far more common in East Africa is the "surfer Jesus," with skin paler and hair blonder than probably anyone in the ancient Near East. I honestly expected this to be a source of frustration for my students.
Believers played a major role in the civil rights movement, but the voluntary segregation still found in houses of worship on Sunday mornings appears to limit the likelihood non-Hispanic white Americans will date, much less marry, a black, Hispanic or Asian partner.
The essence of the Vedic culture, today known as Hinduism, teaches that none of us are white, black, brown, red or yellow. We are spiritual beings, eternally lovers and servants of God, who have forgotten our spiritual nature.
We must stop seeing demographic changes as problems that must be leveraged in order to avoid death and instead see these changes as transformational realities that must be embraced in order to experience new life.
Whenever whites and blacks build a bridge of love, respect and true appreciation for one another, it is a miracle. If the church cannot forge the path to racial reconciliation, it will not happen anywhere.