Text: Nehemiah 13:1-3
This Sunday precedes our national holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and we will be looking at a very racist text in the book of Nehemiah. It concludes with the words, “When the people heard the law, they separated from Israel all those of foreign descent.”
That strategy would be difficult today given that most of us, with the exception of Native Americans, are of foreign descent. I heard a story the other day about a woman in a grocery store waiting in line for the cashier. Two women ahead of her were conversing in a foreign language. “This is America,” she said. “We speak English here.” One of the women replied, “We were speaking Navajo. If you want to hear English, why don’t you go back to England where you came from.”
Frequently, conversations about race devolve into complaints about political correctness, but words shape our thinking and most words have multiple connotations. Google the word “terrorist” and then click on the “images” button. 99.9 percent of the people displayed will have black or brown skin. The same search using the words, “domestic terrorist” will yield 99% white folk. We may decry the use of labels, but they’re still in our brains shaping our thoughts.
Join with us this Sunday as we look at one racist aspect of Jewish culture as well as a number of prominent Old Testament interracial marriages that shaped Jewish history (and the Christian faith) forever.