Spyware. Unibrow. Supersize.
Do you know what these words mean? They are new listings in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. There are some other neologisms floating around as well. I’m not sure we really need these new words, but I love the idea of using fresh descriptors to picture a new reality. Check these out:
- Mouse potato (someone who spends too much time at the computer)
- Binge thinker (someone who tends to worry or think about multiple subjects in an uncontrolled way)
- Generica (parts of the American landscape such as strip malls which are exactly the same no matter where you are)
This past weekend at Mountain we welcomed in my good friend Dr. David Anderson, who is the Sr. Pastor at Bridgeway Community Church . And he introduced us to a new word he coined. If you were here, you remember it well:
GRACISM is a mixture of two other words:
Racism – to speak, act, or think negatively about someone solely based on color, class, or culture.
Grace – God’s unmerited favor on humankind; unearned, undeserved, & cannot be repaid.
Put the two together and you come up with GRACISM: to extend favor on others in spite of, and sometimes because of their color, class, or culture.
When you realize how much you’ve been GRACED by God, you can’t help but share that blessing on others and the result is a special, care-full, considerate treatment of those who need it the most. Even if they are undeserving. That’s what Jesus’ true followers live like. Grace is beautiful, and it’s the only thing powerful enough to soften the heart calcified by racism.
Gracism is racism with a Big G in front of it. As David reminded us, the G doesn’t stand for GUILT – because every time we talk about race we are supposed to feel guilty or angry or frustrated with the problem of racism. The G stands for God – and when you put God in front of any problem, he will show you a way through it and teach you how to change the ugly into the beautiful. When you put God in front of a racist heart, He has the power to transform me to a GRACIST.
GRACISM is an ingenious way to describe something that is very close to the heart of God. The reality is that race, class, culture, creed, color, tribe, language, wealth, geography, & ethnicity create a world of gaps that divide us. The chasm seems insurmountable.
“They say” stay on your own side of the gap. “They say” keep to your own kind. “They say” don’t trust folk you don’t know or understand. “They say” it will never work, don’t bother, forget it, accept the division.
Here’s what I have figured out: God’s dream is that His love and grace would fill my heart so much that I will in turn seek out people I might otherwise ignore or mistreat, because they are on the far side of the divide from me. God has graced me so I can grace others by being a bridge builder across whatever divides I find.
Where is God calling YOU to be a GRACIST?
Where do you need to extend favor and build a bridge of kindness, welcome, or friendship?
- To a person of a different color or culture who lives near you?
- To that obnoxious work mate or kid in the lunchroom everyone avoids?
- To that person with a lifestyle orientation that is different or even offensive to you?
- To that member of your family who could use undeserved, unmerited favor?