The monochrome elephant in the sanctuary

A couple of years ago The Help was released to much critical and popular acclaim, depicting the relationships between white families (particularly women) and the black women who worked for them (“the help”) in 1963-64 Mississippi.

The character of Hilly Holbrook (pictured) exhibits the worst kind of condescending racism. It’s my opinion she is the best written movie villain in many years, as you laugh when you see her get hers, but still want to just ring her neck in the end.

There is no doubt race relations in this country have changed drastically for the better in the past fifty years, since the era depicted in the film, but if the recent death of Trayvon Martin and trial and acquittal of George Zimmerman tell us anything, our society has a long way to go (Note: By that I am referring to the reaction on all sides, and not on the guilt or innocence, right or wrong, of Zimmerman).

This is a tragic reality, really, but not nearly as tragic as the fact that this long way to go is nowhere better seen (I repeat, nowhere better seen) than the local church. It was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. himself who said in 1963, “We must face the sad fact that at 11 o’clock on Sunday morning, when we stand to sing…we stand in the most segregated hour in America.” As the pastor of a small rural Southern Baptist church, I can attest to this fact. Continue reading “The monochrome elephant in the sanctuary”