Choose Your Socks Wisely

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. desired that his children be judged not by the color of their skin, but rather by the content of their character. Gary Oldman, who is an actor, offers a pithy addendum to King’s dream when he suggests, “Choose your friends by their character and your socks by their color.”

Yesterday after worship my family and I enjoyed lunch with three other families in our church. We had umpteen children between us, and while the children played, the adults sat at a kitchen table and talked for hours, discussing theology, politics, parenting, social media, and even Colin Kaepernick. We laughed a lot. We come from different backgrounds, have disparate careers, and each couple’s faith-journey has been very different, but we spoke as family members. We love, respect, and genuinely enjoy one another.

In a world that is rife with racial suspicion, hostility, and brokenness, my wife and I sat down with friends, not with colors. And that’s the point. I shouldn’t have to tell you that two of the couples were black and two were white, because I’m not talking about socks.

The world insists that we divide over superficial things, but Jesus says otherwise, and in Christ there is neither black nor white. There are simply brothers and sisters in the faith, each of whom is being transformed into the image of Him who redeemed us. Though outwardly a kaleidoscope of colors, inwardly we possess the same Spirit and the same hope.

The world has all manner of gurus and gimmicks for “fixing” race problems in America. The blind continue to lead the blind. All the while, Jesus is rescuing men and women from the nations and ethnicities and cultures of the earth, knitting our hearts together as brothers and sisters, and calling us to live out the beauty of a multi-colored kingdom before the eyes of a baffled world.

I really wish you could have been there. There was no black or white sitting around that table—except of course for our socks. There were brothers and sisters in Christ.

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