Sitting in the car all you hear is awkward sounding car horns and other random noises that cloud your ears. It’s awkward to sit on the American drivers side while the steering wheel is on the right side. Then on top of that your car being on the left side of the road is an adjustment. But it’s not a bad thing, an adjustment though.

I asked John about the Caste system before. I knew a little about it. Not much though. From what many people told me, it’s not nearly as bad as it used to be. Shine had told me some stories his grandfather and other family members had been through.

The Caste system is simply a social categorization of the people based on several criteria, some being facial features, family name, birth place and a couple of other things. Your family name is primarily the majority of it.

What caste you are apart of determines who you’ll marry, Where you’ll work and who will be your close social circle. Talking to John about this was interesting though because I know that he is a Dalit. Dalit’s have historically been one of the lowest Caste. Some Caste are high ranking and well privileged while others will extremely limit your capacity for employment success and other things in your life.

As John pulled over for a second to concentrate on our conversation, he told me how the Caste system had ran through the churches. Certain churches are for Dalits, while other churches are for other Caste. It was disheartening to see how this had divided the body of Christ. I asked John, how can this be changed? We discussed it for a while and how it’s so sad to see the body of Christ divided like that. Knowing that your brother or sister who may have a different people group, you don’t fellowship with because of that one difference.

And wouldn’t it feel incomplete to think that’s the end of my story?

But then John made a really great point. He said, “I’ve been to America, Mark. I’ve seen the churches there. Our division is not a good thing but the division in the American church is just as ugly.” I couldn’t have agreed with him more. Knowing how the most segregated hour that Dr. King pointed out is in America, at 11 AM on Sundays. And I don’t care what people try to say about how the churches are so integrated today, that’s a joke. I still rarely find a church where 80% or more of the people are not one color. And we manage to now not just separate on color. We do it on socio-economic levels as well.

I have these discussions with people all of the time. Do we need multi-racial? How do we get it? Will it ever happen?
The truth is, I don’t know. It may or may not. We might have to repent of that sin until the day we arrive in glory. It’s unfortunate.

Leaving India, someone told me that the Caste system was becoming something of the past. Though it will always exist, it’s division in society was taking less and less toll. Racism will always exist in america in one way or another. The hope is that eventually, our church can work beyond it. And our hope is that this starts with pastors but goes beyond elders and onto deacons. And eventually the rest of the congregation.

“They’ll know you by the love you have for one another…”

4 responses to “OUTcaste

  1. Mark, these are very insightful observations you are making as you learn about the way differences socially divide people all over world. The roots of these prejudices run so deep that I doubt you will ever see much more than minute change in your lifetime. However we try to defeat it, whether, it is form the pulpit or forced in the education system, as has been tried in our county, change is a slow, meandering process.
    The root of this problem, just like every other social ill, is based in the human sin nature. As long as there are two people who hate each other, there is going to be greed, jealousy, hatred, war, poverty, etc… The solution is introducing them to the One who loves us purely and enables us to love our neighbor as ourselves and helping each other to do it consistently (accountability).
    No one person by themselves can bring about that kind of change on a large scale but one on one, one by one, it will come about.
    The modern church is a sleeping giant that needs to be awakened. That would require a heavenly alarm clock, I suspect. Years ago it was called an “awakening” or revival. Many folks have been praying for this to happen in America and around the world for many years. When we st

  2. …when we stop quarreling over doctrine and accept the other parts of Christ’s body as a legitimate part, great things will happen.

  3. I definitely agree Miss Terri. It will be a long process but it’s a worthy fight.

  4. When I was a teenager I belonged to a group that would go all over Louisville and sing on Sunday night. It was organized by a woman named Debbie Murrell. She took us all over the city. We went where we were requested and where no one new us. I didn’t know then because I was young and wasn’t old enough to understand that she was working very hard to bridge that gap between people and also churches. But I sure admire her today for doing that in the 70’s. I’ve lost touch with her today, but I would have to say she is probably trying to continue to “bridge the gap” somewhere. God Bless you Debbie

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