“I will show you, come with me. . . ” said a smiling Middle-Eastern immigrant woman in a hijab as she led me down a fluorescent-lit hallway through a secure door pressing the button of an air phone for admittance to a secure area. She was friendly, I was responded in kind, and was frankly excited for the opportunity to interact with someone whose culture sets up many barriers to interact with someone like me and my culture builds walls preventing congenial interaction with people like her. The setting was a hospital. I was visiting a church member in a trauma ICU and she was the receptionist at the desk. In the room, my eyes awoke from prayer to see an African American nurse who was expecting a child. My wife and I are also expecting. The nurse and I began to share with each other our joys and fears about the expectation of a new birth and the gift of life, as we also shared our faith and joy in the New Birth we have in Christ. When I exited the room, my eyes roamed up and down the hallway. I saw prim and proper city dwellers and laid back ball capped and camouflaged country folk. My ears listened to conversations. In English I heard country twang and mid-western plain. I also detected Spanish, Korean, Arabic, and Mandarin. I boarded an elevator full of people who did not look like me, and we smiled and shared jokes and encouragement.
I was filled with joy and awe at the experience of so many different people interacting on so many levels and was subsequently prompted to ponder: So many of us through our social media avenues, neighborhoods, shopping choices, and social gatherings voluntarily choose to isolate ourselves from others not like us. In a hospital we do not have such a choice. We have to interact. We need each other.
Martin Luther King, Jr. famously stated an oft repeated observation, “Eleven o’ clock on Sunday is the most segregated hour of the week.” Fifty years after his untimely death, this unfortunately remains predominately unchanged. We need to ask ourselves why this is. At a time when many minorities are exiting predominately white evangelical churches it is time to take our pulse. What is the medicine we are offering? What is the care we are providing? What is the encouragement we have? When those who call themselves followers of Christ find any major identity in any other source than the Source of Life (Acts 3:15) we are violating the dictum to “do no harm.” We are certainly not good Samaritans, and we have not put others’ interests above our own (Phil. 2:4). Instead of honoring a spiritual “Hippocratic Oath” like good doctors, we are instead committing malpractice as hypocrites. One reason we have this problem is because too many of us think we are too healthy for our own good. Jesus reminded us it is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick (Mark 2:17). Essentially, once we have forgotten we are all sick (Jer. 17:9), we have decided we no longer need Jesus, and if we don’t need Jesus then we don’t need the body of Jesus – we don’t need each other. The reality however is this: There is none healthy, no not one.
If our churches were more like hospitals and Christians interacted more like the soul-sick people we are then we would begin to make unprecedented progress. Grady Hospital, where I was visiting, was officially integrated in 1966. The scene I experienced would have been unheard of in 1965 Atlanta. As one of the picketer’s signs proclaimed, “Disease and death know no race.” For Christians, let us continue to strive for, long for, and pray for the day that “health” and life in the church will also know no race.
 King’s original wording was “it is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o’clock on Sunday morning.”
 https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/09/us/blacks-evangelical-churches.html Campbell Robertson, “A Quiet Exodus: Why Black Worshippers are Leaving White Evangelical Churches” in the New York Times, March 9, 2018.
 See the Hippocratic oath.