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While the eleven o’clock hour on Sunday morning may still be the most segregated hour of the week in our nation according to many, it certainly wasn’t the case last Sunday on the riverfront of Cincinnati. Not only was it a reunion for African American families, but it was also an opportunity for other organizations, such as Answers in Genesis, to provide answers to questions that have divided cultures over the years.
Last weekend (August 19 and 20), AiG sponsored a booth at the 18th annual Black Family Reunion, a cultural celebration that brings “consumers, corporations, communities and government agencies together to focus on the historic strengths and traditional values of the Black Family,” as stated by the reunion website. Corporate sponsors, food and merchandise vendors, and approximately 40 nonprofit organizations lined the walkways along the Ohio River, each offering its own set of giveaways to the estimated 100,000 patrons that attend the three-day event.
“What is your giveaway?” one young lady asked a volunteer as she approached the AiG booth. “Life-changing material,” an AiG staff member replied.
And there was plenty of that to go around. Thousands of booklets, including Where Did the “Races” Come From? Is There Really a God? Why is There Death and Suffering? and material on Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum, were given away. A special flyer that pointed people to various AiG resources and the website www.OneHumanRace.com was also handed out. Children of AiG staff members became mini-evangelists by enthusiastically handing out material to young and old, while also suggesting that people sign up for the free newsletter. And 176 people did just that.
One man who recognized the importance of the Bible-affirming material insisted that his booklets get placed in his shirt pocket instead of the bag that was stuffed with other freebies. He wanted to make sure that these booklets got read instead of just thrown away like the rest of the material, which would be bound for the trash when he got home.
Many children enjoyed receiving a free copy of Kids Answers with the poster of two dinosaurs getting ready for a fight. Numerous AiG staff members found the mini-magazine to be a great door-opener for further conversation with parents and grandparents. “I was surprised by how easily I could capture someone’s excitement while talking about AiG and the Creation Museum—even if I only had 15 seconds with them,” said Candace Nordine, Ministry Relations Coordinator who volunteered her time to equip families with biblical truths from the very first verse. Some conversations went well beyond 15 seconds, and most turned into positive discussions about origins, the authority of Scripture, refuting evolution, and the Creation Museum.
Accounting Manager Tom Hill, recalled one conversation he had with a student at a local Christian college who had just completed a course in comparative religion. As part of the course, they had examined origin legends, “including” young-earth creationism. She had many upcoming research projects and papers to write and wanted to approach the topic from a young-earth creationist point of view but was having trouble finding research materials to support her view. Needless to say, Tom was able to point her to the AiG website with its thousands of online articles and the numerous resources in the Answers Bookstore.
But this evangelistic opportunity in AiG’s own backyard wasn’t just about refuting evolution; it was also about defending the family as God designed it (one man and one woman).
The fact that AiG’s booth was located between organizations that have agendas that undermine the family mirrors the culture that all families face today. On one side was the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), who shared a booth with Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG); on the other side was Planned Parenthood.
This outreach was also a chance to point people to a place where they can get real answers from the history book of the universe—a place that’s just across the river: the Creation Museum, which is set to open in spring 2007.
While most attendees graciously accepted the packets of material offered to them, the very last man who came by as the volunteers packed up the remaining resources was a bit antagonistic, using such terms as “ruthless,” “cruel” and “hateful” to describe God. Tom Hill tried to engage him in rational conversation. But “Bob” (the name he gave) said he had taken a number of religion classes and that our God was the worst of them all. However, before he walked away, one of the volunteers was able to convince him to take a card with the AiG web address listed after she suggested that he at least read over some of the many scientific articles on the website. As Tom was reminded, “We labor not only for the believers who rejoice in our Lord but also for the Bobs of the world.”
Participating in the Black Family Reunion was just one example of how AiG continues to reach across ethnic boundaries with the life-changing message of how we are all “one blood” and that there is only one race—the human race.
Sometimes the first step towards racial reconciliation is simply a matter of crossing a bridge to overcome barriers—whether they are physical or mental. Once Christians break through the barriers, they will see that we truly are one family. As Dr. Charles Ware, a popular speaker on racial reconciliation at AiG conferences, explains, “We have a common father named Adam, we’ve got a common problem named sin, and we’ve got a common solution—His name is Jesus Christ.”
For more ideas on how Christians can bring about racial reconciliation, see Equal Access to the Father.