Mosaix Blogs Full Mosaix Blogs Full Respective post owners and feed distributors Wed, 11 Sep 2019 10:51:13 -0500 Feed Informer Black Man in White Man’s Territory, Part 1: The Crisis The Front Porch urn:uuid:ff57043d-9f7e-8949-64d3-126c7c458edc Tue, 25 Feb 2020 05:51:05 -0600 The first in a series of posts exploring the experiences of Black men in predominantly White churches. <p><strong>Family Drama</strong></p> <p>In January 2019, in the midst of ongoing “family drama” in Evangelicalism, Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile <a href="">reflected on the history of the relationship between the Black and White church expressions of Christianity</a>. Painting an eloquent picture of the two expressions as “half siblings of a &#8216;step family&#8217; who “grew up in different family homes, lived very different experiences” and “connected only around the holidays,” Pastor Anyabwile asked two questions: “Can we live together as one family, valuing the differences without tending to disunity?” and, “What will it take to live in a deeper, richer, affirming, understanding unity than the two churches have known to date?” These questions, and others like it, have been common talking points in many of our everyday conversations, national conferences and discussion threads on social media. And yet, even with the countless conversations, panels, and debates it still, as Pastor Anyabwile stated in his article, “&#8230;remains to be seen just how well the two [expressions] can live together as one family without reckoning with those different backgrounds and experiences.”</p> <p>While listening to J. Cole&#8217;s song, &#8220;Neighbors,&#8221; a specific lyric resonated deeply with me. As Cole explains the seeming inescapability of police brutality for people of color in our society, no matter their power or wealth, he recalls his own experience of being racially profiled. In the song&#8217;s video we see footage of a local police station&#8217;s SWAT team raiding one of his homes in an affluent North Carolina suburb. While no one was home at the time and no crimes were committed to warrant such a raid, it was clear to him that he and his guests were racially profiled and reported to the police. As he raps, he speaks of the subsequent paranoia that accompanied having to sleep at home in fear of a similar event happening again. But what if next time he was home? In the midst of this verse he utters the phrase reflected in the title of this article series: “Black in a White man territory.” This single line delivered by Cole precisely encapsulates the experiences of so many Black males in predominantly White churches. It seems as if, no matter the level of one&#8217;s acceptance or assimilation, there are constant reminders that your predominantly White church, just like the world you live in, is not a territory for you to safely be yourself or claim as your own.</p> <p><strong>Series Purpose</strong></p> <p>The purpose of this article series is to tell the stories of 6 Black males who currently attend or have recently attended predominantly White Evangelical churches. With my original research, conducted in the summer of 2018, I intended to provide Black males with a resource to aid them as they face what I believe to be a crisis for Black males in predominantly White Evangelical churches. Not only has that intention remained in the time since I conducted the research, it has been amplified. As the experiences of each respondent became the commonplace experience for Black males in predominantly White Evangelical churches, we must acknowledge the factors impacting their experiences. It is time for radical and courageous truth-telling.</p> <p>There is a certain level of internal liberty that can come when one is able to tell their story. Especially if that story is associated with pain or grief. But even more so if that story has been buried or overlooked. Truth is a liberating force, but what happens when the truth is never uncovered or when stories are never told? In my experience, time stands still for those who have experienced pain and are forced to relive such traumatic experiences. Of course this stillness does not occur physically, but for those who are never able to tell their stories of pain and grief, time might as well be standing still. Imagine the further pain and grief it causes for one&#8217;s painful experiences to be overlooked or, even worse, suppressed? Unfortunately, that is what’s happening with the experiences of many Black Christians in predominantly White Evangelical churches. Their experiences are being overlooked and it is causing deep spiritual and emotional harm. Beloved, stories of the experiences of all Christians of color in predominantly White churches must be both uncovered and told in their entirety. No matter their ugliness. It is a greater indictment on the church to continue to overlook these experiences than to bring them to light.</p> <p><strong>A Modern Problem</strong></p> <p>There has been much discussion among Evangelicals on social media and other platforms in recent years regarding the public “disassociations” from Evangelicalism from high-profile Black Christians such as Anthony Bradley, Jemar Tisby, and Lecrae. What intrigues me amidst these conversations is the subsequent divorce of the macro and micro experiences of Black Christian males. Many engage in discourse about the words and experiences of a few well-known voices in our community, and rightly so, but are failing to have that same discourse with members in our own local churches and communities. And even if we do we are often far less enthusiastic and empathetic. There seems to be a recurring cycle of Black males concluding they have no place in White Evangelicalism. This pattern deserves further attention and research.</p> <p>I have often wondered, of the White Evangelicals who have had much to say online in regards to these high profile experiences and subsequent dissociations, how are they ensuring that Black Christians and other Christians of color are not having similar experiences in their local church? For Black Christians and other Christians of color, I often wonder if they feel supported and are being equipped for their journey through predominantly White Evangelical spaces? Personally, it wasn’t until I heard men like Anthony, Jemar, and Lecrae and women like Austin Channing Brown and the women of Truth’s Table speak on their experiences that I realized this may not just be my isolated experience. An obvious reality looking back now, but after being in predominantly White Evangelical churches for 20 years this reality was not apparent to me. Subsequent interviews with Black males on their experiences confirmed this realization.</p> <p>I spent much of my first three years of college questioning whether or not I had a place in Evangelicalism at all. In 2015, I watched as Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Eric Harris, and Sandra Bland were murdered at the hands of the police. And in 2016 I watched Alton Sterling and Philando Castile suffer the same fate. I was 15 when Trayvon Martin was murdered, only two years younger than Martin. As I watched the news assassinate his character and delegitimize his humanity, I saw myself in him. Then, while in college, after two years of what seemed like a continuous shedding of the blood of Black bodies, I could no longer watch the body cam videos or cell phone footage of these tragedies. It was too painful. As I tried my best to maintain a healthy level of sanity in the midst of tragedy, there was a constant weight of lament and anger over the lives that were being taken. Amidst this lament, the one refuge I thought I had was my predominantly White Church. But my perceived refuge was mostly silent when it came to the death of Black image bearers and ignored my subsequent lament. I would go to church days and sometimes just hours after a shooting and these tragedies would receive no acknowledgement, not even a prayer. This blindness and apathy impacted me deeply.</p> <p>Even though I am personally the product of an interracial marriage, grew up in a predominantly White church, and am well versed in navigating and communicating within White Evangelical culture, I had to step away from the predominantly White churches I had always attended. This exodus has become a trend among Black Christians in predominantly White churches and it must be further discussed and researched. Otherwise, we may very well begin to see a reversal of the recent rise of multiracial congregations in America as many Black Christians, like myself, are answering Walter Strickland&#8217;s question with an emphatic &#8220;no.&#8221; With a posture of lament, predominantly White congregations must seek justice where there has been injustice, forgiveness where there has been harm done, and reform for the structural ways in which we have built a dismissive and unwelcoming culture towards Christians of color in predominantly White churches.</p> <p><strong>Looking Ahead</strong></p> <p>In the next five articles I will make a case for why I believe sociological inquiry is necessary to better understand the experiences of Black males in predominantly White congregations and to inform those congregations as they seek to understand these experiences and to build healthier churches for Black Christians. I will provide historical context for the racial divide in Evangelicalism, discuss the presence of academia in the church, and address the current conversations on whether or not the church should affirm academic theoretical frameworks as “analytical tools” in light of their long and complex history. I will then give, what I believe to be, a healthy way forward based on the experiences of the respondents in my study and the posture of the predominantly White churches they attended.</p> 3 Ways Culture Informs Theology The Front Porch urn:uuid:f56189c8-922b-c93a-6568-14d90a422eaa Mon, 24 Feb 2020 05:23:42 -0600 Culture is important. It's not more important than Scripture, but it can help us better understand the Bible. <p>One question that I have long wrestled with is what role (if any) does culture play in how we do theology? I’ve often heard well-meaning people say, “all I need is my Bible” and to some extent, I can understand the intent behind this statement. I wholeheartedly affirm that Scripture is the final authority in matters of faith and practice; however, affirming such does not mean we should do theology in a vacuum. As image-bearers of the triune God, we have all been uniquely created in a cultural context. Our respective cultures allow us to experience God in a variety of ways and also makes room for us to express our experiences in a variety of ways. Culture does not in any way subvert the authority and primacy of Scripture, but when leveraged properly, culture helps us to conceptualize and articulate the ways in which we come to know and experience God. Below, I have outlined just a few ways that my perspective as an African-American woman benefits the Church and helps to shape a right understanding of Christianity.</p> <p><strong>1. Dispels the Myth That Christianity is a White Man’s Religion</strong></p> <p>American history does not paint the prettiest picture of Christianity. In fact, many men who endeavored to establish what we now know as the United States (while claiming to be Christian), were the very people who affirmed and fought to uphold a system of oppression and slavery. These men attempted to use the Bible as a means to justify their actions and as a result, many people of color began to embrace the idea that Christianity was only a scheme created by Whites to oppress people of color. But this could not be further from the truth. Although many have misrepresented Christianity, that does not change the fact that Christ offered himself up for ALL who believe. As a woman of color, who is completely enthralled by the triune God, I am humbled to say that I am Christian. Furthermore, I realize that through my profession of faith, God has also given me a voice to speak directly against the wrong assumptions regarding Christianity by declaring the truth of the Gospel to all who will hear. The sins of man do not change the power of the cross. The Scriptures make it clear that Christ has purchased people from every tribe, language, and nation by his precious blood (<cite class="bibleref" title="Revelation 5:9" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip0_1641_anchor"></a>).</p> <p><strong>2. Dispels the Myth That Christianity is the Black Man’s Religion</strong></p> <p>Satan is crafty and every minute he seeks to find new ways to separate people from the truth. Many “religious” anti-Christian groups (i.e. Black Hebrew Israelites) have gained momentum by preying on the biblical ignorance of Christians of color. Unfortunately, many are ill-prepared to make a defense of the faith and cannot fully, factually, and faithfully engage with those who promote these anti-Christian views. As a woman of color with a knack for Bible literacy and apologetics and a heart for faithful Bible exposition, my perspective is useful in strengthening the body of Christ. We need to know what the Bible says and we also need teachers of color who can effectively communicate what the Bible says with respect and clarity in light of one’s culture.</p> <p><strong>3. Diversity on Display is the Essence of Unity</strong></p> <p>The essence of unity is not found in ignoring differences and pretending that they do not exist, but rather in acknowledging those differences and working to edify one another across our varying backgrounds. My culture, socio-economic status, or ethnicity do not in any way change God or Scripture. But these things do provide insight and context on how I have experienced God. As a minority, I am very much aware of how the poor, oppressed, and ostracized have experienced God. I have studied many texts of the Bible that are so dear to me that I believe I could have penned them myself. The truth of God’s Word is just as personal and real to me today as it was to the people who heard, read, and even experienced those truths many years ago. The Church, on the whole, benefits well when we are open to sharing and hearing how God has shown himself to be consistent and faithful through our varying cultural experiences.</p> <p>My point here is simple: Culture is important. Of course, it is not held to a higher authority than Scripture, but the impact of culture is to be recognized and readily engaged. Ultimately, God is the creator of our varying social and cultural contexts. Although sin has marred God’s original design, this does not mean we should avoid and ignore culture on the whole. When we view culture as an obstacle to our faith, we miss opportunities to highlight the goodness in God’s design as well as opportunities to conform to our various cultures to the image of Christ. Today, I invite you to engage other brothers and sisters in Christ who are from different cultures. Use the insight gained from your engagement to generate a meaningful theological framework that is faithful to Scripture and also appropriate for specific social and cultural contexts. Use what you learn to edify the body of Christ. And may God be glorified all the more!</p> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Revelation 5:9" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Revelation 5:9" data-anchor="#tippy_tip0_1641_anchor" ><p id="p66005009.01-1"><span class="verse-num" id="v66005009-1">9&nbsp;</span>And they sang a new song, saying,</p><div class="block-indent"><p class="line-group" id="p66005009.08-1">&#8220;Worthy are you to take the scroll<br /><span class="indent"></span>and to open its seals,<br />for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God<br /><span class="indent"></span>from every tribe and language and people and nation, (<a href="" class="copyright">ESV</a>)</p></div></div> REFLECTIONS ON PARASITE’S HISTORIC OSCAR WIN FROM AN ASIAN AMERICAN CHRISTIAN Raymond Chang urn:uuid:a996e11e-6676-df25-20d5-39c911314b9a Sat, 22 Feb 2020 08:36:28 -0600 This was first published in Sola. &#160; As an Asian American (and more specifically, as a Korean American Christian), it was quite special to watch Parasite win the Oscar for Best Picture, along with Best Director, Best Original Screen Play, and Best International Feature Film. #BongHive. Side note: I’m glad they changed the Best Foreign [&#8230;] <p>This was first published in <a href="">Sola</a>.</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div id="block-6dfffef54e2cb9e60d75" class="sqs-block html-block sqs-block-html"> <div class="sqs-block-content"> <p class="">As an Asian American (and more specifically, as a Korean American Christian), it was quite special to watch <em>Parasite </em>win the Oscar for Best Picture, along with Best Director, Best Original Screen Play, and Best International Feature Film. #BongHive.</p> <p class=""><em>Side note: I’m glad they changed the Best Foreign Language Film category to the Best International Feature Film category.  I was born in the United States and learned Korean in conjunction with English as a co-first language. There has never been anything foreign about the Korean language to me, an American.</em></p> <p class="">Here are a few reflections inspired by this historic event.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> <div id="block-yui_3_17_2_1_1581407806030_10384" class="sqs-block horizontalrule-block sqs-block-horizontalrule"> <div class="sqs-block-content"> <hr /> </div> </div> <div id="block-yui_3_17_2_1_1581407806030_10445" class="sqs-block html-block sqs-block-html"> <div class="sqs-block-content"> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class=""><strong>First, it felt like the United States finally caught up to the rest of the world in its acknowledgment of the brilliance in Korean media and the arts (Korean shows, music, and movies). </strong>As I have traveled throughout the world, I have seen the impact of the K-Wave – the spread of Korean culture – firsthand. Traveling from Central and South America to Europe to Southeast Asia, I’ve seen people glued to their screens watching K-Dramas and bobbing their heads as they listened to K-Pop. There is a reason BTS hit number one in 73 countries in 2019 and was the first band since the Beatles to have three Billboard number one albums in a year.</p> <p class=""><strong>Second, it shows that activism is fixing some of the gross disparities we see</strong>. The awareness given to addressing sexism (along with sexual harassment and assault) in the #metoo and #timesup movements to the racism addressed in #oscarssowhite (we all know Denzel should have won more Oscars) has led to change. Public accountability is making a difference.</p> <p class="">It reminded me that within the church, we have had people like Rachael Denhollander, Lisa Sharon Harper, and Beth Moore shed light on the darkness of the sin of sexual abuse and harassment within Christian spheres. I hope that the activism of these women and Asian American women like Kathy Khang, Helen Lee, Irene Cho, Michelle Reyes, and Angie Hong are also elevated to be heard on these issues.</p> <p class=""><strong>Third, I felt like Koreans were seen on terms that were not dictated by someone else</strong>. Critics and audiences raved about the movie, and it deserved its win. In a society where Asians are relegated to either assimilate into the dominant majority or fall in line with stereotypes that keep us in an opaque <a href=";epa=HASHTAG&amp;__xts__%5B0%5D=68.ARBngfcD0rr6JlDX_TlDCEEuuIipzarDOIRjj2NdBYbYbjf9gkEoBIViVdsDyvHiLBOY7AqRAjYWO6DPwKkTZipbt9TCpA0QQ5C5rNzc7Uqz_kyUjzdzdi1CG7K-1whNqa5GbtJPi-lkwqcDIYklB8WVjiRHwglhAdhm2i1GuOcD1OGz973TPPF_FzvSL_zg5aCPqUQTiaPH05jojQ&amp;__tn__=%2ANK-R">#bamboocage</a> (instead of merely under a <a href=";epa=HASHTAG&amp;__xts__%5B0%5D=68.ARBngfcD0rr6JlDX_TlDCEEuuIipzarDOIRjj2NdBYbYbjf9gkEoBIViVdsDyvHiLBOY7AqRAjYWO6DPwKkTZipbt9TCpA0QQ5C5rNzc7Uqz_kyUjzdzdi1CG7K-1whNqa5GbtJPi-lkwqcDIYklB8WVjiRHwglhAdhm2i1GuOcD1OGz973TPPF_FzvSL_zg5aCPqUQTiaPH05jojQ&amp;__tn__=%2ANK-R">#bambooceiling</a>), through a Korean movie winning best picture, I felt like Koreans were seen for their own merit and valid experiences.</p> <p class=""><strong>Fourth, it was amazing to hear them speak in Korean from the stage. </strong>Growing up, my parents and the parents of my Asian American friends would tell us to be mindful about who we spoke Korean in front of as it could lead to alienation and bullying (as they experienced discrimination themselves).</p> <p class="">Unfortunately, their advice was clearly prudent as we saw negative responses like the ones below.</p> </div> </div> <div id="block-yui_3_17_2_1_1581407649238_6157" class="sqs-block image-block sqs-block-image sqs-text-ready"> <div id="yui_3_17_2_1_1582382104643_109" class="sqs-block-content"> <div id="yui_3_17_2_1_1582382104643_108" class="image-block-outer-wrapper layout-caption-hidden design-layout-inline combination-animation-none individual-animation-none individual-text-animation-none"> <div id="yui_3_17_2_1_1582382104643_107" class="intrinsic"> <div id="yui_3_17_2_1_1582382104643_106" class="image-block-wrapper lightbox has-aspect-ratio"><img class="thumb-image loaded" src="" alt="parasite-pic.png" /></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div id="block-yui_3_17_2_1_1581407649238_6440" class="sqs-block html-block sqs-block-html"> <div class="sqs-block-content"> <p class="">I am not sure how you go from criticizing the fact that people gave an acceptance speech in Korean to saying that the “these people” he spoke about weren’t the Koreans, but “those in Hollywood awarding a foreign film that stokes flames of class warfare.” But in any case, this is proof that people of color (Asian Americans included) can advance racist perspectives and views. Although Koreans may have been applauded on the stage, there were still those booing them.</p> <p class="">But I was also amazed at how mindful Bong and his producers were to speak in a way that the translator could keep up. It is evidence of the collectivist consideration that is deeply embedded in the Korean and other Confucian-influenced cultures, and its beauty was evident for the live and televised audience to see.</p> <p class=""><strong>Fifth, the class by which Bong Joon Ho received the awards (especially Best Director) was first rate. </strong>He spent his entire speech after winning Best Director celebrating and honoring the others who were nominated. How he honored others while he was being honored was classic Korean – a beautiful part of the Korean culture.</p> <p class=""><strong>Sixth, it was incredible to see the Oscar&#8217;s stage full of Koreans</strong>. This is especially wonderful because the history of Asians on the silver screen has largely been one where Asians weren&#8217;t allowed to play themselves (but played by white actors &#8211; e.g. Mickey Rooney in<em> Breakfast at Tiffany&#8217;s</em>, Katherine Hepburn in <em>Dragon Seed</em>, and Mary Pickford in<em> Madame Butterfly</em>), how they were relegated to sidekick roles and martial arts roles (<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Bruce Lee had something to day about this</a>), how they were never the romantic interest (this is why so many people were shocked with Steven Yeun in <em>The Walking Dead</em>), and even now, where Asian roles continue to be played by white actors (e.g. Scarlett Johannson in<em> Ghost in the Shell</em>, Emma Stone in <em>Aloha</em>, and Tilda Swinton in <em>Doctor Strange</em>). This is why movies like <em>The Joy Luck Club</em>, <em>Crazy Rich Asians, </em>and <em>The Farewell</em> created such buzz as they took up space that we were long restricted. <em>Parasite </em>also fills that void and did it in a powerful way.</p> <p class=""><strong>Seventh, though it does not mean that prejudice, discrimination, and racism in media is gone (even though Hollywood is further along than many other industries), it does feel like there is much to celebrate in this. </strong>This was a moment in which Asians were seen and honored. What <em>Parasite</em>’s triumph revealed is that when Asians are seen, we see how they shine, and when we see how they shine, they can steal the show.</p> <p class="">On a more sober note, moments like these, as brief and shallow as they are, make me wish that the Western church was more mindfully engaged in the pursuit of racial justice, reconciliation, and unity without compromise. I wish we could pave the way for the seeing of others. Perhaps the Western Church (which includes Asian American churches) can reflect on the ways we advance discrimination, prejudice, and stereotypes by our indifference and neutrality and begin to teach the whole counsel of God as we declare and infuse the full gospel of Jesus that removes the stain of racism by shedding the light of Christ into the darkness of sin.</p> <p class="">Though it was but a moment, <em>Parasite</em>’s win was one for the books, not only because of its historic nature, but also because a “local” awards show (<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">as Bong Joon Ho called it</a>) saw Koreans just like me. It reminded me of all the ways that God sees us for more than just a moment and how we can see (and continue to see) each other as a result of that.</p> </div> </div> Wednesday Wisdom: Beating the Odds in Sports and in Life MELD: Multi-Ethnic Leadership Development urn:uuid:6c8a1a4d-354e-66c5-77e9-04556afecb72 Wed, 19 Feb 2020 05:58:48 -0600 <img src=""/><p>We are highlighting Black athletes and coaches during Black History Month. This week we spotlight Dawn Staley.</p> Black History Recommendations The Witness urn:uuid:270c8a39-ed1f-5464-bc30-54b41de20a64 Tue, 18 Feb 2020 08:00:53 -0600 <p>Here&#8217;s a list of Black History recommendations that will take more than a month to engage. There are resources listed [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Black History Recommendations</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Witness</a>.</p> When Words Change Someone and You Don’t Even Know It urn:uuid:ee0a14fe-2ab4-f305-00e4-f2c5f2f4793b Sun, 16 Feb 2020 22:18:53 -0600 <p>listen to this John Townsend story about a throw away comment that changes the trajectory of someone's life in a short elevator ride</p> <p>This article <a rel="nofollow" href="">When Words Change Someone and You Don&#8217;t Even Know It</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Chinese health concerns, like depression and anxiety urn:uuid:f8c8ed54-ffdc-b896-e867-a3e942d8cef7 Sat, 15 Feb 2020 11:23:04 -0600 <p>Chinese and Asian Americans have health concerns, because the most important thing in life is being healthy and being reasonably happy in an imperfect world. Without health, one&#8217;s quality of life can be unbearable and push some people towards desperation and tragic&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>This article <a rel="nofollow" href="">Chinese health concerns, like depression and anxiety</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Get Out!: An Explicit Call for “Black Evangelicals” to Continue their Exodus – Part 3 The Witness urn:uuid:84570dc3-d461-abca-2f1b-a7567522e4ee Fri, 14 Feb 2020 08:00:11 -0600 <p>In this final piece, I will argue that “Black evangelicals” should (re)join historically Black denominations and assist in their strengthening [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Get Out!: An Explicit Call for “Black Evangelicals” to Continue their Exodus &#8211; Part 3</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Witness</a>.</p> Wednesday Wisdom: Mamba Mentality- Extending Kobe's Legacy Part 2 MELD: Multi-Ethnic Leadership Development urn:uuid:d2e87e0c-a783-a713-1ccd-1a2d624582c5 Wed, 12 Feb 2020 06:07:12 -0600 <img src="'s%20Legacy%20copy.png"/><p>In this two-minute clip from his hour-long interview with students at the USC Performance Science Institute on April 2, 2018, Kobe talked about the importance of practice. He said, “Practice for me was a chance to drive ...</p> To Black Women Who Just Want to Heal The Witness urn:uuid:3431046a-bd1c-9752-e9d8-6be839695c98 Mon, 10 Feb 2020 06:00:58 -0600 <p>To the women who came forward and engaged the public about their experiences with Russell Simmons, I’m in solidarity with [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">To Black Women Who Just Want to Heal</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Witness</a>.</p> Get Out!: An Explicit Call for “Black Evangelicals” to Continue their Exodus – Part 2 The Witness urn:uuid:d85651ad-7a51-3106-6289-516cc46f6e1b Fri, 07 Feb 2020 08:00:54 -0600 <p>In the first part of this series, I provided an analysis of the use of biblical and theological concepts among [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Get Out!: An Explicit Call for “Black Evangelicals” to Continue their Exodus &#8211; Part 2</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Witness</a>.</p> Wednesday Wisdom (2/5/20): Mamba Mentality-The Truth about Losing MELD: Multi-Ethnic Leadership Development urn:uuid:d881d217-87ad-8d58-7033-d6272290bba3 Wed, 05 Feb 2020 06:51:37 -0600 <img src="'s%20Legacy.png"/><p>Here at MELD, we are still processing our grief over the helicopter accident that killed nine people on Sunday January 26th in Los Angeles including Kobe and Gigi Bryant. An overwhelming number of you liked, shared and c...</p> Get Out!: An Explicit Call for “Black Evangelicals” to Continue their Exodus – Part 1 The Witness urn:uuid:61efd47f-5d6f-23c2-7af7-8948fdecb668 Fri, 31 Jan 2020 09:00:59 -0600 <p>Over the past few years, there have been some reports of a “Quiet Exodus” from White evangelical[1] churches by Black [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Get Out!: An Explicit Call for “Black Evangelicals” to Continue their Exodus &#8211; Part 1</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Witness</a>.</p> A Crucial Question for Writers: Who Is Your Audience? Jemar Tisby urn:uuid:f6a87a3d-de61-8cdf-91ce-196422843654 Wed, 29 Jan 2020 07:01:00 -0600 Whether writing an email, blog post, dissertation, or a book, every writer has to ask this crucial question: Who is my audience? Wednesday Wisdom 1/29/2020: From MELD to Capri Kobe Bryant MELD: Multi-Ethnic Leadership Development urn:uuid:255528a7-2ecc-f000-feba-e3bfbed4062b Wed, 29 Jan 2020 06:42:45 -0600 <img src=""/><p>Dear Capri, (I’m hoping someone will share this with you—maybe 10, 15 or 50 years from now—when you will understand and need it.) </p> "The Color of Compromise"…One Year Later Jemar Tisby urn:uuid:f5704645-d70e-163d-9330-21fef585ee98 Tue, 28 Jan 2020 13:00:38 -0600 WATCH: A few of my reflections on why "The Color of Compromise" has been received the way it has You Probably Can’t “Live Every Day Like It’s Your Last”, But Here’s What You CAN Do… The Witness urn:uuid:b6c2c99b-01bd-bc52-8caa-bb73bb591c38 Mon, 27 Jan 2020 07:00:21 -0600 <p>Basketball legend Kobe Bryant unexpectedly died in a helicopter crash on Sunday, January 26. Bryant&#8217;s 13-year old daughter Gianna, John [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">You Probably Can&#8217;t &#8220;Live Every Day Like It&#8217;s Your Last&#8221;, But Here&#8217;s What You CAN Do&#8230;</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Witness</a>.</p> Offensive Eldering Blog - Bryan Loritts urn:uuid:0f4ed643-083c-5783-54b9-ddb4b0ce3fb0 Wed, 22 Jan 2020 11:21:03 -0600 <p class="">When it comes to the personal care and shepherding of the local pastor, we need elders who will play offense and not defense. Elders lead, and not just react. It’s been my experience based on numerous conversations with pastors across the country, that most elder boards are filled with leaders- godly leaders- who can become so focused on the needs of the congregation they neglect to proactively care for the needs of their pastor. If you are an elder, or aspire to be an elder, there are at least five ways you can offensively elder your pastor:</p><ol data-rte-list="default"><li><p class=""><span><strong>Don’t burden pastors with expectations of omnicompetence</strong></span>. The average pastor is expected to be a great preacher, great leader, great counselor, great people person, great administrator, have a great bedside manner, be a great visionary, and at the same time have a great marriage, great family, great personal life, great walk with the Lord…just be great, great, great, great, great. Well, that person doesn’t exist, and to expect omnicompetence is a form of pastoral abuse, because it pushes the pastor to attempt to be something his humanity will never let him be. As John the Baptist once said, “I am not the Christ”. These five words need to be the mantra of pastors, and that of elders in thinking about their pastor. </p></li><li><p class=""><span><strong>Initiate intimate conversations with your pastor</strong></span>. Ask us in a non-suspicious way how we’re doing in our marriages and with our children. Ask us about our walk with the Lord. Ask us about our emotional health. Ask us about our physical health. Don’t assume we have it all together, and everything is okay, and then when the bottom falls out the elders put on a full court press to clean up the mess. Who knows, many elder boards would never have to go into a defensive frenzy, if they played a bit of offense by just simply showing an interest and asking questions about the various venues of our lives.</p></li><li><p class=""><span><strong>Pray with us</strong></span>. Here I’m not talking about the prayer that begins and ends the elders meeting, or the times when the agenda is pushed to the side and we pray for the church. Instead, I’m thinking of an elder playing offense by approaching the pastor and just caring for them off the cuff with prayer. I can only think of one occasion in almost twenty years as a Lead Pastor where I had an elder initiate non-emergency prayer with me. He invited me to his home, sat me down, asked me questions and then we prayed for about a half hour. The wind that put in my soul was enough to push me along for the next season of ministry.</p></li><li><p class=""><span><strong>Initiate compensation discussions</strong></span>. We need offensive elders in the area of the pastor’s personal compensation. A pastor shouldn’t have to come and ask for a cost of living increase or a raise. It’s a shame the marketplace does a better job at this with their employees than the church of Jesus Christ does with their pastors. I’ll let you in on a little secret: Most pastors either initiate these types of conversations, risking the appearance of greed, or they say nothing at all, while they inwardly wish someone around the table would. Too many pastors are not prepared for retirement, and die with far less than what they should have because the churches they served didn’t step up. Of course I could disclaimer this point to death with talks of churches who don’t have it and bivocational pastors, but I trust you understand where I’m coming from.</p></li><li><p class=""><span><strong>Play offense when it comes to our rest</strong></span>. Did you know the FAA demands that airline pilots and crew get a certain amount of rest before they fly? Do you know how many flights have been delayed because the crew didn’t have sufficient rest? Why does the FAA initiate and demand this? Because the lives of hundreds of passengers are at stake. What the FAA is to pilots and crew, elders must be to the pastor. Why? Because something more important is at stake than just bodies, it’s souls, which, as the Bible says, we leaders give watch over. The work of pastoring is constant, because the needs of people are constant. Plus, we need to consider that the average person’s down time is the pastor’s peak time when it comes to the work week. While our people are off enjoying their Saturday’s and Sunday’s, your pastor is putting the finishing touches on and preaching the sermon. David said of the LORD that He makes him lie down in green pastures. The LORD played offense when it came to David’s rest, and so should elders. A pastor shouldn’t have to initiate a sabbatical policy; elders need to be planning that out. Elders shouldn’t nickel and dime their pastor when it comes to vacation days, but should consider a responsible vacation policy that provides ample rest….and make the pastor stick to it. </p></li></ol><p class="">I bet we would have less cases of pastoral trauma, burnout and failure if we had more offensive minded elders. May the Lord grant us wisdom.</p> From MELD to White People…Time for Uncomfortable Conversations MELD: Multi-Ethnic Leadership Development urn:uuid:09902d8e-814e-5491-56cb-7d2374b52603 Wed, 22 Jan 2020 07:35:03 -0600 <img src=""/><p>“I think it opens the door to uncomfortable conversations that people haven’t had before.  The key is to listen to one another.” Kyle Korver, shooting guard for the Milwaukee Bucks, wrote an essay April 8, 2019 titled “P...</p> about Next Generation Chinese Canadian Christians urn:uuid:62bf3f13-958a-17ae-dd9d-3ab58e8ee295 Mon, 20 Jan 2020 13:57:02 -0600 <p>Living in fast-changing times of the 21st century has enough challenges in our society and culture. Trying to navigate two very different cultures is that much harder. The dynamics of bi-cultural of people from an ethnic Asian heritage and living in an&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">about Next Generation Chinese Canadian Christians</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Dr. King and The Not-So-Straight-Line of Racial Revolutions Blog - Bryan Loritts urn:uuid:aa42178c-77ac-33c9-4265-67309532ad35 Mon, 20 Jan 2020 13:24:03 -0600 <p class="">When I first read Dr. King’s observation of, “…when you look at a revolution you must always realize that the line of progress is never a straight line” (<a href=";qid=1579546579&amp;sr=8-1">At Canaan’s Edge</a>, page 554), something in me cringed and rejoiced all at once. </p><p class="">On the one hand King’s words expose and attack my adolescent impatience where I want all of the problems of race in America (and in the world for that matter) to be settled immediately. These last few years filled with people of color being killed at the hands of mostly white cops, and our brown siblings thrown in cages separated from families, has induced in me more than a deep sadness, but at times a hopelessness in which it’s easy to think there’s been no progress. Just the other day I sat in a meeting in which the topic of diversity was brought up yet again in a primarily white setting, and I had to fight voices of cynicism whispering in my head that this was indeed just talk, and nothing would change. </p><p class="">I’ve had to remind myself that revolutions are never photographs but movies, filled with scenes of tragedy and regression, but ultimately triumph and victory. Yet it’s human nature to walk through these “scenes” of regression and conclude all has been wasted. </p><p class="">On the other side, King’s comments about the crooked line of revolution, brings joy to my soul. Stepping back to catch a sense of the not-so-straight-line of revolution over the last sixty plus years in America there’s hope. Schools have been integrated. Segregation has been legislatively ended. Voting rights have been secured and multiethnic churches are on the rise. Oh, and a black president of the United States has been elected. No, we have not yet arrived at the mountaintop King spoke of on the eve of his assassination, but we are climbing higher and higher. </p><p class="">Finally, King’s remarks on revolutions makes me think of the gospel, and my own walk with Jesus. For followers of the Way, our journey is never a straight line. There are seasons of defeat and victory, tours of duty in the valley and on the mountaintop. Like the story of race in America, following Jesus is not a photograph, but a movie, where we are never to cast a verdict based on one scene of our lives, but when we stand back and look at the whole graph of that not-so-straight-line, may we see an upward trajectory, granting us confidence that we really have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.</p> How to increase Asian Americans’ generosity urn:uuid:4a62c8a6-f246-e767-5d90-5148a7e3c97f Sat, 18 Jan 2020 12:44:55 -0600 <p>Generosity doesn&#8217;t make a lot of sense in a world of consumption and people being people. But as I learn more about generosity, through a couple of pivotal experiences in my life recently, I am finding that giving away money is a&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">How to increase Asian Americans’ generosity</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Wednesday Wisdom 1/15/2020: Coffee with Martin Luther King Jr. MELD: Multi-Ethnic Leadership Development urn:uuid:db22b8fb-63db-2506-b88d-49a14407f4f4 Wed, 15 Jan 2020 08:12:24 -0600 <img src=""/><p>Ever wish you could have had coffee with Martin Luther King Jr.? What would you have told him, asked him, thanked him for?</p> The "Bi-Racial" Jesus Blog - Bryan Loritts urn:uuid:c4e12ded-142f-25bf-f05e-26c5570c9829 Tue, 14 Jan 2020 12:24:21 -0600 <p class="">There exists a pervasive loneliness to those of us busy about the work of what’s been called <em>racial</em> <em>reconciliation</em>. This is what I believe <a href=";keywords=reconciliation%20blues&amp;qid=1578960578&amp;sprefix=reconciliation%20blues%2Caps%2C204&amp;sr=8-1">Edward Gilbreath</a> was alluding to when he likened us to bridges, and exhaled how it is the nature of bridges to be stepped on. </p><p class="">James Baldwin, the pen of the civil right’s movement, discovered this on the evening of July 16th, 1961. Seated to the left of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in the leaders Chicago mansion, Baldwin reflected on how he had to endure a dinner filled with venomous references to our anglo siblings as “white devils”. For Muhammad and his thousands of followers known as the Nation of Islam, there was but one alternative to the legacy of racism exacted upon the Negro- rejection and separation. Elijah’s “white devil” laced conclusions were met with a chorus of amen’s by all but one at the crowded dinner table. The lone voice of silence that evening was ironically Baldwins, the famous soon to be author of, <a href=";qid=1578960918&amp;sr=8-1"><em>The Fire Next Time</em></a>. Even though James had received more than his share of hate from whites in response to his many writings and public speeches, he held out hope that there were whites who could be redeemed; whites, “who were struggling as hard as they knew how, and with great effort and sweat and risk, to make the world more human” (James Baldwin, see, <a href=";qid=1578961168&amp;sr=8-1-spell">The Fire is Upon Us</a>, page 144). </p><p class="">Standing on the steps of that Chicago mansion post dinner, Baldwin had to have felt a loneliness, an <em>I-can’t-win-for losing</em> sense of hope-filled despair. </p><p class="">There are several things that Chicago dinner table teaches us, and one lesson is for those of us engaged in the work of reconciliation there is the constancy of loneliness, of never feeling totally at home. Oh yes, I along with an army of racial reconcilers know that feeling all too well. Among one group we push too hard; and among another we don’t push hard enough. One ethnicity deems us to be liberals, and the other sell-outs. All at once we are considered gospel heretics, and not gospel enough. We are too theologically dark skinned for one crowd, and too theologically light skinned to another. How can one person be both sociologically and theologically black and white all at the same time? </p><p class="">Jesus had to have experienced this. His was a theological and sociological “bi-racial” ethic; and by bi-racial I am not positing some new theory of his ethnicity. Nor am I being glib with my language, since I am the father of “tri-racial” children. Instead what I mean is this sense that wherever Jesus went, the setting did not reflect the totality of who he was. He was too conservative for the Zealots, and too liberal for the Pharisees. The crowds rushed to crown him king, while others sought to kill him because he threatened their kingship. And to be an instrument of reconciliation is to follow in the footsteps of this “bi-racial” Jesus, where no one setting encompasses the totality of our aspirations or call. </p><p class="">Like Jesus, I too have caught it from both sides. Every time I’ve preached on race some of my white brothers and sisters have walked out over the perception of me being too radical. And when I have called out the lack of love which exists among some of my ethnic kin, I’ve been dismissed, raked over the coals and have had the veracity of my blackness questioned and even attacked. Like Baldwin, I’ve sat silently in private settings where “grilled white devils,” have been served for dinner, trying my hardest not to join in on the festivities.</p><p class="">To catch it on both sides…to be theologically and sociologically “bi-racial,” is to be like Jesus. </p><p class="">And yet, what kept Baldwin from participating in the hate that Chicago evening? Love. For Baldwin, love refuses to stay in what he called, “social ease”. This higher ethic of love, among other things, is to be wielded in such a way that it disturbs the southern white contemporary who was comfortable with Jim Crow, as well as the leader of the Nation of Islam and his followers who had chosen the path of rejection and separation. In his famous Christian inspired essay, <em>Down at the Cross,</em> Baldwin wrote of the importance of love and race relations, “Everything now, we must assume, is in our hands; we have no right to assume otherwise. If we- and now I mean the relatively conscious whites and the relatively conscious blacks, who must, like lovers, insist on, or create the consciousness of the others- do not falter in our duty now, we may be able, handful that we are, to end the racial nightmare, and achieve our country, and change the history of the world”.</p><p class="">Amidst the racial turmoil of his milieu, Baldwin held onto love, and this love filled him with hope even on lonely Chicago nights. </p><p class="">But the Chicago table also cautions us against the septic nature of bitterness. Homogenous settings like that July table tend to expose the rancor in our hearts. Those of us in the lonely work of racial reconciliation must not give into bitterness, for bitterness is what happens when the spirit loses hope and love. Bitterness joins in the chorus of look-alike dinner tables spewing epithets of our oppressors. Bitterness is what contaminated Jonah’s spirit as he preached to the ethnically other people of Nineveh, and then sulked when God loved them to himself. Jonah shows us it’s possible to challenge the status quo and not truly love. </p><p class="">What we are in need of is a prophetic, “bi racial” kind of love, the kind seen in Jesus. This kind of love is equitable in its scope, calling out homogenous dinner tables in inner city settings, as well as those found in gated communities. Love doesn’t laugh at the awkward racial joke, but chooses instead to create an awkward moment of its own by calling it out. Yes, Baldwin, love jolts people out of their social ease, the same way the Messiah- an incarnated Jew- jolted the Samaritan woman out of her moral ease by calling out her immorality.</p><p class="">And when we do this, we will catch it from both sides. But take heart, this is a sign we are following in the lineage of Jesus. </p><p data-rte-preserve-empty="true" class=""></p> More than a Cog in the Machine The Witness urn:uuid:9b6ac5e2-c5bb-4b5f-0776-b2931b30eec8 Tue, 14 Jan 2020 06:00:22 -0600 <p>This is the 3rd Interview for A Series of Stories Exploring Black and Brown Perspectives on Work and its Worth. [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">More than a Cog in the Machine</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Witness</a>.</p>