Mosaix Blogs Full Mosaix Blogs Full Respective post owners and feed distributors Wed, 11 Sep 2019 10:51:13 -0500 Feed Informer Creation Gives Hope for Justice The Front Porch urn:uuid:aa9d1236-99dd-0727-2d82-1145183cb438 Mon, 06 Jul 2020 05:46:29 -0500 If this world death calls its home can still be filled with life, then maybe this sin-sick, racism-rooted American society can one day be a place where black people get justice. <p>God speaks in mysterious ways. Just the other day, as I was filling my car with gas, creation arrested my attention. I saw the trees, standing in verdant robes of solemn serenity. I heard the birds singing their evening chorus. As a soft evening breeze brushed me, I noticed the North Florida heat fading and watched the sun begin its late day descent. All this I perceived in a moment. There was nothing remarkable about the day, but it burst with beauty. And it occurred to me that this is the world marred by sin.</p> <p>This is the world mankind plunged under a curse. This world is nowhere near its potential vibrance and power, yet it almost glows with vitality and glory.</p> <p>That moment made me think of American society, still functioning under a sort of curse from its original sin. No, America has not broken some special, national covenant with God. But the odorous residue of slavery and Jim Crow left its stench in every corner of this society. This society with unjust powers, where protecting black and brown bodies is more menu option than human right. Where something as basic as justice is deemed a laudable phenomenon. I thought of the struggle for justice in an unjust world, the struggle to love blackness in the midst of an anti-black society. I was reminded of how hopeless this struggle sometimes is.</p> <p>But as I reflect on this creation, marked by goodness despite the brokenness of the curse, it made me think, If God can bring such captivating glory out of a sin-stained creation, if this world that death calls home can still be filled with life, then maybe this sin-sick, racism-rooted American society can one day be a place where black people get justice. This hope is not born of confidence in the goodness of humanity. It was the &#8220;goodness&#8221; of humanity that got us into this mess. This newfound hope sprung from a recognition of the God of creation.</p> <p>He is the God who called the cosmos out of the chaotic void. The God who brings beauty from ashes. The God who used something as mundane as dust to create the crown of all creation, humankind. The God who brought righteousness through the climactic evil of Calvary. And if the God of creation does not need perfection, or even goodness, for his glory to be displayed, then America&#8217;s imperfection is more than enough for Him to work with. Be encouraged.</p> What Did God Really Say? Reflections on Candice Benbow & Dr. Howard John Wesley The Witness urn:uuid:f0dba4c8-3c88-6950-9826-2c2b3eed6752 Thu, 02 Jul 2020 07:00:15 -0500 <p>My first impression of Christianity was that the God it spoke of said “white is right” and “black is bad.” [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">What Did God Really Say? Reflections on Candice Benbow &#038; Dr. Howard John Wesley</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Witness</a>.</p> What Did God Really Say? Reflections on Candice Benbow & Dr. Howard John Wesley — Part 1 The Witness urn:uuid:73d6165b-5f01-a9f6-1c0d-8c9ad7c58418 Thu, 02 Jul 2020 07:00:15 -0500 <p>My first impression of Christianity was that the God it spoke of said “white is right” and “black is bad.” [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">What Did God Really Say? Reflections on Candice Benbow &#038; Dr. Howard John Wesley — Part 1</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Witness</a>.</p> Black Lives and White Sight: Reading Invisible Man in This Age of Black Death – Part 2 The Witness urn:uuid:d7781572-123a-7c9b-fe1f-0cf7f7a33402 Wed, 01 Jul 2020 12:05:18 -0500 <p>Read Part 1 here! &#160; White Sight and Black Lives Ellison’s image of the glass eye reminds us that the [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Black Lives and White Sight: Reading Invisible Man in This Age of Black Death &#8211; Part 2</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Witness</a>.</p> Black Lives and White Sight: Reading Invisible Man in the New Age of Black Death Part 1 The Witness urn:uuid:2943cf20-31c1-1c3f-5559-55b361e6d2f5 Tue, 30 Jun 2020 08:00:26 -0500 <p>The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Black Lives and White Sight: Reading Invisible Man in the New Age of Black Death Part 1</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Witness</a>.</p> “Not My Jesus” with Pastor John Faison The Witness urn:uuid:dac85d35-da60-93d3-1a59-b6010c9813f0 Mon, 29 Jun 2020 11:56:00 -0500 <p>This is a big one, y’all! Jemar and Tyler had the privilege of recording this podcast during our LIVE “Free [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">“Not My Jesus” with Pastor John Faison</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Witness</a>.</p> Churches with In-Person Worship Services in the OC urn:uuid:096d3a0d-95f4-0ad7-4a8b-cf7844b8b889 Sun, 28 Jun 2020 19:52:35 -0500 <p>Most churches have remained open during the past 3 months or so with livestreamed or on-demand video worship services, due to the global pandemic of COVID19 coronavirus. Health regulations vary and change often. But Christians greatly value gathering together in person for&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>This article <a rel="nofollow" href="">Churches with In-Person Worship Services in the OC</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=""/> Catch Jemar’s Latest Work About the Current Racial Justice Uprising Jemar Tisby urn:uuid:7adf3dde-bf81-bc57-98e1-4c60f8486bad Fri, 26 Jun 2020 16:41:34 -0500 Jemar has been busy during this wave of protests. Check out his latest work here. White People Want Something From Black People They’ve Never Given to Us: Mercy The Witness urn:uuid:5e224821-ba8f-3a8a-80c9-e6239a1e6101 Thu, 25 Jun 2020 05:00:42 -0500 <p>The issue of ending racism is much more complex than simply hugging a police officer or &#8220;hugging the hate away.&#8221; [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">White People Want Something From Black People They&#8217;ve Never Given to Us: Mercy</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Witness</a>.</p> The Christian and Critical Race Theory, Part 1: A Survey of the “Traditional Civil Rights Discourse” The Front Porch urn:uuid:fcaf4c01-7e72-f1f6-a866-63198d020531 Mon, 22 Jun 2020 11:18:38 -0500 Traditional Civil Rights discourse predates and dispels allegations of cultural Marxism <p><em>The critical race theory (CRT) movement is a collection of activists and scholars engaged in studying and transforming the relationship among race, racism, and power. The movement considers many of the same issues that conventional civil rights and ethnic studies discourses take up but places them in a broader perspective that includes economics, history, setting, group and self-interest, and emotions and the unconscious. Unlike traditional civil rights discourse, which stresses incrementalism and step-by-step progress, critical race theory questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law.</em><br /> (Richard Delgado &amp; Jean Stefancic, <a href=""><em>Critical Race Theory</em></a>, p. 3)</p> <p><strong>Dear fellow White Christians</strong>,</p> <p>As a layman, I find that learning a subject through its actual historical milieu helps me not only remember the right words, phrases, and concepts, but, more importantly, helps me understand them. And it is understanding which seems most lacking in evangelicalism when it comes to Critical Race Theory (CRT). As such, I hope over the next few posts, in the most conversational manner possible, to not only provide the nuts and bolts of this broad ideology as presented by its chief advocates, but to also, as it were, tell the story of CRT, before moving into any critical assessment.</p> <p>It seems to me that the first step in telling this story, if <a href="">Delgado</a> and <a href="">Stefancic</a> are correct in their above assessment, is to understand what exactly the “traditional civil rights discourse” was, in order to see what has been taken up by CRT and what modified or even discarded.</p> <p>If you are anything like me, you grew up believing that the primary discourse of the civil rights movement culminated in something like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” taken to mean something like, ignore skin color in everything and the problem of racism will continue to disappear. I would have continued, had you asked, to declare that though once common in the South, true racists are now few and far between, discrimination is now outlawed anyhow, that racism was only ever personal prejudice based on skin color (maybe even requiring hatred to actually qualify), that racism has been a pretty natural in-group/out-group dynamic throughout human history, and that everyone, by and large, has an equal chance to succeed in our meritocracy, so long as a few discriminators here and there (the “bad apples”) can be identified and corrected—specifically with Christianity. (We will discuss these frames in more detail in later posts as they present a very specific social philosophy.)</p> <p>But this is far from the historic discourse.</p> <p><strong>A Survey of the “Traditional Civil Rights Discourse”</strong></p> <p>Sticking with Dr. king—given his general appeal and universally understood importance to the historic movement—we see something quite different from what I assumed to be the Civil Rights discourse. In his final book before his assassination in 1968, Dr. King asks, “What is racism?” “<a href="">Dr. George Kelsey</a>,” he answers, “in a profound book entitled <em>Racism and the Christian Understanding of Man</em>, states that:</p> <blockquote><p>Racism is a faith. It is a form of idolatry… In its early modern beginnings, racism was a justificatory device. It did not emerge as a faith. It arose as an ideological justification for the constellations of political and economic power which were expressed in colonialism and slavery. But gradually the idea of the superior race was heightened and deepened in meaning and value so that it pointed beyond the historical structures of relation, in which it emerged, to human existence itself.” <a href="">(<em>Where Do We Go From Here?</em>,</a> p. 73)</p></blockquote> <p>This is what many White sociologists used to pejoratively call the “exploitation theory of racism,” hoping to marginalize it with the specter of communism. But whether we like it or not, this was undoubtedly the traditional Black abolitionist and civil rights view of racism (or, of course, “color prejudice” or “race prejudice” prior to the 1930’s).</p> <p>A few elements are essential to and distinguishable in this “theory” of racism as espoused by Dr. King:</p> <p><strong>First</strong>, racism is not a natural human in-group/out-group, like prefers like, dynamic; it is a very specific and historically conditioned social relation. <strong>Second</strong>, “color” itself has little to do with racism and only tangentially to do with its creation. <strong>Third</strong>, racism was not the cause of African slavery and exploitation, but rather the result. <strong>Fourth</strong>, racism, with its accompanying systems and ideas, was manufactured to justify African slavery and then to justify continued group-based exploitation. <strong>Fifth</strong> and last, we must make very clear that racism, according to the tradition, is at bottom “the myth of inferior peoples” (Dr. King, p. 75);<br /> … and to crown the whole of this catalogue of cruelties, they tell us that we the (blacks) are an inferior race of beings! (<a href=""><em>Walker’s</em> <em>Appeal</em></a>, p. 74)</p> <p>That is, racism is the belief or assumption that any race is inferior to any other, as a group, including all ideas, ideologies, words, actions, and policies which either assume or promote the same. Again, King:</p> <blockquote><p>Racism is a doctrine of the congenital inferiority and worthlessness of a people. (<a href=""><em>Where Do We Go From Here?</em></a>, p. 49)</p></blockquote> <p>A few examples from the tradition, I hope, will show the currency of this understanding throughout the tradition.</p> <p>First, <a href="">Frederick Douglass</a> spelled this all out brilliantly in his 1881 article, “The Color Line”:</p> <blockquote><p>During all the years of their bondage, the slave master had a direct interest in discrediting the personality of those he held as property. Every man who had a thousand dollars so invested had a thousand reasons for painting the black man as fit only for slavery. Having made him the companion of horses and mules, he naturally sought to justify himself by assuming that the Negro was not much better than a mule. The holders of twenty hundred million dollars’ worth of property in human chattels procured the means of influencing press, pulpit, and politician, and through these instrumentalities they belittled our virtues and magnified our vices, and have made us odious in the eyes of the world. … Out of the depths of slavery has come this prejudice and this color line. It is broad enough and black enough to explain all the malign influences which assail the newly emancipated millions to-day. (<a href=""><em>Frederick Douglass: Selected Speeches and Writings</em></a>, p. 652)</p></blockquote> <p>We see much the same succinctly stated by early American sociologist, founding member of the NAACP, and creator of Crisis magazine, <a href="">W.E.B Du Bois</a>, in 1940:</p> <blockquote><p>I think it was in Africa that I came more clearly to see the close connection between race and wealth. The fact that even in the minds of the most dogmatic supporters of race theories and believers in the inferiority of colored folk to white, there was a conscious or unconscious determination to increase their incomes by taking full advantage of this belief. And then gradually this thought was metamorphosed into a realization that the income-bearing value of race prejudice was the cause and not the result of theories of race inferiority; that particularly in the United States the income of the Cotton Kingdom based on black slavery caused the passionate belief in Negro inferiority and the determination to enforce it even by arms. (<a href=""><em>Dusk of Dawn</em></a>, p. 65)</p></blockquote> <p>Economist and sociologist <a href="">Oliver Cromwell Cox</a> likewise wrote in his magisterial, <a href=";qid=&amp;sr="><em>Caste, Class, and Race</em> </a>(1948), that,</p> <blockquote><p>If we had to put our finger upon the year which marked the beginning of modern race relations we should select 1493-94. This is the time when total disregard for the human rights and physical power of the non-Christian peoples of the world, the colored peoples, was officially assumed by the first two great colonizing European nations. Pope Alexander bull of demarcation issued under Spanish pressure on May 3, 1493, and its revision by the Treaty of Tordesillas (June 7, 1494), arrived at through diplomatic negotiations between Spain and Portugal, put all the heathen peoples and their resources—that is to say, especially the colored peoples of the world—at the disposal of Spain and Portugal.</p> <p>This, then, is the beginning of modern race relations. It was not an abstract, natural, immemorial feeling of mutual antipathy between groups, but rather a practical exploitative relationship with its socio-attitudinal facilitation—at that time only nascent race prejudice. (Loc. 8548)</p></blockquote> <p>Cox even distinguished “race prejudice” proper from “social intolerance,” arguing from the historically conditioned nature of this specific oppressive relation:</p> <blockquote><p>[S]ocial intolerance, which attitude may be defined as an unwillingness on the part of a dominant group to tolerate the beliefs or practices of a subordinate group because it considers these beliefs and practices to be either inimical to group solidarity or a threat to the continuity of the status quo. Race prejudice, on the other hand, is a social attitude propagated among the public by an exploiting class for the purpose of stigmatizing some group as inferior so that the exploitation of either the group itself or its resources or both may be justified. (Loc. 10083)</p></blockquote> <p>And, finally, to return to Dr. King:</p> <blockquote><p>It seems to be a fact of life that human beings cannot continue to do wrong without eventually reaching out for some rationalization to clothe their acts in the garments of righteousness. And so, with the growth of slavery, men had to convince themselves that a system which was so economically profitable was morally justifiable. The attempt to give moral sanction to a profitable system gave birth to the doctrine of white supremacy. (<a href=""><em>Where Do We Go From Here?</em></a>, p. 76-77)</p></blockquote> <p>Thus, according to the “traditional civil rights discourse,” racism is not a “natural antipathy,” a law of nature, a simple fact of human nature—like prefers like and rejects the dissimilar. As Douglass argued in “Color Prejudice” (1848), Homer, Herodotus, and the Greeks were human, but they did not display this “law of nature” when describing the great beauty and majesty of the Ethiopians, of Minerva, and or of Memnon? Pythagoras and Plato traveled to Ethiopia to learn wisdom. Black Euclid was received as the most brilliant mathematician of the ancient world. What about black African Hannibal and black poet Terence? Their peers did not seem to know this “law of nature,” argued Douglass. And, he asked, were “Origen, Cyprian, Tertullian, Augustine, Clemens, Alexandrinus, and Cyril” required to sit in the “negro pew” in the early churches?</p> <blockquote><p>A law of nature, being a part of nature, must be as old as nature: but perhaps human nature was created by piecemeal, and this part was overlooked in the early editions, but supplied in a later revisal. Well, what is the date of the revised edition? We will save our readers the trouble of fumbling for it, by just saying that this “law of nature” was never heard of till long after the commencement of the African slave trade; and that the feeling called “prejudice against color,” has never existed in Great Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, the Italian States, Prussia, Austria, Russia, or in any part of the world where colored persons have not been held as slaves. (<a href=""><em>Frederick Douglass: Selected Speeches and Writings</em></a>, p. 100)</p></blockquote> <p>Therefore, even skin color is not in itself anything, according to the traditional civil rights discourse, but the socially constructed mark of those chosen and demarcated for misuse and exploitation; also Douglass:</p> <blockquote><p>[T]his prejudice really has nothing whatever to do with race or color, and that it has its motive and mainspring in some other source with which the mere facts of color and race have nothing to do. … The office of color in the color line is a very plain and subordinate one. It simply advertises the objects of oppression, insult, and persecution. It is not the maddening liquor, but the black letters on the sign telling the world where it may be had. It is not the hated Quaker, but the broad brim and the plain coat. It is not the hateful Cain, but the mark by which he is known. The color is innocent enough, but things with which it is coupled make it hated. Slavery, ignorance, stupidity, servility, poverty, dependence, are undesirable conditions. When these shall cease to be coupled with color, there will be no color line drawn. (<a href=""><em>Frederick Douglass: Selected Speeches and Writings</em></a>, pp. 653-654)</p></blockquote> <p>As it became increasingly clear to the colonists invading the New World that Africans were not only capable farmers, but also in abundant “supply,” with the trade in humans itself quite profitable, efforts were made to separate this group of people from those of European descent, cobbled together from many tribes, nations, and tongues, a people with no previous sense of Pan-Africanism.</p> <blockquote><p>The fact is, the labour of slaves comes so cheap to the avaricious usurpers, and is [as they think] of such great utility to the country where it exists, that those who are actuated by sordid avarice only, overlook the evils, which will as sure as the Lord lives, follow after the good. (<a href=""><em>Walker’s Appeal</em></a>, p. 5)</p></blockquote> <p>By offering protections to indentured servants from “Christian” nations and removing protections for those from “pagan” nations, leaders were able to quell organized rebellions by peeling the European poor away from those with whom they’d formerly worked side by side, and ultimately accorded life-long servitude to those of African descent alone—they and their children. A class to be exploited, stolen from Africa, separated from family, religion, and hallowed soil, the “Negro” became the, comparatively, ideal subject of colonial exploitation. At first this was justified by the distinction between “Christian” and “pagan”; later it would be by phenotype, “proving” them uniquely suitable for heat and toil; then it would become their supposed stupidity, lack of culture, and need of white fathers; then the so-called Curse of Ham, the example of the Patriarchs, and the writings of the Apostle Paul; then the development of the pseudoscientific field of racial biology, including categorization according to assumed historic development through climate, separate creation, or evolution.</p> <p>Finally, this intentional marginalization was perpetuated through insidious racial stereotypes developed as justifications, including common tropes like the hyper-sexualized black male with a penchant for pure white women, seductive black women preying on white men, child-like “negro” mental capacities causing both intellectual dullness and erratic fits of rage, inborn laziness due to centuries in the jungle, and other such insipid fabrications.</p> <p>In 1829, <a href="">David Walker</a> wrote of the ideas and justifications for keeping men and women in bonds in his own day:</p> <blockquote><p>We would be injurious to society and ourselves, if tyrants should loose their unjust hold on us!!! That if we were free we would not work, but would live on plunder or theft!!!! that we are the meanest and laziest set of beings in the world!!!!! That they are obliged to keep us in bondage to do us good!!!!!!–That we are satisfied to rest in slavery to them and their children!!!!!! … That if we were set free in America, we would involve the country in a civil war, which assertion is altogether at variance with our feeling or design…. (<a href=""><em>Walker’s Appeal</em></a>, p. 74)</p></blockquote> <p>Likewise, Douglass, following the emancipation of slaves sought by David Walker, noted the continuation of these stereotypes and even their spread throughout the nation:</p> <blockquote><p>It is said that physically, morally, socially and religiously he is in a condition vastly more deplorable than was his condition as a slave; that he has not proved himself so good a master to himself as his old master was to him; that he is gradually, but surely, sinking below the point of industry, good manners and civilization to which he attained in a state of slavery; that his industry is fitful; that his economy is wasteful; that his honesty is deceitful; that his morals are impure; that his domestic life is beastly; that his religion is fetichism, and his worship is simply emotional; and that, in a word, he is falling into a state of barbarism.</p> <p>Such is the distressing description of the emancipated Negro as drawn by his enemies and as it is found reported in the journals of the South. Unhappily, however, it is a description not confined to the South. It has gone forth to the North. It has crossed the ocean; I met with it in Europe. (<a href=""><em>Frederick Douglass: Selected Speeches and Writings</em></a>, p. 715)</p></blockquote> <p>This, according to the traditional civil rights discourse, is the history and genesis of the “color line.”</p> <p>To be sure, I sometimes fear I’ll make too much of this “traditional civil rights discourse”; but for the average White evangelical like myself, I don’t think that is even possible. This discourse, as traditional as it is, represents a radical reorientation from the most common White American understanding of racism.</p> <p>It was this understanding of abolitionists and civil rights activists which made the connection between race and economics such an inescapable feature of the traditional African American critique.</p> <blockquote><p>We must recognize that we can’t solve our problem now until there is a radical redistribution of economic and political power…. This means a revolution of values and other things. We must see now that the evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism are all tied together… you can’t really get rid of one without getting rid of the others… the whole structure of American life must be changed. America is a hypocritical nation and [we] must put [our] own house in order. (Dr. King, “<a href="">Report to SCLC Staff</a> [May 1967]”)</p></blockquote> <p>It&#8217;s why from the 1800’s to the height of the civil rights movement, African American activists were simply unable to separate racism or “color prejudice” from the very fabric of American life, culture, and institutions.</p> <blockquote><p>I am … not here to make any profession whatever of respect for that country [America], of attachment to its politicians, or love for its churches or national institutions. The fact is, the whole system, the entire network of American society, is one great falsehood, from beginning to end. (<a href=""><em>Frederick Douglass: Selected Speeches and Writings</em></a>, p. 55)</p> <p>Slavery is indeed gone, but its shadow still lingers over the country and poisons more or less the moral atmosphere of all sections of the republic. The money motive for assailing the negro which slavery represented is indeed absent, but love of power and dominion, strengthened by two centuries of irresponsible power, still remains. (p. 653)</p> <p>Mankind lost sight of our human nature in the idea of our being property, and the whole machinery of society was planned, directed and operated to the making us a stupid, spiritless, ignorant, besottled, brutified, and utterly degraded race of men. (p. How to transfer phone number away from Straight Talk urn:uuid:ce625ca1-28d1-a45e-29c3-c9d0bc9b0849 Thu, 18 Jun 2020 22:26:25 -0500 <p>This article explains plain and simple what is required to authenticate the transfer when on the BYOP—bring your own phone—plan on Straight Talk. I have an unlocked iPhone SE, original version. Bottom line: the new provider needs to make a port transfer&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>This article <a rel="nofollow" href="">How to transfer phone number away from Straight Talk</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=""/> Juneteenth LIVE The Witness urn:uuid:d4d28c8c-110e-caba-af52-dc63f6a8d1d0 Thu, 18 Jun 2020 21:38:23 -0500 <p>Please follow this link.</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Juneteenth LIVE</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Witness</a>.</p> On Color-blindness: A Quick Response to a Well-Intentioned White Brother Blog - Bryan Loritts urn:uuid:fff51a9d-08fc-72f6-2ad2-a0919ed4bedd Thu, 18 Jun 2020 09:44:51 -0500 <p class="">Recently, I received a note from a white brother, saying that in light of these tumultuous times, he does not see me as black. While I do not respond many times to notes like these, I felt prompted to issue the following:</p><p class="">Thanks for reaching out dear brother, and sharing your honest thoughts. &nbsp;</p><p class="">Your sentiments are not new to me (color-blindness), and in some ways I really get what you are saying. &nbsp;I believe what you are attempting to express is that you do not value me more or less, or treat me any different based on the color of my skin. &nbsp;Because surely you can’t physically deny a difference in skin tone/ethnicity. &nbsp;</p><p class="">Reading Revelation 5 and 7, we are forced to conclude that ethnicity will be a part of our future eternal reality. &nbsp;Therefore, ethnicity is not a fruit of the fall (even though man’s construction of a race based value system is).</p><p class="">Reading John 4 and Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman helps us to see that the Scriptures do see differences in ethnicity. &nbsp;She is known by her ethnicity. &nbsp;So is the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8, along with a myriad of other examples. &nbsp;So it is both okay, and right to see ethnicity.</p><p class="">The problem also is, we live in what’s been called a racialized society where implicit bias abounds, and often times expresses itself in very de-humanizing ways. &nbsp;For example, even though African American’s make up less than 15% of Minneapolis’ population (Where our brother, George Floyd was murdered), over 60% of incidents of police brutality are directed at African American’s. &nbsp;</p><p class="">I once went to take out a lease from an apartment that happened to be owned by a white woman. &nbsp;She demanded I give her six months in advance. &nbsp;But then when I sent my wife (who looks white) to the same lady to lease the same apartment, she was only asked to give first and last months. &nbsp;These are but a few scant examples undergirding the truth that we live in a racialized society that very clearly sees, and limits opportunities (and even lives) for people of color. &nbsp;</p><p class="">Also, numerous sociologist's point out that whites do not see themselves as whites. &nbsp;One sociologist, Dr. Korie Edwards (Ohio State University) explains it this way. &nbsp;Right now just about all of us in this world have two arms. &nbsp;We do not consciously see ourselves as having two arms. &nbsp;But if you had one arm in a two arm society you will be constantly aware of your limitations. &nbsp;This is the black experience in America.</p><p class="">If we are going to move forward in true ethnic unity we must name these things, acknowledge them, confess and intentionally move forward. &nbsp;Isn’t this the general sentiment of I John 1? &nbsp;We cannot have true fellowship with God without first acknowledging the truth of our sins. &nbsp;Color blindness gets us nowhere. &nbsp;</p><p class="">I love my white brothers and sisters, but I cannot have true fellowship unless you see a significant part of who I am- a black man- acknowledge, and dialog with me about it. &nbsp;</p><p class="">Yes my relationship with Christ is the epicenter of who I am, but following Christ does not eradicate my blackness.</p><p class="">I hope this helps.</p><p class="">Yours in the struggle for true ethnic unity,</p><p class="">Bryan</p> Racism and the Wrath of God The Front Porch urn:uuid:242f7790-1f6d-b2b1-1b4e-c77e9a0666e5 Thu, 18 Jun 2020 07:48:37 -0500 The behavior of racists reveals God has handed them over to his wrath in this present evil age and they need the only kind of repentance that saves from God's wrath. <p>The recent killings of black people have once again brought conversations about race and racism to the forefront of the global conscience. On the one hand, racism is abnormal in that it wasn’t part of God’s original creation in the Garden of Eden (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gen. 1-2" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip0_4783_anchor"></a>). On the other hand, after the Fall, racism is normal. It’s part of the everyday rhythm of life because of sin’s individual and cosmological power over the entire creation (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gen. 3" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip1_6131_anchor"></a>; <cite class="bibleref" title="Rom. 6:1-8:39" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip2_6371_anchor"></a>). As Christians pursue a robustly biblical and theological vision for ethnic reconciliation and racial conciliation, we must remember that racism in all of its forms and expressions is demonic, evil, and perhaps displays that “the wrath of God” has come upon “all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (<cite class="bibleref" title="Rom. 1:18" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip3_2424_anchor"></a>). </p> <p>God’s wrath in the NT is complex. In <cite class="bibleref" title="Romans 1-3" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip4_1471_anchor"></a>, Paul argues with force the righteous God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is a God of fierce and unrelenting wrath and that he will display this wrath both within history and at the end of history against those who live in rebellion against Jesus Christ. Paul describes God’s wrath both as a present reality, experienced by all who live in rebellion against the gospel of Jesus Christ (<cite class="bibleref" title="Rom. 1:18-32" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip5_9278_anchor"></a>), and as a future Day of eternal judgment, reserved for those whose works will prove in the judgment they lived in rebellion against the gospel (<cite class="bibleref" title="Rom. 2:5-10" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip6_7694_anchor"></a>).</p> <p>In <cite class="bibleref" title="Rom. 1:18-32" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip7_1263_anchor"></a>, Paul’s remarks about the current revelation of God’s wrath in the present age speak to God’s act of giving disobedient and hardened sinners over to his wrath now to commit the sinful desires of their own hearts because of their unrighteousness. Paul states three times God gives them over “to the lusts of their hearts” (<cite class="bibleref" title="Rom. 1:24" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip8_2509_anchor"></a>), “to passions of dishonor” (<cite class="bibleref" title="Rom. 1:26" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip9_2361_anchor"></a>), and “to an unapproved mind to do things that are not fitting” and to be filled with various forms of disobedience (<cite class="bibleref" title="Rom. 1:28-32" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip10_2179_anchor"></a>) because they’re disobedient to the truth (<cite class="bibleref" title="Rom. 1:32" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip11_4675_anchor"></a>; cf. 2:2). </p> <p>Paul mentions a selective litany of vices to which God gives over the rebellious. These vices pertain to both idolatry and broken relationships (<cite class="bibleref" title="Rom. 1:18-32" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip12_5482_anchor"></a>; cf. <cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 5:17-21" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip13_9008_anchor"></a>). Paul doesn’t specifically mention the sin of racism here since race and racism as we understand these things are modern social constructs. Interpreters, however, can infer from the text that racism, ethno-centrism, and racial prejudice are manifestations of God’s wrath because they are deeds of unrighteousness that are antithetical to the truth of the gospel (cf. <cite class="bibleref" title="Rom. 1:16-15:33" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip14_3884_anchor"></a>; cf. <cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 2:11-14; 5:16-26" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip15_308_anchor"></a>). These sins fit under Paul’s statement that God gives the unrighteous over to “all unrighteousness” (<cite class="bibleref" title="Rom. 1:29" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip16_7940_anchor"></a>). </p> <p>Race and racism are complex. Yet, many have known for some time now that race is a social construct and that race and racism are connected to power and to both individuals and systems. Because Christians read Scripture and believe its doctrine of sin, we, of all people, should know the numerous unjust killings of black bodies throughout US history support that racism fundamentally exists because of sin, that sin uses racism to create numerous racialized experiences, structures, and narratives in the real world, and that sin uses racism to assault beautiful image-bearers historically perceived as a threat because of the color of their skin. </p> <p>NT authors describe sin as both personal transgression (<cite class="bibleref" title="Rom. 3:23" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip17_5208_anchor"></a>) and as a cosmological power that rules and reigns over the entire creation as an evil tyrant (<cite class="bibleref" title="Rom. 6:12-13; 8:18-22" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip18_8659_anchor"></a>). In Scripture (the murder of Jesus) and in our history (slavery, Jim Crow, and its aftermath), sin has used individuals to create structures of power to traumatize, victimize, and scandalize those whom those in power viewed to be the so-called threat. One way that God manifests his wrath in the present evil age is by giving rebellious people over to the sinful desires of their own sinful and rebellious hearts (cf. <cite class="bibleref" title="Rom. 1:18-32" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip19_6983_anchor"></a>). </p> <p>When racists inside the church or outside the church are complicit in racism and display they’re full of envy, unrighteousness, greed, and when they lie, slander, gossip, are merciless, without affection, plotters of evil deeds against their neighbors, are insulters, and the like against those perceived as threats because of the color of their sin, then their behavior may reveal God has handed them over to his wrath in this present evil age (<cite class="bibleref" title="Rom. 1:18-32" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip20_8707_anchor"></a>; <cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 1:4" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip21_3146_anchor"></a>). And, unless these racists repent now, they will suffer the gloom and devastation of God’s wrath at the end of history when Jesus returns, because racism in all of its diverse forms and expressions is a demonic ideological power that opposes the power of the gospel (cf. <cite class="bibleref" title="Rom. 1:16-4:25" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip22_3423_anchor"></a>; <cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 2:11-6:10" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip23_4597_anchor"></a>; <cite class="bibleref" title="Eph. 1:9-3:9" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip24_7093_anchor"></a>). </p> <p>God’s temporal wrath in this present evil age is a reminder that he will destroy all rebellious and unrepentant sinners (regardless of the sinner’s ethnic origins), whom he has given over now to the sinful inclinations of their own hearts because of their disobedience to the truth of the gospel, with indestructible wrath at the end of history but he will give eternal life to those who repent (<cite class="bibleref" title="Rom. 2:6-10" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip25_8958_anchor"></a>). The only hope for a racist (or any sinner) is the blood and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the transforming power of the Spirit (<cite class="bibleref" title="Rom. 5:6-10" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip26_7641_anchor"></a>; <cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 3:13-14; 5:16-26" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip27_8523_anchor"></a>). </p> <p>Unrepentant racism matched with a rebellion against the gospel, even multi-ethnic unrepentant racism matched with a rebellion against the gospel, may reveal an inward callousness against the gospel of Jesus Christ. Racists, and all sinners, can be delivered from God’s wrath only if they repent, follow Jesus faithfully, and begin the journey of walking in Spirit-empowered love in obedience to Jesus (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 5:16-26" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip28_702_anchor"></a>). Genuine repentance has both the appearance of godliness and affirms its power (<cite class="bibleref" title="2 Tim. 3:5" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip29_2312_anchor"></a>). This is the only kind of repentance that will allow racists (and all sinners) escape God’s wrath.</p> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Gen. 1-2" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gen. 1-2" data-anchor="#tippy_tip0_4783_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Gen. 3" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gen. 3" data-anchor="#tippy_tip1_6131_anchor" ><p class="chapter-first" id="p01003001.03-1"><span class="chapter-num" id="v01003001-1">3:1&nbsp;</span>Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the <span class="small-caps">Lord</span> God had made.</p><p id="p01003001.22-1">He said to the woman, &#8220;Did God actually say, &#8216;You shall not eat of any tree in the garden&#8217;?&#8221; <span class="verse-num" id="v01003002-1">2&nbsp;</span>And the woman said to the serpent, &#8220;We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, <span class="verse-num" id="v01003003-1">3&nbsp;</span>but God said, &#8216;You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.&#8217;&#8221; <span class="verse-num" id="v01003004-1">4&nbsp;</span>But the serpent said to the woman, &#8220;You will not surely die. <span class="verse-num" id="v01003005-1">5&nbsp;</span>For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.&#8221; <span class="verse-num" id="v01003006-1">6&nbsp;</span>So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. <span class="verse-num" id="v01003007-1">7&nbsp;</span>Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.</p> <p id="p01003008.01-1"><span class="verse-num" id="v01003008-1">8&nbsp;</span>And they heard the sound of the <span class="small-caps">Lord</span> God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the <span class="small-caps">Lord</span> God among the trees of the garden. <span class="verse-num" id="v01003009-1">9&nbsp;</span>But the <span class="small-caps">Lord</span> God called to the man and said to him, &#8220;Where are you?&#8221; <span class="verse-num" id="v01003010-1">10&nbsp;</span>And he said, &#8220;I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.&#8221; <span class="verse-num" id="v01003011-1">11&nbsp;</span>He said, &#8220;Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?&#8221; <span class="verse-num" id="v01003012-1">12&nbsp;</span>The man said, &#8220;The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.&#8221; <span class="verse-num" id="v01003013-1">13&nbsp;</span>Then the <span class="small-caps">Lord</span> God said to the woman, &#8220;What is this that you have done?&#8221; The woman said, &#8220;The serpent deceived me, and I ate.&#8221;</p> <p id="p01003014.01-1"><span class="verse-num" id="v01003014-1">14&nbsp;</span>The <span class="small-caps">Lord</span> God said to the serpent,</p><div class="block-indent"><p class="line-group" id="p01003014.08-1">&#8220;Because you have done this,<br /><span class="indent"></span>cursed are you above all livestock<br /><span class="indent"></span>and above all beasts of the field;<br />on your belly you shall go,<br /><span class="indent"></span>and dust you shall eat<br /><span class="indent"></span>all the days of your life.<br /> <span class="verse-num" id="v01003015-1">15&nbsp;</span>I will put enmity between you and the woman,<br /><span class="indent"></span>and between your offspring and her offspring;<br />he shall bruise your head,<br /><span class="indent"></span>and you shall bruise his heel.&#8221;</p></div> <p id="p01003016.01-1"><span class="verse-num" id="v01003016-1">16&nbsp;</span>To the woman he said,</p><div class="block-indent"><p class="line-group" id="p01003016.06-1">&#8220;I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;<br /><span class="indent"></span>in pain you shall bring forth children.<br />Your desire shall be for your husband,<br /><span class="indent"></span>and he shall rule over you.&#8221;</p></div> <p id="p01003017.01-1"><span class="verse-num" id="v01003017-1">17&nbsp;</span>And to Adam he said,</p><div class="block-indent"><p class="line-group" id="p01003017.06-1">&#8220;Because you have listened to the voice of your wife<br /><span class="indent"></span>and have eaten of the tree<br />of which I commanded you,<br /><span class="indent"></span>&#8216;You shall not eat of it,&#8217;<br />cursed is the ground because of you;<br /><span class="indent"></span>in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;<br /> <span class="verse-num" id="v01003018-1">18&nbsp;</span>thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;<br /><span class="indent"></span>and you shall eat the plants of the field.<br /> <span class="verse-num" id="v01003019-1">19&nbsp;</span>By the sweat of your face<br /><span class="indent"></span>you shall eat bread,<br />till you return to the ground,<br /><span class="indent"></span>for out of it you were taken;<br />for you are dust,<br /><span class="indent"></span>and to dust you shall return.&#8221;</p></div> <p id="p01003020.01-1"><span class="verse-num" id="v01003020-1">20&nbsp;</span>The man called his wife&#8217;s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. <span class="verse-num" id="v01003021-1">21&nbsp;</span>And the <span class="small-caps">Lord</span> God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.</p> <p id="p01003022.01-1"><span class="verse-num" id="v01003022-1">22&nbsp;</span>Then the <span class="small-caps">Lord</span> God said, &#8220;Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever&#8212;&#8221; <span class="verse-num" id="v01003023-1">23&nbsp;</span>therefore the <span class="small-caps">Lord</span> God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. <span class="verse-num" id="v01003024-1">24&nbsp;</span>He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. (<a href="" class="copyright">ESV</a>)</p></div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Rom. 6:1-8:39" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Rom. 6:1-8:39" data-anchor="#tippy_tip2_6371_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Rom. 1:18" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Rom. 1:18" data-anchor="#tippy_tip3_2424_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Romans 1-3" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Romans 1-3" data-anchor="#tippy_tip4_1471_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Rom. 1:18-32" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Rom. 1:18-32" data-anchor="#tippy_tip5_9278_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Rom. 2:5-10" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Rom. 2:5-10" data-anchor="#tippy_tip6_7694_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Rom. 1:18-32" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Rom. 1:18-32" data-anchor="#tippy_tip7_1263_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Rom. 1:24" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Rom. 1:24" data-anchor="#tippy_tip8_2509_anchor" ><p id="p45001024.01-1"><span class="verse-num" id="v45001024-1">24&nbsp;</span>Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, (<a href="" class="copyright">ESV</a>)</p></div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Rom. 1:26" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Rom. 1:26" data-anchor="#tippy_tip9_2361_anchor" ><p id="p45001026.01-1"><span class="verse-num" id="v45001026-1">26&nbsp;</span>For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; (<a href="" class="copyright">ESV</a>)</p></div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Rom. 1:28-32" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Rom. 1:28-32" data-anchor="#tippy_tip10_2179_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Rom. 1:32" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Rom. 1:32" data-anchor="#tippy_tip11_4675_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Rom. 1:18-32" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Rom. 1:18-32" data-anchor="#tippy_tip12_5482_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Gal. 5:17-21" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 5:17-21" data-anchor="#tippy_tip13_9008_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Rom. 1:16-15:33" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Rom. 1:16-15:33" data-anchor="#tippy_tip14_3884_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Gal. 2:11-14; 5:16-26" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 2:11-14; 5:16-26" data-anchor="#tippy_tip15_308_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Rom. 1:29" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Rom. 1:29" data-anchor="#tippy_tip16_7940_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Rom. 3:23" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Rom. 3:23" data-anchor="#tippy_tip17_5208_anchor" ><p id="p45003023.01-1"><span class="verse-num" id="v45003023-1">23&nbsp;</span>for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (<a href="" class="copyright">ESV</a>)</p></div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Rom. 6:12-13; 8:18-22" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Rom. 6:12-13; 8:18-22" data-anchor="#tippy_tip18_8659_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Rom. 1:18-32" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Rom. 1:18-32" data-anchor="#tippy_tip19_6983_anchor" >ER Church Consultants for Diversity and Black Lives urn:uuid:63b395c7-bea8-17b1-cd4f-ed5a7ff2c2d4 Wed, 17 Jun 2020 13:55:20 -0500 <p>I&#8217;m pained and cringing at the blunders and blindness of people who say the wrong things, hurtful words, because they don&#8217;t understand the plight of black lives amidst the protests that are all around us. Especially white pastors and church leaders, who&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>This article <a rel="nofollow" href="">Church Consultants for Diversity and Black Lives</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=""/> A List of Black Pastors to Listen to urn:uuid:38fff9aa-c4d1-b664-5392-043ba3fb24ba Tue, 16 Jun 2020 22:12:46 -0500 <p>At this kairos moment in history, the American church must listen to Black preachers and pastors, for the sake of liberty and justice for all peoples, especially black lives harmed for generations. The gospel imperative compels Christians to care for every person&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>This article <a rel="nofollow" href="">A List of Black Pastors to Listen to</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=""/> The Stone of Hope in a Mountain of Despair The Front Porch urn:uuid:6e8be2be-906a-660e-64aa-a99917f8fd44 Mon, 15 Jun 2020 09:14:02 -0500 My only hope, the only assurance of our faith, is that the stone was rolled away, and every mountain of despair, no matter its height, must bow before the unquenchable joy found in our resurrected King. <p>I walked through much of last week in a haze of mourning and grief. My soul, disquieted within me, my heart, disturbed and cast down, my mind, weary and unfocused. Unbidden tears streamed down already wet cheeks, and my throbbing temple was a dull buzz in the background of my aching heart. Like so many other Black people in this country, I found myself submerged under unrelenting waves of grief, subjected to the repeated trauma of seeing Black lives cut down like mere chattel in the streets. From Ahmaud Arbery to Breonna Taylor to George Floyd, to name but a very limited few of the countless Black lives cruelly cut off from the land of the living, this avalanche of injustice finally exploded in a paroxysm that has seized our nation these last couple weeks. In cities across the nation and world, millions are expressing their grief with sorrow, anger, rage, even violence and destruction. But while others burned with rage and many marched in protest, I found myself inert under the shadow of a mountain of despair. </p> <p>As our cries for Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor in the present mix with our wails for Emmet Till and Mary Turner in the past, we ask how is it that we find ourselves decades and centuries later, still treading the same path through blood, the same trail of tears? Why do we still labor like the good doctor in a Birmingham jail, against the tide of silence and indifference from would-be brothers and sisters? How come we again to this place of our forebears? We have had 400 years to confess and repent of this original sin, we have had 400 years to bind up this gaping wound in America’s side, to mend the brokenness in our racial comity. But we have failed, repeatedly, generation after generation. Even the church has been, and continues to be, complicit in this hardness of heart. Indeed, even the enterprise of racial reconciliation in American evangelicalism seems a mere mirage. Yes, strange fruit no longer hangs on poplar trees, instead they are on concrete streets. Yes, de jure segregation is no longer in our legal texts, instead it is de facto in our schools, our neighborhoods, and our “justice” system. Yes, they no longer claim we are inferior because of our biology, instead they claim we are inferior because of our culture. Yes, we are no longer crowded into the holds of slave-ships, instead we are crowded into the cells of penitentiaries. The more things change, the more they stay the same. This exercise in futility makes it abundantly clear that the present age will not fix itself, and while it may get marginally better, it is only transitory (<cite class="bibleref" title="1 Cor. 7:31" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip0_1761_anchor"></a>).</p> <p>In the face of all this, with a culture increasingly hostile to Christianity, a society intractably mired in the sin of systemic racism, and a church repeatedly suspicious of the call for justice, it is too easy to drown in the sea of despair. There is no hope… were it not for the fact that the stone has been rolled away.</p> <p>Breaking through the darkness of my despair is the glorious light of the Risen Son, and I gazed upon it anew in no place less than the Beloved Apostle’s recounting of our Lord’s Revelation. Therein, my despair was dispelled and hope sprang anew. The book of Revelation identifies itself both as “apocalypse” (or “revelation,” 1:1) and as a prophecy (1:3; 22:7, 10:11, 18, 19; 22:9). “Apocalypse” is derived from the Greek noun apokalypsis, meaning “revelation, disclosure, unveiling,” in other words, the disclosure of unseen heavenly or future realities. Apocalyptic literature were tracts for hard times, and they were written to encourage us to live in the present based on the certainty of the future and the victory already accomplished by Christ in the past. Apocalyptic literature flowered during pessimism about the future of this present evil age, to encourage the suffering people of God to persevere in the present while hoping in God’s future. Apocalyptic literature is rooted in the assurance of God’s promise of salvation in the midst of suffering, and the reality of Jesus’ resurrection. Indeed, Jesus’ resurrection is the promissory note (<cite class="bibleref" title="1 Cor. 15:20-23" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip1_9938_anchor"></a>), the reality of which, transforms our present. This view of a transcendent reality both overshadows and encloses, ultimately eclipsing the reality of this evil world, proclaiming a hopeful future in an otherwise hopeless present. The cries of ‘How long O Lord?’ in <cite class="bibleref" title="Revelation 6" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip2_7190_anchor"></a> will surely be shattered by the jubilant exultations of God’s justice and righteousness in <cite class="bibleref" title="Revelation 16" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip3_9068_anchor"></a>. Evil and wickedness will finally have its reckoning before the Judgment Seat, and the nations will come to worship Him who seats on the Throne at the revelation of His justice (<cite class="bibleref" title="Rev. 15:4" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip4_1750_anchor"></a>). The Lamb who was slain, who conquered sin and death, the most powerful institutions of this present evil age, will surely conquer petty institutions like racism. No powers, presidents, or potentates can withstand his just and true ways. Police and armies will be abolished, because He will be our peace (<cite class="bibleref" title="Isa. 11:6-10" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip5_7071_anchor"></a>; cf. <cite class="bibleref" title="Rev. 21-22:5" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip6_5729_anchor"></a>). Every tear now shed in grief shall be wiped away (<cite class="bibleref" title="Rev. 21:4" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip7_4557_anchor"></a>), every shroud of mourning shall be exchanged for garments of praise (<cite class="bibleref" title="Isa. 61:3, 10" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip8_5133_anchor"></a>; cf. <cite class="bibleref" title="Rev. 19:8" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip9_2522_anchor"></a>), and every longing cry shall be replaced by shouts of ‘Worthy! Worthy is the Lamb!’ (<cite class="bibleref" title="Rev. 5:12-14" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip10_6854_anchor"></a>). </p> <p>Because of the Lamb’s resurrection, which guarantees our resurrection, we will in fact take on new and glorious bodies, no longer despised and counted for slaughter, but perfected and never to die. Because this is true, my life today and the lives of every Black brother and sister in Christ matters, along with all other lives of every nation, tribe, people and tongue. </p> <p>With our eyes firmly fixed on this vision and our hope immovably planted on this Rock, we march on, working and praying that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. This hope informs, drives and enlivens our faith-work: we protest injustice, we do righteousness, we love mercy, we pursue racial reconciliation, we preach the Gospel, and we live out the Gospel. But our hope is not in the work themselves or any results they may produce. Our hope is in the risen Christ, whose finished work secures for all who believe, a kingdom unlike anything we can ever accomplish in this present age. And because my hope is firmly fixed and firmly grounded, I cannot be despondent when the church disappoints, politicians fail, or institutions devolve to the mean. My only hope, the only assurance of our faith, is that the stone was rolled away, and every mountain of despair no matter its height, must bow before the unquenchable joy found in our resurrected King, who will one day return to establish His everlasting justice and make all things new. </p> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="1Cor. 7:31" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="1 Cor. 7:31" data-anchor="#tippy_tip0_1761_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="1Cor. 15:20-23" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="1 Cor. 15:20-23" data-anchor="#tippy_tip1_9938_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Revelation 6" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Revelation 6" data-anchor="#tippy_tip2_7190_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Revelation 16" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Revelation 16" data-anchor="#tippy_tip3_9068_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Rev. 15:4" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Rev. 15:4" data-anchor="#tippy_tip4_1750_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Isa. 11:6-10" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Isa. 11:6-10" data-anchor="#tippy_tip5_7071_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Rev. 21-22:5" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Rev. 21-22:5" data-anchor="#tippy_tip6_5729_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Rev. 21:4" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Rev. 21:4" data-anchor="#tippy_tip7_4557_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Isa. 61:3, 10" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Isa. 61:3, 10" data-anchor="#tippy_tip8_5133_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Rev. 19:8" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Rev. 19:8" data-anchor="#tippy_tip9_2522_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Rev. 5:12-14" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Rev. 5:12-14" data-anchor="#tippy_tip10_6854_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> Father, Please, Be Merciful to Our Nation! The Front Porch urn:uuid:6e70422f-2bdd-92d6-7e48-b129fed0ffbc Thu, 11 Jun 2020 07:39:20 -0500 Not only must we pray for justice, we must also seek God for its twin, mercy. <p>O’ sovereign God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, my heart and the hearts of many of your people, who both love and who are thankful for this nation, cry out to you today on behalf of our nation in this time of national and global suffering. We groan in agony along with the entire creation, because of the power and pervasiveness of sin in both our nation and indeed throughout the entire world. Father, you know how pervasive sin is. You know it rules and reigns like an evil and despotic tyrant over individuals, over systems and structures, and over the entire creation. Father, you know that sin has reigned this way since our first parents, Adam and Eve, sinned against you in the Garden of Eden, bringing a curse on the entire creation. Father, you know that this curse will continue to rule and reign like an evil tyrant over the entire creation until Jesus returns to make all things right and to restore perfectly everything Adam and Eve lost in the Garden. </p> <p>However, Father, we, your people, know and are confident that because of your promise of individual, horizontal, and cosmological redemption through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and because of the certainty of our redemption in Christ, we can boldly approach your heavenly thrown of grace in prayer today and cry out to you for help in our nation’s time of need.</p> <p>Father, we pray for all of the families, friends, and neighbors of those in our nation who have suffered the loss of loved ones to shootings and to violence. Father, there are more deaths than we know and more than we are able to name. But we pray specifically for the families, friends, and neighbors of Ahmaud Arberry, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor. We pray you will make yourself known to their families, friends, and neighbors as the God of all comfort as they grieve. We pray, Father, that by the power of your Spirit, you would help them know, feel, and experience you as a loving Father, Jesus as the good shepherd, and your Spirit as their comforter. Father, we pray that you would also surround them with support and encouragement from loving family, friends, neighbors, and churches in their cities during their time of grief. Father, please, also help the judicial system to do its work well, carefully, diligently, and precisely on behalf of them and their families. </p> <p>Father, please, put your loving arms of grace and comfort around the ethnically diverse people in our nation who are so afraid right now. Father, there are especially black image-bearers in our nation who currently experience fear, anxiety, and pain because of the state of race relations in our nation. O’ Father, many black image-bearers are afraid to jog in their neighborhoods, to walk at night, and to do some of the normal things ordinary citizens do, because of the color of their skin, because of the fear of gun violence or other forms of violence, or because of drug activity in their communities. Father, please, help your black image-bearers to be able to live without unnecessary fear. Father, please, protect black image-bearers and all image-bearers in our nation, regardless of the color of their skin, from every form of evil in our nation. Father, please, may all people in our nation truly believe that black lives indeed have dignity and value, just as non-black lives indeed have dignity and value, because you created all humans in your image.</p> <p>Father, we thank you for and pray for the many good and ethnically diverse law enforcement officers in our nation who faithfully serve and protect their communities. Father, we also grieve and lament the many law enforcement officers who have lost their lives faithfully protecting and serving their communities in our nation. Father, you know there are many good law enforcement officers throughout our nation, male and female, and from a diversity of ethnic groups who risk their lives on a daily basis as they seek to protect and serve the diverse image-bearers in their communities. And, Father, you know there are many faithful Jesus-loving and God-fearing law enforcement officers who love you and who love their fellow image-bearers whom they protect and serve. Father, we thank you for these and pray that you would keep them and their colleagues safe and faithful as they do the hard work to protect and serve our communities. </p> <p>Father, however, you also know that relationships between certain law enforcement communities and certain communities in our nation are broken, have a history of tension, and lack trust. So, Father, please work by the same power that you displayed when you raised Jesus Christ from the dead to keep both law enforcement communities and the communities they serve and protect safe. Father, please, help the law enforcement communities and the communities they serve begin the long and difficult journey of working to establish trust with one another and to bring about both individual and systemic reform in our communities. Father, please, help both the law enforcement communities in our nation and the diverse communities they serve to take both personal and institutional responsibility to pursue the important steps necessary to begin the long and difficult journey to build the kind of trust and relationships needed between our diverse law enforcement communities and our diverse communities in our nation. </p> <p>Father, please, supernaturally work in every aspect of our nation to bring to light every element of individual racism in our hearts and every element of systemic racism in our many systems, organizations, and institutions. When these things are brought to light, please give those in our nation, with the ability to make both individual and systemic changes for the better of all ethnically diverse image-bearers in our country, the courage, support, and strength to work with a renewed commitment to educate our nation, our families, and our communities, to make better decisions as both law enforcement communities and civilian communities, to implement policies and procedures to improve community and race relations in our nation, and to elect vetted and qualified leaders from diverse ethnic groups to help make our nation’s systems, institutions, and organizations anti-racist in ways that would bring glory and honor to you, to your Son, Jesus Christ, and to your Word, and in ways that would help ethnically diverse image-bearers in our nation to flourish. </p> <p>O’ Father, we also pray that you would grant repentance to many in our nation today so that they would turn from their sins, turn to Jesus Christ, and place their personal faith in Jesus’ wrath-bearing, cosmic-disarming, cosmic-renewing, and reconciling-accomplishing death and victorious resurrection from the dead. Father, may many in our nation love you, your Christ, and your Word, and may many in our nation be filled with your Spirit and walk in step with the Spirit. </p> <p>Father, please help many in our nation to see that you, your Christ, and your Spirit care deeply about the suffering of all of your ethnically diverse image-bearers in our communities from every tongue, tribe, people, and nation and that you love the diverse colors of the skin of your image-bearers in our communities. Father, please, bring repentance on these issues to our nation where we need repentance. Please, bring trust to our nation where we need trust. Please, bring peace to our nation where we need peace. Please, bring racial justice to our nation where there is racial injustice. Please, bring restoration to our nation where we need restoration. Please, bring conciliation to our nation where we need conciliation. Please, bring reconciliation to our nation where we need reconciliation. Please, bring forgiveness to our nation where we need forgiveness.</p> <p>Father, we pray for the many people in our nation who work around the clock in both public and private ways to make our country safe and to keep it going. Please, Father, keep these image-bearers safe as they protect and serve our country in many ways. Please, Father, help these image-bearers to do their jobs with honor to the best of their abilities in these troubling times in a way that would bring you pleasure and great glory. </p> <p>Father, you owe our nation NOTHING. We owe you EVERYTHING. Still, we beg you, Holy Father, please bring a spiritual awakening to our nation. Please, transform many lives in our nation by the resurrecting power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Please, give the many gospel-believing churches in our nation the courage, strength, and eagerness to preach, obey, and apply the gospel of Jesus Christ and your perfect Word in our churches in ways that will help your people submit every area of their lives under the lordship of Jesus Christ and in ways that will help your people to live and think in Spirit-empowered ways about the current challenges facing our nation. Please, give many gospel-believing churches a faith that shows itself by Spirit-empowered works in the communities in which they live, work, and play during this very difficult time of national and local racial tension, during this global pandemic, and until Jesus Christ returns a second time. </p> <p>Finally, Father, please, work in our nation to accomplish your perfect will and to bring your perfect kingdom to earth as it is in heaven. Father, may you find your people, who profess faith in Jesus Christ, to be faithful to do your will on earth as it is in heaven until Jesus Christ, your Son, our Savior, and our Lord, returns from heaven to earth to make all the wrongs right, to transform the entire creation, to judge the living and the dead, to save his people from your wrath, and to begin his eternal reign on earth in a transformed, glorified, and perfect creation with his ethnically diverse people whom he has redeemed from every tongue, tribe, people, and nation throughout the world!</p> <p>Father, in Jesus’ crucified, resurrected, and glorified name we pray. Amen.</p> Reflections on Pastoring Between Freddie Gray and George Floyd The Front Porch urn:uuid:750dd43e-e092-834a-aaa3-c7d61293b3b7 Wed, 10 Jun 2020 08:02:01 -0500 What does it look like to pastor in the wake of killings and protests? There is no manual. It is not clean. Ministry is messy. <p>Freddie Gray made eye contact with a Baltimore City police officer. That spring morning, April 12, 2015, Freddie was arrested, subsequently suffering a severe spinal injury in police custody. While he was in a coma, our city erupted in protest: hands up in front of the Western District Police Station. Our residents protested the unnecessary arrest and death of a black man in the hands of Law Enforcement Officers. Freddie was pronounced dead one week later. For the next two weeks, protests turned into unrest which turned into violence. Most people call these the Baltimore Riots. Baltimoreans prefer the name Baltimore Uprising.</p> <p>Our church sits in the middle of this historic scene. Those nights, I walked with church members through our streets as we witnessed cars set on fire, corner stores looted, a police car burned, and our local CVS in flames. I’m writing this brief article to pastors who currently re-side in cities of unrest. As it so happens, I am white. This article is written as a white pastor (obviously) with other white pastors in mind (written to and from a different context would rightly shift the emphasis). Yet, I hope this word may generally encourage all pastors. From one pastor to another, how might we shepherd our flocks during this time?</p> <p><strong>In 2015…</strong></p> <p><strong>1. We Lamented.</strong></p> <p>We lamented racism and injustice of all kinds. We must not shy from telling our people: racism everywhere is an affront to God’s own image. In this, we lament. Personally, my pastoral prayers those April Sundays were filled with lament. We took time that Sunday evening to lament the death of Freddie Gray. We listened to the cries of our people and our neighborhood. Pastors, lamenting is one Biblical and powerful way to channel our members angst and energy. In lament, we bring our corporate sorrows before the Lord.</p> <p>This past Sunday, our church lamented the death of George Floyd, the death of black lives lost, the history of racism in America, and the disparities in the judicial system. I asked members to write these prayers and lead our congregation in a time of lament. I commend to you a Service of Lament and you can read the laments our members recently wrote here.</p> <p><strong>2. We Were Slow to Speak, Quick to Listen.</strong></p> <p>Voices around the country said, “The death of Freddie Gray is tragic, but rioting isn’t the solution.” Two things were wrong with that statement. First, it felt like a deflection from Freddie’s death. It seemed to miss the greater injustice. Second, in deflection, it felt like an opportunity to ignore racism.</p> <p><strong>Slow to Speak</strong></p> <p>I can’t say this clearly enough: This is not the time for a white man to tell a young black man in the community: “Yeah, the Freddie Gray situation was bad, but destroying your own community isn’t the answer.” Yes, I overheard that in 2015. It was entirely unhelpful. White brethren, you might feel that. You might want to say that. For the sake of displaying the light of the Gospel: please don’t say that. Hold your judgements, and listen. In your pastoring, don’t make this season primarily about rioting and looting.</p> <p>Looting is bad. Murder is worse. In the Bible, God cares less about unrest and more about injustice. Insurance quickly rebuilt our city. Insurance could not bring back Freddie Gray’s life. Five years later, our CVS, Save a Lot, Corner Stores, and liquor stores are all back in operation. Freddie is still gone.</p> <p><strong>Quick to Listen</strong></p> <p>In contrast, listen. White pastors, listen to the African American voices in your congregations. I recommend Isaac Adam’s article written in Washington DC not long after the Baltimore Uprising: &#8220;Why White Churches Are Hard for Black People.&#8221; Maybe you pastor a majority white church, it’s your job to instruct the people: be slow to speak and quick to listen.</p> <p><strong>3. We Were Slow to Condemn, Quick to Serve.</strong></p> <p>During the Uprising, I was calling and checking on our own people. I was tracking down my young friends in the neighborhood. As a pastor during those days, I hoped to ensure that they were safe. I hoped to dissuade them from running into the burning CVS. Yet, in the aftermath, I chose not to condemn. I chose to not use the word “thug” for an angry teenager who feels hopeless in this life. As a church, we chose to be slow to condemn and quick to serve.</p> <p>How did we serve? Early in the morning, our church started cleaning. Day one, we cleaned out a liquor store, corner store, and swept the streets. We gathered at ground zero and prayed with the community. For the next few weeks, our church assessed our own neighborhood, dis-covering a need for groceries and supplies (since our stores had been looted and closed). Particularly hurting were our senior citizen buildings were. For example, we discovered adult diapers were in high demand as our local pharmacies had been closed. We worked with other churches and our denomination and met needs in the name of Jesus. Pastors, serve your cities during this time. It’s not the time for a photo op. Serving doesn’t require blowing our trumpets and announcing your good deeds. Humbly and quietly serve. Spend more time out there than on here––social media and the internet.</p> <p><strong>4. Weep with those who Weep</strong></p> <p>In the days leading up to the Uprising, we wept with our community. We listened to their stories of injustice and mourned the death of one of Baltimore’s sons. The morning after the aftermath, we wept with the owner of a liquor store who’s livelihood had been swept away from him and his family (again, I reiterate, the store was quickly rebuilt thanks to paid-up insurance). We wept with the elderly in our neighborhood whose refrigerators were empty and who felt shamed to take a package of diapers. Some of our church members were friends with Fred-die’s family. We wept with them. In Baltimore City, injustice, murder, and pain is always right around the corner. Sometimes if feels all we do is weep. But, pastors, we’re called to weep with those who weep. Brothers, follow our Lord’s example in this. <cite class="bibleref" title="John 11:35" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip0_7603_anchor"></a>, “Jesus Wept.”</p> <p><strong>5. Educate Yourself on the History</strong></p> <p>Finally, we must use this as a time to educate ourselves. Read and listen to African American leaders. Learn African American history. Listen to the stories of older African Americans. After the 2015 Uprising, I began intentionally meeting with an African American pastor-friend, David Gaines, at Manna Bible Baptist Church in Baltimore. Including other pastors of various ethnicities in our meetings, Pastor Gaines and I talked about the church. We talked about the history of racism; the history of prejudice. We discussed the problem of sin and the hope of the Gospel. In those days, we sought to build bridges across the divide, and those bridges remain. Pastor, this current unrest will one day be in the past. George Floyd’s name will unfortunately be forgotten by many. Sadly, there will likely be another. Speaking out during these times alone is not enough. Let us listen, learn, converse, and prepare in between these incidents. We and our congregations must prepare to act with or without another national incident.</p> <p><strong>Five Years Later…</strong></p> <p>While there’s no quick-fix, progress has been made. As a city and as a church, it’s been a marathon, not a sprint. In recent days, Baltimore City led the way in a demonstration of peaceful protesting. Our Police Department is making strides. The 2015 incident sparked an investigation in the BCPD, uncovering corruption. While work remains, the city is stronger.</p> <p>By God’s grace, our church enjoys greater unity in diversity today than ever before because the content of our conversations isn’t determined by the the status quo. We continually lament, grieve, confront sin, confront racism, and seek restoration. This happens over dinner tables, on our stoops, and in our services.</p> <p>What does it look like to pastor in the wake of killings and protests? There is no manual. It is not clean. Ministry is messy. Yet, friend, it is ordinary pastoral work. We preach, teach, pray, disciple, and we evangelize. We protect, lead, and feed the flock God has entrusted to us. We must take each step bathed in earnest prayer: ”Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (<cite class="bibleref" title="Hebrews 4:16" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip1_8329_anchor"></a>).</p> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="John 11:35" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="John 11:35" data-anchor="#tippy_tip0_7603_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Hebrews 4:16" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Hebrews 4:16" data-anchor="#tippy_tip1_8329_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> 29 Books for Faithful Racial Justice urn:uuid:dc510b34-f7a3-512b-2512-409e64de5fd6 Mon, 08 Jun 2020 15:06:04 -0500 <p>InterVarsity Press is arguably the leading publisher for Christian authors who share their prophetic voices and stories to educate the uninformed and challenge with the truth. Learn from these books to pursue justice, wholeness, and racial righteousness in your homes, churches, and&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>This article <a rel="nofollow" href="">29 Books for Faithful Racial Justice</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=""/> All Booked Up The Front Porch urn:uuid:63405108-d3c7-79a9-9057-8e250655a66f Fri, 05 Jun 2020 14:12:29 -0500 How does a mother and children's book published in the sixties set ablaze a love for reading that's lasted over five decades? Keith Plummer shares his story and some reading insights that will get you turning pages also. <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" allow="autoplay" src=";color=%23ff5500&#038;auto_play=false&#038;hide_related=false&#038;show_comments=true&#038;show_user=true&#038;show_reposts=false&#038;show_teaser=true"></iframe></p> <div style="font-size: 10px; color: #cccccc;line-break: anywhere;word-break: normal;overflow: hidden;white-space: nowrap;text-overflow: ellipsis; font-family: Interstate,Lucida Grande,Lucida Sans Unicode,Lucida Sans,Garuda,Verdana,Tahoma,sans-serif;font-weight: 100;"><a href="" title="Pastor &amp; People" target="_blank" style="color: #cccccc; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener noreferrer">Pastor &amp; People</a> · <a href="" title="All Booked Up" target="_blank" style="color: #cccccc; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener noreferrer">All Booked Up</a></div> Resisting the Spectacle and Restoring Life The Witness urn:uuid:3debf815-f5fd-5a65-3cdc-722b12a52e5c Fri, 05 Jun 2020 05:00:16 -0500 <p>On May 6, 2020, public theologian Ekemini Uwan tweeted: “No, I will not watch the video of #AhmaudArbery’s lynching. Don’t [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Resisting the Spectacle and Restoring Life</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Witness</a>.</p> A Prayer of Lament for This Moment The Witness urn:uuid:71484e15-a0d0-6356-4163-cda96398c92b Thu, 04 Jun 2020 09:14:47 -0500 <p>On May 30th, after a raw and real-time of sharing pain, strategy, and hope for change, our president, Jemar Tisby, [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">A Prayer of Lament for This Moment</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Witness</a>.</p> America’s Legacy of Racism The Witness urn:uuid:09d47d35-92ef-5ffa-7db5-8c7470bbf969 Wed, 03 Jun 2020 11:12:08 -0500 <p>&#160; In the past few weeks, the facts about the senseless murders of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arberry have flooded [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">America&#8217;s Legacy of Racism</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Witness</a>.</p> Look at God My Thoughts – Dan Hyun urn:uuid:43f40907-00a8-7dc0-c945-0dd5a21457b5 Wed, 03 Jun 2020 08:55:50 -0500 For those who&#8217;ve been following our family&#8217;s journey, the latest news is that there&#8217;s a good chance I&#8217;m back on as the best option for my brother&#8230; <span class="read-more"><a class="more-link" href="" rel="bookmark">Read more <span class="screen-reader-text">"Look at God"</span></a></span> <p><img data-attachment-id="939" data-permalink="" data-orig-file="" data-orig-size="871,698" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;0&quot;}" data-image-title="20200601_112941" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-939" src="" alt="20200601_112941" srcset=" 775w, 150w, 300w, 768w, 871w" sizes="(max-width: 775px) 100vw, 775px" /></p> <p>For those who&#8217;ve been following our family&#8217;s journey, the latest news is that there&#8217;s a good chance I&#8217;m back on as the best option for my brother Joe&#8217;s bone marrow transplant.</p> <p>So this part of the journey&#8217;s been:<span id="more-938"></span></p> <p><span class="text_exposed_show">1) Joe gets leukemia. He needs a transplant.<br /> 2) I test as a perfect match as his donor &amp; we all scheduled for transplant. Elation.<br /> 3) My daughter gets leukemia. On top of all that, Joe&#8217;s docs take me off the table as the donor. Heartbreak.<br /> 4) We didn&#8217;t share this part too much but we found out there was one other possible good option in the US and they were working to contact that individual. Around the same time, I got a phone call from an excited Be The Match rep informing me I had matched as a possible donor from a sample I&#8217;d given 20 years ago. A little weird but as she started to describe the potential recipient, I got sick to my stomach and told them that I&#8217;m pretty sure they were talking about my brother. The poor rep was stunned and though they couldn&#8217;t disclose to me, Joe&#8217;s docs eventually told him that, yep, this one other possible donor they were looking for was me. Gut punch.<br /> 5) We start making a mega push to get people tested for the bone marrow registry, especially among underrepresented populations like the East Asian community and others.<br /> 6) I&#8217;m blessed to know some folk who know folk who suggest Joe pursue a 2nd opinion. Joe gets that and their consensus opinion is that I&#8217;m still the best option.</span></p> <div class="text_exposed_show"> <p>Man. You can&#8217;t write a story like this. Highs and lows.</p> <p>Here&#8217;s the thing though. Realistically, the reason Joe&#8217;s making videos and I&#8217;m writing articles and getting interviewed (links below) is we had real skin in the game with my brother&#8217;s life on the line but what started as a personal matter has evolved. They changed the web format so it doesn&#8217;t display anymore but the last I saw a few weeks back, the article had been shared over 3000 times and I&#8217;ve personally been hearing so many stories of folk getting tested. Amazing.</p> <p>As Joe and I were talking, then, we marveled at the irony that in the end all these efforts will probably never be needed by him. Yet to consider that others might receive the blessing from even one more person being tested who might not have otherwise! And we most likely would not have done all this if things had originally gone the way we would have wanted.</p> <p>LOOK AT HOW GOD WORKS!</p> <p>Know that God is on the move even when our feeble eyes can&#8217;t recognize it at the time. Thank you for continually walking with our family through all this. <a class="_58cn" href=";source=feed_text&amp;epa=HASHTAG"><span class="_5afx"><span class="_58cl _5afz" aria-label="hashtag">#</span><span class="_58cm">HyunStrong</span></span></a></p> <p>Links:</p> <p><a href=";v=RWoJYzs5_cM">Joe&#8217;s video</a></p> <p><a href="">Article</a></p> <p><a href="">Interview</a></p> </div>