Mosaix Blogs Full Mosaix Blogs Full Respective post owners and feed distributors Wed, 11 Sep 2019 10:51:13 -0500 Feed Informer Engaging Church Visitors Online urn:uuid:70131da1-b13d-b14f-e3ed-52e7dd3edd91 Tue, 07 Apr 2020 12:10:07 -0500 <p>Recently discovered a gold mine of help for churches and pastors with Greg Curtis sharing about how to welcome church guests and connecting them into the life of the church. The church jargon technical term for that is &#8220;assimilation.&#8221; (yes, this kinda&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>This article <a rel="nofollow" href="">Engaging Church Visitors Online</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=""/> Should the Freshly Liberated Ignore the Currently Oppressed? The Front Porch urn:uuid:04fe566a-416f-000a-2d27-47d6c4d1d42a Mon, 06 Apr 2020 12:27:51 -0500 Why should we suppose that adopting a moderate response to the racism Asian Americans face would leave our hearts or them any better off? <p>“Racism isn’t a gospel issue,” they said. “We don’t want to turn people off,” they said. “I don’t see color,” they said. And the spiritual forces of darkness in the heavenly realms let out a victory cry.</p> <p>Were it not enough that the world today reels under the scourge of a virus that attacks the most vulnerable, as the novel coronavirus has pummeled nation after nation—taking lives, crippling economies, and sapping days of their usual vigor—cases of racism against Asian Americans and the broader Asian diaspora surge.</p> <p>We now fight two diseases: one that erupted months ago for which infographics, PSAs, and hashtags abound, and the other, accompanying humanity since the fall, whose severity has been even more disastrously downplayed than the virus confining us to our homes. For the former, coordinated efforts have swiftly changed the culture. Activities previously deemed innocuous, like going out or touching your face, now carry a stigma. For the latter, efforts to “flatten that curve” have gained broad support such as the <a href="">Statement on Anti-Asian Racism in the Time of COVID-19</a>, <a href="">hotlines</a> for reporting harassment, and a <a href="">tracker</a> for incidents of racism. Yet much work remains.</p> <p>I spent seven years living in three countries across Asia. I speak five languages from the region. When I lived in Boston, I attended a predominantly Asian American church and in Seattle, a Korean American one. My Masters is in China Studies. A decade of my professional experience has focused on Asia. I even recently asked my roommate to mark me Asian American when she completed the census for us, joking, “I identify that way.” (She didn’t.)</p> <p>Lest anyone think I appeal for solidarity on the basis of affinity or personal experience, I do not. Those make adequate worldly reasons for loving your neighbor, but you don’t need the gospel for that.</p> <p><strong>Intergroup Dynamics</strong></p> <p>Asian and African Americans have a history of social distance. A <a href="">study</a> of the makeup of wedding parties in the US found that Asian and African Americans seldom include each other: 2.8% of black wedding parties included at least one Asian American and 1.7% of Asian America ones included at least one black.</p> <p>But even when in each other&#8217;s orbit, mistrust can mar both sides. The Pew Research Center surveyed Asian Americans about <a href="">intergroup relations</a>. Among whites, Hispanics, other Asian Americans, and blacks, Asian Americans reported the lowest comfort levels around blacks.</p> <p><a href="" rel="attachment wp-att-4730"><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-4730" src="" alt="" width="290" height="320" srcset=" 290w, 272w, 200w" sizes="(max-width: 290px) 100vw, 290px" /></a></p> <p>Many years ago I took an internet quiz called “How Asian American are You.” The fourth question was “Are you afraid of black people?” Asian American friends have told me their parents would disown them if they brought home a black significant other. I <a href="">once</a> had a Chinese woman tell me I wasn’t black because I wasn’t scary. And yet none of this would justify my silence in their time of need. <cite class="bibleref" title="Proverbs 31:8-9" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip0_4690_anchor"></a> says the wise speak out for the vulnerable and defend the cause of the afflicted.</p> <p>On the flip side, I’ve known black people to be dismissive or suspicious of Asian Americans. Our experiences as minorities are often pitted against each other. Asian Americans <a href="">argue</a> affirmative action keeps them out of top schools, while blacks fear others will assume that’s how we got in. Asian American business owners in economically depressed neighborhoods report being harassed and robbed by blacks, while black patrons say they are followed. My dad has used Asian racial slurs. I myself have struggled with resentment towards Asian Americans, wishing to trade stereotypes, even as I know the “model minority” is a gross and harmful oversimplification of a beautifully diverse group.</p> <p>For all our differences, however, we also share battles and victories. In 2013, hashtags <a href="">#NotYourAsianSidekick</a> and <a href="">#blackgirlmagic</a> both went viral, revealing a shared fight by women to be seen, respected, and celebrated in their own right. Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians stormed box offices in 2018 to a swell of pride at positive popular representation. Further, in the wake of police brutality, an Asian American penned an <a href="">open letter</a> to Chinese moms in support of Black Lives Matter.</p> <p><strong>The Call</strong></p> <p>It’s strange that people freshly liberated should need to be taught how not to oppress, yet this is Israel’s story. Fresh from Egypt, God teaches them what it means to love justice and how to avoid becoming the source of what once ailed them (<cite class="bibleref" title="Exo 21" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip1_8665_anchor"></a>). They weren’t immune to this sin strictly by virtue of personal experience with it. Our hearts pull, like broken shopping carts, toward evil if we do not consciously redirect their course.</p> <p>Someone asked why conversations about racism between African and Asian Americans aren&#8217;t happening in the church. As with society at large, most discussions about race focus on black/white issues, leaving Asian Americans overlooked. We also default to thinking of ourselves as victims of racism and remain relatively ignorant about Asian Americans and their experience.</p> <p>Yet regardless of how much we do or don’t trust each other or of how socially integrated our communities may or may not be, in Christ, we are bound by the gospel to love. Compelled by it. Woe to us if our hearts grow cold with indifference when they ought to burn with righteous anger. Christ gives us a courage, conviction, and perspective the world cannot. As people of the cross, division does not become us.</p> <p>Racism needs to be addressed from the pulpit, and if from the pulpit, in seminaries too. Yet it needn’t be isolated to be addressed. When condemning fear, pride, idolatry, misplaced security—all things racism latches onto to give it life—it can be addressed. When extolling the beauty of righteousness, justice, forgiveness, repentance, lament, enemy love, and the resurrection itself, a distaste for bias can be cultivated.</p> <p>While discussions are needed at the highest levels, they must also happen around dinner tables, through bedtime stories, on our platforms, among friends, in the streets, and wrestled with in our hearts. These are our frontlines in this battle. What we advocate for so vocally for ourselves we must likewise advocate for for others. Otherwise, our legacy unravels and we make a mockery of Dr. King’s words “we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” If it was only for our own benefit we sought equality, yet feel no sense of urgency when it is denied others, that does not make us lovers of justice, but of ourselves.</p> <p>Surveying the outcome of much of the majority white church’s approach to racism, we ought to learn from their mistakes. The prophet Jeremiah used Israel’s sin as an example to Judah in the hopes that Judah would take a different path. The Lord spoke to him, “Have you seen what she did, that faithless one, Israel?” God then laments that “her treacherous sister Judah saw it” yet “did not fear but too went and played the whore.” (<cite class="bibleref" title="Jer 3:6-10" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip2_4803_anchor"></a>) In an interesting parallel, we’ve seen how well a muted or delayed response has played out with coronavirus in areas hardest hit. Why then should we suppose that adopting a moderate response to the racism Asian Americans face would leave our hearts or them any better off?</p> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Proverbs 31:8-9" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Proverbs 31:8-9" data-anchor="#tippy_tip0_4690_anchor" ><div class="block-indent"><p class="line-group" id="p20031008.01-1"><span class="verse-num" id="v20031008-1">8&nbsp;</span>Open your mouth for the mute,<br /><span class="indent"></span>for the rights of all who are destitute.<br /> <span class="verse-num" id="v20031009-1">9&nbsp;</span>Open your mouth, judge righteously,<br /><span class="indent"></span>defend the rights of the poor and needy. (<a href="" class="copyright">ESV</a>)</p></div></div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Exo 21" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Exo 21" data-anchor="#tippy_tip1_8665_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="Jer 3:6-10" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Jer 3:6-10" data-anchor="#tippy_tip2_4803_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> How can words stop racism against Asians and Asian Americans? urn:uuid:b9a001dd-369b-7bda-4552-48a8207f8a2a Thu, 02 Apr 2020 20:40:14 -0500 <p>A huuuuge group of Asian American Christians have connected online, mostly through Facebook Messenger and Facebook Group, myself included, to collaborate on drafting and publishing the Statement on Anti-Asian Racism in the Time of COVID-19. On the day of its release, over&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>This article <a rel="nofollow" href="">How can words stop racism against Asians and Asian Americans?</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=""/> Brief Thoughts on Preaching Via Video During the Pandemic The Front Porch urn:uuid:79663f7c-cac6-0e03-3079-0c1cdbd26681 Thu, 02 Apr 2020 08:53:29 -0500 A few thoughts on preaching to camera during the COVID-19 pandemic. <p>You might call me a theological curmudgeon. I’m a bit of a grumpy ol’ fogey when it comes to the local church, Christian ministry, preaching and the use of technology. For several theological reasons which I won’t rehearse here, I would not ordinarily be inclined to broadcast sermons online. But these are not ordinary times. The COVID-19 global pandemic forces us all to adjust our models of ministry.</p> <p>Together with the other elders of my local church, we have elected to record abbreviated versions of our services and to post them online on Sunday mornings in an effort to gather online with the members of our church. Most churches likely have made their decision to either provide online teaching and singing or to forego meeting until the pandemic lifts. Even those who chose not to provide an online service will likely have to revisit that decision in light of some estimations that stay-at-home, shelter-in-place and social distancing orders will extend into months rather than weeks.</p> <p>I’m no pro at this. Others have been doing some form of online or livestream service for much longer. I’m certain they have greater wisdom. But even those previous efforts were livestreams that included actual audiences. Nowadays, everyone is in a more or less empty room. An empty room is a different dynamic for preaching and singing. With that in mind, here are a few tentative suggestions for people still figuring out their approach as I am.</p> <p><strong>1. Choose whether livestream or an edited video works best for you.</strong></p> <p>Either livestream or pre-recorded video could work, of course. There’s no right or wrong here, only what fits your resources and capability. For our part, we chose to pre-record a video. That allows us to put together a service that (a) maintains the highest level of social distancing and (b) involve a wider number of members of the church. We film the various elements of the service using iPhones and digital cameras and edit the pieces into a whole. While we’re not aiming for performance, the pre-recorded option also allows us to re-shoot segments if needed.</p> <p>Some people who opt for livestream do so, in part, because of the live element of gathering that way. We wanted that element in our online gatherings as well. So, we use the “Premier” function on our YouTube channel. Essentially premiering the video allows you to set a time for the video to post, provides a landing page and a countdown. We invite everyone to join us for our regular 10am start time when the video premiers and we use the chat function to greet one another, comment and interact.</p> <p>Again, there is no right or wrong here. Choose an approach that works effectively for you and your church.</p> <p><strong>2. Preach to the camera or to an imagined room?</strong></p> <p>A very practical question the preacher has to settle is whether to preach directly to the camera or preach as if the room is filled. The key issue is whether you want to appear to speak directly to the viewer or you want the viewer to have something approaching the experience of sitting in an auditorium watching you turn and move.</p> <p>Again, no right or wrong here, but I think directly to the camera is best. Screens are a different medium than live in-person, in-room participation. There’s even a difference in viewing a live audience event on-screen and viewing an individual in an empty room. That’s why I think directly to the camera may be best.</p> <p>Shoot a tight shot of the preacher—mid-section to head, wide enough for shoulders and gestures. That gives viewers the sense that they’re sitting up front rather than the sitting far away view of wide angles with lots of background.</p> <p>As a speaker, speak to the camera rather than turning left and right as we’re trained to do when we’re looking at actual people in an audience. In live preaching, turning left and right establishes eye contact. On video, however, it breaks eye contact.</p> <p><strong>3. What about preaching tone?</strong></p> <p>Should the preacher preach as if it’s a regular Sunday morning or strike a more conversational tone?</p> <p>You guessed it; no right or wrong here either. My general counsel would be to do what seems most natural to you as a preacher.</p> <p>Some guys will preach on camera as if they’re in a room with the congregation on Sunday morning. They will use all the same tones and gestures to try to communicate a Sunday morning feel. They will attempt to communicate the same kind of passion an in-person gathering might include.</p> <p>But for my part, I think it might be more effective to strike a more conversational tone. Everyone knows we are not together. Let that be a strength. The same teaching typical to your sermons can be delivered in a less performative and more personal way. Many viewers will themselves be in a room alone and few pastors ordinarily have enough time for lengthy conversation with all their members. This isn’t quite an individual in-person conversation, but it could approach that.</p> <p><strong>4. Can we get a few “Amens”?</strong></p> <p>Yes, I think we can. Whether live-streamed or pre-recorded, if you can, choose a broadcast and viewing option that allows some form of viewer interaction. Our in-person services tend to be dialogical. There’s call-and-response. When we gather in person, we encourage one another with impromptu “amen”, “preach” and “say that”. A good comment section or chat function can allow some element of this in the moment.</p> <p>However, we can and should bring our “amen” into Monday through Friday. So, don’t stop with the chat section. Encourage the saints to do things in follow-up to the livestream or recording. For example, a couple people at our church have Google hangouts following the service to allow some interaction along the lines of the conversations we ordinarily linger in after service. We also send out a “Mid-Week Refresh” email to the church that gives a link to the sermon and 4-5 review and application questions to help people continue chewing on the sermon. Or, invite people to email the pastors or others a note of personal reflection from the sermon or encouragement of some sort. The best “amen” echoes through the week!</p> <p><strong>Conclusion</strong></p> <p>Perhaps the best way to conclude would be to say, “Have fun!” The pandemic has made each week at least unusual and for a lot people nearly unbearable. Lay-offs and furloughs have touched a lot of our members and their families. Sickness and even death visit our neighbors and congregants. We were made social beings and the isolation can lead to loneliness and depression. In many ways, life is hard right now.</p> <p>But we get to rejoice in the greatness, love and presence of God our Savior! We still have the Good News and God has given us a way to continue sharing it with each other. So, rejoice! Make the most of a difficult situation and do so with a glad heart. Have fun as you figure out how to pastor in a situation no other living pastors have ever faced!</p> Black Christian Solidarity with Asian Americans During COVID-19 The Front Porch urn:uuid:a5b14aea-3b23-8169-0b17-39537f757a9b Wed, 01 Apr 2020 09:31:41 -0500 A lot of animosity is being aimed at Asian Americans because of COVID-19. African-American Christians are obligated as stewards of the most successful justice heritage to stand with Asian Americans in their need. <p>“Suffering will either make you better or bitter.” I don’t know where I first heard that saying, but it’s stuck with me. It’s filed right next to a saying my high school basketball coach used to bark at us as we ran hellbenders in practice, “Adversity makes cowards of us all.” He was quoting someone but I forget who. What I haven’t forgotten is the simple lesson these quotes communicate—we find out who we really are when we suffer.</p> <p>The COVID-19 pandemic is revealing a lot of people. Sometimes it reveals our better selves, like the medical professionals and hospital janitorial staff risking their lives to help and protect others or the factory workers voluntarily quarantining themselves to make thousands of masks for doctors and nurses. More of that, please Lord.</p> <p>But sometimes the pandemic reveals our depravity. There’s the stupefying report of a young Hispanic man who attacked an Asian-American family, stabbing three members including a 2- and 6-year old (story <a href="">here</a>). We see depravity on any number of cell phone videos capturing African-American men harassing, haranguing, intimidating and assaulting Asian-American women and elders (examples <a href="">here</a>). This pandemic shows that racial sin crouches at the door of ethnic groups who themselves have often been the victims of bigotry, prejudice, stereotyping and racism. For that reason, as the <a href="">Williams Brothers sang</a>, it’s time we sweep around our own front doors before we continue the sweeping we do at others’.</p> <p>Growing up in a small southern town made up primarily of African Americans and Whites, I was unfamiliar with Asian-African American hostility and hatred until the Rodney King beating and subsequent riots. I remember news footage of some Asian-American store owners arrayed across the rooftops of their shops wielding rifles to protect their businesses. There were a few televised panel discussions that explored the tensions between the communities. Then for the most part, the conversation seemed to disappear along with the inevitable disappearance of the LA unrest itself. But that began an awareness of a problem, usually muted in larger conversations about reconciliation and justice, that nevertheless simmers and occasionally boils. The quiet strife feeds upon stereotypes and prejudice, racist attitudes and actions, recollections of harsh treatment from Asian corner stores owners or by Black employees of TSA. Anecdote gets added to suspicion which builds on racial animosity and mistrust. Before long, ethnic minorities are harboring sentiments and taking actions we decry in ethnic majorities.</p> <p>In this particular historical moment, however, a lot of animosity is being aimed at Asian Americans. The association of the novel coronavirus with a province in China and the President’s reference to it as the “China virus” legitimizes hatred, threats and slurs in the minds of some. Rather than join the fray, African-American Christians have a moral responsibility to stand in solidarity with those being vilified, marginalized, &#8220;other&#8221;-ed and harassed.</p> <p>African-American Christians are stewards of the longest, most successful heritage of pro-justice, pro-equality, pro-love activism the country (the world?) has ever seen. From the fight to abolish slavery, to the efforts at Reconstruction, through the classic Civil Rights Movement, African Americans—a great many who were Christians—have taught and forced the country to live up to its highest idea. We have been used of God to prompt, cajole and force the country to practice what it preaches when it says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” By precept, example and sacrifice we have made the “self-evident” truths of the Declaration of Independence actually evident in law and society.</p> <p>But we did not do that alone. We had help. Others stood in solidarity with us in our times of greatest need. We, now, are obligated as stewards of this heritage to stand with others in their need. This obligation is but the application of a truth Dr. King saw very clearly when he wrote:</p> <blockquote><p>I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.</p></blockquote> <p>Sitting in that Birmingham jail composing this letter, King’s words applied most directly to African Americans in our cause. That was the pressing need of the hour.</p> <p>Today, sitting in our homes across the country, Dr. King’s words still apply, only in this COVID-19 moment they apply most directly to our Asian American neighbors and brethren in Christ. We still exist “in a single garment of destiny.” We still owe a conscientious reciprocity. We still must recognize that injustice anywhere threatens justice everywhere. We cannot be so historically and culturally myopic that we fail to apply these principles to others as well as ourselves. We cannot be so taken in hypocritical self-interest that we imagine ourselves to be the only ethnic people with a legitimate claim on the compassion of others. The apostle Paul might say, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (<cite class="bibleref" title="Phil. 2:3-4" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip0_3423_anchor"></a>).</p> <p>It seems to me that African Americans, Christians in particular, need to be dedicated to two concrete actions at this point in history. First, we need to find concrete ways of standing in solidarity with Asian Americans resisting bigotry and injustice. If we see something, we need to say something—especially against those persons within our own community who perpetrate hate. We need to stand in public ways for our neighbors, like signing and circulating “<a href="">The Statement on Anti-Asian Racism in the Time of COVID-19.</a>”</p> <p>Second, we need to commit to self-examination, discussion, repentance and reconciliation with Asian-American neighbors and brethren. This process is long overdue. The longer it is delayed the slower will be the process toward justice. We cannot call others to repentance for their racism, prejudice, stereotyping and bigotry without attending to our own. Thankfully, there are practical resources like <a href="">Be the Bridge</a> and faithful guides like Latasha Morrison and Brenda Salter-McNeil to help us on this journey. We need to take full advantage of the opportunity to become more fully committed to gospel reconciliation by dealing with the logs in our own eyes.</p> <p>Lord willing, this period of social distancing will one day end. When it does, I pray we have not socially distanced ourselves even more by allowing the creeping, crouching, devouring sin of racial prejudice and bigotry to curl up in our lives. Our depravity is being revealed to us. May God give us grace to be better rather than bitter, by applying the resources of the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit in resisting anti-Asian discrimination, mistreatment and racism—starting with us stewards of the longest-running justice tradition in the country.</p> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Phil. 2:3-4" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Phil. 2:3-4" data-anchor="#tippy_tip0_3423_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> Black Man in White Man’s Territory 4: The Black Experience The Front Porch urn:uuid:02dfb1a5-4548-648e-f704-9f0de70ff3c7 Tue, 31 Mar 2020 05:17:52 -0500 Many African-Americans feel discomfort, endure skepticism and suppress their own identities in order to participate in predominantly white evangelical churches. <p>The physical and spiritual intersection of race and religion creates a unique lived experience for Black males in predominantly White Evangelical churches. The uncovering of these lived experiences offers our churches, church leaders and congregants a special opportunity to humbly explore, affirm, and lament the painful experiences of racial minorities in predominantly White churches. After analyzing the interviews of the respondents from my study, I identified four major themes in the experiences of Black males in predominantly White churches. In this post, we cover the first two themes. Discomfort and Skepticism and Internal Suppression of Identity are specific to the individual experiences of Black Males in predominantly White churches.</p> <p><strong>Discomfort &amp; Skepticism</strong></p> <p>Warmly welcoming visitors and unbelievers is a vital step in helping to make all church goers feel welcome. However, for many racial minorities attending predominantly White churches feeling welcomed into the church is not the same as being fully accepted. Many predominantly White churches may find it relatively easy to welcome racial minorities into a worship service on Sunday mornings, while fully accepting racial minorities into the church community may prove to be a different story with a different set of criteria. Unfortunately, more often than not, racism often lies at the heart of this criteria. It judges racial minorities&#8217; ability to gain full acceptance in the church community based on their racial identity or culture, rather than the righteousness of Christ. Those in the church who benefit from this judgement, or are completely blind to it, claim racial minorities who push back on this reality have no business interfering in the first place. For Black males, acceptance into the church community is often one of the most important determining factors impacting their level of comfort in their predominantly White church. And while many Black males can feel welcomed into predominantly White churches, it is often understood, or learned through experience, that acceptance into such a church often comes with strings attached. The difference between welcome and acceptance was explained to me by Kendrick, one of my respondents. Although Kendrick felt well received in his predominantly White church, he found that in order to gain full acceptance he needed to display or affirm certain things. It wasn&#8217;t until the church leadership and elders heard him preach that he felt like he was accepted by them. He felt this acceptance was largely due to the biblical and theological knowledge he displayed when he spoke.</p> <p>Black males in predominantly White churches commonly experience the prerequisites for acceptance that Kendrick mentioned. The tests are there whether instilled consciously or unconsciously into a church&#8217;s culture. Black individuals begin to realize that in order to be truly accepted one either (a) must prove their worth intellectually or (b) unwaveringly affirm the culture and beliefs of the church, even when the culture or beliefs may have more to do with tribal affiliation than biblical fidelity. This culture of conditional acceptance can be particularly uncomfortable for Black males who, already being a racial minority, risk becoming social outcasts as well if not accepted. Kendrick&#8217;s time at his church, the first predominantly White church he attended, revealed to him just how racially divided the church often is. He believed his church did not recognize or understand the things that were not, either physically or culturally, predominantly White themselves. When he tried to explain the black experience to an all white congregation it suddenly became, in his own words, “the black experience versus Christianity.” This reality led Kendrick to believe that as long as he attended his church and as long as that church was predominantly white he would never feel fully accepted.</p> <p>Often coupled with this discomfort is skepticism. Another respondent, Lamont, spoke of a “scarring from a previous [predominantly White] church.” Lamont was skeptical when he first began attending his predominantly White church. That skepticism grew even as he became more comfortable with the members and pastors individually. He began to realize he didn’t have much in common with those around him. When he spoke of other church members approaching him, he said he found himself questioning if the hospitality he was receiving was a part of the culture of the church or simply because he was the only Black person around. The new church Lamont attended was not at fault for his past experiences. However, he skeptically carried those experiences with him as an indictment of the culture of White Evangelicalism that, for generations, has psychologically scarred many Black males.</p> <p>It is important, however, that such psychological scarring not be used to guilt or shame predominantly White churches and White Christians, but to serve as a reminder of the experiences that racial minorities in predominantly White churches carry with them and the vital importance of being mindful of these experiences. As a result of these experiences, Black males like Kendrick and Lamont are forced to ask themselves where African Americans fit in the overwhelmingly White Evangelical church?Iis there even room for them in the first place?</p> <p>Possibly the best, and most tragic, example of the coupling of discomfort and skepticism came from Preston, another respondent in my study whose scarring forced him into social isolation within his predominantly White church. Recalling his experience, Preston identified the high profile cases of police brutality and White supremacy in the United States as defining moments. Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Alton Sterling, and the Mother Emanuel church massacre in Charleston were all unique identifiers in his mind that coincided with particular experiences of discomfort in the church. He recalled a period of about six months where he did not attend church, or when he sat in the auditorium but walk around completely disengaged. He felt he could not connect spiritually with his church community but felt trapped there because his wife, who is bi-racial, and kids were being fed spiritually. Preston likened his experience to having a mental breakdown. Later in the interview he spoke of the same period of time and described the lack of help he from his congregation.</p> <blockquote><p>There wasn&#8217;t any true help in the church to overcome what I was going through. I would see people at the local grocery store and they would ask me ‘how did you like church?’ and I would say I haven&#8217;t been to church in three weeks.</p></blockquote> <p>These experiences of discomfort lead Black males, like Preston, to become skeptical of predominantly White churches and believe what Dante, another respondent, expressed to me based on his experience in a predominantly White church: “I didn&#8217;t believe that the relationships that I had could survive my blackness.” In other words, he would have to give up a part of himself in order to gain acceptance into his church community.</p> <p><strong>Internal Suppression of Self Identity</strong></p> <p>In a speech at Fuller Theological Seminary, Anthea Butler stated that as a Black Christian, “most of the time to be an Evangelical you have to give up a part of who you are culturally, [and] the things that make you you, [due to the] expectations Evangelicals have about how you are supposed to behave.” The interesting thing about this so-called “giving up” is that, for many Black Christians, the aspects of one&#8217;s individual and racial identity are never completely given up; they are suppressed. For many Black Christians, these integral aspects of identity are never let go of. Cross-cultural code-switching is often a required tactic for Black male survival in predominantly White churches.</p> <p>At the time of my study, one of my respondents named Terrance had recently worked for a political candidate’s campaign while attending his predominantly White church. He said he knew, as a Black man in a white Evangelical church, that unless he said something or did something that rubbed someone the wrong way, he most likely was not going to get any push back while attending his church. If he went with the flow and did what everyone was doing he would be able to exist in his predominantly White church without any problems. But he knew that once he did or said something that upset someone or made someone nervous that would be the time he would see the underlying problems within the church. Ultimately, that time came. In response to his involvement with the particular candidate&#8217;s campaign, members of this church, that often included prayer for government officials in their service, called into question Terrance’s entire profession of faith. Instead of being applauded for political engagement motivated by his faith, his faith was called into question altogether. Certain members in the church disagreed with his politics, and Terrance knew that if he chose to express any opinions differing from the majority opinion it would “rock the boat” and make other church members uncomfortable. This is a great example of what Jarvis Williams calls “cultural colonization.”</p> <blockquote><p>Cultural colonization happens when members of majority cultures compel minority cultures to conform to acceptable cultural norms of whiteness. This conformity can be seen when minority black and brown cultures identify with cultural whiteness and dissociate from aspects of their black and brown cultures to assimilate within the white, majority, cultural, Christian group.</p></blockquote> <p>Restricting oneself in order to conform to white dominated spaces is a common practice for Black males in predominantly White Evangelical churches. For Dante, he didn’t always realize he was putting this type of individual restriction on himself when he entered those spaces. But after ten years in predominantly White spaces, he identified it as a wall that he put up unconsciously. After identifying this restriction, he was left with a choice, to be alone and be black or to conform and smother his Blackness.</p> <p>This restriction is not limited to just the respondents who are uncomfortable in predominantly White spaces. Even the respondents who felt very comfortable in predominantly White churches described a type of restriction that took place internally. Willard, even after growing up in the Black church, admitted he had evolved into a chameleon once he began attending predominantly White churches. He called the Black church home for 26 years, but, at the time of our interview, he had all but forgotten his experiences due to the internal suppression experienced in predominantly White churches for about ten years. During our interview, Willard reminisced about his time spent in the Black church. He had a passion for music and it was obvious that one of his best memories was being a part of the choir. He believed there was something special about worship in the Black church and longed for the ability to once again be able to freely express himself through song in his predominantly White church. But as he tried to recall the music he once sang, he couldn’t. After years of choir rehearsals and singing Sunday after Sunday, the music he once found freeing had been replaced with the chorus of his predominantly White church. Discouraged by his inability to recall what were once such important songs to him, he lamented, “Perhaps the chameleon in me was too adaptive to certain things.” In all of his years spent developing a foundation in the Black church, it took less than half that time for it to be wiped away by attending a predominantly White church.</p> <p>In addition to internal suppression, forced conformity can also produce an internalized self-hatred towards one&#8217;s own identity. A catalyst for this self-hatred is often the ways in which predominantly White churches respond to non-White Christian expressions. This was true for Kendrick, whose predominantly White church had a tendency of separating theology along the lines of race. Some members even went as far as labeling Black theology “crazy African American theology.” As a result of this perception of Black theology, Kendrick questioned whether or not he would ever gain full acceptance in his church community as long as his theology was defined by his racial or ethnic background. Micro-aggressions like these can be harmful to the psyche of Black males in predominantly White churches and, without a strong foundation, deeply damaging to their perceptions of themselves and their own community.</p> <p>Dante, Willard, and Kendrick’s experiences point to the vital role the Black Christian expression plays in the lives of Black Christians, even in predominantly White churches. For Black Christians, the Black Christian expression helps to build up and maintain one&#8217;s self-esteem in the midst of demands for conformity and self-hatred. It acts as a shield to fight against the historical and contemporary pictures, notions, and claims that negatively portray Black Christianity. I found that, even though many are critical of the Black Christian expression, it serves as a vital lifeline for the survival of Black males&#8217; in predominantly White churches.</p> Casting Our Cares During the Coronavirus The Witness urn:uuid:1673b86a-3fb4-2ae9-d994-a4ccb5089093 Mon, 30 Mar 2020 08:00:48 -0500 <p>This article was first published on the author&#8217;s personal page and has been reposted here with permission. For the original [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Casting Our Cares During the Coronavirus</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Witness</a>.</p> Being the Church Online is More than Livestreaming urn:uuid:407f2f34-6d86-70be-6b43-86161df3e3cf Thu, 26 Mar 2020 16:33:37 -0500 <p>Churches around the world have started adjusting to the new reality of being connected by internet instead of gathering in person. And I think the future will be a both/and combo that actualizes the fact of the church are the people 24/7&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>This article <a rel="nofollow" href="">Being the Church Online is More than Livestreaming</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=""/> Black Man in White Man’s Territory, 3: Sociology, Cultural Marxism, and the Church The Front Porch urn:uuid:28fc1ad0-ee01-54bc-1465-515efcb64fa9 Tue, 24 Mar 2020 11:16:31 -0500 I strongly believe that sociological inquiry can be a wonderful tool in our analysis of the role of race in the church. However, I believe the Bible’s teachings should be &#8230; <a href="" class="more">Continue reading</a> <p>I strongly believe that sociological inquiry can be a wonderful tool in our analysis of the role of race in the church. However, I believe the Bible’s teachings should be the foundation for our sociological inquiry.<a href="#_ftn1" name="_ftnref1"><sup>[1]</sup></a> It is with this foundation that we can go into society and make observations about the world and those around us, similar to what we see in Proverbs.<a href="#_ftn2" name="_ftnref2"><sup>[2]</sup></a></p> <p>As I go into society, I have three central desires for the sociological inquiry I take part in. First, I desire for it to be a form of discipleship through which I may help do some form of deliberate spiritual good to others so that they may follow and be more like Christ. I desire to love them, to encourage them, to build them up, to instruct them so that they may be mature in Christ, and to stir them up in love and good works.<a href="#_ftn3" name="_ftnref3"><sup>[3]</sup></a> With this series of posts, I desire to do deliberate spiritual good to Black Christians within predominantly White churches so that they may grow in sanctification and thrive in their individual racial identity. Yes, it is an ambitious hope, but I truly believe all this can be done through the discipline of Sociology and the resources that may result from my inquiry. I believe that, when done appropriately, this insufficient discipline, coupled with the sufficient and transformative power of the Gospel, can be a means of sanctification for all believers.</p> <p>My second desire is to use the discipline of sociology to inform and impact society and the cultures within it. If, in this process, my inquiry helps inform and impact the culture of Evangelicalism to become an environment that is spiritually and culturally healthy for all Black Christians, praise God!</p> <p>My final desire is that my sociological inquiry is scientific, interpretive, and critical. Scientific in that this research is reproducible. Interpretive in that it displays an empathy for human beings, their experiences, the social activities they build and how they understand those activities. And finally, critical in that it critiques the historically unsafe environments for many Black Christians. I believe my observation and analysis of society, and of the relations between those in society, can evolve in a way that is informed by a biblical worldview.<a href="#_ftn4" name="_ftnref4"><sup>[4]</sup></a> I proclaim with Dr. Carl Ellis, that it is by common grace that the social sciences may give us insights on issues we face today. But, ultimately, theology will always be the Queen of the sciences that holds everything together.<a href="#_ftn5" name="_ftnref5"><sup>[5]</sup></a> I also understand that “this task is fraught with opportunity and danger for the disciple-maker.”<a href="#_ftn6" name="_ftnref6"><sup>[6]</sup></a> But I believe that contemporary discipleship through powerful art, such as sociology, is a task that must be done and with God’s help it can be done.<a href="#_ftn7" name="_ftnref7"><sup>[7]</sup></a></p> <h2>Redeeming Sociology</h2> <p>As Christians participate in sociological inquiry of society and the church, we must ask “questions about society [by] standing back from the immediacy of our circumstances.”<a href="#_ftn8" name="_ftnref8"><sup>[8]</sup></a> Possibly the most important question for the Christian sociologist, and Christian academic in general, is where they obtain the standard for determining what is unjust and inequitable, and how to make positive change? When the Christian sociologist or academic engages in this transcendence, it is important that we acknowledge that we are ultimately dependent on the transcendence of God. We must not forget that this inquiry has the potential to either increase communion with God or increase our rebellion.<a href="#_ftn9" name="_ftnref9"><sup>[9]</sup></a> We must understand that sociology, like most academic disciplines, provides a type of transcendence that can lead to a sense of superiority.<a href="#_ftn10" name="_ftnref10"><sup>[10]</sup></a> We can, if we’re not careful, reach certain conclusions at the end of our inquiry that lead us to perceive society in ways that make us feel superior to the “uninformed” participants in our society.<a href="#_ftn11" name="_ftnref11"><sup>[11]</sup></a> Our inquiry can lead us to believe that we, in all of our &#8220;exceptional intellect,&#8221; are so knowledgeable of and above the many influences within our society that dominate the regular citizen as a result of their ignorance.<a href="#_ftn12" name="_ftnref12"><sup>[12]</sup></a> This type of intellectual superiority is, in my opinion, one of the greatest indictments of modern “woke” culture.</p> <p>But intellectual superiority is not only common within “woke” culture, it has also historically plagued White Evangelicalism. Individuals in both of these cultures have turned genuine knowledge into pseudo-exceptional forms of superior thought reserved only for whom they deem to be the most honorable in society. This intellectualism separates members of society into a battle between those who are “enlightened” in thought and those who are in need of enlightening. Intellectual superiority, like all evil, exists as a result of the fallen and sinful nature of every human being. Every believer who is actively growing in theological and sociological knowledge must be mindful of the temptation to view intellect in this way. To fall victim to the sin of intellectual superiority is to forget that one was once in the same place as those whom they scoff at.</p> <p>In <em>Redeeming Sociology</em>, Vern Poythress includes excerpts written by French philosopher René Descartes, who believed that “custom and example have a much more persuasive power than any certitude obtained by way of inquiry.”<a href="#_ftn13" name="_ftnref13"><sup>[13]</sup></a> Despite the certitude obtained through our inquiries, both the Black and White community have been victims of the cruel and evil persuasive power of White Supremacy that birthed many customs and examples which we still see today. The custom of slavery produced an example of the biological and intellectual superiority of Whiteness. The custom of Jim Crow produced an example of the threat and inferiority of Blackness. And the custom of segregation produced the example of justifiable separation of human beings. These customs, and others like them, have birthed a wealth of different examples for Black and White Christians as well. For the former, an example of a persistent and deep hope in the face of suffering,<a href="#_ftn14" name="_ftnref14"><sup>[14]</sup></a> but also an example of liberation and prosperity hermeneutics.<a href="#_ftn15" name="_ftnref15"><sup>[15]</sup></a> For the latter, an example of supremacy rooted in lust for power,<a href="#_ftn16" name="_ftnref16"><sup>[16]</sup></a> but also a complicated example of evangelizing the nations.<a href="#_ftn17" name="_ftnref17"><sup>[17]</sup></a> These persuasive powers have been deeply ingrained in the customs and examples of both Black and White Christian expressions.</p> <p>Poythress explains that “many people raised in monocultural situations have never asked themselves questions about society. And even those exposed to multiple cultures may not ask deeper questions about the functions of social interaction and culture.”<a href="#_ftn18" name="_ftnref18"><sup>[18]</sup></a> According to W.E.B. Du Bois’s theory of Double Consciousness, these questions are commonplace in the lives of Black people as they live within majority White culture.<a href="#_ftn19" name="_ftnref19"><sup>[19]</sup></a> However, according to the experiences of the Black males interviewed in this study, Poythress’ explanation is true of the majority of predominantly White Evangelical churches and the congregants within them. There seems to be an innate belief that the “standard of whether or not something is true is based on [whether one] ever heard [or in this case experienced] it before.”<a href="#_ftn20" name="_ftnref20"><sup>[20]</sup></a> When analyzing Western societies&#8217; standards and their role in the academic study of Sociology, Poythress makes a strong point that helps illuminate a very telling reality for Evangelicalism. If, in the critical sociological study that takes place in western society, there is no absolute morality from which societies social standards derive, then the standards will vary with the opinions of every new majority.<a href="#_ftn21" name="_ftnref21"><sup>[21]</sup></a> But what absolute moral claims remain in such a society? This is an important question. And for a culture or society that experiences a new majority opinion, such as the United States seems to be experiencing in recent years as it relates to race and culture, this must be discussed further. But just as the standards of society can change with the new majority’s opinion, they can also remain the same if that majority opinion continues to prevail.</p> <p>This has been the case for much of Evangelicalism’s racial history. White Evangelicals have built a monopoly on social standards within Evangelicalism based on their own opinions as the majority. But if this is the case, what kind of absolute moral claims remain in Evangelicalism? More than likely, White Evangelicals would respond with “the Bible of course!” But this answer troubles me. It troubles me due to the continued presence of the persuasive power of White Supremacy and the custom and example of intellectual superiority it has produced within White Evangelicalism for generations.</p> <p>“Some White Christians, and this has been true for centuries, like to intellectualize ethical issues such as fighting racism. If they can demonstrate a (theo)logical flaw then they deem the whole enterprise invalid. Meanwhile they offer nearly no reasonable alternative.”<a href="#_ftn22" name="_ftnref22"><sup>[22]</sup></a></p> <p>This culture of intellectual superiority within White Evangelicalism ensures that as long as the theologically conservative gatekeepers of orthodoxy are guarding the doors of influence, no competing opinions will be allowed to reach the level of influence of the majority’s opinion. There is a dangerous tendency of White Evangelicals to declare its culture as synonymous with orthodoxy. This conflation leads many White Evangelicals to view internal and external critiques of their culture or belief, no matter how much these critiques are rooted in scripture, as a threat to orthodoxy. But what is so puzzling for many is when the proclaimed “orthodoxy” of White Evangelicalism does not produce the orthopraxy that many Christians of color believe to be integral to the Gospel. White Evangelicalism’s historic tendency to consistently wield the sword of absolute orthodoxy while subsequently failing to follow that right belief with right conduct has been a constant source of division between Black Christians and White Evangelicalism. White Evangelicalism’s intellectual superiority and cultural monopoly on orthodoxy has assured the control of orthodox doctrine, theology, epistemology, and ecclesiology has never left the hands of the majority culture in Evangelicalism.</p> <h2>Misplaced Fear</h2> <p>We are seeing this intellectual superiority rear its ugly head within the White Evangelical church in the ways many are approaching conversations on race, injustice and critical inquiry. Cultural Marxism has been declared, by many White Evangelicals, to be the most dangerous threat to orthodoxy <em>within</em> the church. With many believing it is rapidly <em>infiltrating </em>the church today. While the threat of this neo-Marxist philosophy, modernized by Antonio Gramsci, can sometimes be seen outside of the church, I believe the fear of its perceived infiltration within the church has been largely overblown and misplaced.</p> <p>Rob Smith, a lecturer at Sydney Missionary Bible College and editor for <em>Themelios,</em> details the history and influence of neo-Marxism extremely well in his journal article, &#8220;Cultural Marxism: Imaginary Conspiracy or Revolutionary Reality?&#8221;<em><a href="#_ftn23" name="_ftnref23"><sup><strong>[23]</strong></sup></a></em>According to Smith, Gramsci desired to dechristianize and decapitalize western society in order to make way for the triumph of his theory of Socialism. With this theory, Gramsci desired to “subvert society by changing its culture and change its culture by infiltrating its institutions.”<a href="#_ftn24" name="_ftnref24"><sup>[24]</sup></a> Gramsci desired to infiltrate schools, universities, media and also the church. Gramsci believed the consciousness of society could be transformed once the culture of these institutions were captured. This flipping of the system would then create a “periphery-centred society where oppressors must now be oppressed and those formerly privileged must have their privileges taken away.”<a href="#_ftn25" name="_ftnref25"><sup>[25]</sup></a></p> <p>In the years since Gramsci’s works were translated and widely distributed in the 1970’s, “nowhere were his ideas followed more effectively than in academia. The whole discipline of ‘cultural studies’ is largely the result of his influence and his impact on the humanities and social sciences has been nothing short of immense.”<a href="#_ftn26" name="_ftnref26"><sup>[26]</sup></a> In my time in the social science community, I have seen remnants of this influence. Because of the influence it has had in academia in recent years and Gramsci’s intentions for Socialism to be “the religion that must kill Christianity,” many in the Evangelical church have a legitimate reason to be concerned for those in society embracing pieces of this ideology. They have a legitimate reason to make themselves and others in the body aware of its growing influence in certain pockets of society. And if this was the extent of the action of many in Evangelicalism as it relates to this neo-Marxist ideology, I probably would not be including this piece in my article series. But unfortunately, it is not. Instead, Cultural Marxism’s influence within the church has been stretched to proportions like that of a conspiracy theory. And it is being used in a manner that is frighteningly similar to the fear mongering of William S. Lind,<a href="#_ftn27" name="_ftnref27"><sup>[27]</sup></a> the manifestos of white supremacist terrorists,<a href="#_ftn28" name="_ftnref28"><sup>[28]</sup></a> and the anti-Semitic claims of the radical political right.<a href="#_ftn29" name="_ftnref29"><sup>[29]</sup></a> Those who perpetuate this conspiracy declare fellow Christians who may use similar long-standing language as embracing neo-Marxism and subsequently label them Cultural Marxists. But as Dr. Ellis pointed out in his recent blog post, “language usage is not evidence of ideological affirmation.”<a href="#_ftn30" name="_ftnref30"><sup>[30]</sup></a></p> <p>As a result of perpetuating this conspiracy theory, many of the concerns of Christians labeled “Cultural Marxist’s” regarding race, injustice and critical inquiry are depicted as influenced by the ideology and therefore an enemy to the church and the Gospel. “There is some justification for describing &#8216;Cultural Marxism&#8217; as ‘a viral falsehood used by far-right figures, conspiracy theorists, and pundits to explain many ills of the modern world,” Smith says.<a href="#_ftn31" name="_ftnref31"><sup>[31]</sup></a> This “weaponized narrative,” as Smith calls it, is a dangerous and lamentable evolution of the intellectual superiority that has historically plagued White Evangelicalism. Because of this history of intellectual superiority, it is not a coincidence that many Black Christians are on the receiving end of this label&#8211;adding more and more Black Christians to the list of those who have been shut out of the realm of influence in White Evangelicalism. In the midst of this weaponized narrative, we must understand that to declare someone a “Cultural Marxist” may be one of the heaviest claims a Christian can make of another believer. If Gramsci’s neo-Marxism seeks to end Christianity’s “cultural hegemony” and dechristianize western society, then to call another Christian a &#8220;Cultural Marxist&#8221; is to call them an apostate and declare them an enemy of Christ.</p> <p>The point of disagreement in the conversation on race, injustice, and critical inquiry in the church is not found in differing diagnosis of society sinfulness&#8211;though many Christians still struggle with the obvious realities of systemic oppression&#8211;but in the prescribed methods for changing society. On one end of the spectrum are Christians who say, by word and deed, that right belief in the Gospel (orthodoxy) is the sole remedy needed to redeem society. And all social action Christians take part in are “implications” of this orthodoxy. This end of the spectrum tends to separate the two. They claim orthopraxy as being a “Gospel implication,” but not integral to the Gospel. This belief has historically led to a deep social blindness often rooted in a desire to maintain power and control regarding theological and social truth. All the while labeling such beliefs as orthodoxy.</p> <p>“Again and again it has been demonstrated that the lines are held by those whose hold on security is sure only as long as the status quo remains intact. If security or insecurity is at the mercy of a single individual or group, and [that group] is convinced that [they are] safe only as long as [they] use [their] power to give others a sense of insecurity, then the measure of [others] security is in [their] hands.”<a href="#_ftn32" name="_ftnref32"><sup>[32]</sup></a></p> <p>If “all imperialism functions this way,” as Howard Thurman says, then the historic and contemporary spiritual imperialism of White Evangelicalism must be lamented and vehemently rejected. On the other end of the spectrum, where many Black Christians historically land, are Christians who hold the belief that <a href="">integral to orthodoxy is orthopraxy</a>.<a href="#_ftn33" name="_ftnref33"><sup>[33]</sup></a> To those at this end of the spectrum, the Gospel is not the Gospel without the “Gospel implications” of the former. In order to be a complete and genuine witness, orthopraxy must accompany orthodoxy in the social action taken to redeem society.</p> <p>Contrary to the division many in the church continue to perpetuate, the current debate regarding neo-Marxism <em>should not </em>be between these two ends of the spectrum that declare belief of the Gospel. The debate lies between the church and an ideology that has labeled the church as the enemy. Gramsci’s Cultural Marxism believes our society must be dechristianized, flipped and reconstructed to take power away from the powerful and give it to the oppressed. Thus, flipping the system on its head. But that is not redemption! To flip an evil system on its head may change the hand who wields the power, but it does not redeem the system. This dechristianization of society is what many Christians who entirely oppose critical inquiry and social justice seem to be fearful of. But this fear is being misplaced on fellow Christians and overblown within Christendom. The insufficient and ideological desire for revolution of neo-Marxist ideologies is simply not the desire of the latter group of Christians who believe justice is integral to the Gospel. It is not what those concerned with matters of race, injustice, or critical inquiry are promoting or affirming.</p> <h2>Pursuing Civility</h2> <p>“The Gospel is the only message that keeps the abused from becoming abusers once they gain power. If you have the constraints and the restraints of the Gospel, you can look at your oppressors, know that you’re equal to them, overcome them and not hold against them, for the duration of eternity, what they’ve done to you.”<a href="#_ftn34" name="_ftnref34"><sup>[34]</sup></a> If the justification for calling other brothers and sisters enemies of the Gospel&#8211;which is what one is saying by calling others a Cultural Marxist&#8211; is that this ideology has manipulated them into affirming certain aspects of the movement for Social Justice and academic theories, then I would urge one to consider the spiritual and eternal weight of the claim they’re making. The fear has been misplaced. This vitriolic declaration of war on fellow Christians and society is simply not the charitable and civil way in which Christians are called to live. It is not an accurate representation of members of the body seeking to do justice. It is not a genuine, Gospel-centered, Christian witness to our increasingly secular society. The fervent fear and efforts to resist non-Christian ideologies&#8211;with little to no corresponding fear and effort to resist historic Christian ideologies such as racism, White supremacy, and intellectual superiority ingrained in its patterns&#8211;is yet another lamentable evidence of the insufficient witness of White Evangelicalism. The lack of urgency to collectively act against this insufficient witness is deeply harmful to Black Christians, and all Christian’s of color, in and outside of predominantly White Churches. This posture of apathy and blindness has seemed to always plague White Evangelicalism.</p> <p>I am deeply grateful for the timely resources put forth by both Dr. Rob Smith, Dr. Carl Ellis and others who have helped lead Christians on both sides of this conversation towards a more civil discourse. I pray these pieces will help lead all Christians to personal examination, contemplation and meditation, so that we may move forward toward unity in a more charitable and civ Join This COVID-19 Global Prayer urn:uuid:29fb8baf-5436-2115-0811-d466d3b1a908 Mon, 23 Mar 2020 15:41:18 -0500 <p>This livestreamed COVID-19 Global Prayer was hosted on the Facebook page I'm So Blessed Daily Facebook page of InspireMore. It's a great timeless video to join in prayer for the dire needs of the world in this pandemic crisis. Prayer has more power when we pray together.</p> <p>This article <a rel="nofollow" href="">Join This COVID-19 Global Prayer</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=""/> Small Groups in the Time of Covid-19 Raymond Chang urn:uuid:e41febc1-3775-e515-c34d-f80ca21cccd9 Mon, 23 Mar 2020 15:19:55 -0500 This was first published in Faithfully Magazine.  I primarily wrote this for my student leaders at Wheaton College who lead small groups seeking ways to take their small groups online.  I pray it is helpful for all who encounter it. <p>This was first published in <a href="">Faithfully Magazine</a>.  I primarily wrote this for my student leaders at Wheaton College who lead small groups seeking ways to take their small groups online.  I pray it is helpful for all who encounter it.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Necessary Connection During Social Distancing</b></p> <p><span style="font-weight:400;">Many churches have made the difficult but prudent decision to suspend in person gatherings and move online in the midst of the current pandemic. To slow and hopefully mitigate the spread of the virus, churches have followed medical advice to minimize person-to-person contact with others.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight:400;">According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading national public health institute in the United States, it takes between</span><a href=""> <span style="font-weight:400;">2-14 days for symptoms of Covid-19 (also known as the Coronavirus) to surface</span></a><span style="font-weight:400;">. In fact, we may be carriers of the virus without even being aware of it. Most concerning is the fact that</span><a href=""> <span style="font-weight:400;">infected people who aren’t showing symptoms might be driving the spread of the coronavirus more than we initially realized</span></a><span style="font-weight:400;">.  Further, </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight:400;">the virus may last in a person’s system for up to 37 days</span></a><span style="font-weight:400;">.  As a result, the CDC has continued to call for</span><a href=""> <span style="font-weight:400;">the cancellation of larger gatherings</span></a><span style="font-weight:400;">. Several Christian leaders, such as </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight:400;">Andy Crouch</span></a><span style="font-weight:400;">, </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight:400;">Esau Mccaulley</span></a><span style="font-weight:400;">, and </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight:400;">John Inazu</span></a><span style="font-weight:400;"> have already provided helpful Christian perspectives on why churches should cancel or postpone in person gatherings. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight:400;">As I </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight:400;">recently tweeted</span></a><span style="font-weight:400;">, </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight:400;">at this point, the wisest course of action around Covid-19 would be to act and make decisions as if you were infected.  We need collective action that every individual participates in.</span></a><span style="font-weight:400;"> </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight:400;">In times like these, it is worth asking how Christians can apply the exhortation in Hebrews 10:24-25 to “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, </span><b><i>not neglecting to meet together</i></b><span style="font-weight:400;">, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (emphasis added). While many churches have already shifted their Sunday worship services into livestream services, Christians may be wondering what can be done about small group meetings. Given the fact that small group meetings are often where deeper and more intimate relationships are formed under the auspices of the church, it’s necessary to talk about how Christians can navigate small group ministry with the requirements of social distancing.   </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight:400;">Though in-person meetings are still preferred by many and are important to building relationships, thankfully, we can take several of the key components of a small group online: 1) meaningful connection, 2) biblical content, 3) prayerful confession, and 4) consistency. These virtual communities can serve as a powerful means to stay in touch, seek the Scriptures together, pray with one another, and provide consistency in the midst of uncertainty. Whether you are already providing small groups online, are considering it, or trying to figure out what to do, here are a few tips for those who are leading and facilitating online small groups.</span></p> <p><b> </b></p> <p><b>Tools to Move Your Small Group Online</b></p> <p><span style="font-weight:400;">There are several video chat platforms you can use to connect members of your small group. Many of these have already been tested and implemented throughout the professional world, such as </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight:400;">Google Hangouts</span></a><span style="font-weight:400;">, </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight:400;">Zoom</span></a><span style="font-weight:400;">, and </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight:400;">Skype</span></a><span style="font-weight:400;">. Each platform has a range of capabilities and associated price tiers, ranging from free to monthly or yearly subscriptions, that should be able to fit the needs of any size small group. In fact, I even know of some who are using video gaming platforms to meet online – connecting as their video game characters in a virtual world. Explore them to see which might fit the needs of your community best, prioritizing accessibility.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight:400;"> </span><span style="font-weight:400;">If you don&#8217;t already have a group text, you can start one through a cell phone carrier or through apps like </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight:400;">Slack</span></a><span style="font-weight:400;">, </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight:400;">KakaoTalk</span></a><span style="font-weight:400;">, </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight:400;">GroupMe</span></a><span style="font-weight:400;">, or </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight:400;">WhatsApp</span></a><span style="font-weight:400;">. There are a variety of apps that allow you to send documents and content to each other as well. Facebook groups and Facebook messenger can also provide good ways of communicating along with traditional e-mail. These non-video based communication tools provide helpful ways to connect on a more frequent basis. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight:400;"> </span></p> <p><b>Tips for an Online Small Group</b></p> <p><span style="font-weight:400;">For most of us, even if we have the right tools to move our small groups online, this is uncharted territory. You might even be asking, </span><i><span style="font-weight:400;">Now that we’re connected online, how should we even go about doing a small group in this new way?</span></i><span style="font-weight:400;"> There are helpful online tutorials people can send to their group members for each of the platforms. If this is difficult to navigate, small group leaders should do their best to walk with the members of their small groups who are less technologically inclined.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight:400;">Some elements of in-person small groups are easy to replicate in an online format, such as reading and engaging Scripture together, praying for one another, and participating in formative practices together. Here are a few  suggestions and tips that can be helpful in cultivating community virtually:</span></p> <ol> <li style="font-weight:400;"><span style="font-weight:400;">Consistency is key. Make sure the group has a designated time to log on every week.Have them schedule it into their calendars. If they have an online calendar, send them invites.</span></li> <li style="font-weight:400;"><span style="font-weight:400;">Over-communicate. Don&#8217;t assume people know the logistics. It is helpful to ask yourself if they know the answers to the who, what, where, when, how, and why. Clarity is key when it comes to online communities. You might need to send them reminders when it’s time to meet.</span></li> <li style="font-weight:400;"><span style="font-weight:400;">Share content through communication apps on their phone or email prior to meeting. Make sure people know exactly what they need to read beforehand. On many of the apps (and text messaging services), people can respond with a thumbs-up or a heart, letting the leader know that they have received and read the message.</span></li> <li style="font-weight:400;"><span style="font-weight:400;">Create spaces where members can share highs and lows at each and every gathering. Remember, people don’t feel like they are a part of a conversation until they are able to contribute something to it. Create spaces for everyone to have the opportunity to share.</span></li> <li style="font-weight:400;"><span style="font-weight:400;">Stay in touch throughout the week (outside of the gathering) by sharing encouraging and thought provoking ideas that you come across via the group app or email. You don’t have to limit contact to the gathering itself.</span></li> <li style="font-weight:400;"><span style="font-weight:400;">You can also check in throughout the week by asking fun and creative questions:</span> <ol> <li style="font-weight:400;"><span style="font-weight:400;">What&#8217;s something that surprised you today?</span></li> <li style="font-weight:400;"><span style="font-weight:400;">What&#8217;s the most embarrassing thing that happened to you this week?</span></li> <li style="font-weight:400;"><span style="font-weight:400;">What are you doing to serve your neighbors?</span></li> </ol> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;"><span style="font-weight:400;">Do something fun together &#8211; virtually!</span> <ol> <li style="font-weight:400;"><span style="font-weight:400;">Cook a meal together online. It doesn’t have to be fancy (think sandwiches, or chili, or if you want to try making Korean food, check out</span><a href=""> <span style="font-weight:400;"></span></a><span style="font-weight:400;"> for some easy-to-follow recipes).</span></li> <li style="font-weight:400;"><span style="font-weight:400;">Play a game together.</span></li> <li style="font-weight:400;"><span style="font-weight:400;">Do a craft, draw, or something artsy together.</span></li> <li style="font-weight:400;"><span style="font-weight:400;">Do a trivia night.</span></li> </ol> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;"><span style="font-weight:400;">Assign prayer partners that rotate so they have an additional point of contact throughout the week and can be praying for one another more deeply. Encourage them to schedule a time to get on the phone with their prayer partners and pray for one another.</span></li> </ol> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-weight:400;">These are certainly disruptive times as Christians have historically gathered in person to read God’s Word, sing God’s Word, pray God’s Word, and proclaim God’s Word. </span><span style="font-weight:400;">These are unprecedented times for many, if not all of us.  But what is unprecedented to us is not unprecedented to God.We may not have it all figured out, but the God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, who brings good from evil, who so loved the world that He gave His only Son, promises to never leave us or forsake us and to be with us to the very end. Although virtual gatherings are neither the ideal nor a permanent option for the life of the church, in this unique time of a pandemic, we can be encouraged with the fact that Christ will be present as we find creative ways of gathering together virtually.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div id="atatags-26942-5e79201f141dd"></div> <script> __ATA.cmd.push(function() { __ATA.initDynamicSlot({ id: 'atatags-26942-5e79201f141dd', location: 120, formFactor: '001', label: { text: 'Advertisements', }, creative: { reportAd: { text: 'Report this ad', }, privacySettings: { text: 'Privacy settings', } } }); }); </script> 11 free video conferencing services with no install needed urn:uuid:6a9136e3-461e-ea2f-89c6-b1a90de7cf33 Tue, 17 Mar 2020 13:42:38 -0500 <p>Free services to start a video conference call with no registration needed and no software to install. Just one click.</p> <p>This article <a rel="nofollow" href="">11 free video conferencing services with no install needed</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=""/> Webinars for church leaders & quickly livestream your church worship urn:uuid:c7531b02-781a-bec1-ebbc-929f17df90bd Mon, 16 Mar 2020 18:54:31 -0500 <p>Free webinars and quick start resources to get your church connected online and worshipping together. Learn to livestream with the greatest of ease.</p> <p>This article <a rel="nofollow" href="">Webinars for church leaders &#038; quickly livestream your church worship</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=""/> How Churches Can Respond Well to COVID-19 Coronavirus urn:uuid:64a0cf29-0a12-8769-3e4c-4f49d60461e2 Thu, 12 Mar 2020 18:48:56 -0500 <p>Church consultant and author Dave Travis explains how this situation should be seen as a great opportunity for ministry rather than a crisis to be feared.</p> <p>This article <a rel="nofollow" href="">How Churches Can Respond Well to COVID-19 Coronavirus</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=""/> You Don’t Have to Believe if You Don’t Want urn:uuid:8776b5cf-3d28-35f7-1600-cc0f30aa5f30 Sun, 08 Mar 2020 23:23:27 -0500 <p>With the power of digital publishing given to everyday people, new groups are emerging online, some even noted as social movements. One group tagged as &#8220;exvangelicals&#8221; have blogged and tweeted and vlogged and podcated their journey of leaving their evangelical Christian faith.&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>This article <a rel="nofollow" href="">You Don&#8217;t Have to Believe if You Don&#8217;t Want</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 Gospel and Friendship Part 2: Application The Front Porch urn:uuid:bb587668-9440-1920-4ccd-504fc6d6934d Wed, 04 Mar 2020 06:34:33 -0600 Too often some who profess Christ choose to backbite, devour, and destroy one another in our churches and on social media rather than love one another. <p>In the first article of this series, I discussed the context of Paul’s remarks about his gospel-friendship with the Galatians in <cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 4:12-20" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip0_7542_anchor"></a>. I argued when Paul was with the Galatians, they received his gospel and became his friends in Christ. Paul states the proof of this assertion was the Galatians received him as a messenger from God in the same manner as they would have received Jesus Christ himself when he preached the gospel to them, although he suffered in his flesh likely because of the gospel (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 4:13-14" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip1_6112_anchor"></a>; cf. <cite class="bibleref" title="2 Cor. 12:7-10" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip2_4529_anchor"></a>). They didn’t mistreat him, despise him, or shame him because of his suffering (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 4:14" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip3_5409_anchor"></a>). They loved him to the point that Paul hyperbolically says they would have even given him their very own eyes “if it were possible” (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 4:16" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip4_6525_anchor"></a>).</p> <p>However, after Paul left Galatia, trouble-making teachers entered into the churches of Galatia preaching a message contrary to Paul’s gospel (cf. <cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 1:6-9" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip5_7518_anchor"></a>). Instead of standing fast in their faith in the gospel Paul received from God and from Jesus and preached to them (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 1:1, 15-16" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip6_6087_anchor"></a>), the Galatians were turning “so quickly” from God who called them by Christ’s grace to this “other” and distorted gospel (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 1:6-7" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip7_5315_anchor"></a>). When Paul asks the Galatians whether has he become their enemy because he speaks the gospel truth to them (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 4:16" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip8_3757_anchor"></a>; see also <cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 2:5, 14; 5:7" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip9_5964_anchor"></a>), he describes their turn from his gospel to a distorted gospel as former friends in the gospel now becoming enemies (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 4:12-20" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip10_3029_anchor"></a>).</p> <p>Paul’s question about his gospel and friendship with the Galatians in <cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 4:16" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip11_3587_anchor"></a> is applicable today. While many of us who profess faith in Christ believe the same gospel, profess faith in the same Christ, profess to believe the same core doctrinal and theological truths of the faith, are members of the same denominations, and even attend the same churches, some of us too often unfortunately treat one another with suspicion and even hatred when we disagree with one another, when we have difficult but necessary gospel conversations with one another, or when we speak the truth of the gospel to one another in love.</p> <p>To be clear, certainly trust is something earned over the course of much time. Friendships in the gospel are not made over night. Once trust has been broken between friends, those friends may never trust one another again or at least it may take a long time before they can again trust each other. And, quite frankly, not every person who professes faith in Christ is deserving of trust if he or she proves himself or herself over and over again to be untrustworthy. Jesus himself did not entrust himself to any person because he knew what was in humans (<cite class="bibleref" title="John 2:25" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip12_651_anchor"></a>). Thus, Christians must always exercise wisdom and discernment before we trust anyone, and we must use wisdom and discernment to decide whether we should trust someone again once they’ve broken our trust.</p> <p>My point, however, is this: while some of us who profess faith in Christ claim to love the gospel, too often we live in clear disobedience to the gospel when we treat one other as enemies of the faith when we disagree. Instead of walking in the Spirit and pursuing one another in Spirit-empowered love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, mercy, compassion, kindness, and with self-control (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 5:22-23" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip13_3628_anchor"></a>), too often some who profess Christ choose rather to backbite, devour, and destroy one another in our churches and on social media before a watching world to see (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 5:24-26" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip14_4308_anchor"></a>).</p> <p>No one of us who professes faith in Christ is perfect. We all fall short in our obedience to Jesus and his gospel, because we are all sinners (<cite class="bibleref" title="Rom. 3:23" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip15_9342_anchor"></a>). We all need the Spirit to help us walk in the Spirit and to resist pursuing whatever fleshly desires we want (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 5:16-26" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip16_7473_anchor"></a>). We all need to repent of the many ways in which we all sin and fall short of God’s glory in many matters related to basic Christian obedience (<cite class="bibleref" title="Rom. 3:23" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip17_3935_anchor"></a>; <cite class="bibleref" title="1 John 1:8-2:2" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip18_2694_anchor"></a>)!</p> <p>Still, those of us who profess love for and a commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ, a gospel that centers on Jesus’ sacrificial cross and resurrection (<cite class="bibleref" title="1 Cor. 15:1-8" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip19_113_anchor"></a>), must regularly ask ourselves the following urgent questions: If Jesus died to reconcile sinners to God and to one another (<cite class="bibleref" title="Eph. 2:11-3:10" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip20_747_anchor"></a>), if Jesus died to reconcile all things to himself in the cosmos through his cross as he put all earthly and demonic rulers to public shame by triumphing over them through his death and resurrection (<cite class="bibleref" title="Col. 1:20-23; 2:13-15" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip21_4078_anchor"></a>), if Jesus prayed for his disciples to be one as he is one (<cite class="bibleref" title="John 17" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip22_9163_anchor"></a>), if Jesus says the world will know his disciples by our sacrificial love for one another (<cite class="bibleref" title="John 13:1-17; 14:15-15:17" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip23_4552_anchor"></a>), if Jesus teaches us the world hates his disciples (<cite class="bibleref" title="John 15:18-25" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip24_3648_anchor"></a>), and if the New Testament teaches one way Christians know we know God is by our sacrificial love for our fellow Christian brothers and sisters (<cite class="bibleref" title="1 John 2:3-11; 3:11-24" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip25_4167_anchor"></a>), then why do some of us who profess faith in Christ often treat one another as enemies of the gospel in our churches, in society, and on social media? Why do we choose the way of the devil and the way of Cain in our dealings with brothers and sisters in Christ instead of seeking the way of Jesus and his cross (see <cite class="bibleref" title="1 John 3:7-24" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip26_7699_anchor"></a>)? Why is it so difficult for the world to tell the difference between some of us who profess Christ and those who reject him in our dealings with one another in our churches or on social media?</p> <p>Every Christian, including and especially me (a chief sinner), needs to ponder seriously these questions and regularly examine our hearts before God to see if Christ is in us (<cite class="bibleref" title="2 Cor. 13:5" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip27_9152_anchor"></a>). Every Christian needs to remind ourselves that faith without works is dead (<cite class="bibleref" title="James 2:17, 26" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip28_6988_anchor"></a>). As one interpreter says, this at least means: “we will not be justified by our works, but we certainly will not be justified without them” (<cite class="bibleref" title="James 2:14-26" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip29_4921_anchor"></a>).</p> <p>Could it be that some of us who profess to believe the gospel actually walk in darkness; could it be that some of us who profess Christ are liars; could it be that some of us who profess Christ deceive ourselves; could it be that some of us who profess Christ don’t actually have the truth of the gospel in us (<cite class="bibleref" title="1 John 1:6-9" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip30_7906_anchor"></a>)? Could it be that while some of us who profess faith in Christ may claim to preach good sermons and to do good works in the name of Jesus, we might actually hear these dreadful words from the Lord on the Day of Judgment: “Depart from me you workers of lawlessness, for I never knew you,” because we didn’t actually perform the will of our Father in heaven while we lived on earth (ESV <cite class="bibleref" title="Matt. 7:21-23" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip31_4530_anchor"></a>)? Matthew describes the will of the Father to his disciples at least as a faithful pursuit of righteousness as we walk the difficult path of discipleship and live in obedience and total allegiance to Jesus Christ in a pattern of righteousness outlined by King Jesus (see <cite class="bibleref" title="Matt. 5:1-7:27" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip32_1034_anchor"></a>). In fact, Jesus says to his followers, “unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (<cite class="bibleref" title="Matt. 5:19" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip33_2435_anchor"></a>).</p> <p>Jesus says those of us who follow him are enemies of “the world” and that the world will hate us because we love him (<cite class="bibleref" title="John 15:18-25" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip34_9840_anchor"></a>). In Christ, we must love one another and so fulfill the whole law (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 5:13-14" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip35_7459_anchor"></a>). We must bear the burdens of one another and fulfill the law of Christ (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 6:2" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip36_9854_anchor"></a>). No matter how tempting it may be for some of us who profess faith in Christ to be seduced by and to imitate the ways of darkness in our dealings with others who profess Christ, all Christians from every tongue, tribe, people, and nation must walk with one another in “a straightforward manner in the truth of the gospel” (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 2:14" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip37_5928_anchor"></a>; see also <cite class="bibleref" title="Eph. 2:11-3:10" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip38_2774_anchor"></a>). We must love all neighbors as ourselves (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 5:13-14" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip39_3612_anchor"></a>), but especially Christian neighbors (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 5:16, 22-23" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip40_1892_anchor"></a>).</p> <p>Even when we strongly disagree with each other, Christians should live in the world in a manner worthy of our calling and in a manner worthy of the gospel (<cite class="bibleref" title="Eph. 4:1-5:20" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip41_5704_anchor"></a>; <cite class="bibleref" title="Phil. 1:27" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip42_7099_anchor"></a>). We must live in the world, but we must reject the wicked behavior of the world (<cite class="bibleref" title="1 John 2:15-17" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip43_2443_anchor"></a>). We should “strive side by side” for the hope of the gospel as bright lights in a dark world (<cite class="bibleref" title="Phil. 1:27" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip44_9232_anchor"></a>). We should imitate God and Christ’s love for us toward one another as we seek to serve one another in the gospel (<cite class="bibleref" title="Phil. 2:1-10" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip45_1407_anchor"></a>; see also <cite class="bibleref" title="Eph. 4:1-5:20" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip46_1786_anchor"></a>). Those who profess Christ must also urgently obey “the gospel of God” or else he will judge us with his fierce wrath on the Day of Wrath as those who reject the gospel of his Son (<cite class="bibleref" title="1 Pet. 4:17" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip47_6706_anchor"></a>).</p> <p>In the current climate of hate and hostility in society and in some of our churches, may those of us who profess Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and who have the Spirit of God living in our hearts stand as bright lights of the gospel of Jesus Christ to a dark world, as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling in our homes, churches, and communities (<cite class="bibleref" title="Phil. 2:12-13" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip48_5242_anchor"></a>). May God help us to labor to “walk in a manner worthy of our calling with all humility and compassion and with patience as we endure one another in love” because we are brothers and sisters in Christ, even when we disagree, since there’s only “one body, one Spirit, just as we were called to one hope of our calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God,” who is comprehensively sovereign over all things in heaven and on the earth (<cite class="bibleref" title="Eph. 4:1-6" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip49_4380_anchor"></a>; <cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 5:13-14" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip50_6720_anchor"></a>). May God help us not to grow weary in doing good toward all people, especially to those who are members of the household of faith (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 6:10" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip51_5890_anchor"></a>).</p> <p>May God help us who profess Christ to “love one another earnestly” because we know that “love covers a multitude of sins” (<cite class="bibleref" title="1 Pet. 4:8" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip52_8358_anchor"></a>). May God help us to love our enemies with a wise, discerning, and God-centered, Christ-exalting, and Spirit-empowered love whenever they insult us, slander us, and persecute us, and may he also help us to pray for our enemies wise and thoughtful prayers of repentance, mercy, and justice (<cite class="bibleref" title="Matt. 5:10-11, 43-48" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip53_5883_anchor"></a>; <cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 5:16, 21" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip54_443_anchor"></a>). May God help us who profess Christ to preach faithfully, to obey faithfully, and to apply faithfully a big gospel that has the power to save hostile sinners from God’s wrath and to transform enemies of God into reconciled friends in Christ (<cite class="bibleref" title="Rom. 5:8-10" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip55_2006_anchor"></a>; <cite class="bibleref" title="Eph. 2:11-3:10" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip56_9950_anchor"></a>). Lord, please do these things in us and through us for your glory, for the good of your people, for the good of your churches, for the sake of the salvation of the nations, and for the witness of the gospel! Amen!</p> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Gal. 4:12-20" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 4:12-20" data-anchor="#tippy_tip0_7542_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. 4:13-14" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 4:13-14" data-anchor="#tippy_tip1_6112_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="2 Cor. 12:7-10" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="2 Cor. 12:7-10" data-anchor="#tippy_tip2_4529_anchor" ><p id="p47012007.01-1"><span class="verse-num" id="v47012007-1">7&nbsp;</span>So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. <span class="verse-num" id="v47012008-1">8&nbsp;</span>Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. <span class="verse-num" id="v47012009-1">9&nbsp;</span>But he said to me, <span class="woc">&#8220;My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.&#8221;</span> Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. <span class="verse-num" id="v47012010-1">10&nbsp;</span>For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (<a href="" class="copyright">ESV</a>)</p></div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Gal. 4:14" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 4:14" data-anchor="#tippy_tip3_5409_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. 4:16" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 4:16" data-anchor="#tippy_tip4_6525_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. 1:6-9" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 1:6-9" data-anchor="#tippy_tip5_7518_anchor" ><p id="p48001006.04-1"><span class="verse-num" id="v48001006-1">6&nbsp;</span>I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel&#8212; <span class="verse-num" id="v48001007-1">7&nbsp;</span>not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. <span class="verse-num" id="v48001008-1">8&nbsp;</span>But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. <span class="verse-num" id="v48001009-1">9&nbsp;</span>As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. (<a href="" class="copyright">ESV</a>)</p></div> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Gal. 1:1, 15-16" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 1:1, 15-16" data-anchor="#tippy_tip6_6087_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. 1:6-7" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 1:6-7" data-anchor="#tippy_tip7_5315_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. 4:16" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 4:16" data-anchor="#tippy_tip8_3757_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. 2:5, 14; 5:7" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 2:5, 14; 5:7" data-anchor="#tippy_tip9_5964_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. 4:12-20" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 4:12-20" data-anchor="#tippy_tip10_3029_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. 4:16" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 4:16" data-anchor="#tippy_tip11_3587_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="John 2:25" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="John 2:25" data-anchor="#tippy_tip12_651_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the test Black Man in White Man’s Territory, Part 2: History and Terms The Front Porch urn:uuid:63214abf-0229-f9b9-0f58-1a5b3d91c43d Tue, 03 Mar 2020 05:48:08 -0600 Race has always played an important role in the identity development of Christians. In fact, many times it is unfortunately the central role. <p>According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2019, almost three-fourths of Black adults responded that being Black was extremely important (52%) or very important (22%) to how they think about themselves.<a href="#_ftn1" name="_ftnref1"><sup>[1]</sup></a> However, only 15% of White adults responded in the same manner, with only 5% responding that their race was extremely important and 10% responding that their race was very important to how they think about themselves.<a href="#_ftn2" name="_ftnref2"><sup>[2]</sup></a> Although it is not surprising to see this data, as it is mostly known among those who study race, I was curious to know whether or not this statistical significance was also true for Black and White respondents who identified as Protestant or Evangelical. Upon emailing Pew I received <a href="">data</a> which shows how the respondents who identified as Black Protestants, White Evangelical Protestants or White Mainline Protestants responded to the same question about the importance of their race in how they think about themselves.<a href="#_ftn3" name="_ftnref3"><sup>[3]</sup></a> The table shows that out of the 6,637 total respondents, 2,070  identified as affiliating with one of the three protestant affiliations. Out of 293 total Black Protestant respondents, 244 (83%) responded that their race is &#8220;extremely/very important” to how they think about themselves. Which is 8% higher than the NET percentages of all the Black respondents in the study. When compared to White Evangelical Protestants and White Mainline Protestants, Black protestants were 67% and 65% more likely to respond that their race is &#8220;extremely/very important&#8221; to how they think about themselves.</p> <p>This data is extremely helpful to us as we research and discuss the experiences of Black males because it illuminates a potential dichotomy between Black and White congregants within predominantly White churches today. It is important to consider how this data may impact the relationship between the two groups when in proximity to one another in a single congregation. In what ways does one’s perception of race impact their worship, biblical interpretations, or social convictions? How might these very different views on race create a different set of expectations for Black and White congregants within a single congregation? And, based on the majority group within the church, whose expectations are more likely to be catered to? When Black and White congregants worship in the same church, the ways in which their racial identity impacts how they think about themselves do not suddenly go away. Consciously or unconsciously, whether willing to admit it or not, both White and Black congregants&#8217; expression of Christianity is impacted by their race. It is important, however, that we do not weaponize this reality in order to promote sinful color blindness or a devaluing of the racial and ethnic identities of all image bearers. It is also important that we resist the sin of ethnocentrism and partiality. Instead, we must always seek to “understand our situation [and racial identity] with the transcendent reference point [of the word of God].”<a href="#_ftn4" name="_ftnref4"><sup>[4]</sup></a></p> <p>When examining the history of the American Evangelical church, you will find that race has always played an important role in the identity development of Christians. In fact, many times it is unfortunately the<em> central </em>role.</p> <h2>North American Slavery</h2> <p>Historian Albert J. Raboteau’s chapter entitled ‘The Black Experience in American Evangelicalism: The Meaning of Slavery’ from his edited book <em>African-American Religion</em> provides a closer look at the relationship between Evangelicalism, slavery, and the Black Christian experience. “The opportunity for Black religious separatism was due to the egalitarian character of evangelical Protestantism; its necessity was due, in part, to the racism of White Evangelicals.”<a href="#_ftn5" name="_ftnref5"><sup>[5]</sup></a> He explains that when American Blacks made Evangelicalism their own, and when given the opportunity to take leadership of their own religious life, it did not go unnoticed by White Christians. “The point was not lost on defenders of the slave system who saw the existence of Black churches and the activity of Black clergymen as dangerous anomalies. The racial hierarchy was threatened by any independent exercise of Black authority, even spiritual in nature.”<a href="#_ftn6" name="_ftnref6"><sup>[6]</sup></a> This reaction to Black spiritual authority during slavery is not uncommon today. Modern White Evangelicalism has responded similarly when Black voices begin to gain influence within the religious affiliation and within individual churches. But just because the enslaved African peoples were able to make the religion of Evangelicalism their own, even though they may not have labeled it as such, it does not mean that they were not forced to internalize the ideology of their oppressors in the social organizations birthed after slavery.</p> <p>“Racists in the north and the south found it necessary to denigrate Black churches and Black preachers by ridicule and restriction in order to be consistent with the doctrine of White Supremacy.”<a href="#_ftn7" name="_ftnref7"><sup>[7]</sup></a> Raboteau explains that slaveholders could determine the external freedom of the enslaved Africans, but it was the enslaved Africans’ Christianity that provided them, and their descendants, with both their internal and eternal freedom. Evangelicalism “served as an important weapon in the slaves defense of his psychological, emotional, and moral freedom from White domination.”<a href="#_ftn8" name="_ftnref8"><sup>[8]</sup></a> “American Slavery and the doctrine of white supremacy, which rationalized and outlived it, not only segregated evangelical congregations along racial lines, but also differentiated the Black experience of Evangelical Christianity from that of Whites.”<a href="#_ftn9" name="_ftnref9"><sup>[9]</sup></a></p> <h2>Black Reconstruction</h2> <p>During Black Reconstruction, White ministers in the south were some of the most prominent defenders of white supremacy.<a href="#_ftn10" name="_ftnref10"><sup>[10]</sup></a> For these ministers, to advocate for the emancipation of enslaved Africans was to commit a type of racial heresy. This offense was much more costly to a minister than was theological error. Many in the south perceived disagreement on race as a threat to the social order of society itself.</p> <p>“After the civil war, prominent antebellum clergymen restated the argument that slavery was a God ordained, spiritual institution. They believed that God rescued the Negro from savagery so that southern whites could train them in Christian civilization. Slavery had thus opened up the missionary field of four million people to southern White evangelists.”<a href="#_ftn11" name="_ftnref11"><sup>[11]</sup></a></p> <p>At the same time that White Evangelicals were participating in the resistance of Black Reconstruction, they were also aligning themselves politically with the newly reconstructed conservative movement. William C. Turner, in his journal article ‘Black Evangelicalism: Theology, Politics, and Race<a href="#_ftn12" name="_ftnref12"><sup>[12]</sup></a>, tells of Evangelicals during this time boldly identifying themselves as conservative with “unblushing pride” due to their belief that this political stance aligned with Christian beliefs. White Evangelicals during this time believed that their political positions were affirmed by God. This also led them to believe that what they considered to be biblical orthodoxy was also associated with right social beliefs, practices, and systems. Since the merger of White Evangelicalism and socio-political conservatism, Black Christians received little to no acknowledgement as a part of the collective body of Evangelicals. (2 sentences formerly here omitted) Turner states that this division among Evangelicals, for Black Christians, “serves as a reminder that more often than not peace with God still means conflict with the world.”<a href="#_ftn13" name="_ftnref13"><sup>[13]</sup></a></p> <h2>Segregation &amp; The Black Freedom Movement</h2> <p>The structural divide between Black and White Evangelicals has almost always been painfully evident to the former, but unfortunately often overlooked by the latter. At its root, Evangelicalism is equipped to address and eradicate the social structures that perpetuate the divide. However, in an American context, White Evangelicalism has historically only concerned itself with conversion efforts aimed at individual persons rather than social systems. The failure to challenge dominant social structures stems from, as Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith conclude in <em>Divided by Faith</em>, a greater concern for evangelism.<a href="#_ftn14" name="_ftnref14"><sup>[14]</sup></a> In response to the wealth of fruit that the American political and economic system has contributed to White Evangelicalism, they have offered their unwavering support. The greater concern for evangelism, in order to not disrupt the system they benefit from, is evident in the way that White Evangelicalism critiques the Black church tradition for its prophetic witness. Its expository and liberating preaching is often declared to be a “show,” its social action is labeled as “anti-gospel,” its persistent and ambitious hope is proclaimed to be “asking too much,” and its exemplary forgiveness is used to justify “moving on from the past.” The concentration on individual hearts and the hesitancy to challenge social systems can be seen in the words of Billy Graham almost 60 years ago in 1963. In an article entitled ‘Negroes Moving Too Fast?’ Billy Graham is quoted giving advice to Dr. King and urging the protestors to “push the breaks a little bit.”<a href="#_ftn15" name="_ftnref15"><sup>[15]</sup></a> Juxtapose this perspective with one of Dr. King&#8217;s speeches a few months later, where he seems to directly respond to Reverend Graham&#8217;s comments:</p> <p>“Well, they’re saying, ‘you need to put on brakes.’ The only answer that we can give to that is that the motors now cranked up and we’re moving up the highway of freedom toward the city of equality, and we can’t afford to stop now because our nation has a date with destiny. We must keep moving. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of racial justice. Now is the time to get rid of segregation and discrimination. Now is the time.”<a href="#_ftn16" name="_ftnref16"><sup>[16]</sup></a></p> <p>Kings sentiment here reminds me of the great James Baldwin when he said, “You always told me ‘It takes time.’ It’s taken my father’s time, my mother’s time, my uncle’s time, my brothers’ and my sisters’ time. How much time do you want for your progress?”<a href="#_ftn17" name="_ftnref17"><sup>[17]</sup></a></p> <p>I wonder, in the time since Dr. King labeled the White moderate as the Negro’s “greatest stumbling block,”<a href="#_ftn18" name="_ftnref18"><sup>[18]</sup></a> have White Evangelicals fully removed themselves as a part of this stumbling block? It would seem that, in analyzing the responses from those Dr. King and James Baldwin spoke of, many of the responses given by White moderates then are the same responses Black Christians hear from White Evangelicals today. In the decades since the Black Freedom Movement, in order to have this stumbling block removed, many Black Christians have had to sacrifice their racial, ethnic, and cultural identity at the altar of White Evangelicalism in order to be accepted. And very rarely does this acceptance occur without some form of external assimilation. This sacrifice is often masked or watered down as being “for the sake of Gospel unity,” but in the midst of this sacrifice, Black Evangelicals often see that their White counterparts are not asked to do the same. “Evangelicalism has historically been associated with our White brothers and sisters in Christ. Black Christians have always lived in the peripheral vision of White Evangelicalism—our stories remaining unearthed and untold”<a href="#_ftn19" name="_ftnref19"><sup>[19]</sup></a></p> <h2>Defining Terms</h2> <p>Historian Mark Noll identifies Evangelicalism as stemming “from the renewal movements of the eighteenth century and from practitioners of revival in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.”<a href="#_ftn20" name="_ftnref20"><sup>[20]</sup></a> At its core, Evangelicalism emphasizes biblical fidelity, or faithfulness to what the bible teaches, and an adherence to certain beliefs. Those beliefs were most notably codified by David Bebbington who, in 1989, distinguished four beliefs that make up what we now know as Bebbington&#8217;s Quadrilateral. <u>A focus on Jesus Christ and his death</u> on the cross as key for the atonement for sins and living a new life, acceptance of <u>the Bible as the source of &#8220;all spiritual truth</u>,&#8221; an <u>emphasis on conversion</u> as a personal, life-changing acceptance of the Christian message, and an <u>activism</u> that obliges one to share one&#8217;s faith with others. Crucicentrism, Biblicism, Conversionism, and Activism.<a href="#_ftn21" name="_ftnref21"><sup>[21]</sup></a></p> <p>These beliefs became relevant in American Society during the Great Awakening, but their pedagogy and ecclesiology have differed greatly among Black and White Evangelicals throughout history. John Richards details the presence of these beliefs well in the Black Christian expression in his 2017 article.<a href="#_ftn22" name="_ftnref22"><sup>[22]</sup></a> Probably the most glaring difference in the pedagogy and ecclesiology of these 4 qualities regards activism. In April of 2019, I had the honor of meeting Reverend James Lawson and hearing him speak at a Clayborn Reborn event in Memphis.<a href="#_ftn23" name="_ftnref23"><sup>[23]</sup></a> As he reminisced on their work during the Black Freedom Movement, he also seemed to lament at the state of the movement for Black lives today. “There is a difference in the movement of MLK, Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks and the movement today,” he said. “We weren&#8217;t [just] working for civil rights, we were working for the manifestation of the Kingdom of God on earth. We had a care for all of our neighbors, even when that neighbor was a hostile enemy. You cannot overcome injustice with injustice. You cannot use the language of cruelty to people and expect that you’re going to end cruelty to people.”<a href="#_ftn24" name="_ftnref24"><sup>[24]</sup></a> When I think of activism as it relates to Evangelicalism and the witness of one&#8217;s faith, I can think of no better example of public witness in American history than the Black Freedom Movement and the historic witness of the Black Christians that Reverend Lawson speaks of.</p> <h2>Sociological Inquiry</h2> <p>In light of this history, how is a sociological study relevant to understanding the experiences of Black men in predominantly White churches? My understanding of this relevance began with my introduction to a framework called Grounded Theory. Grounded Theory (GT) is a social science methodology that emphasizes the formation of theory based on <em>common themes extracted from data</em>. These themes are then used to build categories that act as a foundation for the theory. Unlike traditional models, GT begins with a question and/or qualitative data, rather than using an established theoretical framework to analyze the data. “GT allows the researcher to consider his or her ontological and epistemological position. It also permits the expression of different perspectives in that emphasis will be placed on a particular essential method to suit one’s philosophical viewpoint. Such nuances of GT reflect a situation in which its ‘‘users’’ position themselves philosophically to facilitate their interpretation of what is ‘going on.’”<a href="#_ftn25" name="_ftnref25"><sup>[25]</sup></a> GT is what is known as a dynamic methodology. It is instructed by symbolic interactionism “in that it is characterized by the contemporaneously interpreted philosophical perspectives of the researcher in response to their interaction with wider social forces.”<a href="#_ftn26" name="_ftnref26"><sup>[26]</sup></a> By using GT, I am able to utilize and communicate my own ontological and epistemological perspectives as I analyze the data and form the categories that subsequently emerge. This personal perspective is partly based on both my own experience as a Black male in predominantly White Churches and my analysis of historic and contemporary Evangelicalism.</p> <p>It is the physical and spiritual intersection of race and religion that creates a unique lived experience for Black males in predominantly White Evangelical churches. This intersection, after first being filtered through the scriptures, gives the opportunity for further sociological inquiry in order to gain a better understanding of the intersection itself. But in order for this type of study to help inform the church and create healthier churches, it must first be valued and affirmed.</p> <hr /> <p>Further reading on Bebbington&#8217;s Quadrilateral in the Black Christian expression:</p> <ol> <li><em>Black &amp; Reformed </em>by Anthony J. Carter</li> <li><em>Plain Theology for Plain People</em> by Charles Octavius Boothe</li> <li><em>Say It!: Celebrating Expository Preaching in the African American Tradition</em> by Eric C. Redmond</li> <li><em>Experiencing the Truth</em> by Anthony J. Carter</li> <li><em>Reviving the Black Church</em> by Thabiti Anyabwile</li> </ol> <p><a href="#_ftnref1" name="_ftn1"><sup>[1]</sup></a>Amanda Barroso, Most black adults say race is central to their identity and feel connected to a broader community, Pew Research Center,  05 February, 2020, <a href=""></a>.</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref2" name="_ftn2"><sup>[2]</sup></a>Ibid.</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref3" name="_ftn3"><sup>[3]</sup></a>Pew Research Center, American Trends Panel, January-February, 2020, <a href=""></a>.</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref4" name="_ftn4"><sup>[4]</sup></a>Carl Ellis. 1996. Free At Last? The Gospel and the African American Experience. InterVarsity Press. 154.</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref5" name="_ftn5"><sup>[5]</sup></a>Fulop, Timothy Earl, and Albert J. Raboteau. 1997. <em>African-American Religion: Interpretive Essays in History and Culture</em>. Routledge. 93.</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref6" name="_ftn6"><sup>[6]</sup></a>Ibid, 94.</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref7" name="_ftn7"><sup>[7]</sup></a>Ibid,</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref8" name="_ftn8"><sup>[8]</sup></a>Ibid,</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref9" name="_ftn9"><sup>[9]</sup></a>Ibid,</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref10" name="_ftn10"><sup>[10]</sup></a>Charles Reagan Wilson. 2009.  Baptized in Blood: The Religion of the Lost Cause. UGA Press, 101.</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref11" name="_ftn11"><sup>[11]</sup></a>Charles Reagan Wilson. 2009.  Baptized in Blood: The Religion of the Lost Cause. UGA Press, 102.</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref12" name="_ftn12"><sup>[12]</sup></a>Turner Jr., W. C. 1989. Black Evangelicalism: Theology, Politics, and Race. <em>Journal Of Religious Thought</em>, <em>45</em>(2), 40.</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref13" name="_ftn13"><sup>[13]</sup></a>Ibid, 40.</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref14" name="_ftn14"><sup>[14]</sup></a>Emerson, Michael O., and Christian Smith. 2001. <em>Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America</em>.</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref15" name="_ftn15"><sup>[15]</sup></a>Jemar Tisby, Did MLK Throw Shade at Billy Graham for his &#8220;Put on the Breaks comment?, Jemar Tisby,  09 January, 2020, <a href=""></a>.</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref16" name="_ftn16"><sup>[16]</sup></a>Ibid</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref17" name="_ftn17"><sup>[17]</sup></a>American Masters, James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket, PBS, 01 August, 2013, <a href=""></a>.</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref18" name="_ftn18"><sup>[18]</sup></a>Martin Luther King Jr., Letter From a Birmingham Jail, The Martin Luther King Jr Research &amp; Education Institute, 16 April, 1963, <a href=""></a>.</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref19" name="_ftn19"><sup>[19]</sup></a>John Richards, <em>Where Are All the Black Evangelicals: The Rise of Woke Evangelicalism, The Witness, 10 October, 2017, </em><a href=""><em></em></a>.</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref20" name="_ftn20"><sup>[20]</sup></a>Mark A. Noll, <em>American Evangelical Christianity: An Introduction </em>(Oxford: Blackwell Publishe Four Lawmakers Opposed the New Anti-Lynching Law on the Basis of “States’ Rights.” Here’s Why That’s Wrong. The Witness urn:uuid:261ed672-7f41-cb6d-2b61-36b3dbef1f46 Fri, 28 Feb 2020 09:04:45 -0600 <p>On February 26th, just before the close of Black History Month, the House of Representatives voted 410-4 to make lynching [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Four Lawmakers Opposed the New Anti-Lynching Law on the Basis of &#8220;States&#8217; Rights.&#8221; Here&#8217;s Why That&#8217;s Wrong.</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Witness</a>.</p> The Gospel and Friendship Part 1: The Context of Gal. 4:12-20 The Front Porch urn:uuid:c809757e-ade7-0a7e-4e16-42716e9caa4f Thu, 27 Feb 2020 10:36:53 -0600 In my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, the old saying “a house divided” emerges every year during basketball season. This phrase refers to the basketball rivalry between the University of Louisville &#8230; <a href="" class="more">Continue reading</a> <p>In my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, the old saying “a house divided” emerges every year during basketball season. This phrase refers to the basketball rivalry between the University of Louisville Cardinals and the University of Kentucky Wildcats. The importance of this game is put on display each year the first Saturday after Christmas when the Cards and the Cats square off in the commonwealth’s annual “battle of the bluegrass” to play for bragging rights in the commonwealth. There are Cardinal fans and Cat fans within the same families in Louisville (hence, the saying “house divided”).</p> <p>Those unfamiliar with this rivalry may be unaware of its intensity. It’s not simply a respectable rivalry between two top-tier college basketball programs in the same commonwealth. But many Card fans and Cat fans genuinely hate one another. Throughout the rivalry’s history, many of the players on the opposing teams have also hated one another. In fact, it’s fair to say they are enemies.</p> <p>Those on the outside of this rivalry looking in may ask why have citizens of the same commonwealth become enemies since both universities care about the good of the commonwealth? Yet, these allies for the good of the commonwealth are enemies because they cheer for one of the two opposing teams.</p> <p>To a greater degree, the Galatians (Paul’s friends in the gospel) have become the apostle Paul’s enemy since he speaks the truth to them (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 4:16" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip49_5777_anchor"></a>)? The truth of which Paul speaks in <cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 4:16" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip50_3412_anchor"></a> likely refers to the gospel since Paul previously refers to the “truth of the gospel” in the letter (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 2:5, 14" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip51_1922_anchor"></a>) and since he uses the term “truth” as a synonym for the gospel in <cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 5:7" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip52_3747_anchor"></a>.<a href="#_ftn2" name="_ftnref2">[1]</a> The Galatians were thinking of turning away from Paul’s gospel and embracing the trouble-makers’ gospel, thereby making Paul their enemy instead of their friend.</p> <p>While establishing churches in Galatia (a mixed Jewish and Gentile territory), Paul publicly displayed Jesus Christ as “having been crucified” through his preaching (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 3:1" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip53_3607_anchor"></a>). Paul reminds the Galatians he explained to them that Jesus died “for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age” (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 1:4" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip54_7201_anchor"></a>). He also reminds them Jesus Christ died to redeem “us from the curse of the law” so that we would receive the promise of the Holy Spirit, which is the blessing of Abraham (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 3:13-14" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip55_369_anchor"></a>). Paul further reminds the Galatians he preached to them the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 1:1" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip56_8555_anchor"></a>), justification by faith (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 2:16" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip57_8843_anchor"></a>), and the freedom that Christ (the liberator) freely bestowed upon them as he delivered them from bondage under sin, under the law, under slavery, and under the demonic forces of evil so that they would receive eternal life, walk in the Spirit, and participate in new creation (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 3:1-6:15" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip58_8266_anchor"></a>).</p> <p>However, “trouble-makers” preaching a distorted gospel made their way into the Galatian churches (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 1:6-7" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip59_8818_anchor"></a>). Their distorted gospel at least included a message about the necessity of Gentile-circumcision so that Gentiles would inherit the blessing of Abraham (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 2:3; 5:2-3; 6:12-13" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip60_3804_anchor"></a>; see also <cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 2:7-9, 12; 5:6; 6:11" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip61_8665_anchor"></a> and <cite class="bibleref" title="Genesis 17" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip62_7222_anchor"></a>). In the Old Testament, circumcision was a mark of membership within Abraham’s family, a mark of participation in the blessings God promised to Abraham (<cite class="bibleref" title="Genesis 17" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip63_9401_anchor"></a>), and a mark of the people of God (<cite class="bibleref" title="Lev. 12:3" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip64_2905_anchor"></a>).</p> <p>Paul, however, announced the good news to the Galatians that Jesus Christ is the seed of Abraham (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 3:16" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip65_653_anchor"></a>). He proclaimed all of God’s promises to Abraham are realized for Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians by faith in Christ (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 3:1-5:1" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip66_4114_anchor"></a>). He declared Gentile Christians are already members of Abraham’s family, become his spiritual offspring, and receive his spiritual inheritance, along with Jewish Christians, because they have faith in Christ and because they have received the gift of the Spirit (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 3:1-29" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip67_3332_anchor"></a>).</p> <p>Paul expresses shock earlier in <cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 1:6" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip68_3600_anchor"></a> because despite his preaching to them that faith in Christ is the pathway to the Abrahamic blessing, the Galatians were contemplating a turn from his gospel, which leads to eternal life (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal 2:16-3:9; 3:11-14, 21" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip69_1626_anchor"></a>), to embrace the trouble-makers’ distorted gospel, which leads to a curse (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 1:8-9; 2:11; 3:10" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip70_9275_anchor"></a>). The Galatians didn’t hold fast to Paul’s gospel that he received from God and from Jesus and then preached to them (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 1:1, 15-16" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip71_9396_anchor"></a>). Instead, they were “turning so quickly” from God’s effectual calling of them by Christ’s grace to “another” gospel (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 1:6-7" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip72_2089_anchor"></a>). Paul warns them, therefore, if they reject his gospel (the only true gospel) he received from God, from Jesus, and that he preached to them, they would suffer God’s eternal judgment and would not inherit the kingdom of God (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 1:8-9; 5:21" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip73_281_anchor"></a>).</p> <p>In <cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 4:12-20" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip74_2593_anchor"></a>, Paul appeals to his previous friendship with the Galatians as a defense of his gospel. He reminds them they didn’t despise, mistreat, or reject him because of his suffering (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 4:14" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip75_2816_anchor"></a>; see also <cite class="bibleref" title="2 Cor. 12:7-10" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip76_5331_anchor"></a>). Rather, they formerly received his gospel when he visited them, despite the fact that he suffered in his body because of the gospel (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 4:13" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip77_5690_anchor"></a>; see also 3:4; 6:17). They showed Paul hospitality, and embraced him as a true friend in the gospel (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 4:12-13" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip78_2888_anchor"></a>). They “received” Paul as a messenger from God in the same way as they would have “received” Jesus Christ himself (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 4:14" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip79_3455_anchor"></a>). As Paul hyperbolically says, they loved him so much they would have even “plucked out” their own eyes and given them to him “if it were possible” (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 4:15" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip80_1467_anchor"></a>).</p> <p>Paul laments, however, the Galatians seem to have forgotten their love for him. They made Paul an enemy when they began to contemplate a turn away from his gospel to this distorted gospel once these zealous teachers arrived in their churches (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 4:16" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip81_6201_anchor"></a>). The Galatians were becoming influenced by the “trouble-makers’” zeal to shut out both their love for Paul and his gospel from their midst (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 4:17" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip82_5277_anchor"></a>). Zeal, of course, is not inherently bad (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 4:18" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip83_5114_anchor"></a>), but the “trouble-makers” were only zealous for the Galatians because they wanted the Galatians to submit to their power, to their leadership, to demonstrate loyalty to them, to their message, and to their cause (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 4:18" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip84_9708_anchor"></a>). The Galatians were beginning to give-in to the “trouble-makers’” zeal despite the fact that God did supernatural things in their midst through the apostle’s preaching of a Spirit-empowered gospel (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 3:1-5" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip85_2479_anchor"></a>).</p> <p>The Galatians were turning “so quickly” from Paul’s gospel because they were in part duped by the trouble-makers’ zeal for their message (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 4:17-18" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip86_5383_anchor"></a>). Paul, however, interprets their zeal as cowardice (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 6:12" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip87_8263_anchor"></a>). He says these zealous trouble-makers who zealously preached a gospel of circumcision to Gentile Christians zealously preached their disturbing message <em>not</em> because (in Paul’s view) they actually believed what they zealously preached in these churches (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 6:12-13" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip88_1322_anchor"></a>), but because they both wanted to make a good showing in their flesh before men and because they were afraid to suffer for the cross of Jesus Christ (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 4:17; 6:12" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip89_3650_anchor"></a>). These zealous teachers wanted the Galatians to accept their message of circumcision so that they could “boast” in the Galatians’ flesh (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 6:12" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip90_7081_anchor"></a>) and so that the Galatians in turn would “boast” in (ESV “make much of”) the trouble-makers’ ministry instead of boasting in the cross of Christ (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 4:17; 6:13" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip91_5026_anchor"></a>). Paul, on the other hand, only boasted in the cross of Jesus Christ as he bore in his very own body the marks of the true gospel because he suffered for the cross of Christ when he preached it and obeyed it (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 6:14, 17" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip92_2316_anchor"></a>).</p> <p>What does Paul’s letter to his friends in Galatia have to do with us today? In the second piece in this series, I will state some specific ways to apply Paul’s remarks in <cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 4:12-20" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip93_4303_anchor"></a> to selected matters related to gospel-friendships. But for now, we should at least allow Paul’s letter to the Galatians to inform our prayers and pleas to God for grace to remain faithful.</p> <p>May God help those of us who profess Christ to remain steadfast to the whole gospel in the face of zealous teachers who preach a wrong gospel. May God also help us who profess Christ avoid imitating the behavior of zealous teachers who teach the right gospel with the wrong motives and whose behavior does not walk in a straightforward manner in the truth of the gospel (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 2:14" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip94_4427_anchor"></a>; see also <cite class="bibleref" title="Eph. 4:1-5:21" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip95_5121_anchor"></a>; <cite class="bibleref" title="1 Pet. 4:17" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip96_4857_anchor"></a>). May God help those of us who profess Christ always walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lust of the flesh, and in as much as it is possible in a fallen world may God help us to live as reconciled friends in the gospel in our dealings with one another as followers of Christ in our churches and in the world (<cite class="bibleref" title="Gal. 5:13-26" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip97_8442_anchor"></a>).</p> <p>&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;-</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref2" name="_ftn2">[1]</a>Translations of New Testament texts are my own translations from the Greek New Testament unless otherwise indicated.</p> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Gal. 4:16" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 4:16" data-anchor="#tippy_tip49_5777_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. 4:16" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 4:16" data-anchor="#tippy_tip50_3412_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. 2:5, 14" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 2:5, 14" data-anchor="#tippy_tip51_1922_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. 5:7" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 5:7" data-anchor="#tippy_tip52_3747_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. 3:1" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 3:1" data-anchor="#tippy_tip53_3607_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. 1:4" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 1:4" data-anchor="#tippy_tip54_7201_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. 3:13-14" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 3:13-14" data-anchor="#tippy_tip55_369_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. 1:1" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 1:1" data-anchor="#tippy_tip56_8555_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. 2:16" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 2:16" data-anchor="#tippy_tip57_8843_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. 3:1-6:15" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 3:1-6:15" data-anchor="#tippy_tip58_8266_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. 1:6-7" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 1:6-7" data-anchor="#tippy_tip59_8818_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. 2:3; 5:2-3; 6:12-13" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 2:3; 5:2-3; 6:12-13" data-anchor="#tippy_tip60_3804_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. 2:7-9, 12; 5:6; 6:11" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 2:7-9, 12; 5:6; 6:11" data-anchor="#tippy_tip61_8665_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="Genesis 17" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Genesis 17" data-anchor="#tippy_tip62_7222_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="Genesis 17" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Genesis 17" data-anchor="#tippy_tip63_9401_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="Lev. 12:3" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Lev. 12:3" data-anchor="#tippy_tip64_2905_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. 3:16" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 3:16" data-anchor="#tippy_tip65_653_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. 3:1-5:1" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 3:1-5:1" data-anchor="#tippy_tip66_4114_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. 3:1-29" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 3:1-29" data-anchor="#tippy_tip67_3332_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. 1:6" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 1:6" data-anchor="#tippy_tip68_3600_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 2:16-3:9; 3:11-14, 21" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal 2:16-3:9; 3:11-14, 21" data-anchor="#tippy_tip69_1626_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. 1:8-9; 2:11; 3:10" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 1:8-9; 2:11; 3:10" data-anchor="#tippy_tip70_9275_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. 1:1, 15-16" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 1:1, 15-16" data-anchor="#tippy_tip71_9396_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. 1:6-7" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Gal. 1:6-7" data-anchor="#tippy_tip72_2089_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. 1:8-9; 5:21" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-h “What is it that you do exactly?” urn:uuid:56d01321-1ea3-972d-9ff6-d55fca8fa1b2 Wed, 26 Feb 2020 12:13:55 -0600 <p>February 2020 has been a heavy travel month, 3 out of 4 weeks away from home—in Virginia, at Mt. Hermon, San Francisco, San Jose, and Nashville, Tennessee. I&#8217;ve got a good website here with a bunch of content, but sometimes people want&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>This article <a rel="nofollow" href="">“What is it that you do exactly?”</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Wednesday Wisdom (2/26/2020) MELD: Multi-Ethnic Leadership Development urn:uuid:a8797761-410b-c37f-9bda-9dddf9558c31 Wed, 26 Feb 2020 05:33:49 -0600 <img src=""/><p>Picture this. Because it really happened almost exactly a year ago...At a rest stop on the way home from competing in their conference championships, a freshman, the only African American on the Eastern Illinois Universi...</p> Black Man in White Man’s Territory, 1: A Contemporary Crisis The Front Porch urn:uuid:4398fd6c-6f24-a064-6e60-95193649b934 Tue, 25 Feb 2020 05:51:05 -0600 The first in a series of posts exploring the experiences of Black men in predominantly White churches. <p><strong>Family Drama</strong></p> <p>In January 2019, in the midst of ongoing “family drama” in Evangelicalism, Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile <a href="">reflected on the history of the relationship between the Black and White church expressions of Christianity</a>. Painting an eloquent picture of the two expressions as “half siblings of a &#8216;step family&#8217; who “grew up in different family homes, lived very different experiences” and “connected only around the holidays,” Pastor Anyabwile asked two questions: “Can we live together as one family, valuing the differences without tending to disunity?” and, “What will it take to live in a deeper, richer, affirming, understanding unity than the two churches have known to date?” These questions, and others like it, have been common talking points in many of our everyday conversations, national conferences and discussion threads on social media. And yet, even with the countless conversations, panels, and debates it still, as Pastor Anyabwile stated in his article, “&#8230;remains to be seen just how well the two [expressions] can live together as one family without reckoning with those different backgrounds and experiences.”</p> <p>While listening to J. Cole&#8217;s song, &#8220;Neighbors,&#8221; a specific lyric resonated deeply with me. As Cole explains the seeming inescapability of police brutality for people of color in our society, no matter their power or wealth, he recalls his own experience of being racially profiled. In the song&#8217;s video we see footage of a local police station&#8217;s SWAT team raiding one of his homes in an affluent North Carolina suburb. While no one was home at the time and no crimes were committed to warrant such a raid, it was clear to him that he and his guests were racially profiled and reported to the police. As he raps, he speaks of the subsequent paranoia that accompanied having to sleep at home in fear of a similar event happening again. But what if next time he was home? In the midst of this verse he utters the phrase reflected in the title of this article series: “Black in a White man territory.” This single line delivered by Cole precisely encapsulates the experiences of so many Black males in predominantly White churches. It seems as if, for Black males, no matter the level of one&#8217;s acceptance or assimilation, there are constant reminders that your predominantly White church, just like the world you live in, is not a territory for you to openly be yourself or claim as your own.</p> <p><strong>Series Purpose</strong></p> <p>The purpose of this article series is to tell the stories of Black males who currently attend or have recently attended predominantly White Evangelical churches. With my original research, conducted in the summer of 2018, I intended to provide Black males with a resource to aid them as they face what I believe to be a crisis for Black males in predominantly White Evangelical churches. Not only has that intention remained in the time since I conducted the research, it has been amplified as a result of current conversations in Evangelicalism.</p> <p>There is a certain level of internal liberty that can come when one is able to tell their story. Especially if that story is associated with pain or grief. But even more so if that story has been buried or overlooked. Truth is a liberating force, but what happens when the truth is never uncovered or when stories are never told? In my experience, time stands still for those who have experienced pain and are forced to relive such traumatic experiences. Of course this stillness does not occur physically, but for those who are never able to tell their stories of pain and grief, time might as well be standing still. Imagine the further pain and grief it causes for one&#8217;s painful experiences to be overlooked or, even worse, suppressed? Unfortunately, that is what’s happening with the experiences of many Black Christians in predominantly White Evangelical churches. Their experiences are being overlooked and it is causing deep spiritual and emotional harm. Beloved, stories of the experiences of all Christians of color in predominantly White churches must be both uncovered and told in their entirety. No matter their ugliness. It is a greater indictment on the church to continue to overlook these experiences than to face bad press or discomfort when they are brought to light. As the experiences of each respondent became the commonplace experience for Black males in predominantly White Evangelical churches, we must acknowledge the factors impacting their experiences. It is time for radical and courageous truth-telling.</p> <p><strong>A Modern Problem</strong></p> <p>There has been much discussion among Evangelicals on social media and other platforms in recent years regarding the public “disassociations” from Evangelicalism from high-profile Black Christians such as Anthony Bradley, Jemar Tisby, and Lecrae. What intrigues me amidst these conversations is the subsequent divorce of the macro and micro experiences of Black Christian males. Many engage in discourse about the words and experiences of a few well-known voices in our community, and rightly so, but seem to be failing to have that same discourse with members in our own local churches and communities. And even if we do we are often far less enthusiastic and empathetic. There seems to be a recurring cycle of Black males concluding they have no place in White Evangelicalism. This pattern deserves further attention and research.</p> <p>I have often wondered, of the White Evangelicals who have had much to say online in regards to these high profile experiences and subsequent dissociations, how are they ensuring that Black Christians and other Christians of color are not having similar experiences in their local church and have the opportunity to thrive both spiritually and culturally? For Black Christians and other Christians of color, I often wonder if they feel supported and are being equipped for their journey through predominantly White Evangelical spaces? Personally, it wasn’t until I heard men like Anthony, Jemar, and Lecrae and women like <a href="">Austin Channing Brown</a> and the women of <a href="">Truth’s Table</a> speak on their experiences that I realized this may not just be my isolated experience. This is an obvious reality looking back now, but after being in predominantly White Evangelical churches for 20 years this reality was not apparent to me. Subsequent interviews with Black males on their experiences confirmed this realization.</p> <p>I spent much of my first three years of college questioning whether or not I had a place in Evangelicalism at all. In 2015, I watched as Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Eric Harris, and Sandra Bland were murdered at the hands of the police. And in 2016 I watched Alton Sterling and Philando Castile suffer the same fate. I was 15 when Trayvon Martin was murdered, only two years younger than Martin. As I watched the news assassinate his character and delegitimize his humanity, I saw myself in him. Then, while in college, after two years of what seemed like a continuous shedding of the blood of Black bodies, I could no longer watch the body cam videos or cell phone footage of these tragedies. It was too painful. As I tried my best to maintain a healthy level of sanity in the midst of tragedy, there was a constant weight of lament and anger over the lives that were being taken. Amidst this lament, the one refuge I thought I had was my predominantly White Church. But my perceived refuge was mostly silent when it came to the death of Black image bearers and ignored my subsequent lament. I would go to church days and sometimes just hours after a shooting and these tragedies would receive no acknowledgement, not even a prayer. This blindness and apathy impacted me deeply.</p> <p>Even though I am personally the product of an interracial marriage, grew up in a predominantly White church, and am well versed in navigating and communicating within White Evangelical culture, I had to step away from the predominantly White churches I had always attended. This <a href="">exodus</a> has become a trend among Black Christians in predominantly White churches and it must be further discussed and researched. Otherwise, we may very well begin to see a reversal of the <a href=";story=199850">recent rise of multiracial congregations</a> in America as many Black Christians, like myself, are answering brother Walter Strickland&#8217;s <a href="">question</a> with an emphatic &#8220;no.&#8221;</p> <p>With a posture of lament, predominantly White congregations must seek justice where there has been injustice, forgiveness where there has been harm done, and reform for the structural ways in which we have built a dismissive and unwelcoming culture towards Christians of color in predominantly White churches.</p> <p><strong>Looking Ahead</strong></p> <p>In the next five articles I will make a case for why I believe sociological inquiry is necessary to better understand the experiences of Black males in predominantly White congregations and to inform those congregations as they seek to understand these experiences and to build healthier churches for Black Christians. I will provide historical context for the racial divide in Evangelicalism, discuss the presence of academia in the church, and address the current conversations on whether or not the church should affirm academic theoretical frameworks as “analytical tools” in light of their long and complex history. I will then give, what I believe to be, a healthy way forward based on the experiences of the respondents in my study and the posture of the predominantly White churches they attended.</p> 3 Ways Culture Informs Theology The Front Porch urn:uuid:f56189c8-922b-c93a-6568-14d90a422eaa Mon, 24 Feb 2020 05:23:42 -0600 Culture is important. It's not more important than Scripture, but it can help us better understand the Bible. <p>One question that I have long wrestled with is what role (if any) does culture play in how we do theology? I’ve often heard well-meaning people say, “all I need is my Bible” and to some extent, I can understand the intent behind this statement. I wholeheartedly affirm that Scripture is the final authority in matters of faith and practice; however, affirming such does not mean we should do theology in a vacuum. As image-bearers of the triune God, we have all been uniquely created in a cultural context. Our respective cultures allow us to experience God in a variety of ways and also makes room for us to express our experiences in a variety of ways. Culture does not in any way subvert the authority and primacy of Scripture, but when leveraged properly, culture helps us to conceptualize and articulate the ways in which we come to know and experience God. Below, I have outlined just a few ways that my perspective as an African-American woman benefits the Church and helps to shape a right understanding of Christianity.</p> <p><strong>1. Dispels the Myth That Christianity is a White Man’s Religion</strong></p> <p>American history does not paint the prettiest picture of Christianity. In fact, many men who endeavored to establish what we now know as the United States (while claiming to be Christian), were the very people who affirmed and fought to uphold a system of oppression and slavery. These men attempted to use the Bible as a means to justify their actions and as a result, many people of color began to embrace the idea that Christianity was only a scheme created by Whites to oppress people of color. But this could not be further from the truth. Although many have misrepresented Christianity, that does not change the fact that Christ offered himself up for ALL who believe. As a woman of color, who is completely enthralled by the triune God, I am humbled to say that I am Christian. Furthermore, I realize that through my profession of faith, God has also given me a voice to speak directly against the wrong assumptions regarding Christianity by declaring the truth of the Gospel to all who will hear. The sins of man do not change the power of the cross. The Scriptures make it clear that Christ has purchased people from every tribe, language, and nation by his precious blood (<cite class="bibleref" title="Revelation 5:9" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip0_1641_anchor"></a>).</p> <p><strong>2. Dispels the Myth That Christianity is the Black Man’s Religion</strong></p> <p>Satan is crafty and every minute he seeks to find new ways to separate people from the truth. Many “religious” anti-Christian groups (i.e. Black Hebrew Israelites) have gained momentum by preying on the biblical ignorance of Christians of color. Unfortunately, many are ill-prepared to make a defense of the faith and cannot fully, factually, and faithfully engage with those who promote these anti-Christian views. As a woman of color with a knack for Bible literacy and apologetics and a heart for faithful Bible exposition, my perspective is useful in strengthening the body of Christ. We need to know what the Bible says and we also need teachers of color who can effectively communicate what the Bible says with respect and clarity in light of one’s culture.</p> <p><strong>3. Diversity on Display is the Essence of Unity</strong></p> <p>The essence of unity is not found in ignoring differences and pretending that they do not exist, but rather in acknowledging those differences and working to edify one another across our varying backgrounds. My culture, socio-economic status, or ethnicity do not in any way change God or Scripture. But these things do provide insight and context on how I have experienced God. As a minority, I am very much aware of how the poor, oppressed, and ostracized have experienced God. I have studied many texts of the Bible that are so dear to me that I believe I could have penned them myself. The truth of God’s Word is just as personal and real to me today as it was to the people who heard, read, and even experienced those truths many years ago. The Church, on the whole, benefits well when we are open to sharing and hearing how God has shown himself to be consistent and faithful through our varying cultural experiences.</p> <p>My point here is simple: Culture is important. Of course, it is not held to a higher authority than Scripture, but the impact of culture is to be recognized and readily engaged. Ultimately, God is the creator of our varying social and cultural contexts. Although sin has marred God’s original design, this does not mean we should avoid and ignore culture on the whole. When we view culture as an obstacle to our faith, we miss opportunities to highlight the goodness in God’s design as well as opportunities to conform to our various cultures to the image of Christ. Today, I invite you to engage other brothers and sisters in Christ who are from different cultures. Use the insight gained from your engagement to generate a meaningful theological framework that is faithful to Scripture and also appropriate for specific social and cultural contexts. Use what you learn to edify the body of Christ. And may God be glorified all the more!</p> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Revelation 5:9" data-href="" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Revelation 5:9" data-anchor="#tippy_tip0_1641_anchor" ><p id="p66005009.01-1"><span class="verse-num" id="v66005009-1">9&nbsp;</span>And they sang a new song, saying,</p><div class="block-indent"><p class="line-group" id="p66005009.08-1">&#8220;Worthy are you to take the scroll<br /><span class="indent"></span>and to open its seals,<br />for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God<br /><span class="indent"></span>from every tribe and language and people and nation, (<a href="" class="copyright">ESV</a>)</p></div></div> REFLECTIONS ON PARASITE’S HISTORIC OSCAR WIN FROM AN ASIAN AMERICAN CHRISTIAN Raymond Chang urn:uuid:a996e11e-6676-df25-20d5-39c911314b9a Sat, 22 Feb 2020 08:36:28 -0600 This was first published in Sola. &#160; As an Asian American (and more specifically, as a Korean American Christian), it was quite special to watch Parasite win the Oscar for Best Picture, along with Best Director, Best Original Screen Play, and Best International Feature Film. #BongHive. Side note: I’m glad they changed the Best Foreign [&#8230;] <p>This was first published in <a href="">Sola</a>.</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div id="block-6dfffef54e2cb9e60d75" class="sqs-block html-block sqs-block-html"> <div class="sqs-block-content"> <p class="">As an Asian American (and more specifically, as a Korean American Christian), it was quite special to watch <em>Parasite </em>win the Oscar for Best Picture, along with Best Director, Best Original Screen Play, and Best International Feature Film. #BongHive.</p> <p class=""><em>Side note: I’m glad they changed the Best Foreign Language Film category to the Best International Feature Film category.  I was born in the United States and learned Korean in conjunction with English as a co-first language. There has never been anything foreign about the Korean language to me, an American.</em></p> <p class="">Here are a few reflections inspired by this historic event.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> <div id="block-yui_3_17_2_1_1581407806030_10384" class="sqs-block horizontalrule-block sqs-block-horizontalrule"> <div class="sqs-block-content"> <hr /> </div> </div> <div id="block-yui_3_17_2_1_1581407806030_10445" class="sqs-block html-block sqs-block-html"> <div class="sqs-block-content"> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class=""><strong>First, it felt like the United States finally caught up to the rest of the world in its acknowledgment of the brilliance in Korean media and the arts (Korean shows, music, and movies). </strong>As I have traveled throughout the world, I have seen the impact of the K-Wave – the spread of Korean culture – firsthand. Traveling from Central and South America to Europe to Southeast Asia, I’ve seen people glued to their screens watching K-Dramas and bobbing their heads as they listened to K-Pop. There is a reason BTS hit number one in 73 countries in 2019 and was the first band since the Beatles to have three Billboard number one albums in a year.</p> <p class=""><strong>Second, it shows that activism is fixing some of the gross disparities we see</strong>. The awareness given to addressing sexism (along with sexual harassment and assault) in the #metoo and #timesup movements to the racism addressed in #oscarssowhite (we all know Denzel should have won more Oscars) has led to change. Public accountability is making a difference.</p> <p class="">It reminded me that within the church, we have had people like Rachael Denhollander, Lisa Sharon Harper, and Beth Moore shed light on the darkness of the sin of sexual abuse and harassment within Christian spheres. I hope that the activism of these women and Asian American women like Kathy Khang, Helen Lee, Irene Cho, Michelle Reyes, and Angie Hong are also elevated to be heard on these issues.</p> <p class=""><strong>Third, I felt like Koreans were seen on terms that were not dictated by someone else</strong>. Critics and audiences raved about the movie, and it deserved its win. In a society where Asians are relegated to either assimilate into the dominant majority or fall in line with stereotypes that keep us in an opaque <a href=";epa=HASHTAG&amp;__xts__%5B0%5D=68.ARBngfcD0rr6JlDX_TlDCEEuuIipzarDOIRjj2NdBYbYbjf9gkEoBIViVdsDyvHiLBOY7AqRAjYWO6DPwKkTZipbt9TCpA0QQ5C5rNzc7Uqz_kyUjzdzdi1CG7K-1whNqa5GbtJPi-lkwqcDIYklB8WVjiRHwglhAdhm2i1GuOcD1OGz973TPPF_FzvSL_zg5aCPqUQTiaPH05jojQ&amp;__tn__=%2ANK-R">#bamboocage</a> (instead of merely under a <a href=";epa=HASHTAG&amp;__xts__%5B0%5D=68.ARBngfcD0rr6JlDX_TlDCEEuuIipzarDOIRjj2NdBYbYbjf9gkEoBIViVdsDyvHiLBOY7AqRAjYWO6DPwKkTZipbt9TCpA0QQ5C5rNzc7Uqz_kyUjzdzdi1CG7K-1whNqa5GbtJPi-lkwqcDIYklB8WVjiRHwglhAdhm2i1GuOcD1OGz973TPPF_FzvSL_zg5aCPqUQTiaPH05jojQ&amp;__tn__=%2ANK-R">#bambooceiling</a>), through a Korean movie winning best picture, I felt like Koreans were seen for their own merit and valid experiences.</p> <p class=""><strong>Fourth, it was amazing to hear them speak in Korean from the stage. </strong>Growing up, my parents and the parents of my Asian American friends would tell us to be mindful about who we spoke Korean in front of as it could lead to alienation and bullying (as they experienced discrimination themselves).</p> <p class="">Unfortunately, their advice was clearly prudent as we saw negative responses like the ones below.</p> </div> </div> <div id="block-yui_3_17_2_1_1581407649238_6157" class="sqs-block image-block sqs-block-image sqs-text-ready"> <div id="yui_3_17_2_1_1582382104643_109" class="sqs-block-content"> <div id="yui_3_17_2_1_1582382104643_108" class="image-block-outer-wrapper layout-caption-hidden design-layout-inline combination-animation-none individual-animation-none individual-text-animation-none"> <div id="yui_3_17_2_1_1582382104643_107" class="intrinsic"> <div id="yui_3_17_2_1_1582382104643_106" class="image-block-wrapper lightbox has-aspect-ratio"><img class="thumb-image loaded" src="" alt="parasite-pic.png" /></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div id="block-yui_3_17_2_1_1581407649238_6440" class="sqs-block html-block sqs-block-html"> <div class="sqs-block-content"> <p class="">I am not sure how you go from criticizing the fact that people gave an acceptance speech in Korean to saying that the “these people” he spoke about weren’t the Koreans, but “those in Hollywood awarding a foreign film that stokes flames of class warfare.” But in any case, this is proof that people of color (Asian Americans included) can advance racist perspectives and views. Although Koreans may have been applauded on the stage, there were still those booing them.</p> <p class="">But I was also amazed at how mindful Bong and his producers were to speak in a way that the translator could keep up. It is evidence of the collectivist consideration that is deeply embedded in the Korean and other Confucian-influenced cultures, and its beauty was evident for the live and televised audience to see.</p> <p class=""><strong>Fifth, the class by which Bong Joon Ho received the awards (especially Best Director) was first rate. </strong>He spent his entire speech after winning Best Director celebrating and honoring the others who were nominated. How he honored others while he was being honored was classic Korean – a beautiful part of the Korean culture.</p> <p class=""><strong>Sixth, it was incredible to see the Oscar&#8217;s stage full of Koreans</strong>. This is especially wonderful because the history of Asians on the silver screen has largely been one where Asians weren&#8217;t allowed to play themselves (but played by white actors &#8211; e.g. Mickey Rooney in<em> Breakfast at Tiffany&#8217;s</em>, Katherine Hepburn in <em>Dragon Seed</em>, and Mary Pickford in<em> Madame Butterfly</em>), how they were relegated to sidekick roles and martial arts roles (<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Bruce Lee had something to day about this</a>), how they were never the romantic interest (this is why so many people were shocked with Steven Yeun in <em>The Walking Dead</em>), and even now, where Asian roles continue to be played by white actors (e.g. Scarlett Johannson in<em> Ghost in the Shell</em>, Emma Stone in <em>Aloha</em>, and Tilda Swinton in <em>Doctor Strange</em>). This is why movies like <em>The Joy Luck Club</em>, <em>Crazy Rich Asians, </em>and <em>The Farewell</em> created such buzz as they took up space that we were long restricted. <em>Parasite </em>also fills that void and did it in a powerful way.</p> <p class=""><strong>Seventh, though it does not mean that prejudice, discrimination, and racism in media is gone (even though Hollywood is further along than many other industries), it does feel like there is much to celebrate in this. </strong>This was a moment in which Asians were seen and honored. What <em>Parasite</em>’s triumph revealed is that when Asians are seen, we see how they shine, and when we see how they shine, they can steal the show.</p> <p class="">On a more sober note, moments like these, as brief and shallow as they are, make me wish that the Western church was more mindfully engaged in the pursuit of racial justice, reconciliation, and unity without compromise. I wish we could pave the way for the seeing of others. Perhaps the Western Church (which includes Asian American churches) can reflect on the ways we advance discrimination, prejudice, and stereotypes by our indifference and neutrality and begin to teach the whole counsel of God as we declare and infuse the full gospel of Jesus that removes the stain of racism by shedding the light of Christ into the darkness of sin.</p> <p class="">Though it was but a moment, <em>Parasite</em>’s win was one for the books, not only because of its historic nature, but also because a “local” awards show (<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">as Bong Joon Ho called it</a>) saw Koreans just like me. It reminded me of all the ways that God sees us for more than just a moment and how we can see (and continue to see) each other as a result of that.</p> </div> </div> Wednesday Wisdom: Beating the Odds in Sports and in Life MELD: Multi-Ethnic Leadership Development urn:uuid:6c8a1a4d-354e-66c5-77e9-04556afecb72 Wed, 19 Feb 2020 05:58:48 -0600 <img src=""/><p>We are highlighting Black athletes and coaches during Black History Month. This week we spotlight Dawn Staley.</p>