Mosaix Blogs Full http://feed.informer.com/digests/LIX0YUF5O5/feeder Mosaix Blogs Full Respective post owners and feed distributors Wed, 11 Sep 2019 10:51:13 -0500 Feed Informer http://feed.informer.com/ The Christian and Critical Race Theory, Part 6: A Misalignment of Frames: The “New Right” https://thefrontporch.org/2020/11/the-christian-and-critical-race-theory-part-6-a-misalignment-of-frames-the-new-right/ The Front Porch urn:uuid:1a8a6838-131c-dd9b-3a05-a6e28a741705 Wed, 25 Nov 2020 09:06:12 -0600 An examination of the New Right's view of civil rights from the perspective of Dr. Kimberle Crenshaw <p>As discussed in our <a href="https://thefrontporch.org/2020/10/the-christian-and-critical-race-theory-part-5-a-misalignment-of-frames-integrationism/">LAST POST</a>, CRT co-founder <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kimberl%C3%A9_Williams_Crenshaw">Kimberlé Crenshaw</a> argued in 2011 that “what nourished CRT and facilitated its growth from a collection of institutional and discursive interventions into a sustained intellectual project was a certain dialectical <em>mis</em>alignment” (“<a href="https://opencommons.uconn.edu/law_review/117/">Twenty Years of Critical Race Theory</a>,” p. 1259). We saw that one central component of this <em>mis</em>alignment was the clash between the “integrationist ideology” of the traditionalists within the civil rights establishment (CRE) and the burgeoning young anti-racist legal scholars of the late 1980’s. According to these latter scholars, the ideology of integrationism had facilitated the rapid civil rights retrenchment discussed in <a href="https://thefrontporch.org/2020/07/the-christian-and-critical-race-theory-2-the-segregationist-discourse-and-civil-rights-retrenchment/">Part 2</a> of this series. White liberals, with the support of many within the Black middle class, had successfully reinterpreted the message of the Civil Rights Movement (CRM), dulling its radical edge and sowing the seeds of its rapid demise. Rather than addressing the subordinated circumstances of Black Americans, the CRE centered their continuing civil rights work on the analytics of prejudice, discrimination, and segregation, thereby eschewing race-consciousness in favor of “neutral standards” and idealized “merit.”</p> <p>And this ideology has not proven to be the exclusive property of either liberals or conservatives, Democrats or Republicans. According to <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Peller">Gary Peller</a>,</p> <blockquote><p>conservatives&#8217; and liberals&#8217; basic comprehension of racial justice has the same underlying structure—to universalize institutional practices in order to efface the distortions of irrational factors like race, to make social life neutral to racial identity. To both liberals and conservatives, racism consists of a form of distortion that could be superseded by an aracial arena of social understanding. (“<a href="https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/dlj/vol39/iss4/4/">Race Consciousness</a>,” pp. 772 -773)</p></blockquote> <p>Whether one finds himself a free market capitalist or a democratic socialist in American society, he is nonetheless likely to assume that the answer to racial domination is to overcome prejudice through knowledge, overcome discrimination through “neutrality,” and overcome segregation through integration, and most centrally, to never allow “race to count for anything.” And the liberal legal establishment at the time of CRT’s formation was no exception. Again, Peller:</p> <blockquote><p>In the 1980s law school context in which CRT emerged, the ideology of liberal integrationism was hegemonic. Mainstream legal discourse about race in constitutional and discrimination law was conducted entirely on integrationist premises. (“<a href="https://opencommons.uconn.edu/law_review/123/">History, Identity, and Alienation</a>,” p. 1488)</p></blockquote> <p>And, therefore, both mainstream civil rights conservatives and liberals alike saw (and continue to see) our society somewhere on an arc bending inevitably toward racial harmony as we are increasingly civilized and enlightened. As <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derrick_Bell">Derrick Bell</a>, mentor to many of CRT’s founders, has noted,</p> <blockquote><p>Unquestioned belief in the eventual resolution of the country’s racial conflicts is an accepted article of American faith. In political terms, there is a national assumption that in several more years (the conservatives), or after the enactment of still more civil rights laws (the liberals), remaining obstacles to liberty and justice for all will finally fade away. (“<a href="https://scholarship.law.nd.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2649&amp;context=ndlr">Racial Remediation</a>,” p. 5)</p></blockquote> <p>But, as Kimberlé Crenshaw reported in her 1988 law review article, “<a href="https://harvardlawreview.org/2020/09/race-reform-and-retrenchment/">Race, Reform, and Retrenchment: Transformation and Legitimation in Antidiscrimination Law</a>,”“[c]ommentators on both the Right and the Left … have begun to cast doubt upon the continuing vitality of this shopworn theme” (p. 1334). The civil rights ideologies of both the “<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Right#United_States">New Right</a>”—&#8221;developed in the neoconservative ‘think tanks’ during the 1970&#8217;s”—and the “<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Left#United_States">New Left</a>”—&#8221;presented in the work of scholars associated with the <a href="https://cyber.harvard.edu/bridge/CriticalTheory/critical2.htm">Conference on Critical Legal Studies</a> (‘CLS’)”—alike rejected the “steady and inevitable progress” view of a continuing civil rights movement, with the Right arguing that the work of civil rights had been completed with the reforms of the late 1960’s and the Left arguing that the work of civil rights had been faulty from the start, having been built on the legal canard of “rights” (p. 1337). But, as with the integrationist ideology of the CRE traditionalists, so the civil rights ideologies of both the Left and the Right likewise presented additional points of <em>mis</em>alignment for those young legal scholars who would soon form the first conference on Critical Race Theory. In this post, we will focus on the New Right.</p> <p><strong>The New Right</strong></p> <p>We have already discussed, in <a href="https://thefrontporch.org/2020/07/the-christian-and-critical-race-theory-2-the-segregationist-discourse-and-civil-rights-retrenchment/">Part 2</a>, the ascendence of the “Reagan Revolution” in American politics as the near full re-emergence of the segregationist discourse—states’ rights, federalism, radically free enterprise, freedom of association, increased privatization, the mythic view of American meritocracy, and opposition to public assistance, all couched in the polemics of anti-communism and civil religion, but repackaged in race-neutral language. According to Crenshaw, “[t]he Reagan Administration arrived in Washington in 1981 with an agenda that was profoundly hostile to the civil rights policies of the previous two decades” (p. 1337). Not only did the Reagan administration block new civil rights legislation, it also rolled back existing legislation and abandoned continued litigation in key civil rights cases inherited from the Carter administration.</p> <p>Further, Ronald Reagan made his judicial philosophy on civil rights abundantly clear when he nominated Robert Bork to the Supreme Court—the “Originalist” jurist who had famously defended the “right” for HUD to implement racially discriminatory housing development policies, as solicitor general under Gerald Ford. And conservative justice William T. Coleman wrote during Bork’s confirmation battle that “when Congress has legislated to promote black equality Judge Bork has frequently argued that Congress’s efforts are unconstitutional or interfere with whites’ ‘liberty’ to discriminate” (“<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/1987/09/15/opinion/why-judge-bork-is-unacceptable.html">Why Judge Bork is Unacceptable</a>”). In the end, when <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thurgood_Marshall">Thurgood Marshall</a>, America’s first African American Supreme Court Justice, was asked to “rate some of the Presidents and their impact on racial justice in his lifetime,” he placed Ronald Reagan at the bottom, “down with Hoover and that group. Wilson. When we really didn’t have a chance” (“<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/1987/09/09/us/marshall-puts-reagan-at-bottom-among-presidents-on-civil-rights.html">Marshall Puts Reagan at ‘Bottom’ Among Presidents on Civil Rights</a>”).</p> <p>The civil rights philosophy of the Reagan Administration and the New Right was clear: the work of civil rights was complete, discrimination was illegal, and formal equality had been created through <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_v._Board_of_Education"><em>Brown v Board of Education</em></a> and the subsequent national Civil Rights Acts of the late 1960s. Thus, the legislature and courts had already done enough, maybe too much. For the government to do any more would cause more harm, it was thought, than would the few remaining vestiges of racism, most of which would soon disappear anyhow. In fact, whatever racial inequality that remained in the 1980s should be understood simply as the natural fall-out of legally equal people-groups acting unequally in an open and equal society. This civil rights philosophy accords with what<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_legal_studies"> CLS</a> scholar Alan Freeman called the “Era of Rationalization,” marked by the judicial attempt to “make the problem of racial discrimination go away by announcing it has been solved” (“<a href="http://www.dariaroithmayr.com/pdfs/assignments/Freeman,%20Legitimizing%20Racial%20Discrimination.pdf">Legitimizing Racial Discrimination Through Antidiscrimination Law</a>,” pp. 1102-1103; see <a href="https://thefrontporch.org/2020/08/the-christian-and-critical-race-theory-part-4-alan-freeman-and-the-contribution-of-cls/">Part 4</a> of this series).</p> <p>In “Race, Reform, and Retrenchment,” Crenshaw zeroes in on the work of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Sowell">Thomas Sowell</a>, who “perhaps best articulates the philosophy underlying the New Right policies on race and law” (p. 1339). According to Crenshaw, Sowell’s chief objection to the continuing civil rights agenda of the CRE (what he called the “civil rights vision”) was that “the civil rights community reduces civil rights to mere special-interest politics”; that is, “civil rights visionaries,” according to Sowell, were interpreting the law politically and seeking to put race-neutral law in service of race-based politics. Further, “[b]ecause the Right views law and politics as essentially distinct, it presumes that demonstrating that the civil rights vision is essentially political renders it illegitimate” (p. 1134 – 1335). Because of this presumed illicit politicization of the law,</p> <blockquote><p>Sowell presents the neoconservative struggle against prevailing civil rights policies as nothing less than an attempt to restore law to its rightful place and to prevent the descent of American society into fascism. (p. 1339)</p></blockquote> <p>Sowell had argued that &#8220;the battle for civil rights was fought and won—at great cost—many years ago” and that the continuation of the civil rights “vision” contradicted the original formal, process oriented goals of the civil rights movement, as ascribed to the New right above. The rule of law, democracy, and the American republic itself were all threatened by the “missionary self-righteousness” of judges who illicitly used the courts to do racial politics, rather than follow the “plain” meaning of the law itself.</p> <blockquote><p>When judges reduce the law to a question of who has the power and whose ox is gored, they can hardly disclaim responsibility, or be morally superior, when others respond in kind. We can only hope that the response will not someday undermine our whole concept of law and freedom. Fascism has historically arisen from the utter disillusionment of the people with democratic institutions. (Thomas Sowell, as quoted by Crenshaw, pp. 1340 – 1341)</p></blockquote> <p>As Crenshaw goes on to “critique the critique,” I’d argue that she not only successfully addresses the primary politicization claim, but locates two key, unargued, yet very common premises in Sowell’s critique of the “civil rights visionaries”: (1) that civil rights law was meant only to ensure formal equality and (2) “equal treatment does not mean equal results.” These together form the basis of Sowell’s overarching claim, viz., (3) “the civil rights community reduces civil rights to mere special-interest politics.” We will attempt to expand on each in what follows.</p> <p><strong>(1) Civil rights law was meant only to ensure formal equality</strong></p> <p>To begin with, Thomas Sowell assumes that there is an obvious meaning and clear intent contained within the very words of civil rights legislation. Further, he assumes that this meaning and intent was to make the law color-blind, racially neutral, removing the formal barriers which had previously mediated civil and social participation based upon color, thereby ensuring a corresponding ideal of “equal opportunity.” Presuming this to be the obvious meaning of the post-Civil War amendments and the late 1960s civil rights acts, Sowell argued that courts which seek instead to remedy past racial abuses, its current and continuing affects, or address the subordinated circumstances and unequal conditions of historically disenfranchised racial groups, are subverting the true intent of civil rights legislation, subverting the proper role of Law in general.</p> <p>But what Sowell fails to recognize, according to Crenshaw, is the deep indeterminacy of civil rights and antidiscrimination law, as understood by most legal scholars and jurists. Even a leisurely survey of legislative and judicial history should make clear that standard interpretations have included both <a href="http://chnm.gmu.edu/courses/nclc375/harlan.html">Justice Harlan’s 1896</a> formal assertion that, “[o]ur Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens,” as well as color-conscious, historically rooted, and remedial interpretations like the <a href="https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/109/3">1883 Supreme Court declaration</a> that Congress was empowered “to pass all laws necessary and proper for abolishing all badges and incidents of slavery in the United States.”</p> <p>In fact, when the <a href="https://www.ourdocuments.gov/print_friendly.php?flash=false&amp;page=transcript&amp;doc=40&amp;title=Transcript+of+13th+Amendment+to+the+U.S.+Constitution%3A+Abolition+of+Slavery+%281865%29">13<sup>th</sup> Amendment</a> was ratified, ending the most obvious forms of slavery, Congress was explicitly granted the power to “enforce this article by appropriate legislation.” In short order, the <a href="https://www.loc.gov/law/help/statutes-at-large/39th-congress/session-1/c39s1ch31.pdf">1866 Civil Rights law</a> was passed, with the stated intent to remove the marks of slavery and to “protect all Persons in the United States in their Civil Rights, and furnish the Means of their Vindication,” establishing that “every race and color, without regard to any previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude” were to enjoy all the same rights “enjoyed by white citizens” and are subject to “none other, any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, to the contrary notwithstanding.”</p> <p>Further, the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution">14th Amendment</a>, the ostensible basis of the Court’s holding in <em>Brown v Board of Education </em>as well as the basis for most subsequent civil rights legislation, includes the following clause (in italics):</p> <blockquote><p>No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; <em>nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws</em>.</p></blockquote> <p>This “Equal Protection Clause” would be interpreted in multiple ways, including what Alan Freeman calls the “means-oriented” interpretation—an entirely valueless, technical, and procedural understanding of the clause, meant only to check legislators from making irrational (e.g., racial) allocations, (2) the “fundamental right” approach, wherein the court finds within the application of the Amendment a guarantee to every individual of some constitutionally implied right, and (3) a “substantive equal protection” understanding, which includes color-consciousness, historical context, and remediation. As an example of the latter, the Supreme Court declared in 1873 that the purpose of the 14<sup>th</sup> Amendment was to secure</p> <blockquote><p>the freedom of the slave race, the security and firm establishment of that freedom, and the protection of the newly-made freeman and citizen from the oppressions of those who had formerly exercised unlimited dominion over him.” (“<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slaughter-House_Cases">Slaughterhouse Cases</a>, 83 U.S. (16 Wall.) 36, 71 (1873)”).</p></blockquote> <p>And according to the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strauder_v._West_Virginia"><em>Stauder v. West Virgi</em>nia</a> decision in 1880,</p> <blockquote><p>The words of the amendment … contain a necessary implication of a positive immunity, or right, most valuable to the colored race,—the right to exemption from unfriendly legislation against them distinctively as colored,—exemption from legal discriminations, implying inferiority in civil society, lessening the security of their enjoyment of the rights which others enjoy, and discriminations which are steps towards reducing them to the condition of a subject race. (100 U.S. 303, 307-08)</p></blockquote> <p>Jumping forward to the <a href="https://www.eeoc.gov/statutes/title-vii-civil-rights-act-1964#:~:text=Title%20VII%20prohibits%20employment%20discrimination,Rights%20Act%20of%201991%20(Pub.&amp;text=Be%20it%20enacted%20by%20the,Civil%20Rights%20Act%20of%201964%22.">Title VII</a> provisions in the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Congress made clear that the purpose of the act was “to make the victims of unlawful discrimination whole” and,</p> <blockquote><p>requires that persons aggrieved by the consequences and effects of the unlawful employment practice be, so far as possible, restored to a position where they would have been were it not for the unlawful discrimination. (118 cong. rec. 7168)</p></blockquote> <p>A principle which, if applied consistently, would demand change not only of the formal subordination of African Americans, but a substantial change in circumstances. The Supreme Court confirmed this substantive intent in <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Griggs_v._Duke_Power_Co."><em>Griggs v. Duke Power Co</em></a>., concluding that “Congress directed the thrust of the Act to the consequences of employment practices, not simply the motivation.”</p> <p>The same is true of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (and accompanying legal cases) which outlawed <a href="https://alsoacarpenter.com/2019/01/23/color-blindness-poll-taxes-literacy-tests-and-grandfather-clauses-a-quick-thought/">poll taxes, literacy tests, and grandfather clauses</a>, all of which effectively disenfranchised African Americans without even mentioning color or race, thus clearly exhibiting the legislators and jurists intentions to substantially re-enfranchise African American voters, not just seek a “neutral,” formal standard. (See also the SCOTUS decisions in <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swann_v._Charlotte-Mecklenburg_Board_of_Education"><em>Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenberg Board of Education</em></a>, <a href="https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/407/451/"><em>Wright v. Council of City of Emporia</em></a>, and <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keyes_v._School_District_No._1,_Denver"><em>Keys v. School District no. 1</em></a>.)</p> <p>Thus, we see a long history of understanding civil rights and antidiscrimination law as race-conscious, centered on the historical context of past racial injustices, with the intention to not only change African Americans’ subordinated legal status, but to redress their subordinated living circumstances—that is, to fix by law what had been broken by law.</p> <p>But, like Sowell, we’d be going much too far if we presumed this was the only possible interpretation, founded upon a plain commonsense reading of the texts. As discussed in detail throughout <a href="https://thefrontporch.org/2020/08/the-christian-and-critical-race-theory-part-4-alan-freeman-and-the-contribution-of-cls/">Part 4</a> of this series, we can find abundant judicial interpretations throughout history that also accord with Sowell and the Right’s understanding as well. The point is, Sowell does not make a case for one understanding of civil rights legislation over another, but merely assumes that his is the obvious interpretation. The indeterminacy of the law itself is completely ignored or completely missed. What Sowell, according to Crenshaw, fails to see is that there have always been two broad competing interpretations of civil rights and antidiscrimination law, vying for dominance throughout post-Civil War history.</p> <blockquote><p>Here Sowell, apparently without realizing it, merely embraces one aspect of a tension that runs throughout antidiscrimination law—the tension between equality as a process and equality as a result.</p> <p>This basic conflict has given rise to two distinct rhetorical visions in the body of antidiscrimination law—one of which I have termed the expansive view, the other the restrictive view. The expansive view stresses equality as a result, and looks to real consequences for African-Americans. It interprets the objective of antidiscrimination law as the eradication of the substantive conditions of Black subordination and attempts to enlist the institutional power of the courts to further the national goal of eradicating the effects of racial oppression.</p> <p>The restri When It Comes to Race, White Evangelicals Have a Fox News Problem https://jemartisby.com/2020/11/23/when-it-comes-to-race-white-evangelicals-have-a-fox-news-problem/ Jemar Tisby urn:uuid:9cb680f4-495f-6910-dad0-5ebb4d2835a4 Mon, 23 Nov 2020 07:01:00 -0600 A new report by PRRI shows that white evangelicals who view Fox News have unhelpful ideas about race. Free Care and Support for Women in Ministry https://djchuang.com/free-care-and-support-for-women-in-ministry/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:227b6ac7-3a55-8bde-5eed-4b10bea02e2e Sun, 22 Nov 2020 19:25:05 -0600 <p>There are times you need help from other people to care for you. It's not a sign of weakness to ask for help; it's simply a sign of humanity and humility. </p> <p>This article <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com/free-care-and-support-for-women-in-ministry/">Free Care and Support for Women in Ministry</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=lLoPlZpCSC0:ovEvdMadVQI:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=lLoPlZpCSC0:ovEvdMadVQI:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/lLoPlZpCSC0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> My Visit to the Levine Museum of the New South https://jemartisby.com/2020/11/21/my-visit-to-the-levine-museum-of-the-new-south/ Jemar Tisby urn:uuid:7ee92ee1-2532-2118-578c-e8e65ee02dc3 Sat, 21 Nov 2020 08:01:00 -0600 note: I made this post about my visit to the levine museum in 2017 (long before the 2020 pandemic) and thought I had published it. dear reader&#8230;I had not. During a visit to Charlotte, North Carolina I visited the Levine Museum of the New South and I couldn&#8217;t wait to share some of the information &#8230; <a href="https://jemartisby.com/2020/11/21/my-visit-to-the-levine-museum-of-the-new-south/" class="more-link">Continue reading <span class="screen-reader-text">My Visit to the Levine Museum of the New South</span></a> Why Multiracial Churches Fail https://jemartisby.com/2020/11/19/why-multiracial-churches-fail/ Jemar Tisby urn:uuid:380d0920-44b1-17b4-2679-8e0cb8ac9535 Thu, 19 Nov 2020 07:01:00 -0600 Churches that prioritize diversity over justice risk losing both. In this Political Moment, Avoid Saying This One Phrase https://jemartisby.com/2020/11/10/in-this-political-moment-avoid-saying-this-one-phrase/ Jemar Tisby urn:uuid:23300802-97bf-7f3a-ae4a-d0847b9c3ba5 Tue, 10 Nov 2020 07:01:00 -0600 Photo by Tiffany Tertipes on Unsplash More Undignified Than This: The Legacy of Rance Allen https://thewitnessbcc.com/more-undignified-than-this-the-legacy-of-rance-allen/ The Witness urn:uuid:f89e9449-8610-3b5f-32fd-78cde723de6f Sun, 08 Nov 2020 06:00:55 -0600 With COVID-19, this election, voter suppression, racism, brutality, and natural disasters, 2020 has been brutal. Adding to our trauma is [&#8230;] The Biggest Threat to Christianity in the US https://thewitnessbcc.com/the-biggest-threat-to-christianity-in-the-us/ The Witness urn:uuid:1d08058f-a79b-a450-38e5-3fb65e2b51ea Sat, 07 Nov 2020 12:00:02 -0600 Preliminary demographic data about the 2020 electorate has started rolling in. The Associated Press published the VoteCast survey that revealed [&#8230;] The Biggest Threat to Christianity in the US https://jemartisby.com/2020/11/07/the-biggest-threat-to-christianity-in-the-us/ Jemar Tisby urn:uuid:77b93b94-a816-7a69-47dd-720e7991d433 Sat, 07 Nov 2020 07:01:00 -0600 What is the greatest threat to Christianity in the United States today? Is it Critical Race Theory as some have alleged or something more pernicious and pervasive? Election Day Morning After Thoughts https://thefrontporch.org/2020/11/election-day-morning-after-thoughts/ The Front Porch urn:uuid:c9077e31-b91a-99f4-eae0-e410d16cee3a Wed, 04 Nov 2020 12:16:26 -0600 We don't have to respond politically to the election. We can become more radical about love instead. <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I am not very interested in politics. But living in Phoenix, Arizona, and living in a community with peers, friends, neighbors, and church members who are immigrants and not documented has often pulled me into political engagement. Arizona has felt the impact of anti-immigrant policies and politicians for a long time. Our Latino neighborhoods have been raided by </span><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Arpaio"><span style="font-weight: 400;">anti-immigrant sheriffs</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, families</span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/09/us/migrant-family-separations-border.html"><span style="font-weight: 400;"> separated through deportation</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, thousands of </span><a href="https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-child-welfare/2020/07/23/arizona-rocky-history-shelters-detained-immigrant-kids/5488448002/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">asylum seekers</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> arrived at our doorstep in need of hospitality, and we have tragically watched Hispanic church plants that were growing shut their doors due to rapid deportation of leaders. These painful events have led to thousands of young Latinos and Dreamers organizing to steward political power to strengthen Arizona and they have done great work across party lines over the last ten years.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I also care deeply about the unborn and the pro-life cause, as well as children vulnerable to abuse, neglect, and family dissolution. I started off as a foster mom and have found myself in spaces where I’ve worked alongside others to organize and engage politically for reform. While I do not spend a bulk of my time engaging in politics, these are just a few of the many issues I find myself involved in as ways to love my neighbors and steward the power I have to represent Christ in places where my neighbors are working to resist injustice and care for the vulnerable. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What concerns me most this morning (and the last 5 years) is the many pitfalls Christians leaders face, and so here are some thoughts as we head into waiting on results: </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">1)</span><b> We are called to live as participants of God&#8217;s kingdom. </b><span style="font-weight: 400;">This means we have a different ethic and any attempt to spend significant energy trying to convert people to a partisan political party is a distraction. It can also distort the Christian faith into something it isn&#8217;t. There are people groups that God‘s word tells us to prioritize, such as the widow, orphan, poor, the prisoner, and those oppressed by injustice. That is what Christians should spend our time engaging on—both politically as well as using our social power to seek justice, repair, and peace. Injustice and societal suffering is complex. It just doesn’t fit neatly into one political party. However, the good news of Christ does give us a model for being Good News people who can approach complex societal suffering with a very simple model: incarnating Christ’s love everywhere we have the opportunity to do so and proclaiming the truth of the Gospel. If you do this consistently while praying for God’s guidance on what doors you are to walk through, then you will find yourself working across political lines, but always for the sake of the most vulnerable. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"> 2)</span><b> We shouldn’t contribute to polarization.</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"> I wrote a lengthier article a few weeks ago about </span><a href="https://thefrontporch.org/2020/10/pastoring-through-polarization/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">pastoring through polarization</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. Today is a good day to remind us that this is a high calling. We should be far better listeners than those swept up into the polarization surrounding us. As an example, look at the various exit polls showing different priorities of voters. One cares about the economy, crime, and safety and other voters are most concerned about racial inequality, coronavirus, and health care. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This shouldn’t be surprising to us. If it does, are we really listening to the diversity of people who surround us? What are the fears, aches, hopes and dreams of </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">all</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> our neighbors?  How does Christ&#8217;s radical law of love allow us to see through both of these lenses versus just one or the other? Christ speaks in ways that affirm and challenge the fears, aches, hopes and dreams of all people and he does it after a lot of listening. Are we listening? It does not appear we are listening and, tragically, while we bite and devour one another, we miss out on our opportunity to move toward our neighbors in both grace </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">and</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> truth. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">3) </span><b>We don’t need to become apolitical.</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Christ’s kingdom subverts all other allegiances. However this doesn&#8217;t mean we need to be apolitical. Because Christ&#8217;s entire kingdom is organized around his radical call to love all neighbors, there are particular issues on which we can work alongside those with different religious or political beliefs in order to seek flourishing in our cities. Evangelicals have had seasons in our past history where we attempted to be apolitical. This actually benefits our middle class, comfort-seeking cultural individualistic Christianity, and it led to either being co-opted by a Republican agenda or being polarized against it. If we don’t allow our politics to be discipled by Jesus, then the kingdoms of the earth are happy to shape and form them.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">4) </span><b>Christians have scattered callings. </b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some will be committed to working in the Republican party, others as Democrats—plenty as neither. But no matter our interests, hobbies, jobs, or ways we organize our political ideas, we are always called to behave as God&#8217;s children (see <cite class="bibleref" title="Matthew 5:3-12" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip0_9730_anchor"></a> for a description). We don&#8217;t demonize people, we love enemies, we bridge with those different, we listen to understand, we&#8217;re curious about people&#8217;s stories because God made them, and we are willing to lose our power and even our very lives for the sake of loving our most vulnerable neighbors. This means for those who pursue political engagement as part of their vocation, Christians who are Republicans and Democrats are going to take hits within their own tribe on many things. That&#8217;s likely true of every calling we try to live into as radical Jesus disciples. The calling of generosity and sacrifice is just too great for it to be any other way.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Christians, as the counting of election results continues, let&#8217;s enter a season of contemplation about what radical love looks like and what it requires of God’s people. As the results unfold, the nation responds, and polarization continues: what is our role? Perhaps a season of prayer and serious examination with each other might lead us to uncover and understand the idols we keep returning to so that we might have clarity, repent, align to the beauty of Christ so that we might practice radical discipleship that builds beloved community. This is the kind of distinct Gospel witness our neighborhoods and nation most need from Christ followers. </span></p> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Matthew 5:3-12" data-href="http://www.esvbible.org/search/Matthew%205.3-12/" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Matthew 5:3-12" data-anchor="#tippy_tip0_9730_anchor" >ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key &#8217;TEST&#8217;</div> Politically Anxious? Here are some ways to get through… https://thewitnessbcc.com/politically-anxious-here-are-some-ways-to-get-through/ The Witness urn:uuid:37f3ea35-045d-3926-8355-719dacd8811a Tue, 03 Nov 2020 21:28:01 -0600 As we press on through Election Night, here is some advice from mental health professionals on how to cope as [&#8230;] Resetting Fractures in a Broken Democracy Run by Racists https://thewitnessbcc.com/resetting-fractures-in-a-broken-democracy-run-by-racists/ The Witness urn:uuid:39e7daa6-3aa5-59fc-d874-8f1fd21e3dc4 Tue, 03 Nov 2020 12:30:39 -0600 Psalm 34:20 hits different when you’re sitting in recovery after you’ve had major surgery to repair fractured bones. “He keeps all [&#8230;] Do You Trust Him? A Word to White Christians on Election Day https://thewitnessbcc.com/do-you-trust-him-a-word-to-white-christians-on-election-day/ The Witness urn:uuid:38e945fb-d12d-e311-ed4d-89309b390ee6 Tue, 03 Nov 2020 03:00:39 -0600 In the next few days, perhaps even weeks, you will hear many statements made and many messages spoken about the [&#8230;] I Almost Walked Away: An Election Day Reflection https://thewitnessbcc.com/i-almost-walked-away-an-election-day-reflection/ The Witness urn:uuid:62fa5232-f0cd-815d-3593-023159d94d7b Tue, 03 Nov 2020 03:00:00 -0600 In the time leading up to the 2016 election, I noticed how a conservative Republican Party rallied around a man [&#8230;] (Re)Introducing: The Witness Foundation https://thewitnessbcc.com/witness-foundation/ The Witness urn:uuid:42a48090-779f-e8d5-2114-2bf413183237 Sat, 31 Oct 2020 06:00:52 -0500 The Witness Foundation, founded by Jemar Tisby in 2019, is a philanthropic organization that seeks to identify, train, and fund [&#8230;] Jemar Tisby named CEO of The Witness Incorporated https://thewitnessbcc.com/jemar-tisby-named-ceo-of-the-witness-incorporated/ The Witness urn:uuid:19819d44-4a67-bde5-8cf1-d19d9190fe58 Sat, 31 Oct 2020 06:00:37 -0500 We are privileged to announce that Jemar Tisby will be serving as founder and CEO of The Witness Incorporated, the [&#8230;] The Witness BCC names new Director of Operations https://thewitnessbcc.com/zennah-jones-announcement/ The Witness urn:uuid:19501bcf-e424-3be3-408e-d27645496827 Sat, 31 Oct 2020 06:00:29 -0500 The Witness Black Christian collective is privileged to announce that Zennah Jones will assume the role of Director of Operations [&#8230;] The Witness BCC names Ally Henny as new Vice President https://thewitnessbcc.com/the-witness-bcc-names-ally-henny-as-new-vice-president/ The Witness urn:uuid:f573c189-e6f6-0238-c5e1-ecffe314c31a Sat, 31 Oct 2020 06:00:29 -0500 The Witness Black Christian Collective is excited to announce that Ally Henny will assume the role of Vice President of [&#8230;] Christian Churches & Ministries for Gamers + Nerds https://djchuang.com/christian-churches-ministries-for-gamers-nerds/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:0a79f482-ea2e-9ced-8573-64f43d115997 Mon, 26 Oct 2020 19:07:08 -0500 <p>Like it or not, this global pandemic season has forced all of us to connect with people online digitally. And yet, thousands and millions of people were already connecting with each other virtually through gaming, online communities, social media, and virtual reality.&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>This article <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com/christian-churches-ministries-for-gamers-nerds/">Christian Churches &#038; Ministries for Gamers + Nerds</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=NEVMkOvBZqY:3NyVNWeFuTY:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=NEVMkOvBZqY:3NyVNWeFuTY:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/NEVMkOvBZqY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> The Kainos Cohort https://bryanloritts.com/blog/the-kainos-cohort Blog - Bryan Loritts urn:uuid:4d8edc33-a06a-7748-aa5b-5149550a6c84 Thu, 15 Oct 2020 12:52:47 -0500 <p class="">Kainos Ministry exists&nbsp;to see the multiethnic church become the new normal in our country.</p><p class="">The&nbsp;Kainos&nbsp;Cohort is an opportunity to equip leaders in how to lead multiethnic churches and movements.</p><p class="">This year’s Fall Kainos Cohort will take place virtually on October 26th-28th, 2020. The cohort will include the following teaching schedule and faculty:</p><p class="">Dr. Bryan Loritts, Dr. Curtiss DeYoung, Dr. Larry Acosta, Pastor Marcos Canales</p><p class=""><strong>October 26</strong></p><p class="">1PM <em>The Gospel and Multiethnic Movements,</em> Dr. Bryan Loritts</p><p class="">2PM <em>Practicing Biblical Reconciliation in 21st Century Congregations (and Para Church Organizations)</em>, Dr. Curtiss DeYoung</p><p class="">3PM <em>Cultural Competence and Multiethnic Movements,</em> Dr. Bryan Loritts</p><p class="">4PM Q&amp;A</p><p class=""><strong>October 27</strong></p><p class="">1PM Devotional, Dr. Bryan Loritts</p><p class="">2PM <em>Before Jesus was White: Deconstructing the Whiteness of U.S. Christianity</em>, Dr. Curtiss DeYoung</p><p class="">3PM <em>Trends and Tools for Mulitethnic Congregations and Organizations, </em>Dr. Curtiss DeYoung</p><p class="">4PM <em>Navigating Racial Trauma in Multiethnic Movements</em>, Dr. Bryan Loritts</p><p class="">&nbsp;<strong>October 28</strong></p><p class="">1PM <em>Developing Next Gen. Multiethnic Leaders,</em> Dr. Larry Acosta</p><p class="">2PM <em>Understanding and Reaching Latino Millennials</em>, Pastor Marcos Canales</p><p class="">3PM <em>Leading Beyond Fumes: YOU…Better, Healthier, Stronger</em>,<em> </em>Dr. Larry Acosta</p><p class="">4PM Q&amp;A</p> <figure class=" sqs-block-image-figure intrinsic " > <img class="thumb-image" data-image="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/5d439cb6c64b76000129bd0b/1602782532254-A4H6NWNI4SOIVH3B2SA6/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kNiEM88mrzHRsd1mQ3bxVct7gQa3H78H3Y0txjaiv_0fDoOvxcdMmMKkDsyUqMSsMWxHk725yiiHCCLfrh8O1z4YTzHvnKhyp6Da-NYroOW3ZGjoBKy3azqku80C789l0s0XaMNjCqAzRibjnE_wBlkZ2axuMlPfqFLWy-3Tjp4nKScCHg1XF4aLsQJlo6oYbA/BryanLoritts-headshot2020.jpg" data-image-dimensions="2500x2500" data-image-focal-point="0.5,0.5" alt="Dr. Bryan Loritts is the privileged husband of Korie, and the graced father of three sons—Quentin, Myles, and Jaden. He serves as a teaching pastor at The Summit Church in North Carolina. He is the award-winning author of seven books including Saving the Saved: How Jesus Saves us From Try-Harder Christianity into Performance-Free Love , which was given the Christianity Today Award of Merit, and his latest release, The Dad Difference . Dr. Loritts co-founded Fellowship Memphis in 2003, and later founded The Kainos Movement, an organization committed to seeing the multiethnic church become the new normal in our world, where he serves as president. In addition to his responsibilities as a pastor, Dr. Loritts travels extensively throughout the world preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ at conferences and events, as well as serving on the board of trustees for Biola University and Pine Cove Christian Camps." data-load="false" data-image-id="5f8885223896985542f2a819" data-type="image" src="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/5d439cb6c64b76000129bd0b/1602782532254-A4H6NWNI4SOIVH3B2SA6/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kNiEM88mrzHRsd1mQ3bxVct7gQa3H78H3Y0txjaiv_0fDoOvxcdMmMKkDsyUqMSsMWxHk725yiiHCCLfrh8O1z4YTzHvnKhyp6Da-NYroOW3ZGjoBKy3azqku80C789l0s0XaMNjCqAzRibjnE_wBlkZ2axuMlPfqFLWy-3Tjp4nKScCHg1XF4aLsQJlo6oYbA/BryanLoritts-headshot2020.jpg?format=1000w" /> <figcaption class="image-caption-wrapper"> <p class=""><strong>Dr. Bryan Loritts </strong>is the privileged husband of Korie, and the graced father of three sons—Quentin, Myles, and Jaden. He serves as a teaching pastor at The Summit Church in North Carolina. He is the award-winning author of seven books including <em>Saving the Saved: How Jesus Saves us From Try-Harder Christianity into Performance-Free Love</em>, which was given the Christianity Today Award of Merit, and his latest release, <em>The Dad Difference</em>. Dr. Loritts co-founded Fellowship Memphis in 2003, and later founded The Kainos Movement, an organization committed to seeing the multiethnic church become the new normal in our world, where he serves as president. In addition to his responsibilities as a pastor, Dr. Loritts travels extensively throughout the world preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ at conferences and events, as well as serving on the board of trustees for Biola University and Pine Cove Christian Camps.</p> </figcaption> </figure> <figure class=" sqs-block-image-figure intrinsic " > <img class="thumb-image" data-image="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/5d439cb6c64b76000129bd0b/1602782665800-R3Z305HZL6GYFEIPQDO1/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kLR2rgEg1jPu1GtjV4K1vZ97gQa3H78H3Y0txjaiv_0fDoOvxcdMmMKkDsyUqMSsMWxHk725yiiHCCLfrh8O1z4YTzHvnKhyp6Da-NYroOW3ZGjoBKy3azqku80C789l0scl71iiVnMuLeEyTFSXT3qwhEKW1IfUKL5GUNLdDa9MjuPXcXiDenG_NSvE-2lGCg/MCC+Staff-1.jpg" data-image-dimensions="2500x3745" data-image-focal-point="0.5,0.5" alt="Dr. Curtiss DeYoung is the CEO of the Minnesota Council of Churches. Previously he was the Executive Director of the historic racial justice organization Community Renewal Society in Chicago and the inaugural Professor of Reconciliation Studies at Bethel University in St. Paul. He is ordained in the Church of God (Anderson) where he served in local congregations in Minneapolis, New York City, and Washington, DC. DeYoung earned degrees from the University of St. Thomas, Howard University School of Divinity, and Anderson University. He has written and edited twelve books including Radical Reconciliation: Beyond Political Pietism and Christian Quietism , co-authored with Allan Boesak; United by Faith: The Multiracial Congregation as an Answer to the Problem of Race , co-authored with Michael Emerson, George Yancey, and Karen Chai Kim; and Coming Together in the 21st Century: The Bible’s Message in an Age of Diversity ." data-load="false" data-image-id="5f8885c4a9354162c9d31c9a" data-type="image" src="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/5d439cb6c64b76000129bd0b/1602782665800-R3Z305HZL6GYFEIPQDO1/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kLR2rgEg1jPu1GtjV4K1vZ97gQa3H78H3Y0txjaiv_0fDoOvxcdMmMKkDsyUqMSsMWxHk725yiiHCCLfrh8O1z4YTzHvnKhyp6Da-NYroOW3ZGjoBKy3azqku80C789l0scl71iiVnMuLeEyTFSXT3qwhEKW1IfUKL5GUNLdDa9MjuPXcXiDenG_NSvE-2lGCg/MCC+Staff-1.jpg?format=1000w" /> <figcaption class="image-caption-wrapper"> <p class=""><strong>Dr. Curtiss DeYoung </strong>is the CEO of the Minnesota Council of Churches. Previously he was the Executive Director of the historic racial justice organization Community Renewal Society in Chicago and the inaugural Professor of Reconciliation Studies at Bethel University in St. Paul. He is ordained in the Church of God (Anderson) where he served in local congregations in Minneapolis, New York City, and Washington, DC. DeYoung earned degrees from the University of St. Thomas, Howard University School of Divinity, and Anderson University. He has written and edited twelve books including <em>Radical Reconciliation: Beyond Political Pietism and Christian Quietism</em>, co-authored with Allan Boesak; <em>United by Faith: The Multiracial Congregation as an Answer to the Problem of Race</em>, co-authored with Michael Emerson, George Yancey, and Karen Chai Kim; and <em>Coming Together in the 21st Century: The Bible’s Message in an Age of Diversity</em>.</p> </figcaption> </figure> <figure class=" sqs-block-image-figure intrinsic " > <img class="thumb-image" data-image="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/5d439cb6c64b76000129bd0b/1602782783383-95FQBUQ8QNWZHE7G7OCV/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kNCH0IFo-E28D0rm_d_wnF4UqsxRUqqbr1mOJYKfIPR7LoDQ9mXPOjoJoqy81S2I8N_N4V1vUb5AoIIIbLZhVYxCRW4BPu10St3TBAUQYVKczdH3qUBwO6oWXP_OkYMa5KbLFw5Om5Yp_Nt25Y6nc5ZZuUUY1FOqARMqv9i1pcqr/larry+acosta.jpg" data-image-dimensions="1280x853" data-image-focal-point="0.5,0.5" alt="Dr. Larry Acosta is the Founder of the Urban Youth Workers Institute and KIDWORKS and has been training next gen. pastors and leaders for over 25 years. Larry is currently the Executive Director and Multiethnic Church Planting Catalyst for City to City Los Angeles. His vision is to train, mentor and mobilize 100 healthy missional leaders to plant 100 missional churches that will change the trajectory of darkness in the city by 2030 or sooner. Larry’s claim to fame however, is that he is married to Jayme, his bride of 29 years and they have four children- Brock (24), Karis (22), Malia (18) and Diego (16)." data-load="false" data-image-id="5f88863ea49b457ff0ec29e1" data-type="image" src="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/5d439cb6c64b76000129bd0b/1602782783383-95FQBUQ8QNWZHE7G7OCV/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kNCH0IFo-E28D0rm_d_wnF4UqsxRUqqbr1mOJYKfIPR7LoDQ9mXPOjoJoqy81S2I8N_N4V1vUb5AoIIIbLZhVYxCRW4BPu10St3TBAUQYVKczdH3qUBwO6oWXP_OkYMa5KbLFw5Om5Yp_Nt25Y6nc5ZZuUUY1FOqARMqv9i1pcqr/larry+acosta.jpg?format=1000w" /> <figcaption class="image-caption-wrapper"> <p class=""><strong>Dr. Larry Acosta </strong>is the Founder of the Urban Youth Workers Institute and KIDWORKS and has been training next gen. pastors and leaders for over 25 years. Larry is currently the Executive Director and Multiethnic Church Planting Catalyst for City to City Los Angeles. His vision is to train, mentor and mobilize 100 healthy missional leaders to plant 100 missional churches that will change the trajectory of darkness in the city by 2030 or sooner. Larry’s claim to fame however, is that he is married to Jayme, his bride of 29 years and they have four children- Brock (24), Karis (22), Malia (18) and Diego (16).</p> </figcaption> </figure> <figure class=" sqs-block-image-figure intrinsic " > <img class="thumb-image" data-image="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/5d439cb6c64b76000129bd0b/1602783335153-KJ6U5LPG55Z997UI6MI5/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kB-Wdggb7J4ZaMcUHZp6TaNZw-zPPgdn4jUwVcJE1ZvWhcwhEtWJXoshNdA9f1qD7dBUeh7tVDxQci3gUes7eqDNad5OLLqY7TBNfJzQIbx8su1dYDBi4BT7toaxLWuO5A/Screen+Shot+2020-10-15+at+10.32.38+AM.png" data-image-dimensions="283x371" data-image-focal-point="0.5,0.5" alt="Pastor Marcos Canales , originally from Costa Rica, has been pastoring amongst the Latina community of the greater Los Angeles area for more than a decade. During this time, he has also worked with non-profit community organizations in the areas of youth development, mentoring, and immigration advocacy. He has also been a leading strategist for the Center for the Study of Hispanic Church and Community (Centro Latino) at Fuller Theological Seminary and an adjunct professor at various theological institutions. He received his Master’s of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary and he loves to integrate Christian discipleship, social justice and Latina theology. Currently, Marcos is the pastor of La Fuente Ministries- a bilingual, intercultural, and intergenerational congregation of Pasadena First Church of the Nazarene. He is married to Andrea, who is a clinical psychologist, and they are raising Elias, their son, in the city of Pasadena, California." data-load="false" data-image-id="5f8888661bee005d6ba3edea" data-type="image" src="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/5d439cb6c64b76000129bd0b/1602783335153-KJ6U5LPG55Z997UI6MI5/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kB-Wdggb7J4ZaMcUHZp6TaNZw-zPPgdn4jUwVcJE1ZvWhcwhEtWJXoshNdA9f1qD7dBUeh7tVDxQci3gUes7eqDNad5OLLqY7TBNfJzQIbx8su1dYDBi4BT7toaxLWuO5A/Screen+Shot+2020-10-15+at+10.32.38+AM.png?format=1000w" /> <figcaption class="image-caption-wrapper"> <p class=""><strong>Pastor Marcos Canales</strong>, originally from Costa Rica, has been pastoring amongst the Latina community of the greater Los Angeles area for more than a decade. During this time, he has also worked with non-profit community organizations in the areas of youth development, mentoring, and immigration advocacy. He has also been a leading strategist for the Center for the Study of Hispanic Church and Community <em>(Centro Latino) </em>at Fuller Theological Seminary and an adjunct professor at various theological institutions. He received his Master’s of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary and he loves to integrate Christian discipleship, social justice and Latina theology. Currently, Marcos is the pastor of La Fuente Ministries- a bilingual, intercultural, and intergenerational congregation of Pasadena First Church of the Nazarene. He is married to Andrea, who is a clinical psychologist, and they are raising Elias, their son, in the city of Pasadena, California.</p> </figcaption> </figure> The Christian and Critical Race Theory, Part 5: A Misalignment of Frames: Integrationism https://thefrontporch.org/2020/10/the-christian-and-critical-race-theory-part-5-a-misalignment-of-frames-integrationism/ The Front Porch urn:uuid:3a2ab2d3-68d4-2c81-0391-955485109faa Tue, 13 Oct 2020 11:30:03 -0500 Kimberlé Crenshaw argued in her 2011 article, “Twenty Years of Critical Race Theory,” that “what nourished CRT and facilitated its growth from a collection of institutional and discursive interventions into &#8230; <a href="https://thefrontporch.org/2020/10/the-christian-and-critical-race-theory-part-5-a-misalignment-of-frames-integrationism/" class="more">Continue reading</a> <p><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kimberl%C3%A9_Williams_Crenshaw">Kimberlé Crenshaw</a> argued in her 2011 article, “<a href="https://opencommons.uconn.edu/law_review/117/">Twenty Years of Critical Race Theory</a>,” that “what nourished CRT and facilitated its growth from a collection of institutional and discursive interventions into a sustained intellectual project was a certain dialectical <em>mis</em>alignment” (p. 1259). Just as the Montgomery Bus Boycott became the “touchstone of the Civil Rights Movement,” according to <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldon_Morris">Aldon Morris</a>, due to an alignment of frames, including “cultural institutions and the media, the existence of an activist infrastructure, and the galvanizing force of charismatic leadership,” so the CRT movement coalesced in the time and places that it did due to<em> lack</em> of alignment between anti-racist legal scholars in the late 80’s and the prevailing Civil Rights Establishment (CRE), the “New Left,” and the “New Right.”</p> <p>As discussed over the last few posts (especially <a href="https://thefrontporch.org/2020/07/the-christian-and-critical-race-theory-part-3-a-bridge-dr-derrick-bell/">Part 3</a>), the CRE had long been committed to the notion of slow, steady, and inevitable “progress,” largely by means of continued litigation premised on the integration imperatives of <em>Brown v. Board of Education</em> and subsequent national civil rights legislation. As we have seen, much of this “progress” was not only halting and limping by the ascendance of Reaganism and the New Right, but had long since proven to be of only marginal value in changing the actual society-wide subordinated circumstances of African Americans.</p> <p>In this post, we will focus primarily on the ideology of the Civil Rights Establishment.</p> <p><strong>The Ideology of Integrationsim</strong></p> <p>Both the CRE and the mainstream of “not racist” Americans had, as early as the mid 1970’s, adopted and incorporated into the American psyche an approach to “race relations” dubbed by <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duncan_Kennedy_(legal_philosopher)">Duncan Kennedy</a>, “<a href="https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/dlj/vol39/iss4/3/">color-blind meritocratic fundamentalism</a>,” or more simply by <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Peller">Gary Peller</a>, the “ideology of integrationism.” Though an ideology that is all too familiar to Americans, it has existed so close to our noses that we rarely if ever recognize that it is, in fact, an historically contingent <em>ideology</em> in its own right.</p> <p>Gary Peller details this entrenched ideology in his 1990, “<a href="https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/dlj/vol39/iss4/4/">Race Consciousness</a>”:</p> <blockquote><p>[I]ntegrationism should be understood to comprise a set of attitudes and beliefs for perceiving the meaning of racist domination and for identifying the goals of racial justice. The concepts of <strong>prejudice</strong>, <strong>discrimination</strong>, and <strong>segregation</strong> are the key structural elements of this ideology. Each idea embodies a different manifestation of what is seen as the central aspect of racism—the distortion of reason through the prism of myth and ignorance.</p></blockquote> <p><em>Prejudice</em></p> <p>Racism, according to integrationism, is seated in the consciousness. It consists primarily of irrationally according any weight or significance to the “arbitrary fact of skin color.”</p> <blockquote><p>The mental side of racism is accordingly represented as either &#8220;prejudice&#8221;—the prejudging of a person according to mythological stereotypes—or &#8220;bias&#8221;—the process of being influenced by subjective factors. (p. 767)</p></blockquote> <p>The problem, at root, is a matter of knowledge and enlightenment. The problem with Southern segregationists, on this account, is that they were backward hicks who held irrational and unjustifiable beliefs about Black people. They assumed there were important characteristics connected with color—like laziness, dullness, and hyper-sexuality vs. industriousness, intelligence, and moral piety.</p> <p>The cure, therefore, is knowledge. One must clear away his backward, archaic thinking and recognize the falsehood of these stereotypes. In fact, according to integrationism, one must see no significance in “race” whatsoever; it’s best not to notice it at all, if you’re going to be enlightened.</p> <p><em>Discrimination</em></p> <p>Prejudice translates into social action as “discrimination,” that is, allowing race to count in social action, decision making, policy, etc. It is, according to integrationism, racist to allow race to enter into social calculations. If one has overcome prejudice, one will not allow himself to make decisions based on race, for race is only skin deep and makes no actual difference in any sense to the enlightened. Therefore, the solution to discrimination is to make race neutral-decisions and create race-neutral decision procedures and policies. This, for most integrationists is perfectly possible, for “integrationists assumed that fair, impersonal criteria simply would be what remained once the distortion of race consciousness was removed” (p. 799). That is, once consciousness of race is removed from interpersonal and social decision making, neutral categories were already present, intact, and ready to be applied, including assessment of individual “merit,” objective “value,” and neutral “standards.” These latter guaranteed equal treatment would be achieved so long as prejudice and race-consciousness were removed from the social calculus; that is, so long as people were treated as individuals rather than racial group members.</p> <p><em>Segregation</em></p> <p>Segregation is, of course, the institutionalization of prejudice and discrimination. Paradigmatic examples of <em>de jure</em> segregation include South African apartheid and the Jim Crow South. These represent institutionalized prejudice in the form of White supremacy. Simply enough, the solution is integration. Integration at the level of consciousness means overcoming “bias” and sweeping away mythologies and stereotypes and seeing that there is no difference at all between “races.” At the level of discrimination, it means treating everyone as an individual, as un-raced, as equal, “according to neutral norms.” At the institutional level, integration means what the segregationists called “race mixing”; that is, the dismantling of “the social system of racial segregation” (p. 769).</p> <blockquote><p>In sum, the cure for racism would be equal treatment on an individual level and integration on an institutional level. In any event, integrationists believed the two would go hand in hand. Once neutrality replaced discrimination, equal opportunity would lead to integrated institutions; experience in integrated institutions would, in turn, replace the ignorance of racism with the knowledge that actual contact provides. (p. 770)</p></blockquote> <p>Thus, the social problem of racial domination is understood to stem from ignorant prejudices and “bias,” leading to irrational “discrimination” and partiality, institutionally manifested in segregation. In order to address the social problem of racial domination, according to the integrationist ideology, one must overcome prejudice through knowledge, overcome discrimination through “neutrality,” and overcome segregation through integration. This ideology contains a theoretical and practical framework to not only diagnose the social ill, but also to address it.</p> <p><strong>The Ongoing Negative Consequences of Integrationism</strong></p> <p>But this ideology, as common as it is and as natural as it may seem, carries within many of the seeds of retrenchment which would quickly grow into a full reversal of the original goals of the Civil Rights Movement (CRM). Again, in the words of President Lyndon B. Johnson (from <a href="https://thefrontporch.org/2020/07/the-christian-and-critical-race-theory-2-the-segregationist-discourse-and-civil-rights-retrenchment/">Part 2</a>),</p> <blockquote><p>You do not wipe away the scars of centuries by saying: Now you are free to go where you want, and do as you desire, and choose the leaders you please.</p> <p>You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say, “you are free to compete with all the others,” and still justly believe that you have been completely fair.</p> <p>Thus it is not enough just to open the gates of opportunity. All our citizens must have the ability to walk through those gates.</p> <p>This is the next and the more profound stage of the battle for civil rights. We seek not just freedom but opportunity. We seek not just legal equity but human ability, not just equality as a right and a theory but equality as a fact and equality as a result. (“<a href="https://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/commencement-address-at-howard-university-to-fulfill-these-rights/">To Fulfill These Rights</a>”)</p></blockquote> <p>That is, the goal of the CRM was not just to destroy legal segregation and to bring about racial diversity, but to substantively address the subordinated circumstances of a long exploited and marginalized people-group. But how is this possible under the ideology of integrationism?</p> <p>To begin with, integrationism blocks all race-conscious remedies. Affirmative action in education and the workplace must be seen as “discrimination” and therefore as illicit as anti-Black discrimination. Any notion of reparations from the White community to the Black community is likewise out of court. These may be allowed to a limited degree for a limited time in order to achieve enough “diversity” to begin eradicating prejudice and disprove stereotypes, but not as a matter of redistributing social power and resources from one community to another. To suggest the latter is to be racist, whether Black or White, according to the integrationist model.</p> <p>Further, the ideology of integrationism served to legitimize the continued subordinated circumstances of African Americans following the end of Jim Crow and the national adoption of civil rights legislation. Since the legal removal of segregation, discrimination, and eventually prejudice had left “neutral” standards intact and ready for individualistic employment, then whatever the social circumstances followed these reforms must be understood as natural, inevitable, and race-neutral. For integrationists,</p> <blockquote><p>the same criteria that defined the &#8220;standards&#8221; during the period of explicit racism continue to be used, as long as they cannot be linked &#8220;directly&#8221; to racial factors. Within liberal integrationism, racism, seen to consist of a deviation from neutral, impersonal norms, focused on the exclusion of people of color, with the idea that all the rest of the cultural practices of formerly segregated institutions would stay the same. (Peller, p. 778)</p></blockquote> <p>Therefore, under the “not racist” regime of “neutrality”—in the words of Alan Freeman,</p> <blockquote><p>the actual conditions of racial powerlessness, poverty, and unemployment can be regarded as no more than conditions—not as racial discrimination. Those conditions can then be rationalized by treating them as historical accidents or products of a malevolent fate, or, even worse, by blaming the victims as inadequate to function in the good society. (“<a href="http://www.dariaroithmayr.com/pdfs/assignments/Freeman,%20Legitimizing%20Racial%20Discrimination.pdf">Legitimizing Racial Discrimination Through Antidiscrimination Law</a>,” p. 1103)</p></blockquote> <p>And, for White Americans, integrationism was well-suited to function as a “self-justifying ideology of privilege and status.”</p> <blockquote><p>The realm of &#8220;neutral&#8221; social practices from which to identify bias and deviation constitutes a whole realm of institutional characteristics removed from critical view as themselves historical, contingent and rooted in the particularities of culture—a realm that is itself a manifestation of group power, of politics. This obscures the possibility that the very core values of liberal integrationists—the ideals of objectivity, rationality, and neutrality—were historically constructed out of particular perspectives and as responses to specific historical situations rather than representing the transcendence of perspective itself. (Peller, p. 779)</p></blockquote> <p>Finally, the ideology of integrationism is at the heart of our common expectation that racial progress is inevitable, and that the best remedies to be applied are time and patience. Yet, as professor Derrick Bell had observed—as discussed at length in <a href="https://thefrontporch.org/2020/07/the-christian-and-critical-race-theory-part-3-a-bridge-dr-derrick-bell/">Part 3</a>—</p> <blockquote><p>even a rather cursory look at American legal history suggests that in the past, the most significant political advances for blacks resulted from policies which were intended and had the effect of serving the interests and convenience of whites rather than remedying racial injustices against blacks … . Racial discrimination, stifled but not stilled by a generation’s worth of civil rights laws and court decisions, continues to flourish wherever the spur of profit or the fear of loss is present. (“<a href="https://scholarship.law.nd.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2649&amp;context=ndlr">Racial Remediation</a>,” pp. 6, 5)</p></blockquote> <p><strong>Integrationism as an Historical Development</strong></p> <p>But those of you familiar with the traditional Black abolitionist and Civil Rights discourse, as discussed in <a href="https://thefrontporch.org/2020/06/the-christian-and-critical-race-theory-part-1-a-survey-of-the-traditional-civil-rights-discourse/">Part 1</a> of this series, are sure to see the overly narrow and historically abstracted nature of this ideology. It is certainly not what led unifying CRM leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. to declare such things as,</p> <blockquote><p>The dilemma of white America is the source and cause of the dilemma of Negro America. Just as the ambivalence of white Americans grows out of their oppressor status, the predicament of Negro Americans grows out of their oppressed status. (<a href="https://www.uni-five.com/upload/doc/82818file.pdf"><em>Where Do We Go From Here?</em></a>, p. 109)</p></blockquote> <p>Or,</p> <blockquote><p>[o]ne of the great problems that the Negro confronts is his lack of power. From the old plantations of the South to the newer ghettos of the North, the Negro has been confined to a life of voicelessness and powerlessness. Stripped of the right to make decisions concerning his life and destiny, he has been subject to the authoritarian and sometimes whimsical decisions of the white power structure. The plantation and the ghetto were created by those who had power both to confine those who had no power and to perpetuate their powerlessness. The problem of transforming the ghetto is, therefore, a problem of power—a confrontation between the forces of power demanding change and the forces of power dedicated to preserving the status quo. … There is nothing essentially wrong with power. The problem is that in America power is unequally distributed. (p. 37)</p></blockquote> <p>On the contrary, as Peller notes,</p> <blockquote><p>At one time, the idea of racial integration represented a powerful, spiritually-rooted social resistance movement that threatened to destabilize the status quo of American institutional life in profound ways. Under the banner of integrationism, hundreds of thousands of people mobilized to challenge the political, economic, and cultural power relations in cities and towns across the country, employing tactics that included mass protest, economic boycotts, civil disobedience, sit-ins, and strikes. There is therefore nothing intrinsic to the concept of racial integration that demands that it be understood in the way I … describe it. (p. 767)</p></blockquote> <p>Like every other ideology—as I hope we are coming to see in this series—the ideology of integrationism was forged in the furnace of history, not found in the pages of the Bible, the imprint of nature, conscience, common sense, or what have you. It needn’t have been so; there were other analytics available. No, the ideology of integrationism, which had become the standard view of proper “race relations” in America by the mid 1970’s, was an historically contingent product of two powerful convergences: (1) the mainstream absorption of the CRM discourse into the prevailing <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberalism#:~:text=Liberalism%20is%20a%20political%20and,and%20equality%20before%20the%20law.">ideology of abstract liberalism</a> and (2) an unstated compromise between White progressives and the Black middle class to reject the discourse of “Black Power” and the Black nationalist movement.</p> <p><strong>Integrationism: Absorption of the CRM Discourse into Liberalism</strong></p> <p>In the first place, progressive White Americans were able to absorb the message of the CRM into their existing ideals of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberalism#:~:text=Liberalism%20is%20a%20political%20and,and%20equality%20before%20the%20law.">liberalism</a> by casting the CRM as part of a broader social movement from particularism to universalism. Racism, according to this analysis, is just a specie of the general mythological, backward, and irrational emphasis on the particularities of humanity, as opposed to the more enlightened, universal understanding of humanity, human nature, and the attendant ideals of transnational/transhistorical normative social relations.</p> <p>Consequently (again, Peller),</p> <blockquote><p>Social domination based on race, gender, sexual preference, religion, age, national origin, language, and physical disability or appearance, can all be categorized as the same phenomena because they all represent bias—understood as a deviation from a neutral, rational standard.</p></blockquote> <p>Further, any “racism” between “whites” and “blacks” is really no different than “ethnic” conflicts between, e.g., English-, Polish-, Irish-, or Italian-Americans—despite the very specific and different set of circumstances, laws, economics, and scientific theories which had historically constructed the concepts of “Black Race” and “White Race.”</p> <blockquote><p>From this structure, it begins to appear that the social subordination of various groups does not have a complex, particular, and historical context, but rather is a formal, numeric problem of the relations of majorities to minorities, unified under the concept &#8220;discrimination.&#8221; (p.773)</p></blockquote> <p>Second, the CRM was folded into the general liberal ideal of individualism and individual freedom as the goal of social progress.</p> <blockquote><p>Like classical images of the common law, the vision underlying integrationist ideology is of American culture working itself pure by overcoming the distortions of various kinds of prejudice in favor of the increasing rationalization of institutional forms, which in turn provides greater individual liberty to choose, free of coercive social power. Freedom from racial discrimination is but one instance of the historical move from status to contract, from caste to individual liberty.</p></blockquote> <p>“Racial integration” then becomes “one part of a web of meaning that constitutes the dominant ideology of the nature of social progress itself.”</p> <blockquote><p>The meaning of race has been grafted onto other central cultural images of progress, so that the transition from segregation to integration and from race consciousness to race neutrality mirrors movements from myth to enlightenment, from ignorance to knowledge, from superstition to reason, from the primitive to the civilized, from religion to secularism, and, most importantly, the historical self-understanding of liberal society as representing the movement from status to individual liberty. In other words, integrationist ideology comprehends the issue of racial domination by viewing race relations through stock images about the nature of progress in liberal society…. (p. 774)</p></blockquote> <p>Thus, the radical message of the CRM was successfully absorbed into the broader liberal ideology already present within White Americans’ social tool kit. And not only was this radical edge lost, but the stage was early set to substitute the ideals of neutrality and formal equality for the ideals of genuine substantive change in circumstances, as discussed above (and in the last few posts).</p> <p><strong>Integrationism: The Compromise to Reject Black Nationalism</strong></p> <p>Next, the ideology of integrationism was a compromise between White upper-class liberals and the Black middle-class to reject both White supremacy and Black nationalism as two sides of the same bigoted coin. There had, of course, been a long tradition of Black nationalism among abolitionists and CR activists, going back more than 100 years. But most all of these movements seemed to coalesce, for a time, in the peaceful, though confrontational, direct action movements led by Dr. King. By the late 1960’s, however, this alliance had thoroughly fractured and Black nationalism and Black Power soon became the dominant movement among the Black masses.</p> <p><strong>The Ideology of Black Power and Black Nationalism</strong></p> <p>Though legal integration had become the norm throughout the South and the federal government had imposed civil rights reforms throug Pastoring Through Polarization https://thefrontporch.org/2020/10/pastoring-through-polarization/ The Front Porch urn:uuid:e8901840-29f4-60ad-6dd8-b853ee454e66 Tue, 06 Oct 2020 08:00:10 -0500 Polarization seems to be the new normal in Christian life. But we can and must lead through it. <p>As we enter the last quarter of 2020, it is hard to take in all that this year has brought our way. We’ve had a global pandemic, economic challenges, history’s largest mass protest for racial justice, and incredible polarization across political and ethnic lines. For pastors, ministry has included ministering to members with job loss, sickness, and relational tensions. Pastors are also ministering to people who are immersed in a 24/7 newscycle and social media feeds. Some church members are immersed in blogs written by other pastors telling them to listen for certain words that could “signal” their pastor is on a dangerous journey toward a false gospel. Evangelicalism is being drowned out by a mixture of fundamentalism and ethno-nationalism as national voices alert church members that their pastoral leadership should no longer be trusted if it is addressing issues of race, systemic injustice, and social ills.</p> <p>That is not all that is happening within congregations. Secularism is producing strong currents of individualism and consumerism. Fundamentalism can take a different shape in progressive space: a narrowing tolerance for those who don’t share political or cultural values makes it nearly impossible to find common ground in the midst of difference. There is little willingness to work through tensions that surface in the context of community. It’s not uncommon for pastors to be approached by church members who are full of judgment for those with divergent opinions.</p> <p>And yet, there is a third group. One that is suspicious of the extremes on either side. While they may reject ugly partisanship, there is another trap they can fall into. They can fancy themselves “moderates” and build identities around centerism imagining themselves abstractly floating above it all. Over time they can become cynical, apathetic, oblivious to the pain their neighbors are experiencing. These “moderates” can deny or minimize the suffering of others supporting injustice by maintaining the status quo with their silence or relational isolation from those suffering.</p> <p>With all these groups represented in the body of Christ right now, how do pastors serve their church through this polarization? How do we listen to the Spirit’s call to do justice? How do we spur members to steward their resources to seek repair where injustice distorts and erodes? How do we ensure our congregations remain committed to the long path of racial reconciliation? I would like to propose three things to consider as you pastor through polarization.</p> <p><strong>First, the pastoral vocation has not fully prepared you for this season.</strong></p> <p>While this year brings an entirely new level of difficulty, 2020 has exposed challenges that have existed for a long time in the pastoral vocation. This season needs pastors who have the spiritual depth to sit in complex tension with no easy answers, practice discernment, seek God’s wisdom, and courageously respond in an anxious and dark season.</p> <p>I’ve now sat with hundreds of pastors one on one and listened to their ministry struggles. There are consistent challenges pastors battle that make pastoring through polarization nearly impossible if they’re not addressed. The major models of the American church attracts and motivates pastors who really want to make a difference for Jesus by doing something really important for God. This is not inherently a bad thing. Children want to please their parents. We too want to do beautiful things for and with God. The problem comes when this desire gets intermingled with a leader&#8217;s identity. When this happens, one consequence is that pain becomes unbearable. This is a challenge for those of us who are called to shepherd complex people through disorienting and confusing times for the foreseeable future.</p> <p>The pastoral vocation can reward those who like platform, authority, power, significance, control, and the approval of others. The problem is not that pastors desire these things. Every human does. The problem is a lack of spiritual attentiveness and self awareness that makes it difficult for leaders to notice how much these desires shape their identity and drive them. Spiritual depth allows leaders to resist shrinking back from these desires, ashamed that they exist or indulging them through their vocation or other addictions. Depth with God allows leaders to see their shadows, understand their wounds, and become comfortable with their unsatisfied longings. Pastoring through polarization means leaders will need a depth of spirituality and authentic community that is able to examine:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Ego</strong>: Pride kills. It’s rampant in pastoral ministry. It can look like severe shame dependent on the affirmation of others or narcissistic dismissal of any who challenge you. Ego is a barrier to greater intimacy with God and others and you can’t will it away. The Spirit desires to expose and gently strip away new layers of your ego while forming your identity in Christ as a beloved child of God. It&#8217;s a painful process and yet a grace from God. Create space for the Lord to do the deep, slow work of exposing layer after layer. Meditate on scripture, practice prolonged silence, open yourself up vulnerably to trusted friends or a counselor. This is a lifelong process, yet years like 2020 allow for some extra heat to burn many layers away at once.</li> <li><strong>Independence</strong>: Pastoring through polarization will require great inter-dependence, authentic friendship, and complex collaboration with other leaders both within your church and within your city. Polarization can create a lot of busy work for pastors. These times can be so distracting that little time is spent investing in the leaders who can encourage and nurture the maturing disciples within your church ready to risk many things to follow Jesus and make disciples. Busy pastors have little time to learn how to lead through a team. The season ahead requires a team of diversely gifted men and women committed to empower God’s people to be a faithful witness to Jesus. The church needs far more than pastors and elders; it needs every member of the body developed and activated to build and nurture reconciling communities.</li> <li><strong>Ungodly fear</strong>: This is rampant in the nation and in our church and it distorts reality. We have fears of a slippery slope. Fears of losing too many church members. Fears of saying the wrong thing, being perceived wrongly, or offending people. Fears of moving toward our enemies. Fears of financial consequences. Fear can mass-produce converts to fundamentalism, but it cannot make radical disciples of Jesus. Fear is destroying the holy imagination of conservatives and progressives. It leads to judgmentalism, blindness and mischaracterization of those you disagree with. Be quick to notice, confess and repent of it.</li> <li><strong>Needs and desires</strong>: Leading through these times will require being able to remain in extraordinary tension, increase your pain tolerance, let go of offense, be honest about the wounds that will come, and get in touch with your deeper longings. The most dangerous leaders are those unaware of their desires. Pastoring through polarization can feel like a lonely road, but the truth is you aren’t alone. Countless leaders across the nation are also walking this path. And even in the spaces where we truly are alone, the voice of Jesus whispers in these dark places calling us to experience our union with him in deeper ways. This is not some cheap Christian platitude. It’s excruciating to hold severe loneliness, rejection or relational loss and yet these are the places of loud invitation to greater depth with God, self and others.</li> </ol> <p><strong>Second, the worst may be yet to come.</strong></p> <p>November and the months that follow will likely increase the anger, fear, violence, and polarization happening within our nation. Wise pastors and church leaders would serve their congregations well by doing the following:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Map it out</strong>. Ask yourself: what is another wave of polarization going to do to my congregation? Who will be most affected in the season to come? Most exhausted or discouraged? Most fearful? Most tempted to be divisive? Write their names down. Pray for them. Discuss with your leadership. Help your leaders identify now how the coming months may impact your congregation. Are there specific people that need intentional pastoring to foster fruit of the Spirit? Are there people who seem at odds with one another? Do you have adequate space on your calendar to provide pastoral care and sound teaching? Try to move from reacting to your church members to being proactive.</li> <li><strong>Prepare your people</strong>. Keep communicating God’s heart to your people. He longs for his children to stay at the table, love one another and love their neighbors. Move away from overly nuanced language and find concrete words and images to help your church members understand what is happening. Help them articulate the various emotions polarization brings up for them. Tell them this will continue into 2021 and beyond. Ask them to take initiative to gather with those different from them in the church to pray. Help them learn to avoid swallowing the ideology of the left and the right, but give them permission to affirm the good intentions of both. Encourage them to not disconnect in some abstract middle, but to stick close to Jesus and grow in a radical love of neighbor, the marginalized, and their enemies. Keep talking about racial justice, systemic racism, and the individual ways we divide from each other. Keep giving vision for what the world could look like if Jesus followers learned to nurture reconciling communities. Tell them that if we are to endure and mature in this season, it will take growing in humility, providing hospitality, doing justice, participating in peacemaking, forgiveness, and setting aside time together to lament. These are the practices that make the truth of the gospel and the hope of the resurrection alive and real and this is what will pass on an authentic faith in Jesus to our neighbors and generations that follow.</li> <li><strong>Name the appropriate enemy</strong>. One of the challenges right now is a misplaced understanding of who is the enemy. In seasons filled with confusion and distraction it is helpful to remind people who is not and who is their enemy and what kind of behaviors participate with the enemy, behaviors such as: dissension, factions, fits of rage, discord, hatred, and idolatry (<cite class="bibleref" title="Galatians 5:19-21" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip0_9119_anchor"></a>). <cite class="bibleref" title="Ephesians 6:12" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip1_203_anchor"></a> is clear: “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” The evil one loves to distort truth and take the good of creation and demand we become idol worshippers. Idols such as individualism and consumerism benefit from systems that oppress, dehumanize, and marginalize others. We are called to resist these forces often at great cost. Incorporate specific examples into your teaching and train church members to love their enemies.</li> <li><strong>Accept it</strong>. 2020 has been disruptive for the entire nation, but this division began six or seven years ago for leaders of color within the American church. Many leading in multi-ethnic spaces began awakening to serious barriers to help Christians of different ethnicities participate in the work of reconciliation. Churches in urban contexts that have any measure of diversity have seen this disruption impact the life of their church and there’s much to learn from them. There are centuries of history that came before us in which the American church segregated and participated in acts of violence and perpetuated injustice in our systems and structures. The wounds are deep and old. As polarization continues, church members will likely leave your church in the months and years to come. Help leaders name the losses as they come. Remain tender to God’s people. Guard against self-righteousness and bitterness. Forgive each other. The Lord is pruning his church— don&#8217;t resist it.</li> </ol> <p><strong>Lastly, polarization isn’t always a bad thing.</strong></p> <p>Polarization isn’t always a bad thing. It can reveal how tribal we have become and shine light on the narrow path that Jesus offers those who dare to follow. The community Jesus created included the hated tax collectors, Roman oppressors, political zealots, Pharisees, rabbis, those deemed unclean from diseases, fishermen, some wealthy, a lot of poor, women, Samaritans, tradesmen (like carpenters) and on and on. Many “identities” were represented at Jesus&#8217; table. He lived in hostile times and there were passionate disagreements around how to live within the oppressive Roman empire.</p> <p>These identities did not belong to each disciple as an individual, but often the disciples inhabited them because they were family identities. Vocations, class, and political leanings were often passed down through family lineages. A decision to leave everything and follow Jesus could be seen as a rejection of a father, mother, brother, sister. Even more so, to build community and identity around a table that included the “others” threatened the identity and place of belonging you had with your own family. These “others” you were building relationships with were likely those your family spent a lifetime distant from, judging, perhaps seeking to defeat.</p> <p>When Jesus says, “love me more than your mother and father” in <cite class="bibleref" title="Matthew 10" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip2_9371_anchor"></a>, he is asking for something incredibly sacrificial—not simply a preference for Jesus over family, but identifying with the kinds of “other” people that brought shame and even distance to your family. To a culture that deeply valued honoring your family, this was more costly then we can imagine.</p> <p>“Whoever loses your life for my sake will find it” Jesus says. Whoever loses their tribal identity because of Jesus in order to live within his radical reconciling community will find life within the beloved saints. Jesus&#8217; disciples would live within this tension right up until Jesus&#8217; death when their own family, their own “tribes” surrounded their Lord and yelled “crucify.” Imagine your own family, childhood friends, and college roommates surrounding the tortured and dying body of the man you’d spent years giving everything to, shouting “kill him.”</p> <p>When Jesus resurrected from the dead, the disciples needed the breath of Christ on their face to empower their forgiveness (<cite class="bibleref" title="John 20:21" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip3_6872_anchor"></a>) &#8211; forgiveness of themselves, the oppressive Roman rulers and their very own families who cheered on while Jesus was brutalized. This forgiveness was necessary if they were to become a new tribe that would go into the many existing tribes and call them into a new humanity, one in which Christ is the head and all dividing walls of hostility are brought down.</p> <p>This new humanity affirms, subverts and challenges the identity of the existing tribes by uniting them to those who think and behave differently and asking them to radically and tangibly love one another, most especially the weakest, poorest, and marginalized among them. Polarizing seasons are a reminder of just how radical the way of Jesus truly is. This call is one in which you will lose your life, but you will gain Jesus and along with him you will gain his beloved community.</p> <p>Pastors, as you continue to serve your churches in the days ahead traversing difficult terrain, know that Christ goes with you and guides you on this journey.</p> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Galatians 5:19-21" data-href="http://www.esvbible.org/search/Galatians%205.19-21/" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Galatians 5:19-21" data-anchor="#tippy_tip0_9119_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="Ephesians 6:12" data-href="http://www.esvbible.org/search/Ephesians%206.12/" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Ephesians 6:12" data-anchor="#tippy_tip1_203_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="Matthew 10" data-href="http://www.esvbible.org/search/Matthew%2010/" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Matthew 10" data-anchor="#tippy_tip2_9371_anchor" ><p id="p40010001.04-1"><span class="chapter-num" id="v40010001-1">10:1&nbsp;</span>And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. <span class="verse-num" id="v40010002-1">2&nbsp;</span>The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; <span class="verse-num" id="v40010003-1">3&nbsp;</span>Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; <span class="verse-num" id="v40010004-1">4&nbsp;</span>Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.</p> <p id="p40010005.07-1"><span class="verse-num" id="v40010005-1">5&nbsp;</span>These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, <span class="woc">&#8220;Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans,</span> <span class="verse-num woc" id="v40010006-1">6&nbsp;</span><span class="woc">but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.</span> <span class="verse-num woc" id="v40010007-1">7&nbsp;</span><span class="woc">And proclaim as you go, saying, &#8216;The kingdom of heaven is at hand.&#8217;</span> <span class="verse-num woc" id="v40010008-1">8&nbsp;</span><span class="woc">Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.</span> <span class="verse-num woc" id="v40010009-1">9&nbsp;</span><span class="woc">Acquire no gold nor silver nor copper for your belts,</span> <span class="verse-num woc" id="v40010010-1">10&nbsp;</span><span class="woc">no bag for your journey, nor two tunics nor sandals nor a staff, for the laborer deserves his food.</span> <span class="verse-num woc" id="v40010011-1">11&nbsp;</span><span class="woc">And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart.</span> <span class="verse-num woc" id="v40010012-1">12&nbsp;</span><span class="woc">As you enter the house, greet it.</span> <span class="verse-num woc" id="v40010013-1">13&nbsp;</span><span class="woc">And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.</span> <span class="verse-num woc" id="v40010014-1">14&nbsp;</span><span class="woc">And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town.</span> <span class="verse-num woc" id="v40010015-1">15&nbsp;</span><span class="woc">Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.</span></p> <p id="p40010016.04-1"><span class="verse-num woc" id="v40010016-1">16&nbsp;</span><span class="woc">&#8220;Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.</span> <span class="verse-num woc" id="v40010017-1">17&nbsp;</span><span class="woc">Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues,</span> <span class="verse-num woc" id="v40010018-1">18&nbsp;</span><span class="woc">and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.</span> <span class="verse-num woc" id="v40010019-1">19&nbsp;</span><span class="woc">When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour.</span> <span class="verse-num woc" id="v40010020-1">20&nbsp;</span><span class="woc">For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.</span> <span class="verse-num woc" id="v40010021-1">21&nbsp;</span><span class="woc">Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death,</span> <span class="verse-num woc" id="v40010022-1">22&nbsp;</span><span class="woc">and you will be hated by all for my name&#8217;s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.</span> <span class="verse-num woc" id="v40010023-1">23&nbsp;</span><span class="woc">When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.</span></p> <p id="p40010024.01-1"><span class="verse-num woc" id="v40010024-1">24&nbsp;</span><span class="woc">&#8220;A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.</span> <span class="verse-num woc" id="v40010025-1">25&nbsp;</span><span class="woc">It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.</span></p> <p id="p40010026. The #1 Reason You Have to Care about Mental Health https://djchuang.com/the-1-reason-you-have-to-care-about-mental-health/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:a28c0eac-0b72-f613-a18e-55c417e42625 Tue, 29 Sep 2020 12:52:57 -0500 <p>Your brain controls everything about you. Since you have a brain and a mind, you have to take care of your mental health. If I may simply what mental health is all about, it&#8217;s about managing the stresses of life. And in&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>This article <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com/the-1-reason-you-have-to-care-about-mental-health/">The #1 Reason You Have to Care about Mental Health</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=eAygxMMJ25o:A2T21YsU6to:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=eAygxMMJ25o:A2T21YsU6to:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/eAygxMMJ25o" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Politics and the Christian Faith: Thoughts on John MacArthur’s Statement https://thefrontporch.org/2020/09/politics-and-the-christian-faith-thoughts-on-john-macarthurs-statement/ The Front Porch urn:uuid:bdb51963-51f0-3c6e-4daf-37a4f843fec9 Thu, 24 Sep 2020 09:32:30 -0500 There is no such thing as a "Christian vote", only a Christian who votes. <p>A couple of weeks ago, Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church shared in an interview with the Falkirk Center at Liberty University, his conversation with President Donald Trump. In that conversation Pastor MacArthur gave reasons why a true believer could not vote Democrat, “Because there is no way that a Christian could affirm the slaughter of babies, homosexual activity, homosexual marriage or any kind of gross immorality. No way we could stand behind a candidate who is affirming transgender behavior which of course is really the reprobate mind of <cite class="bibleref" title="Romans 1" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip0_8104_anchor"></a>… Any real, true believer is going to be on your side [Trump] in this election”.</p> <p>It is Pastor MacArthur’s last statement that has caused a bit of concern as we prepare for the coming election. Is the assurance of one’s salvation determined by how one votes? If you vote Democrat does this mean you are not a real true believer in Jesus Christ? If you vote for President Trump does this prove you are a true believer in Jesus Christ? How you answer these questions will not only define salvation, but if the church should be known more by its political affiliation than its gospel witness, since now the proof of Christian obedience is tied to one’s politics.</p> <p>Now, just in case you think I’m taking Pastor MacArthur’s statement to an extreme, consider a recent account of a 21 year old minister from Arlington, Texas, who was denied the renewal of his license for gospel ministry because of his public endorsement of democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden. Is church membership or church discipline also determined by whether you vote Republican or Democrat?</p> <p>If this is the way we are thinking we need to be more open and honest about it. It shouldn’t be during the election season we discover that the assurance of one’s salvation or qualification for ministry is measured by what political party you support. Let’s start inserting this into our doctrinal statements and New Members Class curriculum. And I say this perfectly understanding why Pastor MacArthur believes this is not an issue to agree to disagree upon. For in his statement he concludes that the Democratic Party affirms behaviors that reflect the reprobate mind of <cite class="bibleref" title="Romans 1" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip1_5163_anchor"></a>.</p> <p>When you read <cite class="bibleref" title="Romans 1:18-32" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip2_9345_anchor"></a>, it does read like a biblical analysis of the modern day sins in our country. Paul begins by stating that the wrath of God is against “all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” [1:18]. From <cite class="bibleref" title="Romans 1:21-23" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip3_6695_anchor"></a>, he describes the ungodliness of men as being aware of God’s existence in creation and conscience, yet refusing to give Him glory or thanks. But instead exchanges the knowledge of the Creator for the worship of the creation. And then in <cite class="bibleref" title="Romans 1:24-32" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip4_6528_anchor"></a>, Paul describes how the unrighteousness of men is manifested in sexual immorality, lesbianism, homosexuality and a lack of natural affection in the family, which demonstrates that God in His wrath has given mankind over to a reprobate mind.</p> <p>If there was one political party in America that fits the description of support for these behaviors we would have to say it is the Democratic Party. But does that automatically mean that the Republican Party is the party for the Christian?</p> <p><strong>Secular Liberalism and Conservatism Are Under the Wrath of God:</strong></p> <p>Any serious student of Scripture must always take into consideration the structural outline of a book in order to discern the transitions from one subject or scene to another. In the book of Romans the section beginning with the wrath of God being upon “all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” [<cite class="bibleref" title="Rom. 1:18" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip5_3987_anchor"></a>], doesn’t end at <cite class="bibleref" title="Rom. 1:32" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip6_3419_anchor"></a> of the same chapter, but continues through <cite class="bibleref" title="Rom. 2" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip7_7246_anchor"></a>. In <cite class="bibleref" title="Rom. 2" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip8_8155_anchor"></a> Paul writes, “Therefore you are without excuse, every man of you who passes judgment, for in that you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things” [<cite class="bibleref" title="Rom. 2:1" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip9_5994_anchor"></a>].</p> <p>Paul charges the secular conservative as being under the wrath of God for passing judgment upon the secular liberal because he practices the same sins the secular liberal promotes. When I read this I couldn’t help but to see the parallel between the secular conservative in Paul’s day and the present-day conservatives in our nation. Let me summarize some of the recent scandals of the Republican Party and you decide whether <cite class="bibleref" title="Romans 2:1-3" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip10_926_anchor"></a> applies to what we are seeing today:</p> <ul> <li>Former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley [Republican] adultery with former top aide. This Governor was a deacon and Sunday School teacher at a Baptist church. [2017]</li> <li>Daily Mail: Oklahoma State Senator [Republican] Ralph Shortey, engaging in child prostitution, caught with a teenage boy in a motel room…According to the Associated Press report that as a state senator, Shortey “routinely voted with his Republican colleagues on bills targeting gay and transgender people,” including a measure passed in 2017 to allow business owners to discriminate against LGBT people.]</li> <li>NBC News 10/21/2017 – Several consecutive groups knew Wes Goodman, a GOP lawmaker who supported “natural marriage, had been secretly engaging in sexual encounters with men… a self-proclaimed Christian conservative.</li> </ul> <p>One of the most egregious acts of sin in recent times has been the murder of babies. And the party that has championed the cause for the unborn has been the Republican Party. This truth has caused many Christians to promote the philosophy of the single vote in support for the life of the unborn. But does the Republican Party really stand against abortion?</p> <ul> <li>Elliot Broidy, former RNC deputy finance chairman paid $1.6 million to a Playboy Playmate he had an affair with, after she aborted his child. [The Guardian: A Republican theme on abortions: “It’s Ok for me, evil for thee” article by Arwa Mahdawi, August 25, 2018]</li> <li>Scott DesJarlais a Republican congressman from Tennessee supported his ex-wife’s decision to get two abortions before their marriage… Even after all that information came out DesJarlais still had the gall to vote for anti-abortion bills and boast of having a “100% pro-life voting record”.</li> <li>Kentucky Senator Rand Paul accused Republicans of being fake “pro-life” supporters [Newsweek.com; 7/3/19] – Quote: “Last year, I tried to attach to a spending bill a prohibition to have any money spent by Planned Parenthood. You know what happened? [GOP leadership] sat me down and one of the senior Republican Senators said, “We cannot have the vote today.” I said, ‘Why?’ He said ‘we might win.’” Last August, Paul’s Senate office issued a statement about Republicans blocking his amendment to “Defund Planned Parenthood.”</li> <li>Chief Justice John Roberts [Republican] provided the decisive vote to preserve access to abortion in Louisiana [CNN.com 6/29/20]</li> </ul> <p>According to LifeSite Catholic 9/4/20 – Trump promises to ‘fully defund’ Planned Parenthood if he wins election. Yet from 2017-18, the Republican Party had control in the White House, Senate and House. It was Dr. Russell Moore, from the ERLC who remarked when two pro-life bills failed before the Senate in February of this year, “It ought to be a national scandal that the US Senate failed to advance either of these basic and commonsense bills that would protect human life.” You tell me, which party do you vote for when it comes to the single issue of abortion? The party that supports abortion or the party that refuses to stop abortion?</p> <p>If you support the secular conservative you need to think through Paul’s question to them, “And do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment upon those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? [<cite class="bibleref" title="Rom. 2:3" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip11_1570_anchor"></a>] When a politician is committed to righteous policies but not righteous living, the Lord doesn’t endorse him, but condemns him. The wrath of God is against secular liberalism and secular conservatism.</p> <p>Samuel Perry, “Dear Christian, If you recognize everything about a candidate is immoral other than their stance on abortion, then perhaps their stance on abortion doesn’t actually emerge from genuine morality at all. Maybe their position emerges from their immoral desire to dupe suckers.”</p> <p><strong>The Devil Is in the Politics:</strong></p> <p>The Bible describes the devil as “the god of this age” [<cite class="bibleref" title="2 Cor. 4:4" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip12_1567_anchor"></a>], “the ruler of the world” [<cite class="bibleref" title="John 14:30" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip13_3653_anchor"></a>] and “the prince of the power of the air” [<cite class="bibleref" title="Eph. 2:2" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip14_6807_anchor"></a>]. This means that the devil has authority over sinners who occupy positions in government [<cite class="bibleref" title="Matt. 4:8-9" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip15_8574_anchor"></a>]. Yes, God created the institution of government to be a minister of good and an avenger of evil in society [<cite class="bibleref" title="Rom. 13:1-4" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip16_3001_anchor"></a>]. And on many occasions it fulfills this purpose and on many other occasions it has failed to fulfill its purpose. The reason for this is the devil, not Christ is ruling over every system of government in this world. If this were not true, why would Jesus command us to pray to God, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven?” [<cite class="bibleref" title="Matt. 6:10" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip17_2569_anchor"></a>]</p> <p>The church’s struggle is not with politicians in Washington but with the devil himself. They are not the enemy but our mission field. Our enemy is one who hates God and those made in His image. He is not only God’s adversary but the believer’s as well [<cite class="bibleref" title="1 Pet. 5:8" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip18_138_anchor"></a>]. Jesus even referred to him as “a murderer from the beginning” [<cite class="bibleref" title="John 8:44" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip19_4497_anchor"></a>]. In other words, the devil murdered the human race when Adam fell in the Garden, “For as in Adam all die” [<cite class="bibleref" title="1 Cor. 15:22" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip20_2106_anchor"></a>].</p> <p>So we must understand that any political ideology that minimizes the importance of care for all image-bearer regardless of ethnicity, social class, age or gender is under the influence of the destroyer of man’s souls not the Savior of it. When Christians are tempted to choose between the lesser of two evils, or trifle with either/or ethics and yes/but deflections. The witness of the church suffers because its politics are being driven by situational ethics or relative views on morality, instead of a holistic view on matters of justice. In fact, the Lord often commanded Israel to care for the weak and afflicted in society because there was a tendency to overlook their needs. You never find a command to care for the rich and powerful, because it is a product of our sinfulness to always exploit weakness.</p> <p>When the Lord called on apostate Judah to amend it ways in order to remain in the land He said, “if you truly practice justice between a man and his neighbor, if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin, then I will let you dwell in this place.” [<cite class="bibleref" title="Jer. 7:5" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip21_2695_anchor"></a>b-7a] Justice between a man and his neighbor means to treat each neighbor right. If our theology leaves us to choose between the immigrant or the orphan, the poor or the unborn, the police officer or the unarmed African-American, we are not representing a biblical view on these issues but an irreligious one. For the book of James tells us that pure and undefiled religion entails showing compassion to the orphan and widow in their distress [1:27], abstaining from the sin of partiality [2:1-13] and demonstrating a righteous anger against injustice [5:1-6]. And he warns us that “whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” [Jas. 2:10]. We are guilty of all God’s commandments if we are selective in keeping only a few. We are in sin of the whole if we reduce and only keep a part.</p> <p><strong>There Is No Christian Vote Just a Christian who Votes:</strong></p> <p>My reasons for writing this article was not to provide a solution on how one should vote but to awaken us to a dilemma. When you place your vote for the support of a candidate, you may reason that you are not voting in support of the person’s behavior but his policies. But realize when you cast your vote it will only be interpreted one way, you support this candidate. Period.</p> <p>Yes, no party is perfect, but also no party is Christian. When you vote you are essentially supporting which pagan you believe will bring some good to society. So voting is a common grace not a promotion of the Christian faith. There’s a difference. Therefore there is no such thing as a Christian vote; but a Christian who votes. In other words, you vote as one who professes Christ, but your vote itself doesn’t represent the kingdom of God, it doesn’t advance the gospel of Christ, it merely affirms your earthly citizenship. You are a Christian who votes just like you are Christian who plays a sport, or a Christian who watches a movie. Your involvement in these activities are not kingdom activities but Christian liberties we enjoy in this life. The only agenda of God’s kingdom that we are commanded to advance, is the gospel!</p> <p>Therefore, if you chose not to vote, guess what, you would not be in sin and God’s kingdom will not be hindered from advancing. If you chose to vote, guess what? Your vote, regardless of who you vote for, doesn’t hinder God’s kingdom from advancing because His kingdom is not of this world [<cite class="bibleref" title="John 18:36" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip22_8835_anchor"></a>]. Jesus is not building a political party; He is building His church. Jesus is not seeking to Make America Great, but making His kingdom great. And the last time I read my Bible, it revealed that God the Father does not give the title deed to the earth, to the donkey or the elephant, but to the Lamb [<cite class="bibleref" title="Rev. 5" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip23_5545_anchor"></a>]. So let’s be honest, when you vote, you are voting for the candidate that will further your cause, not Christ’s.</p> <p>Your vote doesn’t cause God’s kingdom to come, or His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. So let’s stop trying to Christianize our vote; because our vote has nothing to do with determining our salvation. Our Christianity is based on faith alone, in Christ alone, and demonstrated by pursuing Christ-likeness. And to be Christ-like, is to promote the politics of Christ’s kingdom. For the apostle Paul wrote, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” [<cite class="bibleref" title="Phil. 3:20" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip24_8379_anchor"></a>]. The Greek word for “citizenship” (<em>politeuma</em>) is where we get the English word “politics,” which refers to a person’s behavior as a citizen of a nation. Our citizenship in heaven has nothing to do with what will take place in November. Our energies should be focused on promoting the interests of heaven on earth. Therefore as citizens of heaven:</p> <p>We should be praying, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” instead of reciting <cite class="bibleref" title="2 Chronicles 7:14" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip25_1358_anchor"></a>, because the land is not groaning over the sins of America but longing for the revealing of the sons of God [<cite class="bibleref" title="Rom. 8:19" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip26_6228_anchor"></a>].</p> <p>We should be striving as a church of diverse opinions and ethnicities to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace [<cite class="bibleref" title="Eph. 4:3" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip27_4539_anchor"></a>]; instead of dividing over earthly political parties governed by the devil.</p> <p>We should be more concerned about maintaining our Christian witness in a crooked and perverse generation [<cite class="bibleref" title="Phil. 2:15" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip28_6248_anchor"></a>], than seeking to maintain our religious liberties.</p> <p>We should seek to separate the Christian faith from politics and American patriotism; because America is not the bride of Christ, the church is.</p> <p>We should put our hope in Christ, instead of putting our trust in politicians [<cite class="bibleref" title="Psalm 118:8-9" style="display: none;"></cite><a id="tippy_tip29_6493_anchor"></a>].</p> <div class="tippy" data-showheader="1" data-title="Romans 1" data-href="http://www.esvbible.org/search/Romans%201/" data-class="esv" data-headertitle="Romans 1" data-anchor="#tippy_tip0_8104_anchor" ><p class="chapter-first" id="p45001001.02-1"><span class="chapter-num" id="v45001001-1">1:1&nbsp;</span>Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, <span class="verse-num" id="v45001002-1">2&nbsp;</span>which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, <span class="verse-num" id="v45001003-1">3&nbsp;</span>concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh <span class="verse-num" id="v45001004-1">4&nbsp;</span>and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, <span class="verse-num" id="v45001005-1">5&nbsp;</span>through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, <span class="verse-num" id="v45001006-1">6&nbsp;</span>including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,</p> <p id="p45001007.01-1"><span class="verse-num" id="v45001007-1">7&nbsp;</span>To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:</p><p id="p45001007.16-1">Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.</p> <p id="p45001008.06-1"><span class="verse-num" id="v45001008-1">8&nbsp;</span>First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. <span class="verse-num" id="v45001009-1">9&nbsp;</span>For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you <span class="verse-num" id="v45001010-1">10&nbsp;</span>always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God&#8217;s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. <span class="verse-num" id="v45001011-1">11&nbsp;</span>For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you&#8212; <span class="verse-num" id="v45001012-1">12&nbsp;</span>that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other&#8217;s faith, both yours and mine. <span class="verse-num" id="v45001013-1">13&nbsp;</span>I want you to know, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. <span class="verse-num" id="v45001014-1">14&nbsp;</span>I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. <span class="verse-num" id="v45001015-1">15&nbsp;</span>So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.</p> <p id="p45001016.07-1"><span class="verse-num" id="v45001016-1">16&nbsp;</span>For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. <span class="verse-num" id="v45001017-1">17&nbsp;</span>For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, &#8220;The righteous shall live by faith.&#8221;</p> <p id="p45001018.05-1"><span class="verse-num" id="v45001018-1">18&nbsp;</span>For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. <span class="verse-num" id="v45001019-1">19&nbsp;</span>For what can be known about God is plain to Video Email Made Easier, Free and Paid Platforms https://djchuang.com/video-email-made-easier-free-and-paid-platforms/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:5da79d21-7804-9194-5fd4-bc98d5803b27 Wed, 23 Sep 2020 13:05:11 -0500 <p>Communicating more personally adds so much to building relationships and video technology makes the human connection better than ever. 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