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/ Fighting for Black Wombs: Struggling to be Seen https://thewitnessbcc.com/fighting-for-black-wombs-struggling-to-be-seen/ The Witness urn:uuid:4f3bdd73-606d-a46b-13bb-43b6f51ca75e Wed, 14 Apr 2021 06:00:00 -0500 According to the National Institute of Health, severe maternal morbidity (SMM) rates have nearly doubled over the past decade. The [&#8230;] PTM: Black Liturgies with Cole Riley https://thewitnessbcc.com/ptm-black-liturgies-with-cole-riley/ The Witness urn:uuid:0da46190-f866-7332-7617-ae63af00ec77 Tue, 13 Apr 2021 06:00:00 -0500 This conversation is like water for the soul, fam.&#160; Today’s episode features the incredible Cole Riley, the creator and writer [&#8230;] Fighting for Black Wombs: An Introduction https://thewitnessbcc.com/fighting-for-black-wombs-an-introduction/ The Witness urn:uuid:43e34645-8dbb-87e3-6078-f24b109d3336 Mon, 12 Apr 2021 12:35:00 -0500 Black Maternal Health Week is April 11-17 each year. Advocacy for Black maternal health should be a regular part of [&#8230;] What Has Held Us Will Hold Us (Part 2) http://thefrontporch.org/2021/04/what-has-held-us-will-hold-us-part-2/ The Front Porch urn:uuid:ed057c63-2b12-5382-bb85-73fe13fc8fc0 Mon, 12 Apr 2021 10:05:20 -0500 <p>In the first installment of this series the aim was to remind those of us who have made the choice to #leaveLOUD, that Christ is the “founder and perfecter of...</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org/2021/04/what-has-held-us-will-hold-us-part-2/">What Has Held Us Will Hold Us (Part 2)</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org">The Front Porch</a>.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the </span><a href="https://thefrontporch.org/2021/03/what-has-held-us-will-hold-us-part-1/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">first installment</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> of this series the aim was to remind those of us who have made the choice to </span><a href="https://thewitnessbcc.com/leave-loud-its-time-to-go-family/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">#leaveLOUD</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, that Christ is the “founder and perfecter of our faith” according to Hebrews 12:2a (ESV). With Christ as the foundation, we have the freedom to ask questions and interrogate our beliefs. We can do so without fear of losing our faith. Consider Acts 17:26-28 (CSB):</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">“From one man he has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live. He did this so that they might seek God, and </span></i><b><i>perhaps they might reach out and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being</i></b><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also his offspring’.” </span></i><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span></i><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Remember that those who are deconstructing are in good company. As Charles Holmes states in his </span><a href="https://lifewayresearch.com/2021/03/19/reconstruct-faith-in-a-deconstructing-culture/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">recent article</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, “</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">There’s a need for healthy forms of deconstruction, some of which we see in the Scriptures through the prophets and the life and teachings of Jesus. Jesus Himself made radical critiques of the religious leaders of His day, bringing correction to their abusive and harmful religious practices.”</span></p> <p><b>How Might This Look In Daily Living?</b></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As stated in the first article of this series, our reclaiming process will look as varied and personal as we are all unique. For example, I am a Latina, a wife, a mother to four children, and a small group leader/mentor whose days are full of loving and caring for the souls that are in close (sometimes too close) proximity to me. I have intersections and a lifetime of layers of beliefs that I am working through. Perhaps some of my practices will spark potential practices in which you can process your journey. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">It can seem overwhelming because white supremacy has permeated all aspects of white evangelicalism. We must take it one step at a time. Or as the Apostle Paul states in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (CSB), “</span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">For although we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh, since the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments, and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and </span></i><b><i>we take every thought captive to obey Christ</i></b><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">.”</span></i></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Clearly, the apostle understands that various “arguments” and “proud things” will attempt to dethrone the knowledge of God in the Christian life. He calls the Christian to </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">demolish</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> those arguments and proud things. That means to destroy them or tear them down. But we cannot demolish these strongholds, arguments and proud things unless we first identify them and distinguish them from the truth that is in Christ. For me this means when a thought enters my head, a child, friend, or small group member asks me a question, etc., I ask myself these questions:</span></p> <ol> <li><span style="font-weight: 400;">What have I believed about this before?</span></li> <li><span style="font-weight: 400;">Who does this benefit?</span></li> <li><span style="font-weight: 400;">How does the Bible address this?</span></li> </ol> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Let’s use the doctrine of complementarity as an example.</span></p> <p><b>The Doctrine of Complementarity</b></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I have wrestled with the </span><a href="https://cbmw.org/about/danvers-statement/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Doctrine of Complementarity</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">  in recent years. I will not get theologically academic in this article, but I will get personal with how I have dealt with this doctrine. I attended a globally recognized church for over 13 years where this doctrine was held in such high regard that anyone who wanted to become a member had to affirm belief in this doctrine before they were approved into membership. I share about some of this in my </span><a href="https://thefrontporch.org/2021/02/when-the-faithful-flee/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">#leaveLOUD first visit</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> on The Front Porch. “I assimilated in the ways that the church desired without much resistance because I felt there were biblical implications to support this self-erasure. Christ-likeness was the aim. Yet the deeper I went into the cultural fabric of this community the more I began to observe a disconnect between what was proclaimed and what was practiced.”</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><b><i>What have I believed about this before?</i></b><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Upon membership I jumped headlong into being mentored by multiple older women in the faith. I was in book studies, Bible studies, and homemaking groups. I read </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">. I was committed to being a housewife and a homeschool mother when my children were old enough. I looked down on women who worked outside the home and truly felt they were being disobedient to the Lord because Scripture was clear that women should be “workers at home” (Titus 2:4, CSB). Families whose children went to public school were not doing what was best for their children. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">I began to realize that what I was being taught was a flawed interpretation of Scripture. These things were taught through implication, as well as subtly from the pulpit, Titus 2 ministry, Bible study, mother’s ministry. Thus my self-righteousness was born.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><b><i>Who does this benefit?</i></b></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As the years passed, I grew older and began thinking about the women who raised me, as well as other women who lived differently than me. I began to lay the implications of this doctrine over their lives. Was my Mexican-American grandmother, who worked as a migrant worker in South Texas most of her life walking in disobedience to the Lord because she was out picking cotton in the sweltering sun? Or was that job a means of provision from Jehovah Jireh (The Lord will provide) that allowed her and my grandfather the ability to feed and clothe their ten children?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The truth was that every female ancestor in my family worked outside the home. I was the first afforded the privilege to stay home with my children. Were all of them walking in contrast to Scripture? </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I began to realize that the cultural context of the Doctrine of Complementarity worked best in a white evangelical setting and they were the ones who benefitted the most from this doctrine.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Aside from my personal cultural context, in the church setting I noticed that white men were those who were the main beneficiaries in the Doctrine of Complementarity. In the church service, women were essentially absent from view, except for the back up singers in the choir or the pianist. In leadership, there was one women’s minister for a congregation that had over 2,000 female attendees out of approximately 3,800 regular attenders.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What does this mean? Disproportionate representation for the issues of women, especially the marginalized within this demographic (i.e. non-married, divorced, or single mothers). To our shame, it was not until the Spring of 2019 that there was a Sunday School for single mothers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A dear friend, who is a single mother once told me, “There is no place for me. The shame I felt working in the nursery with my son when the other workers found out I was his mom. They did not speak to me the rest of the time we were working.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The culture that was created was one that idolized white middle-class traditional marriage and ostracized anyone who did not fit that mold.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the home and marriage, it meant that the husband/father made the final call in decisions and at times the wife’s views did not hold the same worth as her husband’s because she was weaker and deceived more easily. For example, there were times when I’d hear a sister explain to me how she had been praying about something and expressed her feelings to her husband, only to be met by dismissal and lack of consideration when he would make an opposing decision that wounded her.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Over the years, I witnessed many wives submitting to the point of being abused, yet I rarely if ever experienced or witnessed husbands loving their wives </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">“just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her” </span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">(Ephesians 5:25b, CSB).</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><b><i>How Does the Bible Address This?</i></b><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span></i><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Danvers Statement from The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood claims it has the authoritative interpretation of what God says in regard to gender roles. I am not convinced. I have witnessed and experienced too much of the negative personal implications of this doctrine to ascribe to complementarity anymore. This doctrine has proven to not take into consideration the needs of anyone other than majority culture with financial means to entertain such privileges. Complementarity looks great on paper but in practice it tilts toward oppression.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">When I follow Jesus’s life and teachings, I see a man who cared for women in ways that flipped patriarchy and misogyny on its head. Throughout his life on Earth he ministered to women in a very unique way. In her book, <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Neither-Complementarian-nor-Egalitarian-Evangelical/dp/0801039576"><em>Neither Complementarian nor Egalitarian</em></a>, Michelle Lee-Barnewall asserts, “Jesus’s actions and words are a significant statement about the acceptance of women in the kingdom of God. Women were not traditionally disciples of a rabbi, and it would be unheard of for a rabbi to come into a woman’s house to teach her specifically.” She later continues, “Not only were women accepted and presented as exemplary disciples, but in a surprising reversal, they are even portrayed as being more faithful than the Twelve.” </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><b>Jesus Honored Women </b><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">He went out of his way to meet “the woman at the well,” meeting her at the well that Jacob had dug in Samaria. A Jewish man not only interacting with a Samaritan, which was culturally frowned upon because the Samaritans were not pure Jews. John 4:27 (CSB) says,</span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> “Just then his disciples arrived, and they were amazed that he was talking with a woman.&#8221;</span></i></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Jesus’s interaction with “the woman with the issue of blood” was miraculous due to healing her long term condition with but the touch of his robe. Luke 5:46-48 (CSB), </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">“‘Someone touched me,’ Jesus said. ‘I know that power has gone out from me.’ When the woman saw that she was discovered, she came trembling and fell down before him. In the presence of all the people, she declared the reason she had touched him and how she was instantly healed. ‘Daughter,’ he said to her, ‘your faith has saved you. Go in peace.’”</span></i></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When a woman, who is labeled “a sinner,” begins washing Jesus’s feet with her tears and hair, those in attendance begin to say things to themselves about this unclean association. Christ corrects them.</span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> “Turning to the woman, he said to Simon (Pharisee and owner of the home), ‘Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she, with her tears, has washed my feet and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but she hasn’t stopped kissing my feet since I came in. You didn’t anoint my head with olive oil, but she has anointed my feet with perfume. Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; that’s why she loved much. But the one who is forgiven little, loves little.’ Then he said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’” </span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Luke 7:44-48 (CSB)</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are many more accounts of his treatment of women in the New Testament. He took time to address them. He made it clear that he valued them. He bent down low to acknowledge them and lift them up in restoration of their bodies and souls in the presence of men. He employed his power to elevate women, showing those present a better way. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I believe Christ’s treatment of women was vastly different from what I witnessed in the church I was a member of and different from my own marriage while we were living out complementarity. My husband and I have been processing much over the last few years and have currently landed on Philipians 2:3-4 (CSB), “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for their own interests, but also for the interests of others.” This has been a refreshing perspective shift for us. </span></p> <p><b>Let’s Follow Jesus</b></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">During these days of reclaiming I often find myself in the Psalms and the Epistles. I need the comforting balm of the Psalms as it seems things are falling apart from the church house to the furthest reaches of the earth. I crave the words of Jesus. I want to remember what he said, what he did, who he ate with, and how he kept everyone in awe. He gave us clear instructions on what we were called to do, </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age,” Matthew 28:19-20 (CSB).</span></i></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As we work through questions in regard to our faith, it will ultimately require us to walk by faith and not by sight. We are forced to trust the Holy Spirit guiding us as a “lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.” (Psalm 119:105) </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">My prayer for all of us who are renewing our faith is this:</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. You are being guarded by God’s power through a faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. You rejoice in this, even though now for a short time, if necessary, you suffer grief in various trials so that the proven character of your faith &#8211; more valuable than gold which, though perishable, is refined by fire &#8211; may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him; though not seeing him now, you believe in him, and you rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls,” 1 Peter 1: 3-9 (CSB). </span></i><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">May we rest in the reality that we are kept, guarded, and saved, Beloved.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span></p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org/2021/04/what-has-held-us-will-hold-us-part-2/">What Has Held Us Will Hold Us (Part 2)</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org">The Front Porch</a>.</p> Blackness isn’t exhausting; racism is https://thewitnessbcc.com/blackness-isnt-exhausting-racism-is/ The Witness urn:uuid:581ba918-8f1b-cbf3-0bbb-9d13a4b1ef9f Thu, 08 Apr 2021 06:00:00 -0500 “Being black is exhausting.” A common refrain heard from the voices of disconsolate Black people whenever we are dealing with [&#8230;] Prophets AND Pastors https://bryanloritts.com/blog/prophets-and-pastors Blog - Bryan Loritts urn:uuid:76c547e3-23e2-5523-7073-da70fd6ba881 Tue, 06 Apr 2021 16:38:43 -0500 <p class="">A Pastoral Word in a Prophetically Dominated Conversation on Race:</p><p class=""><br></p><p class="">One of the challenges of recent discussions regarding race is that we are hearing more from prophets than we are from pastors, and there is a world of difference. Prophets care more about the what. They speak to the issue. The prophet’s wardrobe has historically been monochromatic, allowing little room for variation. And please don’t misunderstand me, we need prophets. Prophets tell it like it t-i-is. Prophets make us squirm. Prophets tend to talk and tweet with their outside voice. Prophets tell us to #leaveloud, call out white supremacy and white privilege, then exit stage right, heading out to the next event.&nbsp;</p><p class=""><br></p><p class="">But when the event is over and you are sitting in a multiethnic room for the debrief, among people who go to your church where you have not been called to leave (or #leaveloud for that matter), what then? It’s here where you need a pastor.</p><p class=""><br></p><p class="">Writing to the Colossians, Paul said something interesting regarding his aim as a pastor: “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28). In essence, Paul is working under the pastoral assumption of immaturity. Like a parent, Paul takes it for granted that his people just won’t get it, and so should we as pastors. Every day our people are being formed away from God’s vision for sexuality and generosity (to mention just a couple examples), so of course they won’t get it when we call them to steward their bodies and money God’s way.&nbsp;</p><p class=""><br></p><p class="">The same holds true when it comes to matters of race and ethnic unity. For four hundred years in America, we have been shaped by a system that seeks to <em>extend</em> value to one group of people based on the color of their skin and <em>extract</em> value from other people groups based on the color of their skin. So when they show up to our churches, we likewise must assume immaturity in matters of race and ethnic unity. The prophet points this out, while the pastor must patiently walk this out.</p><p class=""><br></p><p class="">It was the great African American pastor, A. Louis Patterson who said there are three qualities for the pastor:&nbsp;</p><p class="">1. Patience with people.&nbsp;</p><p class="">2. Patience with people.&nbsp;</p><p class="">3. Patience with people.&nbsp;</p><p class=""><br></p><p class="">While prophets care about the <em>what</em>, pastors care about the <em>who</em> and the <em>how</em>. While prophets point to the desired destination, pastors join with the people on the journey. While prophets are blunt with their language, pastors are careful with their language. Prophets have a low threshold for pain; pastors have a much higher threshold.</p><p class=""><br></p><p class="">So what does this mean for us on a real practical level? Several things. First, you have to know your calling and function accordingly. We need both prophets and pastors. But if you try to function as a prophet while wearing the title of “pastor” in a multiethnic church setting, you will not last long. You can’t retweet prophetically true, yet abrasive statements while wearing the mantle of pastor or leader in a multiethnic church. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve found myself nodding my head over the prophet’s social media post, while resting my thumbs.</p><p class=""><br></p><p class="">Second, as pastors we must be careful with language, especially in a multiethnic church setting. Truth is uncomfortable. I get that. When talking about matters of race and ethnic unity, you can say things as carefully as you can, while injecting a lot of levity, and people will still send the nasty email—and even leave. Understood. I am not asking us to water down the truth. However, the multiethnic pastor is keenly aware of how people will hear things, and will not unnecessarily trigger. After all, they are dealing with immature people, shaped by four hundred years of racism. The pastor, in talking about race, will always ask, “Is there a way to faithfully deal with the text, exegete the culture, and call out the sin, without unnecessarily alienating people?”&nbsp;</p><p class=""><br></p><p class="">Prophets are needed, and so are pastors. Prophets are like doctors who diagnose and necessarily inflict pain during surgery. Pastors are the physical therapists who encourage their patient to push through the pain. Prophets, like doctors, are there for a moment, while physical therapists show up over and over again, coming alongside their patient in their journey into wholeness.&nbsp;</p><p class=""><br></p><p class="">We need both.</p><p class=""><br></p><p class="">We don’t need pastors who ignore the prophets.&nbsp;</p><p class=""><br></p><p class="">We don’t need prophets tearing down pastors.</p><p class=""><br></p><p class="">We need both.&nbsp;</p><p class=""><br></p><p class="">We need to work together.</p><p class=""><br></p> PTM: Leave LOUD- Tyler Burns’ Story Part 2 https://thewitnessbcc.com/ptm-leave-loud-tyler-burns-story-part-2/ The Witness urn:uuid:ded16f3d-c176-9674-cb38-edea039356b3 Tue, 06 Apr 2021 06:00:00 -0500 Leave LOUD: Tyler Burns with Greg Burns&#160; This is a deep cut, y’all. A few weeks ago, you heard Tyler [&#8230;] 5 Signs That You Need to #LeaveLOUD https://thewitnessbcc.com/5-signs-you-need-to-leaveloud/ The Witness urn:uuid:0db0a9e5-8c73-4e17-44b6-5481d38423d1 Mon, 05 Apr 2021 06:00:00 -0500 Black Christians often enter predominantly white or multiethnic churches hoping to participate in a spiritual community where the fullness of [&#8230;] Resurrection Sunday in Alabama’s Black Belt https://thewitnessbcc.com/resurrection-sunday-in-alabamas-black-belt/ The Witness urn:uuid:fe8fae30-19b5-8cfd-e337-e13a8999c66e Sat, 03 Apr 2021 10:38:00 -0500 Have you ever attended a Black Baptist church in rural Alabama for Resurrection Sunday (Easter) before?&#160; Since I was a [&#8230;] Finding Restoration After Spiritual Trauma https://thewitnessbcc.com/finding-restoration-after-spiritual-trauma/ The Witness urn:uuid:2d84a55d-81cd-8228-7352-55c6e9680cca Thu, 01 Apr 2021 12:00:00 -0500 I&#8217;ve been wrestling with something that I wish I would have done better a few years ago. I was in [&#8230;] PTM: Leave LOUD: Ally Henny’s Story Part 2 https://thewitnessbcc.com/ptm-leave-loud-ally-hennys-story-part-2/ The Witness urn:uuid:16853077-53b1-4551-c525-b812c2a19853 Mon, 29 Mar 2021 12:00:00 -0500 EPISODE DESCRIPTION:  The stories continue…After Jemar Tisby and Tyler Burns shared powerful episodes of their #LeaveLOUD experiences, it’s time to [&#8230;] Easter Mourning https://thewitnessbcc.com/easter-mourning/ The Witness urn:uuid:038a7558-c089-4a3a-85d2-15ff5500c868 Mon, 29 Mar 2021 06:00:00 -0500 “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…” Isaiah 53:4 For the second straight year, my Holy Week [&#8230;] How to Understand Anti-Asian Hate Crimes https://djchuang.com/how-to-understand-anti-asian-hate-crimes/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:4bf5afd5-d539-953a-b372-8daef6e12b0e Sat, 20 Mar 2021 13:23:18 -0500 <p>Since the start of the global pandemic with COVID-19, there&#8217;s been over 3,800 reports of anti-Asian hate crimes. And those are only the number reported; undoubtedly there are many more unreported. Anti-Asian sentiment has been a part of American history,&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>This article <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com/how-to-understand-anti-asian-hate-crimes/">How to Understand Anti-Asian Hate Crimes</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=H9sNrO1Sn70:arNroBeGqRU:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=H9sNrO1Sn70:arNroBeGqRU: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/H9sNrO1Sn70" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Jehovah-Jireh (The LORD Provides in His Provision) https://specs12.wordpress.com/2021/03/15/jehovah-jireh-the-lord-provides-in-his-provision/ perSpectives 12 urn:uuid:05ff156f-95d8-260a-740b-7581f0d88d8b Mon, 15 Mar 2021 09:27:05 -0500 Jehovah signifies the covenant name God revealed to the people of Israel. When Moses asked God who sent him, He &#8230;<p><a href="https://specs12.wordpress.com/2021/03/15/jehovah-jireh-the-lord-provides-in-his-provision/">Continue reading <span class="meta-nav">&#8594;</span></a></p> <p>Jehovah signifies the covenant name God revealed to the people of Israel. When Moses asked God who sent him, He replied, “Thou shalt say to the people of Israel, Jehovah sent me unto you; this is My name forever” (Exod 3:15 KJV). The name makes known the Coming One and His action of redemption for the Israelites. The Messiah will come for the final crushing of the serpent’s head and provide salvation for His people (Gen 3:15).</p> <p>Jehovah’s name remains immutable. “I am Jehovah, I change not, therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Mal 3:6.) When coupled with another descriptor in a compound name, it explains other roles and natures of who He is and what He will do. The incarnate God in Jesus continues in these roles to supply all our needs “according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:19). This writing explores the first expression of His redemptive title and nature, Jehovah-jireh. Barry Liesch in <em>People in the Presence of God </em>said, “God by His very character, loves to bless His people” (1988, p. 22). The incarnate God in Jesus’ divine and human character blesses His people as Jehovah-jireh illustrating its fullness by four redemptive provisions<a href="#_ftn1">[1]</a> and three redemptive roles.<a href="#_ftn2">[2]</a>      </p> <p class="has-text-align-center"><img alt="Rembrandt van Rijn, Abraham’s Sacrifice. Etching and drypoint on paper, 1655. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam." src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/1Hlmvk3MSmCCmAq7G1Xo3U7qWh87h1iOrK-BXg5XN_Gv9kmXOCvfUsYUJkvhztjk_LkwkwaqVUunruJEiev9o03I5k-Wbo1ERjTos5zVIaNY1BAb7uscf2OFGf8rBMQyRYy5dkw" width="383" height="227"></p> <p class="has-text-align-center"><sup>(Image: Rembrandt van Rijn, Abraham’s Sacrifice, 1655)&nbsp;</sup></p> <h3 class="has-text-align-center"><br><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color"><strong>Four Provisions of Jehovah-jireh</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></h3> <p>Jehovah-jireh means the LORD that provides (Gen 22:14; cf. John 1:29; Heb 11:17-19). The Lord revealed His first redemptive name in a place up yonder on Mt. Moriah (Gen 22) when He tested and proved Abraham’s faith with the command to sacrifice his only son Isaac as a burnt offering. Upon examination of Gen 22, Scripture uncovers four aspects of Jehovah-jireh’s provision:</p> <ol><li>Blessings from one’s faithful response to testing (22:1-2; 16-18)&nbsp;</li><li>Opportunity to worship through sacrifice (vv. 5-10)</li><li>God’s presence during tests (vv. 11-13)</li><li>Promise of redemption through a Seed Messiah (vv. 16-18)</li></ol> <h3><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Provision 1: Blessing From One’s Faithful Response to Testing</span></strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color"><strong>&nbsp;</strong>(22:1-2; 16-18)&nbsp;</span></h3> <p>Jesus embodies the one, true God with the character, quality, and personality of the express image of God’s own substance (2 Cor 4:4; Col 1:15; 1 Tim 3:16; Titus 2:13; Heb 1:3; and 2 Pet 1:1). All the names and titles of the Deity apply to Jesus including Jehovah-jireh. Thus, Jehovah first revealed His unchangeable nature as Jehovah-jireh at a place called yonder or Jehovahjireh (Gen 22:13-14) with the provision of a blessing:</p> <p>And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: <sup>17&nbsp;</sup>That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; <sup>18&nbsp;</sup>And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice (22:16-18).</p> <p>Testing means temptation. Before the provisions of covenant, God tested Abraham’s faith on Mt. Moriah by asking him to sacrifice his son, his only son Isaac, “whom though lovest” (21:5; 22:2). He tempted Abraham to act in faithful obedience. Faith appropriates His provisions as Jehovah-jireh. God already had pre-established with Abraham that through Isaac He would establish His covenant “for an everlasting covenant and his seed after him” (17:19). God identified Isaac by name as the legal heir to the promise years prior to Mt. Moriah.</p> <p>The promise of Isaac as the legal seed to the inheritance required Abraham to stand in faith on what God ordained. James 2:14-26 teaches faith comes alive with active obedience by response, commitment, and action (Bernard, <em>Message of Romans</em>, 2010). Abraham responded yielded to God’s command without objection or hesitation. One does not read of Abraham negotiating otherwise with the Lord, rather Scripture tells he rose early the following morning to take the three-day journey to Moriah. He showed commitment by ascending the mountain with Isaac carrying wood, fire, and knife. Abraham’s action of declaration to his son Isaac that God will provide a lamb for a burnt offering displayed steadfast faith (22:7).&nbsp;</p> <p>By Abraham’s obedience to heed the Lord’s command, Jehovah supplied a ram to sacrifice instead of Isaac to insure the future seed for provisions of the messianic promise “in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Gen 22:13, 18; Heb 11:17). Because of Abraham’s obedience, God would fulfill the everlasting covenant through the sacrificial Lamb of God (Gen 17:7; John 1:29). Abraham’s obedience by faith provided not only for him in the immediate context, but also to generations to come. As the father of those who walk in the righteousness of faith, Abraham exemplifies provisions coming from God’s grace (Rom 4:1-16).</p> <h3><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Provision 2: Worship Through Sacrifice (vv. 5-10) </span></h3> <p>In the Old Testament, the Israelites considered rendering sacrificial offerings as a means to worship their God (Kurtz, 2004). A true sacrifice for worship must be what God wants and by faith. The Lord respected Abel’s offering of the firstborn of his flock by faith because he followed5 according the instructions; however, God rejected Cain’s of the fruit from the ground since he gave what he desired (Gen 4:3-5). One presented acceptable worship and the other unacceptable.&nbsp;</p> <p>The first mention of worship in connection with worship occurred with Abraham (Gen 22:4), back dropping the essence of Jehovah-jireh in covenant. Abraham presented a blood sacrifice of his own son acting out his faith and obedience. God stated the test in emotional descriptors depicting Isaac as if to emphasize the gravity and magnitude of the command: “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest” (22:2a). Worship requires complete reliance on God when releasing sacrifice in worship. On the third day of their journey, Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place yonder of which the Lord would tell him. He went up yonder with Isaac who carried his own wood of the burnt offering for sacrifice. Abraham then drew near to Yahweh’s presence standing on the everlasting covenant between God, himself, and his seed through worship. When Abraham bound Isaac covenant on the firewood and raised the sacrificial knife, the father of many nations demonstrated the full reliance and uncompromising trust in relationship Yahweh, the covenant God of Israel, to whom he relinquished his son, the heir to the covenantal promise.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Worship gives God glory, fueled by faith. Generations gain understanding of God’s desire for true sacrificial worship in Abraham offering Isaac; and at the same time, see Abraham “against hope believed in hope in an unchanging God (Rom 4:18a). Abraham “staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able to perform” (4:20-21). God honors true sacrifice in worship with His provisions.</p> <h3><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Provision 3: God’s Presence During Trials (vv. 11-13)</span></strong></h3> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Just as Abraham readied to slay his beloved son Issac with hand outstretched (22:10, a voice from heaven identified as the angel of the Lord called out to Abraham:</p> <blockquote class="wp-block-quote"><p>Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.<sup>12</sup>And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me (Gen 22:11b-12).</p></blockquote> <p>The angel of the Lord commanded Abraham to release Isaac, render another sacrifice, and promised his descendants will be “numerous as the stars of heaven” (22:22b). Biblical interpreters vary as to whether the angel of the Lord juxtaposed as Yahweh with the two names interchangeable or the term exclusively refers to the angel of the Lord as His messenger. Internal) textual evidence of the Gen 22:11-12 (cf. 15-18) narrative suggests the former. The speaker called Abraham by name with divine authority in the first person. He ordered two commands and made a promise to Abraham. Most notably, the angel of Yahweh talked to Abraham as the Lord Himself (22:12, 17-18). The manner and content in which He spoke suggests a theophany, a manifestation of God.&nbsp;</p> <p>Consequently, God did not leave Abraham during the testing, rather walked alongside him and then honored his yielding to Him. As a result, the covenant-keeping God not only supplied a substitutionary blood sacrifice with a ram in the bush, but also reiterated the regeneration of the Abramaic lineage through the fulfillment of the Seed Messiah. In the midst of a dark trial, Yahweh confirmed the promised Light—the sacrificial Lamb who would redeem Israel.&nbsp;</p> <h3><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Provision 4: <strong>Redemption Through a Seed Messiah (vv. 16-18)</strong></span></h3> <p>Abraham’s story teaches that God’s blessings come by faith, not works. Faith saved Abraham. Without faith, Abraham would not have realized the promised seed.&nbsp;</p> <h3 class="has-text-align-center"><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Three Redemptive Roles of Jehovah-jireh</span></strong></h3> <p>Jesus is Jehovah Jireh, the place called yonder, for “On the mountain of the Lord it will be seen and provided” (Gen 22:14b AMP). Some archeological evidence suggests Golgotha as one of the hills on Mt. Moriah. God clothed in flesh sacrificed His only Begotten Son as the sacrificial sin offering for humankind on the hill of Golgotha at Calvary. Thus, this same name Jehovah-jireh embodies God incarnated in Jesus to complete the fullness of this title with three redemptive roles fulfilled as the son of Abraham, Saving-Seed Messiah (Matt 1:1; Luke 19:9; John 8:58; Rom 9-11; Gal 3:16; Heb 11:8); Only Begotten Son, Word made flesh; and Son of God, Servant Son.</p> <h3><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Jehovah-Jireh: Son of Abraham, Saving-Seed Messiah</span></strong></h3> <p>Jesus fulfilled Yahweh’s child of promise, as the ultimate substitutionary sacrifice who would atone for the sins of humanity. Jehovah-jireh, revealed Himself as the Saving Seed to both Jews and Gentiles, found in the Son of Abraham in the Matthean genealogy (Matt 1:1). The evangelist Matthew showed Abraham’s seed as the Lord God of Israel in flesh (Cox, Reader, p. 13; Matt 1:22-23).&nbsp;</p> <p>Abraham fathered Ishmael by Hagar a slave women, and Isaac through Sarah a free woman. Isaac exclusively holds the claim of Abraham’s son of promise and legal heir. Therefore, Isaac typed Jesus, who fulfilled the Saving Seed called the Messiah (Matt 1:16). God required only Abraham and Isaac to go up to the place called yonder where they would receive the provision, which the Lord revealed as Jehovahjireh. Jesus descended 42 generations after Abraham (Matt 1: 1-13) through Isaac the son of promise to fulfill the ultimate provision with the sin sacrifice as the Son of Abraham and Saving-Seed Messiah. Therefore, Jesus is the place called Yonder, the Jehovah-jireh. In Jesus’ First Coming He established the messianic promise “in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” for the Lord’s provision of a substitutionary sacrifice.</p> <h3><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Jehovah-Jireh: Only Begotten Son, Word Made Flesh</span></strong></h3> <p>In the messianic genealogies in the gospels, both Luke and Matthew in their infancy narratives explain the Lord God of Israel in flesh, beget through Jesus’ Sonship as the Son of God. When the Spirit came upon the virgin, the power of the Most High overshadowed her and conceived the begotten Son uniting flesh with divinity in the incarnate Jesus who would “save his people from their sins” (Matt 1:18, 20-21; Luke 1:35).&nbsp;</p> <p>The only son offering (Isaac) in the Genesis narrative (22:2) typed a greater Son (Jesus) offering profiled in the Gospel of John prologue (1:14, 18; 3:16) the Only Begotten Son, the Word made flesh. The Begotten Son fulfilled “God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” or God will provide a Lamb for Himself (22:8a; Bernard, 2014). God made flesh in Jesus is the sacrificial Lamb (John 1:29). John in his Gospel supported the manifestation of divinity in humanity in the begotten Son as well: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14; cf. 1:18). This divine procreation in Mary’s womb begetting the Son of God provides a continual redemption for humanity, completed in Jesus’ second coming (cf. Isa 7:14). Through the Word made flesh humanity received their provision, Jehovah-jireh.</p> <p>In another Gospel exposition, the Book of Matthew, God publically announced Jesus as His beloved Son with His anointing symbolically represented with the descent of the dove upon Jesus (Matt 3:17). The Holy Spirit did not baptize Jesus for the beloved Son already had the fullness of God in Him at conception.&nbsp;</p> <h3><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Jehovah Jireh: Son of God, Servant Son</span></strong></h3> <p>Mark’s Gospel also reveals this same Saving-Seed Messiah and Word Made Flesh through God’s manifestation in Jesus as the Servant Son (1:1-11). He would serve humanity by sacrificing Himself on the Cross as a sin offering.</p> <p>God incarnated Himself in Jesus as the Son of God assuming the likeness of humanity but without sin when the Spirit came upon the virgin. In sonship, Jehovah-jireh assumes the role of Jesus as the Servant Lord manifested in the form and nature of a bondservant, a slave&#8211;Jesus the Servant Son (Luke, 1:35; Phil 2:6-8).&nbsp; This sinless Son of Man, the Servant Son, gave His life as the substitutionary sin sacrifice on the Cross to serve humanity as a sin offering.</p> <p>“And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many&#8221; (Matt 20:27- 28). The evangelist Matthew speaks of a servant in this verse meaning bondservant (Grk: doulos; cf. Phil 2:7a). As the Servant Son, a bondservant, Jesus gave up His self-interests and will in His humanity to advance God’s mission as a slave. By definition, a bondservant approaches enslavement with joy, devotion, obedience, yielding, and sacrifice (Paron, 2013). “Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all’” (Mark 9:35). He served all of humankind fulfilling the Saving-Seed Messiah from the lineage of Abraham as Jehovah Jireh, the Son of God and Servant Son.</p> <h3><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">References</span></strong></h3> <p>Bernard, D. <em>Message of Romans</em>. (1982). Word Aflame Press.</p> <p>Bullinger, E. W. (2014). <em>Divine names and title</em>. Open Bible Trust.</p> <p>Conner, K. J. and Malmin, K. (1983). <em>Interpreting the Scriptures: A textbook on how to interpret the Bible</em>. Bible Publishing.&nbsp;</p> <p>Deffinbaugh, B. (2004, May 28). <em>The story of the Seed⎯The coming of the promised messiah</em> <em>[Web log post].</em> Retrieved from <a href="https://bible.org/article/story-seed-coming-promised-messiah" rel="nofollow">https://bible.org/article/story-seed-coming-promised-messiah</a></p> <p>Evans, C. (2012). <em>Matthew: New Cambridge Bible commentary</em>. Cambridge University Press.&nbsp;</p> <p>Humphreys, W. L. (2001). <em>Character of God in the book of Genesis</em>. Westminster John Knox Press.</p> <p>Jukes, A. (1981). <em>Types in the New Testament. </em>Krefeld Publications.<em>&nbsp;</em></p> <p>Kaiser, W. C. (1995).<em>The Messiah in the Old Testament</em>. Grand Rapids, MO: Zondervan Publishing House.&nbsp;</p> <p>Kurtz, J. H. (2004). <em>The sacrificial worship of the Old Testament</em>. Edinburgh, GB: T &amp; T Clark.&nbsp;</p> <p>Liesch, B. (1988).<strong> </strong><em>People in the presence of God: Models and directions for worship. </em>Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.&nbsp;</p> <p>Reeves, K. V. (1962). <em>The Godhead, book 1.</em> St. Louis, MO: Trio Printing Co.&nbsp;</p> <p>Reeves, K. V. (1984). <em>The supreme Godhead, book 2.</em> Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press.</p> <p>Schultz, S. J. (2000). <em>The Old Testament speaks: A complete survey of Old Testament history and literature (5</em><em><sup>th</sup></em><em> ed.).</em> HarperCollins Publishers.&nbsp;</p> <p>White, S. L. (1999). <em>Angel of The Lord: Messenger or euphemism? </em><a href="https://legacy.tyndalehouse.com/tynbul/Library/TynBull_1999_50_2_10_White_AngelofLord.pdf" rel="nofollow">https://legacy.tyndalehouse.com/tynbul/Library/TynBull_1999_50_2_10_White_AngelofLord.pdf</a></p> <p>Jan Paron, PhD</p> <p>3.15.21</p> <p>Excerpt from <em>The Redemptive Names of Jehovah</em></p> <p>See also <a href="https://specs12.wordpress.com/2017/11/13/doctrine-of-immutability/">The Doctrine of Immutability </a> and <a href="https://specs12.wordpress.com/2017/11/14/gods-immutable-purpose-the-revealed-redemptive-jehovah-titles-in-the-incarnate-jesus/">God’s Immutable Purpose: The Revealed Redemptive Jehovah Titles in the Incarnate&nbsp;Jesus</a></p> <hr class="wp-block-separator" /> <p><a href="#_ftnref1">[1]</a> The four redemptive provisions include (1) blessings from one’s faithful response to testing (22:1-2; 16-18), (2) opportunity to worship through sacrifice (vv. 5-10), (3) God’s presence during tests (vv. 11-13), and (4) promise of redemption through a Seed Messiah (vv. 16-18).</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref2">[2]</a>The redemptive roles uncover Jehovah-Jireh: Son of Abraham, Saving-Seed Messiah; Only Begotten Son, Word Made Flesh; and Son of God, Servant Son.</p> What Has Held Us Will Hold Us (Part 1) http://thefrontporch.org/2021/03/what-has-held-us-will-hold-us-part-1/ The Front Porch urn:uuid:bd2fa482-b423-16e2-2c69-a3f212783860 Mon, 15 Mar 2021 09:04:44 -0500 <p>Deconstructing. Decolonizing. Dismantling. Perhaps these are words you are familiar with or you have heard used on social media while wondering what the hubbub is about. The current cultural climate...</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org/2021/03/what-has-held-us-will-hold-us-part-1/">What Has Held Us Will Hold Us (Part 1)</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org">The Front Porch</a>.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Deconstructing. Decolonizing. Dismantling. Perhaps these are words you are familiar with or you have heard used on social media while wondering what the hubbub is about. The current cultural climate has not left anyone unscathed, particularly white evangelical churches and those who sit within her pews. And perhaps this is exactly where you find yourself. You have left fatigued from those very places, wondering, “Now what? Where do I go from here?” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This rift has been the impetus of the #leavingloud by BIPOC Christians from those congregations and has left them with more questions than answers in regard to why they have believed what they believe. There is a lingering temptation for many to throw their entire Christian faith out the window. But given the opportunity, the Lord longs to show us a better way forward. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">As we seek to reclaim our faith as our own, is there a way laid out for us by God himself? A way forward that does not lead us away from the foot of the cross. I firmly believe that there is a clear, grace-filled path for us. A path strewn with love, filled with echoes of a gentle Savior to guide our souls toward healing. A voice wooing us to recognize his intonation through the tangled web of others’ voices longing to trap our hearts and make our minds question the Spirit’s guiding us. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">As we seek to interrogate these short or long held beliefs, be assured that we have a Helper. What this process of reclaiming, decolonizing, or whatever name you choose to give it looks like in a believer’s life can and should look different. A personalized faith will look similar to other believers, but should not be a carbon copy. Nevertheless, we can trust that the Lord has given a framework to shepherd our wounded and weary hearts to know him. </span></p> <p><b>How Do We Know God?</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">First things first, how do we have a relationship with the Creator of the universe? Scripture reveals to us how we are to know God. Not only is this how we know him, but is how we are trained to hear his voice through the screaming crowd vying for our attention.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The following passages connect the dots for us:</span></p> <p style="padding-left: 40px;"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways. In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son (Jesus Christ). God has appointed him heir of all things and made the universe through him. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of his nature, sustaining all things by his powerful word,” Hebrews 1:1-3a (CSB).</span></i></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Presently we are living in what the Bible would term as the last days. Before Jesus was born, the Lord spoke by the prophets, but now he speaks through Jesus, also known as the Word.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><i></i></p> <p style="padding-left: 40px;"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He (Jesus Christ) was with God in the beginning. All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created,” John 1:1-3 (CSB).</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He is speaking to us today in a different way than he spoke to his people before Jesus. To know the Father we must know the Son, yet the Son is not walking the earth as he was in the first century, so who leads us now? Jesus himself tells us prior to his ascension. (Added bonus Jesus also reveals to us the Trinity): </span></p> <p style="padding-left: 40px;"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. For he will not speak on his own, but he will speak whatever he hears. He will also declare to you what is to come. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything the Father has is mine. This is why I told you that he takes from what is mine and will declare it two you,” John 16:13-15 (CSB).</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As Believers we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. This is indeed good news! But wait… what does this mean for us today?</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span></p> <p><b>God Has Given Us Himself</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It means that YOU have God himself residing and guiding you in all truth! In the first century there were scoffles concerning who followed who, meaning who followed Jesus, who followed Apollos, and who followed Paul. Does this sound familiar to you in the present age, as many well known leaders are being used as credentials for faith? The Apostle Paul warns against such allegiances.</span></p> <p style="padding-left: 40px;"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">“For whenever someone says, ‘I belong to Paul,’ and another ‘I belong to Apollos,’ are you not acting like mere humans? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? They are servants through whom you believed, and each has the role the Lord has given…. For we are God’s coworkers. You are God’s field, God’s building,” 1 Corinthians 3:4-5, 9 (CSB).</span></i></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What Paul and Jesus are striving to help us understand is that faith requires us to pursue a personal relationship with God through faith in Christ with the help of the Holy Spirit. In the book of Acts, Luke writes about a group of people called Bereans who give us another example of the type of Believers we are called to be.</span></p> <p style="padding-left: 40px;"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">“As soon as it was night, the brothers and sisters sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. Upon arrival, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. The people here were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, since they received the word with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Consequently, many of them believed, including a number of the prominent Greek women as well as men,” Acts 17:11-12 (CSB).</span></i></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Scripture does not give us a lot of information on the Bereans, but we see that they are characterized as having noble character. They were not skeptical in a negative sense toward Paul and Silas, but they sought out if what these men were teaching was in accordance with God’s word. They were eager to receive the word, which was cast in contrast to those in Thessalonica. </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>A Grace-filled Way Forward</b></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">These gentle nudges from the Lord to guide us in how to walk with him should give us encouragement. There is perspicuity of Scripture, which is to say that God’s word is written in such a clear way for even the lowliest of humankind to be able to understand and know him. It is not to say that teachers of the word are not useful, it means that they are not necessary. God has given us himself. </span></p> <p style="padding-left: 40px;"><i>John 10:25-30 (CSB), “‘I did tell you and you don’t believe,’ Jesus answered them. ‘The works that I do in my Father’s name testify about me. But you don’t believe because you are not of my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. N</i><b><i>o one will snatch them out of my hand.</i></b><i> My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all. </i><b><i>No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.</i></b><i> I and the Father are one,’” (emphasis added).</i></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As we seek to sift through the tenants of our faith, parsing out what are the social implications that we have accepted as truth versus the biblically rooted truths given to us in Scripture by God himself, we must be careful not to demolish the very foundation of our belief which is Christ. The impulse to break down everything may be strong, but do not be deceived into believing that what you were taught by White Evangelicalism was a clear picture of Jesus, because history and current events proves that religion to be in opposition with the brown-skinned Jesus of the Bible.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As we begin this series, as well as reclaiming our faith, we can be confident that we will not be shaken because of </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Who</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> holds us, </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">his</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> foundation is sure, and </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">he</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> will guard our souls. Breathe. Rest, Beloved. He who has called you is faithful. </span></p> <p><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus,” Philippians 1:6 (CSB).</span></i><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span></i></p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org/2021/03/what-has-held-us-will-hold-us-part-1/">What Has Held Us Will Hold Us (Part 1)</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org">The Front Porch</a>.</p> A Sermon by Pastor Greg Owyang https://djchuang.com/a-sermon-by-pastor-greg-owyang/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:a27190cb-3612-2954-5186-2480142d23f5 Sat, 13 Mar 2021 21:37:07 -0600 <p>Pastor Greg Owyang served as a gifted Chinese-American preacher in the 1980&#8217;s and inspired many to serve the Lord. He was tragically martyred in 1985. I had never heard him preach, until recently, when I found a website (currently offline)&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>This article <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com/a-sermon-by-pastor-greg-owyang/">A Sermon by Pastor Greg Owyang</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=OCtXsu0ItX0:UeNSMAdSW_E:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=OCtXsu0ItX0:UeNSMAdSW_E: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/OCtXsu0ItX0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Theology of Unity https://specs12.wordpress.com/2021/03/12/theology-of-unity/ perSpectives 12 urn:uuid:4960e330-82d1-c9e4-3246-926718bee861 Fri, 12 Mar 2021 18:03:42 -0600 New Covenant Unity: Exegesis and Theology “God promised to build David a house (2 Sam. 13-14; cf Act 15:16-17). This &#8230;<p><a href="https://specs12.wordpress.com/2021/03/12/theology-of-unity/">Continue reading <span class="meta-nav">&#8594;</span></a></p> <h3 class="has-text-align-center"><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">New Covenant Unity: Exegesis and Theology</span></strong></h3> <p>“God promised to build David a house (2 Sam. 13-14; cf Act 15:16-17). This house is not the ancient family of David, but the house of God made up of the people of God from all nations and time, a people born of the water and Spirit of God” (Cox, 2012, <em>From Calling to Covenant: The Story of David</em>). Just as Jewish scribes carefully examined jots and tittles joined with Hebrew consonants for detailed meaning throughout ancient text; metaphorically, so too must one turn to these same in Scripture to understand unity in Christ with respect to fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy in the New Testament with the house of the living God, the Church of Jesus Christ, comprised of the called from all tribes and nations. To determine critical biblical exegesis, this essay utilizes the hermeneutical triad&nbsp;method, examining New Testament unity in the context of history-culture, literature and theology in harmony with Scripture.</p> <p><img loading="lazy" data-attachment-id="5112" data-permalink="https://specs12.wordpress.com/unity3/" data-orig-file="https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2021/03/unity3.png" data-orig-size="248,241" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;0&quot;}" data-image-title="unity3" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2021/03/unity3.png?w=248" data-large-file="https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2021/03/unity3.png?w=248" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-5112 aligncenter" src="https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2021/03/unity3.png" alt="unity3" width="248" height="241" srcset="https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2021/03/unity3.png 248w, https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2021/03/unity3.png?w=150&amp;h=146 150w" sizes="(max-width: 248px) 100vw, 248px"></p> <h3 class="has-text-align-center"><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Background</span></h3> <h4><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Historical Setting</span></strong></h4> <p>John 17 contains Jesus’ fourth and parting prayer that closes the Johannine Farewell Discourse (Köstenberger, 2007). It occurred during Passion Week, as Jesus sat with His disciples at a meal&nbsp;[1]&nbsp;immediately before His arrest (Matt. 26:17-29). Jesus prays that the “hour is come” (v. 1, cf Matt 26:18; John 7:30; 12:23 and 13:1). He was about to complete His mission. Now, at the threshold of the cross, Jesus submits “as a man to the plan of God through the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension” (Bernard, 1994, p. 113; &nbsp;cf. Isa. 55:10-11; John 13:1, 3).&nbsp; It is a mark of transition from His earthly ministry to completion and triumph over the world. Glory is one of the central themes of the Book of John. One sees that His glory fulfills the past and provides a trajectory of future eternal life for those who believe in Him in generations to come (v. 20).</p> <h4><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Cultural Background Issues</span></strong></h4> <p>The Jewish people believed that the “Gentile nations hated them because they were chosen and sent by God and suffered on his account” (Keener, 1993, 302). On the other hand, the Jews resented Jesus grouping most of them with the world. This created great opposition among Jews towards Jesus (cf. John 15:18-19). The author explains that God ‘sanctified’ or “set apart” Israel for himself as holy, especially by giving them his commandments” (Lev 11:44-45). If God had sanctified his people, or set them apart among the nations by giving them the law, how much more are followers of Jesus set apart by his coming as the law made flesh (John 1:1-18 and John 17:17; 1993, p. 305). Unity, and thus covenant, now is extended to those beyond Israel through the glorification of Jesus at the cross. As God and Jesus are one, the disciples and future generations to come are to be one in Him.</p> <p>Here’s the dilemma, though. Prior to the crucifixion, as related in John 16, the disciples could not fully comprehend what Jesus told them about things to come (John 16:18-19). When Jesus prays, He does so against this backdrop. However, the disciples’ attitude about Jesus as the Messiah changes to that of unity with Him after His ascension. In Acts 1, one reads of them being in one accord, waiting for the Holy Spirit. Further, the disciples speak and witness with boldness and authority to the crowd at Pentecost once they are filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2).</p> <h4><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Literary Background</span></strong></h4> <p>The Book of John contains two main sections which are the Book of Signs (1:19-12:50) and the Book of Glory (13:1-20:31) wrapped in a prologue (1:1-18) and epilogue (21). John 17 is a prayer and part of the Book of Glory (Green, McKnight &amp; Marshall, 1992). Fittingly, the two central themes of this prayer show glory and unity.</p> <p>Some call this the Farewell Discourse, others the High-Priestly Prayer. Both a prayer and discourse, it combes elements of each into a cohesive and powerful whole. When viewing it as the High-Priestly Prayer, one sees that Jesus serves as a priestly mediator by interceding for His disciples and those to come who will believe in the disciples’ teachings (cf. Ps 110:1, 4). Jesus, the High Priest, is one “who can boldly and permanently pull back the great curtain that shuts us out from God and invite us all, as brothers and sisters, to come in, to enter into intimacy with the living God” (Long, 1994, p. 96). The Farewell Discourse runs from John 13-17. In this particular portion of the discourse, Jesus, both human and divine, has a serious conversation with the Father through prayer in His humanity.</p> <p>Linguistically, a discourse is a written or verbal conversation that is serious, lengthy and topic specific (Bing, 2012). &nbsp;This discourse is in the form of a prayer. It reflects a one-to-one communication between Jesus, the God-man, and the Father on the subjects of glory and unity insofar as the vision for humankind. The action of lifting up your eyes to heaven is an expression commonly used at this time to describe a formal posture for prayer; followed by addressing prayer to “Father, to open” both indicate that the passage is a prayer (Moloney,1989; v.1a). The prayer text verses are either in petitionary or self-focused forms, with one an acknowledgment.&nbsp;[2]</p> <p>Positioned at the end of the Farewell Discourse, the prayer transitions the reader to forthcoming events. This prayer sums up John’s Gospel account focusing on the unity of believers (MacArthur Bible, p. 1618). Scholars organize this prayer into three or four parts. For the purpose of highlighting the unity of believers, this essay will use Renee Kieffer’s outline of the prayer’s contents: (1) Jesus asked the Father to be glorified (vv. 1-5); (2) Jesus prays for the disciples – chosen, (vv. 6-11a) protected (vv. 11b-16) and sanctified (vv. 17-19); (3) Jesus prays for unity of all believers (vv. 20-23) and (4) Jesus prays for the disciples love (vv.24-26; Oxford Bible Dictionary, 2001).</p> <p>Jesus anchors His prayer to the setting of 13:1-4. Physically, Jesus still sits at the table with His disciples. Yet, He prays undisturbed, making known publically that His hour has come and He is no longer of the world. Throughout He petitions, discourses and intercedes. Moloney believed this prayer is both a unified literary structure and theological argument (2009).</p> <p>Consider for a moment the broader purpose and audience for this prayer. While Jesus prays for His disciples, and does so in their presence, the long-term implication is that He addresses unity of the yet formed Christian community of the future (vv. 20-23). In doing so, Jesus lays foundational direction for a unified, greater body of subsequent believers from all tribes and nations. Unity embeds itself within references to oneness for the body of believers found in John 17:20-23:&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="wp-block-quote"><p>Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be <strong>one</strong>; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be <strong>one</strong> in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be <strong>one</strong>, even as we are <strong>one</strong>: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in <strong>one</strong>; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.&nbsp;</p></blockquote> <p>Jesus, as a man praying for men, yet at the same time “The AM” (ego <em>eime</em>) come in flesh (13:19; 18:4-5), petitions for oneness four times within this passage (vv.21-23): (1) “That they all may be one” (v. 21a); (2) “that they also may be one in us:” (v. 21b); (3) “that they may be one, even as we are one” (v. 22) and (4) “that they may be made perfect in one;” (v. 23).&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>One (G1520, transliterated as hā&#8217;s from the Greek εἷς) is a cardinal number, in nominative masculine form. While a number, it connotes different meanings such as one in contrast to many, single to the exclusion to others, one alone, one and the same, union and concord, a certain one, every one and first (Vine’s in Blue Letter Bible, 2012). Since the meaning depends on factors like context within the actual verse, cross reference with other verses and parallel structures, decidedly, one must look at each occurrence of one in John 17:21-23.</p> <p>Do note that each of the verses in John 17:21-23 begins with the word that, signifying a prayer of petition. Further, the conjunction that, or ἵνα in Greek (transliterated as <em>hina</em>), indicates a subjunctive clause will follow. In a general sense the conjunction ἵνα means “that or in order that” (Dana &amp; Matey, 1955). Further, according to Dana and Matey, when the ἵνα is final, as is in these passages, it translates to “in order that.”&nbsp; Accordingly, a verb constructed in present subjunctive tense “signals continuous action and a statement of purpose” (Mounce, 1987, p. 187). Each one of the statements referencing oneness in John 21-23 is in <em>hina</em>, subjunctive clause construction. It would appear that these clauses highlight a statement of result that predicates on an issue, need or subject from the preceding sentence.</p> <p><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">“That they may be one” (v. 21a).</span></strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;The <em>hina</em> clause, “that they may be one” (v. 21a) connects to the preceding subjects, “for these alone” and “them also which shall believe on me through their word” (v. 20). Jesus prays for a union of people from the disciples to generations to come (allusion. Deut 29:14-15), consisting of “one fold and one shepherd” (cf John 10:16; 11:51-52; 56:8; Isa. 42:6b), with the result of being joined in “unity of purpose and knowledge through Jesus” (cf John 10:30; Miller, 2011). Beale and Carson parallel Jesus’ concern for unity to “fraternal love and harmony in Jewish testamentary literature” (2007, p.499).</p> <p><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">“That they also may be one in us” (v. 21b).</span> &nbsp;</strong>With this <em>hina</em> clause the subjects are the same, “for these alone” and “them also which shall believe on me through their word” (v. 20). This time, Jesus prays for the result “That they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (v. 21b). He petitions that the disciples, as well as those to come abide in the one Shepherd, as one fold to bear unified witness to the identity of Jesus as the Sent One (John 17:5, 24; Zech 2:9).</p> <p><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">“That they may be one, even as we are one” (v. 22b)</span>. </strong>In this <em>hina</em> clause, one sees a need in the preceding sentence that is “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them;” (v. 22a). It results in “that they may be one, even as we are one” (v.22b) Apostle Paul picks this same up referring to unveiled faces, transformed into His likeness that reflect the Lord&#8217;s glory (2 Cor 3:18). Of importance is group solidarity. Jesus asks that they be kept together as one fold, just as he did with the disciples (cf 17:11). Bruce Malina (2009) likened this solidarity to group glue founded on love (in Neyrey, <em>Gospel of John in Cultural and Rhetorical Perspective</em>, p. 469). Just as Jesus “loved his own who were in the world, he loved them perfectly” (13:1). Facing His own departure He gave a new command that “you love one another’ even as I have love you, that you also love one another” (13:34).&nbsp; Solidarity in maintained when one loves (ἀγαπάω) one another. Love is the glue of solidarity that solidifies relationship.</p> <p><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">“That they may be made perfect in one” (v.23b).</span></strong>“The sentence prior to the <em>hina</em> clause shows need: “I in them, and thou in me (v. 23a), so that “they may be made perfect in one” (v.23b). When the fold remains unified, all the while abiding in Christ and Him dwelling within them, He matures them as one and makes them complete&nbsp;His fullness.</p> <h3 class="has-text-align-center"><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">Theological Message</span></strong></h3> <p>One sees the historical, cultural, and literary background of the High-Priestly prayer. Jesus faced great opposition. Strife and conflict among Jews prevailed over the message of the forthcoming Messiah. Even Jesus’ own disciples did not grasp the full implications of His discourse and revealed identity in John 13-16. Consider for a moment the broader purpose and audience for this prayer. While Jesus prays for His disciples, He not only prays that they remain one, but addresses future unity of the yet formed Christian community (vv. 20-23).</p> <p>This prayer serves the purpose of providing direction for a unified, body of believers from all tribes and nations – The Church of Jesus Christ. An analysis of the result statements (<em>hina</em> clauses) for oneness show four major premises for unity of the Church in the areas of purpose and knowledge, bearing witness, reflecting His glory and perfecting as one in Him:</p> <ol><li>That believers may be joined together as “one fold and one shepherd” with “unity of purpose and knowledge through Jesus” (cf John 10:30; 17:21a; Miller, 2011).</li><li>That believers abide in the one Shepherd and as one fold to bear unified witness in unity to the identity of Jesus as the Sent One (John 17:21b).</li><li>That they may be kept in solidarity as one fold, transformed into His likeness to reflect the His glory (John 17:22; 2 Cor 3:18).</li><li>That they may be made complete and full as one, collectively abiding in Christ and Him dwelling within every believer (John 17:23).</li></ol> <p>Taking into consideration the central theme of unity found in the Book of John and four premises that direct unity in John 17:20-23, one can formulate a theology that informs practice for the local church. With this in mind, the M.O.S.A.I.C. framework for a heterogeneous church was created as a tool to bring to life a user-friendly unity (Paron, 2012). The framework aligns itself to the unity Jesus prayed for in His Church during the High Priestly prayer that would bring His church into oneness. This framework references six scriptural-based elements that support unity of the body&nbsp;[4].</p> <h4><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color"><strong>“M” Intentional Ministry to the Multitudes</strong></span></h4> <p>“Intentional steps to direct the salvation message to different people groups representing God’s elect” (Paron, 2012, Framework PPT) In order to join the called from every tribe and nation into one fold with one Shepherd, one must take intentional steps in ministry to support “unity through opportunities for reconciliation, invitation across cultures, diverse ministry team, brotherhood, cross-cultural relationships, spiritual growth measures, community and culture needs” (Paron, 2012, Framework).</p> <p>Jesus freely offered the salvation message to the marginalized of society. He broke “down the middle wall of partition <em>between us</em>; by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace”(Eph 2:14-15 KJV). These were intentional acts on His part. Several examples can be found of Him reaching out to the multitudes, and in the process, He tore down the wall that separated people from the salvation message.&nbsp; You see example of His reach to the multitudes: Jesus evangelized to the Samaritan woman at the well and dwelled with her town people (John 4); ate with sinners and tax collectors, i.e., Levi the publican (Luke 5:29); healed a man with dropsy (14:2); forgave a criminal while He was on the Cross (23:43). After His ascension, Jesus sent power, “after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you” to be witnesses “to the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8) The infilling of the Holy Spirit (cf. 2:38; cf 2:4; 10:46; 19:6) during New Birth, enables believers to show the aspects of forbearance and love from the fruit of the Spirit (Eph 4:2-3) to each other that brings about unity of the multitudes.</p> <h4><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">“O” Views Others with Openness</span></strong></h4> <p><strong>&nbsp;“</strong>Invite and embrace the diversity of God’s chosen by extending the love of Christ to people within and outside your community” (Paron, 2012). &nbsp;One shows openness by “willingly learning and seeking to understand different cultures for the cause of the Gospel; viewing without judgment; honoring all people and showing that each have equal status in the Kingdom; exhibiting cross-cultural servitude; practicing hospitality in the context of another person’s culture;showing love, compassion, care and person hood, connection to brotherhood within community and valuing the diversity of the one human family who God created in His image” (Paron, 2012). As such, you respect other people&#8217;s culture and consider their viewpoint as influenced by cultural background.</p> <p>During Jesus’ earthly ministry, the disciples did not join seamlessly together as a group. They showed sometimes jealously and conflict or judged those within and outside their own circle. Jesus stressed solidarity. One example can be shown in Christ’s ministry that demonstrates His unconditional and unwavering love for His disciples, even under conditions of duress. For “Christ loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end” (John 1:1). Even before the feast of the Passover, Jesus knew His time had come (13:1). The disciples and Jesus finished their supper (13:2), the devil “put into the heart of Judas Iscariot to betray” Jesus (13.2) and Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, “knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands…” (13:3). Yet, Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, including those of Judas. In ancient times, foot washing was deemed a task for slaves. Jesus performed this act, showing the love of a servant’s heart. He did not breach His love, showing the same for each. He also modeled that they should wash each other’s feet in this save type of servitude (John 13:14-16).</p> <h4><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">“S” Adapt the Method, Keeping the MeSSage</span></strong></h4> <p>Be open and flexible with people from different backgrounds; while at the same time, have a willingness to examine and change existing perceptions them. In order to adapt to different cultures to bring about unity you have to contextualize the message, yet sift through and practices that do not align with Scripture. You “realize that people perceive communication and interaction differently; adapt ministry to include people, change practices to adapt to different cultures and avoids practices that promote colonialism” to support unity as a body of believers. The goal is to unite the body in Christ and as He within the body to be “made perfect in one” (John 17:23). It is through the process of adaptation that you open doors to reconciliation. If you look again at the foot washing, Peter twice protested to Jesus about it. The second time that Jesus responded to Peter, the answer was stronger and clearer. Jesus had to change the message’s content so Peter could understand that he needed to be washed in a spiritual way and perfected in Christ.</p> <h4><strong><span class="has-inline-color has-vivid-red-color">“A” Focuses on the Call to the All</span></strong></h4> <p>Christ’s vision stretched forward to them who would believe in Him through the disciples’ word, “that they all may be one” (John 17:20.) This means that as a leader, you have the responsibility to carry forward Jesus’ vision and minister to the all of society. You must be in unity with His vision for humankind. The Blue Letter Bi The Christian and CRT, an Interlude: The Most Segregated Hour and Liberal Integrationism http://thefrontporch.org/2021/03/the-christian-and-crt-an-interlude-the-most-segregated-hour-and-liberal-integrationism/ The Front Porch urn:uuid:3fd5214e-2eaa-5735-a3e4-127259c0be87 Thu, 04 Mar 2021 08:31:47 -0600 <p>Every time I read through the “Harvard Story” discussed in our LAST POST, I can’t help but think of our American churches—particularly our theologically conservative, predominately White, churches and denominations....</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org/2021/03/the-christian-and-crt-an-interlude-the-most-segregated-hour-and-liberal-integrationism/">The Christian and CRT, an Interlude: The Most Segregated Hour and Liberal Integrationism</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org">The Front Porch</a>.</p> <p>Every time I read through the “Harvard Story” discussed in our <a href="https://thefrontporch.org/2021/02/the-christian-and-critical-race-theory-part-8-the-harvard-story-and-the-birth-of-critical-race-theory/">LAST POST</a>, I can’t help but think of our American churches—particularly our theologically conservative, predominately White, churches and denominations.</p> <p>Harvard Law School (HLS) was certainly no conservative institution, yet it also had difficulty diversifying its leadership, its decision-making processes, its overall institutional commitments, and its racialized power structure. It became clear, as we saw in the last post, to HLS’s students of color that those invested with institutional power at HLS considered it perfectly natural and just to have entirely unequal representation within the halls of leadership, so long as the “standards” were considered race-neutral, color-blind, and accorded with the traditional liberal conception of “merit.”</p> <blockquote><p>The dominant discourse on race and merit at the time was completely consistent with the notion that the standards for entry into law teaching were indeed colorblind, and that the so-called pool problem was simply the unfortunate consequence of meritocratic and fully defensible academic standards. (“<a href="https://opencommons.uconn.edu/law_review/117/">Twenty Years of Critical Race Theory</a>,” p. 1268)</p></blockquote> <p>In fact, an institution serving a diverse set of educational “customers” could, it was assumed, justly retain an entirely White faculty and still claim to have honored the goals of the Civil Rights Movement just twenty-five years prior. If the “pool of qualified minority professors” was too small, this reasoning inexorably implied, it was a problem falling entirely in the lap of minorities themselves; bootstrapping and time were the appropriate remedies. The Dean of HLS, and even many traditional Civil Rights lawyers, appeared to fully endorse a system whose terms of entry were considered fair, effective, and objective measures of “merit” despite yielding racially disproportionate outcomes.</p> <p><strong>The Most Segregated Hour and HLS</strong></p> <p>We, as the American Church, seem to have a similar set of issues. In fact, we seem to be further behind now than was HLS then. It continues to be true, now 60 years following its first utterance by Dr. King, that “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q881g1L_d8">11 o&#8217;clock on a Sunday morning is one of the most segregated hours, if not the most segregated hours, in Christian America</a>.&#8221; And more than just segregated “customers”—again, particularly within more theologically “conservative” churches, denominations, and seminaries—minority representation in leadership bears little proportional correspondence to the racial make-up of parishioners and students. Of course, as we’ve learned from Dr. Bell, “mixing” is not necessarily an end in itself. Rather, the redistribution of institutional power and resources is what is necessary to change the subordinated circumstances of people of color, even within Christian spaces. But segregation and lack of proportional representation are nevertheless important indicators of substantive progress, especially within institutions like the Church which is premised on unity in Jesus Christ.</p> <p>What the HLS students discovered in their own milieu, we saw, was that the post-Jim Crow “standards” employed by Harvard—though ostensibly color-blind, race-neutral, objective, and merit-based, nevertheless preserved much of the institutional distribution of racial power that had existed during Jim Crow. Thus, these “neutral” “standards” themselves were rightly called into question. As we read before,</p> <blockquote>[U]nderlying the School&#8217;s inability to think beyond the pool problem was a failure to bring [its student diversification] commitments inside the institution&#8217;s everyday practices and norms, a failure to re-evaluate the givens and non-negotiables with an eye toward rethinking those dimensions of law school practice that were forged in, consistent with, and facilitated by formalized inequality.</p> <p>It was at least remotely possible to imagine that aspects of legal education that had easily co-existed with and even normalized racial subordination might be reviewed with a skeptical eye whether or not the institution itself formally practiced segregation. The wholesale failure to consider the interests of underserved communities, the failure to interrogate the gaping contradictions between the formal commitment to the rule of law and the realities of racial dictatorship through much of the nation&#8217;s history, the failure to reward innovative legal theories or to explore the reformist potential of legal advocacy—all these features of the pre-civil rights elite legal education might have been viewed from a position of skepticism given their collaborative role in normalizing broad scale societal stratification. That &#8220;excellence&#8221; and &#8220;merit&#8221; could be attached to legal thinking that consistently failed to take up some of the most complex legal problems in society was troubling enough during segregation&#8217;s tenure, but to effortlessly reproduce these values in a postsegregation world seemed to undermine rather than enhance the claims of social progress. …</p> <p>Obviously, a different conception of what interests and constituencies the Law School would serve would have created a different &#8220;pool&#8221; of people qualified to teach there. The School, however, was stubbornly attached to its traditional view of merit and its particular mission. Its insistence on viewing the crisis through the prism of the pool was a repudiation of the students&#8217; larger demands that it rethink its foundational assumptions about how to prepare a new generation of students for the careers that they there were planning to pursue. (pp. 1273 – 1274)</p></blockquote> <p>I think we can better understand this phenomenon, both for HLS past and the American Church present, by applying what we learned in <a href="https://thefrontporch.org/2020/10/the-christian-and-critical-race-theory-part-5-a-misalignment-of-frames-integrationism/">Part 5</a> of this series, covering the critique of “liberal integrationism.”</p> <p><strong>Liberal Integrationism</strong></p> <p>As discussed before, soon after the close of the Civil Rights Era, progressive White and middle-class Black Americans were able to successfully absorb the message of the Civil Rights Movement (CRM) into White Americans’ existing ideals of liberalism. 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<a name="_ednref13"></a>. According to CRT scholar Gary Peller,</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…. (“<a href="https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/dlj/vol39/iss4/4/">Race Consciousness</a>,” p. 774)</p></blockquote> <p>As a result, rather than addressing the subordinated circumstances of Black Americans, the civil rights establishment (CRE) began to center their continuing civil rights work on the liberal integrationists’ analytic of prejudice, discrimination, and segregation, thereby eschewing race-conscious remedies—those which would redistribute resources and power—in favor of “neutral standards,” like “color-blind merit.” Given time, the establishment argued, through ordinary legal challenges, appeals to antidiscrimination law and court precedent, knowledge would soon overcome prejudice, race-neutral standards would overcome discrimination, and integration would overcome segregation.</p> <p>In fact, the real culprit standing in the way of this progression was soon understood to be race-consciousness itself—seeing race and allowing it to count for anything. For liberal integrationists, the way to overcome prejudice, bias, and stereotypes was to universalize social subjects by divorcing them from their historical context and group identity. The terms of this coalition between White progressives and Black “elites” would prove to be the rejection of both “backward hillbillies” and “Black agitators” in exchange for an ideal of universal liberal enlightenment.</p> <blockquote>[T]he price of the national commitment to suppress white supremacists would be the rejection of race consciousness among African Americans.” (p. 760)</p></blockquote> <p>Once the ideology of liberal integrationism had been widely adopted, both Black nationalists and White supremacists could together be rejected as backward, prejudiced, unenlightened, anti-liberal enemies of racial progress in America—and, more realistically, enemies of the presumed “race-neutral” status quo. Rather than racial subordination or unequal distribution of power and resources, “color-consciousness” itself became the hallmark of racist violation, whether “perpetrated” by White or Black Americans. And I don’t think there is any doubt that this has also been predominate understanding of “racial reconciliation” in the American Church.</p> <p><strong>An Application for the Church</strong></p> <p>Now, an important corollary of this ideology, according to Peller, was that “integrationists assumed that fair, impersonal criteria simply would be what remained once the distortion of race consciousness was removed” (p. 777). That is, liberal integrationist believed that once all reference to “race” or “color” was removed from law, from institutional policy, and from all metrics for decision-making, what was left intact would be race-neutral, fair, and undistorted by the trappings of bias and particularism. Here is where we get to some truly important application. Peller continues:</p> <blockquote><p>One manifestation of this assumption was that the purportedly broad social transformation reflected in the national struggle against racism resulted in hardly any change in administrative personnel. The transformation from a Jim Crow to an integrationist racial regime was thought to require only a change in the rules of social decisionmaking. The same whites who once carried out the formal program of American apartheid actually kept their jobs as the decisionmakers charged with evaluating merit in the employment offices of companies and in the admissions offices of schools in the post-segregation world. In institution after institution, progressive reformists have found themselves struggling over the implementation of racial integration with the former administrators of racial segregation, many of whom soon constituted an old guard &#8220;concerned&#8221; over the deterioration of &#8220;standards.&#8221; (pp. 777 – 778)</p></blockquote> <p>Is this not absolutely true of churches, denominations, conventions, and seminaries throughout the country? When a denomination finally condemned slavery, did the leadership, who had for so long argued in its favor, step down? When a church allowed African Americans to come down from the balconies and equally participate with White parishioners, did the pastor and elders give up the power they had recently wielded toward opposing ends? When seminaries finally allowed their first Black students, were those who had hired professors, set the institutional agenda, determined its standards, and oversaw its admissions replaced by those who had been objecting to the discriminatory practices? What about more recent racial reconciliation resolutions passed by denominations over the last few years? Are those who argued against these resolutions still pastoring, ruling, and teaching in our churches and seminaries?</p> <p>To be clear, as Peller points out, this is not to suggest that there should be wholesale firing of all that had come before these important policy changes; rather, the point is that “the continuity of institutional authority symbolizes the limited nature of social reform that most integrationists associated with the achievement of racial justice.” Under liberal integrationist ideology, it would appear, all that an institution needed to do was remove the explicitly racial language for decision-making and those who formerly oversaw these explicitly racist policies would soon employ race-neutral standards.</p> <p>Peller then takes it a step further:</p> <blockquote><p>Even more dramatic than the continuity of personnel (since the particular people in power eventually age, retire and die), 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. From within the integrationist ideology of neutral standards, no conceptual base existed from which integrationists could question whether &#8220;standards,&#8221; definitions of &#8220;merit,&#8221; and the other myriad features of the day-to-day aspects of institutional life constructed or maintained during segregation might have reflected deeper aspects of a culture within which the explicit exclusion of blacks seemed uncontroversial. (p. 778)</p></blockquote> <p>Here again we must be willing to ask probing questions of our institutional histories. Are we to assume that churches and denominations—whose leaders and members had enslaved, segregated, and/or barred their own Black parishioners from institutional authority for centuries—could simply remove the shackles, take down the signs, and open the doors, and nothing else internally would need to be changed? These institutions had held their doctrinal standards, understandings of virtue and justice, their qualifications for leadership, their diaconal commitments, and their order of service, music, and preaching as consistent with racial enslavement and segregation for all the time they had participated. Are we then to believe that <em>none</em> of these supposedly “race-neutral” institutional ideas, practices, and commitments are legitimate sites of racial critique? I think not.</p> <p>Peller continues:</p> <blockquote><p>Liberal integrationist ideology is structured so that some social practices are taken out of the economy of race relations, and understood to be undistorted by racial power. … This narrow image of the domain of racial power characterizes the tendency of liberal integrationism to become part of a self-justifying ideology of privilege and status. 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. (pp. 778 – 779)</p></blockquote> <p>I’d suggest that this is exactly what we’ve seen over the last few years. We’ve seen brothers blocked from ministry for voting Democrat, seminary professors called Marxist for addressing systemic racism and police brutality, multiple churches leaving the SBC after constant hostility, and we’ve recently seen 6 White seminary presidents unilaterally determine what can be considered acceptable antiracism. And all of this, to be sure, has followed decades of inattention, apathy, and inaction toward racial justice as White Christians seek comfort in color-blindness; “in Christ there is no Jew, no Gentile,” after all. Further, every explanation and justification given for these events is, predictably, cast in the “race-neutral” language of Biblical qualifications, doctrinal standards, merit, and preservation of unity, all supposedly for the sake of Biblical fidelity.</p> <p>Finally, these supposedly race-neutral ideas, practices, and standards—many of which had coexisted with both slavery and Jim Crow—are now presumed to have emerged in a post-racial era unscathed, as God-given means of distributing access and leadership. They also just so happen to preserve the “most segregated hour” as well as the maldistribution of institutional power, resources, and leadership that continues to plague the American Church. In fact, the very presumption of race-neutrality accorded these inherited socio-religious practices allows those with institutional power to legitimize our continued segregation and maldistribution, not to mention protect their own positions within.</p> <p><strong>Conclusion</strong></p> <p>As with the Harvard Law story discussed above, it might be that the Church’s</p> <blockquote><p>failure to bring its [racial unification] commitments inside the institution&#8217;s everyday practices and norms [is largely due to] a failure to re-evaluate the givens and non-negotiables with an eye toward rethinking those dimensions of [church] practice that were forged in, consistent with, and facilitated by formalized inequality. [And i]t was at least remotely possible to imagine that aspects of [church practice] that had easily co-existed with and even normalized racial subordination might be reviewed with a skeptical eye whether or not the institution itself formally practiced segregation.</p></blockquote> <p>Further,</p> <blockquote>[t]he wholesale failure to consider the interests of underserved communities, the failure to interrogate the gaping contradictions between the formal commitment to [Biblical standards] and the realities of racial dictatorship through much of the nation&#8217;s history, the failure … to explore the reformist potential of [Biblical doctrine]—all these features of the pre-civil rights [Christian practice] might have been viewed from a position of skepticism given their collaborative role in normalizing broad scale societal stratification. … Obviously, a different conception of what interests and constituencies [Christian institutions] would serve would have created a different ‘pool’ of people qualified to [lead. Accordingly, the American Church’s] insistence on viewing the crisis through [supposedly race-neutral standards] was a repudiation of [Black Christians’] larger demands that it rethink its foundational assumptions about how to [minister to people of color].</p></blockquote> <p>It’s at least worth considering.</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org/2021/03/the-christian-and-crt-an-interlude-the-most-segregated-hour-and-liberal-integrationism/">The Christian and CRT, an Interlude: The Most Segregated Hour and Liberal Integrationism</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org">The Front Porch</a>.</p> Rapping with the Reyes’ Part 2 http://thefrontporch.org/2021/02/rapping-with-the-reyes-part-2/ The Front Porch urn:uuid:90f837b8-b417-b464-5f1c-b47f51d26ff9 Mon, 22 Feb 2021 17:38:23 -0600 <p>A neglected community in Austin Texas needed a new church plant. Enter the Reyes' </p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org/2021/02/rapping-with-the-reyes-part-2/">Rapping with the Reyes&#8217; Part 2</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org">The Front Porch</a>.</p> <p><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/990894874&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%" height="166" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <div style="font-size: 10px; color: #cccccc; line-break: anywhere; word-break: normal; overflow: hidden; white-space: nowrap; text-overflow: ellipsis; font-family: Interstate,Lucida Grande,Lucida Sans Unicode,Lucida Sans,Garuda,Verdana,Tahoma,sans-serif; font-weight: 100;"><a style="color: #cccccc; text-decoration: none;" title="The Front Porch Podcast" href="https://soundcloud.com/pastor-people" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">The Front Porch Podcast</a> · <a style="color: #cccccc; text-decoration: none;" title="Rapping with the Reyes - Part 2" href="https://soundcloud.com/pastor-people/rapping-with-the-reyes-part-2" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Rapping with the Reyes &#8211; Part 2</a></div> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org/2021/02/rapping-with-the-reyes-part-2/">Rapping with the Reyes&#8217; Part 2</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org">The Front Porch</a>.</p> Rapping with the Reyes’ Part 1 http://thefrontporch.org/2021/02/rapping-with-the-reyes-part-1/ The Front Porch urn:uuid:8f5ad975-15f5-ad2b-55cf-100b55a31ea1 Fri, 19 Feb 2021 14:35:20 -0600 <p>From Texas, Minnesota to Illinois to Texas, the Reyes have made a difference for the kingdom of God. </p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org/2021/02/rapping-with-the-reyes-part-1/">Rapping with the Reyes&#8217; Part 1</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org">The Front Porch</a>.</p> <p><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/988842778&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%" height="166" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <div style="font-size: 10px; color: #cccccc; line-break: anywhere; word-break: normal; overflow: hidden; white-space: nowrap; text-overflow: ellipsis; font-family: Interstate,Lucida Grande,Lucida Sans Unicode,Lucida Sans,Garuda,Verdana,Tahoma,sans-serif; font-weight: 100;"><a style="color: #cccccc; text-decoration: none;" title="The Front Porch Podcast" href="https://soundcloud.com/pastor-people" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">The Front Porch Podcast</a> · <a style="color: #cccccc; text-decoration: none;" title="Rapping with the Reyes' Part 1" href="https://soundcloud.com/pastor-people/rapping-with-the-reyes-part-1" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Rapping with the Reyes&#8217; Part 1</a></div> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org/2021/02/rapping-with-the-reyes-part-1/">Rapping with the Reyes&#8217; Part 1</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org">The Front Porch</a>.</p> The Christian and Critical Race Theory, Part 8: the Harvard Story and the Birth of “Critical Race Theory” http://thefrontporch.org/2021/02/the-christian-and-critical-race-theory-part-8-the-harvard-story-and-the-birth-of-critical-race-theory/ The Front Porch urn:uuid:4e5a63bc-cf33-7495-a64c-950bc7c6db90 Thu, 18 Feb 2021 11:12:02 -0600 <p>As we read in our LAST POST, CRT emerged not only as a critical intervention in a particular institutional contestation over race but also as a race intervention in a...</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org/2021/02/the-christian-and-critical-race-theory-part-8-the-harvard-story-and-the-birth-of-critical-race-theory/">The Christian and Critical Race Theory, Part 8: the Harvard Story and the Birth of “Critical Race Theory”</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org">The Front Porch</a>.</p> <p>As we read in our <a href="https://thefrontporch.org/2021/02/the-christian-and-critical-race-theory-part-7-a-race-intervention-into-critical-legal-studies/">LAST POST</a>,</p> <blockquote><p>CRT emerged not only as a critical intervention in a particular institutional contestation over race but also as a race intervention in a critical space, namely CLS. (“<a href="https://opencommons.uconn.edu/law_review/117/">Twenty Years of Critical Race Theory: Looking Back to Move Forward</a>,” 1287 – 1288)</p></blockquote> <p>We’ve discussed how Critical Race Theory was a “race intervention in a critical space”; we now turn to how CRT was a “critical intervention in a particular institutional contestation over race,” specifically the academy (p. 1288). “The eruption that served as a point of departure in CRT’s trajectory,” according to Kimberlé Crenshaw, “was the institutional struggle over race, pedagogy, and affirmative action at America’s elite law schools<a name="_ednref40"></a>” (p. 1264).</p> <p>In “<a href="https://digitalcommons.law.seattleu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1153&amp;context=faculty">Liberal McCarthyism and the Origins of Critical Race Theory</a>,” Richard Delgado discusses three major sites of institutional contestation within legal academia which together served to bring a critical theory of race to the fore. In the early 1980s, the “Boalt Hall Coalition for a Diverse Faculty” was formed at U.C. Berkeley to protest the “slow pace in hiring faculty of color, gays, and women.” The student group staged rallies and campus protests and “invited professors of color … to give talks about the need for diversity and to deliver papers that they hoped would persuade the school’s professors to hire more minorities.” Some of these professors of color would become central to the CRT movement and the protests would spread from Berkeley to educational institutions throughout the country.</p> <p>Second, Delgado points to a Critical Legal Studies conference held in Los Angeles in 1987. “On learning that the event’s theme would be race, a small group of law professors of color requested an opportunity to address the gathering” (p. 513). Jose Bracamonte, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Patricia Williams, Harlon Dalton, Mari Mutasada, and Delgado himself attended, gave presentations, and wrote papers, some of which would be published in <em>Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review</em> and would become an early core of the CRT canon.</p> <p>But, prior to both of these, the most prominent story discussed by Delgado is the so-called “Harvard Story.” Many CRT scholars, Dr. Crenshaw in particular, point to the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/1983/01/06/us/students-picket-law-course-in-rights-protest-at-harvard.html">student protests at Harvard Law</a> beginning in 1981 as that which materially set the stage for the first Workshop on Critical Race Theory—a workshop that would be spearheaded by Kimberlé Crenshaw, Neil Gotanda, and Stephanie Phillips and held in Madison, WI on July 8, 1989. Titled “New Developments in CRT,” the Workshop would become the first of several annual meetings centered around “Critical Race Theory”—a phrase, in fact, first coined for this occasion.</p> <p><strong>The Harvard Story: Professor Derrick Bell</strong></p> <p>In 1980, frustrated by the slow—or non-existent—pace of faculty integration, Dr. Derrick Bell, then Harvard Law’s (HLS) only Black tenured professor, resigned to become Dean of the University of Oregon’s Law School. As discussed in <a href="https://thefrontporch.org/2020/07/the-christian-and-critical-race-theory-part-3-a-bridge-dr-derrick-bell/">Part 3</a> of this series, Dr. Bell’s work at Harvard had signaled a return to the more “radical” elements of the abolitionist and civil rights tradition of, e.g., Marcus Garvey, W.E.B. Du Bois, Oliver C. Cox, Malcom X, Stokely Carmichael, and the unsanitized Dr. King (see <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>), including a renewed emphasis on race-consciousness, racial power dynamics, economic explanations for racial domination, and an emphasis on substantive over symbolic equality. Dr. Bell’s central text, <em>Race, Racism and American Law</em>, as well as his semester long course, “Constitutional Law and Minority Interests,” went beyond what had become the traditional legal school scholarship at Harvard.</p> <blockquote><p>Traditional scholarship on race was at this point firmly grounded in the liberal individual rights model. The objective was to get these second-class citizens some rights, but the efforts to secure these rights had to be reconciled with other important interests, such as federalism, the free market economy, institutional stability, vested expectations, and the like. Anticipating a conservative counter-critique, early scholarship around race sought to legitimize a certain amount of judicial &#8220;activism&#8221; in the face of concerns about judicial overreaching, social engineering, political agenda setting, and recommitting the interventionist errors of Lochner. (Kimberlé Crenshaw, “<a href="http://www2.law.columbia.edu/fagan/courses/law_socialscience/documents/Spring_2006/Class%202-Origins%20of%20Social%20Science%20Law/Crenshaw_Foot%20in%20the%20Closing%20Door.pdf">The First Decade: Critical Reflections, or A Foot in the Closing Door</a>,” p. 1347)</p></blockquote> <p>That is, traditional legal race scholarship at this point was fully intrenched in the “liberal integrationist” standpoint discussed in <a href="https://thefrontporch.org/2020/10/the-christian-and-critical-race-theory-part-5-a-misalignment-of-frames-integrationism/">Part 5</a> of this series. According to Gary 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>Accordingly, as Crenshaw points out above, civil rights and racial remediation scholarship was almost entirely occupied with how to interrupt the status quo on behalf of disenfranchised Americans without thereby interrupting the rest of the liberal program—i.e., individual freedom, freedom of association, free markets, vested interests, property rights, etc. In contrast,</p> <blockquote><p>Bell&#8217;s approach diverged from this conventional orientation in at least two important ways. First, for Bell, the question was not how to justify judicial interventions on behalf of the interests of racial equality against independent, preexisting interests. These interests themselves often functioned as repositories of racial subordination. Nor, in his view, should success in achieving constitutional protection be measured solely in terms of individual rights. The point was to understand how law contributed to the systemic disempowerment of African Americans more broadly. Moreover, Bell understood that the measure of civil rights law is its concrete effectiveness in helping to contest the actual conditions of racial domination. (“<a href="http://www2.law.columbia.edu/fagan/courses/law_socialscience/documents/Spring_2006/Class%202-Origins%20of%20Social%20Science%20Law/Crenshaw_Foot%20in%20the%20Closing%20Door.pdf">The First Decade</a>,” p. 1347)</p></blockquote> <p>Therefore, Dr. Bell sought to interrogate law itself as a “repository of racism,” though considered a solution to racism, and called for reforms that would target the subordinated circumstances of African Americans rather than just their subordinated legal status. This message not only appealed to many of the students of color already at HLS, it attracted new students, like Kimberlé Crenshaw herself, to learn from the famed Black professor and Civil Rights veteran. What Bell distinctively offered these young students of color was both an explanation and a revised plan of action answering to the rapid Civil Rights retrenchment visible throughout American law and politics in the 1980’s (for context, please see <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).</p> <p><strong>The Student Protests</strong></p> <p>Following Bell’s departure, however, “[t]he School suffered a 100% reduction in its tenured minority faculty” (p. 1265) and his semester long course, “had simply been dropped from the curriculum” (“<a href="https://opencommons.uconn.edu/law_review/117/">Twenty Years of Critical Race Theory</a>,” p. 1264). Students organized and confronted the Dean of the School at the time, Dr. James Vorenberg, demanding greater minority representation among the Law School’s faculty and the continuation of Bell’s course. “[N]early five hundred students signed a petition urging HLS to reinstate ‘Constitutional Law and Minority Issues’ and to hire tenure track professors to teach this and other courses addressing minority issues” (“<a href="http://www2.law.columbia.edu/fagan/courses/law_socialscience/documents/Spring_2006/Class%202-Origins%20of%20Social%20Science%20Law/Crenshaw_Foot%20in%20the%20Closing%20Door.pdf">The First Decade</a>,” p. 1348). The Dean responded in a meeting with student representatives by questioning both the need for minority faculty and the need for Bell’s specific course:</p> <blockquote><p>He began his curricular inquiry with &#8216;what is &#8220;so special&#8221; about a course on &#8220;Constitutional Law and Minority Issues&#8221; that could not be learned through the basic course in constitutional law in combination with perhaps a placement in legal services. On the question of recruitment, the Dean parried with a reference to a white civil rights attorney and queried, &#8220;[W]ouldn&#8217;t you prefer an excellent white professor over a mediocre Black one?&#8221; (“<a href="https://opencommons.uconn.edu/law_review/117/">Twenty Years of Critical Race Theory</a>,” p. 1267)</p></blockquote> <p>He further argued that the “pool” of “qualified” minority professors was just too small to fill the void at HLS. He, in fact, hired ten more White professors that very year, ignoring a list of thirty Black professors suggested by the Black Law Student Association. The response from the students was no Ivy League letter writing campaign.</p> <blockquote>[A]ll hell broke loose at Harvard Law School. Within the next two years, Harvard would become the scene of acrimony unlike any time since the student takeovers during he Vietnam War. The long, carpeted halls with conspicuous &#8220;Quiet&#8221; signs would be taken over by chanting students, the sacred faculty library would be invaded by a sea of &#8220;Desegregate Now!&#8221; t-shirts, and even the Dean&#8217;s inner sanctum would suffer the indignities of students standing on his desk. (pp. 1267 – 1268)</p></blockquote> <p>In response, the Dean organized a “three week mini-course” to be taught by two accomplished White civil rights lawyers covering traditional civil rights litigation and remediation. This was taken as a final insult by the students of color at HLS. First, it was only three weeks long rather than the full semester that was Bell’s course. Second, it was a fundamentally different approach to “minority issues” than that provided by Bell’s course;</p> <blockquote><p>while we knew remediation was important, we wanted to ground our studies in a thorough understanding of how law constituted the problem of race in the first place. At this time, we were encountering heavy silence about race throughout the curriculum, even though we knew that it lay just beneath the surface of many of our courses. (“<a href="http://www2.law.columbia.edu/fagan/courses/law_socialscience/documents/Spring_2006/Class%202-Origins%20of%20Social%20Science%20Law/Crenshaw_Foot%20in%20the%20Closing%20Door.pdf">The First Decade</a>,” p. 1349)</p></blockquote> <p>Last, the students had hoped that reinstating Bell’s course, or something like it, might be an opportunity to recruit minority professors to the school to fill the diversity void.</p> <blockquote><p>The truth of the matter was that the course they sought quite simply was not part of the core mission of the law school and there was no sense of urgency to staff it. (“<a href="https://opencommons.uconn.edu/law_review/117/">Twenty Years of Critical Race Theory</a>,” p. 1267)</p></blockquote> <p>Through all of this, what became clear to these students was that, though the school had successfully diversified its student body, it had failed to bring about similar changes in its own power structure, decision making, and educational commitments. The disproportionate dearth of Black professors and coursework on race and law suggested that Harvard may have had a commitment to diversification of customers, but had little commitment to diversification of faculty, leadership, or content—arguably the most important measures of an institution’s civil rights commitments. It was apparent that those invested with institutional power considered it perfectly natural and just to have entirely unequal representation within the halls of leadership, so long as the “standards” were considered race-neutral, color-blind, and accorded with the traditional liberal conception of “merit.”</p> <blockquote><p>The dominant discourse on race and merit at the time was completely consistent with the notion that the standards for entry into law teaching were indeed colorblind, and that the so-called pool problem was simply the unfortunate consequence of meritocratic and fully defensible academic standards. (p. 1268)</p></blockquote> <p>In fact, an institution serving a diverse set of educational “customers” could, it was apparently assumed, justly retain an entirely White faculty and still claim to have honored the goals of the Civil Rights Movement just twenty-five years prior. If the pool was too small, this reasoning inexorably implied, it was a problem falling entirely in the lap of minorities themselves; bootstrapping and time were the appropriate remedies. The Dean, and even many traditional Civil Rights lawyers, appeared to fully endorse a system whose terms of entry were considered fair, effective, and objective measures of “merit,” despite yielding entirely racially disproportionate outcomes.</p> <blockquote><p>Notwithstanding its robust policies to advance student diversity, the school drew a line in the sand when it came to faculty, maintaining a firm commitment to &#8220;merit.&#8221;</p></blockquote> <p>The student activists, on the other hand, while not rejecting the concept of academic standards and qualifications <em>per se</em>, rejected the Dean’s liberal appeal to a neutral, color-blind conception of “merit.” “Merit” itself was understood to be a site of justifiable racial critique, given that candidate preference was predicated on entrenched, historically created, and complex social networks which are themselves legitimate sites of racial critique.</p> <blockquote>[K]ey to the students&#8217; argument was that the discourse around merit was not simply a ruse or somehow false, but that it was the functional embodiment of particular values and practices that reflected the limited scope of what the law school perceived its mission to be. In this sense, the standards were neither objective nor universal. Instead, they were tied to performance within an institution that had been either agnostic toward or supportive of Jim Crow.</p> <p>A different institutional history would have generated different projects that would in turn have invited alternative conceptions of merit. (p. 1286)</p></blockquote> <p>Further,</p> <blockquote><p>as the students saw things, there was nothing magical or intrinsically compelling about the typical standards offered to justify the virtual absence of faculty of color. A degree from an elite law school, membership on a law review and a Supreme Court clerkship were not the exclusive criteria for identifying candidates who were likely to make substantial contributions both to the educational mission of the school and to the broader goals of advancing legal knowledge. Instead, the traditional criteria were increasingly viewed as an informal and unjustified preference for the social cohort to whom these opportunities were overwhelmingly distributed: white and male candidates.  (p. 1269)</p> <p>It was entirely unsurprising that candidates of color would not readily emerge from a pool they had largely been prohibited from entering. (p. 1272)</p></blockquote> <p>The only way to maintain these claims of objectivity and race neutrality was to assume that racism, or even racialized differential access, was an occasional event, was only perpetrated by ill-willed individuals, was an irrational aberration from the race-neutral social norm, and, finally, that people of color who had not met Harvard’s “standards” had only themselves to blame, unless specific discriminatory events could be cited and proven causal. In short, the students were asked to just assume that the playing field was already neutral, that every player began with zero points, and that cheaters would be addressed if caught explicitly breaking the rules. The hierarchical creation of race in America, its holistic effects on law, common ideas, common consciousness, and even the exemplar of universal fairness—merit—were either ignored or treated as unimportant to the calculus. Dr. Crenshaw explains at length:</p> <blockquote>[U]nderlying the School&#8217;s inability to think beyond the pool problem was a failure to bring [its student diversification] commitments inside the institution&#8217;s everyday practices and norms, a failure to re-evaluate the givens and non-negotiables with an eye toward rethinking those dimensions of law school practice that were forged in, consistent with, and facilitated by formalized inequality.</p> <p>It was at least remotely possible to imagine that aspects of legal education that had easily co-existed with and even normalized racial subordination might be reviewed with a skeptical eye whether or not the institution itself formally practiced segregation. The wholesale failure to consider the interests of underserved communities, the failure to interrogate the gaping contradictions between the formal commitment to the rule of law and the realities of racial dictatorship through much of the nation&#8217;s history, the failure to reward innovative legal theories or to explore the reformist potential of legal advocacy—all these features of the pre-civil rights elite legal education might have been viewed from a position of skepticism given their collaborative role in normalizing broad scale societal stratification. That &#8220;excellence&#8221; and &#8220;merit&#8221; could be attached to legal thinking that consistently failed to take up some of the most complex legal problems in society was troubling enough during segregation&#8217;s tenure, but to effortlessly reproduce these values in a postsegregation world seemed to undermine rather than enhance the claims of social progress.</p> <p>Re-evaluating the role of legal education in such a light would have revealed the existence of several possible professors who were skilled at producing and teaching aspects of legal practice that were new to the curriculum. Yet in refusing the expectations of a new population of students, the School effectively held itself as the arbiter of what was important in legal training and what was not, whose legal problems would be served by Harvard Law School and which interests would not.</p> <p>Obviously, a different conception of what interests and constituencies the Law School would serve would have created a different &#8220;pool&#8221; of people qualified to teach there. The School, however, was stubbornly attached to its traditional view of merit and its particular mission. Its insistence on viewing the crisis through the prism of the pool was a repudiation of the students&#8217; larger demands that it rethink its foundational assumptions about how to prepare a new generation of students for the careers that they were planning to pursue. (pp. 1273 – 1274)</p></blockquote> <p><strong>The Alternative Course</strong></p> <p>Predictably, the students boycotted the Dean’s mini-course. The students—the “Third World Coalition” of “students-of-color organizations” in particular—organized an “Alternative Course” instead. Derrick Bell’s <em>Race, Racism and American Law </em>would serve as the organizing text for the course and scholars from law schools around the nation were invited to teach a chapter.</p> <blockquote><p>We saw our efforts not only as an attempt to create for ourselves the educational experience the school had denied us, but also as an opportunity to provide a showcase of intellectual talent that effectively would counter the dean&#8217;s claim that the pool of qualified scholars of color was prohibitively shallow. Among the scholars who answered our call were several who would become central figures in CRT: Chuck Lawrence, Richard Delgado, Linda Greene, Denise Carty-Bennia, and Neil Gotanda. Other participants in the course who were similarly engaged in a critical project were W. Haywood Burns, Robert Coulter, John Brittain, Ralph Smith, and Harold MacDougall. There were students, too, who would later contribute to the development of a new intellectual moment, including Mari Matsuda and myself. (Crenshaw, “<a href="http://www2.law.columbia.edu/fagan/courses/law_socialscience/documents/Spring_2006/Class%202-Origins%20of%20Soci Jesus and the Vulnerability of Friendship http://thefrontporch.org/2021/02/jesus-and-the-vulnerability-of-friendship/ The Front Porch urn:uuid:c729d5a1-aba2-c6d7-7130-4234cf38ad67 Wed, 17 Feb 2021 05:31:44 -0600 <p>“And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’ And he took with him Peter and James and John and...</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org/2021/02/jesus-and-the-vulnerability-of-friendship/">Jesus and the Vulnerability of Friendship</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org">The Front Porch</a>.</p> <blockquote><p><em>“And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’ And he took with him Peter and James and John and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.’ (Mark 14:32–34)</em></p></blockquote> <p>Picture this: Jesus—the Savior of the world, God wrapped in human flesh—is moments away from being betrayed by Judas Iscariot. And he knew this day was coming. The Garden of Gethsemane now became a holding cell on death row.</p> <p>Feeling the weight of impending death, Jesus turns to his inner circle of friends—Peter, James, and John—and says, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death” (Mark 14:34). A vulnerable Jesus confesses his soul’s almost-deadly distress and, even more, invites his best friends to come close and witness his own intimate moments of blood-drenched prayer: “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:36).</p> <p>Most know that Jesus had 12 disciples who followed him, but not many consider that he had an inner circle within that group of 12. Peter, James, and John are who Jesus pulled aside to witness his most miraculous works (Luke 8:49–46; Matt. 26:36–38) <em>and</em> his most vulnerable moment in the Garden of Gethsemane.</p> <p>And that teaches us something crucial about friendship.</p> <p><strong>We Have a Friendship Problem </strong></p> <p>According to<a href="https://www.cigna.com/about-us/newsroom/news-and-views/press-releases/2020/cigna-takes-action-to-combat-the-rise-of-loneliness-and-improve-mental-wellness-in-america"> Cigna’s 2020 loneliness index</a>, three in five Americans consider themselves lonely. Chronic loneliness is not only prevalent among middle-aged males, but women also experience more loneliness in older age. Younger generations (Generation Z and Millennials) have also<a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/05/01/606588504/americans-are-a-lonely-lot-and-young-people-bear-the-heaviest-burden">reported</a> larger numbers of loneliness than the previous Baby Boomers and G.I. Generation.</p> <p>There is also<a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/11/29/457255876/loneliness-may-warp-our-genes-and-our-immune-systems"> growing evidence</a> that loneliness has long-term health consequences. It’s been linked to stroke, heart disease, and the compromising of our immune system.<a href="https://www.webmd.com/balance/news/20180504/loneliness-rivals-obesity-smoking-as-health-risk"> Studies</a> have shown there could be mortality risk to loneliness, causing some to mark it as a public health issue.</p> <p>As a global pandemic has <a href="https://harvardmagazine.com/2021/01/feature-the-loneliness-pandemic">isolated us</a>, we have to acknowledge that we have a loneliness problem—even if we claim to have friends—which is to say we also have a<a href="https://www.barna.com/research/friends-loneliness/"> friendship intimacy problem.</a></p> <p><strong>Vital Vulnerability</strong></p> <p>How should we address our friendship woes? How can we forge deeper friendships? Vulnerability.</p> <p>We get the word “vulnerable” from the Latin word <em>vulnus</em> meaning “wound” or <em>vulnerare</em> meaning “to wound.” To be vulnerable is to risk being hurt or wounded. Vulnerability requires an opening up and exposure of yourself to harm, attack, or injury. It’s a type of nakedness—an undressing to be seen as you are apart from the pretentiousness of clothing.</p> <p>Vulnerability is a risk, but is it a risk worth the reward?</p> <p>For many of us, the answer is a resounding <em>no.</em> We know that vulnerability is risky, and our natural response is to protect ourselves—especially if we’ve been burnt before. The idea of vulnerability can be distressing, and our response might be fight or flight.</p> <p>Growing up in the southside of St. Petersburg, FL we were not too keen on vulnerability in our friendships. When you live in an area that has been under-resourced, you invariably will see poverty, crime, and police occupation. A lot of the time this forces you to adopt a mindset of survival—almost everything is a fight or flight situation, including relational vulnerability.</p> <p>It wasn’t until I became older and started reconnecting with old friends from my neighborhood that we all recognized how starved we were for a place to be vulnerable. We found that place in one another as we bravely started opening up about life, loss, hardships, tragedy, fears, and goals for the future.</p> <p>To be clear: not everyone can be trusted with our vulnerability. We shouldn’t abandon common sense when deciding who we will be vulnerable with. Still, authentically deep and meaningful friendships require vulnerability—not merely highlighting your strengths, abilities, and accomplishments, but also revealing your weaknesses, doubts, and struggles.</p> <p>Your relationships will remain surface-level if <em>you </em>remain on the surface. Deep friendships are fostered by deep vulnerability, and the mark of authentic friendship is the freedom for you to be vulnerable with one another without fear of rejection and judgment. This requires active listening and intentional transparency. And it requires trust, which sets the stage for mutual honesty and encouragement.</p> <p>Far from a sign of weakness, vulnerability requires courage enough to face the risk of being honest. As professor and author Brene Brown states, “Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection.”</p> <p>But what does Jesus have to do with this?</p> <p><strong>Jesus, the Vulnerable King</strong></p> <p>Jesus was the quintessence of courageous vulnerability. He took on the religious establishment, he confronted and cast out demons, and he proclaimed the inauguration of the Kingdom of God. He miraculously demonstrated that he was and is the King of kings. Yet he did all this while constantly being vulnerable with his friends and his heavenly Father.</p> <p>Jesus’s vulnerability was very intentional. He prayerfully chose his 12 disciples (Luke 6:12-16), and then he intentionally chose Peter, James, and John as his intimate inner circle. He courageously extended himself to his disciples—not waiting around for connection but pursuing it.</p> <p>For three years, Jesus let the disciples in on very intimate aspects of his daily life—pulling Peter James, and John away for even more intimate access to him. Then, in the Garden of Gethsemane, he revealed the sorrow and distress of his soul to his friends.</p> <p>It was on that very night that Jesus had told his disciples, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). To follow Jesus is to be his friend, to be a witness of divine vulnerability.</p> <p>By making himself vulnerable, Jesus opened up the floor for us to do the same with him and with others. The Christian message is that we can be both fully known <em>and</em> fully loved. Jesus knows our weaknesses and doubts— “he remembers that we are dust” (Ps. 103:14)—and yet he loves us with an unfailing love.</p> <p>Because of this, we can also risk vulnerability in our relationships while becoming a haven for weary friends who no longer want to keep up the facade of unrelenting strength and perfection.</p> <p>Jesus’s vulnerability reached its climax at the cross where he sacrificed his life to pay for our sins so that we could eternally know true love and acceptance in our vulnerability. He was not only “pierced for our transgressions” and “crushed for our iniquities,” but he also “has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isa. 53:4–5). He gave us <em>all</em> of himself.</p> <p>In his resurrection, Jesus not only presented himself to his friends, the disciples, but he also had an incredulous Thomas feel his nail-pierced hands and place his hand in his spear-impaled side, showing a vulnerability in revealing his scars of death that at the same time became wounds of triumph (see Rev. 5:6).</p> <p>Jesus’s sacrifice wasn’t simply a one-off individual act of love. While he hung there naked and shamed, he expressed the culmination of his friendship with the saints, his love for the world, and his vulnerability to the masses.</p> <p>And what is more vulnerable than death?</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org/2021/02/jesus-and-the-vulnerability-of-friendship/">Jesus and the Vulnerability of Friendship</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org">The Front Porch</a>.</p> The Christian and Critical Race Theory, Part 7: A Race Intervention into Critical Legal Studies http://thefrontporch.org/2021/02/the-christian-and-critical-race-theory-part-7-a-race-intervention-into-critical-legal-studies/ The Front Porch urn:uuid:cd4e3958-9460-6f2c-d491-405e4ca01dc8 Thu, 11 Feb 2021 10:23:21 -0600 <p>As discussed in our LAST POST, CRT co-founder Kimberlé Crenshaw argued in 2011 that “what nourished CRT and facilitated its growth from a collection of institutional and discursive interventions into a sustained intellectual...</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org/2021/02/the-christian-and-critical-race-theory-part-7-a-race-intervention-into-critical-legal-studies/">The Christian and Critical Race Theory, Part 7: A Race Intervention into Critical Legal Studies</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org">The Front Porch</a>.</p> <p>As discussed in our <a href="https://thefrontporch.org/2020/11/the-christian-and-critical-race-theory-part-6-a-misalignment-of-frames-the-new-right/">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 antiracist 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>Accordingly, 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, “<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’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 Conference on Critical Legal Studies (‘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. Having covered the “New Right” in our <a href="https://thefrontporch.org/2020/11/the-christian-and-critical-race-theory-part-6-a-misalignment-of-frames-the-new-right/">last post</a>, we will here cover this alignment and misalignment with the “New Left,” namely, the <a href="https://cyber.harvard.edu/bridge/CriticalTheory/critical2.htm">Critical Legal Studies (CLS) movement</a>.</p> <p><strong>CRT: A Race Intervention Into CLS</strong></p> <p>According to CLS scholars, the law—including the legal code, court holdings, and ongoing discourse—is not best understood as a stable and transcendent arbiter of Justice which only needs to be technically and scientifically applied. It is, rather (1) “an evolving statement of acceptable public morality” that, (2) “serves largely to legitimize the existing social structure,” (3) is indeterminate, “for virtually every ‘rule’ there is a counter-rule, an exception, of some other lawyerly gambit available to the legal question at issue in equipoise,” and, therefore, (4) judicial decisions’ “ultimate constraints are outside the legal system,” viz., are cultural, sociological, psychological, institutional, moral, religious, etc.</p> <p>(For points 1, 2, and 4, see “<a href="http://www.dariaroithmayr.com/pdfs/assignments/Freeman,%20Legitimizing%20Racial%20Discrimination.pdf">Legitimizing Racial Discrimination Through Antidiscrimination Law</a>,” p. 1051; for point 3, see “<a href="https://repository.law.miami.edu/umlr/vol41/iss3/4/">Some Realism About Critical Legal Studies</a>,” p. 513).</p> <p>In other words, the law generally reflects the changing moral commitments of a society; it does not prescribe them. Law is not neutral but is itself ideology and politics, a contingent artifact of social history. It functions in society to preserve the reigning moral code, the current power structure, and the status quo by making such systems appear natural, neutral, necessary, and ultimately just. Even antidiscrimination law, according to CLS scholars, though sold as a site of reform, is more likely to legitimate racism and racist systems than it is to remedy them, since it is only a reflection of a society’s dominant morality, existing distributive systems, and power structures. That’s just how law functions in real life. And, therefore, there should be no surprise that much of what is presented as remedy only serves in the end as justification for the continuing subordinated circumstances of African Americans. We read the following from Alan Freeman in <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, for example:</p> <blockquote>[A]s the law has outlawed racial discrimination, it has affirmed that Black Americans can be without jobs, have their children in all black, poorly funded schools, have no opportunities for decent housing, and have very little political power, without any violation of antidiscrimination law. (“<a href="http://www.dariaroithmayr.com/pdfs/assignments/Freeman,%20Legitimizing%20Racial%20Discrimination.pdf">Legitimizing Racial Discrimination Through Antidiscrimination Law</a>,” p. 1049)</p></blockquote> <p>And CLS scholars not only offered the critical ideas for analysis, they</p> <blockquote><p>provided a detailed inventory of the ideological practices by which the legal order actively seeks to persuade those who are subject to it that the law’s uneven distribution of social power is nonetheless “just.” … [I]n their account of legal consciousness, critical legal theorists demonstrated the precise mechanisms by which legal institutions and ideology obscure and thus legitimize their productive, constitutive social role. ( <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Critical-Race-Theory-Writings-Movement/dp/1565842715"><em>Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings That Formed a Movement</em></a>, p. XXIV)</p></blockquote> <p>Accordingly, the Critical Legal Studies movement was quite attractive to the many young legal scholars of color—particularly those who would soon form a critical theory of race; “because,” as <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mari_Matsuda">Mari Matsuda</a> has written,</p> <blockquote><p>its central descriptive message—that legal ideals are manipulable, and that law serves to legitimate existing maldistributions of wealth and power—rings true for anyone who has experienced life as a nonwhite in America. (p. 3)</p></blockquote> <p>In fact, Critical Race Theory might best be understood as a “spin-off” of CLS, having been distinguished and characterized as a movement by its oppositional relationship thereto. Dr. Crenshaw explains:</p> <blockquote><p>CRT came to life in the cracks between alignment and misalignment. Early Race Crits were situated in a dialectical loop, attracted to and repelled by certain elements of liberal civil rights discourses, and at the same time, attracted to and repelled by certain discursive elements within CLS. … CRT emerged not only as a critical intervention in a particular institutional contestation over race but also as a race intervention in a critical space, namely CLS. (“<a href="https://opencommons.uconn.edu/law_review/117/">Twenty Years of Critical Race Theory: Looking Back to Move Forward</a>,” 1287 – 1288)</p></blockquote> <p>Thus, a proper understanding of CLS, coupled with CRT’s major points of departure, is indispensable for telling the story of Critical Race Theory and, ultimately, understanding its commonplaces as more than just untethered intellectual abstractions.</p> <p><strong>CLS: Offspring of Legal Realism</strong></p> <p>To begin with, CLS is a direct descendent of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_legal_realism">Legal Realism</a>, an historical attempt to treat the law and legal outcomes scientifically. Law, Legal Realist argued, was to be treated like any other social artifact, not as a transcendent inscription of right and wrong whose internal logic produced determinate answers for jurists willing to stick to the text and think rationally. Like any other social artifact, the law contained many practically produced contradictions, is subject to multiple interpretations, and should be treated and employed as an object of sociological inquiry rather than a system residing in Plato’s Heaven. These ideas are foundational to the CLS approach. According to one of the most popular CLS proponents, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Tushnet">Mark Tushnet</a>,</p> <blockquote><p>The legal realists taught us … [t]here were and always are rules and counterrules, rules with exceptions of such scope as to threaten the rule itself, rules whose force can be eliminated by drawing creatively on analogies to apparently unrelated areas of law, and so on. Statutes too have to be interpreted and fit into a whole legal universe, and cannot be understood as a series of words whose meaning is fixed at the time of enactment. (“<a href="https://legalform.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/tushnet-marxism-as-metaphor-1983.pdf">Marxism as Metaphor</a>,” pp. 281 – 282)</p></blockquote> <p><strong>CLS: Not a Marxist Legal Project</strong></p> <p>Next, contrary to many popular-level opinion makers, CLS scholars openly rejected what many called “vulgar Marxism” (“scientific Marxism,” “traditional Marxism”)—that is, the Marxism of Marx himself—class essentialism, the “base”/“superstructure” paradigm, historical, material, and economic determinism, a strict labor theory of value, etc. <a href="https://www.law.uconn.edu/faculty/profiles/richard-michael-fischl">Richard Michael Fischl</a> voiced a common CLS sentiment in the 1980s:</p> <blockquote><p>Many of us do work in an intellectual tradition in which Marx plays an important role; indeed, his core insight that human belief systems are social constructs is the starting point for much modern social theory. But that hardly makes us Marxists. Indeed, to the extent that that reckless charge suggests that we favor totalitarianism and/or thought control, it describes a set of ideological commitments that are the polar opposite of those held by CLS. (“<a href="https://repository.law.miami.edu/umlr/vol41/iss3/4/">Some Realism About Critical Legal Studies</a>,” p. 530)</p></blockquote> <p>But most importantly for our purposes, they rejected Marx’s “instrumental” understanding of law. In Karl Marx’s own words:</p> <blockquote><p>My view is that each particular mode of production, and the relations of production corresponding to it at each given moment, in short ‘the economic structure of society’, is ‘the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness’, and that ‘the mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life.’ (as quoted by Duncan Kennedy, “<a href="http://www.duncankennedy.net/documents/The%20Role%20of%20Law%20in%20Econ%20Thought_Essays%20on%20the%20Fetishism%20of%20Commodities.pdf">The Role of Law in Economic Thought</a>,” p. 979)</p></blockquote> <p>Marx argues from history that the means of production—tools, materials, labor—determine the mode of production, i.e., the organization of labor and productive methods, like slavery, feudalism, capitalism, socialism, etc. Further, the “ideology” or “superstructure” of social existence is both born of and determined by this “base,” the mode of production. Thus, religion, philosophy, science, mathematics, and art all exist as necessary products of the mode and organization of production in one’s given place in history. And this, as Marx states above, includes law. The legal structure itself “arises” from “the real foundation,” the current mode of production, specifically, capitalism, including for Marx the dialectic of class warfare. To put it very crudely, the law is a mere “instrument” or tool of bourgeois interests.</p> <p>One obvious objection of CLS scholars to this instrumental view was that the law is simply too indeterminate to function as a determined instrument or tool of <em>any</em> group’s interests, bourgeois or otherwise.</p> <blockquote><p>Most of us no more believe that economic power “determines” the law than we believe that legal reasoning determines it; indeed, a rejection of such vulgar Marxist determinism is a major contribution of CLS scholarship to progressive legal thought. (“<a href="https://repository.law.miami.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2117&amp;context=umlr">Some Realism About Critical Legal Studies</a>,” p. 530)</p></blockquote> <p>Or in CLS scholar Mark Tushnet’s words, drawing on the tradition of Legal Realism:</p> <blockquote><p>Most Marxists seem to want to say that a rule of law … serves class interests. Yet the legal realists taught us that there never was a [legal rule] that could be a dependent variable to be explained in terms of its links to the economic base. There were and always are rules and counterrules, rules with exceptions of such scope as to threaten the rule itself, rules whose force can be eliminated by drawing creatively on analogies to apparently unrelated areas of law, and so on. (“<a href="https://legalform.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/tushnet-marxism-as-metaphor-1983.pdf">Marxism as Metaphor</a>,” p. 281)</p></blockquote> <p>But a second objection to Marxist instrumentalism opens up a much deeper discussion about the circularity of the base/superstructure paradigm itself, with respect to law. Tushnet outlines this next objection as well:</p> <blockquote><p>How can one simultaneously believe all of the following propositions to be true: (1) The base determines (in some strong or weak sense) the superstructure; (2) law is an element of the superstructure; (3) the base consists of the relations of production; and (4) relations of production are defined in terms of ownership of the means of production? Legal terms seem to constitute the base, but that is what supposedly determines them. (p. 285)</p></blockquote> <p>In other words, the mode/relations of production, including class structure, cannot be constitutive of the law because the law is itself constitutive of the relations of production and class structure. Marxist instrumentalism is viciously circular. Tushnet uses the example of “ownership” to explicate:</p> <blockquote><p>In its simplest version, the problem arises because class relations are defined in terms of which class owns the means of production, and, yet, ownership is a legal category that takes on its meaning only because of its relation to all other available legal categories. Law thus seems to define or constitute class relations, in which case it is circular to say that the relations of production somewhat determine the law. (p. 281)</p></blockquote> <p>Further, this second objection hinges on a third much broader objection—an objection that gets right to the heart of what makes CLS what it is. Not only does CLS reject the idea that “law appears as merely an instrument of class interests that are rooted outside of law,” but CLS rejects the claim that law can be understood as an “ideological reflection” of <em>any</em> “concrete social reality” rooted outside of law (Crenshaw et al., <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Critical-Race-Theory-Writings-Movement/dp/1565842715"><em>Critical Race Theory</em></a>, p. XXIV). According to CLS scholars, <em>any</em> possible “fact” of social reality is itself constructed by law and legal discourse, in conjunction with other socio-political factors, and therefore cannot serve as a “base” to any “superstructure.” That is, CLS not only rejected Marxist instrumentalism, but likewise rejected any underlying <em>essentialism</em>, viz., the idea that social entities or identities exist as natural facts independent of law. The law, for CLS scholars, is in part constitutive of class, gender, race, etc., and therefore can never be understood as mere instrument.</p> <blockquote><p>Many critics sought to distinguish themselves from … “instrumentalist” accounts on the grounds that they embodied a constricted view of the range and sites of the production of social power, and hence of politics. By defining class in terms of one’s position in the material production process, and viewing law and all other “superstructural” phenomena as merely reflections of interests rooted in social class identification, vulgar Marxism, crits argued, ignored the ways that law and other merely “superstructural” arenas helped to <em>constitute the very interests that law was supposed to merely reflec</em>t. (p. XXIV; emphasis mine)</p></blockquote> <p>For CLS, “the legal system is not simply or mainly a biased referee of social and political conflict whose origins and effects occur elsewhere”; rather, “the law is shown to be thoroughly involved in constructing the rules of the game, in selecting the eligible players, and in choosing the field on which the game must be played” (p. XXV). Neither class, nor gender, nor race, etc., exist “out there,” “outside of or prior to law,” such that law and other “superstructural arenas” might be understood as mere instruments of these socio-politico identitarian interests.</p> <p><strong>CLS: A Critical Legal Project</strong></p> <p>Accordingly, CLS scholars saw themselves as working within the “Critical Marxist” tradition of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gy%C3%B6rgy_Luk%C3%A1cs">György Lukács</a>, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Korsch">Karl Korsch</a>, and the <a href="https://alsoacarpenter.com/2019/05/21/christianity-and-critical-theory-part-1-marx-and-frankfurt/">Frankfurt School</a>, as opposed to the “Scientific Marxist” tradition of the Communists. And rightly so. Historically speaking, the enduring contribution of Karl Marx—that which places him among Weber and Durkheim as the fathers of sociology—was not his specific critique of capitalism, his communist eschatology, or his class dialectic anyhow, but rather his historical materialist critique of the whole; that is, his <em>critical</em> method. Rather than look to this or that injustice or social ill, Marx examined the whole social order from its material roots. As one sees poverty, war, subjugation, oppression, whatever, the cause and solutions are not ultimately to be found in ideology <em>per se</em>, nor even in the believed and stated motivations of social actors, but in the underlying system of relations operating at the brass-tacks level of human existence—the “ensemble of social relations.” Eating, one might say, precedes ideology. But unlike traditional Marxists, Critical Theorists rejected Marx’s specific linear, deterministic explanation of the ills of social life (viz., the means of production necessarily determine the mode of production which together necessarily produce the “ideology” or “superstructure” of social existence, all inexorably propelled along through history by an essentialist class dialectic).</p> <p><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Horkheimer">Max Horkheimer</a>, in his 1937 essay “Traditional and Critical Theory,” captures well this sense of the ongoing “critical” tradition, without the trappings of Vulgar or Scientific Marxism, coining the phrase “Critical Theory” in the process:</p> <blockquote>[T]here is a human activity which has society itself for its object. The aim of this activity is not simply to eliminate one or other abuse, for it regards such abuses as necessarily connected with the way in which the social structure is organized. Although it itself emerges from the social structure, its purpose is not, either in its conscious intention or in its objective significance, the better functioning of any ele­ment in the structure. On the contrary, it is suspicious of the very categories of better, useful, appropriate, productive, and valuable, as these are understood in the present order, and re­fuses Talking About Money Because Jesus Talked About Money https://djchuang.com/talking-about-money-because-jesus-talked-about-money/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:8180162b-2ea7-0b84-20c4-38d99e6f294b Tue, 09 Feb 2021 17:30:03 -0600 <p>We have started an on-going conversation and newsletter about becoming generous Asian Ameriacn Christians, thanks to my friend Jeff Lee.</p> <p>This article <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com/talking-about-money-because-jesus-talked-about-money/">Talking About Money Because Jesus Talked About Money</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=AatIAUR2iys:MJMHa41J3h0:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=AatIAUR2iys:MJMHa41J3h0: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/AatIAUR2iys" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Dying to Speak, Meditations from the Cross http://thefrontporch.org/2021/02/dying-to-speak-meditations-from-the-cross/ The Front Porch urn:uuid:1a9370fe-f69b-7723-6e07-a256127f0b14 Fri, 05 Feb 2021 10:40:41 -0600 <p>Christ announced the good news of salvation by grace, even as He hung on the cross. </p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org/2021/02/dying-to-speak-meditations-from-the-cross/">Dying to Speak, Meditations from the Cross</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org">The Front Porch</a>.</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" allow="autoplay" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/979696414&#038;color=%23ff5500&#038;auto_play=false&#038;hide_related=false&#038;show_comments=true&#038;show_user=true&#038;show_reposts=false&#038;show_teaser=true"></iframe></p> <div style="font-size: 10px; color: #cccccc;line-break: anywhere;word-break: normal;overflow: hidden;white-space: nowrap;text-overflow: ellipsis; font-family: Interstate,Lucida Grande,Lucida Sans Unicode,Lucida Sans,Garuda,Verdana,Tahoma,sans-serif;font-weight: 100;"><a href="https://soundcloud.com/pastor-people" title="The Front Porch Podcast" target="_blank" style="color: #cccccc; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener noreferrer">The Front Porch Podcast</a> · <a href="https://soundcloud.com/pastor-people/dying-to-speak-meditations-from-the-cross" title="Dying to Speak-Meditations from the Cross" target="_blank" style="color: #cccccc; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener noreferrer">Dying to Speak-Meditations from the Cross</a></div> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org/2021/02/dying-to-speak-meditations-from-the-cross/">Dying to Speak, Meditations from the Cross</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thefrontporch.org">The Front Porch</a>.</p>