Tag Archives: Race

Weekend Picks ~ 6-30-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

The Case for ‘Christian’ ArtSteve Turner
https://storage.googleapis.com/relevant-magazine/2017/06/Hero-64.jpgNo one ever told me that it would be wrong for a Christian to become an actor or a songwriter, a novelist or a dancer. It was implied…

But because art is also a record and reflects the questions and anxieties of the time, I would like to see contributions that reflect a Christian understanding of that time. I also would like to see them in the mainstream arts rather than in the religious subculture.

I am not saying this for evangelistic reasons. I don’t expect art to convert people, although I realize that art plays an important part in shaping our understanding of the world. I am saying it because debates are taking place in cinema, painting, dance, fiction, poetry and theater on issues where Christians have something to say, and yet they are not even being heard.

I think we should be in those debates as part of our mandate to look after and care for the world rather than because of the command to make disciples. We are not entering the debates to tell people what to believe. Art tends to show rather than to tell. It allows people the opportunity to experience another way of seeing the world. But if we are not there, people are denied the opportunity of encountering our perspective.

Finally, Jackie Robinson’s Faith Is Getting the Attention It DeservesPaul Putz
Finally, Jackie Robinson’s Faith Is Getting the Attention It DeservesTwo books shine a long-overdue spotlight on the Christian convictions of the man who broke baseball’s color barrier…

…There is a God-shaped hole in the heart of 42, the 2013 film that depicts the inspiring story of Jackie Robinson. Observers noticed it at the time, pointing out that the film mostly ignored the role that faith played in Robinson’s life and in Branch Rickey’s decision to sign him to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947…

From Long and Lamb’s book, Robinson emerges as a committed and thoughtful mainline Protestant comfortable within black and white Christian communities. Well versed in the Bible and connected to Protestant institutions throughout his life, Robinson saw faith as a source of inspiration, hope, and American identity. He grew up with a personal moral code taught by most white and black Protestants in the early 20th century—no smoking, no drinking, no premarital sex. But he was also shaped by the social witness distinct to the black church, believing that Christians had a responsibility to combat racism in American society, that anti-racism was a mark of true Christianity, and that many white Christians were failing to practice what they preached. As for June Fifield’s concern that Robinson recognize the help of Branch Rickey, she need not have worried. “When I came to believe that God was working with and guiding Mr. Rickey,” Robinson wrote, “I began to also believe that he was guiding me.”

Creating DiscomfortSeth Godin
http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/images/og.jpgIf you’re seeking to create positive change in your community, it’s almost certain you’ll be creating discomfort as well.

Want to upgrade the local playground? It sounds like it will be universally embraced by parents and everyone who cares about kids. Except that you now bring up issues of money, of how much is enough, of safety. Change is uncomfortable.

It’s way easier to talk about today’s weather, or what you had for lunch.

Usually, when we’re ready to launch something, we say, “this is going to help people, this is well crafted, I’m proud of it.”

What’s a lot more difficult (but useful) is to say all of that plus, “and this is going to make (some) people uncomfortable.”

I Hope I Die Before I Get OldJared C. Wilson
cristian-newman-67308What makes Richard different from these old coots who go out shaking their fist at the things of grace? Well, God. But also: Richard decided to die before he got old. He decided to die before he died. May we all do the same.

I think I’m more like Hobbes, how about you?
Calvin and Hobbes – Click image for a larger view.

Weekend Picks ~ 6-23-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

The Easy “Wisdom” of CynicismDerek Rishmawy
Image result for cynicism…default cynicism isn’t the same thing as biblical discernment. Discernment seeks out truth and falsehood. It sees as much as it sees through. Ironically enough, being too cynical can make you undiscerning, rendering false judgments, leaving you open being deceived, not positively, but negatively.

In other words, being “wise as a serpent”,  is a lot harder than thinking everybody’s a liar all the time.

The Unwritten Law That Helps Bad Cops Go Free
David French
http://c1.nrostatic.com/sites/default/files/styles/original_image_with_cropping/public/uploaded/philando-castile-shooting-police-must-display-reasonable-fear-b.jpg?itok=Qap7QuSvOfficers aren’t omniscient, and they can only react to the facts as they perceive them. Absent corruption, incompetence, or malice, most officers are going to make reasonable choices in high-stress situations.

Some, however, will fail, and it’s imperative that juries understand that not all fear is reasonable, and some officers simply (and wrongly) panic. Perhaps some have unreasonable fear because of racial stereotypes. Perhaps some have unreasonable fears for other reasons. Perhaps some have a brutal habit of escalating force too quickly. But every officer must uphold the rule of reason, a rule that compels a degree of courage, a measure of discipline, and a tolerance for risk that is inherent in the job that they’ve chosen.

The vast majority of officers are up to that challenge. A few are not. They must be held accountable. Justice demands no less.

I absolutely love this piece from Amy Medina…

Surprise! We Need to Learn from Christians from Other CulturesAmy Medina
It’s easy for us, as foreigners, to come to Tanzania and point out what they are doing wrong.  Those deficiencies pop up to us broadly and clearly.  But I wonder, what if a Tanzanian Christian came to the States and was given a voice in the white American Church?  What deficiencies would be glaringly obvious to him? …

The truth is that every culture–including every Christian culture–has blind spots.  We have our hierarchy of sins and our hierarchy of godliness, and we know we are right and no one can say otherwise.

But that is dangerous.

I think sometimes western Christians assume they have the trump-card on what Christian culture should look like….but why?  What if an African (or Asian, or South American) Christian holds to the authority and inerrancy of Scripture, uses solid principles of interpretation…and yet comes to different conclusions and applications?  Is it possible that they could be seeing things that we’ve missed because of our own culture’s influence?

This is why we were created to need each other.  And in a country as diverse as America, I wonder why it is so rare that white Christians grasp that truth.  Don’t we realize that we are missing out when we refuse to bring other cultures, other colors, other languages into our church conversations?  Don’t we realize that even in that refusal is a major blind spot that we will be held accountable for?

And now for something completely different…

The History of Pews Is Just as Terrible and Embarrassing as You’d ImagineLuke T. Harrington
https://christandpopculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/img_0110_small.jpeg…seating in churches didn’t really become a thing until parishioners got bored enough to wish they were sitting down—that is, about the time of the Protestant Reformation. In order to emphasize how not-Catholic we were, we began to jettison everything from our worship: confessions, creeds, communal prayer, a weekly Eucharist—basically everything except long, boring sermons. And when your “come to church” sales pitch is essentially “Listen to me yammer about Jesus for several hours!” the response is predictably going to be “Uh, can I at least sit down for that?”

And so, the pew was born…

Got your tickets yet?
Wrong Hands – Click image for a larger view.

Thursday Picks ~ 6-22-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

I Am the Center of the UniverseJared C. Wilson
greg-rakozy-76863I can only come to one of two conclusions about my frustration over this inevitable fact of life: either I am the center of the universe and you all don’t know, or — I am not the center of the universe and I am upset that you all know.

I wake up this way. I bet you do too. We wake up in self-sovereignty mode. Then we get frustrated because we keep running into people who think they’re the center of the universe. It’s frustrating.

This is an absorbing and inspirational story…

How One Deep South Church Left Segregation Behind
Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra
https://tgc-cache.s3.amazonaws.com/images/remote/http_s3.amazonaws.com/tgc-ee2/articles/how-one-deep-south-church-left-segregation-behind-6.jpgElbert McGowan grew up five minutes from Trinity Presbyterian Church on the north side of Jackson, Mississippi. He passed by it daily. Never once did it cross his mind that one day he’d end up the pastor in that building. In fact, he never even considered entering the door.

That’s because the church was exclusively white, and McGowan is black…

One move, one church plant, and two pastors later, McGowan doesn’t just drive past anymore. He pulls open the church doors every day. He has an office and a desk with photos of his family. He runs the meetings; his kids run down the hallways.

And every week, he preaches to a congregation that’s one-third African American…

“What the Lord is doing in and through [this church] is nothing short of astonishing,” Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) chancellor Ligon Duncan wrote. “Only God could accomplish what has been done here.”

A Vision for AgingDarryl Dash
Flourishing old tree“The world’s ambition is to ‘stay young’; the Bible’s, to grow old fruitfully.”

When I was a student pastor, I met an aged pastor’s wife. Her late husband had been a legend in our circles. She was in her later years, and I was in my early twenties. After visiting her, I’d comment to Charlene that I thought she had a younger soul than I did.

Youth is more beauteous to the eye, says Charles Simeon, but age is more pleasant to the taste. That pleasantness is something to experience.

Coffee Evolution…
Wrong Hands

Tuesday Picks ~ 1-17-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

The Gospel Apologetic, and the Letter from the Birmingham JailMichael Kelley
Letter from the Birmingham Jail.
It’s a good and right thing to read today, and I’m particularly moved by the section above in which Dr. King called upon the church to have a prophetic voice and stance in society – to “disturb” the prevailing culture by their presence. One of the ways the early church did this was through their baffling unity across the traditional boundary lines of their day. In fact, in the Book of Ephesians, Paul held up the church itself – specifically, the unity of the church across the lines of race – as the evidence of the power of the gospel.

Maybe you’ve never made a mistake, but I have. And I can tell you from experience that this takes time, but it’s the only way to get back on track…

How to Take Responsibility after a Major Mistake
Michael Hyatt
disappointedSo what does it mean to take responsibility after a major mistake? Here are four steps anyone can follow to get things back on track…

Christians Must Be Myth BustersTrevin Wax
Myths Concept Metal Letterpress Type
Christians ought to be the best myth busters. That is, we ought to be able to recognize the stories that impact society and all the people in it, ourselves included. And we ought to recognize both the longings and the lies in the stories we tell ourselves.

It’s one thing to “bust” a myth, to simply contrast the Christian worldview with the false stories on display in the world. But it’s another thing to listen carefully to the people around us, so that we observe the yearning that may be expressed in that common belief…

Listen first. Then, when we play the role of myth busters, we won’t ever make people feel inferior or stupid. No, the gospel ought to make people feel relieved...

Christian myth busters don’t just point out what’s wrong in the worldviews of others; they embody what’s true, and good, and beautiful in the gospel of Jesus Christ. So that others want the gospel to be true.

Where do we go from here? Racial reconciliation in 2017
Matthew J. Hall
http://d1nwfrzxhi18dp.cloudfront.net/uploads/resource_library/library_entry/promo_image/2305/20170117_CivilRights-1888x960.jpgFor many of us, the past year has not been one that had engendered optimism about the future of racial justice and reconciliation in this country, or in our churches. In recent months, I have spoken with many Christians of diverse racial and ethnic identities who have battled cynicism. In the wake of all we experienced in 2016, they have lost hope that American Christianity can be redeemed… They are discouraged and skeptical… And they are profoundly tired. And I think I understand, even if imperfectly, why they feel that way.

So what will be needed in the days ahead? Simple optimism is bankrupt and unable to anchor us. But there is something deeper, something more enduring than optimism: hope. When optimism collapses under the weight of reality and pain, hope presses on. And there is love. When cynicism and fatigue press in, love is a ballast; love for God, love for neighbor.

In an age marked by incivility and polarization, what if the church led the way in love?

But don’t rush…
Zits – Click image for a larger view.

My Weekend Picks for 7-8-2016 (Special Edition)

Picks WeekendIn the wake of the tragic events of this past week, I thought I’d recommend some articles for your weekend reading that have been helpful to me on the subject that is heavy on everyone’s mind…

Please don’t miss this important and passionate piece by
Marty Duren…

Dear Black People, Dear White PeopleMarty Duren
Kingdom In The MidstDear Black people,

To be blunt, we White folks don’t feel what you feel.

Our hearts aren’t ripped from our chests when a Black man is killed by law enforcement…

…Most White people are strong believers in justice because most of us have never experienced systemic injustice…

…When many White people hear of a person being shot and killed by the police, their automatic response is, “He must have done something.”

Dear White people,

We are the majority culture, and we have been since the founding of this nation and the New Home for Indians Project. None of us living in the United States have ever been part of a racial minority in the overall demographic. Being the overwhelming majority is all we know…

…Is there any chance that being so long in the majority has shielded us from things many Black people (and other minorities) experience? Is it not a possibility that what they feel is as legitimate as what we don’t feel? That their tears say things our dry eyes do not?

I shared this link earlier in the week, by I’m sharing it again because I believe it is a “must read” piece. It’s a transcription of a speech Mika Edmondson delivered in May 2016 to Council members of The Gospel Coalition. If you have time, I highly recommend listening to the recording…

Is Black Lives Matter the New Civil Rights Movement?
Mika Edmondson
Am I buying into the sinful belief that black folks are more inherently criminal than other people? When I hear about unarmed black people being killed, is my kneejerk reaction that they somehow deserved whatever terrible thing happened to them? Am I cold and hardened to black suffering? Why am I not as torn up over this as non-Christians are? Why is Black Lives Matter more torn up over black people dying than we are?…

…There’s a reason many of us have not addressed these issues. We know well the cultural risks involved and the pushback we’ll get in our churches and institutions. It’s risky to address racial sin. If you don’t believe me, just ask Russell Moore of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. Sin fundamentally twists the ways in which we view one another.

This is Albert Mohler’s heartfelt response to the above…

Ugly Stain, Beautiful Hope: My Response to Mika EdmondsonAl Mohler
LightstockWhat I do not feel qualified to do is to respond to Mika’s address. Why? Just consider the responsibility entrusted to me for almost 25 years. I am president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the mother institution of the Southern Baptist Convention. Let those words settle a moment.

The Southern Baptist Convention was birthed in national division over slavery, and it was established primarily so that Southern slave owners could continue to serve as foreign missionaries and to send missionaries from their Southern churches. Almost 15 years later, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was established to provide a learned ministry for those churches…

…I do respond, however, because I have to be far less concerned about my right to speak than my responsibility to speak. I am not at all sure of the right by which I speak, but Dr. Edmonson himself has made clear my responsibility to speak…

…I am increasingly convinced that the stain of racial prejudice and the historical sin of slavery may be a permanent stain God intends for our nation—and, more pointedly, my denomination and my seminary—to see daily, lest we forget.

My central response to Dr. Mika Edmondson is gratitude.

Insight into why whites and blacks generally look at law enforcement through different eyes…

Why Alton Sterling and Philando Castile might reject a beloved biblical passageDavid Gushee
A community member holds up a Bible during a vigil in memory of Alton Sterling, who was shot dead by police at the Triple S Food Mart in Baton Rouge, La., on July 6, 2016. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Jeffrey Dubinsky
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-GUSHEE-OPED, originally transmitted on July 7, 2016.Christians love to cite a biblical passage that suggests people should not be afraid of authorities.

“Rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad,” Romans 13:1-7.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? Government authorities, such as police officers, are public servants. They are frightening only to those who do wrong. Those of us who don’t do wrong need not be afraid.

How many times have I heard white preachers and theologians present this happy version of how divinely ordained government authority works?

Another personal and helpful piece on the subject above…

A Letter From Black AmericaNikole Hannah-Jones

Yes, we fear the police. Here’s why.

For those of you reading this who may not be black, or perhaps Latino, this is my chance to tell you that a substantial portion of your fellow citizens in the United States of America have little expectation of being treated fairly by the law or receiving justice. It’s possible this will come as a surprise to you. But to a very real extent, you have grown up in a different country than I have.

Redditt Hudson served on the St. Louis Police Department for five years. He is currently the board chair of The Ethics Project, and a member of the National Coalition of Law Enforcement for Justice, Reform, and Accountability…

I’m a black ex-cop, and this is the real truth about race and policingRedditt Hudson
https://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/BpddhU-DAde30SivijZ2rb6CUSE=/0x644:3000x1977/1350x600/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/46398954/474571396.0.0.jpgHere’s what I wish Americans understood about the men and women who serve in their police departments — and what needs to be done to make the system better for everyone…

(He then lists and explains five main observations.)

…Racism is woven into the fabric of our nation.  At no time in our history has there been a national consensus that everyone should be equally valued in all areas of life. We are rooted in racism in spite of the better efforts of Americans of all races to change that.

Because of this legacy of racism, police abuse in black and brown communities is generations old. It is nothing new. It has become more visible to mainstream America largely because of the proliferation of personal recording devices, cellphone cameras, video recorders — they’re everywhere. We need police officers.  We also need them to be held accountable to the communities they serve.


I Am Dismayed

I have been pulled over for traffic infractions many times over the years. Not one time did I ever fear seeing something like this, and it wasn’t because I’m such a cooperative guy. It was for for one simple reason: I’m white.

I don’t feel like I have anything of substance to add to this situation, but I am dismayed…

I am dismayed that yet another black man was murdered by a police officer.

I am dismayed that so many of my friends’ knee-jerk response is to defend the officer and trash the victim. As if having a past record of any kind makes execution in the street acceptable.

I am dismayed that the experience of so many black folks makes it impossible for them to see a police officer as the good guy. To the point that, if they witness a crime, calling the police doesn’t even enter their mind.

I am dismayed that so many white folks discount that experience as an over-reaction, or even untrue, because they can’t imagine it ever happening to them. And, in fact, it wouldn’t.

I am dismayed that the experience of so many police officers makes it seem reasonable to them to be more suspicious, and to be more on the alert when they are dealing with black people.

I am dismayed that we live in a culture where so many black folks perceive the police as existing mainly to protect the whites from the blacks.

I am dismayed that this perception may sometimes be accurate.

I am dismayed that there are so many times when good Christian men and women of color are burdened with grief at systemic racial injustice resulting in the murder of another of their number.

I am dismayed that so many good Christian men and women who are white can’t seem to share their grief.

I am dismayed that many don’t even see the injustice.

I am dismayed that many won’t even try.

I am dismayed that it seems there are no answers.

I am dismayed that I don’t even know where to start.

I am dismayed at white people who aren’t dismayed by any of this.