Tag Archives: Racism

The Christian Response to Hate: Where is the Love

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5 Thoughts about Charlottesville

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History was made this weekend. Our nation’s under belly has again been exposed. America is indeed a melting pot but its got some serious leaks that if left unaddressed will lead to flooding and destruction.

  1. White Supremacy as well as any view that holds one ethnicity as superior over others is a demonic ideology that should be justly denounced by all people especially Christians.

2. Our country is being driven by extremists and people stuck in their ideological caves who can’t bear listening or trying to understand the beliefs or positions of others. Our culture loves screaming. Whether its in sports entertainment or politics, civil conversation and dialogue has been tossed out the door.  We need civility. We need a national conversation on race, and maybe a national review of history because its clear that many people want to revisit times when the church and government stood quiet in the midst of state sponsored and condoned terrorism. Our laws grant the right to protest, and to be able to express our beliefs as long as we do it peacefully. The merits of those beliefs are what need to be laid plain in public debate.  The ideology that  justified the extermination of the original natives of the land,  one that drove government policy to place Japanese in externment camps,  hang blacks, and lock them up for not having identification is akin to the ideology that is animating these protests. It is one that views all other races as subordinate to the White Race. It is abysmal. Let’s not get it twisted, the protests were not just about protesting the removal of a historical monument, but the rise of the New White Supremacists is a response to the growing minority population and a reaction to the charges of being called racist for wanting to hold on to the memories of a White America.

3. For our nation to thrive we must focus on the things that unite us without ignoring the areas where we are different. Our politics are more polarized then ever. We have gotten to the point where supporters of the other political party are considered our enemies. I have read comments suggesting they be hung, executed and or deported. This is ridiculous. We hate our neighbors next door, we are distrustful of anyone that doesn’t look, speak, or dress like us. We listen to our own media channels, and worse call anything that we doesn’t agree with our position, “fake news”. Its so easy to control you if you cannot even look or listen to other outlets. We have to use critical thinking. Remember the source and the character of the person you are listening to. Scripture points out that you will find wisdom in the multitude of council. If you cannot trust the media, then all you have is propaganda. If we have propaganda, then we no longer have an informed electorate and the basis of our democracy is dead. We are being controlled and manipulated by much larger forces, who are looking for more power and control of our government, our lives and our mind. The Devil is having a field day with all this hate. If you are getting to the point where you hate anyone who does not look like you, then you have lost.  That is what White Supremacy is about and on the other hand there are elements of other ethnic or sexual superiority on the other end of the spectrum. For Christians we are taught to love our enemies and to pray for those who despitefully use us. How can we be christians when we hate our brothers who are of a different political party. How can we be christians when we are quick to break up families of people with different skin tones. How can we be christians when we are scared of muslims? I’m not even talking about the radical ones in the middle east, but any one with a a burqua or hoody. This is crazy.

4. Scriptures call us to speak out against sin.

Cry aloud; do not hold back;
    lift up your voice like a trumpet;
declare to my people their transgression,
    to the house of Jacob their sins.
Yet they seek me daily
    and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that did righteousness
    and did not forsake the judgment of their God 

10and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.

As believers we have to condemn Racism, in all of its forms. We cannot give a platform to bigotry. However the gates of hell have started to open up and if believers, especially White evangelicals stay silent, we will see it sweep through the populace, even in the church.

5. Finally we must continue to pray.  The American Church is being tested. What will we stand for? We cannot give in whole heartedly to any political side, for the kingdom of God is much grander and will not be supplanted by a political ideology. We have a gospel to proclaim, and not just one that saves us from individual sins, but against crooked systems.

29“The people of the land have practiced oppression and committed robbery, and they have wronged the poor and needy and have oppressed the sojourner without justice. 30I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one. 

The judgment of God is near, and we as the church need to intercede for our country, for our leaders, for our elected officials and for our brethren. We must stand against corruption, bribery, systematic oppression and for the poor, the needy and the immigrant that is passing through. My brothers, let us pray, for God is in the midst of separating the wheat from the chaff. There are dark forces that have arisen from the shadows, that will not return except through love, prayer and condemnation.

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How Do I Tell My Son He’s Black

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I have two mixed sons. They are beautiful. One is still an infant the older just started school. They are Black and Salvadoran part Cuban. My oldest knows he is black because I have told him. But I haven’t told him. He is still to young to understand the weight of that word, the subliminal meanings, the connotations, the burden, and the blessing of that word. Black.   So how do I tell my son about his blackness?

I have taught him that old song by James brown, I’m black and I’m proud, but that song in a vacuum without context can not reveal the pride and against from which it was composed.

I ask this question in light of being dazed  from reading Between the World and Me. In it the author writes to his own son to prepare him to understand what it means to be black.

So how do I tell my son about his blackness?

This question will always be personal, and yet always collective. My blackness was gifted to me by God, and then customized by my father and mother. Different shades, different stories collided and merged forming one new hue,  a new chapter, a new page to the narrative of being black in America.

My father grew up in the inner city on the West Coast, my mother in the south. They were raised a different era, an era before mine, one where Jim Crow was still in tow, where one could be beaten simply by looking a white man in the eye while walking the street. My uncle told us of a time where they got into a fight in Texas on vacation because one of the white youth called them niggers. Overt racism wasn’t limited to the south. Even on the West Coast blacks weren’t allowed in certain beaches and to go into certain parts of town. Things were worse back then. My parents were alive to witness MLK ‘s assassination, Malcolm X’s assassination. Kennedy’s Assassination. When we watch films like Selma or the Butler those are not just past footage, but memories. Memories of times where nigger, was more prevalent than nigga, when schools had not yet been integrated. My parents witnessed the fruits of the civil rights era, but also became parents during the beginnings of crack and gang eras. Their generation and the generation before has probably seen more change than any before, but they’ve also seen how much has not changed.

How do I tell my son that daddy’s grandma’s grandma was the daughter of a slave? I mean what other race in America has that legacy. When you see images of victims of  police brutality, you see the face of a black man. When you see the victims of inner city gun violence; its a black man.

Thankfully my son was alive to witness the face of a president; a black man.

I have isolated and shielded my son from much of the world. He is still young. His school has a decent number of mixed children,  but is mostly white and white hispanic and hardly any all black. Most of the churches he has been a part of where either multicultural, or mostly white. There’s a story for that, but that’s for a different time.

Soon he will know and discover that for many to be black means people will lower expectations except when it comes to athleticism, or music.

If he gets into a good college people will by default ask whether it was through affirmative action.

If he gets upset, people will assume he has an anger problem.

If he’s walking down the street at night with a hoodie, people will feel more threatened.

If he talks proper they will assume he is trying to be white.

If he can’t dance, they will ask why not?

If he doesn’t get an opportunity that he was qualified for he will always have to wonder if it was because of his lack of talent, or due to his blackness?

He will be a minority in many places, and see things from a different lense.

Fortunately for my sons some of these they will experience, others they will not simply for the fact that they are mixed. In fact the darker or blacker one is, the more intensely they will have to deal with these questions.

Despite all of these stereotypes, like scripture says I am fearfully and wonderfully made. That when God made his blackness, he called it good. In fact Adam was most likely a black man. As most scientists claim the first man and women came from Africa. I will tell my son of the early kings, of the inventors, the Dubois, the Douglasses, the Equiano’s and Whitely’s, the Washingtons and of Simon of Cyrene, of Jethro, and others.

I will tell my son that there’s a beauty in our blackness. A special strength. A special burden. That God has gifted us with a special song for the world to hear. A song for every mountain he brought us over, through every trial he’s seen us through. A special hallelujah from a faith that has been tested in scourgings, lynchings and beatings. That despite the worst intentions to destroy this race, and destroy our faith. Our enemies have failed. This is our legacy. That in the darkest of nights, we stood fast and have held tight to the master’s hand. That even in the shadow of death, our God has always been with us.We have a testimony, and if the last shall be first and the first shall be last, trust me there will be a lot of dark skinned people sitting close to Jesus at that banquet in heaven.

I will tell my son that he will have tribulation for three things; knowing Jesus and being black & latino. Yet to be of good cheer because Christ over came the world.

So how do I tell my son of his blackness? With a grave face and a smile, with a stern voice and a song. Say it loud. I’m black and I’m proud.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Black History Month: Some Reasons Why and How your Church should Celebrate

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In 1976 after celebrating two hundred years of independence the United States government under the leadership of President Gerald Ford decided to ” seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Ironically, after almost 240 years of independence, the church especially the evangelical church is often behind the world in terms of race relations. The saying is truer today as it was 200 years ago that on Sundays churches remain some of the most segregated places in the country. Though there are a couple of factors that contribute to this, the fact is that most evangelical churches need to really come up to speed on how to connect with other minorities, black churches included. But because this is a post on black history month, I will focus on why and how churches can take advantage of this month.

The first reason that your church, particularly those American ones should celebrate black history month is to seize the opportunity to not only to reflect on its history with blacks but also the opportunity to connect to its local black community. Today there are many churches that pay lip service to the ideal of being multicultural or diverse. Yet when it comes to acknowledging or connecting to the minorities in their midst they do nothing beyond state that they have a desire to be multicultural.

One of the easiest ways to honor and celebrate black history month is to simply inform people of its occurrence. One can easily debate over what to do and how not to look silly observing black history month, but a first step is communicating to the congregation that black history month actually is worth their attention. Often times unless someone has a child in school we can sometimes forget or be ignorant that we are in black history month. We may catch Roots, the Color Purple or some other programs on civil rights on television, or just change  the channel without thinking, its black history month. You know the evangelical church has failed in its prophetic role to speak to race relations and unity when it openly announces upcoming Super Bowl games and fails to acknowledge the people living in its pews and shadows. Acknowledging black history month is a first step, but I think another step is to actually find out how your church is doing in serving the black people in the congregation or in the community.

My church has been going through the book of James, and one of the points that James makes is that it is a sin to show partiality. In context he is speaking of treating people different because of their class, but here’s a question that your church should ask itself:

Do the minorities attending the church feel that they are treated differently because of their race? There are nuances to this as well, but ultimately everyone should feel loved and welcome when they enter our church doors regardless of their class, race, looks, or sexuality.

Another question that should be asked is to what extent do we make others feel welcomed and loved? I think the church should take months like black history month to assess, how they are doing in reaching, connecting and loving the blacks and minorities in our church and in the community. I don’t think this should just be limited to African Americans, but to all minority groups.  I understand that an individual church may not  be able to successfully reach all people groups, but I think they should ignore the groups right around the corner simply because they are not like us. As churches begin to become more multicultural they are prone to have Acts chapter 6 problems, but some of our churches haven’t even gotten to chapter 6, we are still in Jerusalem. (Read Acts 6:1-6 and how the church encounters its first race/cultural problem)

Here’s another way to observe black history month. Why not bring a gospel choir from a black church to come and sing during praise and worship? Scriptures point out how blessed it is for brothers to dwell in unity, and worshipping under the leadership of a different choir would be an awesome chance for many in your church to experience gospel music outside of watching Sister Act.

An even greater way to honor and celebrate black history month is to invite a black preacher to preach to your congregation. I can already hear the gasping. I don’t know about that. For some pastors or leadership teams that is too far. Just think about how you feel when hearing that, some of you may have already made a racist thought that automatically presumes that there are no black preachers theologically up to par to be able to preach to your church. Your church is too good for them. Now I don’t want to rock the boat, because I know that black preachers are often identified with prosperity and Word of Faith teachings and for churches who seek to be biblically sound and reject those teachings,  they simply just want to protect their congregation. Yet there are black preachers who are solid bible teachers and if you as a pastor are not familiar with solid black preachers in the area, maybe you can work on that. Here’s something else, maybe you can even develop minority leadership in your church.

One of the last ways and I think critical areas the church should observe black history month is in memory and repentance. There’s a reason that the church is one of the most segregated places on Sundays and if you check your history books you will see why. I think the church should reflect on its role whether positive or negative on the plight of black Americans beginning at slavery. One of the items that I’ve been reading and really boils my blood is The Negro Church, a report made by W.E.B Dubois. This should be required reading for every pastor. Its actually available for free on pdf online. This is an early sociological study of the history and development of the black church as it emerged out of slavery. As we know slavery was horrible, and the romantic notion that slaves just automatically converted is a lie from hell. There were many souls that were lost, because of the stubbornness and failures of the church;failures that still have repercussions today.

Celebrating Black History Month should not be a burden, but an opportunity to seize and connect with the people of color in your midst and in your community. If your church doesn’t do it, you should with your family. There is more to black history than just Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. There’s Dubois, Carter Woodson, Frederick Douglas, Washington Carver, Oladah Equiano, Lemuel Haynes, and others. Knowledge is power, while ignorance only breeds contempt. Lets stamp out ignorance and begin to learn about some important figures in our nation, our communities and our churches. Let’s celebrate black history, because its not just black history its our history.

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Obama and the Death of the Christian Nation

Its 2012 and its time to wake up. America is no longer a christian nation. Yes our country was founded on judaeo-christian values, yes there are millions of christians in the United States. Yes the American Church still possesses the greatest natural resources of any nation in the world, but politically and socially the influence of evangelicals on shaping policy and culture has fizzled. Did Obama deal a death blow to our idea of a Christian Nation? N0, that ideal has been dying for some time and our understanding of ourselves as a “Christian Nation” which should govern exclusively for christians needs to change. The sooner we realize this the sooner we can stop lamenting the fact that our government no longer caters or actively courts the evangelical voice. In fact to many it may seem that the government actively denies and acts against the concerns of its “christian constituents.” and you know what it might be a good thing.

So lets unpack a little what it means to be a Christian nation. Our forefathers wrote that we are “one nation under God”, and in one sense that is true, God is sovereign over every nation, yet as a country I don’t know many who are in complete submission to his will. In America much of our political talk still contains allusions to scripture, passing homages to “God” but even still this is decreasing at an alarming rate. There are fights to take God out of everything; out of our money, off of the pledge of allegiance, and even out of the court rooms. This has been going on for the past couple of years. There has been a gradual loss in the use of public places such as schools for worship. Christian organizations have had their personal beliefs infringed on by having to provide “abortive” contraceptions to their workers. Abortion has been legal for almost 40 years, though the number of abortions has been declining yearly irrespective of party. Then to add insult to injury the  6000 year old understanding of marriage has suddenly changed to be not just between one man and one women, but any consenting adults regardless of gender.

Wow! But as bug’s bunny would say ” That’s not all folks” Our great country has been a war monger across the world, though thankfully it has slowly ended two wars. Yet there is talk of initiating what would become the third world war that some feel all too comfortable with because it fits in their eschatological framework. Racism abounds in our 50 states, the last four years have unmasked its hidden nature. Immigrants are spoken of as if they were the scum of the earth, corporations infringe on the rights of the most marginalized people, and the charity that binds us has begun to unravel before our eyes.

Where is the love of our enemies whether idealogical, or political? Where is the honor for our leaders? Where is christian charity on the public platform?

Does God really want Obama to be president is not the question we should be asking? The real question is why do we rely on the secular government to fulfill kingdom purposes?

I have seen two major flaws during this election season by christian by both sides. One is a demonizing of the “other” for political purposes, and the other is an over dependence not he government as if the government is savior.  We rely on government to legislate morality, to force tolerance of others, to rescue the least of these.

You can take this to the bank. God will use our government for better or worse to produce in the American Church that which it needs to become the bride he made her to be. Yes the church has lost much of its political clout, but maybe that will force her to depend on God and not man. Who knows if the country will go through an economic uptick or another downturn? I do know that whatever is ahead God will use adverse situations to cause us to trust more in his power and provision.

In political discussion we hear talk about mandates. What will be the next president’s mandate, what will they run on. What about the church’s mandate. What is the evangelical mandate?

It hasn’t changed since the last words of our commander in chief; To preach the gospel in all the nations and make disciples. There are millions of lost people. Our country is in desperate need to see christian love in action. There are millions who are lonely, depressed, confused, orphaned, divorced, displaced, sick, unemployed.  Obama stole our message when he campaigned on Hope.  We as believers know that hope does not come through the government of this world, but only when we place our trust in the king of Kings. We as believers must demonstrate the hope and love of God that points to something beyond this world. This only lies in the gospel. My prayer for our country after a divisive election is for us to pray for our country. Pray for our president. Pray for godly counsel for our elected officials, but more that God would let his love pour throughout us whether our guy won or loss, and that we would ramp up our efforts to proclaim the greatest King of all Jesus Christ. In Love, The Herald.

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