Discussing white privilege in an effort to bring unity and reconciliation is like walking on a high wire coated with random landmines.  You say the wrong thing, the wrong trigger word, and BOOM: end of conversation.

I’m going to try my best to navigate this wire, please bear with me with grace.

Why this is important

Imagine a population of color, who has always been the numerical minority, who feels that those in the dominant majority (in this case: white skin) relieves a person of certain stressors and thus provides them with certain advantages.

But, that white population who is the majority doesn’t see a difference.

The minority feels there is a difference.

The majority doesn’t.

Off the bat, can you crystallize the conflict and tension on both sides?

The majority thinks the minority needs to stop complaining, or to stop making things up, or to take responsibility.  The majority thinks that the very conversation about the minority having more stress and resistance in life is an excuse to blame someone else for their problems and not try, and the conversation gets categorized accordingly.  In addition, the majority often feels like they are being accused or attacked.

Meanwhile, the minority Continue Reading…

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Quick, what’s your take on immigration?

Well that depends if you’re a Republican or a Democrat.

What’s your take on abortion?

Again, it depends on if you sport the elephant or the donkey.

On helping the poor.

On Syrian refugees.

On systemic racism.

Even on sexuality.

Of these many hot button issues, where do you go to get your guidance?  Sure, there is the Sunday School answer of “Jesus” or “the Bible,” but it only takes a stroll down Facebook lane to see Christians are getting their answers to these moral and spiritual dilemmas from the mouth of the elephant or donkey, not from the Lamb of God. Continue Reading…

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Dear Refugee, (Documented and Undocumented) Immigrant, Muslim & African-American:

This is a letter to tell you you are loved.  I love you and many others do as well.  Recently some have spewed hate in your direction.  They’ve scrawled it on bathroom walls, spray-painted it on dugouts and have told you to go back to “where you came from.”

Graffiti of swastika on a softball field dugout in Wellsville, N.Y., Nov. 9, 2016.(Photo: Brian Quinn, Wellsville Daily Reporter) Click to read the USA Today article

Graffiti of swastika on a softball field dugout in Wellsville, N.Y., Nov. 9, 2016. (Photo: Brian Quinn, Wellsville Daily Reporter) Click to read the USA Today article

These people do not represent all of us and they do not represent me.

Notably, these people do not represent Jesus or his Church.

With this recent election, there have been some tragic dots connected by many: there is a renewed outburst of racial hate speech (that you have had to endure)… which people feel free to do because Trump is the President-elect… because Trump gathered many of his followers based on racist caricatures and fear mongering… and Trump won the election because of Evangelical Christians (polls say 80% of white evangelicals voted for Trump)… so this hate speech is now a reflection of Jesus and his Church.

And I know it’s not just the hate speech, but also some potential policies that might be barrelling toward some of you, and the fear and anxiety you currently have to live with of these policies. Continue Reading…

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Our culture’s cloud of sexual living continues to get darker, denser and more and more expansive.  Everything is becoming normal and everyone is starting younger.

Sexual immorality is no respecter of persons.  This has little to do with homosexuality vs. heterosexuality or any of the many cultural wars going on in this arena today.  It’s so easy (and wrong) for Christians to point the finger at homosexuals or gay marriage as corrupting God’s design for sex when divorce, premarital sex and sexually explicit material in entertainment took care of this long ago.  We could care less that our favorite show on Netflix shows sex and nudity and conditions to long for this outside of wedlock, but we’ll get fired up about those gays!  Um, how about we each take a look in the mirror at how we have bought in to culture’s polluted view of sex, a pollution that has infiltrated every square inch of our society and has influenced each and every one of us.  If you’re not divorced, you haven’t had premarital sex, you’ve never lusted, you’ve never looked at pornography or read romance novels, you’ve never watched sexually explicit nude scenes in movies or TV, and you’ve never fantasized about being with someone other than your spouse, then I guess you’re allowed to start pointing fingers. Continue Reading…

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My friend Jim Decke and I recently did a sermon at Crossroads about homosexuality.  Jim shared his testimony of discovering he was gay at a very young age and the ups and downs of trying to get rid of this orientation.  Jim eventually gave up and just did as his sexual desires pleased, until eventually deciding to follow God in a path of singleness and celibacy.  Jim has a powerful and remarkable quote at the beginning of our talk:

Much of my time in this sermon is spent showing that the Bible indeed does say homosexual sex is a sin, regardless of the context it is in.  There are several ways to view the Bible, which I spell out in my part of the sermon but also have blogged about previously here.  I also make sure to point out the Bible never says that homosexual orientation or same sex attraction is a sin, only the behavior, something I’ve also blogged about previously.

If you want an easy to understand explanation of what the Bible says about homosexuality in its original languages (Greek and Hebrew), as well as its original context, I highly recommend What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality by Kevin DeYoung, which is the source I used for almost all of the biblical content of my portion of the sermon.  Pastor Kevin has also recently posted a very helpful blog about the debate (in response to Jen Hatmaker and Nicholas Wolterstorff recently saying homosexual sex within marriage is okay biblically), which you can read here.

I say this at the beginning of the sermon, but the point here is not to debate a point or to try to harp on homosexuals, it is that this has become a major biblical issue in today’s society and it’s important we are honest and clear about what the Bible says, and what people are saying the Bible says that it doesn’t actually say.  The Bible is the source of authoritative truth for our faith so it’s not something to be taken lightly.  In the process, we want to help people who struggle with homosexuality and same sex attraction in real, authentic, loving and compassion ways.

Please email Jim Decke if you struggle with homosexuality and want some support.  Also know he is hosting a support small group for people who are homosexual / have same sex attraction and are interesting in committing to abstaining from homosexual romantic relationships.

Video:

 

Audio Only (Podcast):

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