Archives For America

What does a multi-ethnic church really look like?

I get asked this question a lot at Crossroads, namely because we teach and vision-cast a lot about our desire to be a multi-ethnic church, which I usually follow-up by saying we still have a long way to go.  We are three and a half years into a 5-year-plan where becoming a multi-ethnic congregation was one of our goals.  Sociologists say that a multi-ethnic congregation can be defined as when the dominant group is not larger than 80% of the total population.  On our best day, if you include our kids and teens (where the majority of our people of color* are), we might barely fit the 80/20 rule — so does this mean we’ve met our goal in becoming a true multi-ethnic church?

*People of Color is the contemporary term used in academic conversations about race in America.  “Non-white” is not a good term because it forces people of color to identify themselves in relation to the standard of whiteness rather than in relation to themselves.  It is not to be confused with the historical racial slur “colored.”

This is where I follow-up by saying we still have a long way to go!  It’s relatively easy to become multi-colored, but this is very different than being truly multi-cultural.  A true multi-ethnic church is probably beyond the reach of most people, which is why you see so few of them and so few real efforts to become one.  So, beyond the 80/20 principle, what does a true multi-ethnic church really look like?

Trust and Safety

I’ll start with this one because if it goes misunderstood, the rest of the identifiers won’t matter (and probably won’t happen).  A person of color needs to be able to lament, emote, pray, and petition the Lord and their church community about the challenges of oppression they face on a daily basis.  They need to be able to do this without being judged or corrected by the white population. Continue Reading…

This is the most direct I’ve been about race while preaching in a while.  I’ve been really hit hard about the real ramifications of Romans 12:1-16 as it relates to the Church as the Body of Christ (as well as the many other passages that use this metaphor).  My heart was to effectively communicate what the Bible is saying in a way gracious enough that shows both how far away we’ve gotten, and also how it’s okay for us to come back.
Video:

8.14.16 Romans 12 (Body of Christ Part 2) ~ Pastor Noah Filipiak from Lansing Crossroads Church on Vimeo.

Audio Only:

 

You can also subscribe to the Crossroads Church sermon podcast on iTunes here. 

 

The Hyde Amendment states that federal tax dollars cannot be used to perform abortions.  You can read the specifics of the amendment here.

Planned Parenthood does a ballpark of 300,000 – 350,000 abortions per year and around 45% of their revenue–$540.6 million–is provided by federal tax dollars.

This is a classic “6 one way, half-a-dozen the other” example.  What would happen to your organization if it lost 45% of its revenue?

It would close.  (Or you’d need to find some very rich friends)

And the ~325,000 widgets you made each year would stop being made.

You can say that federal funding is not going toward abortions (the Hyde Amendment), but when the largest provider of abortions in the country can stay open directly because of federal funding, is there any difference?

The federal funding can go toward essential overhead like building expenses and staff salaries, while in-house money can then be moved over to cover the cost of the abortions, something that wouldn’t be possible if the in-house money had to cover everything.  (Or how abortions can sometimes be offered for free)

And yes, Planned Parenthood provides some great women’s health services, often times to the needy and under-served.  Services such as pap smears, cancer screenings and the provision of birth control.

These services should continue to be paid for with federal funds!  (in my opinion, and I think many would agree with me)

But not in conjunction with abortions.

How did these two things become grouped together as the same?

As it is now, Hyde Amendment or not, your tax dollars and mine are keeping Planned Parenthood open and thriving, allowing them to continue to churn out 300,000+ abortions per year.  That’s enough corpses to fill (the United States’ largest stadium) the University of Michigan’s “Big House” stadium 3 times!  All provided for by tax dollars from the land of the free and the home of the brave.  Whether faith-motivated, morality-motivated or simply democracy and citizenship-motivated, this is not how our tax dollars should be spent and for the sake of the integrity of our country, needs to stop.

#ProtestPP

#DefundPlannedParenthood

(This is a follow-up to a more comprehensive post I did on the August 22nd nation-wide Planned Parenthood protests)

michigan stadium

 

 

Sources:

(quoted from “Top 12 Reasons to Defund Planned Parenthood” by Susan B. Anthony List)

Planned Parenthood is America’s largest abortion provider. “Roughly one out of every four abortions in America” is carried out in a Planned Parenthood facility. [iv] Data shows that since 1970, Planned Parenthood has performed more than 6 million abortions. [v] In 2013 alone, Planned Parenthood performed a record 357,653 abortions.[vi]

 

(quoted from csnnews.com)

according to (Planned Parenthood’s) Annual Report 2012-2013, about 45% of that revenue–$540.6 million–was provided by taxpayer-funded government health services grants.

In the same report, Planned Parenthood said that in the year that ended on Sept. 30, 2012 it did 327,166 abortions.

 

With gay marriage now legal throughout the United States, it’s important that Christians understand how to navigate these waters in biblically loving and biblically true ways.

I think it’s important to start out by briefly explaining why the Bible is so important to Christians (or at least, is supposed to be).  The Bible is where we learn specifically who God is, how to be saved, and how to follow God.  It is from God and is about God.  If you take the Bible away, all you are left with is a bunch of different people’s different opinions–and what authority does an opinion really have in the eternal scheme of things?  So the problem for Christians when one piece of the Bible is called untrue is that it undermines the authoritative foundation of the entire thing.  If God got the part wrong about homosexuality, then who’s to say he got the part right about Jesus’ resurrection or how to be saved?  I wrote more about this specific conundrum a few months back when I was critiquing Rob Bell’s Love Wins book.

A Christian’s Guide to Gay Marriage:

1. The Bible says that homosexual practice/action is a sin, not homosexual attraction/orientation

A Christian can be gay, with the definition of “gay” being “attracted to the same sex,” and not be sinning.  Continue Reading…

If the Old Testament prophets told you that churches in America shouldn’t be segregated along racial lines, would you listen?

If Jesus told you churches in America shouldn’t be segregated along racial lines, would you listen?

For most of my life, this stuff wasn’t even close to being on my radar and I realize for many reading, it isn’t on yours either.  I truly don’t mean to write judgmentally, self-righteousnessly or condemningly.  But I do hope to show biblically that just because something isn’t on our radar as American Christians, doesn’t mean it isn’t on God’s radar–and like King Josiah or even like the reformers of the Protestant Reformation, when God reveals something to us from his word that we hadn’t previously noticed, we need to act on it.

Listen to what Jesus says in John 17:20-21: Continue Reading…