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The Bible is a thick book.  Always has been.  In the first century, an expert in the Old Testament Scriptures asked Jesus to summarize all of the commands in the Bible into the greatest commandment, to slim down that thick book into something easy to remember.  Jesus tells him the greatest commandment is to love God with all your being and he throws in a close 2nd, to love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:35-40)

In a different conversation, another expert in the Old Testament Scriptures wanted to press Jesus further on this issue.  He asks Jesus, Who is my neighbor?  These experts in the Law would be the equivalent of a modern day seminary professor and pastor rolled into one.  The expert in the Law in Luke 10:25-37 was testing Jesus as well as seeking to justify himself.  Jesus’s answer is no less astounding 2000 years later as it was when it came off his lips.  But we so often miss what makes it so astounding… Continue Reading…

I’m 32 years old and I grew up white.

suburbia-lawn-mower-white-raceI was raised in a suburban town of Dayton, OH where nearly everyone was white.  The Dayton area follows the pattern of most metropolitan cities in America: urban core made up predominantly of people of color, particularly African-Americans, where the most recorded crime and the worst schools exist.  You then move a circle out to find the “white flight” suburbs, “safe” towns and communities created by white people who wanted to get away from black people and the “danger” they brought.

My graduating class of ~350 people had 5 or 6 black kids in it.

My church of ~350 people had 0 black people in it.

I was never taught by a black teacher in school and was never preached to by a black preacher in church.

The Christian college I attended in Grand Rapids, MI was also predominantly white, the very small smattering of black students heavily outweighed by the (estimating) 98% white on-campus student population.  I never had a black professor.

The seminary attended in Grand Rapids had a slight uptick in black students, still vastly dominated by white students though, and I still only sat under white professors and white senior leadership.

I never noticed or cared. Continue Reading…