Archives For injustice

I did a sermon last Sunday (at bottom) that looked at how to apply the many biblical texts about oppression and injustice to a 2017 American context.  At Crossroads, we are making intentional steps to become a multi-ethnic church. I’ve been immersed in the multi-ethnic and racial reconciliation conversation since 2008 (when I first read Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America by Michael Emerson and Christian Smith).  Many think there aren’t more multi-ethnic churches because of worship style, preaching style, cultural differences, and the general human inclination to clump with people who are like us.  In my observation, these are not the real reasons.  The primary reason there are not more multi-ethnic churches is because white Christians can’t typically be trusted with the experiences of people of color.  What I mean is, church is community.  The evangelical church is humorously known for overusing cliche words like “authentic” and “real” and their many synonyms.  This is what community is supposed to be.  But when a person of color shares their authentic and real experience–the daily racial micro-aggressions they endure, the history of our nation that created the disadvantages they face daily and have to strain to overcome, and so much more–white brothers and sisters in Christ either have no category for these things and are just confused, or at worst, deny these experiences and disadvantages all together.  If you can’t be real and authentic about your life experience in your Christian community, then you aren’t going to stay in that community.

Historically, the reason we have black denominations, seminaries, and churches is because the white churches and organizations did not let black people in…so they had to go and start their own.  And what we have today is the recent-byproduct. Continue Reading…

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…

How to Live a Purposeful, Not-Boring Life:

  • Don’t spend all your money on yourself, your kids and your grandkids.  If you tithe / give to your church, don’t act like the rest of your 90% is meant for you to hoard.  Like it’s all yours because you earned it.  (Where did this mindset ever come from?)
  • Make sure your life is about Jesus’s Kingdom, not your kingdom.  This is a total reorientation.
  • Don’t make your lifestyle choices based on how you and your family can be safest at all time, as if our goal was to quarantine ourselves off from broken people.
  • Care about the oppressed.  Care about injustice.  Don’t ignore the Bible’s repeated commands here.  Do something about it, as much as the talents God has given you allow.
  • Don’t choose your church based on how it best serves you and your kids.  Choose a church based on how you can best serve within Jesus’s Kingdom.

You don’t have to do any of this stuff.  At the end of the day, you can build your kingdom on this earth and still go to heaven, but you will be bored stiff.  A lot of Americans are bored stiff.  Who wants that?

Most people, from kids to adults, turn to the “pleasures of this world” because they are simply bored.  Christians are taught what not to do, but not what to do.  Someone can only tolerate that for so long.  When a Christian youth is taught to “be good” and “don’t do bad stuff” and that their goal in life is to get a good job and buy a lot of toys, it’s no wonder they look to sideshows to find meaning.

Meanwhile, the unloved continue to be unloved and those with the resources sit around bored.

And Jesus wonders why we pray Matthew 6:10 but do so little about it.

God gave you a 6-cylinder engine for his Kingdom, don’t just use one or two of them.  If you do, you’ll be bored stiff.  And who wants that?

Take the plunge!  Get all 6 cylinders fired up and see what adventures God takes you on and what changed lives you get to witness!  (Yours being front and center of course!)

 

 

 

Whether the rest of America wants to admit it or not, black people have to fear for their lives every day living in this country.  They’ve been trying to tell us this for years now.  I do hope we start listening soon.  Please watch this 4-minute video of Charles Kinsey, a black therapist helping a patient in North Miami, trying to tell a police officer not to shoot him only to be shot by the officer and handcuffed.  The video is not graphic and the man lives; most of the video is the man talking about the baffling experience:

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 5.31.05 PMThis is not an isolated incident.  If you think it is, you are not listening to the fear black people have of living in this country.

It’s unlikely that something like this would have happened to a white person.

Now moving forward, this is what we need to pay attention to:

  • Will this police officer be fired?
  • Will this police officer go to court?
  • Will this police officer have to serve jail time for this?
  • While what you see in the video is bad, it’s not the core reason for Black Lives Matter and other related protests.  The core reason is that these things happen over and over again without the officer being held accountable whatsoever.

If you can watch this video and think that the officer shouldn’t be held accountable for their actions, you really need to check yourself.

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 5.42.10 PMAnd if this officer gets to do this and then walk free with no repercussions, we all should be in an uproar, as well as scared for our lives that this is the justice system we live in…or at least scared for the lives of our black brothers and sisters.

It is good and right (and biblical) to protest unjust justice systems.

None of this villianizes police officers.  One officer committed a very awful crime.  This officer needs to face the penalty of our legal system for this.  If they do, it will create a safer world for all police officers and will allow us the peace of mind to separate the good officers out from the bad, thanking the good ones profusely for their work.  If they don’t, it’s only going to make a lot of people very angry and some lunatic is going to start shooting police again.  The verdict lies in the hands of our legal system.  Have they learned yet or will they continue to let unjust acts go unpunished?

 

Noah Filipiak interviews World Relief’s Haiti Country Director, Joseph Bataille.  Haiti was the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere before the 2010 earthquake and even more so after.  All this despite millions and millions of dollars of international aid over the course of decades.  Noah and Joseph have a “behind the curtain” conversation about how Haiti got in the spot its in, what World Relief is doing about it, and what we all can do about alleviating poverty in ways that work.  Noah and Joseph also discuss the perils of compassion fatigue and how to avoid it.

You can listen to Noah’s interview with Joseph Bataille below via the Podbean Player or you can subscribe to all “Behind the Curtain” Ministry Podcast episodes on iTunes

Resources and Links:

December 17th, 2016 Lansing for Haiti 5K Run / Walk (location: Lansing, MI)

“Run From Anywhere” Your City for Haiti 5K Run / Walk (location: anywhere!)

Email Noah if you’re interested in our Haiti Golf Scramble (location: Lansing, MI), date TBD, on a Saturday morning in August 2016.

Book:  Haiti: The Aftershocks of History by Laurent Dubois

Book: When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor…and Yourself by Fikkert and Corbett

If you want to connect with World Relief Haiti by getting news updates and joining their prayer team, email World Relief’s Church Relations Director Craig Pixley.  Craig can help you and / or your church in any type of church engagement with World Relief Haiti or anywhere World Relief works throughout the world.

www.worldrelief.org/haiti

To donate to World Relief go to http://www.worldrelief.org/give/