Archives For John Perkins

at a crossroads behind the curtain ministry podcast noah filipiakNoah Filipiak interviews Pastor Tyler St. Clair about his upcoming church plant on the NW side of Detroit, the neighborhood Tyler and his wife both grew up in.  Tyler’s target location is one of the “bad parts” of Detroit, with all of the symptoms of urban poverty ever-present.  After being guided to plant in other more financially viable areas, Tyler discusses why he is staying committed to this needy area.  Noah and Tyler discuss white privilege and the challenge of ministry fundraising as a black man.  They also discuss the lost emphasis Scripture puts on loving and ministering to the poor and the need for the Church to be the body and not hoard all of the resources in suburban areas.  They also discuss how a lot of church planting movements want to make it look like they are ministering in the poor parts of Detroit, when they really aren’t.  Tyler also shares about a season of his life where he rejected black preaching and theologians, and how God brought him back to his roots and ethnic identity by introducing him to many spiritual giants of the Christian faith who come from the African-American Church.

Subscribe to all “Behind the Curtain” Ministry Podcast episodes on iTunes

Listen to the Tyler St. Clair podcast episode here:


Connect with Tyler:

Tyler on Twitter

Tyler on Facebook

Tyler on Instagram

Tyler’s Blog

Email Tyler ( about joining his fundraising team (tax-deductible)

Click for Tyler’s Prayer Newsletter, with link at the bottom to subscribe to future Prayer Newsletters (click “Forward” at the very bottom of the Newsletter and enter your email in both email lines)

Resources mentioned in the interview:

Tyler’s Blog Post “Forgetting Giants” about great black theologians of the past

Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America by Michael Emerson and Christian Smith

African American theologians and preachers of the past:

Phillis Wheatley.

Lemuel Haynes

Richard Allen

Gardner C. Taylor

E.K. Bailey

A. Louis Patterson

African American theologians and preachers of the present:

John Perkins

Eric Mason

Tony Evans

Crawford Lorrits

Bryan Lorrits

H.B. Charles Jr. – On Preaching book – H.B. Charles Jr.’s Podcast

Charlie Dates

Robert Smith Jr. – Doctrine that Dances book

James Earl Massey


A white Christian friend of mine recently asked me to write a blog about the Confederate Flag controversy in South Carolina. As someone who has spent the vast majority of my life in northern states (Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan), I wasn’t sure what I had to offer to the conversation. Honestly, it seems obvious to me that the flags should be taken down, though they have flown forever, which I figure wasn’t going to change anytime soon. As a Northerner, I realize my limitations in seeing all sides of the conversation, knowing there are a good number of people in the South who cherish the Confederate flag, not for racist reasons in their minds, but for reasons of heritage and family honor and pride, which I cannot relate to, or for the political point that states have a right to secede from a nation (see “Anonymous” / Jim’s comment in the thread below).

It’s remarkable how the tragic murder of 9 black people at a Charleston church have now led to the legal removal of the Confederate flag from the state Capitol Building in Columbia. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed the bill using 9 pens, one to commemorate each victim murdered in the June 17th church shooting. Continue Reading…

This is not a blog post to try to help white people understand what white privilege is and/or to persuade them to acknowledge it and do something about it.

I did a blog post a few months ago that did that.  It was helpful for many and received flak from others.  I used the analogy of a basketball game where one team cheated to get a 100-15 lead prior to the rules being made fair at the beginning of the 4th quarter.  The post was an attempt to help us position ourselves to at least have a conversation about white privilege in a constructive way.  You can read that post here.

A few weeks ago, my friend Jeremy Dowsett totally copied me but instead used the analogy of riding a bike on streets made for cars.  His analogy and blog article are great and received several billion (or something like that) more hits than mine.  You should check that out here.

Today’s post is not to convince you that white privilege exists or that American society is slanted unjustly in favor of white people.  If you’d like to argue against the existence of white privilege or call me names, please stop reading here and do so on the above link, not this one.  Better yet, do it on Jeremy’s page.

Today’s post is for those of us whose eyes have already been at least somewhat opened (I say “somewhat” because I know even my eyes need much more opening to be done still) to what white privilege is and we’d like to know what we can do about it.  We have white privilege.  We feel bad about it.  Is there anything we can do about it besides feel bad? Continue Reading…

I had the privilege of attending a luncheon today featuring 84-year-old John M. Perkins, a man who tops my list of faith heroes.  His autobiography Let Justice Roll Down is a must read and will transform you.  Dr. Perkins was a key leader in the Civil Rights Movement, was tortured and almost killed in prison by white police officers while not even having a charge brought against him and used the redemption of Jesus to lead a movement of racial reconciliation, which he continues to this day.  Dr. Perkins co-founded the Christian Community Development Association.  Today’s luncheon was a small 30 person gathering where we got to hear from and interact with Dr. Perkins on a variety of issues.  Here are some bullet points from my notes.  If you’re not familiar with Perkins’ work or you’d like more clarity/context on any of these snippets, please ask and I’d be happy to interact more with you:

  • We believe so lightly in God.  We believe God is whatever we think of him as.
  • Injustice is always an economic issue.  It’s a matter of greed, exploitation and domination.
  • Reconciliation is an intricate part of the gospel.  The last part of the gospel is to reconcile people together so we can have peace.
  • When Nebuchadnezzar conquered a people, he made them speak his language.  He says they must fit into my culture.  That’s how you control people.
  • At Pentecost, the gospel was sent to break the cultures and bring us back to one.  One in Christ.  Whereas today, the Black Church believes their church is just as good as whites and whites know theirs is better because they have the money to uphold it.
  • You’re not going to solve the problem by continuing to have a Black Church and a White Church
  • The God of Heaven and earth has invited us to join in his redemption–how much more of an honor this is than being at the White House at the request of the President.
  • We need to plant churches with a new generation of people who desire diversity.
  • That black church gonna die.  That old white church gonna die.  You aren’t going to change them.  But maybe you can get them to give to your cause.
  • To blacks: I understand that the Black Church is all you’ve ever had, that it’s the only place of power and influence the whites ever gave you, but you’ve got to give that up.  I understand your loss, but you’ve got to give it up. 
  • Maybe white people are so damaged by imperialism that they are helpless to do reconciliation; the Black Church needs to step up and make these multiracial churches happen
  • Every business had to start with initial capital.  Everybody had to borrow from somebody to start a business.  
    Churches can create these lending pools!
  • “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day.  Teach him to fish, feed him for a lifetime” is a huge lie.  Whoever owns the pond determines who gets to fish.
  • Preach on racism proactively, not just reactionary.
  • I’m going to do it and whoever comes with me, we’re going to do it – I ain’t going to wait for black people or white people to get on board.
  • I’m tired of black people waiting for white people to do for them, you do it.  You do it and bring them into it with you.  What do you want the white people to do, lay down and die?  
  • (Using modern day Native Americans as an example for modern day black people) Ain’t nobody gonna give you your land back, you’ve got to do something with what you have.  
  • A leader is someone who turns their problem into passion, and shows others that vision and brings them along with them