Archives For racial reconciliation

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…

Recreation of Martin Luther King’s cell in Birmingham Jail at the National Civil Rights Museum

Who are you in this letter?

The white clergy opposing Dr. King?  The white moderate?  The white church sitting idly behind the anesthetizing security of stained-glass windows?  The black indifference?  The black violent nationalist?  The small group of white clergy standing by Dr. King, being ridiculed by white culture because of it? 

Who do you want to be? 

 

Read the full letter here.

(Written to 8 white clergymen who published an open letter in Birmingham saying that social injustices existed but argued that the battle against racial segregation should be fought solely in the courts, not the streets.  Dr. King’s letter was written in the margins of newspaper scraps, the only paper given to him in jail.)

 

16 April 1963
My Dear Fellow Clergymen:
While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely.” Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms. Continue Reading…

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Pastor Bryan Loritts discusses how to become a multi-ethnic church, as well as the cost and challenges therein.  Noah Filipiak also asks Pastor Bryan for help in navigating the Christian subculture of church planting, pastoring and being an author in a way where we don’t end up measuring ourselves by performance-oriented metrics.

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

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:

 

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