Archives For republican

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…

Discussing white privilege in an effort to bring unity and reconciliation is like walking on a high wire coated with random landmines.  You say the wrong thing, the wrong trigger word, and BOOM: end of conversation.

I’m going to try my best to navigate this wire, please bear with me with grace.

Why this is important

Imagine a population of color, who has always been the numerical minority, who feels that those in the dominant majority (in this case: white skin) relieves a person of certain stressors and thus provides them with certain advantages.

But, that white population who is the majority doesn’t see a difference.

The minority feels there is a difference.

The majority doesn’t.

Off the bat, can you crystallize the conflict and tension on both sides?

The majority thinks the minority needs to stop complaining, or to stop making things up, or to take responsibility.  The majority thinks that the very conversation about the minority having more stress and resistance in life is an excuse to blame someone else for their problems and not try, and the conversation gets categorized accordingly.  In addition, the majority often feels like they are being accused or attacked.

Meanwhile, the minority Continue Reading…

Dear Refugee, (Documented and Undocumented) Immigrant, Muslim & African-American:

This is a letter to tell you you are loved.  I love you and many others do as well.  Recently some have spewed hate in your direction.  They’ve scrawled it on bathroom walls, spray-painted it on dugouts and have told you to go back to “where you came from.”

Graffiti of swastika on a softball field dugout in Wellsville, N.Y., Nov. 9, 2016.(Photo: Brian Quinn, Wellsville Daily Reporter) Click to read the USA Today article

Graffiti of swastika on a softball field dugout in Wellsville, N.Y., Nov. 9, 2016. (Photo: Brian Quinn, Wellsville Daily Reporter) Click to read the USA Today article

These people do not represent all of us and they do not represent me.

Notably, these people do not represent Jesus or his Church.

With this recent election, there have been some tragic dots connected by many: there is a renewed outburst of racial hate speech (that you have had to endure)… which people feel free to do because Trump is the President-elect… because Trump gathered many of his followers based on racist caricatures and fear mongering… and Trump won the election because of Evangelical Christians (polls say 80% of white evangelicals voted for Trump)… so this hate speech is now a reflection of Jesus and his Church.

And I know it’s not just the hate speech, but also some potential policies that might be barrelling toward some of you, and the fear and anxiety you currently have to live with of these policies. Continue Reading…

Matthew Soerens is the US Director of Church Mobilization for World Relief.  Noah Filipiak interview Matthew about a biblical response to undocumented immigrants, the Mexican border, Syrian and other Muslim refugees, and much more.  The episode closes with a poem called “Home” by World Relief’s Jacob Mau (www.jacobmaumusic.com) Continue Reading…

  1. Seeing throngs of people bowing down and worshiping a candidate like they are the 2nd coming of Jesus.  If the person you worshiped 4 years ago didn’t bring the world into utopia, this person won’t either.  Stop frothing at the mouth about them.

  2. How politics makes enemies of friends.  Man, do people get angry about their politics.  People who would normally be friends now shoot barbs back and forth to each other, calling each other all sorts of elementary school playground insults.  We tell our kids not to call people idiots, morons or stupid, then we do this every time there is a political election.  The candidates do it to each other.  We do it to the candidates.  And we do it to those who support a different candidate than us.  And social media makes it soooooooooo much worse.

  3. groceryIt’s another reminder of how politics randomly forces us to choose who to oppress.  Politics is like going to the grocery store, but instead of getting to choose what you buy, there are two pre-packaged sacks of food waiting for you.  You do not get a choice as to what goes into the sacks, but you are forced to purchase one of the bags and take it home with you…and eat everything in the bag.  One bag has corn and chips and apples and ham in it.  Sounds good.  It also includes pickled pigs’ feet, cow brain, and squid guts.  You want to vomit…so you check out bag #2.  Cookies, cheese, eggs, and rice.  Very promising.  But as you dig around you also find fish eyes, a sheep head and bat paste.  This is politics.  It doesn’t matter if you like both ham and rice.  You don’t get both.  It doesn’t matter if you want to preserve life in one way and also preserve it another way.  Choose who will live, and who will die.  And still try to sleep at night.  (It will be funny when I get emails or blog comments from people telling me that their bag doesn’t have any feet, brains, guts, heads, eyes or bat paste in it…no, they do, you have just acquired a taste for them)

  4. How almost everyone in politics is bought.  Derek Webb has a great line in his song “A Savior on Capitol Hill.”  “And as long as the lobbyists are paying their bills.  We’ll never have a savior on Capitol Hill.”

You have politicians standing resolutely on an issue at one point in their career, only to see them fighting for the polar opposite side of things 10 years later.  Sometimes they even jump ship altogether and switch to an entire new party, talking as if they’d always been there.  The truth is, many politicians really don’t care about the issue you love them for, what they care about is getting money from lobbyists and political action committees who will fund their campaign, which will help them get your vote.

Did you know that Barack Obama and Mitt Romney spent approximately one billion dollars each on their 2012 presidential campaigns? (See New York Times Campaign Finance Report).  If you include all of the 2012 elections, the number is somewhere around 6 billion dollars spent.

Why is that money necessary?

Where do you think that money comes from?

What do you think a politician will say or do to get that money?

Vote.

Be active.  Support causes and issues on moral and spiritual grounds, not on partisan grounds.

Push to make politics less like the cable bundle you overpay for that comes with a bunch of garbage channels and more where you get an actual say on a policy-by-policy basis as a voter.

Be involved in politics with the mission of redeeming it.

But do not become a part of the machine or fall in love with the machine.