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Posts like this are hard to write.  Hard because they are humbling.

I started reading through the #metoo posts on Twitter, at the request of some women in my church.  It’s hard to organize my thoughts so I’m just going to put them out there:

I was wrong.  I do a lot of work around racial reconciliation and talk and preach a lot about racial inequality and the oppression of people of color in America.  When women would talk to me about the oppression women face, and how it should be included in the conversation of oppression, I’ve always resisted.  With race I say, “How can a white person tell you what it’s like to be a person of color in America?”  They obviously can’t, but they try to over and over again (while not listening to people of color’s experiences).  Meanwhile the same applies here, “How can a man tell you what it’s like to be a woman?”  We can’t.  I can’t.  But that’s where I’ve been living.

The response of some men to #metoo is sickening and sad.  The men who are mocking the #metoo movement are sickening to me.  It’s also sad to me the men who feel defensive over this.  How can you feel defensive over this???  Yes, men and boys are sexually abused as well, that’s not the point of the #metoo posts from women.  It’s not a contest!  It’s about giving a voice to a demographic that has been shut up for ages.  Men have never been shut up.  While yes, the male victims of sexual abuse need to share their stories, and those stories are welcome, this is much bigger than that.  It’s about an entire gender that’s been silenced in almost every area of society; the sexual abuse is the tip of the iceberg to the feelings of inferiority women are carrying around with them.  Whether it’s in racial injustice or in these conversations about gender injustice, I will always struggle to understand the response of the white male who feels like they’re being attacked when these important oppressed voices speak up, and then use that feeling to miss the whole point.  This isn’t about you, it’s about the person that’s been oppressed by our society.  Yes, a society that benefited you (and me) at their expense.  But don’t make it about you by feeling attacked or defensive.  And if you’ve been a part of the problem, own it.  Stop acting like you’re innocent of everything; none of us are.  Own up to your part.  Continuing in obstinate pride isn’t going to help anything or change anything.  Why not be a part of the solution? Continue Reading…

Like many, I am still staggering from the fact that the President of the United States blamed “both sides” of the recent Charlottesville white supremacy rally and subsequent attack without openly condemning the white nationalists, let alone doing anything about their actions.

His statements have the white supremacists raving Trump’s praises:

Newsweek just ran an article that “White Nationalism is Now ‘State-Sanctioned’ Under Donald Trump, Experts Say,” which included this video: Continue Reading…

I didn’t grow up around immigrants or refugees.  When undocumented immigrants started coming across my news radar a few years ago, I was confused.  I figured a person could just go to the Secretary of State’s office and apply for citizenship and be on their way, so why weren’t these immigrants doing just that?

I genuinely praise God for a newfound education into the immigration system.  I’ve been convicted about the aggressive way I’ve recently approached this issue and have apologized and grown from that.  What I hope to do here is help others who are asking the same questions I was a few years ago by offering some factual and gentle information:

4 Misconceptions: Continue Reading…

An apology post I wrote after reflecting on how I’ve written about Trump and immigration / refugee policy

Romans 13:1-2, 4-5

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.  Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves…  For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities…

These verses seem to indicate we are to do whatever our governmental leaders tell us, and if we don’t, or if we resist it, it is like we are disobeying or resisting God.  If only it were that simple.  A few quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” muddy the waters quite quickly:

I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal”

In fact, the majority of Dr. King’s letter dealt with this tricky biblical subject as he faced the brutal oppression of “legal” Jim Crow laws, which most white Christians argued must be followed based on Romans 13:1-5.  This was no different than white Christians justifying slavery a century earlier for the same reason.

Yet, there has always been Christian resistance to these legal movements.  Christians who saw the governmental law in stark contrast to God’s law in the Scriptures; they saw it as the sin it was and would not let themselves be complicit in it.

Christians who harbored Jews in Nazi Germany.

Christians who helped run The Underground Railroad.

Christians like Dr. King who led the Civil Rights Movement.

Not the mention the modern day global Christians living in countries where it is illegal to be a Christian, to attend church, to own a Bible, etc.

Or consider this Scriptural wrench from Acts 4 thrown into the engine of the Romans 13 argument: Continue Reading…

An apology post I wrote after reflecting on how I’ve written about Trump and immigration / refugee policy

It’s really very simple:

Jesus says when we invite in strangers, we are inviting him in, and when we feed and clothe and help those who are sick, we are doing so to him.  Directly to him.  He also says those who do this are included in those who enter heaven.  And he says that those who don’t do this are included in those who go to hell.

I’m not making a grandiose theological statement here, I’m just telling you, simply, what Jesus said.  Don’t take it from me, hear it directly from Jesus’s lips: Matthew 25:31-46.

What is a stranger?  In the Bible this word is the same word used to describe foreigners and aliens throughout the Old Testament, where God over and over again commanded his people to welcome, love, include, and care for the foreigner and the alien, especially when they were poor and vulnerable.

A stranger is an undocumented Mexican immigrant and it is a Syrian refugee and, according to Matthew 25:31-46, it literally is Jesus.

Let alone Jesus’s parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37, his direct response to the question, “Who is my neighbor?” which of course followed his teaching that the 2nd greatest commandment is to love your neighbor.  He says our neighbor is the one who is of a different race from us, someone culture and our government tells us to hate and avoid, and that when we see them sick and vulnerable and oppressed, we are to love them the same way Jesus loved us on the cross.  We are to bandage them and give our money to care for them and protect them.  We are to include them and treat them as fellow humans created in the image of God.

Image credit: Sojourners (click to visit)

So that’s what Jesus says.

But Donald Trump says he’s going to build a wall to keep all the strangers out.

And he’s going to kick out all of the strangers from our country.

And he’s going to punish those who try to help strangers.

Because strangers are dangerous people!  (But Donald Trump isn’t…?)  All these strangers I’ve met are some of the most beautiful people on the planet and they have only enriched my life and my city in ways words can’t describe.

As President Trump unveils his executive actions of exclusion against the very people Jesus tells us to welcome, it really is crunch time, Christians.

The rubber is hitting the road.

Jesus says, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15; John 14:23)  So, do you and will you?

It’s time for you to face possible persecution (didn’t look like you thought it would, did it?).

Will you follow what Jesus says or what Donald Trump says?

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)

Click to take Sojourners’ Matthew 25 pledge. You’ll receive a full suite of free toolkits and organizing resources, as well as access to a network of justice advocates just like you.

Further Reading:

Sojourners’ article “American Christianity has Failed” by Stephen Mattson

CHURCH LEADERS: A Call to Prayer for Refugees and Immigrants by World Relief’s James Misner