Thursday, November 26, 2015

Why Are Black People So Angry?

For my white friends who struggle to understand why black people are so angry, let me offer my very poor and limited perspective as a white man who lives among and ministers alongside people of color. 

I so often hear, “But what about white lives? Don’t they matter too?” or “When are black people going to speak up about black-on-black crime?” Well, of course all lives matter, and of course black-on-black crime is a big concern. But those questions miss the point and betray an almost inexcusable misunderstanding of the situation. The issue ultimately is the abuse of power. Every death is a loss, and all injustices are worth mourning, but when power is abused – especially when a historically marginalized group of people finds itself too often on the receiving end of that abuse – then the situation becomes suffocating. 

I honestly think this is very difficult for most white people to truly understand, so I’ve posted this video – a clip from Braveheart – to perhaps help us relate. This is the scene where William Wallace’s young wife, Murron MacClannough, is executed by the English. Anyone watching this gets mad. We all get that visceral reaction of indignation when power is abused and oppression happens. And so we should understand that if Murron MacClannough had been murdered by a fellow Scot, there would be tragedy and anger and much to mourn, and not much beyond that. But being unjustly oppressed and murdered by the occupying English takes things to an entirely different level. It is enough to spark a war, because with this act, the Scots have had enough. 

Nobody asks, “But what about English lives? Don’t they matter too?” or “When are the Scots going to speak up about Scot-on-Scot crime?”, because those questions miss the point. There are irrelevant to the abuse of power that the Scots were suffering under. 

Hope this helps. Please contribute to the conversation if you have something edifying and constructive to say. Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Thought of the Day

I wonder how many Christians realize that a Christian sexual ethic is a package deal. Homosexuality, incest, pederasty, pedophilia, and polygamy are all wrong for the same reasons within the same frame of thinking and the same ethic. The Christian sexual ethic was a radical and revolutionary answer to the old pagan sexual ethic of the Roman empire. And it changed the Western world for millennia. 

The sexual revolution has served to deconstruct the Christian sexual ethic. And of course the nature of revolutions is that they keep going until the old order is overturned. Admittedly, what people were rebelling against in the 60s was a rather distorted version of a Christian sexual ethic, but that doesn't matter much to the rebel. So now, people, including some Christians, in the name of social justice, think that we can simply stop at the normalization of homosexuality and the legalization of gay marriage. But what is not realized, to our loss and to the loss of human thriving generally, is that to normalize homosexuality requires a radically different sexual ethic, which removes the basis upon which all those other aberrations are wrong. On what basis will we say they are wrong under the new sexual ethic?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

"Men are not born rapists, she pointed out to me. But for some reason, many are increasingly justifying sexual violence. Why? Because pornography has turned the bodies of women and girls into a commodity. It is shaping the way men see women."

Friday, July 25, 2014

Who Are the Fascists?

I love it when I hear people, even some Christians, wringing their hands over the imminent danger of evangelicals establishing a THEOCRATIC FASCIST SOCIETY here in America. Given recent trends in society and politics, no doubt this is a real possibility, as illustrated in the MSN quote below:

“Since Obama announced that he would sign the orders, he's faced pressure from opposing flanks over whether he would include an exemption for religious organizations. He decided to maintain a provision that allows religious groups with federal contracts to hire and fire based upon religious identity, but not give them any exception to consider sexual orientation or gender identity. Churches also are able to hire ministers as they see fit.

Why, thank you for your generosity, Mr. President. So glad that the Federal Government has decreed that churches will still be able to hire ministers as they see fit. I feel more free already.  


(Quoted from “Obama gives protection to gay, transgender workers” 07/21/14, MSN.COM)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Conservative Makes the Case for Reparations

Thursday, June 26, 2014

On White Privilege, Racism and Hobbits

A parable:

You may have seen Lord of the Rings - the first one, Fellowship of the Ring. Remember the scene where Gandalf comes to the Shire and interacts with the Hobbits? Some of them of course mean mug him, but for the most part he's loved and welcomed.

The problem for Gandalf is that the Shire was made by Hobbits for Hobbits, and they're about 4 feet tall, while he's around 7 feet tall. This means the roads are too narrow, the chairs are too small, the beer mugs don't hold enough beer, and he keeps bumping his head on the ceilings.

None of this is necessarily because Hobbits hate wizards, but rather because Hobbits weren't thinking of anyone but Hobbits when they set up their world. They didn't need to. 

White men set up America. And for a few centuries, we have pretty much run things. And for a long time, right up until now, we have been the comfortable majority. Although that's changing quite a bit and will continue to change, that's the way it's been for a long time. In fact, up until relatively recently in our history, only white men could vote.

If you're not a white male, and particularly if you're black, you're kind of like Gandalf. The place wasn't built with you in mind, so you're constantly having to compensate in order to navigate life. A lot of black people will tell you that while constant compensating and adjustment is a drag, it has deepened their character. But nonetheless, nobody wants to be in that position.

The reason there's no "white history month" or "white pride day" or "white empowerment organizations" is because EVERY month is white history month. EVERY day is white pride day. White people ALREADY are empowered.

When you've spent as a people four centuries on the outside looking in, in your own country, it gets a little old. We should cut black people a little slack.

Racism by definition (I'm speaking of the real, sociological definition, not is the race that is in a position of power and privilege maintaining that power and privilege at the expense of the races that do not enjoy those advantages. Another way to put it is "racism = bigotry + power".

In other words, ANYONE can be bigoted, prejudiced, discriminatory and hateful, but ONLY the race in power, with the position of influence and/or privilege, can be racist.

That means whites cannot be racist in countries where they are at a disadvantage. That means that, at least for now, ONLY whites can be racist in the US. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

 The Term Saved
NIV84, all uses in the New Testament

·         Matthew 10:22
All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
·         Matthew 19:25
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be saved?"
·         Matthew 24:13
…but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
·         Matthew 27:42
"He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself! He's the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.
·         Mark 10:26
The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, "Who then can be saved?"
·         Mark 13:13
All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
·         Mark 15:31
In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. "He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself!
·         Mark 16:16
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
·         Luke 7:50
Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
·         Luke 8:12
Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.
·         Luke 13:23
Someone asked him, "Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?" He said to them,
·         Luke 18:26
Those who heard this asked, "Who then can be saved?"
·         Luke 23:35
The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One."
·         John 2:10
and said, "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now."
·         John 5:34
Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved.
·         John 10:9
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.
·         Acts 2:21
And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'
·         Acts 2:47
praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
·         Acts 4:12
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."
·         Acts 11:14
He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.'
·         Acts 15:1
Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: "Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved."
·         Acts 15:11
No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are."
·         Acts 16:17
This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved."
·         Acts 16:30
He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
·         Acts 16:31
They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved--you and your household."
·         Acts 27:20
When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.
·         Acts 27:31
Then Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, "Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved."
·         Romans 5:9
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!
·         Romans 5:10
For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
·         Romans 8:24
For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?
·         Romans 9:27
Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: "Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved.
·         Romans 10:1
Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.
·         Romans 10:9
That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
·         Romans 10:10
For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
·         Romans 10:13
…for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
·         Romans 11:26
And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
·         1 Corinthians 1:18
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
·         1 Corinthians 3:15
If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
·         1 Corinthians 5:5
…hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.
·         1 Corinthians 10:33
…even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.
·         1 Corinthians 15:2
By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
·         2 Corinthians 2:15
For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.
·         Ephesians 2:5
…made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved.
·         Ephesians 2:8
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--
·         Philippians 1:28
…without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved--and that by God.
·         1 Thessalonians 2:16
…in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.
·         2 Thessalonians 2:10
…and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
·         2 Thessalonians 2:13
[Stand Firm] But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.
·         1 Timothy 2:4
…who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
·         1 Timothy 2:15
But women will be saved through childbearing--if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.
·         2 Timothy 1:9
…who has saved us and called us to a holy life--not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,
·         Titus 3:5
…he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
·         Hebrews 10:39
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.
·         1 Peter 3:20
…who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water,
·         1 Peter 4:18
And, "If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?"