White People, You’re Still Not Listening

kids-churchI know there are quite a few who don’t believe it, but racism is still alive and well in the USA. I’ve seen people flat out deny it. The racism-deniers are, in my experience, always white. And all day today I’ve seen white people CONTINUE to act in racist ways.

Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke is calling Donald Trump’s electoral victory “one of the most exciting nights of my life.”

In North Carolina, people of color had been called the n-word while trying to go into a store.

I’m not saying that racism is back on the scene in a new way. I AM saying that the current climate in the USA has created a place where racists feel free to express their views. Go read the comments section on ANY social media site or News story and you cannot avoid the racist comments, slurs, and insults.

hillary-41775_1280And this is NOT to say that everyone who voted Republican is racist. Not at all. I know good Christian men and women who are Republicans and regularly vote that way. But we cannot deny that the Republican Party has become the landing zone for terrible attitudes, thoughts, and actions. These are the kinds of people Hillary Clinton infamously put in “a basket of deplorables.” Not every Republican – just the deplorable ones.

The problem is that many Republicans approach the current issue of racism from their own lens and say, “I’m not racist, and my family members aren’t racist, so people who complain about racism are just inventing problems.” White people are STILL not listening.

The Bible uses the word “listen” over 600 times. There’s something to be said about hearing – really listening and not missing out on the conversation. For example:

  • If you listen for Lady Wisdom, attune your ears to her, and engage your mind to understand what she is telling you… (Proverbs 2:2)
  • All who have ears to hear, let them listen. (Mark 4:9)

And what conservative whites need to hear is that people of color are genuinely concerned. The safe space created for racists to speak openly is a threat to brown-skinned people. I cannot tell you (literally) how many times I’ve seen people talk or write about “white genocide” and that we need to save the white race. But behavior that pushes away and harms people of color is NOT a biblical attitude or characteristic. The Bible IS filled with words about helping outsiders and loving the outcast.

He enforces His justice for the powerless, such as orphans and widows, and He loves foreigners, making sure they have food and clothing. (Deuteronomy 10:18)

It’s time for white Christians to ACTUALLY listen. It’s time to recognize that we have for too long been dismissive of the thoughts and feelings of anyone who is different – the outsiders. Then it’s time to act in solidarity and say, “We have heard your voice, and we stand in solidarity that this is not acceptable.”

  • Denounce white pride/white power movements.
  • Look for ways where we can actually listen to the voice of the “other” and not be dismissive.
  • Be an active participant in bringing reconciliation between all people.

What do you think? Have you heard any of these racist remarks or seen any racist behavior? Share your story! Just be polite – I will not tolerate rudeness.


** Author’s Note – the original post mentioned a KKK march in North Carolina. Those reports have been debunked – it was a pro-Trump group participating in the “Flagging 40” event. There was no connection there to the KKK.

A Church That Loves Politics More than It Loves Jesus

I enjoy following politics. I really enjoy political races for office. I believe that citizens in a democratic republic (like America, if you didn’t know what we are) have a duty to cast votes and play an active role in the political process. It is the primary means by which we hold our leaders accountable and shape the vision and future of our society.

I enjoy my faith. I really enjoy Jesus. I believe that citizens of God’s kingdom (all of those who claim to follow Jesus) have a duty to be loyal to Jesus and play an active role in the life of God’s kingdom. This necessitates we understand the breadth and scope of Jesus’s life, mission, and call to those of us who follow him.

One of my favorite stories from Jesus’s life takes place during a visit to the temple. Jesus sees a bunch of merchants and vendors trying to make a profit selling sacrificial animals to worshipers traveling from out of town. The mark-up would have been considerable, and the vendors were there not so much to help those who needed to offer sacrifices, but to line their own wallets with cold, hard cash.

This was simply unacceptable to Jesus, and he goes ballistic. He starts flipping over tables and driving out the cattle and animals, jesus-clears-the-temple

and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple. And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a robbersden.” (Mark 11)

Then this week I saw a very interesting phenomenon.

During the Iowa Caucus, I saw many churches that had opened their doors and had become caucus voting locations. Pews were filled with voters carrying flags, buttons, and banners promoting their favorite candidate.

It got me thinking…

I’m pretty sure Jesus would visit these church caucus sites in Iowa and start flipping over pews and tables…

No, it’s not wrong for Christians to engage in politics. I think it’s a GOOD thing to do.

What I have a problem with is people turning our sacred spaces into political grounds. How can we worship Jesus and worship candidates at the same time? How can our sanctuaries be converted to multi-purpose rooms used for secular political activity? I’m not cool with it.

Our call as Christians is to influence and change culture, not let culture influence and change us. One of my favorite Ed Stetzer quotations goes something like this:

When you mix faith and politics you get politics.

This is what I see happening during this election cycle. Don’t let it.

Yes, vote. Yes, get election-978904_1920involved in the political process. Yes, make sure the right candidate takes office.

No, don’t mix the two. Jesus doesn’t ride beside our politics. He needs to be above our politics. Because he’s the Lord of Republicans AND Democrats…heck, even of the Socialists. Jesus supersedes politics.

Don’t get caught up in the political movement and sacrifice our sacred spaces and our very faith.

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What do you think? Are you okay with churches being voting locations? How do you respond to the blending of faith and politics?

Presidential Election Season: An Open Letter to Conservative Christians

Well, here we are again in presidential election season. I’m so glad candidates are starting to declare their bids for office. Christians were becoming too nice on social media (yes, that’s sarcasm).

Now the candidates are starting to declare their bid for office. That means the idiots are coming out of hiding and railing against politicians with whom they disagree. Homer Facepalm

May God have mercy on us all.

As someone who self-identifies with conservative Christianity, I’d like to say a couple things to American conservative Christians.

1. Please cut out the vitriol you spew about politicians. Many conservative Christians behave as though their Bibles say:

And Jesus spake, “Thou mayest put off the qualities that are supposed to make up thy character when thou art criticizing political enemies.”

Except Jesus never said that. The qualities that make up our character are supposed to be there in and out of election season. Colossians 4:6 says:

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

Many conservative Christians stop being gracious when it comes to discussing politics. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying to be silent when you have a dissenting opinion. I am saying that we’re not dissenting in a way that honors God.

2. Stop blasting Hillary as being evil. I’ve heard her described as “monster,” “liar,” “domineering,” and a whole bunch of other terms I won’t even bother repeating. You may not like her personality or her politics, but they does not give us cause to be rude and vile in the way we talk about her.

Here’s the thing – a lot of conservative Christians said similar things about Barack Obama. Many went so far as to call him the Antichrist. But we’re coming to the end of his presidency and the country is still here. He DIDN’T destroy America. The Apocalypse has NOT come. Soooo…y’all were wrong.

Perhaps people who hold different political views than we do are not evil or welcoming the end of our great nation. Perhaps they’re just different. Perhaps Hillary is simply another politician and not Satan incarnate.

And allow me to get on my soapbox for a second. A lot of the criticism leveled at Hillary Clinton is merely because she’s female (yes, I went there). Men who display the same qualities and characteristics are not blasted the way she is. Gender bias is a real phenomenon in our society – don’t play into it.

At the end of the day, please voice your opinion! That’s part of the beauty of living in a democratic republic. But do it in a way that honors God, honors people, and isn’t idiotic. 😉

Thanks,

Chris

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I welcome all discussion, just keep it civil and polite. If this post resonates with you in any way, please share it on Facebook, Twitter, or email!

Related Posts:
Why Democrats are Wrong
Is Barack Obama the Antichrist?