Over at the Washington Post, Eugene Scott has written an interesting opinion piece regarding Mike Pence’s commencement speech at Liberty University. Scott is concerned that warnings about Christian persecution fall into a victim complex that is not all that helpful for navigating through fruitful citizenship. Now, I do agree with some of what he says. But the more I read through it, the more I think some parsing is in order to get to the real concern. He says;
Religious persecution is real. The congregations of three black Louisiana churches that were recently burned down for reasons that some suspect were racially motivated know this. And so do the congregants of the synagogue that was attacked last month by a gunman; the suspect pointed to his conservative evangelical theology as justification for his hatred of racial minorities.
But accusing “Hollywood liberals,” the media and “the secular left” of persecuting Trump-supporting evangelicals might do little, if anything, to prepare the next generation of leaders to be good citizens working toward the common good in a religiously diverse nation. At worst, it could perpetuate the victim mentality that is so pervasive in our culture wars and that some believe has made this country more politically divided than at any other point in recent history. Such a framing may win you some political battles, but in the long term, it makes it much more difficult for the United States to become “one nation under God,” as Pence and so many others often pledge.
Now, I do think he’s right in that we can form a persecution complex and engage in fear mongering. After all, Jesus did say that we would have trouble in this world. We can’t surely expect that a secular culture will align with Christian values. Even though religious liberty was ensconced in the framework of this country’s founding, we do need to consider it is also not a guarantee to live out faithful Christianity. That’s not to say we should not care or make efforts to preserve it. But we can at least expect a Christianity believed and lived faithfully will be at odds with a culture that seeks to live for self. Continue reading
A couple of years ago, I penned a piece, Some Questions I’m Asking While Off to My White Evangelical Church, that got a bit of attention. The piece was the product of growing concerns I had regarding where the racial reconciliation was headed. I had questions of whether we were legitimately seeking reconciliation or was an agenda being imposed on the body of Christ that actually is driving a wedge through it. And now that I’ve seen the movement morph into an anti-racist and social justice paradigm that adopts a worldview that seems to run contrary to a Christian paradigm in doctrine and practice, I stick by every word I wrote in asking the questions I had.
Speaking of which, there has been a lot of discussion on Critical Theory lately especially with the denouncement of whiteness in our churches. Neil Shenvi has done an excellent job in examining this theory and asking if integration is possible. Check out his website here and this hour talk. What I most appreciate about his work is that he doesn’t ignore the issues that Critical Theory is attempting to address given the very lengthy history that the false of construct of race has produced. We can refute Critical Theory as the means to bring correction but we can’t refute the annuls of history whereby the white “superior” race dominated every aspect of culture that subjugated those of the so-called inferior race (namely those of African descent) to a sub-human classification. That white superiority complex also has denegrating views of Jews as well.
So we do have to be honest with history and particularly churches’ complicity in maintaining this false construct. However, one of my concerns is how we imposing the weight of history on to the present as if slavery and Jim Crow are very much enforced and we’ve made no progress at all. Surely, we can recognize changing attitudes that have weakened the hold of racism on institutional and cultural infrastructures.
But that doesn’t negate the fact that there are still issues, particularly with prevailing mindsets that uphold some kind of racial superior mindset and wants to preserve white heritage…against Blacks, Latinos, and even Jews. And yes, even in our churches. Continue reading
The past few days, I’ve been observing the kerfuffle over the Sparrow Conference and the interview delivered by Ekemini Uwan. She spoke boldly about the need for white women to divest in whiteness by embracing their ethnic heritages and rejecting the power structure that whiteness created. She briefly explained that race was a false construct devised to create a classification of people and the result was whiteness that is rooted in plunder and theft. Unfortunately, the YouTube video was removed and her presence erased from the conference because some people couldn’t handle what she was saying. I personally believe that people weren’t hearing what she was saying and concluded that she was making racists statements against white people.
Moving past the conference and how issues related to race today are being addressed, I can see why some responded the way they did. We are bombarded by racialized sensitivities and the propensity to shut down any kind of pushback even when there are legitimate concerns about the way issues are being addressed. I do notice this tendency to create hyperbole and conflation especially around current events, political ideology and public policy. I get that those classified as white people are persistently told they are the problem and they need to bow down in silence and repentance to every jot and tittle of demands or else they are complicit in the perpetuation of racism. Nobody wants an accusatory finger pointed at them at all times. Particularly with Christians, I can see how off-putting this can be. I do observe that sometimes the focus on race can supersede our focus on Christ.
But we can’t deny the fact of how and why the false construct of the white and black race was created. It was constructed to create a hierarchal system whereby one class was deemed superior and one inferior. This hierarchal system emerged out of Europe based on economic trade that soon evolved into a full blown denial of personhood towards those of African descent. One only needs to look into the annuls of history to see how this resulted in power structures whereby one group of people, those classified as the white race, set the standard by which all else was subjected to including people deemed inferior solely because of the melanin and places of origin. Continue reading
Well it’s been a month now since my wedding and I hope to get back to writing soon. You’ll notice some small changes on the blog site, primarily involving the name change. In the meantime, I present this guest post by Latanya Yarbrough and her thoughts on the Woke Movement that has gripped Christ’s church.
I used to be so pro-black that I was anti-white. Idealizing and idolizing black culture eventually caused me to despise white people and white culture. Although I would have never admitted this to an “outsider,” in my heart I worshipped blackness and loathed white people.
These were my attitudes when I was unconverted. Before Christ I was steeped in the ideologies of black consciousness, black pride, black superiority, etc. I was tuned in to the social injustices and racial disparities around me–those that had taken place before my birth as well as those that prevailed during the 80’s and 90’s. Like most African Americans I knew there was a battle taking place within me as I struggled with being both black and American.
Yet, at the same time, the views I had of myself were also influenced by the perceptions white Americans held about black Americans. As these two opposing views struggled for dominance I struggled to define who I was as a black American while also trying to resist the temptation to yield to the views of white Americans, views which I perceived to be both hurtful and racist.
W.E.B. Dubois in his book, The Souls of Black Folks, described this war of opposing ideals as a “double consciousness.” Because of my social consciousness and my internal struggles you could say that I was “woke.” My consciousness was shaped not only by what was happening at the time (reduced expenditures for public institutions of all kinds as well as a strong white backlash to the civil rights movement, which was being expressed by opposing both school desegregation and affirmative action programs) but also by the books I read and the lectures I listened to. Continue reading
Back in April, I wrote about some personal happenings regarding a godly gentleman that entered my life. Even though no formal commitment had yet been made, I truly believed that the Lord was finally answering some long standing prayers for a husband. And not just any church going man, but one whose whole orientation was living out a life “in Christ” and who would love, value and appreciate me.
Well, turns out I was right. In August, Evan proposed marriage and our wedding date is set for January 26, 2019. It’s turned out to be a bigger wedding than I would have anticipated but I think it’s also fitting for the celebration and God’s hand of redemption in our lives. I positively love how encouraging our story has been to singles, especially older ones who wonder if love will ever happen for them. This man has been looking and waiting a very long time and at 65, it’s finally happening. For me also, it’s a testament to God’s ear that was inclined towards my prayers and his hand of provision. It’s a needed reminder for other areas of my life where I get discouraged in wondering how things will pan out.
Needless to say, my hands are pretty full right now. Evan lives in Roanoke, VA so that will mean relocation for me right after the wedding. With so much to accomplish regarding wedding planning, moving (and purging my apartment of all the junk I’ve accumulated over the past 10 years) and conducting a job search, this also means my writing will have to take a back seat for awhile. Unless some flash of inspiration hits me, I don’t think I’ll be producing any more blog posts for another few months.
I’ve always been a person who has adapted to change quite well. But even with that disposition, change still brings with it some uneasiness and apprehension. There is something unsettling about uncertainty especially if you’re like me, and let your mind ponder all kinds of scenarios that can go wrong. One transition that I’ve definitely found a bit unnerving is my 21 year old son who still lives with me, being on his own. He’ll be moving in with friends and completely independent being 1,100 miles away from mom. While deep down, I know he’ll be fine just as I was when I made that transition away from home, I still have moments of worry. Just to throw a wrench in the works, he lost his job in October and is hunting for another one. So many prayers have gone up that the Lord will provide something soon. Continue reading