Posts Tagged ‘black’

In a few days we will be leaving on a plane to Atlanta for a nine day retreat and then on to Pittsburgh,PA.  Yes it is official. .This means I will be out of the blogosphere for a while. That’s until we get settled. Once we touch down and get things in order then I will be back with new posts, contests, and new plans (can u guess them?) since I will be seeking to create a larger platform for the ideas in this blog.

In the meantime, here is a preview of upcoming blogposts. Pick your favorite and I will dedicate it to you. Just comment below and if you have a blog or twitter give me your url or twitter handle and you will get free publicity from yours truly. So here they are:

Racism: Pointing Out the Problem or Being a Solution

Life in the Pitt: Week One

The Book of Ramon Explained

Manifesto of a Race-Transcending Prophet

Black or African American: What’s the Difference?

The Case for Reparations

The Confessions of an Ex-Pastor: Ten things I learned as a pastor

So there u go. Think of it like dedications on the radio except no mushy love song. Just tell me which one is your favorite and if you have a website, blog, or twitter handle I will mention it in my post. If you don’t get into the top 7 don’t worry I will still mention you in later posts.

Blessings,

The other day a friend asked me whether I thought that
issues of race and ethnicity need to be addressed in the church. I firmly answered yes. This is a legacy that is hard to see due to our own interests and
desires. To those who are affected the most by the issue of race it is very plain that race is still an issue. Some may think that since Obama’s election as President of the Unites States that we live in a post racial society but judging from recent headlines I seriously doubt that we are post racial. In fact, we are anything but post racial. This can be clearly seen in comments on Youtube that involve race. While our public face on race is very politically correct the internet gives us the ability to remain anonymous. This anonymity gives people the freedom to speak what is really on their minds and spit venom on the web that is aggressive, demeaning, and degrading. The issue of race during the 2008 campaign and after Obama was elected has been in the forefront of American public life.

From the whole incident with the Bostonpolice and Henry Louis Gates which resulted in the infamous Beer Gate To the shocking police brutality inflicted on Jordan Miles
of Pittsburgh.We have seen many incidents that show that race is still an issue in this country.

Just to show the pervasiveness of race as an issue in this country here are a few other news stories from this year which reveal the past is not far behind us.

Santa Monica student bullied with noose and chain Santa Monica Noose incident

Virginia Teacher holds mock slave auction where white children buy and sell black and mixed race children Virginia Teacher holds mock slave auction

Big controversy over the ESPN magazine article What if Michael Vick were white?

These are incidents that show me that race is still an issue in America. Why? Because contrary to what the Christian right will tell you America wasnot only built on “Christian” values but also on the concept of the supremacy of one race over another. This is the legacy of white supremacy and we cannot just shrug it aside. It is built into our culture and  our public institutions. It seeps into our private life and relational interactions. As much as the civil rights movement made tremendous strides there is an ominous racial legacy that guides and influences the media, policymakers, and whole communities. It is a racial legacy that even affects the victims of racism as they themselves become oppressors of each other and of others who are not in power. This can clearly be seen in the recent Katt Williams Anti-Mexican Rant. I believe the legacy of racism can force one black man to insult and demean another brown man not just because he is a messed up individual (which may be the case) but also because race and ethnicity has been set up to divide people in this country and is connected to socioeconomic and class/power issues.

So is racism still an issue? Does race still matter? I say yes. But not in the same way as it did in the sixties. I believe the civil rights movement of the sixties addressed many legal and political barriers that were set up by racism but there are still socioeconomic and cultural barriers that need to be addressed. And this issue will only get deeper as the Katt Williams episode shows us that the legacy of racism has not only set up a black/white divide but also division among various ethnic groups as they compete for and pursue human flourishing in a democracy.

What are your thoughts?

We have been going through a series at church on the Life of David: Living a Dangerously Passionate Life. Last week’s sermon was on the topic of David the worshipper and worshipping without limits. The question asked was when it comes to worship how far is too far? Does God place a limit to our worship? I mean after being a Christian for 14 years I have seen it all from crazy sock worship to the holy ghost hokey pokey. There are many things that have made me cringe when it comes to Christian worship but I would have to say that when it is true and genuine worship there are no limits to its expression because we serve a limitless God.

That being said I would like to draw attention to the Vineyard emphasis on worship minus hype. From my perspective as an African American I struggle with the perspective and practice of worship minus hype. God deserves hype. In other words if we cannot hype God up and get crazy about God then he does not deserve to be called God. One of the tendencies I see is that because the Vineyard emerged in white suburbia Jesus is seen more as a friend. Intimacy and friendship with God prized and consequently we do not hype up our friends. It seems like empty flattery and disingenuous. It also leads to a comfort and inactivity because after all, our friends will always be there. In other words God can become in danger of being taken for granted

On the other end of the spectrum I think the African American church see Jesus more as king. The one who deserves to be made much of. So we dance and sing and shout because the King has given us victory. It is natural to look to Jesus as king when you are on the edge of poverty and despair. It means that God is someone to be reckoned with and deserves all that we have. It means that sometimes God deserves a praise break At the same time it can turn God into a cosmic vending machine and put the focus on what he gives and does versus who he is. It also can lead to worship that is just mindless activity and no intimacy.

No doubt none of these different traditions would deny the perspective of Jesus as king or as a friend but I do believe that in each one perspective on Jesus is usually overemphasized over the other. And although we may affirm all of who Christ is what we say is very different from what we do and our theology is usually expressed in our praxis.

What do you think? Can God be worshipped without hype? What is the Vineyard missing out on by not celebrating Jesus as king? What is the African American church missing out on by not focusing on Jesus as friend? Do you think this is a fair representation of the two traditions? Is it possible to blend the two traditions together?

I have been busy with a crazy spring quarter but well…I had to say something. I am sure you are aware of the Eddie Long fiasco and his $25 million out of court settlement. Guilty. Obviously. The thing is I was sitting and thinking about how leaders keep falling in the Christian community and especially in the black community and I got a flash of insight into why it makes me so angry. What really ticks me off is not the fact that he is spending $25 million of the church’s money to settle a clear matter of his lack of integrity. What really ticks me off is not how that money could have been used to fuel opportunities for black innovation and investment. What really ticks me off about this is that it is another example of African Americans being too lenient on our leaders. Reporters are saying that New Birth is collapsing because of the situation and many are leaving and not giving money. But you know what??? He will still have a following! Why? We are too nice. And it’s not just in the church. We let people like R. Kelly off the hook and say things like “judge not or you will be judged” and “we fall down but we get up”. Sometimes we need to fall down and sit down for a while and get ourselves together!

We tolerate anything! We will let our leaders abuse us, manipulate us, steal money from us, and profit from our oppression. Some people say slavery is over but mental slavery is alive and well in the black community. This has me angry and fumed and filled with questions:

Do other communities tolerate this from their leaders?

Has there been a stream of folks defecting from New Birth or is it business as usual?

What is it about black folks that we tolerate this stuff? What is the primary cause?

Chime in and let me know what you think!