An Address To Black And White American Christians

To say that; ‘the church is not what it used to be’ is a great understatement in regard to the condition of much of the Black Church and the White Church in America! For those who may be offended by the terms; “Black Church” and “White Church” let me remind you that historically, in America, the divided came into existence because White people did not want to worship with Black people! In fact, during those days, there was much debate as to whether Black people were even ‘human-people’ and consequently capable of being Christians at all! So it was not a case where Black Christians wanted to be separate, but more of a case where White Christians refused to be united! Apparently many White Christians didn’t give much credence to the Apostle Paul’s statement in Galatians 3:28, where he said: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:28 ESV) And even today, after all these years, the eleven o’clock worship hour is still the most segregated hour of the week in America!

Therefore, I am writing this address to Black and White Christians because, until we can authentically, honestly and truthfully address and biblically deal with the racial (cancer) divide in the church, the world has no reason to listen to anything the church has to say about Jesus! In his high priestly prayer in the garden, prior to his passion, Jesus prayed: “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:20-23 ESV) According to what Jesus prayed, the reason the world does not believe, is not because the Gospel is not being preached, but because the ones who claim to follow Jesus are NOT UNITED AS ONE! It is the unity of believers that will cause the world to believe!

But why is unity so hard? Because of sin and selfishness! Sin and selfishness is the root of all racism! Racism in any form is sin and evil! We (the church) will never have any credibility as authentic witnesses of the faith until we repent of our evil ways! I am sickened by all of the hypocrisy and foolishness that is occurring in the church today! In places where there is some semblance of racial togetherness, most so-called Black and White Christians are not united in Christ, they are united in profit: They are united in seeking blessings and prosperity! But in the real issues, they are divided as ever! For instance, just a few years ago, a White church in Mississippi refused to host the wedding of an interracial couple! Just recently, I just read of a small Christian school in Georgia that has cancelled all association with Nike because of their association with Colin Kaepernick. Many White Christian churches and pastors are all in an uproar because of Kaepernick’s protests during the National Anthem. What seems to be (purposely) getting lost in all of this is the reason for the protests! First of all, Kaepernick has stated over and over again, that the protest is not about the flag or the national anthem, but rather he chose to respectfully kneel to bring attention to the plight of Black people being unjustly treated by the police and the justice system in America! The protest is not about the flag or the military! But people have made it about those things in order to divert attention away from the real issues! People are protesting to highlight the fact that Black lives matter! On one hand, some Whites are upset because they think by saying Black lives matter, Black people are saying other lives don’t matter! But that’s not the case at all! The Black Lives Matter movement, Kaepernick’s protest started in response to an American justice system has historically operated in a manner that makes a distinction between White lives and Black lives! That is a historical and verifiable fact!

By the way, the attention and disgust many so-called Christians have shown toward Kaepernick seems to imply that they have made idols out of the flag and America! According to the Bible, the believers’ first and primary allegiance should be to his God, not his country! And if the primary allegiance is to God, than by virtue of that fact, the primary concern should also be the concerns of God! The primary concerns of God are the Kingdom of God, justice, and righteousness; not a flag or any country! For a Christian to be more concern and have more respect for a flag than for a person or a group of people (created in the image of God) is simply nonsensical, unbiblical, and idolatrous! Real Christians are motivated by love! Even if you don’t agree, your Christian faith demands you treat your adversary with dignity and respect! You can’t be ‘hateful’ and Christian at the same time! You can’t be a Black racist or a White racist,  or a White supremist and a Christian at the same time; one term negates the other!

The questions all of us, who claim to be believers or Christians must truthfully answer are: Is my political association more important to me than my faith? In other words, does my politics dictate my Christian faith or does my Christian faith dictate my politics? Am I a Christian who happens to be Black or White, or am more Black or White than Christian?

But all of this has served to separate the saints from the ‘aints.’ The true people of God are not the ones who say they are, but rather the ones who prove they are by their consistent actions, as the Bible says: “A tree is known by the fruit it bears!”

There was a song written several years ago that said: “There will never be any peace until God is seated at the conference table!” In the same way, there will never be any racial equality and justice in America until all those who claim to be Christians, churches, pastors, bishops, prophets, or whatever are more Christian than they are anything else!
We are divided in this country by race, politics, ethnicity and many other things, but we can only be truly one in Christ when we are truly one with one another! It’s not a matter of one group giving up their agenda or rights for another, but rather of all groups giving up their agendas and rights for HIM!

The ‘Good’ of the Trump Presidency

I originally posted this on my Facebook page:

The Bible says that all things work together for the good for them that love God, the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). So how is the Trump presidency and the current political and social climate working for the good of those that love God? After some introspection, here are my thoughts:

1. The exposure of religious hypocrisy: No matter how one may claim to represent God, acting in a manner that is contrary to the nature and will of God indicates you really don’t believe in the God you claim to represent. The actions of the Trump administration and the climate it fosters forces the church in America to decide, in the sight of God and the rest of the world, if it is going to truly be like Jesus or be like the Scribes and Pharisees! If a church or faith group endorses or is silent toward the racist, hateful, and inhumane actions that are currently being perpetrated and encouraged by the present administration, then they prove themselves, for all rational thinking people to see, NOT to be the real church or the real representatives of the God of the Bible! Now actually, this is a good thing, because now we have the opportunity to know who is really real and for all hypocrites to be exposed for the hypocrites they have always been!

2. The exposure of political hypocrisy: Now we see who are statesmen and who are politicians! A statesman does what he or she thinks is good and right for the country; a politician only does what serves his or her self-interests and the interests of the people who financed their campaign. A statesmen puts the good of the country before the pride and ego of political parties. The politician will defend his or her party to death; even if their position is wrong and evil! The statesmen’s politics is influenced and tempered by their morality; the politician bends and manipulates their morality to fit their politics!

3. The exposure of social hypocrisy: After all these years; race is still the number one social issue in America! Why? Because America refuses to acknowledge her historical hypocrisy! America refuses to acknowledge that much of her greatness was achieved unfairly with unpaid slave labor! America refuses to acknowledge that she has historically manipulated belief in the God she claims to trust to justify her social and political evils! Racism is WRONG! And any social, political, or religious system that supports it is WRONG!

If you are uncomfortable with the way things are in America today; that’s good, because you should be! But don’t ever think for a second that Donald Trump is to bear all of the blame! No! The biases and racist filth that have risen to the surface since the Trump campaign and presidency were there all the time; Donald Trump just created a climate wherein they can be more easily seen, recognized and expressed! So in a sense, the Trump mantra of “Make America Great Again” presents America with the opportunity to shed the hypocrisy, because in the true moral and social sense; America has never been great for all Americans! But now, since everything is so blatant and obvious; we have the opportunity to work together to truly make America great. . . for the very first time!

Another Look at Moses and the Ethiopian Wife

Moses and the Ethiopian

“And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. And they said, Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it.”

Numbers 12:1-2 KJV

Most of the commentaries I have read suggest that Miriam and Aaron’s real beef with Moses was not about the Black woman he married. They suggest that the real and only problem was the fact that they were envious of Moses’ unique position of leadership and the criticism of Moses’ marriage to a Black woman was just a smoke-screen of an excuse to address the real problem. But could this interpretation be a case of inserting modern-day Western values and mores into the ancient Eastern text? The unspoken suggestion of most commentaries is that Miriam and Aaron felt that Moses was lowering his social status by marrying a Black woman! But was that really the case? I would like to suggest that it was not!

First of all, who were the people of the dominant culture at that time? Well, I learned in Sunday School as a little boy, that it was actually the Hebrews who were enslaved by the Egyptians! The dominant people in that place and time and in that culture were the Black Africans! Therefore, for Moses to marry a Black woman was not a matter of him marrying someone who was considered socially beneath him but rather it was a case of him marrying someone who was considered to be socially above him! Moses did not marry “down,” he married “up!”

When we consider this possibility, Moses’ marriage to the Ethiopian woman and the complaint of Miriam and Aaron are not so dis-jointed after all! When Moses married the Ethiopian woman, as far as Miriam and Aaron was concerned, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back! E. R. Richards and B. J. O’Brien write in their work: Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible: “The Cushites (Ethiopians) were not demeaned as a slave race in the ancient world; they were respected as highly skilled soldiers. It is more likely that Miriam and Aaron thought Moses was being presumptuous by marrying above himself. That makes sense of the tone of the passage. “Has the LORD spoken only through Moses?” they whined. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” (Num 12:2). In other words: Moses is not the only prophet here. Who does he think he is?” And to top it all off, he has the nerve to try to make himself more than what he is by marrying an Ethiopian woman!

 

Richards, E. R., & O’Brien, B. J. (2012). Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible (p. 61). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

If You Had a Choice of Color

multi handsSeveral years ago, a song-writer penned these words as the opening lyrics of a song:

“If you had a choice of color

Which one would you choose my brothers?

If there was no day or night

Which would you prefer to be right?”

But the truth of the matter is: We don’t have a choice of color! No one has any control of the color of their skin or of their ethnicity. And why should they? In the grand designed of the Creator, he chose to make people of different colors and ethnicity. Now while some have claim superiority based on color and racial make-up, such assumptions are not really intelligent or logical. For one, how can any one race claim superiority when that particular race (or any race for that matter) had no choice in the matter? Secondly, if the Creator made one race or people superior to another, then the Creator is divided and flawed, because whatever is created is a reflection and part of the Creator. It is neither logical nor sensible for the Creator to make one race greater or lesser than another! And it is neither logical nor sensible for people to be penalized or glorified for something (race and ethnicity) of which they had no control or choice!

The Creator God is a being of supreme intelligence; therefore, it stands to reason that variety is a good thing! Therefore, at its roots, to practice racism is telling God He didn’t know what He was doing or that He made a mistake in creating diversity in the racial and ethnic make-up of people! And then, think of how boring and bland the world would be if everybody was the same! There would be no basis for personal growth because if everybody was just like you, there would be no differentiation, hence no basis of learning from someone different. I don’t know about you, but I am thankful for diversity! I can’t imagine how mundane life would be if I was just “216,000,000 of whatever!” (Star Trek fans can relate, remember: The Borg!) A creation is always an expression of its creator; therefore, it takes all of us, in all colors and ethnic groups, to express God!

Finally, on the outside we may be red, yellow, brown, black, or white, but have you noticed that we all bleed red blood? While we are different on the outside, in essence, we are in a sense the same on the inside! We are one! I can’t hurt you without hurting myself! I can’t discriminate against you without discriminating against myself and the God who made you!

It’s time we grow up! Racism at its core is childish and immature behavior! We don’t have a choice of color! There’s a verse in the Bible that asks: “Can a leopard change his spots?” The obvious answer is “No!” But my question is: Why should he want to? God made him a leopard with spots and everything God made is GOOD! Therefore my friend, no matter what your racial make-up or ethnicity; be comfortable and proud of the skin you are in! Don’t let small-minded and immature people judge or intimidate you based on the superficial skin color! Variety is good! Life would be so boring if we all drove red Ford pick-ups! Thank God for Cadillac, Dodge, GMC and others! Thank God everybody doesn’t wear the same color clothing! We are like a bag of different colored peanut M & M’s! They are different colors on the outside; but on the inside, they are all chocolate covered peanuts! We come in different colors and ethnicity, but at the core, we all bled red blood! We all have grey brain matter! We all come from the same source! We all are via creation; children of God! We are all people! So, I’m glad we didn’t and don’t have a choice of color! If you think we are messed up now because of the color issue, imagine how much more chaotic it would be if orange, purple, green, rainbow-colored and plaid colored people were added into the mix! LOL!