Race. What’s next?

mlk-let-freedom-ringSo on this MILK Jr.  Day 2017, I still wonder about race.

With the inauguration of Barak Obama as President of the United States, in some ways, “we are more divided now than before.” What happened? What are we? What’s next?

What happened? Our nation has a lot of baggage racially. That is not news. We have minorities who are have been marginalized for a long time. The racial problem is often held in abeyance. We have been asleep. Getting along. Better but unresolved.

Where are we? When President Obama was elected the main thing I just knew would get better was the matter of race. The opposite has happened. After 8 years, we have a worse problem than we have had in my lifetime.  I don’t blame all this on President Obama, but he is the leader and owns it. We do have some racial problems; that’s obvious. We now have movements to state #BlackLivesMatter and #BlueLivesMatter. I understand the reasons for both. But these only make people takes sides. They divide. The real reconciliation happens when the Police Officer is shown playing basketball with the kids in the black neighborhood.  The real reconciliation happens when the black teenager is shown hugging Police Officers at a protest.

What President Obama chose to do when he was elected was use his political capital. He chose to govern. That’s his job, but … but he left a lot of people behind in his policies. There was immediate separation and division. It’s was over quick. Race got left out as an issue. It was only spoken of when shootings happened of Black men and Police Officers.

The President and the Democratic Party left 40%-50% of the country behind. Racial issues and civil rights were mainstreamed culturally by the President’s leadership with same-sex marriage. So, any criticism of the President and his policies led to charges of racism or racial attitudes. While some of this could be true, it was not true of everyone.

We are in a bad spot. We have the perfect storm. For 8 years a large portion of the nation is ignored. Trump is elected in an uncomfortable election partly based on a “we have been ignored” momentum. Race and division have been added. Then President Elect Trump has not helped himself with his brashness. We are in a bad spot.

whats-nextWhat’s next? We cannot move forward doing the same ole thing. It’s not working. Just take a look at the homicides in Chicago: 700+. Watch the political animosity and it’s racial tone. We must change.

Dr. King was a voice crying in the wilderness. I sometimes wonder what he would be saying today. Not that I question his message but the contextualization of his message for the culture of 2017.  We need to have a contextualized message for race. How can that happen? Are we operating on the methods and attitudes of the past? It’s complicated.

What do we need to do next? That is what is most important.

  1. Pastors must not grow weary in preaching a biblical view of ethnicity.  They need to actually call out race issues specifically to help minorities, but also know when to challenge all people of every race to live in light of the Imago Dei.
  2. Christians need to realize we are different than the world on race.
  3. To more forward we must admit the past issues on race.
  4. Christians must realize a “Hunger Games” style approach to law and order in all matters may be inevitable in the end times from a worldly standpoint, but it unconscionable to us as Christians to live like our culture.
  5. We need a President who will seize the initiative on talking about race, healing the nation, and bringing economic change to minority neighborhoods.
  6. If I were Trump, I would seek to enlist Obama and Bush (GW) to aggressively lead the nation in racial reconciliation.
  7. Realize everyone will not get on board with racial reconciliation. Heaven on Earth should be our pursuit, but the difference between Romans 7 and Romans 8 is Jesus, by choice. We still have sinful natures and a fallen world and deliverance from it is choosing Jesus and living His ethic of ethnicity.

The list could go on. A couple of things here are radical. You may read them as ridiculous. But I’m committed to not seeing us stay where we are. That has not worked. Things have gotten worse.

We the church can see a better day. We can experience what the world groans for. The world? The world is subject to the things of the world and does not have victory in this matter. And many other matters. Followers of Christ do not have to be subject to living the ways of the world. We are counter culture.

Thank you Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. You left a great legacy for us to live forward.

The parable that stopped the third bite.

There was once an imperfect man who loved. He loved because it was lovable. It had purpose. It was such a great thing. It came at a time. And there you have it. It was amazing. So much good came.

Well kind of …

As time went on, the man would be invited to what he thought was safe, but when he placed his hand in the safe place, it was not safe. It would bite the man. It would not only bite, but would wildly shake the hand of the man and damage the man’s hand badly.

Time would go on. The hand would heal, but it was scared. The man though, did not seem to care. He kept loving it anyway. It was lovable. It had purpose.

Time passed. Life was good. Enjoyable. Hopeful. Those in the house observed and were blessed. Even the neighbors observed and joined in. Amazing. Greatest time.

But then … oh my … it happened … again …

The man was invited again to the safe place. He thought “it will not be the same. It’s better now.” It was not better. The man pulled his hand back in dismay that he had injuries worse than before. Worse because he could see the scars from the first bite. And then the new scars. The man was damaged not only physically but emotionally. A soul wound.

But then an amazing thing happened. It quickly crawled over, humble, and laid next to the man. The man was stunned again. Didn’t know what to do with it. He just sat with it. Then, he raised his hand of the right side of his chair and pet it. The man could feel the humility and love. It actually slept in peace.

The hand healed again. It actually enjoyed, engaged, and encouraged. And the man, well he was so tender and gullible. He just seemed to move on as if the wind were in his hair. He never told the house or neighbors about the first two bites. Seemed so unneeded and dishonorable for him to embarrass it or hurt it now. So …

Time passed …
Life lived …
Surely no more … right?

The question became “would that man put his hand in the safe place again?” A third time? He has been bit twice.

Twice bit
A crown of thorns
Heaven split
Relationship torn.

It happened again.

Deceptive.
Disingenuous.
Decisive.

The man walked up to the safe place. The walk was not malicious in motive or action. As he got to the safe place, he looked in. There it was. Seeming to look like a tender shepherd ready. The man’s mind was processing going in yet at the same moment his eyes lowered to glance his right hand. It was then he got it.

Twice bit
A crown of thorns
Heaven split
Relationship torn.

The question became “would that man put his hand in the safe place again?” A third time? He has been bit twice. And he needed use of his hand. His hand helped him also.

The smile of the shepherd was so appealing and seemed wise, but in that moment standing at the safe place the man saw in its face a wildly ravenous wolf.

And at that the man turned to never go to that safe place again.

It was forgiven already.
But trust was gone.
The man’s hand grew steady.
The man moved on.

As the man moved on, he thought of the subtle warnings he heard before the first bite. It had happened before. There was a pattern. It was overlooked, but was a costly view. The man was tempted to lose trust in all others. But he knew that would only increase the festering of the soul wound.
Become … 
Deceptive.
Disingenuous.
Divisive.
Unforgiveness?
Bitterness?
Extended?
That would not be an option for the man. It would kill his soul. 
It was forgiven already.
But trust was gone.
The man’s hand grew more steady.
The man completely moved on.
And the soul wound was healed, forever.

The Danger of Jen Hatmaker Hermeneutics

Hermeneutic: the art and science of studying God’s word.

Here is what Jen Hatmaker said about same sex marriage recently.

“Politically speaking, do you support gay marriage?

From a civil rights and civil liberties side and from just a human being side, any two adults have the right to choose who they want to love. And they should be afforded the same legal protections as any of us. I would never wish anything less for my gay friends.

From a spiritual perspective, since gay marriage is legal in all 50 states, our communities have plenty of gay couples who, just like the rest of us, need marriage support and parenting help and Christian community. They are either going to find those resources in the church or they are not.

Not only are these our neighbors and friends, but they are brothers and sisters in Christ. They are adopted into the same family as the rest of us, and the church hasn’t treated the LGBT community like family. We have to do better.

You mention faithfulness and God. Do you think an LGBT relationship can be holy?

I do. And my views here are tender. This is a very nuanced conversation, and it’s hard to nail down in one sitting. I’ve seen too much pain and rejection at the intersection of the gay community and the church. Every believer that witnesses that much overwhelming sorrow should be tender enough to do some hard work here.”

The full article is here. Brandon Hatmaker’s statement of how they came to the conclusion that same sex marriage is biblical is here.

I don’t know the Hatmakers. I barely followed them only because of a few ladies in my circle who follow them, especially Jen Hatmaker. I have no personal beef with them. I could be friends with people like the Hatmakers. Yet I say that to say this. The Hatmakers have a poor skill of biblical hermeneutics and an excellent skill of cultural hermeneutics. In Brandon Hatmaker’s statement, he gives no scriptural evidence for their conclusion. He gives an explanation of how they came to their conclusion.

The sad part is they abandoned the word of God.
The sad part is they influenced many to follow their poor hermeneutic.
The sad part is they will get a pass by some because they have such a great following.
The sad part is they (or us) don’t have to ditch truth to love all people.
The sad part is they leverage loving gay people against God’s word.
The sad part is they say if you really love gay people, then you will say same sex marriage is ok.

I love all people. I have friends who are gay. I would never be mean or rude to them, but I don’t agree that same sex marriage is biblical. It’s not. Jesus spoke directly to the matter in Matt. 19:4-5.

“Haven’t you read,” He replied, “that He who created them in the beginning made them male and female,” and He also said:

“For this reason a man will leave
his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,

and the two will become one flesh?”

 

My point here is not to prove biblically that same sex marriage is not God’s design. I’m sticking with the word of God and the design of God (Gen 1-2). My point in this point is to make a public stand and comment on the hermeneutical movement that leaves the word of God for cultural acceptance. Many are leaving the word of God. When we leave the word of God we leave and at least limit the authority of God.
The Hatmakers are good people I’m sure. They are just wrong on this and it has big impact. Lifeway stopped selling their books. Many stopped following the Hatmakers. yet many will still follow them. I wish the Hatmakers well. Yet I warn anyone listening to not use the Hatmaker Hermeneutic. It’s flawed. You don’t have to leave the word and design of God to love all people. You don’t have to let biblical context have so much weight that it flattens the obvious meaning of God’s word.
We have all followed leaders only to have them disappoint us. It comes with life and ministry. There’s a time when I can love all people but stay with God’s truth and design. This is one of those times. I would not recommend the Hatmakers ministry at this point to anyone. There are many other great ministries that can and do what the Hatmakers do.