These last few days I have come across multiple situations or happenings dealing with the themes of hope, renewal, and restoration. As we continue in this season of Advent, we look forward to, remember, and celebrate the coming of our Lord, and we see that Jesus brought hope and is our hope. He came so that our relationship with the Father, which has been broken by sin, can be restored and renewed. And we have the blessed hope that one day Jesus is going to come again and make all things new and set all things right.
In a personal conversation I had just the other day I shared the reason I continue to speak as I do is that I believe in a God that renews and restores and I have hope for the evangelical Christian culture (more specifically the Western/American/mostly White evangelical Christian culture), which in many ways is my family. Despite the perception that some have that I just like to criticize or judge or point out negative stuff, there is actually a purpose to it all, that being I have hope God will renew and restore, and just maybe as I follow in obedience what I believe God has for me to do, I’ll be just one small tool that God uses to make that happen.
There is, however, one more “R” that must accompany renewal and restoration in order for those things to occur, and that is repentance. Without repentance, renewal and restoration cannot occur. In the priority of things, if we do not first recognize how our sin has separated us from God, repent of it, and trust what Jesus has done for us, we cannot be reconciled in relationship with Him. Even after we have trusted in Jesus for our salvation, if we continue in persistent, unrepentant sin, God is not going to bring further renewal and restoration that we may desire, for ourselves, or church, or culture.
Thus I have hope for the Western/American Evangelical Christian culture, but it’s going to take repentance to get there. We all have things on a personal level of which we regularly need to repent, but I am speaking here of a larger, corporate, public level of iniquity. I am speaking of those collectively perpetrated and sometimes even celebrated sins that have hurt many others, have besmirched the name of Christ, and have significantly contributed to an increasingly negative perception that many others in our broader culture have of evangelical Christians.
We need to repent of idol worship of Christian celebrities (pastors, ministry leaders, politicians, etc.) where we protect and justify them in their wrongs, specifically wrongs that harm or mislead others and/or are disqualifying of their positions of leadership, and denigrate those who identify and reveal the wrongs. We need to repent of being more concerned with maintaining desired reputations, whether for ourselves or our favored people and organizations, than we are with doing what is right. We need to repent of fusing politics with Christianity and committing the sins of prejudice and partiality. We need to repent of repeated slander committed against those we view as the enemy or the “other side” by promoting and passing on untrue, deceptive, and unverified accusations and information about them. We need to repent of an “ends justify the means” attitude that causes us to rationalize the use of unrighteous means we think will produce the desired ends we have deemed to be righteous. We need to repent of caring more about parts of God’s Law that line up with our desired political inclinations while minimizing if not outright ignoring the greater parts of God’s Law which call us to love our neighbor and to seek mercy and justice, especially for the downtrodden and disadvantaged. We need to repent of being more concerned with our “rights” than we are with considering how sometimes the demand for or execution of those rights can adversely affect others and ignore the exhortations in Scripture to think of others first.
I have hope for renewal and restoration because I believe in a God who desires these things and is far, far greater than me. From our end, I think it’s going to take a lot of effort and intentionality and it’s not going to be easy. Call me naive, but if we honestly consider the current state and standing of our Christian culture, one would think it wouldn’t hurt to try.
Good meditation! Thank you, Kevin H. God is indeed a God of hope…
To be honest, I have no hope for renewal in my lifetime.
The best I hope for are small pockets of a remnant holding on until God moves or returns.
God has a funny way of rebuking me…I just saw this Facebook “memory” I wrote a few years ago…
“A couple thousand years ago angels sang of the the birth of a baby…glad tidings of great joy.
Somewhere today a baby will be born who needs to hear the same song.
We’re the choir.
Stop complaining and start singing.
Make your own application.” — Michael Newnham
Michael, I told you that you probably deserved that swat. 🙂
I should have listened… 🙂
Good piece. The second part of the equation is “Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance…” I wonder what that might look like…
” I have hope for the evangelical Christian culture (more specifically the Western/American/mostly White evangelical Christian culture), ”
I do not.
Read in the news this a.m. that some fella (Weinstein is his name, if memory serves me) says the Christmas wreath is a ” Christian gang sign” and we should not be allowed to place them on soldiers’ graves! ! !
Reading today’s msg. from Kevin, I am wondering will the Christian community seek to appease this heathen or ? ? ?
Repentance is so very important for a child of the Father, if we wish to commune, learn and grow.
BUT, we do not need to repent from wreath laying ….
God wake us up. Love our neighbors, yes! But stand, stand stand + firmly planted in our Faith.
” I am wondering will the Christian community seek to appease this heathen or ? ? ?”
Why in the world would it matter to any of us, (or him)? A wreath is no more distinctly Christian than a flower. If we must at some point take a stand, lets make it for something that actually matters.
Much of American conservative evangelicalism has pulled towards a much greater extreme these last several years. Some of that pull is in reaction to those on the liberal/progressive/leftist side that have pulled in the extreme the other way. The two sides play off of each other, and it only causes them to pull to even greater (and usually more unrighteous) extremes.
This guy protesting Christmas wreaths would seem to be a symptom of those pulling to an extreme on the left. It serves no good purpose for those on the conservative side to actively react against it.
There is no need for Christians to repent of laying Christmas wreaths on graves. However, the way this damning cycle goes, conservative Christians do choose to react to such nonsense, and it is often the manner in which they react which then requires some repentance.
The Eagles had never won a Super Bowl in my lifetime and had committed all kinds of different foolish actions over the years preventing them from doing so. But I kept hope. 🙂
My understanding of a wreath formed from evergreens is a symbol of eternal life? ? ?
That said, yes let’s stand on what really matters. Things like the question of heaven or hell. It is appointed unto man to live once and afterwards? JUDGEMENT! Judgement by our Creator. A Creator that it is fashionable to deny His existence today. sigh…..
I am totally happy if the Western / White / Conservative Evangelical culture ceases to exist.
Em, looked up the story you mentioned. The protest was against a specific group putting out wreaths, and that group does look shady. Still, it’s just another pagan symbol we have taken as our own. I don’t remember Jesus saying too much about the wreath.
“I am totally happy if the Western / White / Conservative Evangelical culture ceases to exist..”..
That’s sort of what’s happening now. In our lifetimes we have witnessed the alteration of the post WW2 /Billy Graham/ Evangelicalism.
The Jewish sect called the Way changed when Gentiles converted snd the Apostles died. The persecuted Gentile Church morphed into the Imperial Church. Then came the Medieval Church, the Protestants, the Revivalist, Fundamentalist and Evangelicals.
This new Church has no precident in the past.
Josh, the Western/white/conservative evangelical? Cease to exist? Question:
Did they not contribute a great deal to the promotion and distribution of this Faith throughout the world for decades?
Perhaps we do need to have our feet held to the fire today, but cease to exist? I wish all could have known the honest and God-fearing folk of the past. AND I agree with you that celebrity leaders DO NOT please God one bit.
Respect and adoration need redefining, perhaps……
They contributed to the promotion of something, but it seems to be more Western, White, and Conservative than Christian. Yes, lets repent and let those labels die into the shame of history.
Josh wish you could have known Ed and Ruth Gustavson, my maternal grandparents. Western? Yes. White? Yes. But politics were not part of their lives; not one bit!
I grew up with a lot of those folks.
Some were the salt of the earth and smelled of heaven.
Most were not…
Michael, II think my daughter just illustrated your point with a Utube rendition by 2 ladies singing ” Go tell it on the mountain…” Wish I could connect here – it is laughable
Older woman, mouth turned down in frown and young girl with an expression that says, ” if I don’t sing this, they’ll punish me!”
Someone commented, “Jesus Christ is bored!”
The difference culturally between now and then was back then we knew some things were shameful and tried to hide them.
Shame doesn’t move the needle anymore so sin is public…
I mean, I’m Western and White. Half the people I know are Western and White. I’m talking specifically about Western, White, Conservative, Evangelical CULTURE. Lets drown that baby in the bathwater and then throw it all out together.
Josh, what is Western, White, Conservative Evangelical CULTURE? ? ?
,what defines it?
When I speak of having hope for the culture, it is not for the preservation of the culture for preservation sake, but rather the renewal and restoration of the culture would be a result of a significant number of people, individually and collectively, within the culture being renewed and restored on a personal basis. If a larger number of people started acting more consistently God-honoring in many ways that they are not now, then it would be reflected through the culture. Thus, the “culture” would then reflect a renewal and restoration.
Yes, there are many black marks through the history of Western/American/White/Christian/Evangelical/Conservative Culture, but there has been plenty of good to come through the culture, too. Unfortunately, the trend the last several years has been heavy towards the bad, yet I do not give up hope that it can be changed, even if the metamorphosis takes on a different name.
I think we need to study and model the early church and try to translate their ways into the current culture.
They were a people in exile and knew it…and that’s where change starts.
Good ponders, Josh and Michael…
Guess I am stuck on the Church IS the Church and it has been infiltrated by opportunists
We need rock solid teaching, no doubt!
You can get all the teaching you need from one orthodox liturgy.
It’s the living that matters…
Yes, the living matters, BUT
How can you live what you don’t know ? ? ?
The big lie has been that teaching and doctrine were the end all of the faith.
This, despite the fact that no two groups agree and we have 33,000 Protestant denominations.
As I said you can get all the teaching you need from a single Anglican liturgy…and if you applied what you heard you would be discipled as a Christian and live well.
Em has an interesting point about the Christmas wreaths. We are in such a politically correct environment that everything is scrutinized. All I hear now is “Happy Holidays” and never once Merry Christmas. I must admit, I am doing the same thing. Its a noticeable difference from what I remember 10 years ago. But what I recently caught myself doing was saying “Happy Holidays” at church to brethren in the church? I realized who am I offending by saying “Merry Christmas” at my own church. I had to repent of my own political correctness that is so pervasive.
Interesting discussion. Some thoughts:
1) Isn’t there an inherent tension between “translating the ancient church’s outlook” into the modern day and claiming all needed teaching can be found in “a single Anglican liturgy?”
In addition to the problem of WHICH Anglican liturgy (1549? 1662? The first official American one and its pre-1900 revisions? The greatly-missed 1928 version?) there’s also the tension of imposing modern “white evangelical” values on a rite that was first codified in the mid-1500’s. Also whatever can be said of whichever Anglican liturgy you’re thinking of, it was surely NOT designed as the common instructional ritual of a people who considered themselves to be “in exile.”
2) It’s rare and fair to say this post and comments are referring to a “mostly” white context…but having stated that, could at least someone before me have mentioned MLK if not written out his whole name? It would seem repentance should begin there or nowhere when we’re talking about American Protestant Christianity specifically.
Just sayin’, I was raised by two good Nazarene grandparents and there was NO such thing as racism in their home – “content of character?” Yes
It caught me by surprise, living in Wichita, when one of my neighbors came over to scold me for giving a black man an afternoon’s employment.
Yes, the U.S. has had, still may, pockets of racism…. but, thanks to Martin Luther King, it is no longer “normal.”
Just my humble viewpoint, though
In any traditional liturgy you’re going to recite the creed, hear the reading from a Gospel, an epistle, and the OT.
You’re going to confess, seek peace, pray for those we’re commanded to pray for and receive the Body and blood of Christ.
Use your BOCP at home and you’re good to go…
“Unfortunately, the trend the last several years has been heavy towards the bad”
The History of White conservative Christianity, as I see it, has tended towards bad. Its been a ghastly mess, guilty of all forms of evil, including but not limited to rape and murder. The really bad thing is that it has so distorted my view of Jesus, I’m not sure I’d recognize Him if He showed up to church Sunday.
“what is Western, White, Conservative Evangelical CULTURE?”
Trump, antivax, Rittenhouse, standing for our rights, not worrying about anyone else’s rights, praying for the protection of the second ammendment, the NRA, fear basically.
Fear? Possible, won’t argue the point
Could we conclude that the promotion of “end times” has a lot to do with the insecurity?
If we’re doing things out of fear, it won’t end well. Not humanity at its best — just the opposite.
Josh, White is a derogatory racial term that has little meaning in today’s culture. We should stop using it. Although not to the same extent, I could say the same about western, conservative and evangelical. But at least those terms albeit distorted have some meanings from the original definition. And why throw Rittenhouse in the mix? He is just a boy that defended his life and trying to move on with his life. I do hope he sues Biden, CNN and a slew of others for defamation but this has scant little to do with Christianity. This is a problem with American culture. Only here do you find the likes of a Jussie Smollett. Why throw in Antivax like that is somehow a “white” issue. Why then all the talk about Black American hesitancy with vaccines? And of course Trump. It’s always Trumps fault. If all else fails, blame it on Trump. That always works. We all need to repent. Sin is a human problem but repentance is not looking at the color of one’s skin and saying I need to repent because I’m the wrong color. Speaking of MLK it’s not the color of our skin but the content of their character.
Yes, snowed in up here I watched the Ritenhouse trial. He was sooo misrepresented in the popular press. Lying on your back on the pavement with a big guy in boots trying to crack your skull with his boot? Thank God he had a gun. The boy has to live his life now knowing that he killed two people in order to save his own life.
He was asked by another man to come with him to protect a car lot. It wasn’t his idea of fun!
The hatred for Donald Trump puzzles .me also. Yes, he was raised a Presbyterian and many don’t consider them Christians, but only God knows. Three wives? Only God knows how he conducted himself, even though his wives left him. We ladies – some of us – are suspicious to a fault also…. BUT still
God keep us AND keep us in repentance, too.
Many Christians also need to repent of their hatred towards…
1. Barak Obama
2. Hillary Clinton
4. President Biden
5. Vice President Harris
6. Dr. Fauci
7. Nancy Pelosi
When a coworker of mine, a Christian co-worker, says Dr. Fauci should be taken out and shot…we have a problem.
I could go on, but just talking about hatred towards Donald Trump and not being honest about their hatred towards other is phony repentance.
Aaaannddd, my point is proven.
Here is Western White Evangelical Christianity in a nutshell:
“Turn the other cheek” – Jesus
“Thank God he had a gun” – Western White Evangelical
Josh, I don’t know if Rittenhouse considered himself an evangelical or even a Christian. I don’t remember that coming out in the trial. However, I do remember him saying he supported BLM. This doesn’t quite fit your characterization.
I do not go all the way pessimistic as to White Conservative Christian culture as you do, but I certainly see and acknowledge many of the historical problems. Many of the current ones I actively denounce, such as I listed some in my article. But your point was most certainly proven by some of the responses you received here.
White, a derogatory racial term? Yeah, some on the extreme left today use it that way, but otherwise all other history of “derogatory” involving whiteness is those as white holding themselves up as the superior race or culture and acting derogatory towards others. Examples over history are probably a 1000 to 1 as to “white” being used as better or superior as opposed to derogatory.
Rittenhouse? Yeah, much of the mainstream media misrepresented and exaggerated him to cast him in a bad light. But the mainstream media is not White Conservative Christian Culture so whatever they do really has no relation to discussion of this culture. The way that the Rittenhouse subject relates to White Christian Conservative Culture is that while certainly many were concerned with the truth being told in regards to the details of the case, many also sought to make out Rittenhouse to be an innocent hero who was bravely exercising his rights when the truth is that he was a foolish agitator who very well could have been influenced or motivated by racist predilections.
Questioning Trump’s claim to be Christian? The man himself has said that he has never asked God for forgiveness nor does he have anything for which he ever needs to ask God forgiveness for. His own words settles the discussion right there, no further debate needed. His three wives and supposedly not knowing what happened there? With at least one of them, he openly bragged about a current extra-marital affair he was having at the same time he was still married. While married to the last one, we know he made statements that men just need to grab women by the p**** when they wanted them and that he paid hush money to cover up an affair he had with a porn star. These things tell us more than we ever need to know to make any kind of judgment as to Trump’s conduct within marriage. Yet White American Christian Culture often seeks to defend him on these things.
Steve – My concern is not with Rittenhouse himself, but with your celebration of him.
And more to the point, I have zero interests in arguing the merit of Trump or Rittenhouse. I’m just saying saying that I want no part of the Christianity that celebrates and defends these guys (and many, many more.)
That is White Conservative Evangelical Christianity, and if it goes away forever, I will not mourn for a second.
Josh, you brought up Trump and Rittenhouse in your own diatribe. It’s amazing how you guys make your own diatribe someone else’s celebration. It confounds me. But you are completely silent when it comes to Jussie Smollet. When, it comes to “white” do you self identify as white? If so, will you morn if you go away for ever? Think about what you are saying.
Ah, yet another in a long series of posts called “missing the point.” Poor Josh, though I doubt he considers himself such.
I said, and I quote:
“what is Western, White, Conservative Evangelical CULTURE?”
Trump, antivax, Rittenhouse, standing for our rights, not worrying about anyone else’s rights, praying for the protection of the second ammendment, the NRA, fear basically.”
That’s a diatribe? OK. I just mentioned the names, but my point was immediately proven when you guys jumped in to defend the honor. These are the heroes of White Evangelical Conservative Christianity. You can have them. I’m done. Elvis has left the building.
Why in the world would I mention Jussie Smollet?!? Oh yeah, because that’s another thing White Conservative Evangelical Christianity cares about. I do not care one bit about Jussie Smollet. Other than the Fox News stories, I have no clue who he is. Do not care.
Do I self-identify as white? Well, I am white. Germany is where my ancestors came from. About as white as it gets. As more and more races intermingle, maybe white will go away forever. Yes, I’m totally fine with that.
This is all so predictable and looks like every other site in the world.
It honestly makes me want to walk away from the whole project.
I keep waiting for more people to do what I believe josh and Kevin are doing…looking at the world through a primarily Christian identity instead of a primarily American one…associated with one side of the political spectrum.
The entirety of the political spectrum is anti-Christ…
“I have hope for the evangelical Christian culture (more specifically the Western/American/mostly White evangelical Christian culture), which in many ways is my family.”
Something a white American Evangelical would say…
Not being combative, it’s just that statements like that are ACTUALLY predictable from the self same people, and if one takes the time to understand any other culture or race in terms of religion, one would step back from such broad brush statements that cover such a limited and finite segment of humanity.
Josh, the point is you are doing exactly what CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ect. and the political left including Harris and Biden have done for a long time. It’s called identity politics and when you see it in the church, it’s becoming identity religion. Jussie Smollet did just this by staging his own attack pretending it was a hate crime and getting the praise of our highest leaders. Slap labels on people and make them as derogatory as possible. It’s reminiscent of the basket of deplorables from 2016. I’m German as well but I won’t identify as white any more officially. The term has completely lost relevance. I am in an interracial marriage with a mixed race daughter. I don’t care what anyone else skin color is but I do have a problem with folks like your self using skin color to define a negative type of Christian.
It is a fact that white evangelicals are a defined voting bloc.
They had distinctive opinions on political and social issues.
It is a sociological marker.
The markers themselves are neutral…some celebrate that identity and other do not….some of us just don’t care anymore.
Josh, never thought I would see the day… but I do not take offense at any word you have said today. My few years in Virginia proved to me one thing, White Evangelicals and Black Evangelicals will never cross the street in solidarity of Jesus because of this precise nonsense. It’s as reliable as death and taxes from the increasingly diminishing “god is on my side” segment of white evangelicals
After reading a few of these comments, I don’t blame my sis-in-the-Lord, the late Rachel Held Evans for dumping evangelicalism.
I am a white American Evangelical and I hold out hope that the culture we make up can get better, even as it’s been pretty crappy, especially of late. Josh is a white American Evangelical and he doesn’t hold the same hope.
I’m not sure what the issue is that I choose to say that I have hope. Is it a right/wrong thing in that it is right to have no hope and wrong to have hope? Or is it possible it could be a matter of different perspectives or opinions and that the topic doesn’t demand a definitive right and wrong or condescension towards one outlook or the other?
Also, I’m not sure what you are saying that I’m “broadbrushing”. I tried to be pretty specific as to what people group I was speaking of and to the types of wrongs that are prevalent among them.
Michael, I think sociological markers when applied to individuals is where the problem comes in. And that is across the political spectrum. I don’t self identify as either white or evangelical yet others put these labels on me and then use the group stereotype to condemn me. Than they take it a step further and judge you for who you voted for like there was a clear cut choice moral choice.
Steve – In trying to further nail this down:
I don’t want any part of the Christianity that is concerned about CNN, MSNBC, CBS, Identity Politics, Wreathes, Happy Holidays, Jussi Smollett, Baskets of deplorables…
Call that kind of Christianity whatever you want. I’m done with it.
Repentance, μετάνοια, indicates a “change of mind”… I’m not sure that I can see that happening in American Evangelicalism as a whole. Individuals… maybe…
Evangelical? Many folk talking’ bout heaven ain’t a going’ there…..
A real Christian identifies as a child of God. Humble, yes repentant, prayerful, eager to learn the Faith….
It seems to me that the word evangelical is abused and misused…..
I doubt – I don’t KNOW – but I doubt Donald Trump’s new birth. Cheating on your spouse with no repentance? God knows
Dan’s list at4:42am? I consider that group my enemies, but God hasn’t given me permission to hate them….. The exception might be dermented Joe B. Not really functioning as an adult anymore…..
God keep and increase our wisdom.. IMHO
Maybe God increasing our wisdom involves seeing others as Jesus sees them?
I recall, from my Young Life days, a girl from the southeast U.S. She said, “I always assumed because I was an American, I was a Christian. No one ever told me that I had to come to the cross, confess my sin nature, ask God to forgive me and be born again!”
Because he boldly evangelized all over this nation, I must have respect for Billy Graham.
Yes, I do realize that some here hold to infant baptism as salvific – I don’t unless it is followed by a repentant life as the infant grows to maturity!
Having been sprinkled in Presbyterian church and later immersed in the Southern Baptist church. I’d say that immersion is much more humiliating and humbling. I cannot call ” sprinking” baptism, but God knows, I don’t….. sigh
Yes, Dan, Jesus died for the sins of the whole world and yes, we are told to love our enemies – pray for them, for their repentance.
But they, who hate the gospel, are still enemies.
Be cautious in wisdom
I am done with the kind of Christianity that labels political opponents as hating the Gospel.
I don’t want any part of the Christianity that is concerned about CNN, MSNBC, CBS, Identity Politics, Wreathes, Happy Holidays, Jussi Smollett, Baskets of deplorables…
Repentance, μετάνοια, indicates a “change of mind”… I’m not sure that I can see that happening in American Evangelicalism as a whole.
I agree. If anything, one group seems to continue hardening and more than ever, circling the wagons…
Josh, you really aren’t nailing anything down further. In fact, all you really are doing is broadening your net. Admit it, everything has to go because the entire enchilada of American, White evangelism is corrupt to the core.
Steve, that’s what I’ve been saying.
Josh, that’s totally radical but I respect you for it.
To quote myself from 11:30 am yesterday:
“I am totally happy if the Western / White / Conservative Evangelical culture ceases to exist.”
I think this repentance thread IS very helpful in defining life for us in today’s world
“I’m not sure that I can see that happening in American Evangelicalism as a whole. Individuals… maybe…”
My hope is enough individuals repent that it starts making a difference in American Evangelicalism as a whole. My cynical side says it won’t happen. But I also believe in a God for whom all things are possible.
You’re welcome on getting the thought process going on this. We may not agree on every point of today’s world, but we can agree that repentance is an important part of the Christian life.
Kevin, repentance to me is always at an individual level. But I’m curious if we were to take note of a collective repentance in the evangelical culture, how will that practically look? We could look at a number of metrics on various issues, but what do you think would be the most noticeably improvement?
All us believers have people we hold in contempt. I would be lying if I said I don’t hate anyone. I posted a year or two back my struggles with racism and hate. The struggle is still there. I agree that we need to practice wisdom, and be cautious. Also we need to check our hearts when we hold some in contempt and hate.
Beyond individual repentance, collective repentance would in ways look like churches and Christian ministries and organizations confessing to these particular sins that have become rampant in Conservative Evangelical Culture and pressing forward with desires and accompanying actions to behave differently. In order to get to that point I think there’s going to need to be a lot of individual repentance first. If few individuals are repenting, then most certainly you are not going to see many at all churches and organizations repenting.
Noticeable improvement? – Far less concern with political issues overall; far less taking of sides on political issues, especially the consistent taking of the same side on every issue; a much greater willingness to listen to people who are different than themselves rather than looking at them suspiciously, or worse yet, treating them like an enemy that needs to be defeated; far more diligence in checking for accuracy and the truth on matters before acting on it; far less disregarding of people or information just because they or it came from the “other side”; a much greater concern to serve the downtrodden and disadvantaged than to focus on whatever is deemed to be negative about them; a much greater concern with those who may have been harmed by someone powerful rather than automatically protecting and justifying the powerful person; far less justification and rationalization of dubious, if not immoral people and actions in order to try to achieve a desired end; far less concern with one’s own “rights” and a greater concern for those who are or may be getting hurt or negatively-effected by the execution of those rights; far less denigration and assumption of guilt of experts, scientists, etc.
Is that a long enough list? Essentially, the culture would look very, very different than it does today if significant repentance took place.
My favorite Christians are down on the Mexican border.
Many of them are now elderly…they have spent their lives ministering to the migrant community with the love of Jesus irregardless of political issues.
One group loads up a small altar every day and goes over to do the Daily Office with those stuck in Mexico.
They are Anglican and Roman Catholic and a couple other denoms…but no one knows they’re there except the people they bless.
If a revival ever comes…it might start there…
I think your list is marvelous! And well thought out, iMHO.
I’d add just one small thing: repentance for turning America into a false idol. Way too much emphasis on “what’s happening now.”
I’m reminded of one of Lewis’s comments:
“All that is not eternal is eternally out of date.”
Kevin,. This is a good list for any church regardless of demographic. I’m an outlier because people will label me as white, conservative and an evangelical but I go to a church that is primarily ethnic Chinese and reformed and not exactly pro Trumpian. However there are those that will denigrate Asians and call them white adjacent. This is unfortunate. However, if there is going to be reconciliation in the churches there has to be repentance of this race bating. This was my primary objection to Josh in using skin color to characterize a bad bunch of apples.
I love the people. I hate the culture. Again, I am one of the people.
Thanks again, bob1.
Steve, yes it’s a good list for a church of any demographic. But it’s particulary applicable to the White American Evangelical Conservative Church/Culture as these are all things it struggles with right now. Other churches/cultures of other demographics may share some of these struggles and likely even other struggles not listed here, but what I have spoken of here all have full application to the culture that encapsulates me.
I’ll say it one last time and then say good night, defining a culture as “white” as a descriptor is not particularly helpful in my opinion. First of all, it has little meaning other than the pejorative usage as demonstrated here. Second, since other minorities can and often are mixed in, folks come up with racists terms like white adjacent to propagate their prejudice. Third, there is an implied assumption that white skin is the cause and not just a correlation for the sins manifest. Maybe it’s some kind of socialogical marker for a voting bloc, but it doesn’t seem helpful to me.
White is not a racist term nor is it used as a perjorative the large majority of the time it is used. And of course when we say “White American Evangelical Culture” it does not necessitate that every single person within it be white. It merely means the significant majority of the people who make up the culture are white. Nor do the large majority of the people of the world “imply” or “assume” that simply being white is the cause of sin.
Naming a culture after its common race is very normative throughout almost all history. There is nothing racist or derogatory or the implication or assigning of automatic guilt in doing so. It is simply using a shared common trait as a descriptor term for a group of people who make up a culture ( a culture being a group of people who share many customs, characteristics, and ways of doing things). Ironically, one of the characteristics of the current White American Evangelical Culture is to get all worked up when matters of race are brought up and to try to shut them down by trying to say that race doesn’t matter and we should ignore it as any kind of differentiating or identifying factor (conveniently invalidating and disregarding the ordeals of many non-white people who suffer negative, if not downright abusive experiences expressly because of their race).
Its very convenient to reap the benefits of being white for the last 1700 years, but then when it becomes slightly uncomfortable say ” Hey, don’t call me white anymore”.
Josh,. I may be old, but I’m not quite 1700 years old!
Oh, that’s right. You didn’t benefit from anything before the day you were born.
Kevin,. Our American culture is a melting pot of diverse ethnicities. Unfortunately that is all lost when you just call it white. White isn’t even a race. It’s an arbitrary skin color and social construct. There is one race, the human race. We can talk culture and ethnicities and languages and religious beliefs and customs all day long and it be meaningful but color of skin is equivalent to judging a book by its cover. MLK had it right. Maybe I grew up in a more diverse environment than you, but I was taught to be color blind. We had no segregation. My friends were black and brown and white and Asian and there was no segregation. We got along. But now all of a sudden being color blind is racist. I’m not saying color blind is always right but there was less racial tension it seemed during those days than what I see now. What changed? I’m certain things got a lot worse.
Josh, I’m sure if I did the 23 and me genetic test, I would have all kinds of colors inside me.
Unfortunately we have all been a benefactor of Adam and like it or not got a sin nature with original sin. Not something I’m too happy about, but the bright side is Christ came to redeem us. So exactly what benefits are you referring to? The benefits of a sin legacy? Do you honestly call that a benefit?
And the tone deafness goes on…
Steve, if you don’t see that black people and white people have been treated differently throughout the history of this country, there’s not much I can do for you.
(That’s 400 or so years. The other 1300 years would be European Christians committing atrocities.)
Josh, quite the contrary, I’m disgusted what has happen in our country. It makes me sick and vomit. I’ve said this more than once on this blog so your comments are disingenuous. To the extent this was fueled by the Christian church is despicable. I want absolutely nothing to do with that legacy. Nothing! But there were some abolitionists and some white Christians that helped facilitate the underground railroad and many others that were part of the civil rights movement. These are my heros. I want to stand up for any oppressed person today. Yes, there probably are pockets of systemic racism in our country and unfortunately our church. I made a conscious decision decade’s ago to not associated with such folks. I never joined the SBC and I never will. Bob Jones University was the epitome of evil if you ask me when they forbid students to date the opposite race. My favorite Christian song in my formative years was “we dont need a color code” by Steve Taylor who spoke out against Bob Jones. You obvious Josh don’t know me and you mis characterize me. I’m not from the south and the conderate flag makes me cringe. It’s not my history. To the extent I benefited from white privilege, which probability is true, I can only repent. But it will never be enough and that is why this paradyn of oppressor/oppressed Marxist ideology needs to be squashed. Individually, I can tell when someone is being oppressed and it can be for a multitude of reason. I believe to an extent in intersectionality that there are some folks that are on the margins of society because of their demographic. These are the folks Jesus especially cares about. Whether it is migrants on the southern border or extreme poverty in our inner cities or Christians that are heavily persecuted in China, these people are precious to God. Jesus cares about the oppressed but the error many make today is that the oppressed is determined by skin color. They ignore all the progress we made and dig up old wounds and pick the scabs till they bleed. I thought we made a lot of progress in our country but now we seem to be going backwards.
Marxist ideology…give me a break. You know, white people also claimed your hero, MLK, was a Marxist. That’s not a new charge.
While we’re at it, lets stop coopting MLK. White people hated MLK, so much so that we murdered him in his 30’s. Now we have rebranded him into something that doesn’t make us uncomfortable. We take his words out of context and use them against the very people he gave his life fighting for. That’s a kind of evil that’s impressive even for a people with our history.
You know, white people also claimed your hero, MLK, was a Marxist.
Josh is exactly right.
In Philip Yancey’s new memoir, he recounts how, during the Civil Rights era back in the 60s, people in his conservative congregation in Georgia would call him “Martin Lucifer C–n.” So there was the (false) charge
that he was a Marxist along with, well, just blatant racism.
And speaking of repentance — our country will never heal from its racist past properly until it’s brought out into the open and repented of, publicly. I think that’s what Tutu did in South Africa with the Reconciliation work. Whitewashing it won’t work.
bob1, good luck bringing the dead back to life and having them repent for their crimes. Talk to someone that has lived in China during the cultural revolution and they’ll tell you what they are seeing in America today is the same thing only happening with race. We will never agree. That’s ok. The important thing though is we don’t attack each other and try to respect an opposing viewpoint. Your short one liners implying I’m tone deaf is revealing. You basically have no interest in communication and you yourself are tone deaf. That’s ok. I know you are a sinner even though you come across as self righteous. Enough said. Have a good day.
John Fea writes an article timely to expressing hope. For all the disturbing crap that goes on in Evangelicalism, there is still much good, too. If this good wasn’t there, then yeah, I would probably have no hope. But it is there, and it is a sign that God is still working within the White American Evangelical Culture.
(The article is a behind a paywall but I will copy in the next comment. One thing that will be missing is that Fea provides many hyperlinks to stories serving as the examples of good that he speaks of.)
Why Evangelicalism Continues to Inspire Me with Hope
Is evangelical Christianity in trouble? It all depends on where you look.
It is easy to criticize American evangelicalism today. The born-again Christian community, like the rest of the country, is divided over politics, COVID-19 protocols, vaccine mandates, critical race theory, gender roles in the church, and the proper approach to balancing the dignity of LGBTQ Americans with religious liberty. Much of the battle for the soul of evangelical institutions—congregations, denominations, schools, and parachurch organizations—is waged on social media sites that barely existed a decade ago. Sometimes I wonder if Jesus himself would recognize his church in its current state.
But Advent is not a time for criticism. It is a time for hope. This is the season when Christians wait with anticipation for the incarnation—Emmanuel, God with us. And Christmas always points us toward Easter and the initiation of the kingdom of God through the death and resurrection of the King of Angels. O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant!
To the outside observer, the phrase “initiation of the kingdom of God” sounds ominous. Indeed, some evangelicals, intent upon restoring the United States to something akin to Old Testament Israel, exploit the historic Christian understanding of this coming kingdom in service of the pursuit of political power. But the kingdom of God has nothing to do with the kingdoms of this earth. It is rather an alternative political community that calls its citizens to speak truth to power and live by a radical ethic that rarely conforms to our rights-based culture. Though we live in a broken world, we get occasional glimpses of the fullness of this kingdom whenever we see acts of compassion, love, justice, reconciliation, and mercy. When we do creative work that is good, beautiful, and based on truth we are, in some small way, contributing to this kingdom. Advent is the time when we long for its coming: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Present-day evangelicalism may not appear very kingdom-oriented right now, but if we look hard enough, and turn our eyes away from the darkness of deconstruction and into the light emanating from the celestial city, the work of the kingdom comes into view.
While the press and Twittersphere rip evangelicals for their hypocrisy (and oftentimes rightly so), evangelical leaders continue to provide a taste of what the kingdom will one day be like. Pastor-theologian Tim Keller is using his Twitter feed and other writings to teach us how to face death with humility and hope. Evangelical activist Shane Claiborne is hammering assault weapons into children’s toys and exercising his pro-life convictions in the fight against capital punishment.The Council of Christian Colleges and Universities, the Evangelical Immigrant Table, and the National Association of Evangelicals are advocating for Dreamers and refugees. Recently retired National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins reminds us that science and medicine are gifts from God. Texas A&M professor Katherine Hayhoe and the Evangelical Environmental Network are urging us to care for the earth, this sin-cursed place that God will one day make new. Vince Bacote, Esau McCaulley, Beth Allison Barr, and Beth Moore are working courageously for a more just Christianity that includes the voices of all God’s people. Relief ministries such as Samaritan’s Purse are serving those suffering in the wake of the Kentucky tornados. Anglican priest Tish Harrison Warren is testifying to the power of the Gospel on the pages of The New York Times, while Fuller Seminary is rightly celebrating the life of Christian intellectual Richard Mouw. Evangelical congressman Adam Kinzinger is speaking truth to power.
Local churches continue to inspire hope. Christians are giving money and support to sustain evangelical ministries during COVID-19. Congregations are settling Afghan refugees, opening vaccine clinics, pursuing racial reconciliation in the most unlikely of places, and providing food, coats, employment, bicycles, and school supplies to those in need. Some pastors are praying for more baptisms, while others are riding bikes on the Mexican border to bring attention to strangers in need of welcome.
My hope for the future of evangelical Christianity is sustained by the young men and women I encounter every day in my work as a college professor. This semester the Messiah University history community says goodbye to Annie, a woman committed to teaching social studies in underprivileged areas. Chloe is writing her senior thesis and preparing for a life of worshipping God with her mind through the study of early American history. Nick stopped by my office the other day to talk about how the theologian N.T. Wright is restoring his faith in the resurrection of Jesus. Dylan is trying to find the best way to think Christianly about critical race theory as he begins student teaching next semester. A first-year student recently wrote on an exam that the study of history is teaching her how to “live as a responsible, respectful, and empathetic Christian citizen in a broken world.” One of her classmates wrote that the study of the past is teaching her about the importance of “humble-mindedness” in her “encounters with God’s world and with God’s people.” And all the Messiah history majors, after a tough year of enduring COVID-19 protocols and losing their academic home on campus, restored a history department tradition by Christmas caroling at the homes of their professors.
Good things are happening. The kingdom of God is on the move. Evangelical Christianity is going through a rough patch right now, but it is also thriving. It all depends on where you look.
If Evangelical means: Committed to Scripture, evangelism, the need to be born again, salvation by Grave – Then I am 100% evangelical.
If you add anything else to that definition, whether racial, political, or otherwise, then I’m out.
A well-placed but “grave” error added spice to the definition.
The earliest spread of the grace of God was both racial and political. These things are unavoidable in our work, theology or practice.
The appeal of Jesus was his ability to defy the grasp of Judaism while opposing Rome. He did die with the two-fold accusations of destroying the temple (in opposition to the beast of religion) and destroying the Roman hegemony (the beast of government) by virtue of his putative claims of kingship.
What we fail to capture both, evangelical and magisterial Christians, is his utter rejection of actual power and willingness to be crushed in his opposition to it.
We don’t know how to die.
Dread, you lose me a little. It sounds like you are disagreeing with me, but your last two sentences are exactly what I’m getting at.
If the political component to our faith is about laying down power, rather than grasping for it, I’m all for that. Granted, I’ve never once seen that, but in theory, I’m for it.
I was tweaking your “salvation by Grave”
As for disagreeing … I am only asserting that we must leave the human playing field to avoid either race or politics in our theology or praxis.
I doubt we disagree upon it.
I simply want to sharpen clarity as to what is being jettisoned. I suspect it is largely limited to caricatured right wing christianity.
Ahh, missed the typo 🙂 Salvation by Grave is an interesting concept.
AS I’ve stated above, the religion I want to get away from, specifically, is White Conservative. Its not a caricature, it’s what I live in everyday. It is the branch of Christianity (that I live in daily) that prays for the protection of our second amendment, that says thank God he had a gun, that pass around fake videos about Trump’s salvation experience…and more, and more and more. Whatever you call that branch of Christianity, I want out.
There is a massive difference between how Jesus was “political” and how we are today.
Jesus was not grasping for temporal power to change temporal institutions and culture…he was stating that He already ruled over it all.
We do not know how to die…worse yet, we deny the power of sacrificial love unto death.
I very much admire what you’re trying to do and I greatly fear that you will find yourself displaced to the degree that you will have to seek employment in another field.
As much as I’m loathe to admit it, N.T. Wright was a and is a huge help in my process….as are the early fathers and Eastern writers…
T,s grandpa came for a two week visit…CC pastor, big 2nd amendment guy…it will take years to get T past the last 2 weeks…if I even can…
“find yourself displaced to the degree that you will have to seek employment in another field.”
Agreed. That is why I will first commit myself to in depth study for a period of, at least, many months. But yeah, I know that if that study turns the way I’m thinking now, I’ll be leaving this life behind.
I often find myself feeling displaced in my culture/community. But for me, I am not a minister serving a church and so there are far less ramifications for me. I don’t envy you.
Yet at the same time, I have been able to find a good many fellow Christians and even churches as a whole who are far more concerned with trying to serve and minister as Jesus did as they are with getting the right politicians elected and protecting their second amendment rights and protesting masks and vaccines and making sure that nobody possibly even infer any white guilt upon them. I imagine being in the South may make this a bit harder for you to find this on a meaningful scale.
I have a small group that gathers every week.
I wondered how my taking everything down to the rails would work.
It’s been wonderful, to be honest.
The Sermon on the Mount changed everything…
White people hated MLK so much that “WE” murdered him…NO “WE” didn’t! ! !
White people, all of us grieved the loss. He wasn’t perfect, but neither are “WE.”
all of us grieved the loss<<<
You are quite mistaken.
We don’t own it, we don’t get past it.
What were your favorite traits of MLK? His socialist leanings, or his calls for financial reparations? Because it doesn’t seem like you’d be a fan of those things.
I live in Southern Oregon.
I personally knew people who celebrated his death, including my grandfather.
That was 1968…where a black man couldn’t be caught inside the city limits here after dark.
Signs at either end of town made this clear.
In the 80’s a close friend was the only black police officer in town.
We wore bullet proof vests to get a hamburger…even when he was off duty.
Josh is right …until we own this we will never get past it.
all of us grieved the loss
You can speak for yourself, but if you’re trying to foist that belief on others…
I know a car dealership in town that stays open on MLK day, calls it N***** day, and brings in a variety of foods associated with black people ( like watermelon).
Well in my sphere we all grieved, but change the “all” to most, if that seems more specific!
BTW,, I also grew up in a town where blacks had to be out by sundown (Glendale, CA) and this disturbed our family as we judged by M LK’s content of character – not skin color
ALL races have bad actors…. as was the white guy who shot King and his buddies who approved of the act.
We had a woman caring for my grandfather after his stroke. The widow of a Mississippi sheriff, who bragged about catching a “young black buck” stealing a watermelon from her garden. She made him lie down in the road and she horse whipped him. I am not unaware of bigotry or southerners’ use of intimidation.
As to reparations, the offer of 40 acres and a mule at the end of our Civil War WAS an offer of reparation.
“As to reparations, the offer of 40 acres and a mule at the end of our Civil War WAS an offer of reparation.”
A myth… never fulfilled, not even in Sherman’s Special Field Order No. 15. Then again, most racist tropes are founded on myths and falsehoods…
Dr.. Duane! I quoted a racist trope? SHAME on me! ! ! However…
Today, i do not think the descendents of the slaves are entitled to anything, but a good 12 year education – like the rest of us
White people hated MLK so much that “WE” murdered him…NO “WE” didn’t! !
If Josh and bob1 want to confess to murder of MLK, they really should go to jail for murder. But there maybe a statue of limitation clause so I think the next best thing we should do is garnish ALL their wages to pay as wrongful death lawsuit to descendents of MLK.
why do we have to drag the 2nd amendment into this? My wife and kids may be alive today because we had a gun in the house……………………. Yep, I won’t “get past” that one………….
Pstrmike, it’s one thing to have a gun, but I think it should be “mandatory” to require training in handling such a weapon…..
The 2nd amendment is, however, a crucial right… IMHO! ! !
The 2nd amendment doesn’t look like Jesus lief and ministry.
The 2nd amendment also says absolutely nothing about your wife and kids.
“i do not think the descendents of the slaves are entitled to anything”
As I suspected, you don’t care about the things King actually cared about, just using his image to make you feel not racist.
Hey Steve – take me to court! That’s another thing that Christians love that looks nothing like Jesus.
I’m struggling, and you guys are just kicking me while I’m down. I need out.
Josh, Im just responding to your rhetoric that was over the top. I’ll never take you to court. It’s not my lawsuit. I’ll give you a consolation prize on the 2nd amendment. I hate guns. I wouldn’t loose any sleep if the 2nd amendment was over turned and removed from our constitution. However, I would like to see that done through the proper legal process. And for any politician listening I think you would find a great platform to run on and sympathetic ears from conservative Christians. I’m tired of conservative Christians being labeled as gun toting red necks.
If you think white culture didn’t kill MLK, I don’t know what to tell you. If you think that same culture doesn’t exist today in our segregated churches, you are deluded. I’m all for putting white culture on trial, but something tells me we’d pick 12 white jurors to try the case.
Josh, if being white makes one a member of your white culture by default, than I am not white which I already alluded to. I think we have gone full circle. Josh， many Christians don’t even go to church any more and the very thought of segregation turns them off. The only one here advocating for segregation is you by insisting that skin color determines your culture.
Steve, you can play the “I’m not white” game all you want. Others in our culture do the asme with “I’m not a man”, or “I’m not a woman”. I’m sure you support them in their proclamations, regardless of biological evidence to the contrary.
But you are white. You have benefited greatly from white culture. If you don’t like it, recognize it for what it is and help me with the matches and kerosene.
Josh, your white culture has nothing to do with biology. This is completely different than gender disphoria. It is all a social construct. Yes, there is truth to white culture as you define it but it is incomplete and ignores progress, and it ignore outliers. It flattens with little to no nuance. Worse yet it propogates these white/black distinctions to its detriment. I’ve believed this for a long time that until there are more inter racial marriages, things won’t get a lot better I go to a Chinese church and have a mixed race daughter with a Chinese immigrant wife. Mandarin is spoken everyday in our home. This is far from western white culture that i am immersed in so I’m having a bit hard time relating to you. It may be helpful for you to share your struggles in your particular church and denomination with what you are up against. I’ll listen the best I can. I don’t mean to ignore our countries evil past. It is important to recognize those sins, however healing comes with forgiveness and hope in the future and also recognizing how far we’ve come.
Well said, Steve. I have a dear granddaughter in law who has two black grandfathers, a Japanese grandmother and a German grandmother…. Her mother is black and so is her dad, but both of mixed race….
White as a label IS decisive even though it was English, Scots, Welch,
Irish and European Christian (mostly) refugees that planned and built this nation that all races now want a piece of….
God help us all
“…even though it was English, Scots, Welch,
Irish and European Christian (mostly) refugees that planned and built this nation that all races now want a piece of….”
Yet another myth.
In 1860, almost four million slaves enabled the southern economy as well as the import/export economy of the northeast. In the West, 2.5 million Chinese laborers enabled the mining and railroad industries which were the economic mainstays. Meanwhile, naturalized and immigrant Hispanics in the conquered and annexed (formerly Mexican) territories of the Southwest provided stability and economic growth as well as establishing civil life. All were later excluded from the mainstream of American life through prejudicial legislation because Anglo America wanted not just a piece, but all that their labor had created.
It is a shameful story…
How can anyone be mixed race if it is just a social construct? Ah, only when it is convenient. Got it.
Josh, ” white culture” is the social construct, not race. I only use the term race to attempt to condescend to what you understand. Really only one human race with a myriad if ethnicities.
How the 2nd Amendment has been interpreted over the years has everything to do with self defense in the home. It covers militias and the right to keep and bear arms.
What a mess.
First, a couple history classes could clear up a great deal of the confusion here…but I’ve been saying that for decades now.
Let me also note that more than one thing can be true in a given situation.
Western (white) civilization (and the values that at least tangentially undergirded it) created the most wealth and comfort in the history of the world.
That is indisputable.
It is also indisputable that it did so at a huge cost to people of color and lesser economic status.
One does not have to get caught up in all the current verbiage and politics to advocate for biblical justice…and biblical justice is what we all should be seeking for all people.
Dr. Duane at 9:15 missed my point..
Without the people I mentioned this nation could never have come into existence. Somebody had to plan, coordinate, oversee the vision.
My proof? I think Africa, China and even the Latino countries make my point.
Were there exploitations? Yes, but do they compare with the ruling cabals in those lands? Not in my book. Today minorities get all the respect here that they deserve. Deserve is the key as all of mankind has thumb sucking “poor me’s.”
I got the point… the argument is that of white supremacy.
Pstrmike, I still don’t find it in Jesus’ life and ministry. It’s fine to have, let’s just not pretend it’s a Christian position.
I’m surprised and disappointed every time I have a conversation on race with white Christians.
Josh, what are you surprised about and why are you disappointed?
As Christians, we should be the ones denying ourselves, giving our stuff to the poor, welcoming the stranger, and just generally showing the love of Christ to everyone we meet.
The rest of the stuff- gun rights, vaccine conspiracies, migrant-hating, etc. is just evil distractions the devil has tossed into the mix to keep us from doing what Christ has told us to do.
That First Babtist “church” of Dallas is having Trump come speak for a “special Christmas message” tomorrow. That outfit is not a church.
Dr. Duane, white supremacy? What the western world had going for it was either respect for or embracing of the Christian Faith. Yes or no. I vote “yes.”
According to the Christian faith all those involved with the slave trade and slaughter of the natives were liable to the death penalty.
“The rest of the stuff- gun rights, vaccine conspiracies, migrant-hating, etc. is just evil distractions the devil has tossed into the mix to keep us from doing what Christ has told us to do.’
I think you’re right on…
Among the first slaves brought out of the Congo to our shores were, in fact, Roman Catholic Christians. A third of the country had converted in 1491…
Michael, I don’t have a problem with that!
Is it possible that God intended for these United States to form?
As much as He intended any other country…we are not special in the eyes of God.
Our Christianity has existed side by side with all manner of spiritual and societal atrocities, some of which continue to this day.
1491 1/3 of the ,Congo had converted to Roman Catholicism? They were sold into slavery by their fellow Congolese ….
Would God have permitted slavery to remove them from their homeland?
I seem to remember Denis saying that God uses pagans to accomplish His purpose? ? ?
“Would God have permitted slavery to remove them from their homeland?”
There is no justification, theological or societal, for the stain of slavery. You are now trying to blame God for the sins of humanity.
Only myths and half-truths are used to justify White Supremacy…
“Would God have permitted slavery to remove them from their homeland?’
God has allowed untold numbers of atrocities..like the Holocaust…the reasons for such are beyond us…
Dr. Duane and Michael, both good ponders to my question – thank you…..
Blame God, Dr. Duane? No, of course not. BUT
I suspect when God put Adam in the Garden of Eden, He knew how history would play out.
You agree or no?
He also held people and nations accountable for their sins…
We can justify a lot of things by saying God always knew it would happen, so let it happen.
Somehow, to me, that shifts the blame from me onto God.
There are many, many wonderful things about American culture. Banana pudding, kids skateboarding down the street, fireworks in July, turkeys in November, tomatoes on the vine, enchiladas, Rhode Island Red hens and Reese’s peanut butter cups. Much of American culture is garbage, which includes most of the output of Hollywood and an awful lot of political preaching in churches. We can keep the good and turn our backs on the bad.
But first we have to recognize the bad and not try to make excuses for it.
The reason I posted the article from Dr. Fea earlier in the thread was to point out that there is still much good that happens in Evangelicalism.
However, that is no excuse whatsoever to ignore or excuse the bad that happens or has happened in the past. No matter how much good that is done, if we continue to ignore or excuse the bad, we are going to simultaneously keep hurting hurting or abusing others (either doing it personally or enabling others to do so) and giving a very schizophrenic impression of Christ to the rest of the world.
And right now, the bad in the White American Evangelical Christian world has increased exponentially over these past several years. Now is the time that we must recognize it and repent, not excuse and justify.
“The rest of the stuff- gun rights, vaccine conspiracies, migrant-hating, etc. is just evil distractions the devil has tossed into the mix to keep us from doing what Christ has told us to do.”
Some of these things I think are flat out evil while I think others may have a little more nuance to them. But without question, at the very least Satan is using them right now as a distraction to keep us from doing what Christ would have us to do.
Putting the blame on God is, in my opinion, a stretch. We know that God has an adversary – Satan – I think, don’t “know” – that God created man, knowing that unless we are taking counsel from Him, in submission to Him, that Satan can manipulate us as he did Eve.
Was God surprised? I don’t think so. We play a role in justification. We prove to the watching angels and other spirits, the immutable perfection, holiness and, yes, fairness of God.
That’s how it looks from here…
Praise God? Praise Him indeed! ! !
Power is flickering right now… we have a foot of snow on the ground and still coming down, praying we don’t go dark tonight… Please God, please
He still does……
It is appointed unto man once to die and then JUDGEMENT….
I grieve for the negotiate and the discouraged who have convinced themselves there is no Creatot/God. However, Satan smiles and pats himself on the back…. for now
How did spell check turn egotist into negotiate? ? ?
“And right now, the bad in the White American Evangelical Christian world has increased exponentially over these past several years.“
What on earth is wrong with you?
The bad has exponentially increased …?
That kind of talk is down the wrong road.
Change the categories to another group and see what response you get. This feeds the mob.
“What on earth is wrong with you?”
Dread, these are my own people. White, American, Evangelical, Christian. I am not leading or feeding the mob against the perceived enemy, rather I am calling out my own and saying we need a lot of change and repentance. My much greater concern is with my family turning from their wicked ways than it is with whatever ammunition the mob may gain by my calling them out.
Of course, I could change the categories and call out others….. but I choose to start with my own because I believe it is the right thing to do.
And it is unquestionable that my family’s behavior has become exponentially worse these last few years. Trump, COVID, and race riots (at least the latest iteration of them) have only occurred these last few years. All things which have caused many in my family to become greatly distracted from the mission of Christ and commit much bad behavior.
If you cannot see these things, then I would ask, “What on earth is wrong with you?”
Trump? What puzzles me are those who admire John Kennedy and find Trump disgusting.
Covid? I think China planned the world outbreak…. “think” no proof, except Mao tse tung(sp?) wrote that the way to conquer the USA was with germ warfare, not guns and bombs….
Race riots? They’ve come across as phony, just a reason to loot and burn – it seems to me…
Yes, I do watch NEWSMAX….
We disagree about what my own people means. If you want to repent have a kingdom people instead of a racial people. That’s the world getting in.
My pastoral charge took four blows in my last year. Covid conspiracies, critical race us/theming, partisan politics and straight up Trumpism fueled by failed prophecies — I have skin in this game. So I hear you.
I lost more in the last year of public ministry than I ever imagined.
It was as wags and prophets said 20/20 vision — we saw how poorly the church perceives the king and his kingdom. But in my world the problem wasn’t us vs them or racially coded. It was a problem within every race, partisan politic, and theological nuance of the people.
We did not discern the body — nor did we understand times and seasons.
Repentance is a call to be a royal priesthood and not sliced identities.
Your “my own people” parsing is foreign to the kingdom I cannot identify myself apart from the members of the body.
“Us” is in Christ.
I think we agree there and I still challenge your anger at your self identified “people.”
That people no longer exists in Jesus.
But you faced my challenge squarely and I thank you for taking no obvious offense.
Much is wrong with me —- Dread
Doctrinally you are correct that there are no racial or national divides in the Body of Christ. Practically, though, we cannot deny cultural differences on this earth. And I speak to those things which are most prominent within the culture that I am most engrained. In order to not broadbrush all Christians when I am speaking of specific matters, I must use terms that commonly identify those that I am addressing.
And no offense taken.
There is plenty wrong with me, too. I have much to confess and repent of my own. However, much of what needs my confession is on a personal, not public level. What I choose to speak of here are those things being committed very much on a public level and causing the name of Christ to be associated with such things in a public way. Public sins require public rebuke and public repentance.
Dread speaks wisely.
“Doctrinally you are correct that there are no racial or national divides in the Body of Christ. “
Kevin It isn’t a doctrine. It’s who I am. It’s what I am. Jesus obliterates all those other things. They are dung. Perhaps that is why we are a moral wreck. Like Peter we have withdrawn from the table and eat only with our kind.
The kingdom of God is table fellowship and it is defined by the one who is both the host and the meal. The one who washed us in preparation to eat.
We have to eschew these demarkations of carnal factions. We are not of those things. When the troubles came in 2020 we were exposed — like Peter we withdrew from the table lest we be found eating with the unclean.
All we need to do is sit at the table where all this is gone.
I understand the pain of the practical but we are not practical.
Into all this chaos the bride is descending. People say Jesus is returning but the text says a bride is descending. And so it shall be.
Identifying ourselves in the Body of Christ can’t cause us to ignore the damage that our families, ancestors, and other people proclaiming Christ have caused in the past. Especially when that same culture is still doing damage today. Sometime we have to own it, stop it, and actually follow Jesus. It’s fine that you guys don’t see yourselves as white, but the bank guy, the hiring manager, and the policeman do see you as white. Jesus recognized racial and cultural history, or he would not have spoken of the good Samaritan. We have to untie our faith from White culture in America, and we have to divorce it from “conservative” politics. We have to stop trying to hold on to our own way of life. Give it up freely. Stop trying to vote our ideas into power. Give that power away freely. Its what Jesus did.
Lots of good ponders in the comments here. BUT
I realize we won’t all each the same cconcclusions. STILL
God keep all keep us growing …. and learning
“We have to untie our faith from White culture in America, and we have to divorce it from “conservative” politics. We have to stop trying to hold on to our own way of life. Give it up freely.”
So white culture and conservative politics are the problem?
There are many white cultures in America.
There are various conservative politics as well.
And — this whole sins of the fathers claim is the basis of genocide not renewal.
Very muddy water sir.
Slavery, capturing and selling, is still practiced in much of the world. It was Great Britain and the United States (kinda white) that declared it an illegal practice
Josh, If we untie ourselves from “white culture,” then everything you say here must be irrelevant. YOU are a white southern man, and, by your thinking , anything you say must be filled with hate, misogyny, and racism. Why oh why should I listen to any thing you have to say? This is ridiculous. Why don’t we all just start with “Lord, have mercy on me a sinner. By Your grace, help me to love my neighbor as myself and to love you.” If we live like this and proclaim this, we are on solid ground. Falling into the lies that say all white people are racist and guilty of racism is futile. Love God and Love others. Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.
“…./love mercy and walk humbly with God.”
Well, stay the same. Status quo is good for you guys. I have to get out.
Josh, my point is that it has nothing to do with being “White.” What we, as Christians should be living is loving God and loving our neighbor. Walking in peace, mercy, wanting justice and walking humbly before God. We need not make this about race…this is a SIN issue. If I judge this by the race of someone, then I cannot listen to anything YOU have to say. You are automatically disqualified from me listening to. YOU are a white, southern MALE! By that judgment you are evil and nothing you say can be of any good. Can you not see this idiocy of this? We are ALL sinners and we ALL must strive to live out our faith in love and humility, calling upon the grace of God as we walk amongst others in this life.
You aren’t listening to what I say anyway. Why does it matter if it is because I am white or not? Just move along, keep it how you want it. I don’t want to be a part of that anymore.
Is race your only categorical grievance? Or do you apply these historical abuses to others?
Is your grievance gendered?
Diversifying this critique is certainly the norm and I am curious as to your equitable inclusion of others.
Obfuscation is fun, but useless in this case.
I’m talking about the culture that I was raised in, that most of us live and breathe in, that has dominated the history of our country and the larger part of Western Civilization. It is a form of Christianity that looks very different from Jesus’ life and ministry. I gave some specific examples above.
Hmmmm…. You obviously haven’t spend much time outside your own circle…..
You see, white conservative christian culture gets really sensitive when we mention race. The tendency is then to coddle the poor white conservative christians, and speak about it in a way they like to hear. This group is used to being comfortable, and anything that cause them discomfort is from the devil and must be changed immediately.
So the polite part of me wants to speak about these issues without including race, but that just perpetuates that culture.
pstrmike – who are you speaking to?
These are daunting conversations.
Race has always been a factor in our society…and in our churches.
Read Mark Noll’s “Theology as a Theological Crisis” for a taste of that.
I don’t see race as the primary issue…I see the problem as being one where political issues (including racial ones) have so distorted the message of the Gospel as to make it “another gospel”.
The ramifications of the Incarnation and the teachings of the sermon on the Mount have been displaced in favor of temporal concerns and celebrities.
There are still places where the remnant functions…but I think them few and far between.
I might be wrong.
You now bring out the white fragility argument Your training is extensive. You have become a disciple.
Your generalized “white conservative culture” is it universally evil? Shall I go down the list of all that it has brought forward in history? Must it be universally dismantled with its value for a traditional family?
And one more time… explain your doctrine of the children paying for the sins of the fathers. And explain why you pinpoint that evil upon one group only.
You act like you want to talk and then you won’t. What do you want sir?
I won’t make peace with scapegoating a group of people … history is very clear on how that comes out. I’ve ignored this stuff for months… Without question I will do so again but this conversation is actually dangerous. We cannot cheer the downfall of groups of people. We cannot partners with that spirit and call it Christ.
Christianity has been at least as useful in dismantling the sin Josh decries as participating in it. Moreso if one reads history with a modicum of honesty.
White fragility – This culture make sup derogatory terms for things that might make them think for a second about what they are actually taking part in. So yes, despite no exposure to any teaching, reading, or otherwise, I am now “dangerous” and a disciple of White fragility. Hilarious, if I hadn’t been exposing my soul, only to receive thoughtless nut-kicks like these. I’m sure I’m also peddling CRT, even though I’ve never read one book on the subject, never listened to anything involved with the subject, but I’m sure I am. Because White Conservative Culture decides that is the case, regardless of if the charge even makes sense at all. Then the witch can be burnt at the stake. I couldn’t tell you how much I hate that kind of thinking. It doesn’t look at all like the Jesus I read about in the Gospels.\
This culture loves to rail against cancel culture, but then calls this conversation dangerous and will do it all it can to make sure I am ruined for even daring to speak on it.
White Fragility, CRT, etc. – All code words that mean “You can’t speak to a white man that way.”
“Your generalized “white conservative culture” is it universally evil?”
I don’t know. But it is much more White and Conservative that it is Christian. That’s my beef. It distorts the real Jesus with its racism and politics.
“Shall I go down the list of all that it has brought forward in history?”
Wait a minute…a minute ago you said this culture doesn’t exist, but now you have a list of good things it has produced in history? Again, you call on it when useful. Say it doesn’t exist when inconvenient.
“Must it be universally dismantled with its value for a traditional family?”
Do non-whites need white people to teach them about traditional families? If you perceive a problem with black families in America, can you imagine what might have caused those issues? Oh wait, that’s probably critical race theory.
I’m talking to you.
I’m hesitant to get into this conversation because it will probably be fruitless. White, conservative, middle-age males have had their voice taken from them.
Dread JOof HL ,and Michael have said some things that a Josh who I used to read here would at least stop and consider.
You write as someone who has yet to move out of the cultural culture-de-sac. Have you spent much time with the Quakers? Read any John Woolman? Rufus Jones? Read much of Jimmy Carter? Lived in neighborhoods where white was not the majority and often met with the default (that is, the initial encounter) scorn and disdain, and an attempt to intimidate because of the color of your skin? Been denied the opportunity for a federal job because of quotas?
How many primary sources have you read on Critical Race Theory? Intersectionality? Liberation theology (not your seminary professor’s critique). How many of the Old Testament prophets have you read recognizing the political environment in which they were written and yet the answer give was to submit ourselves wholly to the Lord?
“And one more time… explain your doctrine of the children paying for the sins of the fathers. ”
Its not a doctrine at this point. I’ve said multiple times that I would need to do some major study before moving forward. However, if I preach that murder and theft are wrong, yet my father was a murderer and a thief, and I now enjoy a comfortable life due to his crimes…I’m afraid my preaching will fall on deaf ears.
“And explain why you pinpoint that evil upon one group only.”
Because it is the group I was raised in and live in, and am currently being strangled by. Jesus spoke about removing the plank from my own eye before looking for the spec in someone else.
“I’m hesitant to get into this conversation because it will probably be fruitless. White, conservative, middle-age males have had their voice taken from them.”
Jesus man, that’s ludicrous. That’s the loudest voices at all times. Completely delusional on that one.
Spent time with Quakers? No.
CRT literature? Zero
Lived in a non-white neighborhood? Yep. I do now. Nothing but love from and for my neighbors. They don’t fit your stereotype. But then, my extended family is majority non-white too. I guess being used to living in that environment I don’t view my neighbors with the kind of suspicion that you might.
Old Testament? All of it multiple times. I do want to base my living more on the life and ministry of JEsus, to be honest.
Josh, the Jesus I read about in the Bible seems to primarily be addressing individuals not vaguely defined cultures. Since when does removing the plank in our eye refer to a culture and not an individual?
Actually I didn’t say it doesn’t exist … I said there are many kinds.
Further, I have not said a single word about black anything… I take care with my word… usually…
I do claim that conservative Christianity (a moving target) has brought forth much good in history. I do not need to call it white. Conservative christianity fills the earth however Western Civilization has been largely European ( a polyglot of humanity)
A note on the black family… it has fared poorly since the 60s and worse than the white family… both suffer from the sexual revolution and the black family particularly suffered from government intervention disincentivizing family by attempts to bring reparations in the form of social welfare. But that’s a large debate.
The other ironic thing that happens, Dread keeps implying that my thought leads to genocide. But I’m the pacifist here. Don’t believe in killing for any reason. Anti-war, anti-death penalty, anti-guns.
Meanwhile, the culture I implicate has carried out genocide on multiple occasions. Yeah, I’m the dangerous one.
You don’t think the black family suffered from being ripped apart and sold around the country based upon breeding stock?
Steve – I’m not vaguely defining cultures. I’ll be as clear as you want to be. Removing the plank refers to my involvement in that culture. Cleary, I can do very little to affect the whole culture, as this conversation proves. I can only account for me.
If you don’t have the idea of one generation paying for the sins of the previous worked out then you should stop calling for it. It is dangerous.
It really appears to me that you are just angry and want some form of justice/revenge.
Likely you are hurt for friends and want to voice that rage somewhere. But Josh scapegoating a group is not only dangerous. It is flat out wrong and you need to stop it.
Dread, you just move the racial goalposts when it is convenient for your conversation. Don’t worry buddy. I won’t make you any more uncomfortable than taking part in an internet conversation. You can keep doing what you do. Pretend you didn’t stump for Trump. All that. I’m just worried about me and what my actions have caused and allowed.
Dread, you speak well for the culture I hate. I should shut up. Never question. Just go with the flow. Ignore the path of destruction. Can’t do it. Sorry.
In the sixties the black family had something like 70% two parent family … it had recovered from slaver and not been destroyed by Jim Crow… both have disappeared… and they had to …. so your 9:10 is irrelevant. It is just your anger
As for your pacifism… sorry… your language just means you’d stand and watch while others administer your justice… group condemnations are not pacifistic
The only danger in this conversation is that you might feel slightly uncomfortable, and I might lose a job and friends.
There are no other dangerous outcomes and you know that. Stop being silly.
I haven’t moved anything… real dialogue is hard work and blogs don’t promote it. We have been here a long time and should be able to talk even when we disagree.
Again clarity helps…
I speak for what you hate? That’s not hard to parse. I don’t want you to shut up.. I want you to be clear.
But in the end I do check all the boxes of what you hate.
And I am a man in Christ
This is a weird conversation.
I’m not sure how we can possibly say that racism hasn’t been or isn’t a factor in our culture.
Our churches tend to reflect the prevailing culture…which is my indictment against them.
The current trend in addressing racial issues is also less than helpful, as it does not have a way of redeeming that which has been broken.
The answer, in my opinion, is cleaning of the church from political and cultural wars to a renewed emphasis on the Incarnation and the Gospel…
You sound very much like a revolutionary, but I don’t read Christ in your writing. That was the point I was attempting to make, but then again, I’m delusional……. you said so….
“I don’t view my neighbors with the kind of suspicion that you might.”
Another wrong speculation. I grew up in a neighborhood as a racial minority, and raised my kids in a different neighborhood where we were the minority as well. I lived in an area that was being fought over by four rival gangs. My neighbor’s house (who is black) was shot at about four times a year the last few years we lived there. I didn’t’t go looking for trouble, nor did I expect any. But the antagonism I encountered for being in the wrong place and the wrong time (apparently) from total strangers happened over and over again.
You’ll have to better to discomfort me…
Don’t know nothing about your job… doubt it’s in danger though public conversations are nuclear these days.
As for friends… I think you have chosen those accordingly
When you condemn people by category they don’t tend to party with you.
Being silly? Perhaps you are correct … talking in silly
Wait… something about the foolishness of words, preaching…
No I don’t think it is silly and if you can lose your job…and friends you don’t think so either
“The statistics were grim for black Americans in 1960. Their average life-span was seven years less than white Americans’. Their children had only half the chance of completing high school, only a third the chance of completing college, and a third the chance of entering a profession when they grew up. On average, black Americans earned half as much as white Americans and were twice as likely to be unemployed.
Despite a string of court victories during the late 1950s, many black Americans were still second-class citizens. Six years after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, only 49 southern school districts had desegregated, and less than 1.2 percent of black schoolchildren in the 11 states of the old Confederacy attended public school with white classmates. Less than a quarter of the South’s black population of voting age could vote In certain Southern counties blacks could not vote, serve on grand juries and trial juries, or frequent all-white beaches, restaurants, and hotels.
In the North, too, black Americans suffered humiliation, insult, embarrassment, and discrimination. Many neighborhoods, businesses, and unions almost totally excluded blacks. Just as black unemployment had increased in the South with the mechanization of cotton production, black unemployment in Northern cities soared as labor-saving technology eliminated many semiskilled and unskilled jobs that historically had provided many blacks with work. Black families experienced severe strain; the proportion of black families headed by women jumped from 8 percent in 1950 to 21 percent in 1960. “If you’re white, you’re right” a black folk saying declared; “if you’re brown stick around; if you’re black, stay back.””
“I don’t want you to shut up.. I want you to be clear.”
You’ve told me multiple times to stop talking. And I am being clear. I’m answering every question that I see.
What is your vision of what a church should be?
How do you propose we address the injustices you see?
All this blaming white people for the entire ills of the world is why I quit going to church. We have our faults, but so do other races.
I have no interest in Critical Race theory or in racial reconciliation conferences. I went to church to hear about Jesus and not to be indoctrinated to massage all manner of races bruised egos.
Michael, in trying to be as honest as possible, I haven’t gotten there yet. As you see, all I have to do is bring up some fairly obvious observations about race and politics, and people go crazy. One is even claiming my comments on this blog will lead to genocide and I will stand by and approve the executions. Hard to have productive conversations with that kind of mindset.
The only thing I *think* that I want to aim for in church life is a focus which holds Jesus life and ministry as the priority and filters everything else through that. Thats it. Unfotunately, the prevailing racial dynamic and politic don’t look like Jesus life and ministry to me.
We’ve known where you stood for a long time Derek. No shock there.
And for anyone who has been paying an attention at all: I also have no interest in Critical Race Theory. Zero.
I get it…I’ve personally given up on having any influence to that goal and have basically retreated to a pretty insular world.
Outside that space there are pressures from the left and right to model their aspirations and I have no place in either space.
It’s a grim time, but in some sense, it’s God’s time.
“The only thing I *think* that I want to aim for in church life is a focus which holds Jesus life and ministry as the priority and filters everything else through that. Thats it.”
For what it is worth, that is what the early Church did… and that is what was reflected in the Gospels when they were written.
Josh, if I may be so blunt, I think what has got to you is the fact that White/Evangelical/Conservative culture “stumped for Trump”. Maybe I am wrong but I think this has a lot to do with it. But to judge a culture by who they voted for is ill advised. Personally, I voted for what I thought was the biggest holocaust our country has ever seen and that is with abortion. You have to outright twist the Bible like a pretzel to come to endorse the fundamental women’s right to an abortion. But I recognize this is not the only issue by a long shot but to condemn an entire culture for who they voted for is shameful especially when many folks consciences are seered by the thought of whole sale slaughter of the least of these. I will never condemn anyone who votes opposite from me because of very valid biblical concerns they have. But to me personally it was the holocaust in the womb that I couldn’t get past.
Jesus as revealed in the Gospels no longer holds an attraction for many…he is utterly counter cultural and calls us to radical lives of sacrificial love.
That’s not the kind of power we seek…or the lead article today would be where the action is…
It goes beyond voting…Robert Jeffers had Trump give the Christmas message yesterday to multiple rousing ovations in the church.
Thankfully, Trump is going to try to save the church yet again…
This sort of nonsense should not be countenanced by any church for any political entity…
I’m curious Duane where you get your statistics from. Almost every semi-skilled and non-skilled job has been threatened in some way by either technological advancements, political shifts, or economics. It’s something that I’ve seen most of my adult life. It’s tragic, but not always attributed to a racial issue.
Michael I agree. I wish all our politicians would stay out of churches. It corrupts them. Trump is not the first and won’t be the last and happens in both conservative and liberal churches.
Published by the University of Houston on their digital history platform. BTW, it’s backed up by US Census data…
Steve – seeing people I thought to be sincere Christian men go from “character matters” for my whole life, to then immediately getting behind Trump was very hurtful. It caught me off guard.
That said, it is not the only issue, by a long shot, and is probably more of a symptom than a cause.
pstrmike, you said “I don’t read Christ in your writing.”
You may be right about this, because I admit I’m having trouble finding Him right now. I am disoriented, and not sure where to go. Could you point out something particularly unlike Jesus in what I have written here? Because in my confusion, I am doing my best to focus on the actual person of Christ. Your critique may help me fin Him.
If you can’t imagine that the horrors of slavery, reconstruction, Jim Crow, etc. have reaked havoc on the black family…again, I don’t know what to tell you.
The Dark Night of the Souls are the places where we see Him most clearly…….albeit dimly. blessings to you….
IF one lived in the south east US, one would probably see where Josh’s opinions have formed. I have mentioned my maternal great grandparents here. G’grandpa came from Kentucky, from a privileged background and opinionated that black folk were hopelessly low IQ – useless for all but manuel labor. My G’grandmother came from Missouri, a descent of the explorer Clark. She devoted all her spare time and resources to educating black folk. She said they were not stupid, just needed the opportunity for an education…. Today we should all see that G’grandmother was smarter than her husband.
My daughter’s best friend was a black girl. She told of her father pulling into a Lynnwood, WA. service station and no one would wait on him. He was a good man, a service manager for a major Seattle car dealership. We have pockets of low IQ white prejudice, but is not normal anymore.
At least that’s the way it is up here in my corner of the PNW.
I try not to spend too much time on these discussions because I find them frustrating and fruitless.
History is so clear…it required a war where we lost 700,00 of our own people just to end slavery.
Fast forward to my youth and early adulthood when people of color were targets after sundown and forward farther to busses of brown children from the border being screamed at with hostility…by Christians.
There is a legitimate argument around whether social programs have helped or hindered minorities…they can be no doubt about what our history has been.
What I simply cannot fathom…and I’ve tried…is the notion that after centuries of racism that racism has suddenly disappeared and that the effects of those centuries have vanished with it.
We cannot seek biblical justice and restoration without acknowledging the sin…the debate should be over what that justice looks like and how it’s implemented.
Many in the PNW do not agree with Em’s assessment.
“is the notion that after centuries of racism that racism has suddenly disappeared and that the effects of those centuries have vanished with it.”
Be careful, that will be labeled CRT. Obviously, I completely agree with your comment.
The PNW has a very small percentage of black residents.
I was 14 before I ever met a black person.
The area where Em lives has the highest percentage outside the Seattle area…still tiny.
Our racism of choice is against brown people…but it’s adaptable should we get an influx of other races…
“Be careful, that will be labeled CRT. ”
It’s just common sense…I keep waiting for someone to tell me when this evil and it’s long term effects vanished.
Hey Michael, just received a gift box from Harry and David in Medford. They close to you?
About two miles…like most people here, I worked there at one time.
@11:10 I can agree with that post…
Josh… I have no regrets about my actual political positions this last year and half …
“Pretend you didn’t stump for Trump”
I overlooked that barb… I supported Trump and wish he’d won. 100% no apology. Biden has made me feel fine about that. But it was not uncritical and universal.
I criticized him in June 2020 on this blog
I criticized his post election behavior on this blog along with the so-called prophets
I criticized his treatment of John Dingle, John McCain and John Lewis at their deaths I think also on this blog.
I laugh at the claims of Jan 6 as a coup attempt but agree that Trump used many means to attempt to reverse the election
I have been very clear that Trumpism is not the Gospel of Jesus and is in fact unchristian.
Now let’s hear you critique your unchristian politics which are on full display on this thread.
Politics will never make any of us clean and will never save us… political parties are salvation narratives with false gods. We must always know that…
And as Michael and you warn us we must care about justice… but what indeed does that mean in the kingdom of God for which we pray?
Dread, like I asked Mike, please point out the Unchristian politics you speak of. I don’t see it.
Stop group condemnations — they don’t help and they are in fact dangerous.
I’ve pointed it out repeatedly and all you do is double down
Aim small Miss small.
Cultures are mixed bags —- they are good and bad. Yours included. Demonizing a culture misses the mark.
I already noted the Trump appearance at a Baptist mega church.
Are we to assume that the fervently gathered there do not represent an identifiable social group?
You aimed small — FBC Dallas — and clear — conflating the gospel with nationalism.
Are they evil —- probably not — deluded — I think so.
Shall we call them “ white conservative Christian culture?” Not to any helpful end.
We can critique clearly without rancor.
I think about this a lot as ,God willing, I’ll be planting a church when it’s medically safe to do so.
My hope is that I will draw enough people to cover the overhead…because all political engagement in the building will be forbidden.
We will focus solely on the object of Duane’s piece today…the person and work of Christ.
In my mind, FBC Dallas is representative of a much larger movement in the country.
Am I out of my mind?
If not, how would you address them?
But thanks for challenging and making me think
It does give some credence to the claims Josh wants to make
I can grant facts when they count against me
I still eschew corporate condemnations when they are muddy and mixed
Probably you are not out of your mind.
They are not the evil purveyors of injustice that Josh is decrying. They are not the racists that fomented previous decades of racial inequality. Every day has its own devils.
Josh is also playing a very unchristian sins of the fathers game
Josh, you say you never read anything about CRT but what you propagate here is the same thing. I don’t care what you call it, the ideology is the same. I can not tell them apart. CRT has many aspects that are worthy to consider, many that are just theories and many things that are completely wrong in my estimation. I’m just trying to figure out what to tell my 5 year old mixed race daughter as she develops her own identity. Asian hate is a real thing. Chinese hate is even bigger thanks to Covid and Trump. These stereo types and prejudices are only going to get worse. But she also has to deal with 1700 years of western dominance that she benefited from on the backs of slaves. After all part of her culture is “We” murdered MLK. Let’s not play the I’m not white game as you stated. That is a lot of guilt and penance for a 5 year old. But I could always divert attention from this and totally denounce the Japenese and fight another completely different battle. Sadly not much of this has anything to do with Christ. Think about how this influences are public education system for kids in their formative years. I love the history lessons I get from Duane. We can learn alot from them but to stay stuck in the past will destroy us.
Michael, I do my best to keep any politics out of my meetings. It is nearly impossible, but God bless you, I hope you are successful.
Dread – I see a clear group of White Conservative Christians who support Trump, celebrated Rittenhouse verdict, have baptised the 2nd Amendment. What should I call that group?
Oh and my Harry and David basket sits in front of me at my Mississippi mamas table.
As I have time I try to regularly look at what large evangelical churches are doing.
I see a turgid mix of nationalism, political partisanship, and a dose of bad eschatology.
I am guessing this is what Josh is addressing.
Neither you or I would be caught dead defendng this…
Like you, I don’t believe they are evil…but this false gospel is and will lead to all manner of wickedness, just as the far left did in mainstream churches.
What I would ask of you is that your voice be as clear speaking to that false gospel as you are in defending those caught up in it…I believe we are all closer than we appear…
I think the difference for me is I see a direct line from the Christianity that promoted and defended American slavery, to the Christianity that fought for segregation, to the Christianity that votes for Trump.
Steve – my guess is that you, like me, have read no actual CRT. Most of what this culture calls CRT is just someone addressing racial issues.
Your daughter, like my nieces and nephews have been born into a difficult cultural experience. Nothing we can do about that. I have great hop for them, though, because they will be able to see multiple sides of the discussion. So, I think that is good for you and your daughter, though not easy. I hope she is the future of our country.
Must you call them anything at all?
I would call them conservatives
That’s the only common marker many are neither white nor Christian
I receive that
No, the ones that concern me are white and claim Christianity.
Why must I call them anything? Because we are talking about them here. Its is the group that I have continually said I want to be free from.
Remember MLK’s cry for judging by the content of their character?
I know many Seattle black folk who have taken themselves in hand and behaved maturely and with character…..
They are accepted as responsible equals.
Beware of today’s BLM. Their mission is dishonest AND destructive
Or so it seems to me
Em – Stop using MLK.
A good read is ‘White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity’ by Robert P. Jones, who addresses a number of these issues…
Is quoting using? Okay, Josh – this is your blog….
I’ve probably over-opinionated here.
Can I say Merry Christmas to all?
Its just that you don’t understand his message, don’t understand his legacy, but know a 3 or 4 word quote that you keep using against what he was actually fighting for.
One of the things that struck me many years ago in our visit to Germany was when we visited the outside of an old church in a small town. On the outside of the church entryway, there was a large plaque with all the names of those who had lived in that town and died during World War I. There were so many names. It was a sobering moment for me. Was this an expression of German nationalism, or was this a way of somehow bringing them home and close to their hearts as the entered in to worship? I think the later, although no doubt some mixed emotions. Perhaps an expression and a hope that they would one day see their loved ones again? As an American, I read the names of these people and realized their individuality as humans created in the image of God rather than objectivizing them as “the enemy.”
If the city is the soul writ large, the expressions of our country are indicators of our common sickness. But as has always been the case we take half measures and look for who is at fault, identify the greatest offender and we demonize, insult, and shame into repentance. Rarely is there a call for a collective ownership and commitment toward doing better. And we marvel why it does not work?
So be free… they aren’t chasing you… apparently you were once a “them” now you’re not. Rejoice and thank God that you are not as other men
Dread – It is not that easy. Its wrapped in the fabric of my being.
Dread! Ouch, but. 👍 👍
“collective ownership and commitment toward doing better”
That’s what I’m asking for, but you don’t seem to like it.
” But as has always been the case we take half measures and look for who is at fault, identify the greatest offender and we demonize, insult, and shame into repentance. Rarely is there a call for a collective ownership and commitment toward doing better. ”
What is missed in these conversations is that the rancor is strong on both sides…and what Mike wrote here is true.
Solutions are not possible in this time…because we can’t even identify common issues.
no, you’re not.
For the record I have my own anger at some of “them” but whenever I aim my wrath it hits the guiltless as well as the guilty.
Find specific things like What Michael pointed at. Rant against it not them. If they come at you directly then you have a clear target.
You’re chasing a ghost even while you deny the existence of the ghost of CRT.
By the way you embody CRT more than you admit — I probably embody the white devil more than I like as well.
I would trust Michael’s assessment — he knows us both better than we know each other.
An Dread – I got the “not as other men dig”. I recognize that you are not genuine in this conversation. Not slightly trying to understand what I am saying, and unconcerned with he whole conversation, except for the fact that I might cause a genocide. So just leave me alone, OK? You can think me an evil CRT guy, and I’ll think of you as white supremacist and we can just be done with it.
pstr mike you’re mad because I dared speak up abut the 2nd amendment. You can move on too.
You have chosen a hard and painful way…or it chose you.
Your challenge will be to love people despite the fact that you will be marginalized and excluded from people and places that are home to you.
I understand what your heart is saying and I also understand we are called to love despite confounding differences.
I don’t do this well…you will do it better than I have.
White Conservative Evangelical Christianity makes CRT look really attractive to me, because whatever it is that you guys are peddling is poison.
Josh, neither of you men fit your 12:59 labels…
Now I’m done
Fair enough. It was a cheap shot. I apologize But I’ve been very genuine that was anomalous and wrong.
And now I will grant your request and be done with this.
“I would trust Michael’s assessment — he knows us both better than we know each other.”
I know everyone in this conversation, some better than others.
I have a deep affection and respect for all of you.
Put us in one room and much good would come of it.
This way…rarely works.
Wow. You really think you have this all figured out don’t you? I’m not mad.
I can now move on? Is this how you deal with conflict in your church?
mike I have said 1000 times that I have very little of this figured out, but you are quite unhelpful. The only offense you seemed to take is the 2nd Amendment. Otherwise, you are just heaping on judgment. So instead another dig about how I do or don’t handle my own ministry, just leave me alone.
Dread, apology received. Thank you.
Thank you as well. Perhaps we can do better another time. I know your lament is not amiss. I know we could do better face to face.
What I was referring to Josh is you seem to believe that you understand another’s motive. Perhaps I should have been more clear.
You have no idea how much work I have done and the exposure I have had first hand with the social justice crowd. I simply find the prevailing narrative as a form of establishing a scapegoat and it is incomplete and unhelpful. Go back and reread my 12:49.
Would welcome the opportunity.
That is Dread, I would welcome the opportunity to meet face to face.
Mike, what does the social justice crowd have to do with me? I’m not one of them, have said nothing about them. I also am not carrying the prevailing narrative. As you should see in this thread, what I am saying is very unpopular.
As many of you here already know from past conversations, my family has attended Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia for many years. I have expressed having some misgivings with the way some things are done there, but there has not been any abuse that I know of or anything else excessively egregious, and so for considerations for my family, we have stayed there.
Some recent actions by the church have now triggered us to choose to leave and we have been visiting other churches in search of a new church home. I bring this all up because CC Philly has never been one of the glaring offenders of the things I wrote here in this article or in past writings. There was never the ridiculousness there that you would find in a church led by a Robert Jeffress or Paula White or Greg Locke. But here’s the reason I bring this up: there long has been an undercurrent of the problematic items of the White American Conservative Evangelical culture of which I write at CC Philly and it allows such attitudes of iniquity to flourish, even if they are not blatantly obvious.
Yes, we can get caught up in the descriptors I have continued to use, but as I have said before, it is simply the case of trying to avoid the broadbrush of all Christians and to more closely define who I am speaking of. Many different cultures within (and outside of) Christianity struggle with one or more of these issues I have written about, but I do believe the culture I have identified (again the one that would most closely describe my own) has a significant struggle with them all.
Ironically as to where this discussion has gone, is that racial items is probably the one that CC Philly struggles with the least. Being that while still majority white, CC Philly has a significant mix of other races and ethnicities represented within their body and so I’m sure that has a positive impact in that regards. However, there are so many other things: partisan politics, Trumpism, slander of those positioned to be of the “other side”, idolization and protection of celebrities and the favored, promotion of unsubstantiated conspiracy theory, etc., that while many times not as glaring or egregious as the obvious offenders, are still rampant and dominant among the people. It allows those within the culture to feel just fine because they can always point to those extremists who truly take things too far and are the real sinners while thinking of themselves to be the reasonable ones standing for Christ. All the while, their conditioning within the culture has caused them to fail to see how many of these things really don’t line up with the ways of Jesus and any criticism that comes their way is seen as the world attacking them for their faith.
And it is this type of scenario which I believe is far more plentiful in making up the culture. We can say that, “Hey, we’re not racist,” or “We’re not led by politics,” or “We’re not idolizers,” because we can always point to the extremists who are these things and say, “See, we’re not like that.” The extremists may garner the attention, but it is the less sensational majority which keeps the culture quite robust and humming along. It is among this group where change must take place, even if the changes aren’t as conspicuous.
I’ll be watching your search with curiosity…we’ll see how hard it is to get away from what you’re leaving.
Josh, I appreciate your comments at 12:26. It’s a bit more complicated though. My daughters culture here in the west has a Christian legacy albeit flawed as you have noted. Juxtaposed to this is her culture from the east that is material atheism influenced with Buddhism, Daoism and confucianism. Black and white Christians in the west are brother and sister when you start comparing east to west cultures.
Kevin, I’m sorry you had to make that decision. I know it was painful.
Steve it is very complicated, but I’m sure she’ll be great. I’m glad you are there to lead her through it.
Sometimes some of us will come to a moment in time when we realize the people we’ve been hanging with for decades are heading in a different direction than the direction we want to go, and then we have to make some painful decisions. Josh is in the middle of this and trying to find the right path; I had this experience 20 years ago. It’s worth all the pain.
The search, believe it or not, has been mostly encouraging so far. While there are always pains when leaving a church body you have been a part of for a long time (honestly, this is harder for the rest of my family than it is for me in this particular situation), the churches we are considering have so far shown significantly less signs of struggling with these issues. I’m sure the more time we spend, the more these things may become visible. But so far the preaching and conduct we have observed and the personal interactions we have had indicate that these church bodies have less struggles with these things.
And, yes, all of these churches would fall within the White American Conservative Evangelical culture. This is yet another reason why I have hope.
It was more painful knowing how it would impact my family, but yes still painful on the whole. Thanks for your condolences.
Josh, re your 2:23 . You obviously did not read what I had to say very well. I didn’t say anything about you being a part of the “social justice “crowd. Take a breath.
Kevin, ccphilly was my home for many years but I will never go back to that place. At one time I bought all Joe Fochts teaching on CD, but I mailed it all back to them. They are unwilling to be corrected and your assessment is completely accurate. They are very political. I believe they invited Ben Carson to speak there among other very prominent political figures. It’s all about celebrity to them and power. Remember these are the annointed untouchable and they take that serious. It’s probably easier to get thrown out than walk away. I believe they border on being a cult but if you can walk away in peace and show the love of Christ, that’s even better. Peace brother.
Thanks Josh for encouragement at 3:34.
mike, exactly! You inserted the “social justice crowd” for no reason. Nothing to do with my conversation, but certainly i something the white conservatives get all bent out of shape about.
you’re still not tracking. It was in response to your @12:57
“That’s what I’m asking for, but you don’t seem to like it.”
And……. your 1:11pm
‘mike I have said 1000 times that I have very little of this figured out, but you are quite unhelpful”
I have worked with others within the social justice circle, so no, Josh, I do get it. I’ve had lots of exposure to all this. Much more than you know…… So no, I wasn’t “bent out shape” earlier in the conversation, or even now. So this wasn’t about me “liking it” or not. My response was about your thin arguments, broad-brushing, characterizing, generalizing, being disrespectful to me about an incident that was very traumatic for me and my family, calling me delusional, and telling me to move on.
“others within the social justice circle,”
I don’t understand why you are bringing this up. I’m not in this circle. I don’t deal with others in this circle.
“being disrespectful to me about an incident that was very traumatic for me and my family”
That’s not even slightly true, and a quick reading of the thread will show you to be totally dishonest on that comment.
I’m not being dishonest. You said “The 2nd amendment also says absolutely nothing about your wife and kids.”That was dismissive and disrespectful.
I don’t understand why you are not tracking. This is a social justice conversation!
For the last time.
I know more about what you are advocating for in this discussion than you do. I’ve read more sources, and actually done some of the work. Your arguments for the part, lack a solid Christian understanding of charity and grace. It seems to me, you’d rather fight. I’m done. Go fight yourself….
That was dismissive and disrespectful? Baloney. Read the 2nd Amendment. That’s what you’ve been bent out of shape about this whole time. I mentioned the 2nd amendment, which OBVIOUSLY mentions neither of our wives or kids, and that was your golden calf. You’ve been off the rails since.
I’m not talking about social justice. You feel free to advocate for or fight against social justice all you want. Has nothing to do with me or what I’m talking about.
You are 100% ignorant to what I am advocating in this discussion. You think you know, but you have no clue. You’ve read more sources?!?! On my life and experience?!?! Or on Jesus life and Ministry? Because I’ve read all 4 of those. I’m not interested in your social justice movement, CRT, or any that. I don’t know how many times I have to say it. You’re being arrogant, and SO far off base I don’t even know how to answer.
I think Josh has established that his lament is from personal experience and ministry and joy from ideology.
His language shows that he’s more exposed to it than perhaps he realizes but Josh is being transparent and not trying to get into it with you Mike.
I on the other hand would love a vigorous discussion over these things.
I usually parse justice which is biblical from social justice which is redistributive and more focused on the ideological morass
I’m around black people a lot. Maybe I pick something up from them. But yes, Dread has read correctly. Personal experience.
“You’re being arrogant, and SO far off base I don’t even know how to answer.”
Oh, I think you answered quite well. Argumentative, assigning motive and understanding, or a lack of it, now accusing me of idolatry, and twisting what I write. You very much want a fight……
would love to have that discussion with you as well and share my experience in social justice from a Christian POV with you; although you might be surprised by my conclusions thus far. But its not a discussion I’m willing to have here. thanks for trying…..peace to you….
“pstr”mike – I’ll gladly leave you and your kind behind. Thanks for the kick in the pants on the way out.
You’re reading things into Mikes comments that aren’t there.
Let’s give this a rest and reconvene at a later date…
“I know more about what you are advocating for in this discussion than you do. I’ve read more sources, and actually done some of the work. Your arguments for the part, lack a solid Christian understanding of charity and grace. It seems to me, you’d rather fight. I’m done. Go fight yourself…”
I know Mike is your bud, but he’s being a jerk here. He doesn’t even know what I’m talking about. He saw someone mention CRT or Social Justice and couldn’t wait to jump in and share his expertise. Maybe Kevin or someone was talking about, but I wasn’t. I did say several times I wasn’t slightly interested in those things, but he came after me, loaded with that junk. My guess is that he meant to talk respond to Kevin or someone else, and answered me by mistake. I mean, embarrassing for him, but I doubt he’s the kind to get embarrassed.
@6:42 *and NOT from ideology
I’m with you on a lot of things you’re saying here but I agree with Michael that it’s best to give it a rest for a bit. There has been a lot of passion in this thread and I believe also a good deal of people missing what others are saying and taking much more offense than was needed, if any was even needed at all.
Keep the passion to follow after Jesus and reject all the unecessary, if not strraight-out wicked baggage and cultural norms. But there may be wisdom in stepping back from this one for a moment.