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Monday, September 30, 2013

The New Racism

1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

There’s more talk than ever about racism these days, but we’ve come full circle from Dr. King’s historic speech to where we are now. The Dream Speech envisioned a society where different colored people would “work together, pray together, (and) struggle together” in peace. This requires that the separate groups respect and accommodate each other’s preferences and perspectives. It requires love. The government tried to accomplish this through forced desegregation. I remember all the fuss about bussing. It began as the most logical solution to segregation but ended with white flight and a collective sigh of relief. As usual, the government isn’t the answer to spiritual problems. Although Sunday morning preachers tout acceptance, the organized church is still the most segregated institution in America. It’s a symptom of the New Racism; we say the ‘right things’ but do whatever make us feel comfortable.
It takes a real relationship with Jesus to leave our comfort zones. If my preference for religion and my own culture are more important than him, I won’t tolerate music, food, or attire I don’t like in my church. I’ll make sure my neighborhood doesn’t have too many of “them”. I’ll support whatever “they” might want politically as long as they don’t get too close. I’ll secretly hope that my kids marry within their own race. Love is about getting close. When we love God, we love his people first, not our skin color or cultural affiliates. We count how many believers are in a room, not how many people look like us. Segregation in the traditional church is one of the most prominent evidences of its fallen, broken state. Segregation in our society, after the cross, after reformation, after King, and after a black president is evidence of our need for Jesus.
Christians could end segregation in one generation. All we need to do is have real friends from other races, letting our lives do the talking. All we need to do is tear down the cultural walls of our church buildings and allow everyone to participate. All we need to do is have honest conversations about what Jesus wants and how far we have fallen. You and I are the answer to the New Racism. It’s not new. We can’t look for a solution beyond the Love that lives inside us. There isn’t one.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


   September 15, 2013

  Matthew 5:13, Revelation 21:8, Luke 9, John 6

All over the world, Christians are being persecuted. North Korean believers have been run over with bulldozers. In some Muslim countries, Christians are martyred for sharing their faith. If God asked me to stand in the middle of the mall and yell out, “I’m a Christian”, would I decide he must be talking to someone else? 76% of all Americans claim to be Christians. Really? Real faith requires courage. Common decency and basic morality are declining everywhere in our culture. The salt isn’t salty.
Cowards are listed with the worst of sinners. Cowardice will exclude me from God’s presence forever. It’s not enough to go to church or quote the bible. Some of the same people who shouted,” Hosanna”, and ate the free bread shouted, “Crucify him!”, a few days later. Jesus told a grieving man not to bury his father. He told his confused followers to eat his flesh or they would have no part of the kingdom. Do I love God? Do I stand up for what he values when my reputation is at risk? Closet Christianity isn’t Christianity. Father, help us to live for and in your Son.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Clergy and Laity
1 Peter 2:5-10, Hebrews 8, 1 Corinthians 3, James 2                

Several Christians stood around my aunt’s hospital bed smiling. She was fine now, but weak from her heart attack the day before. This little group was committed to doing anything she needed in the days to come. Like Good Samaritans, they would go the extra mile. Later one man came to visit, stayed briefly, prayed with my aunt and left. His prayer was thought to be more important and necessary. He did pray well, but he wouldn’t be participating in my aunt’s care in the future. He did what he was paid to do and left to visit the next person on his list.
 Jesus abolished the system of religion that made the prayers of one person more valuable than another's. According to Jesus, all believers are priests and ministers. Paul taught that there is only One Mediator between us and God, but we often believe and practice something different. We think we need clergy but there's no division of laity and clergy in the New Covenant. We are all brothers and sisters. There's only One Shepherd and Teacher. When we believe and practice something different, we hurt ourselves. Many Christians never mature because we willingly or ignorantly ignore what God says is true. Sadly, we have put men between us and God. It's a sin. It's time to stop clinging to tradition and get closer to God.