Church Posts

What Could Have Been

What Could Have Been

As you may have heard, I resigned from my role as Lead Pastor of Abundant Life Church. I requested the chance to share with the church as to my reasons why but was declined the opportunity.

2020 has emphatically highlighted how the church in the United States is at a crossroads. There are systems in place to reinforce a particular narrative and way of living which enable the current structures of power. If that is to be changed in the future (as many hope), it will cost something to create. As my friend Mike recently wrote: “The church is not called to protect and preserve, but rather to call forth a people to a new humanity. May we be the brave and courageous church that we have preached towards, sang about, and prayed for.”

A few weeks ago, I invited some of my friends who experience racism differently than me to share their perspective on my blog (see: Dear Church). I also preached about racial injustice specifically in my last two messages (see: An Opportunity to Learn and Following Jesus When It’s Hard). As many other churches and pastors have experienced lately, this led to some pushback in our church.

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Dear Church, from Karl

This is part of a series of posts inviting friends to share their perspectives.

Sit.

Just sit with me.

This is the beginning of the process.

In the Book of Job, we meet a man named Job who in an instant has his world turned upside down. Job is weary, tired, and seemingly hopeless. Then three of his friends pay him a visit.

“When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.”

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Dear Church, from Ty

This is part of a series of posts inviting friends to share their perspectives.

Allow me to introduce myself. I am Ty. I have the privilege of leading worship each and every week. My real name; however, is Tyrone, because I realized, when I was a child, that my opportunities may be limited based on my name and darker skin hue. I am a son of two strong, black parents, who are fearful that one day they could watch a video of their son being murdered and it be plastered all over social media. These past few weeks have made me feel like some people value my talent, but not my life. I am a brother, uncle, and friend. I am a human, and I am tired…

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Dear Church, from Robert

This is part of a series of posts inviting friends to share their perspectives.

In the face of adversity, it would seem that sharing a message with the people you consider your brothers and sisters in Christ would be easy, but the truth is that members of our church community have been silent and looked the other way for many years as if a problem never existed. Many of us have been ok with our society’s label of blacks having a “victim mentality,” so have not prioritized our time, energy, or resources to uncover the truths of that statement. I want to say that I love each and every one of you and am thankful to have a God whose ultimate sacrifice was to transfer our sins onto Him so that we may live in peace with one another.   

I am troubled and my heart aches by the recent events our nation is experiencing. There are no words when you see an unarmed black man killed, beaten, harassed, and given unfair judgment… but then witness the people who have done those acts get a slap on the hand and move on as if nothing ever happened. Please understand church, that this is a direct result of the anger black communities are experiencing and enough is enough. 

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Building Bridges (Article for The Christian Standard)

I’ll be continuing the “Dear Church” blog series next week, but here’s a special weekend edition of the blog with an article I had the chance to write for the June issue of the Christian Standard. In case you’re not aware, this is a publication out of the Christian Church movement (in which our church is connected). I had the chance to write about building bridges with Christians from other traditions.

You can click on each link below to read it:

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Dear Church, from Roosevelt

This is part of a series of posts inviting friends to share their perspectives.

Dear Church,

Thank you, for leaning into this problem of racism and inequality, with a heart for understanding the perspective of the marginalized.

Like you, my heart breaks for the fact that people feel that violence is an answer. I understand it. I fight the same feelings. Undoubtedly you have also felt the same but probably for different reasons. At one time we all thought peaceful was working until everyone got cameras in their pockets and we were able to see the reality, that nothing has changed. I believe the church should be the catalyst for the change.

Let me begin by saying I am black and I am white. I am also a Jesus follower. I have been discriminated to my face and denied opportunities behind my back in ways that I can only attribute to the fact that my name is ethnic, and my photo has darker skin.

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