Culture Posts

Stride Toward Freedom

Today marks the end of something that defies most explanations and offers a new beginning that will likely be like other beginnings we’ve seen before. Trumpism will lose its prominence in the White House formal but is likely here to stay. And Biden, while I hope he leads us forward in a healthier way in numerous regards, is a politician offering only what the State can offer.

It seems like such a juxtaposition to have experienced MLK day on Monday and then have to grapple with the bizarre state of our country and culture two days later as we make a massive change.

Christianity Today offered the following perspective on MLK then and now and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since I saw this:

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A Time for Prophets

A few thoughts on today.

I am grieved and overwhelmed by what I watched happen. By what we are normalizing in the open. By police officers letting them in and then letting them walk out as if it didn’t matter.

This country has its roots NOT in Christianity—as many of my friends want to believe—but in white privilege and white supremacy. Yet my pastor friends can’t use those phrases or they will lose key givers in their church… and then maybe their jobs. Thankfully, I’m no longer bound by either. I’m also keenly aware of what happens when you take on the stronghold of racism in America, as my last year can attest.

The confederate flag was seen prominently in our capital today. Shirts said “Camp Auschwitz.” And police took selfies with them. During the #blacklivesmatter protests the response was dramatically different. I was criticized harshly (only from Christians) for participating in a peaceful march last summer. And now today we want to feign surprise as to how this could happen in America. If you are surprised by what happened today and want to think that we as a country are better than this, we’re not. Just ask the minorities in America who have lived this reality their entire lives.

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The Most Profound Question for Voting

I’ve been praying through what I should do with my vote this election. I don’t feel any obligation to vote one party or another, nor do I feel an obligation to vote. That’s because neither political party fully embodies the values of the Kingdom of God. My allegiance to Jesus allows me to navigate my personal involvement with the government as a citizen of another kingdom (Philippians 3:20). As just one example, my stance on being pro-life from the womb to the tomb (which I get from Jesus) puts me at odds with different parts of each party. This has meant that in the past there were times I voted Republican, times I voted Democrat, and times I intentionally chose not to vote.

I don’t decide how to vote until after I’ve prayed over it and felt peace with the result (I’d highly recommend this rather than assuming one option only). Recently, I’ve found much clarity in thinking through one question in particular.

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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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