Injustice Never Gets the Last Word

Cincinnati’s Racial Wound On July 19th, an old Cincinnati wound that has been slowing healing for the past 14 years was reopened when white University of Cincinnati campus police officer Ray Tensing shot and killed African American Samuel Dubose. Mr. Dubose was pulled over for not having OH state tags on the front of his car. Major news outlets from around the world have been covering this story (Cincinnati.com, MSNBC, BBC, Foxnews). Before the grand jury’s indictment was announced, the mood around town was tense. University classes were cancelled. Police were on high alert. Personally, this all hit home because the shooting occurred in my home neighborhood, Mt. Auburn. The church I planted 5 years ago is home to dozens of UC students who walk to church each week. On July 19th, while I was preaching a sermon about how Christians can faithfully navigate America’s cultural decline, Samuel Dubose was being shot…

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Black activists feel abused by the Democrats

Have you seen this? The Democrats have had a stranglehold on black voters for years, which doesn’t make a lot of sense since the Entitlement state has done so much damage to black families and communities. This result was inevitable. In 2008, Democrats controlled the House, the Senate, and the Presidency, with the most liberal president in a generation, who also happened to be black. If there was ever an opportunity to showcase a liberal Utopian vision, this was it. And this is the result.

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The Gospel and Social Justice

Here is a very interesting video series where Mark Dever and Jim Wallis discuss the relationship between the gospel and social justice. The staff at my church has been wrestling through ways to practically live out the reconciling message of the gospel in our neighborhood. Part One deals with racial reconciliation in the local church. HT: Timmy Brister.

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How White Evangelicals Perceive Racial Issues

Divided by Faith, by Michael Emerson and Christian Smith, offers three lenses (page 74) through which white evangelicals typically perceive racial issues. Racial problems are caused by prejudiced individuals, resulting in bad relationships and sin. This is the most common feature of white evangelical perception of race. Along with this is the notion that the best remedies are also individualized. For example, white people and black people should focus their reconciling energies on building relationships with one another, and through this process the divide will heal. Racial problems are caused by other groups, usually African Americans, who try to make race problems a group issue when there is nothing more than individual problems. Since white evangelicals put a great amount of emphasis on individual accountability, some attempts to address racial problems that deals with entire groups of people will be met with resistance. Racial problems are actually a fabrication of…

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Hip Hop + Basketball = Urban Ministry

Great post on Baptisttwentyone.com about using hip hop and basketball as a means of reaching people. The idea: When we took that drive back in the summer and observed this sub-culture we recognized immediately two predominant things that interested them: basketball and hip hop music. We knew that we had the facilities and guys who could connect with these young men through basketball. We said, “This is out there but what might really be cool is a hip hop service of some kind with open gym afterwards…” The young men: They were 19-29 year old young men who play basketball nearly every single day, wear baggy clothes strategically placed to show off inked skin, work (or don’t work) part time to support various addictions, go from relationship to relationship sometimes producing children, and are heavily influenced regardless of race by hip hop music. These men, we recognized, may be directionless…

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When Black People Visit White Churches…

Between Two Worlds has this summary of a blog post by Curtis Allen. Curtis Allen, a black man, offers some of his insights regarding black people visiting mostly white churches. Of particular note are these four challenges to African Americans joining a predominately white congregation. He closes by discussing some things that will be a struggle for most (though not all) black people: 1. Worship style will be a challenge. 2. The expectations of biblical manhood and womanhood. 3. Theological emphases. 4. Over-greeting. From Between Two Worlds… Here’s an outline of part 1: Black people are not monolithic Does your church have the heart that you have for blacks coming into your church? Is your church in proximity to a black community? What sacrifices are you willing to make? So what are some of the sacrifices that may need to be made? And of part 2: Where possible, invite some…

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7 Elements of a Multi-Ethnic Church

George Yancey writes in One Body One Spirit that there are seven characteristics of multi-ethnic churches that are worth noting. Some of these were surprising. 1. Inclusive Worship. Music is so important to people that when they sing to God it needs to take on a form that is culturally meaningful for them. In the Euro-white culture, we have everything from Indie-Rock, to pipe organs, to Coldplay, to acoustic folk in our churches. But others prefer a keyboard and rhythm section driven sound. I suppose in India people would want a Sitar with Ravi Shankar sound. The point is that the musical style of the church must reflect the diversity of the people that come there. 2. Diverse Leadership. Yancey writes, “multiracial leadership is important because members of different racial groups desire to feel represented by the members of the church, especially racial minorities who historically have received a lack…

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Is Racial Reconciliation Dead?

No, racial reconciliation isn’t dead, but perhaps Christians need to talk about the topic differently. God has put in my heart a dream of a multi-racial church in the heart of downtown Cincinnati. In that previous sentence, there’s about three things that people have told me are foolish ideas. I have been told that (1) Cincinnati is “rough soil” for church planting, and (2) downtown Cincinnati is especially difficult, but to be (3) multi-racial is just plain out of the question. I believe that God can and will do it, however. And right now, God has answered my prayers of raising up a core group of Christian leaders who want to see the same thing happen downtown in Cincinnati. But I have been beating my head against a wall trying to figure out how to make our group more ethnically diverse. Yesterday, I met Alvin Sanders, the Chief Diversity Officer…

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Why I’m Planting a Racially Diverse Church in Cincinnati (final reasons)

I have written four previous posts over the last few months on the top 10 reasons to plant a racially diverse church in downtown Cincinnati. Here’s a recap of the first four, and the remaining six reasons as well. Racial reconciliation is biblical. Every society has its own racial tensions to deal with. The early church had the Jew/Gentile tension. We have the black/white tension. We apply the same biblical principles to both. The world wants racial reconciliation, but only the gospel can achieve it. Change needs to begin with Christians, like me, dealing with their own racial pride in order to love their Christian brothers of other races. Racial reconciliation cultivates a missionary mindset. The remaining six reasons are more practical than theoretical, so they require less comment. Cincinnati is about evenly divided between white people and black people. Any person who is called by God to be a…

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Americans are Racial Cowards

Here is a quote from Attorney General Eric Holder regarding the willingness of most Americans to enter into dialogue about race with others, particularly those of another race: “Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards.“ Furthermore, he says this: “the workplace is largely integrated but Americans still self-segregate on the weekends and in their private lives.” Please allow me to decode this: what he is saying is that people are willing to put up with racial differences when it is to their professional advantage to do so, such as in the workplace. But they are not willing to allow it to interfere with their personal lives. Perhaps even more troubling to me is the fact that he specifically mentions “the weekends,” which is when…

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