I Have a Dream

With God, all things are possible. Matthew 19:26.

Why I’m Planting a Racially Diverse Church in Cincinnati (reason #4)

The fourth reason to plant a racially reconciled church in downtown Cincinnati is this: racial reconciliation forces us to have a missionary mindset. One of the most important things for aspiring missionaries to learn in preparation for the mission field is how to best communicate with people who are different from them. This is called contextualization. Basically, the patterns of communication that work for me in my context may not work so well in someone else’s context. For example, I have spent two summers in Argentina leading short term mission projects. I had to speak to people who didn’t know English primarily and had different culture and customs. It was perfectly acceptable for men to kiss each other on the cheek. In fact, to not greet someone with a “beso” would have been perceived as an insult. But they also had different customs in terms of food, time, family, and…

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Choose Your False god

One of the most refreshingly honest and penetrating albums for Christian consumption in recent memory is Derek Webb’s Mockingbird. This album was marketed using the increasingly popular give-it-to-me-for-free-and-I’ll-pay-what-I-think-its-worth strategy. This was a good move, since most Christian bookstores wouldn’t stock it anyway because it contains such incendiary language as “sex” and “whore” and he dares criticize the Republicans as the Messianic party. Released in 2005, this is during the 2nd Bush term where Republicans appeared poised to rule for a generation. My, how things have changed. There is one stanza from the song King and a Kingdom that sticks out to me: there are two great lies that i’ve heard: “the day you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will not surely die” and that Jesus Christ was a white, middle-class Republican and if you wanna be saved you have to learn to be like Him What I…

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Why I’m Planting a Racially Diverse Church in Cincinnati (reason #3)

There are so many reasons why its a good idea to plant a racially diverse church in downtown Cincinnati. Numbers one and two have already been covered, and I’ve got 8 more good reasons to write about. Three months after moving here, I’m very optimistic that this will work and that its God’s desire for this to happen. Fortunately, I’ve identified the biggest obstacle to planting a racially diverse church in downtown Cincinnati: me. And the third reason why I’m planting a racially diverse church in downtown Cincinnati is to strip away my own barriers and, God willing, the barriers that other people have to forming genuine relationships with people of another race. Am I willing to do what it takes to apply the gospel comprehensively to lingering and even undiscovered racial residue? If I am ready to do that in my life, the real test will be whether or…

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Why I’m Planting a Racially Diverse Church In Cincinnati (10 Reasons)

The first reason why I’m planting a racially diverse church in Cincinnati: it’s biblical. The second reason is this: The world wants racial reconciliation, but only the gospel can deliver it. Everywhere you look, from corporate advertisements to college promotional materials to fashion magazines, it is clear that people want to see a diversity of faces in the imagery. Martin Luther King, Jr. did our country a great service by helping to expose racial hypocrisy. He was (perhaps naively) convinced that white Christians would rush to his aid but most didn’t. During the civil rights era, our country has come a long way to give all people of various races equal opportunities for advancement. Everyone is clamoring for it. You can’t watch the evening news without seeing it in the advertisements, or hearing of someone being sentences to probation and “diversity training,” or a story about someone violating political correctness…

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Why I’m Planting a Racially Diverse Church in Cincinnati

The number one reason why I’m planting a racially diverse church in Cincinnati is simply this: It’s Biblical. I’m not doing this because a focus group survey revealed a “market niche” for a racially diverse church. I’m doing this because I simply cannot escape what the Bible has to say about race. All the way back in the very beginning of things, back when God spoke to Abraham and made a covenant with him, God promised that Abraham would be a blessing to every nation on the earth (Genesis 12). And then God gives us a flash forward glimpse into the future, when Jesus is praised in heaven precisely because he “ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” God’s worth is demonstrated by the diversity of His admirers. Between these two major events in the beginning of all things and at the end of…

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Are Cincinnati’s Race Problems Overblown?

Are Cincinnati’s race problems overblown? It all depends on who you ask. I recently hosted a team of about 20 high school students from Spartanburg, SC, who were here to help me canvass the city, take surveys, and get a better grasp on the spiritual climate in Cincinnati. I made the surveys and specifically asked questions regarding race. When asked to describe Cincinnati in one word, one lady named Mrs. Owens responded “racist.” She also said racism is the greatest problem facing the community. Margaret is African American and she said the racial problems in this city are 98 out of 100. Another African American man said 89 out of 100. When white folks were asked the same question, they were clearly more optimistic. Bethany said racial tension is 20 out of 100, Carol gave it a 25, Matthew a 60, and so on. I have asked that question also…

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When a Black Man Marries a White Woman

Few people actually think of themselves as racist. It is social suicide. But that doesn’t keep people from harboring subtle prejudices in their hearts that may seem innocent enough. Some of the most bigoted things I have ever heard from other peoples’ mouths were often preceded by the phrase, “I’m not a racist, but…” Many feel that racial reconciliation should be sought — as long as white daughters don’t marry black men, or as long as black daughters don’t marry white men. Of course, this is all couched in the sincerest of concerns, such as, “I’m not a racist, but I just think that this will cause unnecessary problems in your marriage. What will people think?” Or, “I’m not a racist, but what if you have children? Do you really want them to grow up being half-white and half-black?” When I was working at a Circuit City store once, I…

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Race and the Evangelical Slavery Problem

Pop Quiz. First Question: Who are some of the most beloved figures of American Evangelicalism? Answer. Consider these names: Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and Charles Hodge. Great theologians and preachers all. Second Question: Even though most African American Christians believe in a generally evangelical theology, why do so few identify with evangelicalism as a broader movement? Answer. Consider these names: Jonathan Edwards (owned at least 6 slaves), George Whitefield (slave owner, fought for legalization of slavery in Georgie, used slave labor in his orphanage, bought 20+ slaves in his lifetime), Charles Hodge (defender of the slave trade). Also, Charles Finney, D.L. Moody and Billy Graham all preached to segregated audiences even while on some level denouncing the slave trade (source: The American Evangelical Story by Doug Sweeney). In other words, history shows us that white evangelical heroes of the American past have either outright participated in slavery or at least…

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