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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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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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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What Would an Obama Presidency Mean for Black America?

Thomas Chatterton Williams answers this question. /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} Black children would be able to avoid internalizing what James Baldwin called “the propaganda of race inferiority,” since every night on the news there would be a visible reminder that there is nothing whites can do that blacks cannot. That is the real change Obama offers-all of a sudden the world young black kids imagine themselves inhabiting would seem a richer place to live, one without an upper limit. To Biggie Smalls’ dismal list of career options afforded young black males-“You either slang crack rock / Or you got a wicked jump shot”-we could add the office of president. And in response to what Jay-Z cynically defined as the black man’s…

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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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Planned Parenthood is “Excited” to Abort Black Babies

My wife and I have been scouting out neighborhoods in Cincinnati for church planting and we think we’ve found a neighborhood in the city that will work for us. Oh yeah, and Planned Parenthood will be one of our neighbors. Oh, and by the way, they’re “excited” to accept donations earmarked for the termination of African American women’s pregnancies. Black Pastors complain about it here. Further incriminating evidence can be viewed here. Planned Parenthood has a history of racist policies concerning African-American abortions. For Christians, abortion is about creation, the image of God, protecting the widows and orphans and not making more widows and orphans. It is about sanctity of life. But make no mistake: for the abortion industry, it is all about money. What started out as an ideology of personal privacy and women’s health choices is now a billion dollar industry with no small amount coming from the…

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The State of Black America – According to Bill Cosby

Barack Obama’s candidacy and his speech on race in America have brought America’s original sin and subsequent racial issues back to the front of our collective conscience. This is good and healthy for America. Too many white Americans (myself included) have little idea of what is going on in the African American community, while assuming that since we in the Civil Rights Era there is no more work to do. In the very near future, my family will be moving to Cincinnati to plant a new church. Our desire is to begin a church that will specifically embody the gospel in its racial makeup. Is this possible? “No, it isn’t,” I have been told recently, because I’m white. A white person told me this. I also spoke with an African American pastor in Cincinnati, who told me “Yes, it is possible.” His reasoning? Because I’m white. How can my whiteness…

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