What to Call Hyphenated-Americans

This oped in the NY Times reveals that the term “African-American” is not a one size fits all category for those who are “black.” The problem is that it is self-segregating based on physical characteristics, not ideology or something more substantial. Beyond this, it isn’t accurate. Let me demonstrate. Pop quiz: How many African Americans are in Dave Matthews Band? Look closely. Answer: there are 5 members in the band. There are two white guys. And there are four African Americans. How is this possible? Dave (2nd from the right) is from South Africa, making him both white and African American. Alan Keyes argues that the label “African-American” only belongs to those who are descended from African slaves. But this does not do justice to African Blacks of non-slavery descent. Unfortunately, any politically correct term can develop pejorative uses over time, creating the ever present cycle of new politically correct…

Continue Reading

What I’m Learning About Building a Racially Unified Church

I’ve had some interesting conversations lately about Christianity and racial unity. The first was a couple of months ago with a couple who have adopted a bi-racial child. They were part of a church who heavily emphasizes racial reconciliation and shows it with action. This has been a dream of mine, but honestly, until recently, it has seemed near impossible to accomplish. The typical scenario is this: (1) White church wants to be more diverse. (2) They engage in tokenism by hiring a black person to either do music or be a community pastor with emphasis in reaching black folks and trying to get them to come to the white church. (3) He fails. (4) The church abandons the endeavor while patting themselves on the back for trying.

Racial Unity in Church Planting

Laura and I visited Cincinnati today. I was there a week ago and really sensed a leading from the Lord to seriously pursue planting a church there in the urban downtown area. I blogged about it last week. A wise friend told me recently that when you’re looking to plant a new church, you want to see some tangible evidence that God’s hand is in the project and He is working to pull things together. In light of my trip there today, here are some ways that I definitely see God working. 1. This church plant was being planned before I came along. I was fascinated to find out, while meeting the Cincinnati Baptist Association Director of Missions, that his association has determined inner-city Cincinnati as his top priority for this year. While I was thinking that I would have to come into a new city to start a new…

Continue Reading