Racism is Against Christianity

The title is pretty bold.  But pretty true too.

Racism is an issue that has been on my heart heavily lately. I now work for an organization which has “eliminating racism” as part of it’s mission statement.  I’ve been reading through a book by Francis Chan lately called “Erasing Hell” which is a great read so far!  I debated trying to go into an extensive blog post on MLK day about how racism doesn’t mix with Christianity, but I couldn’t quite find the words and knew that this was an issue that needs the right words for people to continue reading.  In talking with a friend, we’ve both concluded that it can be quite difficult to speak on ‘controversial’ issues without offending people to the point where they quit reading. Well read on or stop, but the text below from “Erasing Hell” might rock your world, in a much needed way.  I’ve found Chan’s words to be some of the most fitting on the topic.  Racism is wrong in all sectors, but especially and ultimately in the community of Christians, so I encourage you to take these words to heart, and please leave your thoughts.  I’d love to start a conversation about this.

Racism. The Christian church in many ages and in many places has stood on the wrong side of this issue, and its damnable-literally.  What’s racism got to do with hell? you may ask.  According to Jesus, it’s got everything to do with it.  In Matthew 8, Jesus smuggles a warning about hell into the context of racism and ethnocentricism (the belief that one ethnicity is superior).  The entire context of Matthew 8-9 depicts Jesus reversing all of the cultural and social assumptions of the Jews f that day.  One assumption is that the Jews as the “people of God” are much more fit for the kingdom than all those other nasty sinners – those Gentiles, those Greeks, those Romans.  But in Matthew 8, Jesus is absolutely floored by the faith of a Roman Gentile military leader.  This leader of high standing had the faith and humility to submit to the authority of Jesus.  And Jesus accepted him as he is, a Gentile.  From this encounter, Jesus spins out a short message about many people of all nations and colors and ethnicities that will flood into the kingdom.  And it is here that Jesus says that the “sons of the Kingdom” who think that God values one ethnicity over another (in this case the Jewish people) are damned to hell: “the sons of the kingdom shall be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12 NASB).  The teeth that once gnashed at the person of another race or color will gnash in the agony of eternal torment.

Why is it that only 5.5% of the American evangelical churches could be considered multiethnic (where no single ethnicity makes  more than 80% of its congregants)?  Why is that?  5.5%!  And we’re supposed to be living in the melting pot, the place where hundreds of languages and colors often live within a few miles -or feet- of each other.  What’s so sad about this is that many pople outside the church are FAR less racially divided. Consider the military, our places of work, or athletics.  Yet there are three places where racial division still persists: bars, prisons, and the American evangelical church.

We need to see the glaring contradiction in saying we believe in hell making no effort to tear down the walls of racism and ethnic superiority.  If we are going to take Jesus’ words seriously, we have to make more of a concerted effort to forge the avenues of racial reconciliation and unity under the banner of the Gospel of Christ.  

One day, Christ will come back and there will be an amazing worship celebration – with African bongos,  Indian sitars, and an ensemble of Mariachi trumpets – where every tribe, tongue, nation, and color will bow to the knee of the King and celebrate!

If this sounds irritating, go back and read Matthew 8, its written for you.

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them.

“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them.” – Romans 12:9 NLT

This is so simple, yet we as Christians mess up SO bad.  Whether it’s blatantly being completely fake to one another, being honestly mean, or the one we often forget: neglect.  Neglect, in my opinion, is the worst.  Yea you weren’t being mean or unloving to someone, but you noticed that no one was being nice or loving and you chose to be one of those no ones.  You chose to ignore the unloved person, the weird person, the person going through a tough situation that may be ‘awkward’ to deal with.  That’s, in my opinion, just as bad as if you were mean/unloving to them.

God calls us to love: the unlovable, the unloved, the widows, the orphans, the black, the white, the asian, the hispanic, the children, the elders, the parents, and on and on and on…..EVERYONE.

As Christians, sometimes, we have decided it’s okay to put people in boxes and decide which box is “most loveable” or “least loveable” or “someone else can love this box”.  that’s sick. and unacceptable.  oftentimes, things such as this step on toes because we hear the analogy “we’re one big church, we have different parts, some parts are better at some things than others.”  this is true, but when it comes to loving others, we don’t get to sit back and say “well i’m not good at loving ‘that kind’ of person, someone else might be”,  we are called to love EVERYONE.  the same.

30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” -Mark 12:30-31

This verse does not mean you can categorize people or justify being unloving to certain kinds of people.  It means love EVERYONE as God loved us, and that’s a lot.  “Neighbor” doesn’t mean the person you feel like loving, it means your fellow humans.  There is no way around it.

I’ve been redundant here, but, lately, i’ve felt so strongly about this.  Loving others is not something we can categorize, change, shirk around, make up excuses for, we are called to LOVE.

We sometimes use little boxes or the “someone else can love that person, but i’ll act (insert unloving behavior) way toward them” to justify the things below, but….

Racism is not love

teasing is not love

judgement is not love

neglect is not love

gossip is not love

physical abuse is not love

smite is not love

but…..

GOD IS LOVE, so what’s it gonna be?

Here’s the rest of the verse from Romans about our call and God’s role

Don’t just pretend that you love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of the good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.11 Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble, and always be prayerful. 13 When God’s children are in need, be the one to help them out. And get into the habit of inviting guests home for dinner or, if they need lodging, for the night. 14 If people persecute you because you are a Christian, don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 When others are happy, be happy with them. If they are sad, share their sorrow. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t try to act important, but enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible. 19 Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written, “I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it,” says the Lord.

 


Part 2: 15 faith-based predictions for 2012 – CNN Belief Blog – CNN.com Blogs

11. More churches will lose the moat dragon mentality, lower the drawbridge and dispatch members beyond the church service to church SERVICE, applying their faith in the community through volunteerism and outreach.

–A. Larry Ross, Christian communications executive representing clients like Billy Graham and Rick Warren

via 15 faith-based predictions for 2012 – CNN Belief Blog – CNN.com Blogs.

 

Yes, another reblogged quote from the same article, but i found it fascinating.

The above is something I truly hope will happen this year, but the bigger, more challenging, more alarming question is why has it not happened already?  Why do so many churches and people who claim Christianity have a “moat dragon” mentality.  Being “in the world but not of it” does not mean build a moat and further exacerbate the us-them mentality.

Service was one of Jesus’ greatest commands and yet we built a moat of comfortable, clean, content-ness, essentially destroying this simple command…

What do you think?

When did Halloween get so expensive?? Let’s save some $$$

So Halloween candy (along with milk, gas, produce, and many other basic items) has gotten SO expensive in the past few years….and I’ve been couponing alot lately (thanks “Extreme Couponing” and “The Grocery Game“)… so I decided to spread the wealthy about Halloween Candy Savings…

This post is also to reach out to my church and let you guys in on some secrets to help you win the GOLDEN PUMPKIN!!! by your sunday school class collecting the heaviest amount of candy for Trunk or Treat!!

A news story about the rising candy costs:

http://www.wxii12.com/slideshow/entertainment/29417758/detail.html

 

So….read onward.. I will update each week as the ads change until Halloween!  I will also try to have coupon matchups

Theater Box Candy (.75 at CVS through 10/15)

Snickers, Milky Way, or 3 Musketeers Fun Size Candy $2.38/each @ Lowes Foods through 10/19 with a coupon for $1.50 off 3 from your Red Plum insert in your 9/25 newspaper

Mars Fun Size Candy 2/$5 (12oz)  or $5 for 22oz at CVS through 10/15

Nestle Butterfinger Snackerz Candy Buy 1 Get 1 Free @ FoodLion thru 10/19

Nestle Miniatures Fun Size Candy 24oz bag $4.99 thru 10/15 @ Walgreens

Nestle Fun Sized Candy 2/$5 @ Lowes Foods thru 10/19

 

All CANDY Buy 1 Get 1 50% off @ Walgreens thru 10/15

Wonka Candy, asst varieties $3.99 @ Walgreens thru 10/15

I’m sure there are more but this is all I’ve got for now!

day 4: A picture of your favorite night

so I’ll be overly cheesy and pick 2 nights…. one of Tom and I’s first dates and our wedding…. on this date we went to a baseball game, watched fireworks afterwards, then walked around my favorite city/hometown and up onto my favorite bridge to get a beautiful picture of the city…. and then leaving our wedding through a tunnel of sparklers to head on a FANTASTIC honeymoon cruise…. can’t think of what could be better?  I’ve had tons of countless late nights making cakes with Whitney and taking hundreds of pictures (but how could I narrow it down?)  So… enjoy!  I know it’s supposed to be 1 picture, but I like pictures too much to only make it one….