Category Archives: Race

4 Reasons That I Unapologetically Celebrate MLK Jr. Day

history.comToday, many people will take time to remember the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. While I am strictly against elevating men to a point beyond simple admiration, I also believe that it is important to take time and to be thankful for progress that has brought our country beyond a time of legalized hate and mistreatment of people.

Overall, I believe in a sovereign God who utilized and purposed things to happen to bring about the civil rights movement. But as well I am thankful for Martin Luther King specifically because he fought to not only see some progress for minorities in our country but to see equality set as the standard. He could have been satisfied early on and not continued to press against systemic issues to bring about equality for African American’s. But he didn’t.

Here are 4 reasons that I unapologetically celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day:

1) Because of my marriage.

Being in an interracial marriage, I have become more aware of the racial plight that our country suffers from. I have seen racism and the mistreatment of minorities to a small extent, but I can only imagine the way of life while Jim Crow Laws were still legal and in full force.

My interracial marriage was not legal in my own state until 1967. While Martin Luther King did not fight strictly for Interracial Marriage, to act as if the fight for Civil Rights did not lead to the eventual legalization of Interracial Marriage is foolish.

2) Because of my children.

While this may appear to be because all of my children are at least partially African-American, I feel this is needed to be understood for all children.

For the sins of the previous generation not to be brought back by the next generation, they must see the realities of racial injustice. They are living out the benefits of what Martin Luther King was fighting for, but they need to see the monster of a system that he was fighting against. His fight was against a system of hate, ignorance, injustice and greed that did more than separating blacks and whites, but enslaved the minds into thinking and believing that due to their skin tone, they were less quality of individuals. People who were made in the Image of God.

That is why my children (and all children) need to remember the legacy of Martin Luther King, so that in their time they would prevent the construction of a system of hate like Jim Crow again.

3) Because of my church(New Breed Church).

I live in Louisville, Ky. The home of Muhammad Ali. The famous boxer who shined light on the racial injustices that our city had embraced. I live in a neighborhood that is predominately African-American. The local park in our neighborhood had at one time been the cities largest amusement park and had rejected African American’s from attending.

In the local high school in our neighborhood meets our local church. We aren’t the type of church you can easily label. We are diverse. We are really committed to Jesus and the local community that we love.

Being apart of a local church that has pastors, leaders and members that are white and black has shown me so many beautiful things. I honestly believe that Martin Luther King would walk into our church and weep for joy to see so many people from different backgrounds coming together to worship God.

4) Because I am a Christian.

As a bible-believing follower of Jesus, the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. is a legacy I support. While I may not stand on similar ground with him on all spheres theologically, and understand his fallibility; the truths of justice and love that he spoke of often, I hold to as a Christian. When he talks of equality for all people, as someone who knows how level the ground of the cross of Christ is for all men, I completely agree. As someone who believes that we are all made in the Image of God, I look at the value he emphasized for all life worldwide and I fully agree that all life is valuable.

My belief in the God of Justice in the bible brings me to look at the fights Martin Luther King fought for in his time and I can only be grateful. Grateful for his willingness to speak up. Grateful for the progress that has been made in our country. And Grateful for God ultimately purposing the changes that were made.

Those are four of many reasons why today is a day that I remember the legacy of Martin Luther King. and am thankful for the fights that he fought.

Police Killings and a need for unity among believers.

While on Brooklyn Bridge

A pic I took on the Brooklyn Bridge.

I have been nauseated throughout the day.

It’s the time of year when many people are sick for many reasons, but most are related to the weather.

My reasoning for having a sour stomach isn’t because of the weather though. It’s actually over the things I have read and heard about yesterday. Over the weekend two uniformed NYPD police officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were shot to death in Brooklyn, New York while sitting in their police car. Both had families. One having just married while the other had children. The shooter left evidence proving that this was vengeance for Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Many news outlets have given detailed explanations to this situation.

This situation honestly sickens me. There are so many things that could be said.

Hearing about the faith of Officer Ramos and the realization that on this Christmas his wife, my sister in Christ will be a widow. His children will not see their dad in this life. Officer Liu has a newly married bride that is a widow before she can even share in an Anniversary with him. Before she can even have time to get over the wedding jitters.

This Christmas will probably be one of the more sober Christmas’ within my memory because of all the pain and heart ache I have heard about. As well having lost my mother-in-law just prior to Thanksgiving, I can’t help but to think about my wife.

As I read articles from all sorts of angles, seeing news networks and all political parties attempt to twist evil towards their political agendas, my heart cries out within me, “Come Lord Jesus.”

My knees feel worn out from cries of help within the caves of sorrow. It seems that every turn I make, I turn to hear someone tell of complete and utter tragedy.

I will pray for the many children on all sides of these tragedies who will not see their fathers this year. I pray for all of the mothers who have had to bury their own children. I will pray as our country continues to be torn within the hearts of her people. And I will pray for the unity of Gods people.

As much as I wanted to do so many things within this post, timing and the pain of seeing such horrid acts really leaves me having to just say, I must pray.

Prior to his death he had foreseen coming, Christ went to pray at a garden. He prayed with such intensity that drops of blood fell from his brow. His prayer was for us. For our unity.

Saints of all ethnicities and backgrounds, political parties and denominations, our need for unity may never have been stronger in the history of this country then it is now. Let’s commit to pray for each other. Let’s commit to build relationships across racial and political borders. Let’s seek to practice the primary sign of our Christian faith(John 13:35), to love one another.

The Curse of Ham and Racism

Am_I_not_a_man[1]This won’t take long because it’s preposterous and promotes biblical illiteracy.

The Curse of Ham is a theory based on Genesis 9 taught by some Christians, Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses.

Genesis 9

20 Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. 21 He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. 23 Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. 24 When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, 25 he said,
“Cursed be Canaan;
    a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.”
26 He also said,
“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem;
    and let Canaan be his servant.
27 May God enlarge Japheth,
    and let him dwell in the tents of Shem,
    and let Canaan be his servant.”

What many erroneously teach from this text is:
-Ham was cursed with blackness.
-Blacks are the cursed descendants of Ham.
-With what is stated above, American Slavery was decided to be justifiable.

Several things to look at:
1) Noah sends the curse, not God.
2) Never once is skin color mentioned as being apart of the curse at all.
3) The curse is actually pointed  to Canaan and never is it mentioned to go beyond Canaan.
4) Canaan was a wicked person. His descendants elevated the heinous acts he committed.
5) What should be taken away from this story is the need for fathers to train their children for Godliness.
6) To hold to this ludicrous belief shows why Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses will never be able to make a strong argument for their beliefs not being racist in nature. These beliefs are foundational for both groups yet they have denied them in recent years to be more attractive.
7) There is no connection between this story and race. It is purely interjected to support what people want to believe.

While I am one who enjoys discussing race and the bible, this is a blog post that angered me. I love the scriptures and I love the diversity that God has given our world in racial makeup. When someone twists the scriptures to lie on what the bible says and to justify hating their neighbors, it brings me a lot of anger that this keyboard can’t handle.

Some extra articles for reflection:
Ken Ham
John Piper
Trillia Newbell

Ferguson and Eric Garner: 3 Needs regarding the race discussion in America


Since the decision by the Grand Jury not to indict Darren Wilson over the death of Michael Brown on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, our country has been in racial turmoil. Some know it, others don’t.

The difficulty though with this is that the tensions felt between racial groups in America seems like it’s been taken from the street, into the living rooms of people’s lives. Now it is not as easy to avoid.

Many people have told me about social media arguments that have come out of the opinions towards these situations. Everyone has an opinion. I have seen pastors, lay people, police officers… pretty much everyone voice their issues with the racial tensions in America.

In short, here are three things we need concerning the race discussion in America:

1) We need to have a learning spirit when discussing race, all of us.

I have read many books and have many experiences that I figured would teach me about race. The amount of articles and blog post I have read since the decision not to indict Darren Wilson in Ferguson, has taught me so much about racial relations that I didn’t know though.

As much as it is easy to pride myself on having a pretty good handle on race because of life experience and the number of books I have read, I have realized the need I have to come to the table with a learning heart. There is plenty that I am completely ignorant of regarding race relations. While that doesn’t seem like a surprising statement, it’s a very necessary statement that all of us need to come to.

2) We need to seek dialogue with others BEFORE engaging into online monologues.

This isn’t easy.

And maybe that’s why it doesn’t happen.

But it is vital.

Consider how many times that by NOT running an idea by wise counselors, you made a horrible decision that could have went differently. It’s important to take time and talk with people about their story.

I honestly believe this has been the biggest problem that has come out of the Racial issues America is seeing right now. Tons of people have opinions and freely give but very few are open to dialogue on these issues. Many are more than willing to post a blog post but won’t make a phone call or reach out at all to people with opposing opinions.

3) We need to listen more than we speak.

This is an age-old lesson that you have heard a thousand times but it is so true. Maybe this can be apart of being a learner but regardless, it’s an important attribute of people who want to see healing. Sadly enough though it seems that the majority of people speaking on these issues have little concern for healing. The majority of the concern is to be heard.

These three needs are simple pieces of advice but I really believe that the best words of advice would come from Jesus Christ, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

If we really loved our neighbors and questioned ourselves on how we can do that more often, it would save face from many broken relationships in our lives that don’t have to be broken.

The Humanity of our “Heroes of the Faith”

Momma Bear and I were up talking last night. We put the kiddos to bed and began talking through some ideas about the baby that’s on the way. We have a girls name that has been set since we started dating. We have a boys name. The boys name is based off two Christian preachers in evangelical history who have had some influence on me.

After writing on the puritans and their error regarding slavery, I’ve not been able to get it off my mind.

What if I was to name my son after a guy who supported slavery? What if I named him after a guy who had a racist heart?

So I’ve been asking around and doing some research on the guys who I admired for so long. Momma Bear and I have a name we are thinking about going with. But last night as we were up talking, I was thinking through how deep of an issue race is. Continue reading

Frederick Douglass, Slavery and Christianity

I have a constant desire to read and grow in my knowledge of different subjects, race is one of those

I recently purchased the Narrative of Frederick Douglass. I couldn’t put it down. It was a really easy, quick read.

While reading it though I became dumbfounded as I saw on paper the horrible details of the gruesome toll of slavery. We’ve all heard it. I’ve seen the movie Roots. I learned about it but hearing a first person detail of it’s effects by someone who received the lashings and torment really shook me.

There were a lot of powerful moments in the book that I had to underline and circle with a pen but one of the most powerful was the detail of how his grandmother finished her life. She raised and buried her own master. She outlived most of her children and when the master passed away they auctioned off her family individually. With her they made a small hut in the woods and left her there to fend for herself.

At this point of the book, Douglass details how horrible of a system slavery is. He points out the amount of evil it takes to follow through with the decisions many slave holders make.

But his details about the horrid treatment of his grandmother shook me more then any of the whippings or beatings detailed. To leave an elderly woman in a small cabin in the middle of the woods by herself, knowing that this was going to for sure be her tomb is beyond inhumane. It’s sick and evil.

Throughout reading the book it is noticeable that Douglass has a rough view of the Church and God. But reading the Appendix Douglass explains that his problem is that he finds joy in reading of Christ, but then knowing these men who are extremely devout in their religion yet abuse slaves, prostitute women out and steal the wages of working slaves, it caused Douglass to despise the religion he frequently saw of these men.

Which brings me to these two thoughts:

What are the Theological blind spots that the church has today?
Is the slavery that some Puritan pastors participated in pardonable?

1. What are the Theological blind spots that the church has today?

This is a tough one because if they were my blind spots, then I would be changing them as I write this. So, in some way I must answer, I don’t know.

But there are issues that I feel the church needs to regularly weigh with the scriptures regarding it’s stance.

Here are some issues I think that are needed to consistently be weighed:

* Biblical Manhood and Womanhood(Complimentarian/Egalitarian)
* Homosexuality and how to respond.
* Views of Scripture.
* Views on Abortion.
* Views on the Poor.
* Race relations.

With all of these, I think the church needs to take consistent consideration over what it’s stance is and why they hold that position. I am not saying that the church’s position on these topics will need to change, but I am saying that the church needs to know why it stands where it does on each one of these.

2. Is the slavery that some Puritan pastors participated in pardonable?

Many have hit on this just a couple of years ago. Thomas Kidd has a great collection of good thoughts and other links.

Hip Hop artist Propaganda has put out a song detailing this tension. It’s titled Precious Puritans.

There are many who have given different opinions such as:
Thabiti Anyabwile
Anthony Bradley
Mike Leake

I will say this, after reading this book and seeing the devotional lives of many of these slaveholders who would abuse and do many horrible things to their slaves, I am reminded that I consistently need to be weighing my life with the word. What culturally acceptable behaviors are ungodly? What leniencies do I have that are not loving my neighbor as myself and loving God with all of my heart, soul, mind or strength?

My view on the puritans is that they were men who loved the word of God and got others to see the need for loving it. There are good things about their lives that I am thankful for. In the same token there are things that were horrible. When I die I know that like everyone in the bible, there will be huge “misses” I had in my life. There will be area’s that I am blind to.

But I’d be lying about the fact that my respect and esteem for them changes when considering they would look at my wife and children as deserving of slavery because of their skin color. However people want to interpret that, the fact is, owning slaves is supporting slavery as an institution. Supporting it as an institution is hard to reconcile. That’s like when I hear people tell me about “good” drug dealers who do charity for their local neighborhood.

As well one thing this reminds me is that just because a theological giant I look up to supports or believes in a certain thing, does not mean he is right.

Douglass puts it poetically describing his tension with slaveholders claiming to be Christians,

“The man who wields the blood-clotted cow skin during the week fills the pulpit on Sunday, and claims to be a minister of the meek and lowly Jesus. The man who robs me of my earnings at the end of each week meets me as a class leader on Sunday morning, to show me the way of life, and the path of salvation. He who sells my sister, for purposes of prostitution, stands forth as the pious advocate of purity. He who proclaims it a religious duty to read the Bible denies me the right of learning to read the name of the God who made me. He who is the religious advocate of marriage robs whole millions of its sacred influence, and leaves them to the ravages of wholesale pollution. The warm defender of the sacredness of the family relation is the same that scatters whole families,—sundering husbands and wives, parents and children, sisters and brothers,—leaving the hut vacant, and the hearth desolate. We see the thief preaching against theft, and the adulterer against adultery. We have men sold to build churches, women sold to support the gospel, and babes sold to purchase Bibles for the poor heathen! all for the glory of God and the good of souls!”

Christians, Spike Lee has some words we need to hear…

When Spike Lee sounded off about gentrification while speaking at the Pratt Institute in honor of African American History month, many people cringed. Many people were frustrated. You can listen and read about the entire talk he gave here(Warning on Language).

I read a lot of people who were ticked off about how Spike Lee’s rant was racist, hateful and unneeded.

I liked what he said.

I’m glad it’s finally a conversation because honestly, this is how many people feel about gentrification. If you walk into many barbershops, you’re going to hear some honest opinions you won’t likely see in the New York Post or local paper. The things Spike Lee said are the same things that people have been saying for years but haven’t had a platform to express their selves.

Was what he said racist?

No. This was a man telling you how he feels after the mistreatment and disrespect his neighborhood has endured in recent years. Your neighborhood means a lot to you. Even after you have “grownup” and moved out of it, it still has a piece of your heart. When bad things happen in your neighborhood that is like bad things happening to your family(ie Spike referencing his dad having police called on him). Spike is frustrated like many other people.

What about all these White Christians?

John Perkins is a hero to almost anyone doing Urban Ministry. He wrote one of the textbooks for every person engaging an urban area. When Perkins coined the 3 R’s (Reconciliation, Relocation and Redistribution) many ministries changed strategies and decided to begin engagement in Urban area’s.

One of the R’s is Relocation. This has brought an influx of evangelicals moving into Urban communities. Some times it’s Missional Hipsters, Other times it’s Justice advocates. Regardless, you have a large community of people who aren’t familiar with an area moving in to bring positive change. There is some good that can come from this. But there is one concerning thing. What about the people who have lived indigenously in this neighborhood for years? How do they feel about all of this change?

Spike Lee’s “rant” needs to be listened to by every Urban-dwelling Evangelical. Whether or not your doing so Missionally or for the sake of Justice, you need to understand how some people do and can potentially feel in time. Understand and be more sensitive with the decisions you, your ministry/church and others moving in make so that you are not simply exercising your white privilege and power in a well-meaning but offensive way.