A group of black pastors is seeking the impeachment of Attorney General Eric Holder over his calling for state attorneys general to ignore state laws that ban same-sex marriage.
“America is not where we have a king that gives orders from on high. But they use the influence of their office to change America,” the Rev. William Owens, president of the Coalition of African American Pastors, said of Holder and President Barack Obama in an appearance Wednesday on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity.”
Owens referred to the president and attorney general as “King Obama and King Holder,” saying they have gone against the will of the people who have voted to ban same-sex marriage in their states.
Obama, he said, was deceptive when he said in his first run for president in 2008 that he believed marriage was between a man and woman. He later said his thinking had “evolved” on the issue.
“He did that to get elected first, and the deal he made with the gay community was, when I get elected on my second go-round I will fight for it. But he did not evolve. He was already there,” Owens said.
Owens accused Obama of purposely lying.
“He said if you want you can keep your doctor. It’s a pattern for them to get what they want over the will of the people,” he said.
Holder has said the administration’s efforts on gay rights are building on the civil rights movement, but Owens said his group parts ways with the White House on that issue.
“I was in the civil rights movement. We didn’t fight for anything like this,” he said. “In fact, they don’t want equal rights, they want superior rights. They want special rights. They have always had the right to do what they want to do.”
Owens said gay rights are being used to trample on religious rights, pointing to pressure put on Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to veto a bill granting religious exemptions to businesses such as wedding photographers who have moral objections to gay marriage. Brewer vetoed the bill Wednesday.
It is hard to believe that 50 years have elapsed since the famous “I have a dream speech” of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the Mall in Washington. I was an 11-year-old child in Detroit languishing in the midst of poverty, but very interested in the strides that were being made in the civil rights movement.
I was the only black kid in my seventh-grade class and over the previous two years had risen from the bottom of the class to the top. My mother had forced us to read, which had a profound positive effect on both my brother Curtis and myself. I was quite optimistic that things were getting better for black people in America.
If King could be resurrected and see what was going on in America today, I suspect he would be extraordinarily pleased by many of the things he observed and disappointed by others. He, like almost everyone else, would be thrilled to know that there was a two-term black president of the United States of America and a black attorney general, as well as many other high government officials, business executives and university presidents.
Perhaps just as thrilling would be the sight of black doctors, lawyers, airline pilots, construction foremen, news anchors, school superintendents and almost any other position imaginable in America. The fact that seeing blacks in such positions no longer raises eyebrows is a testimony to the tremendous progress that has been made in America over the last 50 years.
There are some areas, however, where I suspect he might be less than thrilled. The epidemic of black-on-black violent crime indicates that there has been a significant deterioration of values in the black community. Not only are the lives of their fellow blacks and others being devalued by street thugs, but the lives of unborn babies are being destroyed in disproportionate numbers in the black community.
There was a time when blacks were justifiably angry that the larger community discounted their value, but now, ironically, many members of the black community themselves place little or no value on these precious lives that are snuffed out without thought. I think King would be waging a crusade against the marginalization of black lives in America.
Another area of great concern would be the fact that 73 percent of black babies are born out of wedlock. When this occurs, in most cases the educational pursuits of the mothers are terminated and the babies are condemned to a life of poverty and deprivation, which makes them more likely to end up in the penal system or the welfare system. This is a burden not only for the black community but for the nation at large.
Although I believe King would be very concerned for all parties in these tragedies, his energies would be primarily channeled into an attempt to give these young women the kind of self-esteem that would preclude their yielding to the charms of individuals who really don’t care about them and are only interested in their selfish pleasures.
King was a huge advocate of education and would be horrified by the high dropout rates in many inner-city high schools. He, like many others, was vilified, beaten and jailed for trying to open the doors of education to everyone, regardless of their race.
If he were alive today, he would have to witness people turning their backs on those open doors and choosing to pursue lives of crime or dependency. I do not believe he would simply complain about these things, however.
Rather, he would be raising funds to create programs that would show these young people that they do have real choices that can greatly enhance the quality of their lives.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment for King would be the wholesale adoption of a victim mentality that makes people feel that they are entitled to being cared for by others rather than working tirelessly to create wealth and opportunities for their progeny.
The amount of wealth that resides within the black community today is staggering. If the black community, like Jewish, Korean and other cultures in America, learned how to turn over dollars within their own community at least a couple of times before sending them out into the larger society, they would create wealth.
I believe King would advocate such economic policies and would encourage those who benefit from the wealth to reach back and pull others up by providing jobs and opportunities. I think he would stress the fact that this kind of philosophy will foster freedom and independence for the black community, regardless of whether anybody else helps or not.
Finally, we should all remember the aspect of his dream in which he desired that people should be judged by their character and not by the color of their skin. In part, this means no one should assume that a black person would adhere to certain political orthodoxy any more so than a white person would.
Certainly, we have come a long way, but there is no room for complacency.
Ben S. Carson is professor emeritus of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University.
Donnie McClurkin was invited to perform at the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement in Washington, D.C. This event was a government-sponsored concert with other singers at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on Saturday evening. But after the gay rights activists got wind of his participation, the fight was on to disinvite the Grammy Award-winning singer from this amazing event. Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s office asked him not to attend the concert where he was considered a headliner.
Homosexuality is not a civil rights issue. I am black. I became a lesbian. They are not the same.
I did not choose the color of my skin. I did choose to enter a lesbian relationship and to live a homosexual lifestyle for 14 years. I also chose to leave that lifestyle, but I cannot choose to stop being black. There is a difference. The color of my skin is an immutable quality of my being while my lesbianism was a deliberate series of actions resulting in a lifestyle choice.
It is a mockery to everything the black community suffered and the rights we fought for to claim that homosexuality is a civil rights issue. There is simply no comparison. Gays and lesbians have never been forced to ride at the back of the bus or to eat at separate restaurants. They didn’t attend separate schools. They have never been made slaves or been considered by law as less than human. The African-American church needs to stand up for itself on this issue, because even though I am a former lesbian, as an African-American I am insulted that the homosexual community would even attempt to compare gay rights to civil rights.
A homosexual has the same rights that a heterosexual person has. Every single right is exactly the same. They have the right to vote and be counted not as three-fifths of a person but as a whole person. They have the right to own property, and they also have the right not to be property. They have the right to learn to read and to obtain an education. They have the right to eat at any restaurant, shop at any store and enter any public place they wish. They have the right to cross state lines without fear of being hunted, beaten and imprisoned. They have the right to let their voices be heard without being lynched. These are all rights blacks had to fight for through hundreds of years of struggle, but homosexuals do not deal with any of these civil rights issues.
Again, there is absolutely no comparison. Gay rights activists will cite the tragic and gruesome death of Matthew Shepard, which was wrong in every sense of the word. However, Shepard’s death was an isolated incident and by no means represents either the treatment of or the sentiment toward homosexuals in the United States. His death is but a drop when compared against the ocean of atrocities committed against blacks during slavery and segregation.
Even now, so-called homophobia pales in comparison to racism. Homosexuals are not routinely pulled over by police at a higher rate than heterosexuals. Neighbors will not complain about a gay couple living next door decreasing the value of the houses in their neighborhood. Very few people will become frightened if approached by a homosexual on the street. Employment and educational opportunities as well as standards of living are much higher for homosexuals than they are for blacks.
Blacks cannot hide their blackness; it is apparent to everyone who sees them. However, not everyone who looks at a homosexual will be able to determine their sexual orientation. The difference between black skin and homosexuality is that black skin is a physical characteristic while homosexuality is a behavior.
Put simply, there is no civil rights struggle for homosexuals. While there is some validity to claims of discrimination based on sexual orientation, it has been blown far out of proportion. I have suffered far more discrimination being a black woman than I ever did for being a butch lesbian. Many claims of homophobia are intended to create a victim mentality within the homosexual community and a belief that homosexuals are being oppressed in society at large. This tactic has played well in media circles and in political arenas and has gained many supporters for the normalization of the homosexual lifestyle and the campaign for same-sex marriage. However, the desire for the legitimization of a lifestyle does not equal a struggle for existence and equal rights. Homosexual rights are not, nor should they be considered, a civil rights struggle.
In October 2005, I lobbied in Washington, D.C., against a hate crimes bill that was trying to make its way through the Senate and House. If it had been signed into law, the bill, S. 1145, would have expanded the legal definition of a minority group to include groups that share a similar behavior, with sexual orientation being an example of shared behavior. By painting such a broad definition of a minority group, the legislation would have made the term meaningless. If a behavior such as sexual orientation makes a community a minority group, then any group that exhibits similar behavior could qualify. It is conceivable that any person could make a claim to belonging to a minority group based on shared behavior with as little as one other individual. Crimes against a minority group count as a hate crime, the conviction of which carries an increased judicial sentence by law.
S. 1145 also claimed that in expanding the definition of a minority group, it would erase the memory of slavery. Such a claim is as ridiculous as it is foolish. The very idea that the memory of slavery would, could or should be erased is a slap in the face of every black person living in the United States. If we erased the memory of slavery, we would erase the proud history of the civil rights movement, we would erase the uniqueness of black culture, and we might doom ourselves to repeat the sins and tragedies of the past.
Hate crime bills that attempt to legally associate sexual orientation with race are but another attempt to promote the false idea that there is a homosexual civil rights movement. S. 1145 failed, as have many other bills of the same type, but I don’t doubt that similar bills will be tried in the future.
As a member of the black community, I believe it is time for us to stand up for ourselves and our heritage. Black churches may be ignoring homosexuality more than any other group of Christians, if simply because we don’t want to admit it could happen in our families and in our churches. While it is important for us to minister and reach out to individuals struggling with homosexuality, we also need to stand against the progression of homosexuality in our society, and that is a message the black church and community can vocalize. I want to encourage every black person reading this to make it known to senators, to churches and to society that trying to make homosexuality seem normal is not and never will be the same thing as our long and hard struggle for civil rights.
The color of my skin is something I cannot alter, but God’s gentle call and His love changed my life. His love was reflected through the obedience of a woman in a grocery store, a women’s Bible study and a family willing to take me into their home.
I want to encourage churches, both black and white, to come together to send out a consistent message about homosexuality, one that speaks and acts in love while not compromising values or becoming accepting of sin. This we can do by making our own hearts and lives right with God and then by following the Holy Spirit’s direction by ministering to those who struggle with homosexuality. I truly believe that what God has done in my life, He can do in the lives of all who call on His name.
Let’s stop hiding our heads in the sand; this is no time to play peek-a-boo!
As Donnie said, he was “delivered from homosexuality,” and there are many more of us like him around the country that have left the life of homosexuality. They talk about equality, but how about treating those who have chosen to walk out of this lifestyle with respect as well?
The Bible says in Leviticus 18:22, “Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin” (NLT).
Leviticus 20:13 says, “And if a man lie with mankind, as with womankind, both of them have committedabomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them” (ASV).
1 Corithians 6:9-10 says, “Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God” (NLT).
Yes, I am aware that is not the only sin the Bible speaks of; however, it’s one sin we are being asked to celebrate, and therefore it needs to be addressed.
What happened to free speech? Oh, that’s right! Free speech is only for the gay community. Free speech is not for those of us who speak about the redemptive love of God who has compelled us to walk away from that lifestyle! If we voice our opinion, the gay community behaves as a big bully and discriminates against us because we don’t share their views. Gay activists want us to shut up and go away. That will not happen! They feel that I, along with many others who have left homosexuality, were more valuable living as homosexuals than we were once we came out. If the gay community is so happy with themselves, why do they feel threated by our testimonies?
Church, we must continue to make a stand. Let me share this last excerpt from my book Called Out,addressed to the church:
Our loss of focus on Christ has caused the church to be caught by surprise in a number of ways as we suddenly find our beliefs and our actions becoming more like the rest of the world. Although there are many areas in which we have failed to guard against this, one such area that has crept up on us is the growing issue of homosexuality.
As homosexuality has become more common, Christians have struggled with how they should respond. Some have taken to the streets in protest, proclaiming that God hates fags. Others have openly embraced homosexuality, allowing gays and lesbians into the pulpit and leadership positions in their churches. And, overwhelmingly, most Christians are simply trying to ignore homosexuality, hoping they can wait out the issue until it goes away because they don’t want to deal with conflict or sin.
Dear church, we can be apathetic no longer. We cannot ignore homosexuality. The homosexual community is small, but it isn’t going away. Instead, it has become a vocal and influential part of our society. The church has been responding to homosexuals and homosexuality with mixed signals, but now we must speak with one voice and act. We must speak and act with God’s love.
The Bible clearly states homosexuality is a sin. Those who try to explain away the Scriptures dealing with homosexuality as being culturally and morally outdated are growing in number, but they are wrong. Parts of the Bible cannot be ignored or taken out simply because they tell us things we don’t want to hear. When I was living in homosexuality, I knew I was sinning. The Bible told me, my conscience told me and many people in my life told me. Unfortunately, I also had many people telling me what I was doing was simply a lifestyle choice and not a sin—people including the priest Haley and I went to for counseling. As Christians, we cannot make excuses for sin—any sin.
We must make a stand for righteousness and purity. It must begin in our own lives and be demonstrated by the church as a whole, by everyone from pulpit to pew. We must set an example by the way we live our lives or we will have no moral authority to lead others. There must be a concentrated effort to renew the family life by preaching and practicing abstinence until marriage, marriage for life and stronger parental involvement in the lives of children.
Janet Boynes is the founder of Janet Boynes Ministries, a nondenominational outreach that ministers to individuals questioning their sexuality and those who wish to leave homosexuality. As the author of Called Out, Boynes chronicles her story of living as a lesbian for 14 years until God called her out of that lifestyle.
If Lonnie Busch gets his wish, the hoodie Trayvon Martin was wearing the night of his fatal shooting will eventually be on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History, the Washington Times reports.
Busch, the museum’s director, said Martin’s hooded sweatshirt is a unique “artifact” that would no doubt prompt a deeper discussion about race in America.
Protests spread across the country Sunday in a second day of demonstrations in the wake of the sensational not-guilty verdict for George Zimmerman after he shot dead unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.
Demonstrations, from Florida where the trial took place to Atlanta, DC and New York, remained largely peaceful, though Los Angeles protesters managed to shut down an entire freeway and thousands of New Yorkers mobbed Times Square and blocked traffic for an hour.
He also says affirmative action is “a settled issue,” but “it’s not charity, it’s good business.”
And he lauds ailing former South AfricanPresident Nelson Mandela for making “reconciliation a national policy.”
The Supreme Court on Monday avoided a major ruling in a closely watched case involving affirmative action by sending the case back to a lower court.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV on Monday, Young was asked if he is disappointed that the justices did not weight in more definitively on the issue.
“No, the important thing was that it was a seven-vote majority that by and large affirms what’s going on now,” Young says.
“The courts just need to be very careful in assuring that diversity, the goal, is reached because diversity is about making democracy work.
“Some kind of affirmative action is important in a democracy and for economic competitiveness and national security. The Army was the first to realize that you had to have desegregation of a military to have it working properly.”
African-American scholar Thomas Sowell has said minority students can fail if they are admitted into a school they are not readily equipped for due to affirmative action. Young disagrees.
“We wouldn’t even know who Sowell was if we hadn’t created an affirmative action policy,” he says.
“There were lots of smart black people at Harvard before Barack Obama but none of them ever got to head up the law review. There has been a history of discrimination.
“Atlanta is probably the most successful city in America right now and basically it’s because we have practiced affirmative action at almost every level.
“Affirmative action is an effort to include every aspect of society in the decision making. Now in Atlanta, before we started talking about affirmative action for blacks, not a single white woman had a contract with the city, and so for us it’s not just about race discrimination, it’s about gender discrimination, it’s about including all Americans in decision making and in opportunities.”
Affirmative action “should be and has to be” part of this country, Young asserts.
“It is a settled issue because business cannot do business if it’s not inclusive of all Americans.
“I use this illustration: I was on the board with a gentleman from Family Dollar Store and there were no Family Dollar Stores in black neighborhoods, and he wanted to help black people and he wanted to know what foundation or what college he should give some money to. I said pick some good, strong, moral leadership in your company that happens to be people of color and allow them to own and operate franchises in their neighborhoods and let them create the jobs and expand the economic power.
“And I said it’s not charity, it’s good business.
“That was about 10 years ago. The Family Dollar Stores are all over town now. And that’s what affirmative action does — it opens the door to opportunity.
“I’m very personal about this because by any standard you address, I have been successful. But when I took the SAT, I didn’t get accepted into a single white school that I applied to. Now I’ve got honorary degrees from a lot of those schools that rejected me. Things are different now but not that much different.”
Former South African leader Nelson Mandela was reportedly in critical condition on Monday.
Asked what stands out most out Mandela’s accomplishments, Young responds: “He basically made forgiveness and reconciliation a national and continental policy. He came out of jail after 27 years with no bitterness, no enmity, and sought to reconcile black, white, Indians, even those who had put him in jail. And he insisted that his jailers be seated with his family at his inauguration as president.
“He symbolized the spirit of a people. But there was a spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation that I saw throughout the country and it was one of the reasons that I was always very optimistic about South Africa, that in spite of the years of apartheid and real brutal racism, there was a willingness to start anew.
“The values that have pervaded South Africa, first of all, they’re rooted in a lot of the ancient tribal communal values. They developed elaborate capacity for forgiveness and reconciliation at the tribal level. So the big question was, was South Africa going to see that free enterprise was the most effective way to get people out of poverty? And it seems as though that’s the way it’s working, that they have a very strong economy, they’ve been growing at close to eight percent, and that growth will continue.
“It may be that the importance that Nelson Mandela attached to free enterprise and affirmative action in free enterprise, that we had to make a special effort to include people who have been poor and locked out of free enterprise, we had to get them an opportunity in the economy, that’s beginning to happen and all of Southern Africa is beginning to grow.”
I learned a lot about manhood from the men I grew up with. From my observations, being a man was all about power and authority. It was about taking charge and getting ahead, staking your claim and then making it happen.
Men, it seemed, were supposed to keep things close to their breast pockets and not let too much in lest they be taken advantage of.
I used to think it was indigenous to my ethnic background, until I was older and discovered that men in other cultures and nationalities modeled similar behavior. It’s all about pecking order and dominance, who’s going to be in charge and whose opinions carry the most weight. I learned at an unconscious level how to do my best to be in charge and have my way.
The irony of all that male bonding was that very little bonding actually took place in terms of truly connecting to other men. Instead, it seemed we learned how to model the behavior of the most effective guy in the pack. We would then go out and try to find our own crowd to lead–that is, if we had the urge to be leaders.
I learned how to be suspicious, how not to play my hand and how to bury my feelings. But along the way I also lost touch with genuine authenticity and intimacy. I fell for the illusion that I could make it on my own.
I have since learned that not only can we not make it on our own, but to be on our own is to be alone! Someone much wiser than any man or woman made the statement that it was not good for man to be alone, long before man ever had the chance to prove otherwise (see Gen. 2:18).
LYDIA AND ROSA The birth of rising inflation in our era has forced many families to have two sources of income in order to survive. Over the years the traditional role of women as homemakers and men as their family’s sole breadwinner has radically shifted. I can clearly remember even in my growing-up days watching my mom and dad deal with the need for both of them to work.
A challenge of a different sort also emerged: While the economy demanded that both men and women have a place in the work force, women were not considered equal to men. They were not equally compensated for the work they did.
Unfortunately, some who chose to distort truth and keep women under used the Bible to justify their failure to relate to the opposite sex in an equitable way when decisions were made and finances were involved. There was an unspoken rule–at least in the neighborhood in which I grew up–that a woman had to keep her place and that place was in the home.
Certainly there is great merit to having a secure home front and a strong maternal love for the family you are raising. No one can take the place of the nurturing influence of a woman, wife and mother.
Yet I wonder how Lydia, the Philippian entrepreneur involved in the textile industry, would have fared in today’s post-modern age of Western civilization. What might she have said about a woman’s place? (See Acts 16:11-15.)
I find it intriguing that because of Lydia, Paul was led in the strategy of the Spirit to establish a base of operations for a move of God in the Macedonia region.
This was not the Jewish world of the synagogue, in which the study of the scrolls was for men only. This was a Gentile world in which the rules were different, the culture was different, the climate was different and the opportunities were different. Paul recognized that Lydia was a woman of influence.
There is a great deal of difference between power and influence. Power has little to do with leadership, while influence has everything to do with it.
Even authority has very little to do with leadership. You can lose your authority and still be a leader. You can be denied power and still have influence.
She was the reason the flames of hope burned brightly in the face of the flames of racial discrimination and hatred. Her influence paved the way for Martin Luther King Jr. to speak out against the inequality he saw in this nation.
There is no question that King had a major impact on how we view equality and justice at the end of the 20th century, yet the collaboration of King and Parks changed the outcome exponentially.
THE FEMININE VOICE In many corridors of today’s church there are those who still do not know how to resolve the woman issue. Every time I think we are regaining the glory of Paul’s declaration that in Christ there is neither male nor female, some voice rises to condemn the place of women in significantly influencing our world.
It seems to me that the percentage of women who abuse the privilege of power is small. It’s certainly not as high as the percentage of men who misuse power on a much broader scale.
But men who are hearing from God in these days of fresh outpouring are learning to observe, listen, and evaluate as the feminine voice provides the missing pieces and fills in the gap in understanding the unfolding of God’s divine purpose and will.
The rib taken from Adam was built into an entire support system that would reflect God’s glory in every arena ventured into. Men and women were designed to rule over all the works of the Creator’s hands, both in the garden and outside the garden.
The garden was the sanctuary. The first man and the first woman each had a responsibility to beautify the sanctuary and then extend it to the four corners of the globe. In open and honest dialogue they were to find new ways of viewing reality because they learned how to see creation and its workings through each other’s eyes. They were to collaborate in the process of heavenizing the earth.
Ironically, in today’s corporate world opportunities for dialogue–that is, shared and open conversation–abound between men and women. New and emerging models of leadership and influence are moving on the cutting edge of transforming businesses and organizations. “Empowerment” and “intimacy” are becoming buzz words in business society.
Compassion in the workplace was unheard of as a hot topic just one generation ago. Developing a vision of shared values where everyone feels he or she is a part and has a vital stake in the ultimate outcome wasn’t even considered necessary in the global arena three decades ago. Wouldn’t it be tragic if the secular arena modeled collaboration between men and women more effectively than the church?
Throughout the story of redemptive history we see vignettes of God’s intention to reveal the fullness of His glory through the collaboration and connection between men and women. When abusive authority oppressed the elect of God it was often the subtle and seemingly weaker vessel that became the key to deliverance.
Didn’t Deborah say that the evil oppressor Sisera would die at the hands of a woman? (See Judg. 4:9.) During the heat of battle, as his men were being overcome by the Israelite army, Sisera got off his horse, fled on foot and sought refuge in the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber. Jael drove the spike into the head of the enemy and crushed his skull (see Judg. 4:17-22).
Did Jael have authority? Not really. But she did have influence. While the battle raged not far from her tent, the victory was decided at her hand. It was prophesied that the crushing of the serpent’s head and the destruction of the serpent’s seed would be the direct result of what a woman had seeded into the situation (see Gen. 3:15).
When God wanted to initiate change in the nation of Israel, He asked for individuals who could get in touch with the feeling side of pain and bring it to speech to alter the flow of history. God, through the prophet Jeremiah, asked for the weeping women (see Jer. 9:17-22).
We don’t value tears much in situations in which we desire to be in control. Yet the power of God is revealed in the weak things that fly in the face of Adam’s broken image. Jeremiah himself had his entire ministry of influence built on his weakness and propensity for tears (see Jer. 9:1).
THE RICHNESS OF COLLABORATION Men and women will never be complete without each other. While at times we need to segregate, having meetings for women and meetings for men, we don’t need to rob ourselves of the richness we’ll find when we join together as co-laborers in the kingdom. Then we can manifest God’s glory in the church and in the world.
A world grasping for power, yet out of control, requires a church that is not afraid to be touchable, connected and flowing in a river bigger than our individual identity.
I strongly believe it’s the intention and heart of our Father that in this new era we begin to appreciate the dynamic that occurs when men and women collaborate for the sake of healing and empowering the nations. We must let the nations see the whole gospel modeled and see that transparency and honesty prevail in our relationships as men and women.
The fresh renewing we are experiencing in these days is ultimately intended to bring us to the true demonstration of God’s power and the unspeakable joy of connecting by being present to one another. Our willingness to drink deeply at each other’s wells will be the deciding factor in our ability to experience all God has for the nations as well as for our personal lives.
In the Son of Man we see the balance of logic and emotion, reason and feeling. In Him we see man-made cultural rules being broken and women having a place of influence along with the twelve.
Of late, the evangelical world has found itself reeling from cultural setbacks it once took for granted. The re-election of President Obama, state passage of “gay marriage” initiatives, the uninviting of Louie Gigglio to the Inauguration, and even Super Bowl 2013 have signaled to some that Christiansand Christianity have lost their welcome place in the public square. For the first time, some evangelical conservatives feel like an oppressed minority in the country.
As I’ve watched the chatter mixed with laments and jeremiads, I couldn’t help but think of Jerry Falwell’s “Moral Majority,” founded in the late 70′s and defunct by the late 80′s. For nearly a decade, the Moral Majority exercised its political voice largely in southern states.
It seems to me that the very notion of a “moral majority” rested on two assumptions that some evangelicals no longer find tenable. First, it assumed the basic morality of most of the country. It assumed basic “Judeo-Christian principles” shaped and framed the moral reasoning of the average citizen, making your “average Joe” basically friendly to the aims and concerns of conservative Christians. Second, it assumed privilege. The very notion of “majority” suggests strength in numbers, a perch from which to rule for no other reason than outnumbering one’s opponents. The last couple months have upturned both of those long-standing assumptions and some evangelicals find themselves at a loss for how to handle it, claiming to be “persecuted,” “rejected,” and “shut out” from the public square. Many who don’t yet go so far as to claim persecution now, ring the ominous alarm of abuse being just around the corner.
It seems to me that if the evangelical church faces minority status in a country that no longer feels as welcoming, it will need to learn to become the moral minority. And to do that, coming from a position of significant privilege, she will actually have to learn from some folks who have long understood what it means to be moral and what it means to be minority in a country that denies your morality and even your right to freedom and existence. The Black Church. Evangelicals could well learn to be the moral minority from a much older moral minority.
Here are a few things to pick up (some of which I had the privilege of discussing here):
1. Learn to suffer with dignity and grace. That’s not easy. But if the evangelical church is going to maintain a healthy dignity and resolve, it’ll need to endure suffering like a good soldier. It’ll need to learn how to bear reproach, shame, insult, ridicule, and even physical attack without cowing, lowering its head, or hating itself. Because of its privilege, white evangelical churches don’t know how to joyfully accept the plundering of its possessions and persons. If true persecution comes, it will need to learn this lesson in spades. There are two models: Jesus and the Black Church. Jesus’ model is perfect; the Black Church’s example is proximate, near at hand. One you read in the scripture, the other you can read in history texts or even access in conversation.
2. Learn to do theology from the underside. Privilege affords a person the ability to think about life and God from “above.” It allows a person to form conclusions in abstraction, detached from the grit and grime of suffering and need. But you can’t do that if you’re in a “persecuted minority” status. You have to ask, as Howard Thurman did two generations ago, “What does Jesus of Nazareth mean and have to say to the disinherited?” What truth and power is there in the gospel from the underside? How must we think about power and its use when we’re the disenfranchised rather than the brokers? In many respects that’s the great difference between theology done in Black and White circles. Most of African-American theology gets worked out in the crucible of suffering and under-privilege. That’s why it’s starting points and conclusions can be so different to those arrived at from the “top.” That’s why it can look heretical to those with power and privilege. The view comes from the bottom, and that’s a very different reality. I suspect that if the white evangelical church ever does become a truly persecuted minority in the country, the scope and content of its theological commitments will change significantly to include questions of power, privilege, access, and justice. It would be good to glean from the experiences and theologies of persons that already have in hand over three hundred years of thinking about such things.
3. Learn how to fight for your oppressors, not just against them. One genius of African-American theology and the Black Church has been its insistence on the full dignity, humanity, brotherhood, and rights of both the Black community and the White community. The best of Black Church history sees the future of Blacks and Whites inseparably connected. The best thinkers about the nature of humanity have identified the ways in which racism, for example, dehumanizes both the oppressed and the oppressor. The best activists have, therefore, sought not only freedom for the oppressed but also freedom for the oppressor. The “enemy” becomes the beneficiary of the oppressed’s love. This is the genius of a Martin L. King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. The moral minority rose up against an immoral majority without sticks and guns but with love and justice for all. In positions of privilege, we don’t easily adopt such attitudes and positions. We easily engage our “opponents” with a zero-sum, winner-loser mentality. So, for example, “homosexuals” are meant to be “stopped” rather than loved and included. We focus on the heinousness of the sin rather than helping the sinner be as free as we claim to be. The problem with that winner-takes-all approach is that those chickens will come home to roost when we find ourselves in the minority. If we’re truly moral then we seek justice for everyone, including those who line up against us on this or that political issue. In a true “moral minority” any “superiority” will be demonstrated in concrete action on behalf of everyone’s equality.
4. Learn to hope in God. When you’re the majority community wielding power in society, you don’t have to hope in God in quite the same way as you do when you’re the minority and oppressed community. There’s a sense in which it becomes easy to trust in chariots, horses, and armies rather than the name of the Lord our God. But true persecution strips you of every support but God. Persecution brings you to your knees, but that’s where you find power. That’s one part of the legacy of the Black Church. When life was at its worst, it was a praying church. Despite injustice, persecution and the threat of death on every hand, African-American Christians put their hope in a God they were sure would bend the arc of history toward justice and deliverance. That hope was not pie-in-the-sky escapism. It was the noose-is-tightening realism. It was the kind of hope the apostle Paul found when he felt the sentence of death written in his heart and despaired of life, the kind of hope that comes to its senses and realizes it cannot rely on itself but must rely on the God who raises people from the dead (2 Cor. 1). It’s a hope kept safe beyond the vicissitudes of this life.
I suspect that much of the lamentation I hear in the evangelical world may be the dying cries of long-standing privilege. I also suspect that the death of such privilege will result in a purer grasp of faith and dependence upon God. Much less will be taken for granted and more genuine thought given to living out the faith from the “bottom.” Perhaps we’ll see, as one person put it, that a lot of what we’ve called “thinking” has merely been the rearranging of our prejudices. Then we’ll find that persecution, if it comes, has been for the purging and purifying of God’s people. A purging and purifying that’s very much needed.
Martin Luther King, the leader of the Civil Rights Movement, grew up in Atlanta Georgia. In 1955 he led a boycott of the Montgomery, Alabama city buses becaue black people were arrested becaue they did not give up their seat to a white person. The boycott lasted for 385 days and the situation became so tense that King’s house was bombed. He was arrested during the boycott which ended with a United States District Court ruling that ended racial segregation on all Montgomery public buses.
In 1963 he lead a march on Washington, where King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. There, he raised public consciousness of the civil rights movement and established himself as one of the greatest orators in U.S. history.
In 1964, at the age of 35 he became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial discrimination through civil disobedience and other non-violent means.
Martin Luther King once said, “Science gives man knowledge which is power. Religion gives man wisdom which is control.
While science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly
with values.” It is values which give our lives real meaning.
New York Times writer David Brooks praised Martin Luther King Jr. the civil rights leader for his insight into human nature which he derived from Scripture because he was a preacher.
He felt that King “had a more accurate view of political realities than his more secular liberal allies because he could draw on biblical wisdom about human nature. Religion didn’t just make civil rights leaders stronger – it made them smarter.” And Brooks said further, “Biblical wisdom is deeper and more accurate than the wisdom offered by the secular social sciences.”
Wisdom is the ability to see life from God‘s perspective and
to make choices and decisions which honor God in our lives.
PERSONAL WISDOM :13-14
Wisdom not Position :13
Better is used to show that one thing is a wiser choice than another.
Generally in the OT wisdom was believed to increase with age.
Job 32:6-7 Elihu said, I am young in years and you are old . . .
I thought, Age should speak; advanced years should teach wisdom.
Elders were respected in the community because of their wisdom.
Having lived longer they had more experience which helped them to make better decisions and therefore they had more respect.
Youth – Heb. young man (used of Joseph 17 and men in their 40’s)
Wise – Heb. skilful (in technical work) or understanding (ethically)
Wisdom is acknowledging that what God says is right or wrong.
It recognizes God is the authority over my life and I answer to him.
Foolish – Heb. arrogant or stupid (don’t or refuse to understand)
Foolishness is not accepting that what God says is right so I do whatever I choose to do without caring if it is right or wrong.
Prov. 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of …