Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Black List

The Black List: Volume One is a documentary in which Journalist Elvis Mitchell interviews twenty-two African American leaders, ranging from athletes and academics to politicians, social activists, and artists to help to paint a picture of what it means to be black in America. It's insightful and interesting to hear each of their stories. It's worth your time..

Chris Rock had some interesting (and humorous) thoughts on equality:

He said that as revolutionary as Jackie Robinson was to baseball in 1947, he didn't necessarily bring equality with him. It was only in the 1970's that you began to see equality in baseball because that's when you saw some bad black baseball players. (To which my Dad agreed that yes, that's when there was the first emergence of bad black baseball players).

He goes on to say that when minorities are allowed to suck and are welcomed back, that's when there is true equality.

“True equality is the equality to be as bad as the white man, …That’s really Martin Luther’s King’s dream coming true.”

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Building the Kingdom

"The people of the Kingdom have a unique mandate to care for the needs of the vulnerable and the voiceless. Our scriptures are quite clear about this. It has been from antiquity both our birthright and our responsibility. We cannot rightly take joy in the rebirth of the city if no provision is being made to include the poor as co-participants. It will not be enough to offer food baskets at Christmas to migrating masses of needy people who are being driven by market forces away from the vital services of the city. Nor will our well-intentioned programs and ministries suffice for those being scattered to unwelcoming edge cities. We must be more intelligent than this. More strategic." -Bob Lupton

"..there is a vast untapped reservoir of giftedness ready to channel into the work of the Kingdom – secular sounding gifts like deal-making, lending, insuring, lawyering, marketing, architecture, real estate developing to name but a few. Under the Lordship of Christ, these become spiritual gifts ideally designed for the work of Biblical justice." -Bob Lupton

If we want to get serious about breaking the cycle of poverty, we must be more intelligent, and more strategic.

I've heard great analogies that speak to this very idea. For instance, let's say that a factory is located near a river. The pollution that is created at that factory is dumped into the nearby river. 25 miles downstream the effects are seen and felt. So people begin to clean up the river at that spot. And they continue to do so. Some progress is made, however the pollution doesn't stop, and despite the efforts to clean up and stop the pollution from spreading to other parts of the river, it eventually does. While the cleanup efforts are still ongoing, a new group of people actually go to factory that is creating all of the pollution. And they attack the problem from it's source.

Relief work is so important. Assistance in monthly rent payments or utility bills, providing transportation needs, educational tutoring, food pantries, shelters, and any other type of immediate relief work is extremely important and necessary.

However, community development can be broken into two parts. Community development through relief/aid, and community development through systemic changes.

Because if we want break the cycle of poverty, we'll need to continue to provide those relief services as well as becoming more strategic to battle these systems that continue to oppress and impoverish. We as followers of Jesus need to tap into this vast reservoir of giftedness and become an active part of God's kingdom. From people at the grassroots level all the way to the CEO level.. all have a vital role in building God's kingdom 'on earth as it is in heaven'.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

be a Doer.. not a Hearer..

The front page of Raleigh's News and Observer reads: Food donations fail to meet greater need

For those in Raleigh, I hope that they take the time to read this article and I hope it sinks in. Especially to those like me who don't have to worry about where my next meal will come from. Especially if you are a follower of Jesus and you have what the poor don't. Power, Privilege, Mobility, Excess, etc..

I'm thankful for the food that has been (or will be) donated for families in and around Raleigh but it's heartbreaking to hear about the 80 families on the waiting list for beds at the Salvation Army shelter, especially as I sit in a heated house with a bed ten feet away.

I hope over the holiday season, and especially beyond, we will remember the words of Jesus, and understand their full meaning, when he says:
"The poor will always be with you.." Matthew 26:11
Familiar passage to us, but to a first century disciple this was more then just social commentary by Jesus. Jesus is making a direct reference to a passage in Deuteronomy that would have been so clear and so easily understood by a first century disciple or a first century hearer.
"There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land." Deuteronomy 15:11
For those who have power, privilege, mobility, and excess.. especially those that follow Jesus, let's be openhanded toward our brothers and towards the poor and needy in Raleigh, or in your city.

"Therefore, the question is, how can we see suffering in our world and be moved to compassion as Jesus was moved when he saw a great crowd of people without food (Matthew 14:14)? This question has become very urgent at a time when we see so much and are moved so little" -Henri Nouwen

Let us move beyond our emotion and into creative action.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


This is a video from the CCDA Conference.. After seeing it again I have the same initial thought as I had before: I need to take krumping lessons..

Friday, November 14, 2008

Moving Beyond Emotion

"As long as religious people are well dressed, well fed, and well cared for, words about being on solidarity with the poor will remain pious words more likely to evoke good feelings than creative actions." -Henri Nouwen

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Great Example

"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." Mark 1:35

Sleeping in is easy, waking up early and spending time with your Creator is hard.

Being Still

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

Being busy is easy, but being still is hard.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Slowing Down

Being slow to speak and slow to anger is harder than you’d think. I don’t like to associate myself with either political party or with a church denomination because I think they all stand for some great things and some not so great things. I don’t mind discussions or debates, but when people stake claim to something and do so in the name of Jesus, and I don't necessarily agree with them, I get heated. And it’s in those moments that I’m trying to learn to just sit back and listen more instead of being in attack mode.

I just get so passionate about us as Christians being set free from what holds us captive. Politics or denominational affiliations, to name a few, have held Christians captive for years. Instead of recognizing that we are under the same Lordship, we tend to bicker, argue, and debate over details and the meaning of words or phrases.

Instead we should be united in our convictions with a common purpose and mind (Philippians 2:1-2). Jesus didn’t die for church doctrine or for your political party. Jesus didn’t die so we could spend our time arguing over who is more right than the other.

Yes, there is much to be said about guarding ourselves against those wolves in sheep’s clothing and against false teachers. But again, Religion that our God accepts is that we guard ourselves against the pollution from this world, AND that we care for the poor and the marginalized (James 1:27).

Here is an interesting question that the one person (if there is one) who reads this can help to answer. The way I’ve come to grips with some of the hot topics that really create the most division that I’ve seen in the Church (predestination/free will, limited atonement/universal atonement, conditional salvation/once saved always saved) is recognizing that there are valid arguments and evidence to back each particular view (maybe that's wrong in itself.. but anyways). So this question was asked to me:

How can you be in direct ministry with somebody that believes the opposite from what you do? (pertaining to those three things I listed)

And my question back to them was is it really that important to get all of those details correct? Aren't there more important things we should be discussing and uniting against? And that if it truly was one or the other it would explicitly say it in the Bible instead of leaving the door open for these different interpretations.

Then I made the general statement that I know each camp can back up their view with an ample amount of scripture. But uh.. that didn’t go over very well either. And the conversation just went farther and farther south after that. Any thoughts?