Month: August 2013
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White, Male Pastor Responds to @GOPBlackChick

Before today, I had never heard of Crystal Wright. That was until the Christian Post published an op-ed by her, entitled Unlike Dr. King, Obama is Not Black.

In case you are wondering, no, I'm not kidding.

The title of the article is what drew me in – which was the point. The article doesn't really live up to the über-inflammatory title, though it does go off the deep-end.

It is, of course, what you'd expect from a conservative person who has decided anything from this president must be – in the words of Kathy Bates in The Waterboy – “ub da debil.” However, more specifically, Wright takes aim at the themes of race and how the POTUS has “used” and/or responded to them. As you'd expect, there is nothing positive to be found.

Essentially, her editorial remarks come down to this:

Sadly, dignity is far removed from discussions on race today. After a jury found George Zimmerman not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin in cold blood, Obama blamed Martin's death on racial profiling…[r]ather than acknowledging black men are committing most of the killing in America, Obama continues to feed blacks the lies they want to hear to keep the support of his most loyal, blind constituents. After all when it comes to Obama and blacks, it's about the color of his skin not the content of his character.

Not only are these things inflammatory, almost none of them are true.

First, the only real conclusions that can be drawn from the verdict on Zimmerman is that Florida's gun laws are far too lax and George Zimmerman ignored police advice and followed an innocent, black teenager in the middle of the night. Oh, and there's some pretty damning tape of George Zimmerman's thoughts about how “they always get away.”

Second, Wright chooses to ignore the actual things POTUS has said on race, or what he's said when addressing the issues within the black community. Though this is a quote from yesterday's speech, it is indicative of the way Mr. Obama has addressed black Americans during his presidency (note the dignity in this particular quote):

 

 

Rather than placating blacks with reasons they should remain in a constant state of victimhood, the above quote speaks to the opposite effect.

In addition to that:

 
Again, rather than calling blacks to continued victimhood or to be permanent wards of the state, the implication is that one must actually do something in order to change their circumstances.

As I've said in previous social media engagements, the clever misuse of facts can make anybody's case – and that's what we're dealing with here.

Unfortunately, the issue of race – especially since the passage of the '64 CRA – has gotten more complicated. That is, finding broad swaths of racists or racism is difficult to do nowadays. As I told someone on Facebook yesterday, “It doesn't look like racism because it's done from afar and is based loosely on facts.”

Certainly, strides have been made on the issue of race. However, that does not mean racism has ended – nor does it mean that it doesn't still need to be identified and weeded out of the shadows.

Racists have become a savvy lot. The shining example remains when Regan identified “welfare queens in Cadillacs,” but code words and misused and misunderstood statistics have become the weapon of the racially biased.

What Wright does in her piece is to apply the GOP formula of “everything about Obama is bad,” and add in the digs on race. She added nothing new to the discussion, and nothing that we didn't hear from any number of black conservatives on August 28th, 2013 – disappointingly, I might add.

My belief isn't that you can't be black and conservative, but that you can't talk about events and twist them in a way that meets your ideological needs. This is the problem with Wright's article.

Now, I'm a white guy. I'm also a pastor. I'm a white, male pastor. Why do I choose to blog about this?

Having been a history major at Ball State University – and having taken classes specifically on the black experience in America – it has become far too easy to see when people are choosing to gloss-over the more painful and disgusting portions of our history.

Glenn Beck and his lackey, David Barton, are the best at it.

The trick is to appropriate all the “pick myself up by my bootstraps” and “rugged individualism,” while dismissing and ignoring important facts about the poor and marginalized. Unless it speaks to American Exceptionalism – which has become a dangerous and idolatrous religion for too many people – it has no place in our history, nor does it belong in our collective conscious, according to people like Beck and Barton.

Race is still a problem in this country. Not only in this country, but it still exists here. As a product of my faith, I believe it is the job of people like me – and people who are unlike me – to persist in the march for social justice.

I don't care if that phrase has come into disrepute in certain circles, I will always believe in the importance of social justice. The issue of race is still in need of attention, even when it comes to social justice.

Someone left me a wonderful and beautiful comment on Facebook yesterday. It is written by a friend and colleague in ministry. I treasure it. I wanted to share it with you, because it speaks in direct opposition to the unwise and misguided words of the aforementioned CP contributor:

Chris, I have appreciated your posts and support in regards to racism, (particularly towards black people) since we've become fb friends. I continue to appreciate it. It is so healing to have racism not only acknowledged (named) by a white person, but, understood (so to speak). The fact that you have educated yourself about the history of racism in this country speaks volumes during a time when everyone is suddenly, “color blind” and “so over it.” I pray that those who read your posts will understand, as you seem to, the deep wounds that racism has caused us as a people, and more, to the human race and that it will help some of us to work more closely and purposefully towards healing them. God bless you my friend and brother.

The wounds of racism are still real and raw for many. In part, that is the reality because racism is still alive and well in our country – despite people's desire to deny it.

The good news is you don't have to agree that something exists for it to actually exist (lucky for us Christians, huh?), so Wright's article isn't all that big a deal. However, in the wake of #MLKDream50, let's not faulter in continuing to seek out the dream.

We've made some strides, but let's not mistake that for a job well done.

 

Wednesday Morning Awesomeness from @WilGafney

  From time to time, I will highlight individual tweets for adulation or censure. This post signifies the former. Thank you, Dr. Gafney.  

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Pastoral Prayer from 8-25-13

 
I'm gonna give this a shot. I've never posted my written prayers for Sunday worship before. Let me know if this is something I should continue.
 

Almighty Lord – in whom we have our hope and in whom we may place our trust – your people come close to praise, to listen and be. As our voices raise up in joyous song to you, may you be glorified in and through and by them. And not only now, but always.

 

Refrain

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

 

From the midst of our busy, demanding and trying lives we seek you and share with you our common supplications.

 

We see, O God, violence and evil in places like Egypt, Syria, Sudan, the deepest and darkest places of human hearts, and pray that hearts that are so easily coaxed into the darkest places of powerful displays, heinous acts, hatred, prejudice and bigotry may be be warmed to your peace. Forgive and transform those who perpetrate and enfold and heal those who are perpetrated against.

 

Refrain

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

 

Rescue us, O Lord! Rescue us from the madness we see, from the madness we are apart of, and the madness that we – sometimes gladly- concoct in our loves. Just as Jesus said how blessed are those who make peace, help us to be surrounded by those who work for it – and bend our being to be those who constantly seek to create it.

 

Refrain

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

 

O God, our redeemer, even as we come to praise and worship, we come with the names of those who need some type of healing touch from you. In this time, O God, we petition you on behalf of those suffering the pain of neglect, the pit of depression, the turmoil of broken and menacing relationships, the anguish of physical pain, and the anticipation of death. Especially, we pray for…(names of those on our prayer list)

 

Whether it be the natural order of biology or the effects of the evil malicious and neglectful acts of others, we ask your healing touch be applied in each situation and to each situation. For those who suffer, may your hope and comfort abound.

 

Refrain

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

 

From our birth, you are with us, our God. In the midst of our worst, you are there – never leaving us. In the happiest and grandest times of our lives, it is so simple to see your hand. But even in the most hum-drum times of our lives, you choose to bless us. For whatever just so happens to be our circumstance, keep us mindful of blessings great and small.

 

Refrain

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

 

Ever-faithful God, you have knit together as one body in Christ those who have been your people in all times and places. Keep us in communion with all your saints, following their example of faith and life, until that day when all your saints will dwell together in the joy of your eternal kingdom. Through Christ, our Lord, we now pray that prayer he taught us…

 

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses – as we forgive those who trespassed against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory – forever. AMEN.

 

Questions Answered: @utsdoc Talks @UnitedSeminary & @CopelandNetwork

My last post on the nature of the relationship between United Theological Seminary and Kenneth Copeland Ministries garnered a quick response from Dr. David Watson, Academic Dean at UTS. Here are a list of the facts I recounted in my blog: *UTS began it's academic partnership with KCM in 2010. *UTS hosted Kenneth Copeland to

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Questions Answered: @utsdoc Talks @UnitedSeminary & @CopelandNetwork

My last post on the nature of the relationship between United Theological Seminary and Kenneth Copeland Ministries garnered a quick response from Dr. David Watson, Academic Dean at UTS. Here are a list of the facts I recounted in my blog: *UTS began it's academic partnership with KCM in 2010. *UTS hosted Kenneth Copeland to

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Possibly One of My Last @CopelandNetwork, @UnitedSeminary Posts

Kenneth & Gloria Copeland

For reasons I won't presently divulge, this may be one of my last posts on the relationship between Kenneth Copeland Ministries and United Theological Seminary.

I guess I must admit to not knowing the whole story of the relationship between UTS and KCM. I don't know if I've admitted that before, but I'm doing it now.

I am sure I've expressed a desire to know more about it. In fact, most UTS alumni I know have also expressed concern – to varying and elevated degrees.

I recently heard a concern expressed by a UTS faculty member. Essentially, those of us who were expressing concern didn't have the whole story. Additionally, the argument was made that just because someone is invited to speak, doesn't mean the school or faculty necessarily endorses said person or their beliefs.

Think Ahmadinejad being invited to speak at Columbia University.

I will gladly grant that. In fact, I want to state that I will make retractions of any material I have misreported – since I may not have all the facts.

That being said, we do know some things (all of which I've reported before):

*UTS began it's academic partnership with KCM in 2010.

*UTS hosted Kenneth Copeland to speak in Dayton, OH.

*A UTS official claimed his visit generated $20,000 for the school.

*As recently as 2009, KCM had been under investigation for financial practices – and we all know that's not the first time that's happened.

*I'm not sure if this means anything, but a UTS board member is a former employee of and son-in-law to Copeland. (I'm not alleging any impropriety by mentioning that, I just think it's relevant somehow)

Mitigating these circumsances is the fact that one UTS faculty member explained to me that the relationship between UTS and KCM was a strictly an academic one. KCM has an extenxive digital ministry, and UTS was going to take advantage of the opportunity to have their students learn from some of the best.

However, the above list of known facts is still disconcerting. It is fine to say that Kenneth Copeland doesn't represent the views of all faculty and staff, but the partnership with his organization appears to be an endorsement of them. Copeland's actual speaking engagement in Dayton is just more fodder for those experssing concerns.

Here's my question: Why doesn't UTS address the concerns it knows it's students and alumni have?

I've seen press releases from UTS before, and their subject matter isn't as important as this appears to be. They could use the tools at their disposal and record a video message, addressing concerns and answering questions – telling us all why we shouldn't be so concerned about this relationship.

Heck, I'll even come to interview anyone who would like to help set the record straight. I like to stir the pot, but I also pride myself on being fair.

Well, that's it for now – when it comes to UTS and KCM, at least.

My previous Copeland posts are here and here.

 

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Matt Barber – @jmattbarber – Gets MLK Sooooo Wrong

Yes, I'm on a “calling out false claims of persecution” kick today. Unfortunately, it's necessitated by those who are making it…well…necessary:)

Matt Barber is with Liberty Counsel. Essentially, it's like every other conservative group that thinks just because they can't do whatever they want, whenever they want and wherever they want, that they are being persecuted against.

And like an increasing number of these people, they are co-opting the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to prove their point.

I have no proof of this, but I would say Dr. King might have some words for these types of people.

The video above is just more proof that some American Christians have gone soft, and are completely willing to cheapen the real persecution Christians face around the world.

Of his thoughts on persecution of Christians, he says:

Christians have been persecuted for 2000 years by radical leftists. They used to just throw us to the lions. Now, what they do is try to force us to their way of thinking, to rehabilitate us to their way of thinking, under penalty of law.

This is, of course, ridiculous, wrong, and offensive to our brethren in Egypt and elsewhere – and throughout history – but that doesn't really matter to people like this. At least, in my experience.

There are, obviously, many other things wrong with this man's logic and heart, but I'll leave it here for now.

IRD Intern @BrianKenMiller Criticizes Rowan Williams, Makes His Point For Him, @TheIRD

Pseudo-Methodist Washington think-tank The Institute on Religion & Democracy has interns.  If the goal is to produce people exactly as confused as they are, they are so nailing it! Brian Miller is the intern in question. He picked up on the comments of former archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and his comments on Western Christianity and

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Video From The Pastor’s Office #26 – Back to Church Sunday (VIDEO)

September 8th, 2013 – 10:30am – is Back to Church Sunday at Forest UMC. Be there!

Ken Ham? Peh-Shaw! Meet Darek “Dragons in the Bible” Isaacs (VIDEO)

  Those of us who don't believe in the literal, 7-day creation of…well…everything, have probably had a laugh at Ken Ham – founder of the Creation Museum – and his claims about dinosaurs. I would like you to meet Darek Isaacs, author of Dragons or Dinosaurs? Here is his theory about dragons and the Bible:

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