During the Jim Crow era, W.E.B Dubois critiqued the American system when he said, "A system cannot fail those it was never built to protect." One would think that Dubois' polemic would be anachronistic to today's America. Lately however, when viewing recent uses of prosecutorial discretion in the criminal justice system, more and more people of color are pondering whether Dubois' point jarringly lingers in today's legal system.
We obviously need our criminal justice system. If it disappeared today, we would see more clearly the important work that it does to protect citizens and to enforce important laws that help to maintain the level of civility that we have in our society. Yet, it also goes without saying that a good thing is not necessarily a perfect thing.
Given our progress over the past forty years, some Americans are comfortable with the status quo, while agreeing there remains continued systemic work to be done before arriving at our nation's promise of equality. Yet, seemingly disproportionate applications of the law leave many people, especially ethnic minorities (both conservatives and liberals), with their eye-brows raised. Some of them are quite angry but not sure of how to express their concerns. So they talk about it amongst themselves, in bars, barbershops, beauty salons, family gatherings, church gatherings, and parties. more >>
Dr. Tony Evans, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship and president of The Urban Alternative, insists in a new book that blame for the social ills Americans are experiencing partly fall on the shoulders of Christians, who have compromised with the culture and helped marginalize God — therefore shutting out access to His transformational presence and power.
"America is in serious trouble," Evans writes in America: Turning a Nation to God. "From sea to shining sea we are witnessing the devolution of a nation."
Listing "family breakdowns to the immigration crisis to the abiding racial divide" as well as "the redefinition of marriage and the family, abortions on demand" as examples of the nation's "unraveling," Evans adds that "the American dream is quickly becoming the American nightmare" for those disillusioned with the country's direction. more >>
Who are the leaders of the "white community"? Who are the leaders of the "Asian American community"?
These questions seem silly given the fact that whites and Asians Americans are considered to be free thinking individuals who do not need ethnic leadership. For reasons that I cannot understand, white progressives and conservatives alike seem stuck in the 1960s whenever they use phrases like "leaders of the black community." What is even more bizarre is the seemingly fetish-like attachment to the archaic notion that people in black communities look to someone like Al Sharpton as a leader.
If there is one thing black progressives and black conservatives have in common it is the shared opinion that Al Sharpton is irrelevant and does not represent "black interests" because there is no person who fills this role. Al Sharpton represents himself and whatever particular non-profit he leads. That's it. Nothing more. more >>
Choosing to hate people simply based upon the color of their skin is despicable! Likewise, presuming that all whites are inherently racist based strictly upon the color of their skin is appalling.
"How is it that Asians can succeed in America and we can't?" That was the question some of my friends and I asked ourselves as teenagers. Growing up in Los Angeles, Asian owned businesses were plentiful throughout the 'hood'. Equally common was the animus blacks felt towards them. Rappers and "racepreneurs" like Jesse Jackson contributed to the disdain we felt for foreigners establishing their businesses on our turf. The perception was that the American dream was obtainable for other ethnic groups, just not for blacks.
To our detriment, we didn't realize it was our own racism that prevented us from understanding that Asians were simply capitalizing on the opportunities available for all Americans within our borders. Unfortunately, many blacks today have hindered their own progress by blaming "the man" for their socioeconomic status rather than themselves. more >>
As we enter this new year, I offer some prayerful reflections on trends that we could see developing in the months ahead, not as a prophet but as an observer seeking to follow in the footsteps of the ancient sons of Issachar, who "understood the meaning of the times to know what Israel ought to do" (1 Chron 12:32; my translation of the Hebrew).
While it is possible that I am simply projecting what I am seeing in my own work and ministry, I am hopeful that these represent larger trends in the nation in general and the believing Church in particular. Time, of course, will tell.
1) The gay revolution will continue to overplay its hand. As those who were once bullied now bully others, this will produce an increasing backlash, as seen with the "Houston Five" last year. And as gay activists win more and more battles in the courts and the society, that will actually work against them, as their goals will continue to become more and more extreme. (I address this at length in a book scheduled for publication later this year.) more >>
LOS ANGELES – Organizers of a three-day conference plan to host leading pastors, ministry and community leaders, including Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, New York, as they discuss what it means to embrace Los Angeles and help meet its needs.
Keller, seen in a video on the "Together LA" website, says, "We're bringing Christian leaders together from all over Los Angeles to ask and answer one question: What does it mean to love your city?"
The event, scheduled for February 26-28, will include ministry practitioners presenting interactive sessions that "engage the realities of loving our city," organizers announced on Friday. Workshops and panel discussions will cover topics such as mercy ministry, systemic injustice, ethnic and class conflict, faith and work, social and culture changes and challenges, church health and church collaborations. more >>