On Friday an evangelical pastor based in Oakland, Calif. (the birthplace of the Black Lives Matter movement), Dominique Gilliard, shared the post with a small diverse group of evangelical leaders who decided to craft a collective response. This open letter was crafted by the collective efforts of Rev. Leroy Barber (CCDA and Word Made Flesh), Gilliard (New Hope Oakland), Dr. Brian Bantum (Seattle Pacific University), Micky ScottBey Jones (Transform Network), Efrem Smith (World Impact) and me (Sojourners). We didn't know if our words would resonate. We only knew the truth that we must speak in response to Graham's outsized influence coupled with apparent ignorance. In the end, a broad representation of national evangelical leaders agreed to sign this letter to Graham as principal signatories.
An Open Letter to Reverend Franklin Graham
Dear Rev. Graham, more >>
A first-of-its-kind gathering of over 25 different influential Christian organizations and leaders, including the Southern Baptist Convention and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (Charlotte), convened this week to discuss and trade ideas on how to plant and grow multi-ethnic churches throughout North America, including strategies to establish 1,000 such churches over the next seven to ten years.
The Christian Post obtained the program of the closed-door, two-day meeting titled the 2015 Multi-Ethnic Church Planting Leaders Summit in Charlotte, North Carolina. The event, from Wednesday to Thursday, was organized by Mosaix Global Network along with Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary's Center for the Development of Evangelical Leadership in Charlotte.
In addition to discussion on strategic partnerships to establish 1,000 multi-ethnic churches within the next decade, attendees also discussed how to facilitate the process of 20 percent of the churches in North America, having 20 percent racial diversity by 2020. more >>
Popular ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith has sparked controversy again after declaring that every black American should vote Republican for at least one election cycle.
"Buckle up and get ready," said Smith Tuesday to a Vanderbilt University audience, according to a Breitbart report.
"What I dream is that for one election, just one, every black person in America vote Republican," he said. "Because from what I've read, and I'm open to correction, but from what I've read, Barry Goldwater is going against Lyndon B. Johnson. He's your Republican candidate. He is completely against the Civil Rights Movement. Lyndon B. Johnson was in favor of it. What happens is, he wins office, Barry Goldwater loses office, but there was a senate, a Republican senate, that pushed the votes to the president's desk. It was the Democrats who were against Civil Rights legislation. So because President Lyndon B. Johnson was a Democrat, black America assumed the Democrats were for it." more >>
Wesley Seminary hosted a well attended panel on faith and race last evening, undoubtedly nobly intended, but frustratingly offering few if any clear pathways of hope. Several panelists mentioned the church's supposed "silence" about race. But I've attended official United Methodist governing bodies for my entire adult life, and this "silence" has actually been loud and repetitive across at least thirty years, doubtless much longer.
Repeated summons to remorse, confession, repentance, and reparation on race amid indignation and anxiety, have long been common fare in often guilt-ridden Mainline Protestantism, which remains not only overwhelmingly white, but the very whitest part of American Christianity, with United Methodism and its sister denominations having memberships less than ten percent racial and ethnic minorities.
Mainline governing bodies have tried to compensate by filling leadership positions disproportionately with minorities, sometimes instituting rigid quotas, yet still failing to racially diversify their overall memberships. And the Mainliners, in their political social justice witness, have advocated governmental policies aligned with the secular Left that end up hurting racial minority communities: larger welfare states, increased minimum wages, restrictions on effective law enforcement, resistance to private education, undermining traditional family structures and private charities rooted in churches. more >>
If you want to hear crickets in a room full of educated, missionally minded, culture-shaping evangelicals, ask this question: "What are you doing to serve the needs of poor white people?"
A recent seminary graduate, who is white, asked me what he needed to do to prepare to plant a church in a small lower-class town that is 76 percent black and 21 percent white. He was rightly cautious after reading in Aliens in the Promised Land about Rev. Lance Lewis' call for a moratorium on white evangelicals planting churches in black areas because of evangelicalism's cultural obtuseness and patriarchal disposition toward ethnic minorities. Since most black communities in the South are already saturated with churches, I asked this young man why he was not interested in planting a church among the lower-class whites in his county. His response: "It had not occurred to me to plant a church among lower-class whites."
While urban, justice-loving evangelicals easily shame white, suburban, conservative evangelicals for their racially homogenized lives, both communities seem to share a disdain for lower-class white people. "Rednecks," "crackers," "hoosiers," and "white trash" are all derogatory terms used to describe a population of lower-class whites who have suffered centuries of injustice and social marginalization in America, especially from educated Christians. more >>
Last Thursday, Franklin Graham posted the following on Facebook about obeying the police (I respond below):
Listen up--Blacks, Whites, Latinos, and everybody else. Most police shootings can be avoided. It comes down to respect for authority and obedience. If a police officer tells you to stop, you stop. If a police officer tells you to put your hands in the air, you put your hands in the air. If a police officer tells you to lay down face first with your hands behind your back, you lay down face first with your hands behind your back. It's as simple as that. Even if you think the police officer is wrong—YOU OBEY. Parents, teach your children to respect and obey those in authority. Mr. President, this is a message our nation needs to hear, and they need to hear it from you. Some of the unnecessary shootings we have seen recently might have been avoided. The Bible says to submit to your leaders and those in authority "because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account."
This is my response: more >>