Starbucks has launched a well-meaning campaign designed to foster dialog about race and racism. Called "Race Together," it is being hailed by some as potentially disastrous and others as brilliant.
I don't doubt the program is well intended, and I don't want to discuss its potential efficacy in addressing issues of racial bigotry. On that score, we can all hope it's a big success. As I've written elsewhere, racism is a sin against God and should be eschewed by every Christian, indeed by every decent person.
Rather, I'm concerned with one of the questions Starbucks is publishing in a "conversation guide" for discussing race: "How have your racial views evolved from those of your parents?" more >>
Espresso makes you hyper. When you're hyper you sometimes make rash decisions. When you make rash decisions you usually regret it. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz evidently chugged a Venti-five-shot-double-pump-skinny-vanilla-latte last week before announcing Starbucks' new "RaceTogether" public relations stunt. As he describes it, the über-"progressive" head of the multi-billion dollar corporate mega-giant that brews mediocre coffee by the silo full and whose leadership is almost exclusively white – hopes to "start a discussion" about American race relations. (I'm pretty sure that discussion has been ongoing for a couple centuries, but, hey, I was wrong that one time about that other thing.)
The way I understand it is that when you unsuspectingly wander into any of your 12 local Starbucks locations, your official Starbucks barista will write "RaceTogether" with his official Starbucks Sharpie on the side of your official Starbucks cup and then, as you try to avoid eye contact and grab your Splenda and 2% on the way out the door while formulating an excuse for why you're already late to work, he'll ask you if you'd like to have a discussion about race.
Bad idea? The cost of white privilege? I don't know. Maybe it's just how I'm wired, but I kind of relish the opportunity to explain to a bearded, ghost white, heavily pierced and tatted 29-year-old aspiring LGBTOMGWTFBBQ Gender Studies professional that the whole "Hands up Don't Shoot™" meme was a cultural Marxist hoax rooted in, as are all things "progressive," a bunch of pretend stuff. more >>
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 >>