Hooked by the biblical call for racial reconciliation, two Dallas area pastors — one from a predominantly white church and one from a predominantly black church — swapped pulpits last Sunday to discuss the obligation the Gospel places on the church to work through racial tensions and unite people from all ethnic backgrounds.
On Palm Sunday, Rev. Bryan Carter, an African-American pastor at the Concord Church in south Dallas, traveled about 25 minutes north to lead the services at the mostly-white Park Cities Baptist Church, while Caucasian Park Cities senior pastor, Jeff Warren, gave a sermon at Concord Church.
The two pastors have developed a strong relationship through their interaction as integral parts of a coalition of approximately 18 Dallas-area pastors from across the city who periodically meet to discuss racial tensions in their communities and ways that the church can begin to help alleviate those issues. more >>
Rapper and pastor Trip Lee believes music has the power to unite people from different cultures and races within the church, but adds that Christian unity must be biblical and reflect the kingdom of God because it's about more than bringing different races under one roof for two hours on a Sunday morning.
"Music has a way of uniting people, [but] our end goal is not just getting black and white in the same building; Jay Z can do that," Lee quipped, adding that the type of unity the church should be striving for "can only be achieved through the Lord Jesus Christ."
Speaking at the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission's Leadership Summit in Nashville, Tennessee, on Friday as part of a segment titled "Rise: Calling the Next Generation to Racial Reconciliation, Lee, who serves as a pastoral assistant at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington D.C. where he uses the name Trip Barefield, focused his talk on the millennial generation and how music brings different ethnicities together. more >>
Almost seven months after the fateful, fatal encounter between Michael Brown and former Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, Attorney General Eric Holder officially announced a truth he had been holding close for months – that the "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" mantra that had been used since August was based on a lie. The lie was widely embraced by the media, public officials, and some with celebrity status. We witnessed not only protesters in the streets, but Rams players, members of Congress, and CNN 'journalists' in 'hands up' poses.
The lie of 'hands up, don't shoot' concealed deeper truths, truths all too common in America – that Michael Brown was yet another young black male engaged in serious crime and who invited a deadly encounter with a police officer who was merely doing his job. The vastly disproportionate involvement of young men of color as both victims of crime and as offenders had yet again materialized as a deadly specter, opening the door to the harder conversation on race and policing that the superficial 'hands up' chant did nothing to resolve.
As some commentators questioned use of the mantra while facts of the fatal encounter were yet unknown to the media and public, a few protesters recognized the risks of the lie being exposed and by late fall the phrase, "Black lives matter," found its way into the protesters' messaging. Their assertion begins with an assumption, of course, that law enforcement, or worse, the public at large, don't believe they do. more >>
A black pastor who dared to be different by challenging racially stereotypical church models to become a leader in a white church in Louisville, Kentucky, explained at The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention's leadership summit Friday that he did it in pursuit of the unity of the faith.
Kevin Smith, assistant professor of preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and who is also teaching pastor at Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, explained at the summit themed, "The Gospel and Racial Reconciliation," that becoming a pastor in the predominantly white church was something he had to challenge himself to achieve and maintain because of the cultural differences between the white church culture he transitioned into and the black church culture in which he was raised.
"Blackness can be weighted and graded in a way that whiteness just isn't. You got the look, you got the look," he said of being white at the summit held in Nashville, Tennessee. "A matter of fact, it's so superficial at the look level that throughout American history, some people from other ethnicities have been able to pass. So it's not really about content it's just about the look." more >>
Afshin Ziafat, a former Muslim who's now a Christian pastor, said at the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission's Leadership Summit on racial reconciliation that Christians must reach out to others with love, even when society is expected to hate them.
"Racial reconciliation is not just a good idea because racial equality is a politically correct idea, but it's because the message of the Gospel is at stake. The name of Jesus is at stake. And so the Gospel tells us that it's by grace alone that we can be restored to God," Ziafat, the pastor of Providence Church in Frisco, Texas, said on Friday.
The pastor shared his personal story of how he came to faith in Christ during the summit, which took place on March 26-27 in Nashville, Tennessee. He said that his story reflects the call for Christians to get out of their comfort zones and reach out to others. more >>
In his final remarks during a Thursday panel discussing racial reconciliation in America and the importance of urban ministry, African-American pastor, author and syndicated radio broadcaster Tony Evans boldly stated that many of the issues surrounding race in America stem from the social irresponsibility of those within the African-American community.
Speaking at the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission's Leadership Summit in Nashville, Tennessee, Evans asserted that although the responsibility to alleviate the racial divide also lies with the church and other racial classes who must hold government accountable to change an unjust justice system, black Americans cannot use the existence of racial tensions to justify careless or irresponsible actions.
"There is another side here that needs to be brought to bear and that is black accountability. Because while we want to have the sensibility that we are talking about, and we must have it, we cannot use the reality of race to condone irresponsibility," Evans explained. "Much that goes under the name of race has to do with black irresponsibility." more >>