I’ve been thinking a lot about politics lately (as you can tell) and the role that politics play in bringing social justice. We’ve been listening to More Perfect (a podcast about the US Supreme Court) and it’s been blowing my mind.
Recently we listened to a podcast about test-case trials. In cases where people feel the law is unjust, or needs to be challenged or reinterpreted, but there’s no way to get that through the normal political process (like the State representatives voting on it), Civil Right’s activists find a case where an individual is being treated unfairly under the law, and take the issue to court. Continue reading
Surveys show that one of the reasons millennial are leaving the evangelical church is that they perceive it to be too political. I relate to this (probably because I grew up in another country, and seeing American flags on the front stage of churches is just still very odd to me). The evangelical church has been associated with the conservative Republicans since the 80’s when some guys realized there was a huge sector of society that was uninterested in politics, but if energized, could be a significant political force. Continue reading
“I just called for help, and you came and killed him,” she said. “I told you guys he’s sick. You guys came and killed my brother.” – sister of Alfred Olango, a mentally ill, unarmed black man who was killed in California.
She called the police herself, because her brother was acting erratically and walking into traffic. “He’s mentally ill,” she told the police. “He’s unarmed, but he’s mentally ill, and I’m worried about him because he’s blocking traffic.” Continue reading
I’ve been reading the book of Luke lately. In Luke Jesus does lots of cool things, and he tells these things called parables to the crowds who follow him. It made me want to write some of my own. These stories are made up. Don’t take them too seriously.
Jesus went with his disciples to the city, with a great crowd following him. A funeral procession was coming out as he approached the city gates. The boy, who had been shot and killed by a police officer, was the only son of a widow and many mourners from all over the city were with her. Continue reading
I only learned about this a few weeks ago. For most people, you’re probably like, “I don’t even know what a missionary is, so what if the first one was black?” But when you’re a missionary kid like me who grew up in church hearing stories of missionaries all the time, the fact that this was unknown to you throughout your childhood is kind of a big deal.
I grew up hearing stories about Hudson Taylor and the Judsons (I distinctly remember two-tone flashcard pictures to go along with these Sunday school lessons) who were missionaries to Asia. My parents were always good about colouring the flannel-graph Jesus in a little bit darker to be more realistic for the Bible stories, but we didn’t do that with the missionary stories because, duh, they were all from England or America (or Sweden) and all very white. Continue reading
In Christian communities (churches, missionary groups etc) there often springs up this debate about whether we should be putting funds and resources towards social justice issues or towards evangelism. Here’s how the debate goes, for those of you who aren’t privy to Christian internal disputes. Continue reading
In 2005, Dr Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian doctor living in the US, published a paper about a degenerative brain disease. This disease was causing serious personality changes, violent behavior, memory loss, and even suicide. People— famous people— were exhibiting these horrendous symptoms for years, but no doctors had published papers or studied it enough to come up with a cohesive theory of how these symptoms were connected.
The famous people exhibiting these symptoms were American football players. Continue reading
When it comes to talking about race, white people often feel defensive, angry, and afraid. White people can completely shut down because conversations about race or privilege are so uncomfortable. A researcher named Robin DeAngelo calls this “white fragility“. In a conversation with Sam Adler-Bell, she describes why white people completely shut down:
For white people, their identities rest on the idea of racism as about good or bad people, about moral or immoral singular acts, and if we’re good, moral people we can’t be racist – we don’t engage in those acts. This is one of the most effective adaptations of racism over time—that we can think of racism as only something that individuals either are or are not “doing.”In large part, white fragility—the defensiveness, the fear of conflict—is rooted in this good/bad binary. If you call someone out, they think to themselves, “What you just said was that I am a bad person, and that is intolerable to me.” It’s a deep challenge to the core of our identity as good, moral people.
What we see in Acts and the writings of Paul is that our material possessions are a barometer of our hearts:
“What we do or do not do with our material possessions is an indicator of the Spirit’s presence of absence”.
There is not a confiscation of private property. There is also not a command on how much everyone should give to the poor (there’s no commands to give 10% in the New Testament). But there is an understanding that those who have more will give more, and that “with a mindset of unity we will view our economic resources as available to meet others’ needs”.
Private possessions are not a problem. The problem is possessiveness.
In part one, I gave a picture of how stuff is distributed in our world. I wanted to do that because after reading this book, the biggest take away is as people who follow Jesus we should be very concerned about economic inequality. In the book (aptly titled Neither Poverty Nor Riches, by Craig Blomberg ) the author is attempting to create a textbook that is a Biblical theology of possessions. Biblical Theology is a big word, but what it basically means is he’s going through the whole Bible, taking every mention of possessions, money, wealth, etc. and figuring out what those passages are saying. Basically he’s trying to answer the question: What is the Biblical view of stuff? Continue reading