Presidential Election and Friendship: Some Words of Advice!

Presidential Election and Friendship: Some Words of Advice!

As we continue to experience this very sensitive topic we call “Presidential election” and the battle for the White House between Mr. Donald Trump and Mrs.Hillary Clinton, allow me to quickly share a few words of advice with you on the subject matter: Presidential election  and friendship.

1. It is okay (Should I say tolerable) for you and your friend to hold competing perspectives about politics.  All of us hold different ideologies and ideas about  social, economic, and political issues–even cultural and religious ones. We are firm about our beliefs and will not let them go. Some of them are helpful and human uplifting; others are unhealthy and unconstructive.

2. Do not unfriend your friend on Facebook or stop following him/her–on whatever social media:twitter, wordpress, blogger, instagram, what have you?-because you just found out on a  post that he/she will vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton in this year’s presidential election. Mrs. Hillary Clinton or Mr. Donald Trump will be elected as our next President for only 4 yrs, if lucky, 8 yrs in reelection. Good and genuine friendship endures and lasts a little bit longer than the temporary presidential post.

3. Watch your tongue! Keep your heart pure! Have I said to control your temper too?

4. Do not demonize your friend or shame him or her on a public post! Be respectful and kind to all, especially your friends. After all, he/she is your friend. Donald or Hillary is not and probably will never befriend you.

5. You have been trying to persuade your friend to vote for Hillary or Donald for a while now. It is not working. Give it up! Let the person choose and vote according to his or her conscience to the glory of God.

6. Do not let your friendship with someone you love and care for fall apart because of  political difference or over this year’s presidential choice. It takes a lot of time to nurture and cultivate genuine friendship.

7. It is okay to be a Christian and  be a democrat. Remember your faith is in no one or nothing else but in Jesus Christ.

8. It is okay to be a Christian and be a republican. Remember your faith is in no one or nothing else but in Jesus Christ.

9. It is okay to be a Christian and be an independent voter. Remember your faith is in no one or nothing else but in Jesus Christ.

10. If your conscience is not clear about a particular presidential candidate, it is not unbiblical if you decide not to vote  in this year’s presidential election. There’s no biblical mandate that you have to vote in order to fulfill your civic duty as a christian of the Kingdom of God and citizen of the United States. God will not send you to hell nor will he disown you as his child.In the same line of thought, always remember God is not a republican or a democrat.

*In propositions 5-10 , I take for granted most of my readers are Christians.

The Pastor and His Pen: Writing as Ministry

The Pastor and His  Pen: Writing as Ministry

After reading this short post, ” 5 Reasons Why Pastors Should Consider Writing a Book,” I decided to share my perspective on the relationship between pastoring, ministry, and writing. It is succinct and clear.

Writing is self-invention. If the pastor or minister is not willing to allow himself/herself to be vulnerable and retrospective, the writing project will not be a successful endeavor. Writing that serves people or ministers to the community of faith and individuals and families in need is effective, transformative, and self-sustaining.

Good writing takes a lot of discipline and great courage; it is also time-consuming and requires a lot of patience. Hence, writing is not for every pastor; not many pastors will make the sacrifice to sit down and write…. because the writing process invites critical thinking and self-criticism.

The pastor-writer ought to  write with grace, clarity, and responsibly in the same manner he is devoted to the ministry of teaching and preaching in the church and diligent in studying and preparing  to deliver his Sunday sermon.  Writing as ministry is nothing but effective and constructive writing that is intentional and executed with care and in love to the spiritual and intellectual growth of the community faith and the people of God. Writing that ministers to the people of God is also God-centered, Christ-honoring, and Holy Spirit-filled.

Naomi Shihab Nye On Kindness

Naomi Shihab Nye


Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing. 
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.


Why Wayne Grudem and Other Evangelical Leaders are Wrong about The Donald Trump Presidential Preference!

Evangelical theologian Wayne Grudem, whose theology books have substantially shaped my own theology and theological imagination, has penned a reasonable and  fair article (“Why Voting for Donald Trump Is a Morally Good Choice“) by comparing the ideologies and policies of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump. Using biblical lessons and theological exegesis, he infers that a Donald Trump presidency will be a morally good choice for the future of American democracy and freedom, the religious freedom and triumph of Christianity in America, the welfare of the state of Israel, and many other things. Unfortunately, like Grudem, other Evangelical leaders such as David Jeremiah,  James Dobson, Robert Jeffress, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell Jr, and many influential American Christian thinkers have given Mr. Trump their divine blessings. Interestingly,  as Michael Horton has remarked in his important article (“The Theology of Donald Trump:Four words that reveal what his followers really believe“), “Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. hailed him as “one of the greatest visionaries of our time” and a wonderful Christian brother “who reminds me of my dad.” The redoubtable Pat Robertson gushed in an interview with the empire-builder, “You inspire us all.” Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, who has introduced Trump at rallies, says, “We need a strong leader and a problem-solver, hence many Christians are open to a more secular candidate.”

In a recent article (“Pew: Most Evangelicals Will Vote Trump, But Not For Trump“) published in Christianity Today, the author has remarked that most White Evangelical Christians will vote for Trump and favor his presidency.  The opening words of the article is startling:

More than three-quarters of self-identified white evangelicals plan to vote for Donald Trump in the fall (78%). But they aren’t happy about it.

According to a Pew Research Center survey of 1,655 registered voters released today, more than half of white evangelicals said they weren’t satisfied with their ballot options (55%), reflecting the feeling of Americans at large (58%).

And 45 percent of white evangelicals said they meant their vote as opposition to Hillary Clinton, not as an endorsement of Trump.

Interestingly, the great divide among American Christians of different racial and color shades pertaining to their political voice, views, and preferences is very disturbing, and makes one question the future of American Evangelicalism and the meaning of the Christian faith in America. The competing voices in American evangelicalism have questionable implications for the relevance of Christianity in the public sphere and missional evangelism in the culture. Take a look at this statement from the same article:

Half of black Protestant voters said their vote was in support of Clinton (53%), while one-third said they were voting against Trump (34%). This preference lines up with African Americans at large, who favor Clinton.

Black Protestant voters diverge from the much larger group of white evangelicals, who make up one out of five registered voters and one out of three Republicans.

On the other hand, many Americans–both Christians and non-Christians, religious and secular–who  have favorably decided for a Clinton presidency have advanced the following (gender-based) argument. If Hillary Clinton gets to become the next President of the United States of America, she will be the first woman to occupy that post in American history. It will be a historic election and an aspiration to little girls (i.e. brown, black, white, yellow, mixed, etc.) and other women who have similar aspirations. Electing a woman as President of the most powerful country in the world will be a terrific step forward toward the promise of American democracy and the democratic ideals we stand for as a nation, and people. For them, a Clinton presidential choice will symbolize the triumph of gender equality in the history of American democracy and freedom and opportunity for all–regardless of race, gender, sexuality, disability, etc. “Change,” they confess, is the most accurate word!

Nonetheless, like Grudem and other evangelical thinkers, I believe a presidential preference for Hillary Clinton is potentially dangerous to the future of the American Nation.  She is not concerned about the welfare of the poor and the most vulnerable Americans.  I have serious problems with her political views on Gun laws and rights, abortion, war, terrorism, foreign policy, racial justice, immigration, etc. In her political career, she has not done  enough to ameliorate the plight of the American masses, the underclass, the immigrant, and the poor. In fact, her policies greatly favor the wealthy class and has consistently  supported big American corporations and businesses detrimental to the welfare of the common good and American entrepreneurship. On the other hand,  unlike Grudem, I’m appreciative of her great accomplishments such as her commitment to public service and relentless courage and efforts in defense of women and children’s rights. On this account, she is undoubtedly a champion. Yet, I do not trust Hillary as a political leader nor will I vote for her to become the first Woman President in the November  presidential election.

By contrast, in the same line of reasoning, a presidential preference for Donald Trump is tentatively disastrous for America’s diplomatic relations with the global world. Trump wants to isolate America from the world.  His  messianic rhetoric is a gospel without hope and human relationality; his prosperity gospel is characterized by an apocalypse of vengeance, trauma, and despair. Trump’s rhetoric is very consistent. It is anti-immigrant, anti-American religious freedom, xenophobic, divisive, and God-human dishonoring language.  Trump rhetoric is not reconciliatory and will not foster national unity and improve race relations in America. I prefer justice over order, friendship over retaliation, Globalism over arrogant (Trump’s) American ethnocentrism and exceptionalism, and planetary love over transnational alienation. A possible Trump presidency is potentially a threat to the triumph of human rights, race relations, and religious freedom in America. Like Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump has always worked in the best interest of big corporations and institutions that consistently exploit the labor of their employees, the underclass, and workers in the Third World. Trump’s own companies have robbed their workers of their fair salary. Evidently, there’s something questionable about the character, integrity, and leadership of both presidential candidates. After all, Trump’s presidency is a serious menace to American democratic ideals, progress, and future advancement.

Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton do not value life  of the unborn, and have no interest to alter their conviction on this matter–an important point in Grudem’s article.The great Rabbi Abraham Herschel once observed:

Reverence for God is shown in our reverence for man. The fear you must feel of offending or hurting a human being must be as ultimate as your fear of God. An act of violence is an act of desecration. To be arrogant toward man is to be blasphemous toward God…The future of the human species depends upon our degree of reverence for the individual man. And the strength and validity of that reverence depend upon our faith in God’s concern for man.

While I have great respect for Wayne Grudem, I’m afraid that he has allowed patriotic zeal  to influence sound biblical and theological exegesis–as he has modeled for the Evangelical community in such his best selling textbook,  Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine.  After his close examination of Clinton’s political ideologies  and past record as compared to Donald Trump who has no political experience, he concludes the article with this provocative statement: ” When I look at it this way, my conscience, and my considered moral judgment tell me that I must vote for Donald Trump as the candidate who is most likely to do the most good for the United States of America.”

Grudem’s essay  is a clear example of what’s wrong with us Evangelical Christians in America: the intentional (re-) appropriation of scriptural teachings and truths in the service of political agendas and cultural ideologies. Christian identity should not be equated or conflated with American cultural nationalism and identity. They are in conflict with each other. The kingdom of God is not the Kingdom of man. We can’t have two lords: Jesus and Caesar; it is either we serve Caesar or Jesus. Jesus cannot and should never be subservient to our unhealthy cultural and political habits masked in biblical theology. Jesus will always be supreme over the culture.

There’s nothing wrong for an “American Christian” to be proud of America and even celebrate the American freedom and democracy; however, it is definitely a theological crisis to assume that American freedom is parallel to Christian freedom, and that the future of American politics is equated with the future of Christianity in the world. The validity of the cross of Christ or the meaning of the Christian faith is not dependent upon the success of America nor is it vindicated by the triumph of America in the world. It is also noteworthy to highlight this national crisis: Given the current state of American Evangelicalism and its paradoxical attitude toward human life, America’s culture of violence and death, race relations, and the “Evangelical Preference” in the current presidential election, etc., Mark A. Noll’s 1995 provocative statement still rings true today about American Evangelicalism:

The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind….Notwithstanding all their other virtues, however, American evangelicals are not exemplary for their thinking, and they have not been so for several generations.(The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, p. 3)

The great divide between Biblical Evangelical Christianity and American Evangelicalism is quite wide. The Biblical Evangelical culture is the antithesis of the American Evangelical Christianity in terms of confession and practice. The pitfalls of American Evangelicalism is that it is trapped in the American culture of political correctness, and it promotes ideologies that do not honor the God of the Bible or glorify Jesus Christ. American Evangelicalism has for several generations abandoned the biblical worldview on matters of life and faith.  Michael Horton is probably correct in his concluding words in the same article we quoted above: “Trump reveals, in short, that for many evangelicals, the word evangelical means something that many increasingly do not recognize as properly Christian, much less evangelical. Then again, if the working theology of American spirituality is a combination of “moralistic, therapeutic deism” (Christian Smith) and pragmatism (William James), then perhaps Donald Trump is after all exactly the right candidate for the moment.”

 Allow me to close this short essay  with these words:

 Given the nature of human relations and interactions and the destructive political climate in the American culture, we who are Americans of different shades and cultural traditions and practices need to cultivate the spirit of Ubuntu and integrate its inherent values and moral vision in our society. If we try it in the present, we will see tremendous results in the future. While the worth of the political nation-state in the modern world is measured by its historic accomplishments and unrelenting strive to promote the democratic life, justice, and peace for all its citizens, as well as political stability and the protection of human life against both internal and external forces, the worth of a racial group, ethnic group , or an individual should never be assessed by his or her achievements in society or life. The dignity and worth of a person lies in the mere fact that both man and woman, male and female are created in the Image of God to the glorious praise of the Triune and Eternal God.

 The cultural trap of American Evangelicalism is that culturally-sensitive-biblical exegesis and  politically-masked- theological interpretation still enslaves the Evangelical soul, and comparatively, modern Evangelical theology crafted in the discourse of triumphal American exceptionalism and the rhetoric of exulting American ethnocentrism still wages war against the cross of Christ and the Gospel of grace in both American civil and political societies. For me, my faith is in nothing or no one else but in Jesus Christ died, buried, crucified, and resurrected.

Yes, African Slaves Had Built the White House! So What? Toward a More Inclusive American Narrative and Democratic Experiment

Yes, African Slaves Had Built the White House! So What?

Toward a More Inclusive American Narrative and Democratic Experiment

In her recent speech at the Democratic National Convention delivered on Tuesday, July 26, 2016, the first lady, Michelle Obama, has said publicly that African slaves had built the White house in which  she, her husband, President Barack Hussein Obama, and their two daughters Sasha and Malia Obama (a black family), now live. How cool is that? Well, many Americans were not happy about the affirmation of black achievement in American history; some have even questioned the historical credibility of Michelle’s statement; some have even called it a racist attitude, or as we like to call it she is playing “the race card.”

First of all, enslaved Africans in the Americas did not enjoy the mistreatment of slavery and the racial violence and death they endured under this cruel and inhumane system.  Secondly, the majority of enslaved population in the Americas did not earn any wage for their (unpaid) labor. John Hope Franklin who has written prolifically about the dialectic of slavery and freedom in American (Black) history  has observed, “It is an exciting story, a remarkable story. It is the story of slavery and freedom, humanity and inhumanity, democracy and denial. It is tragedy and triumph, suffering and compassion, sadness and joy” (“The New Negro History,” The Crisis, February 1977). Thirdly, in the case of Saint-Domingue-Haiti, for example, African slaves emancipated themselves in 1804 from the yoke of European enslavement, European domination and rule, and from slavery as an institution that degraded and desecrated human life and black lives, in this case. The little country of Haiti, about the size of Maryland, would become the second independent country in the Americas (The United States of America is the first independent nation-state) and the first Black Republic in the Western world. Through the watershed event historians now call The Haitian Revolution (1791-1803), enslaved Africans had made significant and transformative contributions to global history of human emancipation, human rights, democracy, antislavery protest, etc. Fourthly, enslaved Africans in Latin America had also contributed to the freedom and independence of the constituted nation-states in Latin America from the yoke of slavery, colonialism, and imperialism.

Yes, African slaves did build the White house. Some of the historic buildings and splendid architectures in the United States of America were also built by enslaved Africans, which may include the U.S. Capitol, the homes and estates of several US presidents, railways, major American forts, main public works, bridges and seawalls, etc. (For more information, see “5 American Structures Existing Today Built By Slave Labor,”; “The White House Was, in Fact, Built by Slaves,”/ ; “The legend of slaves building Capitol is correct,”

The United States has also graced the world with the presence and achievements of black inventors;  some of the major ones include Charles Drew, Pioneer of the Modern Blood Bank; Daniel Hale Williams, Pioneer of Open Heart Surgery;   Elijah McCoy, Inventor of the Automatic Lubricator; Fred Jones, Developed Refrigeration System for Trucks; Garrett Morgan, Inventor of a Traffic Signal and Gas Mask; George Washington Carver, Invented Thousand of Uses for the Peanut; Jan Matzeliger, Invented an Automated Shoe; Lewis Latimer, Invented an Improved Light Bulb; Madam C.J. Walker, Created a Black Hair Products Empire; Percy Julian, Pioneer in the Field of Synthetic Chemistry; Benjamin Banneker, Astronomy who Developed an Almanac; Ernest Just, Pioneer in Marine Biology and Zoology; Granville Woods, Telegraph and Railway Device Developer; George Carruthers, Measuring and Detected Ultraviolet Lights, etc. (for more information on this topic, see . In addition, on a different note but of equal importance the Haitian immigrant Jean Baptiste Point du Sable is the founder of the city of Chicago. Free black soldier, former slaves from Saint-Domingue-Haiti, have also lost their lives in the US War of Independence for the cause of American democracy and freedom; enslaved Africans from Saint-Domingue also stirred black revolt leading to the American civil war and the emancipation of African slaves in the United States of America.

Enslaved Africans have also contributed enormously to America’s wealth and success in the modern world through their unpaid labor, blood, and death. Africans have also made monumental contributions to universal civilizations. They have made (continue to strive) America and Europe better societies in which the triumph of Western democracy and the fulfillment of its promises could be inclusive and open-ended. We must always remember that Black American achievement is also American achievement; Black American contributions to universal civilization is also American contributions to human civilization; Black history is nothing but a subset of American history.

To admit the various ways that Africans and people of African descent in the Diaspora have contributed to world’s democracy, human emancipation, economic capitalism, and human rights issues will not undermine but complement white American-European history or the historical achievements of non-White American-European people in the world. This is nothing but a first step in acknowledging the dignity and humanity of black folk. Yes, that will also help lessen the power of white supremacy in human history, the myth of the white race, and racial arrogance in global history. The spirit of superiority is parallel to an attitude of arrogance, and a serious threat to human flourishing, partnership, and collaboration in this thing we call life. To avow that my white friend little Johnny has helped me in college to pass my mathematics class is to encourage human partnership and friendship.

A pivotal aspect of the conversation about confronting the meaning of black existence in the American society also entails the recognition and affirmation of the historic contributions and achievements of black and African American people to the American civilization and democracy. Until we also assert that Black people and their ancestors have also made significant contributions to the American society and force the American government to actualize the American ideals into practical life circumstances to all Americans, we will not move a step forward toward a more promising democratic life and justice, racial healing and reconciliation in America.
The history of the American people is not a white history, as many Americans are taught to believe in their history class; it is certainly not a monolithic narrative about the achievements of white European people in America or in human history. The greatness of the American narrative and democratic experiment also involves the enormous contributions and historical legacies of non-white American people such as enslaved Africans, brown Americans, yellow Americans, and white Americans, what have you?

We must also admit that Americans of different color and racial shades, of various cultural practices and traditions, and of different ethnic backgrounds—white, brown, black, yellow, and others—have collaborated to build this great nation. They continue to do so together to realize a more promising American democratic life for the good of all people in America and the world at large. While the worth of the political nation-state in the modern world  is measured by its historic accomplishments and unrelenting strive to promote  the democratic life,  justice, and peace for all  its citizens, as well as political stability and the protection of human life against both internal and external forces, the worth of a racial group,  ethnic group , or an individual should never be assessed by his or her achievements in society or life. The dignity and worth of a person lies in the mere fact that both man and woman, male and female  are created in the Image of God to the glorious praise of the Triune and Eternal God.



A Gentle call to prayer for this broken world

A Gentle call to prayer for this broken world:

Pray for peace; pray for friendship; pray for reconciliation; pray for the love of Christ to shine in our hearts; pray for Jesus to be exalted among the nations and peoples; pray for those who are hurting at the moment; pray for those who are unable to make sense of their suffering and pain; pray for justice and against injustice; and pray for the reign of God to come on earth and his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. As Paul prays to the God who provides comfort and consolation to us in the midst of life’s troubles, let us pray in this manner:

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” (2 Cor 1:3-5)

What does it Mean to say Black Lives Matters? A Biblical Perspective

What does it Mean to say Black Lives Matters? A Biblical Perspective

Allow me to reiterate this thesis statement: Violence or retaliation is not the answer to the racial crisis we’re now facing in this country.As Apostle Paul commands us Christians,”Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).

We have to learn to sit together, listen to each other, and find a solution to heal this national wound and transcend this national crisis.Simutaneously, we should continue praying for peace, understanding, and reconciliation in this country.

While we should sympathize with the people of France and Turkey at the moment, let’s not turn away from this predicament of human life, and the culture of violence and death in our country. If we remain silent, as we have always been and some of us still are, we will lose more lives and ultimately destroy this country. To destroy this country is to bring destruction upon ourselves. We must tackle the root of America’s culture of violence and death before we can have a genuine conversation about the value of (human) life and racial justice in this country.

The Christian Church in America has a tremendous role to play in the transformation of this culture of death and violence that dishonors God’s image in man and the sanctity of life to a culture that values human life and promotes human dignity. In the same line of thought, we need to cultivate a culture of positive values and be virtuous in our practical dealings with each other. Evangelical Christians  must engage the realm of the human intellect and the sphere of human reason to the glorious praise of the Triune and Eternal God. Correspondingly, we must also challenge the disastrous and unhealthy practices of American Evangelical Christianity in both civil and political societies that slander God’s reputation and his glorious name, as well as hinder the public witness of the Gospel.  American Christianity is a bourgeois faith. Bourgois Christianity is a dangerous religion that produces a culture of isolation and alienation. Bourgeois Christianity is selfish, arrogant, and not salvific. Bourgeois Christianity must die and be replaced by the Christianity of the cross and self-giving. Until we learn to foster a robust and consistent theology of life that is sourced in the doctrine of God and God’s majestic holiness and unconditional love for all people, Christian engagement with culture and in the public sphere will be unproductive and futile.

As we have mentioned in our previous writings, Christianity has the adequate resources to help heal the national wound, improve conversations on race relations and racial injustice,  and contribute to a more promising and constructive American life and humanism in this society. The Christianity we need in America is a transformative evangelical faith that is not afraid to affirm its past sins, its contribution to human suffering and pain, and the destruction of many individuals and families, in our culture. Evangelical Christianity must produce a new kind of species and a transformed community of faith that is  capable of sympathizing with the pain and wound of the victims of racism, racial injustice and inequality, and any type of human-inflicted oppression. Toward the process of racial reconciliation and harmony, American Evangelicals must be intentional in their doings and be ready to mourn and lament, and turn toward God for repentance and cultural renewal.

We have to allow the Word of God penetrate our hearts and pierce through our deepest cultural prejudices , our hidden sins, and human insensibilities–toward a holistic transformation of our hearts and minds, and daily living. It is only through the power of the Gospel of grace that produces sustaining life and hope we can have a change of conscience that honors Christ in our practical living and everday dealing with people.One of the greatest sins of American Evangelicalism today is that many of us know God with our hearts and not with our minds. God wants to be known both with the heart and the mind, and has willed that our knowledge of him should inform our Christian living and relationship with people.


In the opening words of a recent sermon entitled, ” A Biblical Response to Race,” Pastor Tony Evans explains why abortion is wrong and correspondingly why racial injustice is unbiblical. His thesis is grounded on the doctrine of God and the doctrine of creation.  Here’s one of the most balanced, powerful, and articulate statements that I have ever heard on the justification of the sanctify of life, and the thesis that all life matters and therefore, black lives matter, rooted in a deep biblical theology that all people are created in the Image of God:

“All life is created in the image of God; therefore, all lives matter. however, underneath the banner that God is created all people in his image, there are equities that must be addressed. For example, the life of the unborn matters; and so, there’s the emphasis on injustice in the womb. But that injustice in the womb must be under the umbrella that is life and because all lives matter that life matters. Black lives matter as a subset of all lives matter, so any injustices to a particular group must be addressed specific to that group but under the banner that all life is created in the image of God.” Pastor Tony Evans

My confession as a Black Father and Christian minister

My confession as a Black Father and Christian minister
As a black father of two black boys, I haven’t had this conversation with my first-born son, who will soon to be 13 yrs old in August this year, about Police brutality, the fragility of black life and the uncertainty of black existence in America. I do not want him to cultivate internal hatred for his country and the Police whose duty include safety, protection, and service to the community. I do not want my first-born son to fear for his life as a human being and American. I want him to live with dignity as other human beings and Americans and without any fear one day he too will be harassed  by the Police or a victim of Police brutality. I want my first-born to love his country, respect authority, and honor Police Officers for their bravery and commitment to human flourishing in this country.
On the other hand, I do not want my first-born son to be mistreated and dehumanized by anyone or even a Police officer because of his race and/or the color of his skin. I’m reluctant to undertake this conversation with him. But, I’m afraid he will have to confront the truth about the desecration and dehumanization of black life in America–Should I fail to teach him about the history of race relations, racial injustice, and Black people’s encounter with the Police in the American society. I do not want to fail him as a father and parent. I want to fulfill my fatherly and parental duties, which may include teaching, protecting, providing, and loving my family.
As a Christian minister, everyday, I pray to God for the safety of my children and for his presence to be omnipresent in their lives. While I believe strongly in God’s omnipotence, I also believe firmly individuals are capable of doing evil and making others suffer –even to the point of death. I also believe even good Christians and sons of good Christian ministers can be victims of racial injustice and police brutality. Yet, I’m terrified to tell my soon-to-be 13 yr old black son that he is not safe in this country because he is black and that black lives do not matter in the country of his birth.
Like the Psalmist, I must continue trusting in God the Sovereign Lord and Ruler of the Universe. On the other hand, I’m traumatized (Should I rather say I am terrified?) by James Cone’s thought on black suffering and the seemingly absence of God in black life: “The cross places God in the midst of the crucified people (black people), in the midst of people who are hung, burned, and tortured… No historical situation was more challenging than the lynching era, when God the liberator seemed nowhere to be found…Throughout the twentieth century, African Americans continued to struggle to reconcile their faith in God’s justice and love with the persistence of black suffering” ( “The Cross and the Lynching Tree,” pp. 27-8).
Again like the Psalmist, I should assert firmly that God is my Shepherd and Salvation. Whom Shall I fear?
* I have been wrestling with this thought for a while now. I was just afraid to share it in public with other individuals. Yes, I’m very vulnerable. I must confess and accept it as my life reality.
Here are few pictures of Terrence and Me

The Desecration of Black Life and The Silence of American Evangelicals

The Desecration of Black Life and The Silence of American Evangelicals


In this article, I argue that White American Evangelical Christians and Evangelical Leaders have been silent regarding this vital issue in our culture: the desecration of black life and the dehumanization of black humanity.  Their coldness about death and violence toward black people in America is a blunt denial of the biblical worldview about the sanctity of life and the doctrine of humanity grounded in the doctrine of God. American Evangelicals suffer a terrific existential crisis of biblical authority and faithfulness to the Word of God. Because of its silence, the disaster of American Evangelicalism lies in the fact that it (indirectly) supports the dehumanization of black people.”

As an Evangelical Christian and thinker, my target audience is American Evangelical Christians and Leaders. I must admit I do not subscribe to some of the ideological apparatuses associated with American Evangelicalism–particularly in reference to Evangelical views on social and political issues: immigration, race, war, public policy, foreign policy, economy, etc. I find some of these views unbiblical, and theologically dangerous and  unhealthy to the Christian witness in the public sphere, missional evangelism, the Lordship of Christ, and to human flourishing and the common good.

The Desecration of Black Life and The Silence of American Evangelicals

As a Christian minister, scholar, and theologian, writing about the humanity and dignity of black people in the era of violence and death towards black folk in America is an uneasy task to do. I keep asking myself these puzzling questions: why the American evangelicals are silent about this vital issue? Why have the influential Evangelical leaders kept their mouth shut about defending the dignity and humanity of black people?

I do not believe their silence is an indication of their disbelief about the equality of all people or races; rather, their coldness about death and violence toward black people in America is a blunt denial of the biblical worldview about the sanctity of life and the doctrine of humanity grounded in the doctrine of God. American Evangelicals suffer a terrific existential crisis of biblical authority and faithfulness to the Word of God. Because of its silence, the disaster of American Evangelicalism lies in the fact that it (indirectly) supports the dehumanization of black people. In Jeremiah 22:3, God has ordered his people not to be silent regarding the plight and dehumanization of the oppressed, but to be socially engaged in the transformation of their culture and the practice of justice:  Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.”

Evangelical theological reflection about the presence of evil in our midst is more than an intellectual discourse. It should accompany radical social activism sourced in a revolutionary theology of love, justice, and peace, and a biblical ethics of relationality and social transformation. After all, the Christian is called to resist evil in the world and practice justice. American evangelicalism has failed black people and black Christians in America because of its weak theological ethics and inadequate theology of humanity and theology of God. The predicament and inhumanity of the Evangelical world lies in the fact that somewhere it has (indirectly) killed a man–that is a black person, a black Christian.

I suppose we black Evangelical Christians and thinkers should force our White Evangelical Christians and thinkers to ask honestly: what is the relevance of American Evangelicalism and its missionary message to Black America and to the non-believer? Or to put it another way, what is value of the Evangelical affirmation of the authority of Scripture in matters of life (practice) and faith (theology)? American Evangelicalism has constructed a conservative moral worldview, seemingly informed by divine revelation and scriptural authority and fidelity, is not “thick” enough to embrace and defend all lives and particularly, the dignity and humanity of black folk in America. The decline of American Evangelical ethics and moral theology in the public sphere is also premised in American evangelical tribalism and moral partiality.

I’m afraid that American Evangelicals are losing/have already lost the cultural and political war–the concern of their relevancy in the tragic time of despair, fear, alienation, and black death. Sometimes, I just wish my evangelical brothers and sisters would join the chorus to denounce these social sins, fight for the weak, and defend all lives. Modern American Evangelicalism must confront the meaning of black existence, and that black being as human nature is originated in the Imago Dei and shaped in divine likeness. God does not take pleasure in the death of anyone, even the wicked; therefore, we should not rejoice over the death of anyone–even our supposedly enemy.

 How Shall We Move Forward?

            First of fall, I do not believe that the “Shooting-Back- at the Police Method” is a dangerous strategy for the peace-making and racial reconciliation process in America. The way of violence or violent retribution is always a serious threat to the way of love, peace, and social justice, and a deadly attack on the sanctity of life. As a nation, we do not humanize life by taking away the life of another individual; we can’t move forward toward national peace and celebration of life by dehumanizing some lives and preserving the life of other individuals simultaneously. As a people and nation, we need to confront the implications and meaning of human existence and affirm that any life is worth living, preserving, and defending. The “Shooting-Back- at the Police Method” is not only wrong; it is a dehumanization of life and the denial of peace and love. God does not take pleasure in the death of anyone, even the wicked; therefore, we should not rejoice over the death of anyone–even our supposedly enemy. God’s attitude toward the wicked is clear: He does not want them to die without repentance. He wants them to change their wicked ways and walk humbly and in holiness before the Lord their Creator. Consider these Scriptural references from the book of Ezekiel

Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? (18:23)

Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel? (33:11)

Secondly, I would like to make the following threefold assertions: (1) Black history is American history; (2) The Black experience is American experience; and (3) Black culture is American culture. My target audience is White American Evangelicals, and White American Evangelical Leaders.   American Evangelical Christians need to confront their own ideological tribalism informed by the racist structures of our country and unhealthy theological discourse and imagination, which in turn, have divided Evangelical Christianity and Americans into different ethnic groups, racial categories, ethnic churches, ethnic minorities,   etc. What have you?   It is from this perspective that Southern Baptist Theologian Russell Moore in his excellent text, Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel, could write in this manner:

 Our Churches must embody the reconciliation of the gospel by doing more “ethnic” ministry, whose very nomenclature assumes that there are “regular” people and “ethnic” people. We’re all ethnic. The “white church doesn’t “do ministry” to hose “ethnic” churches dependent upon it. We assume often without thinking that the church is white, American Protestants doing missionary work for the benefit of everyone else. But the church isn’t white or American; the church is headed by a Middle Eastern Jewish man who never spoke a word of English. We do not need more “ministry” to the poor or racial minorities or immigrant communities. We need to be led by the poor and by racial “minorities” and by immigrant communities (pp. 120-1).

One of the chief reasons White Evangelical Churches and leaders have been silent on the desecration of black life and are indifferent about the miscarriage of justice toward their black brothers and sisters in the American society is because they have believed a particular version of the American history and the American experience. For some of our White Evangelical brothers and sisters, only one history counts: the white narrative of America; only one experience matters: the white experience in America. These individuals have intentionally ignored the historical narrative of “ethnic Americans” and “ethnic Christian Evangelicals; “nor have they made any considerable effort to learn a different narrative that may complement or even contradict their own version?

Such Evangelical Christians are content about this single story they embraced, and regrettably, they continue to uphold to a monolithic American cultural nationalism and patriotic identity.  As Russell Moore advises us in the same text quoted above, “Our task as the people of God is to recognize this culture where we see it, to know where this comes from, and to speak a different story” (p.121). On  the other hand, he also adds,  “The church must proclaim in its teaching and embody in its practices love and justice for those the outside world would wish to silence or kill…A Christianity that doesn’t prophetically speak for human dignity is a Christianity that has lost anything distinctive to say” (p.115).

The people of God as the church are called to be light and salt of the world, and a city upon the hill. We cannot be and do what and who God has called us to be and do if we hold tight to these destructive ideologies– such as white supremacy, white superiority, the triumph of white history in human history, etc.–which are detrimental to the Christian witness in the public sphere and the proclamation of the Gospel of grace to the unsaved and lost. I’m afraid that American Evangelicals have become the very obstacle that hinders the progress of the Gospel in our society and in the world; in the same vein, they face severe interactional hurdles with their black and African American brothers and sisters. White American Evangelicals and Evangelical Leaders must have the courage to first recognize there is a problem, and second, that they have contributed enormously to that problem. Thirdly, they must have the courage to undo the damages they have caused, as the Evangelical Church (in the collective sense) in the twenty-first century seeks to be  a prophetic church and a community that affirms “human dignity is about the kingdom of God, and that means that in every place and every culture human dignity is contested… The presence of the weak, the vulnerable, and the dependent is a matter of spiritual warfare” (Moore, pp. 116, 120).

Toward this goal, a promising approach that  could bring White Evangelicals closer to  appreciate  the meaning of all lives toward racial healing and racial justice in their  churches and  culture is to be sensitive to the collective plight and struggle of the “ethnic minorities,” if I may use this phrase. White Evangelicals must cultivate both a personal and collective attitude that would allow them to sympathize with the weak, the oppressed, and suffering communities in their city. It is vital for the sake of the Gospel that Evangelical Christians be open to and/or become intentional learners about another but complementary narrative of the American saga: the black experience and history of African Americans in America.

The recommended readings below have all been authored by African American writers and thinkers–both male and female. Some of these individuals were/are historians, novelists, social activists, legal experts, cultural critics, etc.  These writers chronicle the black experience and the history of African Americans in the United States from an interdisciplinary angle. This list includes both fiction (i.e. “Invisible Man”) and non-fiction (i.e. “From Slavery to Freedom”). Our goal here is to assist our White Evangelical brothers and sisters to be more acquainted with this version of their own history, which they have neglected or perhaps deemed unimportant to know. As the Spirit of grace continues his work of transformation in their hearts, he will enable Evangelical churches and Evangelical leaders to confront the meaning of black existence and defend the sanctity of black life.

  1. The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois
  2. Black Boy by Richard Wright
  3. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
  4. The Bluest Eyes by Toni Morrison
  5. Color Purple by Alice Walker
  6. Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin
  7. From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans by John Hope Franklin
  8. Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II by  Douglas A. Blackmon
  9. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness  by Michelle Alexandre
  10. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The people of God is called by God to be an active community in opposition to human oppression and suffering, social injustice, violence, and war, and an active force against  hate, anti-human love, and anti-human rights. May Christ radically reorient our thinking and make us more sensitive to the lived-experiences and lived-worlds of our black brothers and sisters in America–to the glorious praise of the Triune and Eternal God!

May the God of Peace, our Creator continue to give us wisdom and orient us toward the path of racial reconciliation, justice, and peace!

May He guide the Evangelical Churches and Evangelical Leaders in America to become more sensitive to the plight of their black and African American brothers and sisters!

Do not Rob the Poor: Do Justice!

Do not Rob the Poor: Do Justice!
I’m currently working through the book of Isaiah for my devotional reading. Please allow me to share with you a provocative passage that I read this morning from Isaiah chapter 10. I will close with a brief comment.
1 Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees,
and the writers who keep writing oppression,
2 to turn aside the needy from justice
and to rob the poor of my people of their right,
that widows may be their spoil,
and that they may make the fatherless their prey!
3 What will you do on the day of punishment,
in the ruin that will come from afar?
To whom will you flee for help,
and where will you leave your wealth? (Isaiah 10:1-3)
While this passage makes a clarion call to anyone to do justice, it is directed explicitly to those in power and authority, and the individuals with societal influence who use their influence and power to write off justice and promote what is deemed unjust, God-dishonoring, and evil before the Lord. The underlying truth about this passage is that God despises these people and will judge them for the miscarriage of justice and the failure to protect the weak and the oppressed. Furthermore, my summary of this passage is articulated in six points below:
1. Do to support those who rob the poor and exploit the immigrant, undocumented workers, etc. to make a profit and increase their wealth!
2. Do not associate with those who oppress the poor, the widow, and the fatherless.
3. Be on the side of the oppressed and those do not have a voice or whose voices have been silent.
4. Always be on the side of justice by walking in solidarity with the oppressed and the least among us.
5. Defend the rights (i.e. Human rights, civil rights, the right to live and exist) of those whose rights have been taken away and those whose rights have been undermined in society.
6. People who refuse to do these things or any of these things will experience God’s imminent eschatological judgment and his great day of wrath.
*  Our present time is characterized by an increase desire and search for wealth, power, and economic stability, as well as prominence, popularity, and high social standing. Unfortunately, many people, corporations, institutions, both private and public, will do whatever it takes–even stepping on people’s toes or employers will exploit their employers or vice versa–to get to the top. By contrary, the disciples of Christ in today’s society are called to live differently and justly in these dangerous times than those who are not following Christ and resisting justice and love.   God’s wisdom contradicts human wisdom, and his ways transcend ours. God has called the community of faith, his people, to be on the side of justice and to work robustly, consistently, and practically to affirm the value of underprivileged individuals and people–by defending their rights and take a stand against those who are mistreating, exploiting, and dehumanizing them. Failure to practice any of these things will bring dishonor to God and stimulate his wrath and judgment. He has called his people, the people of God to embrace a higher ethical and value system and to an alternative lifestyle that are contrary to worldly demands but consistent with his character and his desire for justice, righteousness, and human flourishing.