“The United Methodist Church: Ecclesiastical Authority, the Body of Christ, and the Inclusion of LGBTQ Clergy in its Life”

“The United Methodist Church: Ecclesiastical Authority, the Body of Christ, and the Inclusion of LGBTQ Clergy in its Life”

Christian Churches in the United States will fall or stand on the issue of the inclusion of LGBTQ clergy in church leadership and the pastorate and the acceptance of same-sex marriage in its fellowship. What happened today in the United Methodist Church is a clear indication that (1) Christianity is a global phenomenon; (2) Christianity, in its various denominational expressions, goes beyond the Christian Americancentrism (i.e. American Christian particularities and preferences); (3) ecclesiastical authority matters, and its decisions (the decision-making process) may affect not only the collective life, activities, and functions of the universal church (as an institution), but also those of the local church and its associating (individual) members; (4) the issue of sexual and gender identities and the definition/redefinition of marriage is more than a legal matter–although same sex marriage is legal in the United States where the American United Methodist Church is also located, but the United Methodist Church is not American– , but also an issue that is decided by ecclesiastical authorities, on an international scale; and (5) finally, today’s collective decision in the United Methodist Church demonstrates that both marriage and sexual/gender identity is not merely a matter of individual preference, but a profound question entailing tradition, biblical authority, and theological hermeneutics.

As time evolves and people’s attitude toward religion changes, especially about traditional Christianity, Christians of various theological commitment will continue to struggle over the issue of gender and sexual identities and the meaning of marriage in the body of Christ, and the place of LGBTQ clergy in the pastorate and administration of the church. The battle is not over yet, and the matter is not just a concern of a particular christian denomination: The United Methodist Church. In fact, it is a vital concern of enormous implications and will be a matter for all Christian denominations, both in the present and in the future, to evaluate, reassess, and eventually to decide an outcome. This issue will make its way in the most theologically-conservative Christian denomination in the United States: the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Mark my word! In the meantime, we should continue to pray for the unity of the church and of all believers, for biblical fidelity, and for the people of God to remain true to their conviction–theological, moral, and ethical. Above all, we should always pursue love, truth, justice, and beauty grounded on the moral character of God in Christ Jesus.Correspondingly, let the church and followers of Jesus Christ show radical compassion, care, and love toward the LGBTQ people, who are also created in the Imago Dei and recipients of God’s abundant grace and mercy!

As Paul exhorts the Christians in the Church at Rome:
“7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” Romans 14:7-9, 19

Third Annual Pan African Conference on The Black Church and Black (Woman) Preaching!

If you live in Broward and Dade counties, join us tomorrow, Feb. 23, 2019, for the Third Annual Pan African Conference.

I will be giving a talk on the subject of theology, ecclesiology, and human flourishing (Title: “The Crisis and Challenges of the Black Church in the Twenty-First Century”).

I will be on a panel with Drs. Carol Tomlin and Paul Camy Mocombe

“On Race as Power and Dominion, and Our Unity, Hope, and Diversity in Christ”

“On Race as Power and Dominion, and Our Unity, Hope, and Diversity in Christ”

1. The function of race as a concept and reality in the American (human) experience is like the original sin, described by the biblical Prophets and Apostle Paul in their writings. Race taints every aspect of our individual and collective life. The bondage and dominion of race is unavoidable and omnipresent in human interactions in the American society. Like sin, race is power and control. Like sin in its universal outlook and dimension, the concept of race throughout the American history and experience is hegemonic dominion and existential psychological burden. The race idea means that it is a framework, a systems of thought-process, a state of (the) mind, a narrative of contrasts, and a series of human standardization that evaluates human dignity and worth, and assesses the subject of (human) inclusion and exclusion in the modern world. Race is a metaphor for/of the meaning and indiscriminate character of sin in the world.

2. As sin taints every aspect of the human reality in the world, race as a systemic structure and a regime of systems network architecture that undergirds American thought and pragmatism (i.e. ideas and actions, tangible and intangible, visible and invisible). Race wages war against the self and the collective.

3. Our attitude is tainted by race.
Our treatment of and interaction with other individuals is tainted by race.
Our emotions (both internal and external) are tainted by race.
Our human condition is tainted by race.
Our definition about humanity and who is human is tainted by race.

4. Our laws on home ownership is tainted by race.
Our laws on school coding and zoning is tainted by race.
Our public policies are tainted by race.
Our foreign policies are tainted by race.

5. Our theological praxis is tainted by race.
Our ecclesiastical functions are tainted by race.
Our righteousness is tainted by race.
Our theology and understanding of God and humanity is tainted by the racial veil.
Our theological writings and education are
Our evangelistic endeavors and missionary strategies are racially-guided.

However, the hope of race and humanity is Christ alone, and the redemption of race and humanity is in Christ alone.

“Paul clearly believed that ecclesial unity even amidst great diversity was possible, and the differences that Paul’s churches faced do not seem to have been any less challenging than what we face today. Christian friendships between Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female, rich and poor testify clearly to God’s ability to create unity and friendship amidst great diversity. Paul’s strategy was to articulate how God’s hospitality in Christ created a common identity for all his churches, a welcome that transformed them from enemies and outsiders into friends and family—both with God and with one another”

“And if God has welcomed us in Christ as his friends and family while we were enemies and outsiders, how can we not respond with hospitality and friendship to our Christian friends and family with whom we may different on the level of our cultural and social identifies” (pp. 70-71)–Joshua Jipp, “Saved by Faith and Hospitality”

The Will of the Haitian People and the Failure of Haitian Politicians

“The Will of the Haitian People and the Failure of Haitian Politicians”

There are a few good and strong leaders in comtemporary Haitian politics. Certainly, what we have in Haiti are a group of political charlatans who have no patriotic zeal and are insensitive to the well-being of the Haitian people and the future of the next generation.

Haitians politician always create chaos (supported by the International Community) and thus invite foreign intervention. This is exactly what Western imperialists are looking for to exercise their hegemony over the country and the life of the Haitian people. The spirit of dependency and toxic leadership is written in the back of their political jackets, which will lead to their own decline and ultimate destruction.

Haitian politicians have contributed to the failure of the Haitian state as a governing institution and a body of structure. The Haitian people, by contrast, do not fail their country. The Haitian State may be a troubled structure, but the Haitian people are not a trouble group. They might be terrorized and troubled by the actions and vices of their politicians, but they are not a threat nor a hindrance to the progress and future of their country.

Other countries do not develop other countries. Development, in all its dimensions and forms, is always and must be an internal affair. When our politicians and our people come to this understanding, we will make a step forward toward a better Haiti for all of her children.

Haitian Politicians have failed the Haitian State, but the Haitian People have remained true to Haiti’s foundational democratic principles and progressive ideas. The predicament in contemporary Haitian politics is the great divide that exists between the will and interests of the Haitian people and the actions and ideologies of Haitian politicians. That is the enormous clash in Haiti at the moment.