“Why I support the #SBC19 Resolution 9”

“Why I support the #SBC19 Resolution 9”

In these series of threads, I offer ten reasons why I support the #SBC19

Resolution 9 on “Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality.” As a matter of preface, allow me to make some preliminary remarks before I articulate my ten propositions in favor of Resolution 9. Resolution 9 does not exhibit a worldview and ideology, as many have wrongly interpreted it, but should be construed as a theoretical tool of analysis not a system of thought; as such, it provides a starting point to think conceptually and categorically about the interplay between Christianity and race, the message of the Gospel and the message of the American culture, and the liberating teachings of Christ for the disinherited, the poor, and the vulnerable in our society. Resolution 9 is a much needed instrumental framework to help foster within the SBC community more constructive Gospel-centered conversations on racial (in-) justice concerns and socioeconomic (in-) justice issues that have plagued this nation and the SBC (and to a larger degree American Christianity) for too long—since its birth in May 1845 in Augusta, GA and its eventual split from the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society over the issue of slavery.

Further, Resolution 9 could help the SBC to be a more constructive denomination as well as more mindful and sensitive as a multi-service Christian institution about the economic and health disparities between racial groups, toxic living conditions of the poor, environmental justice issues, the mass incarceration of Black males, the mass abortion in the Black community, the educational underperformance of Black students in public schools, intentional geographic segregation in residential zones, and designed systemic and social segregation that are terribly affecting the Christian experience in America, the American cultural and political fabric, and the intricate experience of both Black and Brown population, both Christians and non-Christians. Some of these problematic issues have deep roots in racial-based economic wealth and distribution, white privilege, white supremacy, racial prejudice and discrimination, the legacy of the segregation system, and the consequences of the racist narrative of this nation supported both by American Christianity and American Evangelicalism.

These problematic matters have produced disastrous impact on the life of contemporary SBC and Evangelical churches and they continue to change the nature of Christian fellowship and interracial relations in Evangelical circles. Finally, the #SBC19 Resolution 9 could help the SBC community to venture optimistically and Christianly toward the project of Christian reconciliation and the possibility of racial unity and reconciliation in its various circles, institutions, and churches.

At this point in our conversation, let us now explore the additional ten reasons that substantiate my underlying claim in supporting the #SBC19 Resolution 9 (I borrow the language and rhetorical expressions from Robert P. Jones’ influential and well-researched book, “The End of White Christian America” (Simon & Schuster, 2016)):

1. “No segment of White Christian American has been more complicit in the nation’s fraught racial history than white evangelical Protestants.

2. And no one group of white evangelical Protestants bears more responsibility than Southern Baptists, who comprise the overwhelming majority of white evangelicals, particularly in the states of the former Confederacy.

3. As the largest Protestant denomination in the country, and the white Christian denomination most concentrated in the South, the SBC is an important bellwether for White Christian America’s progress on race relations.

4. The SBC was, after all, created in the years before the Civil War as a haven for pro-slavery Southern Christians. Baptist churches in the South seceded and formed the Southern Baptist Convention so that members would not have to choose between their slaves and their calling to be missionaries.

5. Following the Civil War, Southern Baptists stood by southern status quo of segregation…Typical white Baptists in the South viewed civil rights as at best irrelevant to the Christian faith and at worst a threat to their culture.

6. The Southern Baptist Convention—known for passing resolutions on even minor matters of concern—largely ignored the early civil rights movement. Their only official race relations resolution during the entire decade of the 1950s was a resolution issued in 1950 recommending the denomination officially invite “Negro churches” to participate in simultaneous (but separate) revival meetings.

7. [W.A.] Criswell’s speech to the South Carolina General Assembly was a potent example of the overtly segregationist faction within the Southern Baptist Convention during the civil rights era.

8. In his popular Separating people of different races through law was not portrayed as a moral evil—in fact, some argued that it was necessary to maintain peace in the South.

9. The individualist flavor of Baptist theology, with its tendency to reduce racial problems to individual sin rather than systematic social discrimination, remained, ensuring that most responses to the race problem by groups like the Southern Baptist Convention were fairly shallow.

10. Early resolutions [i.e.1995] had gone out of their way to minimize Baptists’ complicity in white racism and often simultaneously denounced civil disobedience or destruction of property as legitimate ways to enact social change… The sins of the fathers continue to haunt the SBC’s attempts to deal with race today as they attempt to move from apology to reconciliation” (pp. 147-195).

“On Evangelical Paradoxes”

“On Evangelical Paradoxes” (Part 2)

Two years ago, I signed a book contract with @wipfandstock to publish a text tentatively called “Evangelical Paradoxes: American Evangelicalism and the Destruction of American Christianity.” The book is a critique on “the evangelical worldview” and to engage some of the socio-political ills and cultural malaise in contemporary American Evangelicalism. (Yet these issues and “evangelical practices” have deep theological foundations and associations.) It is also a very personal book, as I attempt to chronicle my own struggles to understand how Evangelicals have responded and continue to react to some of the most urgent issues of our time and in our culture, such as political party’s affiliation and advocacy, immigration, police brutality, mass incarceration, abortion, white supremacy, race, gender and sexuality issues, social justice issues, etc.

I also attempt to write about my personal journey in Evangelical schools and circles such as @BCF, @SBTS, & @SWBTS and express my discontent about the theological curriculum and religious education in my own affiliated denomination, which are very inclusive, white, male, ideological, homogeneous, and monolithic. The book is also a critique on the problem of diversity, Christian fellowship, and interracial relations in Evangelical circles and Christian churches in America.

In addition, I explain my experience with race and of racism and “cultural prejudice” in the schools cited above, as well as the humiliation and isolation that I have endured in Evangelical places. “Evangelical Paradoxes” is intended for pastors, seminarians, and lay people. My ultimate goal for writing this book is threefold: (1) to disturb the evangelical conscience; (2) to foster candid conversations among Christians around these pivotal and problematic issues; and (3) to redirect the Evangelical conscience from its crave for political power and cultural influence to embrace a Christ-centered politics and ethics, and a Biblical-centered anthropological relationality that give primacy to hospitality, self-sacrifice, servant leadership, mutual reciprocity, justice, and compassion, as well as to attend to the existential needs (and be concerned about the living conditions) of the poor, the vulnerable, and the economically-disadvantaged populations in this country. As I am wrapping up this manuscript, I begin to think seriously about how this book will be received among friends whom I dearly love and the schools that I have trained me and informed me theologically, but not socially. (The latter I received from my secular education at the University.)

On the other hand, and in the course of time, I have written two manuscripts to engage the notion I call “Evangelical Paradoxes.” Two weeks ago, I submitted the second volume (about 400 pages) to the publisher even before I was through with the first volume (about 400 pages also). The second volume, “Theologizing in Black,” is intended for scholars and Christian thinkers, while the first one is directed toward the people in the pew and the thinking christian. The second volume attempts to provide some possible solutions to the Evangelical paradoxes. It seems to me that the second volume will be first published, as I intend to submit volume one to the publisher by the beginning of August this year. Yet the first volume is a very personal book. It reveals mon cri de coeur for shalom, renewal, transformation, and a kind of radically Gospel-centered rebirth in contemporary American Christianity.

The more I study American Christianity and American Evangelicalism, the more I am realizing that contemporary American Evangelicals have destroyed Biblical Christianity and have become perhaps the greatest enemy of the Gospel and perhaps the greatest opponents of social justice and racial issues in this culture.

May God give us enough grace and radically transform the Christian conscience in this nation to turn away from its obsession with cultural practices, religious habitus, and political idols that have taken captive the liberative message and teachings of Christ to become a dangerous community of faith that champions human flourishing, the common good, and a great people who embodies God’s grace compassion, humility, and love in public!

“On Christian Miracles and “Religious Myths”

“On Christian Miracles and “Religious Myths”

It is interesting to imagine that the things that are called “myths” and “legends” in various religious traditions and in the field of (secular) anthropology are called “miracles” in Christianity. Two examples of the latter are the incarnation of God in the historical person of Jesus of Nazareth and his bodily resurrection substantiated by eyewitness testimony—the two cardinal truths of Christianity concerning the (divine) identity and (soteriological) function of Jesus Christ. If one wants to truly embrace the Christian message, one has to believe in the supposedly “christian myths and legends.” Hence, one can infer that the essence of Christianity is embedded in its myths.

By contrast, Orthodox Christianity uses the language of myth and legend to label what might be considered supernatural phenomena and events in other religious traditions. In this way, Orthodox Christianity establishes its distinctive religious identity and truth-claims from other religious faiths and its bold claim of divine origin or authorship.

“Evangelical Paradox # 1”

“Evangelical Paradox # 1”

(Evangelical) Christian history in the United States of America is a narrative of redemption and conflict, but not a story of reconciliation and unity. The notion of redemption here is often portrayed as spiritual, but the narrative of conflict is social and interpersonal. Evangelical theologians accentuate the significance of the Gospel as spiritual transformation; yet they jettison the social aspect and responsibility embedded in the content and message of the Gospel to manage/solve conflict and achieve reconciliation and unity.

Theologically speaking, redemption just like the concept of biblical justification and justice has both a spiritual & social dimension. Evangelicals emphasize the former while undermining the power & value of the latter. Contemporary American Evangelicals must admit these are deep “Gospel problems” of our times that need to be resolved. Gospel issues are also social and human problems that need to be diagnosed, effectively treated, and taken seriously.

The practical truth is this: American Christians or Evangelicals have never been reconciled socially and interpersonally; hence, the promise of Gospel unity, interracial harmony, & ethnic bonding in society and Christian circles and Churches will continue to be delayed.

The attitude of American Christians toward redemption & conflict resolution & their unwillingness to alter their ways and behavior to support one another and promote the dignity of all people will continue postponing the manifestation and empowering presence of the the Spirit in their lives and his cleansing intervention to heal their deepest wounds.

“Natural Evil and Disasters and Haitian Reponse Toward Religious Belief and Spiritual Conversion”

Haiti is often called the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. It is also one of the top countries in the Americas that has often affected by natural disasters and natural evil. The goal of this presentation is threefold. First, it provides an overview of the major natural disasters that have complicated the human condition in Haiti. Second, it explores the ecological problem that has contributed to Haiti’s underdevelopment and infrastructures, and the collective suffering of the Haitian people. Third, it engages the religious response to this Haitian crisis, chiefly how Evangelical (American) Christians and American religious-supported NGOs atttempted to assist Haitian victims and alleviate their pain– especially in the contest of the most deadly earthquake (Janurary 10, 2010) that has devastated the nation of Haiti, contributed to the tragic death of 300,000 human lives, and caused about a billion dollars in infrastructure damages and deficit. As a result, this paper also investigates how natural disasters have hightened collective response to faith and religious conversion in Haiti, resulting in the tremendous increase of Haiti’s Protestant population in the past 50 years. Toward this goal, this paper incorporates the socio-historical theory of religion and spiritual conversion, as this phenomenon has shifted the Haitian response to religion or attitude toward faith.

“A Man Between Two Worlds”

“A Man Between Two Worlds”

I’m happy to live in the United States, but am glad that I was born in Haiti. I rejoice that I left my soul in Ayiti cherie 🇭🇹, but I’m delighted that my heart is buried in America 🇺🇸.

When I die, I want both worlds to be reconciled in my Haitian-American body, and both lives to be united in my next life and future.

When I die, I want my soul to be migrated to America and my heart to be transferred to Haiti.

When I die, I don’t want to be resurrected in both countries or in one or the other; rather, I want a new nation to rise from my experience in both worlds.

When I die, I don’t want anyone to whisper the Haitian “La Dessalinienne” or the America “The Star-Spangler Banner”; rather, I want a new hymn, a new anthem, and a new melody to be made from both anthems.

When I die, I will leave behind in both worlds the “Haitian-American” hyphen; I want to meet God as a son, and hug Jesus as his image bearer.