Reading again through Saint Augustine’s “Confessions”: Day 8 (God, the Immutable One, is the Life of souls and the Life of lives)

Reading again through Saint Augustine’s “Confessions”: Day 8 (God, the Immutable One, is the Life of souls and the Life of lives)

“Truth! Truth! How the very marrow of my soul within me yearned for it as they dinned it in my ears over and over again! To them it was no more than a name to be voiced or a word to be read in their libraries of huge books. But while my hunger was for you, for Truth itself, these were dishes on which they served me up the sun and the moon, beautiful works of yours but still only your works, not you yourself nor even the greatest of your created things. For your spiritual works are greater than these material things, however brightly they may shine in the sky. But my hunger and thirst were not even for the greatest of your works, but for you, my God, because Truth itself with whom there can be no change, no swerving from your course…

But you, O God whom I love and on whom I lean in weakness so that I may be strong, you are not then sun and the moon and the stars, even though we see these bodies in the heavens; nor are you those other bodies which we do not see in the sky, for you created them and, in your reckoning, they are not even among the greatest of your works. How far, then, must you really be from those fantasies of mine, those imaginary material things which do not exist at all! The images we form in our mind’s eye, when we picture things that really do exist, are far better founded than these inventions; and the things themselves are still more certain than the images we form of them. But you are not these things. Neither are you the soul, which is the life of bodies and, since it gives them life, must be better and more certain than they are themselves. But you are the life of souls, the life of lives. You live, O Life of my soul, because you are life itself, immutable.

My God, you had mercy on me even before I had confessed to you; but I now confess that all this was because I tried to find you, not through the understanding of the mind, by which you meant us to be superior to the beasts, but through the senses of the flesh. Yet you were deeper than my inmost understanding and higher than the topmost height that I could reach.”

Reading again through Saint Augustine’s “Confessions”: Day 7 (The Holy Scriptures are Better than the Prose of Cicero!)

Reading again through Saint Augustine’s “Confessions”: Day 7 (The Holy Scriptures are Better than the Prose of Cicero!)

“It was my ambition to be a good speaker, for the unhallowed and inane purpose of gratifying human vanity. These prescribed course of study brought me to a work by an author named Cicero, whose writing nearly everyone admires , if not the spirit of it. The title of the book is “Hortensius” and it recommends the reader to study philosophy. It altered my outlook on life. It changed my prayers to you, O Lord, and provided me with new hopes and aspirations. All my empty dreams suddenly lost their charm and my heart began to throb with a bewildering passion for the wisdom of eternal truth. I began to climb out of the depths to which I had sunk, in order to return to you. For I did not use the book as a whetstone to sharpen my tongue. It was not the style of it but the contents which won me over…

The only thing that pleased me in Cicero’s book was his advice not simply to admire one or another of the schools of philosophy, but to love wisdom itself, whatever it might be, and to search for it, pursue it, hold it, and embrace it firmly. These were the words which excited me and set me burning with fire, and the only check to this blaze of enthusiasm was that they made no mention of the name of Christ…

So I made up my mind to examine the holy Scriptures and see what kind of books they were. I discovered something that was at once beyond the understanding of the proud and hidden from the eyes of children. Its gait was humble, but the heights it reached were sublime. It was enfolded in my mysteries, and I was not the kind of man to enter into it or bow my head to follow where it led. But these were not the feelings I had when I first read the Scriptures. To me they seemed quite unworthy of comparison with the stately prose of Cicero, because I had too much conceit to accept their simplicity and not enough insight to penetrate their depths. It is surely true that as the child grows these books grow with him. But I was too much proud to call myself a child. I was inflated with self-esteem, which made me think myself a great man.”

Reading again through Saint Augustine’s “Confessions” : Day 6 (Human Beings Cannot Hide Away from God, the Most Glorious One)

Reading again through Saint Augustine’s “Confessions” : Day 6 (Human Beings Cannot Hide Away from God, the Most Glorious One)

“And now, O Lord my God, now that I ask what pleasure I had in that theft, I find that it had no beauty to attract me. I do not mean beauty of the sort that justice and prudence possess, nor the beauty that is in man’s mind and in his memory and in the life that animates him, nor the beauty of the stars in their allotted places or of the earth and sea, teeming with new life born to replace the old as it passes away. It did not even that the shadowy, deceptive beauty which makes vice attractive–pride, for instance, which is a pretense of superiority, imitating yours, for you alone are God, supreme over all; or ambition, which is only a craving for honour and glory, when you alone are to be honoured before all and you alone are glorious for ever. Cruelty is the weapon of the powerful, used to make others fear them; yet no one is to be feared but God alone, from whose power nothing can be snatched away or stole by any man at any time or place or by any means.

The lustful use caresses to win the love they crave for, yet no caress is sweeter than your charity and no love is more rewarding than the love of your truth, which shines in beauty above all else. Inquisitiveness has all the appearance of a thirst for knowledge, yet you have supreme knowledge of all things. Ignorance too, and stupidity choose to go under the mask of simplicity and innocence, because you are simplicity itself and no innocence is greater than yours. You are innocent even of the harm which overtakes the wicked, for it is the result of their own actions. Sloth poses as the love of peace: yet what certain peace is there besides the Lord? Extravagance masquerades as fullness and abundance: but you are the full, unfailing store of never-dying sweetness. The spendthrift makes a pretense of liberality: but yo are the most generous dispenser of all good. The covetous want many possessions for themselves; you possess all. The envious struggle for preferment: but what is to be preferred before you? Anger demands revenges: but what vengeance is as just as yours? Fear shrinks from any sudden, unwonted danger which threatens the things that it loves, for its only care is safety: but to you nothing is strange, nothing unforeseen. No one can part you from the things that you love, and safety is assured nowhere but in you. Grief eats away its heart for the loss of things which it took pleasure in desiring, because it wants to be like you, from whom nothing can be taken way.

So the soul defiles itself with unchase love when it turns away from and looks elsewhere for things which it cannot find pure and unsullied except by returning to you, All who desert you and set themselves up against you merely copy in a perverse way; but by this very act of imitation they only show that you are the Creator of all nature and, consequently, that there is no place whatever where man may hide away from you.”

Reading again through Saint Augustine’s “Confessions”: Day 5 (Honoring and Glorifying God through Reading and Writing, and Thinking and Scholarship)

Reading again through Saint Augustine’s “Confessions”: Day 5 (Honoring and Glorifying God through Reading and Writing, and Thinking and Scholarship)

“Even now I cannot fully understand why the Greek language, which I learned as a child, was so distasteful to me. I loved Latin, not the elementary lessons but those which I studied later under the teachers of literature. The first lessons in Latin were reading, writing, and counting, and they were as much of an irksome imposition as any studies in Greek…But in the later lessons I was obliged to memorize the wanderings of a hero named Aeneas, while in the meantime I failed to remember my own erratic ways. I learned to lament the death of Dido, who killed for love, while all the time, in the midst of these things, I was dying, separated from you, my God and my life, and I shed no tears for my own plight…

This traditional education taught me that Jupiter punishes the wicked with his thunderbolts and yet commits adultery himself. The two roles are quite incompatible. All the same he is represented in this way, and the result is that those who follow his example in adultery can put a bold face on it by making false pretences of thunder…

You, O Lord are my King and my God, and in your service I want to use whatever good I learned as a boy. I can speak and write, read and count, and I want these things to be used to serve you, because when I studied other subjects you checked and forgave me the sins I committed by taking pleasure in such worthless things. It is true that these studies taught me many useful words, but the same worlds can be learnt by studying something that matters, and this is the safe course for a boy to follow….

Grant my prayer, O Lord, and do not allow my soul to wilt under the discipline which you prescribe. Let me not tire of thanking you for your mercy in rescuing me from all my wicked ways, so that you may be sweeter to me than all the joys which used to tempt me; so I that may love you most intensely and clasp your hand with all the power of my devotion; so that you may save me from all temptation until the end of my days.”

Reading again through Saint Augustine’s “Confessions”: Day 4 (God, the Infinite Life and the Infinite Being, is One and the Same!)

Reading again through Saint Augustine’s “Confessions”: Day 4 (God, the Infinite Life and the Infinite Being, is One and the Same!)

“I do acknowledge you, Lord of heaven and earth, and I praise you for my first beginnings, although I cannot remember them. But you have allowed men to discover these things about themselves by watching other babies, and also to learn much from what women have to tell. I know that I was a living person at that age, and as I came towards the end of infancy I tried to find signs to convey my feelings to others. Where could such a living creature come from if not from you, O Lord? Can it be that any man has skill to fabricate himself? Or can there be some channel by which we derive our life and our very existence from other source than you? Surely we can only derive them from our Maker, from you, Lord, to whom living and being are not different things, since infinite life and infinite being are one and the same.

For you are infinite and never change. In you ‘today’ never comes to an end: and yet our ‘today’ does come to an end in you, because time, as well as everything else, exists in you. If it did not, it would have no means of passing. And since your years never come to an end, for you they are simply ‘today.’ The countless days of our lives and of our forefathers’ lives have passed by within your ‘today.’ From it they have received their due measure of duration and their very existence. And so it will be with all the other days which are still to come. But you yourself are eternally the same. In your ‘today’ you will make all that is to exist tomorrow and thereafter, and in your ‘today’ you have made all that existed yesterday for ever before.”

The Bridge: In Praise of Mr. John Lewis and Mr. C. T. Vivian!

The Bridge: In Praise of Mr. John Lewis and Mr. C. T. Vivian!

Sometimes, Black immigrants in the United States take for granted the opportunities, freedoms, and rights they have inherited just because of the resistance and courage of a few great men like Civil Rights leaders John Lewis and C. T. Vivian. We honor both of you today.

As a black man who was not born in the United States, if I can continue to breathe in this country, I owe it to brave African American men and women who have literally sacrificed their lives, shed their blood, and endured humiliation and dehumanization to make it possible for me and my children, and other blacks living in this country.

Thank you, Mr. Lewis!
Thank you, Mr. Vivian!

Your labor is not and will not be in vain. We will continue the struggle for human rights and life, justice and peace, human flourishing, and to create another and better country for all in these United States of America.

***

The words of our departed ancest

“Love is the willingness to sacrifice, to be beaten, to go to jail, to be killed for the betterment of society rather than live out your life in silence. The Civil Rights Movement, above all, was a work of love. Yet, even fifty years later, it is rare to find anyone who would use the word love to describe what we did. We were consciously aware that unity was our ultimate goal, and if that was truly our aim, we had come to grips with the fact that after all the warring was done, reconciliation, love, and forgiveness would have the final say. Our protests were our way of standing in the truth to reach our errant brothers and sisters and encourage them to see the abiding truth that was there before the foundation of the world and would last beyond our existence—we are one people, one family. I like to use the analogy of one house to describe our kinship to all humankind. We all live together in the same house—in different rooms, perhaps, but under the same roof and within the same walls. If one section of our house begins to rot—a basement, a back room, a closed-off closet—the entire structure is in danger of collapsing. It is only by recognizing our unity that we can prevail.”

John Lewis, Across That Bridge (pp. 179-180)

“Multicultural Churches and the Rest of Us”

“Multicultural Churches and the Rest of Us”

Let’s talk for a few minutes about Multicultural Congregations or Churches in the United States! I will ask four questions. I would like us to have a conversation. Everyone is invited to participate in this conversation–both Christians and non-Christians, believers and unbelievers.

  1. If you’re currently attending a multicultural congregation, is the lead or senior pastor White or is the pastor, Black, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, etc.?
  2. It seems to me and in most cases (I could be wrong here) that non-white Christians have no problem being led by a white senior pastor. By contrast, it appears to be a problem for white Christians to sit under the authority and leadership of a Black, Asian, or Hispanic senior pastor. Am I making a false assumption here? Are there valid and biblical reasons why there’s such a gap and unbalance relating to power, authority, and pastoral ministry in multicultural congregations?
  3. How can biblical scholars, Christian thinkers and writers, and theologians, as well as theological institutions and seminaries help shift the power dynamic in multicultural congregations?
  4. Do white Christians truly have a problem being taught, following the lead, sitting under the authority of a senior pastor who is not white?
  5. In what ways are multicultural congregations contributing to improve race relations in society and churches? Or are they also maintaining white supremacy and dominion, as it is present in various circles, institutions, systems, and communities outside the church?

Reading again through Saint Augustine’s “Confessions”: Days 1- 3

Reading again through Saint Augustine’s “Confessions”: Day 3 (Nothing in God Dies!)

“My infancy is long since dead, yet I am still alive. But you, Lord, live for ever and nothing in you dies, because you have existed from before the very beginning of the ages, before anything that could be said to go before, and you are God and Lord of all you have created. In you are the first causes of all things not eternal, the unchangeable origins of all things that suffer change, the everlasting reason of all things that are subject to the passage of time and have no reason in themselves. Have pity, then, on me, O God, for it is pity that I need. Answer my prayer and tell me whether my infancy followed upon some other stage of life that died before it. Was it the stage of life that I spent in my mother’s womb? For I have learnt a little about that too, and I have myself seen women who were pregnant. But what came before that, O God my Delight? Was I anywhere? Was I anybody? These are questions I must put to you, for I have no one else to answer them. Neither my father nor my mother could tell me, nor could I find out from the experience of other people or from my own memory. Do my questions provoke you to smile at time and bid me simply to acknowledge you and praise you for what I do know?”

Reading again through Saint Augustine’s “Confessions”: Day 2 (God, the Most Beautiful One and the Most Present One)

“You are the most hidden from us and yet the most present amongst us, the most beautiful and yet the most strong, ever enduring and yet we cannot comprehend you. You are unchangeable and yet you change all things. You are never new, never old, and yet all things have new life from you. You are the unseen power that brings decline upon the proud. You are ever active, yet always at rest. You gather all things to yourself, though you suffer no need. You support, you fill, and you protect all things. You create them, nourish them, and bring them to perfection. You seek to make them your own, though you lack for nothing. You love your creatures, but with a gentle love. You treasure them, but without apprehension. You grieve for wrong, but suffer no pain. You can be angry and yet serene. Your works are varied, but your purpose is one and the same. You welcome all who come to you, though you never lost them. You are never in need yet are glad to gain, never covetous yet you exact a return for your gifts…Can any man say enough when he speaks of you? Yet woe betide those who are silent about you! For even those who are most gifted with speech cannot find words to describe you.”

Reading again through Saint Augustine’s “Confessions”: Day 1 (You Made Us for Thyself: We Rest in Thee)

“The thought of you stirs him so deeply that he cannot be content unless he praises you, because you made us for yourself and our hearts find no peace until they rest in you.

Grant me, Lord, to know and understand whether a man is first to pray to you for help or to praise you, and whether he must know you before he can call you to his aid. If he does not know you, how can he pray to you? For he may call for some other help, mistaking it for yours.

or are men to pray to you and learn to know you though their prayers?”

“An Open Letter to Dr. Al Mohler and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Board of Trustees Regarding Honoring the Founding Slaveholders” by Pastor William Dwight McKissic Sr.

From Pastor William Dwight McKissic Sr.

“An Open Letter to Dr. Al Mohler and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Board of Trustees Regarding Honoring the Founding Slaveholders

Dr. Albert Mohler
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
2825 Lexington Rd.
Louisville, KY 40206
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Board of Trustees
Dear Dr. Mohler and the Board of Trustees,

Greetings in the Name of our Triune God, “in whom we live, move and have our very being” (Acts 17:28).

The impact you have made on the SBC and the nation will be felt for generations to come (Psalm 145:4).

The purpose of this correspondence is to humbly and respectfully request that the President and Board of Trustees at SBTS remove from SBTS campus, any memorabilia of the founders: James Pettigru Boyce, John Broadus, Basil Manly, and William Williams.

Why? The founders should be acknowledged and appreciated for their role in the establishment and development of SBTS. However, it is biblically inappropriate to celebrate them though, due to the following reason(s): Because of the patriarchy, prejudice, and the promotion of “putrid exegesis,” practiced and preached by the founders of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, their names need to be removed from the Seminary as memorabilia; this includes the names of Boyce College, Broadus Chapel, and any other places where the names of the founders are displayed, including coffee mugs.

The founders stated motivations to relocate SBTS from Greenville, South Carolina, to Louisville, Kentucky, in 1877 was to escape the presence of freed slaves in Greenville, which they viewed as an “incubus and plague.” They expressed their desire to relocate the Seminary “in a White Man’s country.” Pastor Steve Bezner, who holds a PH.D. in history, recently tweeted: “Boyce helped found the school because the SBC was founded on a pro-slavery hermeneutic and needed a seminary which would support that hermeneutic.” Those scathing words alone merit revisiting this matter.

The founders should be acknowledged and appreciated for their role in the establishment of and development of SBTS. However, it is simply inappropriate and unbiblical to hallow and honor these men in a prominent and celebratory manner.

By allowing the names of the founders to continue to be plastered on walls and memorialized publicly as men of high moral character—you are in effect upholding their legacy of being theological and practical proponents and defenders of White Supremacy and Black inferiority. Furthermore, you are stuffing it down
the throats of those of us who find their actions incompatible with their faith and Baptist orthodoxy. As ministers of reconciliation, we can and ought to do better than this (II. Corinthians 5:18-20). When you build a monument or highlight names of people in significant places, you are telling people, “they did good.” When you build a monument to evildoers, you are telling people, “These evildoers did good!”

The Bible says, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20). Honoring slaveholders by naming a college, chapel, library, and attaching their names on other high-profile places on campus is honoring them. By having done so, you have effectively called “evil good and good evil.” To defend and honor slaveholders is to defend and honor slavery.

It is a slap in the face of God’s people, and an affront to the Kingdom of God to keep saying slaveholders were theologically right but morally wrong. You cannot divorce theology and morality.

Currently, the BFM2K is the standard for doctrinal orthodoxy in the culture and life of the SBC. The founders of SBTS could not and would not meet the qualifications of being classified as orthodox, because they could not affirm the BFM2K, Section III, “Man.”

The first three sentences in this section read, “Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God’s creation.”

The final sentence in Section III, “Man,” reads: “The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore, every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.”

Boyce, Broadus, Manly, and Williams did not believe that “every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.” These men also opposed the suffrage movement and women voting as messengers in SBC annual sessions. These two positions were evidence of misogyny and patriarchy, which is counter-culture to the spirit and the letter of the BFM2K, Section III, regarding “Man.”

Therefore, based on SBC’s doctrinal statement, these men cannot be classified as orthodox. To label these men as “orthodox” radically redefine the historic meaning and usage of the term.

Defending their beliefs and behaviors by suggesting that they were mere men of their times, simply do not justify their heterodoxy or practices. The Quakers, Wilberforce, Spurgeon, James Madison Pendleton, and the Sandy Creek Baptists, all were spiritual leaders during the era of slavery, but they chose to honor Scripture and the fact that man was made—male and female—in the image of God—the Imago Dei.

Throughout biblical and cultural history, God has often chosen to hit straight licks, with crooked sticks, to accomplish His will. That statement would fit all of us to a certain extent, certainly me. Men and women who engaged in a multitude of sins are listed on the Hall of Faith (Hebrews 11). I am grateful that God has more grace than we have sin (Romans 5:20). All of the names in Hebrew 11 were repentant sinners. The Founders of SBTS either left no record of their repentance or in the case of Broadus, later in life, there is a
record of him having changed his tune on practicing slavery, but I am yet to read where he changed his tune regarding his beliefs about the inferiority of the Negro.

When did the founders of SBTS face accountability for their racial and gender sins? They did not! When did the founders repent of their racial and gender sins? They did not!

I am aware that President Mohler and SBTS faculty have released a 71-page, well-researched document, in recent years. This document acknowledges the Seminary’s complicity in participating and contributing greatly to the diabolical institution of American chattel slavery—which, by the way, was radically different than biblical slavery. One was much more brutal and degrading than the other.

I applaud and appreciate SBTS for releasing this brutally honest document on SBTS slavery report. However, acknowledging their heinous sins, while leaving their celebratory memorabilia intact is shortsighted and incongruent. “If a person kidnap, steal and sell your child, where do you want to place the statues [memorabilia] of that person?” Absolutely nowhere! (Rev. Joel Bowman’s quote) Yet, that is exactly what SBTS has done.

We would all agree that the four founders of Southern Seminary could not imagine or fathom, that a day would come, that sons and daughters of their slaves would be admitted as students and serve on the faculty. They did such a good job of instilling the sin of White Supremacy and Black inferiority into the fabric, theology, policies, and image of the school until it was almost 100 years later before a Black student was admitted to SBTS. Is it really fair to ask this generation to honor these men in light of their heterodoxy and immoral lifestyles? If the founders had been drunkards and adulterers, rather than being men stealers and kidnappers, would you honor them? No! Why then are you honoring them? Is it because you don’t see the sin of slaveholding as wicked as drunkenness or adultery?

If there is one major takeaway to recent protests of police brutality and systemic racism, it is—this generation is not going to tolerate, accommodate, or defend the racial hypocrisy and sins of the forefathers. Black students and faculty currently have to walk the halls of SBTS always remembering and being asked to appreciate the captives of their ancestors. That’s a tall ask. Again, future generations will not tolerate what previous generations have accepted. Take note of the departure of Pastor John Onwuchekwa and the Cornerstone Church, Atlanta, from the SBC, if you don’t believe me.
One pushback to my request may be: shouldn’t we extend grace, forgiveness, forbearance, etc., toward the founders? Absolutely! Beyond a shadow of a doubt; and I do. But I can forgive you, and be gracious toward you, without hanging your pictures and memorializing your name in a celebratory fashion around my home.

You are honoring men who never repented of their rebellion and treasonous acts against the United States by serving in and supporting the confederacy. Why then honor them?

The founders were felons while engaged with the Confederacy. Why then honor them?

You are honoring men, who never recanted or repented for teaching and modeling White Supremacy. Why then honor them?

You are honoring men whom according to Dr. Mohler, engaged in “putrid exegesis” of the Scripture in order to justify the enslavement of descendants of Africa. Why then honor them?

You are honoring men who would not have allowed T. Vaughn Walker, Curtis Woods, or Jarvis Williams to have taught at SBTS. Why then honor them?

You are honoring men who would not have allowed Martin Luther King, Charlie Dates, or HB Charles to have preached in chapel at SBTS. Why then honor them?

You are honoring men who would not have allowed your wives to cast a vote for President Mohler’s choice for President, Donald J. Trump. Why then honor them?

You are honoring men, who some were praised for being benevolent slaveholders. That is tantamount to honoring a person for being a benevolent kidnapper. Who would do that? No one, in their right mind. Why then honor them?

The founders were also child abusers. It is impossible to be slaveholders and not simultaneously be child abusers. Why honor them?

You are honoring men, who dishonored Black people and women of all colors. Black people and women had no say so in the decision to honor them. Why honor men who were elected to be honored by other men who essentially found no fault with their beliefs and behaviors?

To say that it is permissible to honor the founding slaveholders of SBTS because they were not primarily known as slaveholders is simply an inaccurate statement. The slaves knew them exclusively as slavemasters. Shouldn’t they count? The slaves did not call the founders “Professor”; they called them “Massa.” Do you really want to continue honoring them? And one can’t study the history of the founders, without soon discovering that they were slaveholders and their wealth derived from slave labor helped to subsidize SBTS, mightily. To ignore the reality of the slaves’ relationship to the founders is to abuse them posthumously. To downgrade the prominence of the founders being well known as slaveholders is being dishonest.

Do you want to continue the legacy and sins that were passed down to you, by passing over this God-given, perfect moment to “remove the stain of racism” from SBTS campus? Why continue to honor them?

Being slaveholders was very much their identity. They were also known as being providers of a theological license to the church and larger society to justify slaveholding. Why then honor them?

Christ should be honored above culture. This is your opportunity to redeem SBTS’ slavery legacy, for the Kingdom of God.

Please don’t let this moment pass. Please make the right decision for the health of the school and for future generations to not have to wrestle with the question: Why is our college and seminary buildings named after “putrid exegetes,” White Supremacist and misogynist, and men who were not orthodox according to the BFM2K and the Bible?

I am formally requesting that Dr. Mohler and the SBTS Board of Trustees, prayerfully and deliberately take up this matter in the 2020 Fall Trustee meeting, and publicly report their findings. Future generations will honor you and hold your great legacy even higher, if you will make a wise decision, in the best interest of the SBC, SBTS and the nation’s health—that so desperately needs racial healing. Dr. Mohler, to paraphrase President Ronald Reagan, “Tear Down Those Names.”

For His Kingdom,
Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr.”

**** The Southern Baptist Convention (#SBCvoices, #SBCExecComm) is very blessed to have such a godly man and leader like Pastor  William Dwight McKissic Sr. (one of my Christian heroes) who always appeals to Scripture and sound reason to call SBC Christians and the Denomination to greater righteousness, equity, racial justice, and gender inclusion. What a man of conviction!

We will keep insisting until President Albert Mohler, the SBTS Board of Trustees, and the SBC Board of Trustees “take down those names”! Please click on the link below to read a previous letter/article on the same subject:

https://drcelucienjoseph.com/2020/06/20/the-problem-of-memory-of-slavery-and-racism-at-southern-seminary-an-urgent-call-to-remove-the-four-founders-slave-owners-from-the-seminarys-current-memory/

10 Things Blacks and African American People Want in this Country: History and Ancestral (African) Identity:

10 Things Blacks and African American People Want in this Country: History and Ancestral (African) Identity:

  1. Blacks and African American people do not want to hear from White people that slavery and colonization belong to past history. Therefore, let’s not talk about them today. Black people are still shouting today that slavery and colonization have robbed their ancestors of their dignity, humanity, and economic resources. Somewhat, all of us are connected to our ancestors and their heritage.
  2. They believe that chattel and economic slavery and colonization have contributed enormously to their contemporary economic conditions, sufferings, and their ongoing struggle for freedom, economic justice, and rights in the United States and elsewhere in the Western world. They’re not asking for self pitty, but to be understood and to help escape this devastating predicament.
  3. They do not want to hear from Christians and Evangelicals that their ancestral (African) traditions such as African traditional spirituality and religion do not matter and are inferior to Christianity or other religions in the world (i.e. Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism)
  4. They do not want to hear from Evangelical Christians that their only choice of religion is Christianity.
  5. They want White people to show that they’re really concerned about black lives and well-being, not just through mere words, but also through their actions.
  6. They want the American government and agents of the State to treat them like human beings, American citizens, and regard them as a people with dignity and a future.
  7. They want the American government and agents of the State to stop showing favoritism and preference to White Citizens. That is what they mean by equality and equal citizenship.
  8. They want to live in peace, work in peace, and enjoy friendship and their families in peace. They just want shalom and unity, and be able to relax in this country.
  9. They want the American government and White people to acknowledge their equal contributions to the American nation and not to erase their history and achievements in this country.
  10. Blacks and African American people want the Police system, the Judicial system, and Prison system to be for them, and not against them. They want equal treatment from these systems as it is for white citizens and non-white citizens in this country.

*** This post or these ten points are also based on a survey that I conducted back in June this year on various social media platforms; here is the original question:

“What are some common (good and plausible) reasons why some Black people (both in the past and the present) reject/rejected Christianity?”

The question below was the follow-up question:

What are some areas in (American) Christianity and christian practices and beliefs (in America) that are outdated and need to be changed, modified, and altogether eliminated so that (American) Christianity could be relevant in contemporary society and of practical value and worth to everyone, especially the racialized and marginalized populations, and the economically-disadvantaged groups?