Justice as Accountability

A lot of people don’t want to talk about justice because it demands accountability–both on a personal and corporate level. Another reason is that justice entails the change of behavior and transformative and restorative relationships.

However, one of the most distinguished virtues and coveted attributes of the Creator-God is justice. God is just. He acts justly towards all people and demands that the poor and the brokenhearted be treated with justice and loving care.

God is the exact embodiment of justice and righteousness.  His just character is linked directly to his holiness. Therefore, He has called all people and nations to walk in righteousness and integrity before Him, and commanded all people to practice justice and act justly towards one another.

When an individual fails to exercise justice towards another individual, that person says I’m not accountable to God and anyone else. The miscarriage of justice is a failure of the human heart.

When a nation fails to extend justice towards all citizens, that nation will be under divine wrath and says to Creator-God we are not accountable to you because we are our own masters.

May we be compelled to be a “justice people” and individuals whose justice  is defined as a lifestyle.

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Honoring Christ on Social Media Venues

Just a little word of admonition:

 

How’s your rhetoric in different social media venues advancing the kingdom of God in society,  glorifying God in Christ, fostering love in public, & uniting the various expressions of the body of Christ?

If it is not accomplishing (or will not fulfill) any of these goals, think twice about what you intend to post online and how you interact with people on social media.

God should also be exalted and treasured in our thinking, public interactions, and our actions in the public sphere. If you’re doubtful that Christ will not be honored through your public interaction with individuals, just don’t do it.

The goal of the Christian mind is to savor Christ and  exalt the Triune God in all things. Whatever you do and think and whenever you act, think, act, and do it all to the glorious fame and praise of the Triune God in the world.

A Prayer for National Healing and a Wounded Nation!

A Prayer for National Healing and a Wounded Nation!

prayer

Lord: We pray in this way for holistic healing and restoration of this nation:
where there’s hate, grant us us love.
where there’s despair, give us hope.
where there’s division, grant us unity.
where there’s chaos, give us peace.
where there’s isolation, grant us community.
where there’s sin, give us repentance.
where there’s retaliation, grant us forgiveness.
where there’s vengeance, grant us reconciliation.
Amen!

GRACE AND DISCIPLESHIP

GRACE AND DISCIPLESHIP

I am reading for a second time, The Cost of Discipleship by German Theologian and Pastor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer got a good picture of what it means to follow Christ, the meaning of the cross of Christ, Cheap Grace vs costly grace, and finally the relationship between the disciple and his master. I remember reading that book for a New Testament Theology class at Southern Seminary. The cost of discipleship has revolutionized my understanding of the cross and discipleship. For example, Bonhoeffer wrote, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Furthermore, he comments on the “Grace of God,” “Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church. We are fighting today for costly grace. Cheap grace means grace as a doctrine, a principle, a system. It means forgiveness of sins proclaimed as a general truth, the love of God taught as the Christian ‘conception’ of God” (45). Contemporary Christianity has lost the biblical vision of discipleship and the sacrifices involved in following Christ. Moreover, Bonhoeffer makes the following observations:

“Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. Grace alone does everything they say, and so everything can remain as it was before. ‘All for sin could not atone.’ Well, then, let the Christian live like the rest of the world, let him model himself on the world’s standards in every sphere of life, and not presumptuously aspire to live a different life under grace from his old life under sin. That was the heresy of the enthusiasts, the Anabaptists and their kind….” (46)

THE CALL TO DISCIPLESHIP

“The call goes forth, and is at once followed by the response of obedience. …. It displays not the slightest interest in the psychological reason for a man’s religious decisions. And why? For the simple reason that the cause behind the immediate following of call by response is Jesus Christ Himself.” (61)

“Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ. It remains an abstract idea, a myth which has a place for the Fatherhood of God, but omits Christ as the living Son. … There is trust in God, but no following of Christ.” ( 64)

“If we would follow Jesus we must take certain definite steps. The first step, which follows the call, cuts the disciple off from his previous existence. … The first step places the disciple in the situation where faith is possible. If he refuses to follow and stays behind, he does not learn how to believe.” (66-67)

The book is very challenging, dealing with the ethics and implications of biblical discipleship.

The Light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Narrative and Despair of American White Supremacy

The Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Narrative and Despair of American White Supremacy

I’m deeply saddened by what’s going on in our contemporary society: the reemergence and violence of White supremacist groups and hate groups, especially in Charlottesville, Virginia. The level of human despair and quest for hope has heightened in our culture. Hope grounded in hate not love and false human identity is no hope at all. It can never cure the deep wound in our hearts and bridge the walls that divides us as bearers of the Imago Dei.

Human hatred and the idea that a particular race is the apex of human history and universal civilization, articulated through the right of free speech, demonstration, and expression, defeat (American) democratic values that promote human justice, love, interdependence, and equality among all people, ethnicity, and races.

For those of us who are true followers of Jesus, we must resist this form of human arrogance and dispell this present (racial and cultural) darkness in our contemporary society and culture with the light of the Gospel and the love of God in Christ Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

Just like any other human sins, white supremacy is a form of human depravity that belittles the significance of the image of God in other races and boldly contradicts the gospel of Christ that calls people from all nations, people groups, ethnic groups, and all human races to form a new human race in Christ and to follow the Jesus Way of life.

The Burning Torch of White Supremacists in our society  is a false light and of the devil.  Jesus Christ is the true Light of humanity and culture. His followers must shine brightly in deep corners of cultural contradicrions and misconceptions and human darkness.

The light of the Gospel of God in Christ Jesus contradicts the narrative, message, and arrogance of American White Supremacists. Biblical Christianity has no room for human hatred, retaliation, and darkness.

Followers of Jesus must not embrace White supremacy, promote its message, and support its ideals. It is the Antithesis of the Gospel.  The Gospel is the power of God that interrogates all human sins, arrogance, and pride; its transformative power lies in the disruptive and liberative love and peace of God.

The supremacy we should celebrate is the overarching supremacy of Christ over all things including all cosmic powers and human authorities, all spheres of influence and guilds of hegemony,  both visible and invisible, earthly and heavenly.

Let’s pray fervently for repentance, forgiveness, unity, and reconciliation in our culture.

The Americanization of Racial Unity and Racial Harmony Discourse in American Christianity: A Few Questions to Consider

 The Americanization of Racial Unity and Racial Harmony Discourse in American Christianity: A Few Questions to Consider
Contemporary conversations on (the imperative of) racial unity and harmony in American Churches and Christian circles exclude other Christians in America who are not African American and White American Christians. The traditional black-white binary in American Christianity and American Evangelicalism is not adequate and efficient for contemporary American Christianity because of the emergence of other minority groups within Christianity in America. The traditional conversation about race relations in American Christianity has silenced the voice and contributions of non-Black and White Christians living in America, who are also belonged to a “minority” Christian group.
Perhaps, we should consider this important question in this regard:
Why is the discourse on race relations and the call for racial unity in American Christianity and Evangelical Christianity focused on the relationship between White American Christians and African American Christians?
The Bible provides a more comprehensive vision of diversity and unity within the body of Christ then what is patterned in American Evangelical churches and Christian circles. It seems to me other ethnic and minority groups representative of American Christianity are completely left out of the conversation about race and Christianity, and the necessity of racial harmony within American Christianity.
For example, where does the non-American black Christians (i.e. Jamaican Christians, Haitian Christians, Nigerian Christians ) and Hispanic/Asian Christians (i.e. Mexican Christians, Cuban Christians, Puertorican Christians) who live and practice their faith in the United States fit into the project of racial unity and harmony in the twenty-first century American Christianity?
Still, “race talks” among Christians are still Americentric and that American Christians do not make appropriate spaces for non-American Christians who are also victims of racial prejudice in the United States and deeply affected by the “Segregated Sunday” hour.
To achieve genuine racial unity and reconciliation in American Churches, American (Evangelical) Christians would have to de-Americanize the message of the Gospel and broaden their understanding on the discourse of race beyond the American Christian borders (On the other hand, I understand the value of contextualization and cultural appropriation) and embrace a more inclusive biblically-centered theological anthropology and theological ecclesiology, and a biblical theology of ethnicity, race, and unity. God’s vision for diversity and unity in the Church is beyond the American-centered race discourse and Americancentric Gospel.
Just some thought!

A few Good Recommendations on Writing Well!

Is writing a craft or an art?

As a Professor of English Composition and Literature, I teach a writing course every semester and train my students how to write well and effectively, and with clarity, force, and precision.

People ask me all the time about good books on writing. Well, if you are looking for some good resources on the craft and art of writing, here are some recommendations.

Happy Writing!