“Black People Refuse to Die: On Christian Discipleship and the Responsibility of White Evangelical Churches and Christians”

“Black People Refuse to Die: On Christian Discipleship and the Responsibility of White Evangelical Christians”

“Black People Refuse to Die: On Christian Discipleship and the Responsibility of White Evangelical Christians”

Many Evangelical White Christians find faults with the so-called secular vision and tenets of Black Lives Matter Movement. You even said you do not want to associate yourselves with the BLM. (I, myself, as an Evangelical Black Christian, do not embrace all the tenets of Black Lives Matter, but I do know it is premised primarily on the clarion call for justice, and the defense and promotion of black dignity and humanity in our culture). However, I would argue that you too could agree with the basic premise of the Movement that “Black Lives Matter,” and that Police Brutality leading to the unjust killing of Black people in America needs to Stop. What is “unchristian” about this moral position? Are we not our brother and sister’s keeper as confessional followers of Christ?

Black people, including black Christians who are your brothers and sisters in Christ, who live in constant fear of cultural and Police violence and terrorism, and the labyrinth of impending death in this society are not asking you to embrace those values that contradict those of the Christian faith. We just want you to use your power, influence, resources, and  “your white privileges” to fight with us for racial justice and our rights to exist in this society as children of God and citizens of this country. All we are asking is equal and fair treatment and protection by the same law. Our cause is more than a black and/or white matter: it is a human issue; it is love issue; it is a responsibility issue. It is an issue of your “silent voice.” We refuse to die. We also refuse to give away the future of our children and the next generation to come.

As human beings and Christians, it is unethical, unloving, and unbiblical to support a system in which white power triumphs; a system in which the white narrative is the only one that matters; a system in which white supremacy knows no boundary. I understand some of you my white evangelical brothers and sisters refuse to surrender the your power, influence, and cultural benefits that have shaped the white experience in America and in the world, which also have given you great dividends in this culture. Some of you are afraid if you’re on the right side of history and in solidarity with those who are suffering, mourning, and dying, you will lose your power and domination in the realm of culture, politics, economics, religion, etc. Interestingly, all of these are contrary to biblical Christianity and biblical discipleship. Relinquishing your power for the sake of Christ and for the sake of love is never a loss; it is the greatest act of Christian discipleship. Ultimately, it is the triumph and celebration of love in public.

On Black Life and Death: The Fear of American Police Forces, and the Decline of American Democracy and American Evangelical White Christianity

On Black Life and Death: The Fear of American Police Forces, and the Decline of American Democracy and American Evangelical White Christianity

Foremost, I’m a human being. Second, I’m a black male. Third, I’m a Christian. Fourth, I’m also a Professor and educator; I’m also a scholar, writer, and Christian minister. Correspondingly, I’m a father, husband, American citizen, and a holder of three Master degrees and a PhD. I have published five academic books and 18 scholarly articles in my short academic career—in a period of four years. I have a good job as English Professor, and make a reasonable salary to support and provide for my family. Hence, I can afford one or two family vacations a year. Despite of my academic achievements, I’m still a black person, to many people. I’m still perceived as a “threat” to society, and a “problem” in the American society.

However, I would argue that the sacredness of my life and human dignity is not dependent upon my academic credentials and success; rather, it is based on the fact that I, like everyone else–White, Black, Latino, Asian, Native Americans, Mixed people, what have you?– , am created in the image and likeness of God. In other words, my life is sacred in the same manner the life of other individuals is also sacred simply because we are humans who are loved by God and called into relationship with him. From a theological perspective, to be human and created in the image of God primarily means to be able to govern, to rule, and to have dominion over all things created by God, as well as to be able to relate and love God in an intimate way; to be human also means the possibility to relate, serve, protect, and love our human neighbors.  To be in solidarity with God and to be in solidarity with one’s neighbor is the thrust of human existence and the meaning of life this world.  On the other hand, the failure and consequence of human sin results in a culture of fear and more precisely, the fear to relate, serve, protect, love, and defend our neighbors. For example, in the context of American society and history, the institution of slavery, the lynching of black bodies, the long history of racial segregation and discrimination, and the mistreatment of black and brown people in this country have engendered a culture of fear and distrust between American citizens; in other words, American racism defers the great promises of the American democracy and equally challenges the democratic ideals articulated in the American Constitution and Bill of Rights. The word of democracy & the work of democracy are not inseparable. The democratic life becomes meaningful and attainable whenever the rhetoric of democracy contributes to social change and pushes humanity forward together to explore and actualize future hope and emancipative possibilities.

Moreover, this attitude of fear, based on the long history of racism and racial violence and death, has particularly defined the ambivalent interactions between Black and White American citizens, and Black people and Police Officers. As a result, many black people in the United States live in a constant state of survival, fear, and intimidation.  It is not a satisfying human existence. The life of the black person in America could be depicted as a narrative of existential risks, which not only threaten the future of black humanity in America; they also challenge the merit, value, and the presence of black existence in the American democracy. Black existential risks provide a new way of thinking and perceiving about what it means to be human, to be black in America, and to live as black citizens in America. It is an ethic of the daily strive of black people to “stay alive” and fight toward “collective freedom,” and “self-preservation.” Black existential risks are best trapped in the human sentiment of (black) fear, and the puzzling relationship of black people and trauma (“Black trauma”) in the American life that has shaped the black condition.

For example, in the long history of American democracy and the incessant struggles of black people for racial justice, total emancipation, and equal civil and human rights, black people have always had to confront both internal (their own cynicism and predicament) and external forces—another form of human cynicism and conundrum. One of the most dreadful and devastating existential forces that has been used to police the black body, regulate black behavior, define and transform black life, and stop black existence is arguably White Police Officers or the institution of Police Forces. For many black people, the Police Forces do not mean the protection and safety of black people and black children. The black experience in the United States is a history of black trauma and intimidating confrontation with Police presence that signifies dehumanization, humiliation, alienation, trauma, violence, and even death. To get more practical on this issue, allow me to share my own fear and traumatic experience.

First of all, I do not own a gun, and I do not need one although I have a wife and four children whom I dearly love. However, if I have to risk my own life in order to protect and save them, I will do so unhesitatingly. (I do not understand this reasoning or “American logic”):

  1. It is a constitutional right for “ALL” American citizens to bear arms in order to protect themselves and their family.

The Second Amendment reads as follows: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

  1. It is okay for “White people” to bear arms in this country; white people are never seen as a threat to the Police when they carry their weapons.
  2. Correspondingly, it is okay for “Black people” to bear arms in this country; black people, however, are seen as a threat to the Police when they carry their weapons.
  3. When a black person is seen with a gun, for example, the Police Officer would always justify that his/her is in danger, which gives the Office the “legal right” to “kill” the Black American.

What is wrong with this reasoning?

What does it mean to be “perceived” as a problem?

What does it mean to be a “problem” in the American society?)

Secondly, I live in a gated community in the Treasure Coast area in Florida, and at least, five to six Police Officers live in my moderate community. In fact, one of my neighbors is a Young Female Police Officer. She seems to be a very nice individual and a person to get to know a little bit better–although we never had any good or constructive conversations. Occasionally, we greet each other with a “distant good morning” or a “distant good afternoon,” while she, standing in front of her porch, I, browsing in front of my house. We smile when we see each; but, it is always from a distance. (This same Police Officer lives in the house with her mother. I remember when I introduced myself to the mother for the first time, perhaps two days after I moved in the community, she quickly informed me that “My daughter is a Police Office.” Was that a warning to me as a black man who could potentially intimidate a white woman, in fact, a police officer with a gun? I do not know, and perhaps, I will never know why she felt that it was necessary to present her daughter to me in this manner.) Correspondingly, in the Christian Church, my family attends in the Treasure Coast, there are three to four Police Officers who are there to provide “safety” to the Christian community. Rarely, have I had a conversation with them; once again, we waive and smile at a distance. The thrust of this matter is this: I fear Police Officers, and “Police Presence” to me does not necessarily mean safety or the assurance of protection, or I will be safe. More often, unfortunately, it is the other way around. (As a professor, I’ve had two dreadful encounters with Police Officers in my life, in which I was humiliated, disvalued, and dehumanized. I will never forget those experiences in which I was feared for my life, and was equally concerned about the future of my wife and my children if I were to die on those two occasions. I do not have any history of criminality, and have never been to jail before. I certainly did not commit any crime, violated the law, nor have I been disrespectful to the Police Officers who violently tackled me on the ground while I was holding my 1 year-old daughter in my hands (my other daughter who was then two years old was sleeping in the house), while attempting to open the door of my own vehicle, in front of my house. They handcuffed me in front of her. She cried incessantly. I was humiliated and dishonored on that day—even I told him that I was a professor. I did not resist arrest!  )

I fear the Police not because I believe that all Police Officers are criminals or enjoy killing black people. I fear the Police because of the painful narrative between American Polices and Black American Citizens; it is a relationship of distrust and fear. It is also a culture of terrible intimidation, isolation, and self-protection. Also, I fear the Polices because of the long history of violence and Black Death in this country, and Police officers are and have always been used as agents of violence and aggression to humiliate black people, dehumanize them, and annihilate black lives. As a result, for me, the presence of the Police does not always mean “public safety”–as it is the case for my “white friends”—or “my safety”; rather, Police presence could mean fear, a great level of discomfort, and sometimes impending death–my own death, in some cases. (I remember the day my own friend, who is a Black Police officer, came to visit me and my family. He and I grew up together in the same church in Fort Lauderdale. He has become a Police Officer, and I, have chosen the academia as a career. I tried not to fear him, his physical presence in my house, his loaded gun and green uniforms, as we were talking, became a little discomfort to me. He is a great Police Officer, and in fact, has been honored for his great work in various communities in the St. Lucie country; nonetheless, as we were talking in my house, he reminded me of other Police Officers who have terrorized black and brown people in our society, and those who have victims of Police brutality and even death at the Police gun.) Furthermore, every day, I go out to work and return home safely, I’m thankful that I’m not dead because some of us black males and females are not that lucky to come back home safely to our family and children. It is the same experience for black youths. Black life in America is like a vapor that vanishes without any warning. The words contingency and urgency best characterize black existence and dignity in America. The predicament of black life in America forces me to ask these critical questions:

  1. Where shall we go, O Lord our God, for safety and shelter?
  2. To whom shall we turn for comfort in the moment of despair and cultural violence?
  3. To whom shall we turn for justice?

The justice system has miserably failed Black and Brown people in America. In a recent article, “Something Much Greater at Stake,” the prominent American lawyer and activist Michelle Alexander is absolutely correct when she stated, “I was not raised in a church. And I have generally found more questions than answers in my own religious or spiritual pursuits. But I also know there is something much greater at stake in justice work than we often acknowledge. Solving the crises we face isn’t simply a matter of having the right facts, graphs, policy analyses, or funding. And I no longer believe we can “win” justice simply by filing lawsuits, flexing our political muscles or boosting voter turnout. Yes, we absolutely must do that work, but none of it — not even working for some form of political revolution — will ever be enough on its own. Without a moral or spiritual awakening, we will remain forever trapped in political games fueled by fear, greed and the hunger for power.” Consequently, I’m compelled to inquire and even interrogate in this way: how shall White Christians and White churches in America respond to this culture of violence and collective fear, and the impending death of black people in the American society?

This “spiritual awakening,” and if I could would add another phrase, this “moral revolution” must come from all Americans, and especially American Evangelical White Christians and American Evangelical White Churches. The Law Enforcement and Police Officers are also in desperate need of this “moral or spiritual awakening,” Michelle Alexander talked about in her interview. On one hand, I’m very optimistic about the future of this country; on the other hand, I hope and pray that that Evangelical White Churches in America would be equally zealous about racial justice, the promotion of the humanity and dignity of black people, and the defense of the right of black people to exist in America, as they are so passionate about protesting against abortion, that is the sanctity of the life in the womb. Does the (black) life outside of the womb also matter and equally worth preserving? Isn’t this a moral thing to do?

We need to be consistent in our theology. Our democracy must also be consistent and extend to all Americans, regardless of their race, gender, and religion. We need to construct a theology of life and death, and a revolutionary theology of peace and political ethic of care that champion all human’s life. We need to inquire about how a theological discourse of human solidarity and sustainability might help us to confront our culture of fear, alienation, violence, and death. Democracy in black means equal treatment for America’s black folk, and the defense of their right to exist and succeed in this country.

What puzzles me the most is the “intentional silence” of most White Christians and White Evangelical Churches!
1. In the time of slavery and slave trades, most white churches and white Christians in America were silent.
2. In the era of black lynching, most white churches and white Christians in America were silent.
3. In the period of racial segregation, most white churches and white Christians in America were again silent.
4. In contemporary times of Police brutality and black death, American Evangelical White Christians and White Churches still maintain their silence.
When will White Evangelical Churches and White Christians call evil evil?
When will White Evangelical Churches and White Christians call injustice injustice?
When will White Evangelical Churches and White Christians call wrong wrong?
What good are White Evangelical Christianity and White churches in America in this time of national crisis and black death!
Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood,
who draw sin as with cart ropes,
who say: “Let him be quick,
let him speed his work
that we may see it;
Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter!
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
and shrewd in their own sight!
Woe to those who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
and deprive the innocent of his right!”—Isaiah 5:18-23

If the Evangelical theology or Evangelical (Christian) faith does not provoke White Evangelical Christians to anger at the incessant killing of black people in America and move them swiftly to the road of protest and racial justice, American Evangelicals belittle the majesty and love of God. The Evangelical faith is not worth sharing and living. Evangelical Christianity is a dead faith and meaningless (to bring hope) to those who are suffering, mourning, and dying. The Evangelical White Churches in American need to launch an anti-black death and anti-police brutality movement the same way they have done it for the pro-life movement, and any other major sociopolitical, and ethical issues in which we have invested our resources and energy . This is a moral issue and a serious ethical matter that do not contradict the hope, message, and promise of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is simply the right and most Christian thing to do!


Protesting the US National Anthem: Democratic Dissent and the Politics of Civility and Respectability in America

Protesting the US National Anthem: Democratic Dissent and the Politics of Civility and Respectability in America
I would like to articulate a few ideas about the controversy surrounding  the U.S. National Anthem (I know some of my friends  will challenge  my position on this timely-sensitive issue. )
1. Because of recent research done on the history of the U.S. National Anthem, most Americans now know part of it is pro-slavery and glorifies the death of African slaves. From this perspective, one can infer that the American National Anthem is the antithesis of the American Constitutional ideals.
2. A National Anthem of a country is a sacred and historical document. It is equally important as the Constitution, the founding document, of a country.
3. It is evident that countries don’t just change or rewrite their national anthems. It is a rare case for that to happen.
4. US lawmakers will not discard our National Anthem nor will they write a new one.
5. The current American President will not apologize for its racist context or background.
One of the benefits of democracy or living in a democratic nation-state includes the freedom to dissent, the freedom of self-expression, even the freedom of the citizen to vote or refuse to vote. In fact, for many individuals democracy and dissent do not contradict each other or is the former the antithesis of the latter?  On one hand, I respect the constitutional right of an American or any American citizen  to refuse to salute the US flag  or  even refuse to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner;” on the other hand, should we not rather put accent on  the “American ideals” that the US flag/ National Anthem represents or embodies?
Absolutely, we should  agree that it is okay to protest what we believe are not great about America, and those things that defer American ideals and the promise of American democracy–such as high racial tensions, the seemingly unending police brutality, and the desecration of life in contemporary American society. Certainly, we are divided by difference.
Nowadays, it has become a public spectacle in our society for young Americans, even those in Elementary and Middle schools, to protest the National Anthem. What is the message we’re sending to these children?  What is exactly we’re trying to achieve by this act of democratic refusal? What is the ultimate goal of this democratic dissent?

Those of you who have clapped for those who refused to sing the US National Anthem, for how long will you keep doing so? If this is going to be a temporary protest, you need to know why? or if it is going to be a permanent protest, you also need to have specific reasons.  Remember my two previously-stated claims: (3) It is clear that countries don’t just change or rewrite their national anthems. It is a rare case for that to happen; and (4) that US lawmakers will not discard our National Anthem nor will they write a new one. A lot of Americans like to follow the crowd, and interestingly, some have no justifiable reasons. We are just a people who are trapped in our emotions while abandoning reason.

As an American citizen and a black father, I will not encourage my four children to disrespect the US Flag or applaud them shall they ever refuse to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” However, I’m responsible to teach them about the importance of racial justice, equality, and freedom for all. I’m also responsible to teach them that Black Lives mater, and concurrently, all lives matter.In the same line of thought, it is  a moral obligation for me to teach my four children to  stand against all forms of injustice, social evils,  and to protest racism, sexism, and the desecration and the degradation of life. Finally, it is also my duty to model for my four children good citizenship, civic responsibility and participation,  community involvement, and my commitment for a more promising and democratic America for all people.
*The problem with us Americans is that we are not consistent protesters; we let go too quickly matters of life and death in this country. That’s the thrust of my post. I’m calling upon us all to be consistent and not to withdraw even when the issue is not in vogue. For example, how long did it take us to forget about the recent deaths of young black males at the hands of angry police officers? how long will it take us to forget about the Black Lives Mater movement? How long will it take us to forget about the controversy surrounding the National Anthem (I’m predicting this issue will not last to October. By the beginning of November, we all will forget if this was even a serious political or cultural matter). What has happened to the Income Equality Movement? What about Katrina? How about the gun laws/right movement? Have we solved these issues ? Nope! We’re too quick to move to the next issue before we even solve the current dilemma. That is the reason we can’t ever solve anything effectively in this country. We are too quick to move forward; we are too quick to forget. This is not the best way to cure a disease. A cancer patient who wants to be cured from his/her illness will follow up with regular and repeating chemotherapy treatments, and continual doctor’s visits. He/she does not stop going to the doctor after his/her first visit. He or she does not stop the chemo treatment after the first session is over. Active and consistent protest is what will bring about racial justice, racial reconciliation and harmony, income equality, equal pay for women at work, equality for all, the problem of Police authority, and even the end of our culture of death and alienation. America’s grassroots movements are quick to fade.Perhaps, we have become less passionate, even less zealous about civil rights and human rights issues in this country.

My new Book: Soyinka on Religion and Human Solidarity

My new Book: Soyinka on Religion and Human Solidarity
I’m pleased to announce the (re-) publication of my new book, Radical Humanism and Generous Tolerance: Soyinka on Religion and Human Solidarity (December 16, 2016) by Hamilton Books.
“Radical Humanism and Generous Tolerance” articulates the religious ideas and vision of Wole Soyinka in his non-fiction writings. It also analyzes Soyinka’s response to religious violence, terror, and the fear of religious imperialism. The book suggests the theoretical notions of radical humanism and generous tolerance best summarize Soyinka’s religious ideals and religious piety. Through a close reading of Soyinka’s religious works, the book argues that African traditional religions could be used as a catalyst to promote religious tolerance and human solidarity, and that they may also contribute to the preservation of life, and the fostering of an ethics of care and relationality. Soyinka brings in conversation Western Humanist tradition and African indigenous Humanist tradition for the sake of the world, for the sake of global shalom, and for the sake of human flourishing.”
You can now pre-order the book in the publisher’s website. What a great gift for Christmas! lol

The Work of Racial Justice and Reconciliation is Hard!

The Work of Racial Justice and Reconciliation is Hard!

One of the most depressing activities to be engaged in in the American society is the work of racial justice, and the imperative of racial reconciliation and harmony in Christian churches in America. Sometimes, it seems to be an isolated or lonely journey. (You will lose friends, and people will call you names, stop talking to you or will not interact with your work.) However, racial justice and racial reconciliation are a necessity for human flourishing, to heal America’s “sick soul,” and for the triumph of the Gospel message of grace in our society.

While we must continue fighting together against systemic oppressions that seek to tear us apart as a people, and those that devalue human life and dehumanize the image of God in targeted racial groups and ethnic communities in our culture, we also have an equal responsibility to teach little black, brown, and white boys and girls about the success and triumph of these underrepresented individuals  and communities in our society. Their triumph and success is also ours and ultimately America’s triumph and success.

The little white girl needs to know it is okay to have a black hero.

The little Asian boy needs to know it is fine to have a black heroine.

The little black boy needs to know it is all right to have an Asian role model.

The little white boy needs to know it is acceptable to have a Hispanic/Latino/a role model.

They, too, sing America!

In The Vocation of the Elite, published in 1919, Haitian intellectual Jean Price-Mars discusses the importance of affirming the contributions of other peoples and nations in the process of creating a new humanism and move forward toward a more promising human society. He writes perceptively, “Our task at the moment is to contribute to a national way of thinking indicative of our feelings, our strengths and our weaknesses. We can do so by gleaning ideas generated by ideas contained in the masterpieces which are the pride of humanity’s common heritage. This is the only way in which the study and assimilation of the works of the mind play an indispensable part in the enrichment of our culture.”

It is a very unfortunate phenomenon that in American Evangelical circles, the racial factor and sociological ties are stronger than the spiritual bond that should have been the catalyst or the fuel to ignite the inextinguishable flame toward intentional unity and friendship, and a relationship of mutual reciprocity and selflessness. Gospel reconciliation ministry is a doing and a practice. We need to do more of it and write less about it.Although we Americans have never been a “united country” and “united people,” we have to strive together for unity and common understanding. Unity regardless of our race, ethnicity, social class, economic status, gender, sexuality, and religion is what this contemporary American society desperately needs. On the other hand, we understand that  genuine unity and reconciliation will not happen among us until we learn to talk to each other, listen to each other, and bear one another’s burden. We are a society of profound wound. A lot of us are hurting. A lot of us are suffering. It is time for healing. It is time for unity. It is time for repentance. It is time for forgiveness.  It is certainly the time for reconciliation.

Churches that continue to be silent on the problem of race, gender, and ethnicity, and ignore the painful  experience and history of the black and brown christians and other disadvantaged peoples in our culture are not Gospel-transformative and human-senstive communities of faith. These congregations will soon be  declined in the twenty-first century American culture. Their ineffective lies in their consistent refusal to help heal the wound, suffering, and pain of these people.

In a recent article, “Many Americans have no friends of another race: poll” (Reuters, August 8, 2013), it  is observed that “About 40 percent of white Americans and about 25 percent of non-white Americans are surrounded exclusively by friends of their own race, according to an ongoing Reuters/Ipsos poll.” The author of the same article affirms that  “Younger American adults appear to confirm this, according to the poll. About one third of Americans under the age of 30 who have a partner or spouse are in a relationship with someone of a different race, compared to one tenth of Americans over 30. And only one in 10 adults under 30 say no one among their families, friends or coworkers is of a different race, less than half the rate for Americans as a whole.” Evidently, there is not only a crisis of American friendship, there is tremendous problem to be relational in the American culture.

We need to validate each other, rejoice in one another’s accomplishment, and bear one another’s burden. Without being relational, interconnected, and interdependent, we will not move forward as a community of faith and as a nation. We need to cultivate more interracial and interethnic friendship in our churches, communities, workplaces, and neighborhoods. The work of racial justice and reconciliation is hard, but it is very rewarding at the end.

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.

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

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.

How Now Shall We Live Together and Gently? A Biblical Perspective

How Now Shall We  Live Together and Gently? A Biblical Perspective

The American Political Constitution is a masterpiece and should be praised for its democratic and cosmopolitan language. It is one of a kind. However, the relationship between Americans of different racial and ethnic background and the attitude they express toward one another and the foreigner among them is disheartening and betrays the American democratic ideals.

How shall we then proceed to heal our national wound?

How shall we then move forward to learn to live together, accept one another, and love another as Americans?

These are the questions we should be asking ourselves and each other in this moment of pain, trial, and seemingly great despair.

If I may appeal to Paul’s letter to the Galatians, in the sixth chapter,  please allow me to share a few ideas with you.  Although I make a sharp distinction between Christianity and American Nationalism, I would like to offer a Christian perspective on these national issues I noted above. The Christian identity counters the American identity. Nonetheless, I do believe  and maintain that Christians are called by God to actively engage their culture with the message of Christ and be active citizens who must use the Wisdom of God and biblical principles to transform their neighborhood, community, city, and their country–toward peace, love, justice, truth, equality, etc. for the common good–to the glorious praise of the Triune God . Consequently, toward these goals, in this brief post, I would like to bring your attention to three underlying propositions: listening with care and love, doing good to all, and live gently, which may strengthen human relationship, bring collective peace, national healing, and foster racial reconciliation and ethnic harmony. Ultimately, I’m interested in highlighting some basic biblical principles on how to do life together and live gently in these tragic times in the modern world.

 “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?“–Micah 6:8

  1. Listening with care and love

In such a national predicament and collective crisis we’re presently undergoing as a people, it is critical for each one of us to listen to each other and try to understand the other individual’s perspective. You will not understand somebody’s hurt and moments of troubles-both in the past and the present–  until you learn to cultivate an attitude to listen and sympathize with that person. You will ruin the possibility to move  forward toward collective progress, goal, and unity should you undermine one’s suffering and point of view.  Do not interrupt! Listen!!!

Listen with care! Listen with patience! Listen responsibly! Listen with understanding! Listen with love! Moments of forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation come at the time when we offer ourselves up to each other for the sake of love and unity. As Paul encourages the Christians at Galatians, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (6:2). The imperative for social transformation, communal shalom, national healing,  social justice, and radical spiritual renewal is to be relational to all people and to bear one another’s burden.

2. Doing good to all

Secondly, to work toward the common good and human flourishing in our society, it is crucial that we do good to all–with no exception. Doing good to everyone one meets means to be inclusive in one’s generous outreach efforts and activism; it also means that to deliberately extend acts of kindness, compassion, and love to those who cannot give back or do not have the means to return your favor. The ethical aspect of this biblical command and notion of goodness compels us all to forgive and love even those who refuse to love and forgive in return. Doing good to all is an act of justice and a form of loving activism and participation in the life of people or individuals in crisis. It provides a terrific opportunity to the Christian community to condemn social sins and human oppression–the antithesis of good–and to stand in solidarity with those to whom we have called to perform acts of goodness. According to James, the failure to do good and condemn what is unjust (or “not good”) contradicts the Christian ethic and the Jesus Creed: “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” (James 4:17).  The Christian community is also called to be exemplary models of goodness: “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works” (Titus 2:7-9). For  Prophet Micah, goodness includes both social responsibility and spiritual development. The prophet associates good with justice, kindness, and humility.  Doing good is also interpreted as a divine imperative, that is what God requires of his people and the community of faith. Social justice is integral to the spiritual life of God’s people and the Church in the modern age.  When we dissociate Christian discipleship and (or from) the call to justice, it will ultimately lead to a life of obedience and a life that dishonors God.

 “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”–Micah 6:8

Moreover, in Galatians 6, Paul implies that acts of goodness should not be premised on a spirit of  aggressiveness and comparison, but rather should be framed within a  spirit of humility and gratitude. Paul characterizes the Christian life not only as relational living but as a life that pursues the best interest and welfare of others, and the common good. Christian discipleship or the Christian life for Paul is not (and should not be) measured by an attitude of competition and comparison: “But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor” (6:4); rather, it is/should be characterized by an attitude of selflessness, sacrificial doing, and  an attitude of  deliberate service and sustaining good : “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (6:9).  Even in the midst of unwarranted criticism, Christians in contemporary society should not be weary of doing and defending what is just, righteous, loving, and good.  Such attitude toward life and other individuals is a pivotal marker  of an exemplary and Christ-like discipleship.

“So then, we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (6:10).

3. Living Gently

Thirdly, the call to do life together and live  gently in this chaotic world and in this  life of uncertainty is not a free pass  nor is it the absence of weakness. This is a high calling for the Christian to engage the world and culture meaningfully, relationally,  and graciously.  In other for the Christian to foster such an attitude toward culture, life, and the world, his/her life must radically be refined by the Spirit of God and shaped by the wisdom of the community of faith  in Christ Jesus. Paul comforts us Christians that we should not be despair nor lose hope in these tragic times; for Apostle Paul, the Christian life that produces genuine spiritual transformation and growth is reciprocal, interconnected, and interdependent upon the community’s active collaboration and sustaining support: “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted” (6:1). The christian life is lived in community and with the community of faith. This life of relations is in active solidarity with the community of Christ’s disciples–what we call ekklesia, “the church.” It is also a life in active solidarity with the oppressed, the disinherited, and underprivileged individuals and families. Genuine Christian discipleship means  the courage to follow Jesus Christ, the courage to love, the courage to forgive, and the courage to take upon oneself the suffering and trials of another individual. The cross of discipleship is not only a call to bear the cross of Christ continually; it is also an imperative to bear the cross of both the weak and the strong among us.

Paul’s articulation of these radical ethical principles of the new  community of grace in Christ and in the Spirit of love has tremendous implications for constructing a life characterized by the ethics and art of listening with care and love, doing good to all, and living gently. It is God’s desire for us to do life together, accept one another, and love another. It is only through the moral vision of the Kingdom of God that Christians and the Christian church in the American society and elsewhere could contribute meaningfully and constructively to a life of optimism, collective participation, a spirit of democratic communitarianism and humanitarianism, and a life of  collective solidarity and racial reconciliation and ethnic harmony.

To be generous and kind to everyone is a cosmopolitan attitude and human virtue to be praised and coveted; xenophobia or the fear of the “other” or even the immigrant is the antithesis of human kindness, generosity, and hospitality.

“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (James 6:10).


May we become the Gospel we proclaim!


I am tired!

I am tired!

I am tired of those individuals who are insensitive to human suffering, pain, and death.

I am tired of those individuals who misinterpret the words of Scripture/Jesus to devalue life and dehumanize people.

I am tired of those individuals who are afraid to change, forgive, and repent of their sins.

I am tired of those individuals who appeal to human depravity and social sins to justify the miscarriage of justice and support the mistreatment of those who are hurting.

I am tired of those individuals who are/ have been silent and use their power and status to shut the mouth of those peak against injustice, inequality, oppression, and social evils.

I am tired of those individuals who appeal to human reason to rationalize and counter the fact and the evidence so that they can feel good about themselves, and prove the world that they’re rational and brilliant.

I am tired of those individuals who are not bold enough to practice social justice, love their neighbor, and defend the innocent and their right to exist.

I am tired of those individuals who deny the social implications of the Gospel and Christian responsibility in the public sphere.

I am tired of those individuals who area afraid to suffer and be humiliated and alienated for the cause of love, justice, truth, and peace.

I am tried of being traumatized by fear, fear of death, and fear of social alienation.

I am tired!