Fair warning, in this post I will share some very unpopular opinions so proceed with caution.
One of the more hotly debated topics right now among members of the Christian community is whether our focus should be on preaching the gospel or focus on social justice issues. Our church had a guest speaker this weekend who shared just how this issue is ripping through churches around the country and world. The speaker implored the congregation over the web to pray for their pastoral staff. Pastors are under attack from all sides over the issue of Black Lives Matter. If they preach too much about Black Lives Matter, they are attacked and if they do not speak enough about Black Lives Matter, they are also attacked. People are feeling offended and leaving their churches. The pastors are under a lot of stress because if they stick with preaching the truth, they may end up losing their jobs and tearing apart churches.
The upside to all of this discussion is that it may be a moment for real growth and change. Maybe we have become too self-centered in some areas and this is our moment to focus on the truth that really matters. According to the gospel, the purpose of Christians on earth is to love God and make Him known. Nothing in the specific calling addresses the topic of social justice issues but it is safe to say that Jesus would care about social justice issues. The bible makes it clear that we should be doing things like taking care of the poor and taking care of widows. These issues hurt God’s heart. As I examine my own heart it is convicting because I know I do not always have the correct perspective in this area. The example that is used to support Christianity as a tool for social justice is a situation where a person is starving, and you meet their physical need before they can understand their spiritual need. Jesus fed multitudes of people while they came to listen to Him speak. There is a strong case for meeting people’s needs on a physical level before addressing the issues of the heart. One of my favorite books is the book is “In His Steps” which is the book where we got the 90s cliché W.W.J.D fandom. At this moment it would be great if the church could start asking the question “what would Jesus do?” once again but on a deeper level. The ideas in the book were not a superficial fad. Living a life where you daily ask the question WWJD and trying to live that way is profound.
Our Christianity loves its ease and comfort too well to take up anything so rough and heavy as a cross.”
― Charles M. Sheldon
If only we could live how Jesus walked there would be no need for social justice at all. My understanding of these issues has come from thoughtful research on the subject but also, I am aware of the secular views of Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality so I will share our background history as well. My husband and I are typical Americans in that we both have mixed-race backgrounds. We both come from African descent at some point in our genealogies and we have family that are POC (People of Color). We are also fair-skinned as are our children. We have never been mistaken for any race except Caucasian. I would like to share some background on our story that will hopefully allow the readers to understand our perspective a little. Our family has had the unfortunate experience of having to find an eldercare facility for dementia. Eldercare is a very difficult, thankless, and sometimes grueling job; the people that work in that environment are angels. Patients can be unruly, almost like small children. That type of job requires a great deal of patience. When we found a place for our loved-one some of the family expressed how fortunate it was that her care facility was staffed with people of color just like her. Elder abuse is a very real problem and when it came to placing someone precious to us, that could not speak for herself, we were thankful that her caretakers would not be holding prejudice against her over her race. I do not believe that she will be receiving significantly better care by people of color, but the fear was there, it was real, and it gave us a piece of mind. For us, the issue of race has otherwise not often come up. My husband went to pick up a pizza recently and a man in the store shouted for the owner to call the police. He was wearing a mask due to COVID-19 that was plain and dark. Apparently, the man was frightened by my husband, who is tall and athletically built, and he concluded that my husband was going to rob the store. The manager had to calm the man down and ask him not to bother my husband. The story was comical to us and the crazy man was our same skin tone, but I imagine that if my husband were black, he would have felt like he was being targeted over race especially in today’s environment. When I read any news headline and it mentions white and black people there is an assumption that racism is involved. My husband had a car a few years ago that he was repeatedly pulled over in. The police had the same consistent story every time that the vehicle matched a description of a car that was involved in a hit and run. The police probably pulled him over a dozen times over a period of several months. He no longer drives that vehicle, but it was a very frustrating experience. It made him late for work and late coming home. As annoying and frustrating as that experience was, I am thankful that the police were paying attention and doing their job. Again, it is another experience that may have made us feel differently if we were not as fair-skinned. We know there have been times where we have been targeted for the way we look in other areas of lives, so we do know this is a valid concern for everyone.
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
I caution anyone against making a false accusation of racism. In the Bible, it asks that we do not accuse anyone falsely and it was one of the ten commandments. The term is used today to explain every issue surrounding race is systemic racism. This term is poorly articulated because many of the disparities that we see in the world are not rooted in an act of hate or malice. When you use the term racist to describe someone in our modern society it is dangerous character assassination. When someone is labeled a racist, they will be “canceled” by the culture. They will receive threats of violence, they will be trolled online, and they may lose their job. Satan is known as the accuser of the brethren so consider that when making an accusation. Christians need to search their hearts and pause before they label someone with a false claim. Hurling insults at people usually shuts down important dialogue. We need to realize that people are responsible for their actions as individuals and not as a mind hive. All cops, all doctors, all teachers, all fill in the blank to not all think alike and share the same life experiences.
Regarding the present-day social justice conundrum of the Black Lives Matter national group, Christians are wondering which way is the biblically sound path. To answer this question, it will take an understanding of biblical justice, the black lives matter group, and the secular solutions that have been offered to the woke church via Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality. For an understanding of biblical justice, we look to the bible. The Centers for Biblical Unity has put together a biblically sound rationale regarding what the stance of the church should be in terms of black lives matter. They can be found at www.centerforbiblicalunity.com. The group does not recommend that Christians link arms with the Black Lives Matter national group because their definition of justice is not the same as God’s definition. God’s definition of justice is impartial and does not favor one group over another. The Black Lives Matter national group aims to disrupt the nuclear family and the goal is clearly laid out on their website. The family unit was created by God to help his people relate to Him. An attack on the family unit is a direct attack on God’s plan. Christians are warned not to be unequally yoked. That verse is typically understood in a marriage but is also applies to social justice causes as well. The goal of Christians is the gospel of Jesus but Black Lives Matter does not promote Jesus in their goals.
Romans 1:22 “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,”
The woke church is buying into a concept called Critical Race Theory (CRT). Critical Race Theory is not supported by the Bible. CRT says that all of life’s interactions can be explained through a lens of the oppressed versus the oppressor. Intersectionality is the method that Critical Race Theory uses to determine who is more oppressed. CRT does not consider lived experience which is unrealistic. You cannot possibly understand a person’s past by looking at their skin tone alone. Critical race theory assumes that the more oppressed you are, according to its own definition, the more valuable your perspective over another person. It leaves people believing that they are enlightened when in fact they are not. CRT does not consider that all people have bias and that includes the people that it considers to be enlightened. I shared a few of our life experiences to show how CRT would have got answers wrong because it only sees life through the lens of racism. If you are only looking for racism that is the answer you will conclude but as Christians, we need to be seeking truth first. CRT gets the problem wrong and therefore the solution wrong. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the answer.
Proverbs 2:6 “All wisdom comes from the LORD,
and so do common sense
Much of the marketing for the woke agenda is being pushed by a book called White Fragility. This extremist radical position on anti-racism is cult-like. They want to prove their worth as anti-racists by demonstrating just how committed they are to the cause. They often commit inhumane and horrific crimes in the name of anti-racism. The extremists here, by their actions, are complicit in these crimes. If someone refutes baseless charges of racism, then they are labeled a racist via privilege and white fragility accusations. The philosophy here does not seek understanding and the pursuit of honest, intellectual thought in the hope of creating a better society but rather to condemn in the pursuit of vengeance based on falsehoods that are not provable. To automatically write off groups of people as being racist by birth, assuming the worst of those groups because they disagree, and in doing so, judging them and determining those groups as automatically in denial and subpar based on the color of skin is a racist belief. Wisdom is not imparted to anyone through their skin tone. Wisdom comes from God.