Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

Tuesday Rambling 11.7.17 – About Guns In Church

Even though I don’t want to, some rambling about guns in church:

  • My #1 concern in this discussion: PLEASE don’t let the enemy use tragedy to divide.
  • Yes, well meaning believers see the issue of guns in church in different ways.
  • PLEASE seek understanding instead of division.
  • PLEASE pray as church leadership across the country will increasingly ask how they would plan to respond.
  • And PLEASE express sympathy and care before you jump into issues of security. To do otherwise is a horrible look.
  • Of course I lead a church and our church does and will, like many others, consider and develop plans of response. My goal with this post is not to determine church policy.
  • My concerns today have to do with understanding others who see things differently than we do.
  • Question: Am I prepared to love and minister with someone who sees the issue completely differently than I do? More questions…
  • What role does prayer have compared to the role of a weapon?
  • What weight do Jesus’ words regarding loving our enemies or turning our cheek carry compared to our desire to protect people?
  • Do we take into account the soul of the attacker?
  • How do we as believers think about mental illness and dealing with individuals struggling with mental problems?
  • Are we willing to take an honest look at risk, all possible factors, including even the unknown that accompanies having armed personnel?

Tuesday Rambling 10.31.17 – On Being White – Statistics Regarding Inequality

Time to continue rambling about race and justice:

  • Over the past two Tuesdays I’ve posted rambling involving my experience as a white male.
  • Today I’d like to share some statistics with one purpose:
  • Please think. I know not all stats are perfect. I know they have their flaws.
  • But what if, just what if, these stats reveal something about inequality and injustice in the country we love?
  • This article talks about pay, student debt, retirement, etc.
  • This article talks about attitudes and perceptions regarding equality.
  • This article shows a vast disparity in the Akron area regarding infant mortality.
  • This tweet is one in a series from yesterday that makes you think about how the interstate system has led to disparity in wealth. Reading the whole series will make you think.
  • This article has amazing photos about what highways did to amount of taxable land available. T
  • This concept has historically had direct racial implications.
  • My goal today was to put some information in front of you.
  • If you reject this information, you should have well thought out reasons as to why.
  • If you aren’t sure, continue to research.
  • If you’re convicted regarding this, think and pray regarding your response.
  • I struggle most on this last point (any response, let alone an effective one).

Tuesday Rambling 10.24.17 – On Being White and Discussing Injustice

Last Tuesday I wrote a short piece in which I shared a few rambling thoughts on the topic of “being white”. Today I’ll take that a bit further and touch on what I perceive as the cause of much misunderstanding: injustice.

  • When you are white, you are a part of the majority system that has influenced wide swaths of western culture (education, religion, institutions) for hundreds of years.
  • When you are black, asian, hispanic, or any other racial or ethnic group, you are not.
  • I intend this post in no way to suggest whites find themselves exempt from injustice. Hardly the case.
  • Maybe I should state my goal clearly: my goal in these posts “on being white” is to stir thought, discussion, and action in adults who have wide ranging experiences with race.
  • News flash: I DO NOT have everything figured out. But I do have God’s Word, history, experience, and a voice.
  • Now back to the topic: the issue of injustice.
  • If you are white, you have very little chance of experiencing racial injustice.
  • So let me pose a question: Is it possible that white people have and do currently use their positions in places of power for unjust purposes toward others?
  • Is it possible that minority cultures have suffered regarding economic opportunities, educational opportunities, and unjust treatment by law enforcement and the legal system?
  • Is it possible corrupt people have brought about consistently harsher penalties for blacks than whites in our legal system?
  • Is it possible economic disparity in public school education, even in Akron, has come about as power players have made decisions which have had negative effects on poorer communities?
  • Is it possible governments have desired to keep residents of certain races isolated in certain neighborhoods?
  • Answering these types of questions, to me, determines a starting point in this discussion.
  • A note to clarify: I in no way intend to suggest everyone in government favors or actively participates in racist oppression. Many fine public servants give healthy and godly examples.
  • That said, check out a few resources to get an idea of what goes on in places we may not tend to give a whole lot of attention.
  • A recommended resource: Read this article from Akron’s own history.
  • Another recommended resource: Watch the documentary 13th on Netflix.
  • Another recommended resource: Read Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson.
  • Does injustice exist? If so, then to what extent does personal responsibility matter? If so, what do we do about it?
  • Those are great questions for another time. For today, answering the question regarding the existence of injustice will prove a sufficient place to start.

 

Tuesday Rambling 10.17.17 – Some Thinking On Being White

Some Tuesday Rambling about my race…

  • For most of my life I didn’t have to think about my race.
  • I grew up in a mostly white town, so race really presented no problem.
  • Since moving to Canton in 1995 and then Akron in 2000, I have lived in a city.
  • I wouldn’t say race is now a “problem”, but I can’t ignore it.
  • I didn’t choose my race.
  • But because I was born white, I ended up in the majority culture.
  • Majority not just in the United States, but for much of Western culture.
  • I am not ignorant as to how white people have maintained that majority. It makes me squirm to consider atrocities perpetrated by whites in the name of power.
  • In considering race and race relations, two important words to my approach are “slow” and “listen”.
  • Since I’ve never lived as a minority, I need to go slowly in developing my responses to racial issues in our current culture.
  • It also means I have lots to learn, so listening is the best place to start for that.
  • I do have trusting relationships with friends from different cultural and racial backgrounds. I value these greatly.
  • It’s impossible to lump everyone from any race into categories or generalizations.
  • However, I would not say those relationships are easy. They take time and effort. And, they take difficult conversations.
  • Ask yourself, “What do I believe about race and race relations?”
  • Then ask yourself: “Why?”
  • Then I would ask you: “Are you willing to challenge or change your own views and listen?”
  • Being white, I could just assume the line of thinking which says “I wish everyone would stop talking about this.”
  • I could ignore racial problems in our society and condemn those who want to speak out.
  • Or, I could understand reasons people do talk about it and why we should.
  • Or better, I could SEEK to understand. Slowly. By listening.

Tuesday Rambling 10.3.17 – Questions for Marriage

 

Just a few random questions that may help regarding marriage:

  • If you’re not married, how much of your identity is tied to the concept of being married?
  • In your marriage, do you have a good sense of when the right times are to talk about certain topics? Or, better, when the wrong times are?
  • How often do you evaluate communication, teamwork, parenting, family, or personal patterns? Many times we can do things or communicate in unhealthy patterns without noticing. Taking time together can help make us aware of those potential problems before they devolve into bigger ones.
  • How does your faith in Jesus Christ help your marriage?
  • When you tell your spouse “I love you”, what does it really mean? Does it depend on the setting?
  • Do you tend to focus more on what you want or on how you can serve?

I don’t write any of these as one who has it figured out. But, I know I must think in different ways or I too easily default to the natural mode of self-seeking. I hope this helps!