Over the last few years of my life, around this time of year, I have been placed in a conundrum in my life. Every January the celebration of Martin Luther King’s (MLK) Birthday and the Sanctity of Life Sunday seem to fall on the same Sunday.
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.” – Psalm 68:5
A few years ago I was given a book by my best friend and it blew me away. The book is called “Church for the Fatherless: A Ministry Model for Society’s Most Pressing Problem” by Pastor Mark Strong. The book itself served as no surprise to me but as I dug deeper I found myself trying to better understand the Churches role in the remedy. Here are the stats
- According to 72.2 % of the U.S. population, fatherlessness is the most significant family or social problem facing America.
- An estimated 26.63 million children (33%) live absent their biological father.
- Of students in grades 1 through 12, 39 percent (17.7 million) live in homes absent their biological fathers.
- Currently 57.6% of black children, 31.2% of Hispanic children, and 20.7% of white children are living absent their biological fathers.
- The 1997 Gallup Youth Survey found the following among U.S. teens:
- 33 % live away from their father
- 43% of urban teens live away from their father
- In 2010 over twenty million lived with no father (biological, adoptive, or step).
Looking at this epidemic is seriously overwhelming. The question I have is how do we equip communities to bring healing and change to the fatherless landscape in our cities?
This is not something that the Bible is quiet about yet at all. As I read through the Bible God speaks about the orphan with great care and HE also charges us with engaging them. Throughout history Christians have spearheaded movements in this arena and we have a distinct opportunity to do it once again. The question is simple, how? How do we engage a culture so different the the one we have built our churches around? How do we respond to this with the heart of the One who says, ‘Father, He is father to the fatherless?’ You see this is a theological issue, it’s not just a social issue that the government has to take care of kids, because God Himself calls Himself Father to the fatherless. Our response is that we have to be reconcilers—that we have to enter the shame and suffering of a generation. We have to step into their lives with the same intimacy in which Christ stepped into ours at the incarnation. This a messy process but one that we must be engaged in to affect our communities and reflect our God.
[update] I saw this video and it broke my heart, yet it fits right in with this subject.
I should begin this post by saying I have never once watched an episode of Duck Dynasty nor do I intend to. Yes, I know what the show is about and know I do not need to prove it to you, and yes, I am still a Christ follower (just kidding, though for some of you I not kidding at all). The news of Phil Robertson’s comments came across my screen and left just as quickly as it appeared but I did understand what was coming next and I just braced myself. It is in these moments that I dread social media and its ability to give everyone a public voice (but this is a post for another day). After some of the Facebook posts I saw over the last few days, I have decided to say my 2 cents and then let the debate rage.
I wish [Christians]would care this much about poverty & abuse & slavery & caring for the marginalized and oppressed then the kingdom of God would be so much better reflected in this dark crazy world.
I am completely for anyone’s Constitutional right to free speech, people can say what they want to say and believe what they want. What makes me sad is that these moments represent Christians to the world. The internet is powerful, Social Media is powerful because it is distilled. The things we say and do reflect what we truly believe and from the looks of things we care more about:
- Duck Dynasty
- Gay Marriage
- Conservative/ Republican/Libertarian “values”
- the Constitution
- the United States and so much more
Even though we make very concerted efforts at connecting these things to the Kingdom of God, though they can not be connected. I have met so many amazing people who live out their faith in such beautiful, humble, and brave ways. They are opening the doors to the kingdom of heaven for people instead of wasting time defending positions for millionaires who can take care of themselves or TV stations shooting themselves in the foot. They are outraged about things that Jesus is orphans, poverty, oppression, slavery, abuse, advance of His Kingdom and His Gospel, people dying and going to a real hell and the question is are willing to do something about these real issues. So many people commenting, writing letters, starting petitions, but can not articulate the last time they shared there faith. You might be fighting for the wrong kingdom. The amazing people I mentioned, they reflect the incarnation of Christ and that’s what we’re supposed to be celebrating this season.
This is the Advent season that affords us the reality that Christ came for us and in that truth we are supposed to be turning the world upside down, our lives are supposed to be centered around. It is for this reason [and others] I am over this “debate” and so should you too.
Let me know what you think by liking the post, commenting below, and/or sharing it and thinks for listening.
“It frustrates me how church people discern truth using their politics instead of their Bibles, and it frustrates me that they don’t know the are doing it.”
– Reverend Dr. Derrick Lynch, Blue Valley Baptist Church
As an American and also as an evangelical Christian, I can hardly bear to watch this nightmare unfolding. It’s bad for Christianity, heck it’s bad for America. Here is my take on the sorry spectacle of Christian politics — and how to fix it.
- “… but they did it to President Bush”. Again, I don’t know about you but my kids would get into trouble for making an asinine excuse like this.
- “[Political Party] is just the lesser of two evils”. Just remember that you are still advocating for evil.
- “[Political Party] is closer to my values”. Yes, and they are trying to setup there own [Political] kingdoms that compete with God’s.
- Rush Limbaugh hates Jesus.
- Sean Hannity hates Jesus.
- Rachel Maddow hates Jesus.
- Mark Levin hates Jesus.
- Kieth Olbermann hates Jesus.
- Piers Morgan hates Jesus.
- Anderson Cooper hates Jesus
- Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR and whomever else I missed all hates Jesus.
- Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and [fill in your political party if it was not mentioned] parties are ALL antithetical to the Kingdom of God.
I know you agreed with some of the list and others you disagreed but I want to ask you this, What kingdom are they fighting for? When you listen to them talk/ advocate for their position who are they talking about? A Political party, an ideology, or Christ? Better yet if someone were to listen to you talk/ advocate who would they say you are talking about? Unfortunately, we have sold out to these fiefdoms while the Kingdom of God (you know the one that Christ died in establishing) loses ground. Do not allow your voice to be co-opted by your allegiance to an earthly kingdom or party. We have prostituted ourselves out so much that the outside world does not know the difference between Christ many political parties and that is a shame.
**I try hard not to speak about current events as anything but an observer, but this one has just become out of control. So this week I want to comment on the Paula Deen debacle and lend some clarity.
Warning, there maybe some language in this post that could be considered offensive.**
I have a guilty pleasure, cooking shows. I love “the Food Network (FN)”, “Top Chef” and others. I have learned so much that has served to advance my cooking skills. Paula Deen has been among the host that have given me a better understanding of Southern culture and cooking. I was initially surprised as the next person to hear of Mrs. Deen’s comments, use of the word “Nigger” and subsequent firing by the FN and other sponsors. What further concerned me was the instant “I support Paula Deen” Facebook pages and multiple post showing support for a women who used a word that, as a society, we have considered repugnant for many decades (though in my humble opinion not long enough). Additionally, I began to laugh when I read post from my friends comparing Deen’s situation to movies that say “Nigger” or “nigga (not that this word is much better)” a ridiculous amount of times (e.g. Django Unchained). I truly believe that Paula Deen should not be fired for admitting that she called someone a nigger 30 years ago but you should really read the deposition for yourself. The whole thing is now out and it is a pretty long read and damning read, here are some of the highlights (lowlights) and why I believe she was really fired.
- She was accused (in a lawsuit) of only hiring only Caucasians to work in the front of the restaurant:
“Bubba [her brother] and I, neither one of us, care what the color of your skin is or what is between your legs, it’s what’s in your heart and in your head that matters to us.”
- The transcript mentions employee complaints about Deen’s brother looking at pornography at the restaurant during operating hours and forcing other employees to look at it as well. In direct response to questions about this, Deen said:
“I know all men in my family at one time or another, they’ll tell each other, ‘look what so and so sent me on my phone,’ you know. It’s just men being men.”
- In response to questions about whether or not she’d have a problem with her brother looking at porn at work, Deen said:
“If somebody sent him something and he pulled it up and looked at it, no, I would not persecute him for that. … Bubba, I don’t think, would ever do that if he thought there was somebody in the room that he — it would insult.”
- She did respond to a question about when it’s acceptable to use the N-word and Deen said:
“We hear a lot of things in the kitchen. Things that they — that black people will say to each other. If we are relaying something that was said, a problem that we’re discussing, that’s not said in a mean way. What about jokes, if somebody is telling a joke that’s got —It’s just what they are, they’re jokes.”
The continuation of this line of questioning is rather disturbing. Even Macklemore and Eminem understand that in today’s America there is not a nice way to call a African American a nigger, yet Deen proceeded to find that medium. This her response to the lawyer asking her to give and example of how to use the word nigger in a nice, joking way after she state that she could:
“That’s — that’s kind of hard. Most — most jokes are about Jewish people, rednecks, black folks. Most jokes target — I don’t know. I didn’t make up the joke, I don’t know. I can’t — I don’t know.”
There is not a nice way to tell a joke with the word “nigger” in it, trust me I have heard my fair share and not one of them is funny.
- The most repugnant part of the deposition was Deen’s description of a “[pre] Civil Wars style Southern plantation wedding” she wanted for her brother. She was reportedly inspired by a restaurant with nicely dressed, middle-aged black waiters dressed up as slave caricatures. When asked by the questioner in the deposition whether the race of the waiters mattered, Deen said, “Well, that’s what made it.” the very suggest that slaves could be a quaint scenic touch at a wedding is deplorable to say the least.
Listen, if you really want to please go and read the whole deposition . After i did I came to the to the conclusion that as a private company I would not want someone who acts in the manner that she has and continues to defend it to represent my company. What about forgiving and forgetting? Honestly, I am all for forgiving but I also understand that we all must deal with the consequences of our actions (good or bad) and unfortunately we must let Mrs. Deen and her brother walk that path. She is a public figure and she has to deal with this publicly. If you want to talk about the numbers of celebrities, actors, pastors, politicians of all races that make stupid comments I will submit that you are deflecting from the real reason for her release and ask you to please read the deposition.
As I began I really meant what I said, I do not think she should be fired for calling a robber a nigger 30+ years ago while working at a bank but I the more I dig I see a national and cultural conversation that need to happen, especially within the church. I think another blogger said it the best when she said, “If our country ever wants to heal from the racism of our past, [we have] to stop denying that it’s still an issue. We need to own it. To step up and start a national conversation about race. That starts by being honest.”
Honestly, these are just my thoughts and opinions, what say you? I look for ward to the conversation!
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… was the statement made by Jason Collins a gay NBA player through Sports illustrated. The news quickly turned from Tim Tebow’s release to the impact of this and it’s implications in today’s sports. Honestly, I did not really plan to comment, but that all changed after watching Chris Broussard’s commentary for ESPN (please see the full interview above).
Yesterday, after leaving work I was made aware of ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” and their discussion between two sportswriters: the [openly gay Christian] L.Z. Granderson and [straight Christian] Chris Broussard. The long and short of it is this, Jason Collins still claims to be a Christian even though he is openly gay. ESPN asked Broussard to comment on Collins’ claim that one can be both gay and Christian. Broussard answered the question politely and boldly, and he did so as a Christian here he is in his own words:
Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or an openly, like premarital sex between heterosexuals. If you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says you know them by their fruits. It says that, you know, that’s a sin. If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, whatever it maybe, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. So I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I don’t think the bible would characterize them as a Christian.
Depending on what side of the debate you find yourself I am sure you know what came next. After Broussard gave is his opinion (which he was asked for), there was an immediate backlash across the internet. Many in the press and on social medai called Broussard’s words “hateful”, while the President decided to call him and congratulate him for “his bravery”. Even ESPN issued a statement saying that it regretted the distraction from Jason Collins’ announcement. I think the criticism of Broussard is completely unwarranted. I want to clarify Broussard did not volunteer these remarks. He was asked by ESPN to comment on Jason Collins’ claim to be a Christian in the context of a [respectful] discussion on the subject and he did. So I would like to add my “amen” to what Chris Broussard had to say. Not that he knows or even cares what I think but this is a conversation that needs to happen and he skillfully defended the faith in a forum that many would falter in, and it was a beautiful thing.
A quick note to those who are reading this post who may not be Christian,
The Bible does NOT single-out homosexuality as the worst sin, nor does it permit mistreatment of homosexuals and I am not in anyway advocating either of those things here. The Bible does, however, hold forth a stringent standard of sexual morality that we all fall short of (e.g., Matt. 5:28), I being the chief among the sinners. That means that all of us are sinners and that all of us are in desperate need of a Savior.
The good news is that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, both heterosexual and homosexual. He died on the cross and took upon Himself the punishment that we deserved. Then God raised Him from the dead three days later, and He is right now seated at the right hand of God. Now anyone can receive forgiveness and eternal life if they would but repent from their sin and believe in Christ. God’s arm is not too short to save (Isaiah 59:1), and if you would repent and believe, they would reach you as well.
What are your thoughts on Broussard’s comments?