A couple of weeks ago Red Letter Christian's shared a post by brother Joel Mckerrow. The post, "For the Christian part of me...I am sorry", was amazing! It is one part of a four-part artistic video series in which Joel confesses to the world for the historical, current, and stereotypical Christian, male, white, and rich parts of him. I very highly recommend checking them out. It is a very inspiring and honest evaluation of the place that the religion of Christendom has led us to today.
Today I would like to stand with Joel. I want to confess not only for the four areas that he did, but more specifically for the heritage that has influenced me the most.....
the American part of me.
To start I want to say that I believe America has and still does many good things for its citizens, and others around the world. I am not confessing and saying sorry for those parts, but wish to distance myself from the negative aspects of my nation's heritage and current actions. I know I won't be able to mention all of them, but would like to point out the things I wish to renounce in my American heritage.
Let's begin with, well....the beginning of America. For mainly political reasons (spiritual reasons were used as well) the British colonies in America decided to revolt against England, leading to the bloody Revolutionary War. Instead of following in the way of Jesus (paying taxes, honoring the king, obeying the ruling authorities), our nation's founding fathers decided to forcefully and violently free themselves from ties with England. For this, I am sorry.
Looking forward to the newly formed nation, we find another very often overlooked and downplayed aspect of our heritage: the greed-filled stealing of the Native Americans land, resources, and way of life. Instead of "living at peace with all men", our young nation (very often touting OT violent nation of Israel conquering passages) stole from, deported, and murdered MILLIONS of our lands original inhabitants. To the ORIGINAL Americans I would like to say... I am sorry.
For the sake of time I will limit this already limited confession to a final topic. Let us fast-forward 200 years to the present. This final point is the closest to my heart and has impacted my life the most as I am currently living through it. I want to confess for our current "war on terrorism". I am fully aware that what happened on 9/11 was a terrible, grievous act. Words cannot describe how evil, wrong, and the amount of pain was caused by the acts of a few men on that day. The acts of those few men claimed the lives of almost 3,000 innocent humans. Men, women, and children had their lives cut short. Many thousands more will forever live without those loved ones. For this, my country(including myself) was very angry. Thoughts of vengeance filled our thoughts and minds. However, instead of responding in the way Jesus calls us to, (by loving our enemies, doing good to those that harm us..etc) America launched what has now become the second longest war in our history. We have sought vengeance and justice against our enemies instead of giving love and mercy. Now, I understand that America, as a kingdom of this world, would respond in worldly fashion. However, as so many other times in our history, those of us who follow Jesus should have been living out his call to NOT RESIST evil, to turn the other cheek, to love and serve rather than seek vengeance and domination. Today, CNN posted an article on the hundreds of innocent civilians our nation has slain over these last 12 years (more specifically those killed in our allied nation of Pakistan ,whom we are NOT at war with). Oh how far we have come from the message and call of Jesus. How sad that we let this cycle of vengeance begin in the first place, let alone overlook the thousands of innocent civilians we have wiped out in our destructive path. To my fellow human beings around the world who have fallen under the sword of this place I call home, to the thousands of grieving family members of the innocents slain, to those in whose countries we now occupy....I would like to humbly, in the name of peace and my lord Jesus, who's example I wish to follow, say one last time.... I am sorry.
For the American part of me...... I AM SORRY
Friday, March 15, 2013
Friday, March 8, 2013
Today is International Women's Day. This is the day that the world has set aside to commemorate the advancements made in women's human rights, and in the spheres of politics, education, employment, and other areas of life.
In light of this day, the question will arise:
How should those of us in God's kingdom treat women?
The church,and the religion of Christendom, have often subjected women to discrimination based on their gender. Most women are strongly discouraged from leadership roles within the church, especially any role that would put them in authority over a man. HOW SAD!
So, how should we treat women? What should our response be to this day of celebrating the progress and freedom women have won in the secular world? How should we view this progress in light of the fact that role discrimination against women was and still is championed by those in the church?
In Paul's letter to the Galatians he says: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is NO MALE AND FEMALE, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28)
Wait a second! Because of and in Christ, when things are put back to the way God intended them to be from the start, there is NO DIFFERENCE between male and female!
Again, how should we treat/respond to women in ministry or any other area of life. Paul makes it clear, we are to make NO DISTINCTION between men and women. I rejoice on this day, I celebrate the progress women have made in winning back their God-given equality with men. We in the church should wake up to the truth that those in the rest of the world have realized. We should allow, promote, and encourage women to seek after the kingdom of God, to live in the calling and to follow Christ into WHATEVER POSITION he is leading them into.
God bless you sisters! Peace
Thursday, March 7, 2013
The other day I had a thought. It was birthed out of my browsing and random readings of the ramblings of fellow bloggers/kingdom of God expounders.
The thought: What if Jesus was serious when he said: Love and pray for your enemies, do not judge others, give to the poor, and don't worry about your life?
I Tweeted this thought and shortly thereafter, Greg Boyd responded and said: "THAT, my friend, would change EVERYTHING!"
This thought contains some pretty radical/upside-down/nonsensical statements, yet they are the commands of Jesus to the people of his kingdom. I mean, to most people (and most within Christendom) loving enemies, not judging , and not worrying about your life, are usually not big priorities. We often tend to do the exact opposite and then reach around/over Jesus to pick and choose whatever other part of the Bible we think would support ignoring what he said. We do this in so many areas of our lives, and there is a very long history of those in the church doing this! How can this be,when Jesus, the very one we claim to follow, said that ALL previous Scripture was about HIM! We therefore should view ALL scripture through the lens of Jesus. This is one of the primary reasons that I would identify myself with the Anabaptist tradition. Jesus is the center and lens through which we view not just all of scripture, but all of life!
Here is a short clip from Greg Boyd on this topic:
What are some topics/areas of life where you have seen others jump over Jesus to other parts of scripture to justify their non-Christlike behavior?
Viva la Revolution !