Category Archives: Racial Justice

What Kind of Pentecostal Am I?

by Sam Lee.

I have quite an interesting Christian life. Some of my fellow Pentecostals think I am liberal, and they often ask themselves “Is Samuel still a Pentecostal?” Here are my answers to the question they ask:

Indeed, I am a Pentecostal, but I wholeheartedly believe that the Pentecostal movement needs serious reform. Just like any other religious movement, it has its own blind spots and makes its own errors, yet, at the same time, it shines in its own beauty. Whenever I say that I am a Pentecostal, I do not mean that I belong to a Pentecostal religious system, organization, or denomination. Instead, I believe in the very essence, the very foundation of our faith as it is based in the Pentecost documented in the Book of Acts.

I am a Pentecostal because I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit as it was revealed in the Bible. Nevertheless, I do not agree with some of my Pentecostal friends who use the name of the Holy Spirit in a simplistic and even abusive way, i.e., to engage in a form of ethical escapism, as license to do and say what they want and hurt anyone who does not think or is like them. The greatest sign of the Holy Spirit  is not speaking of tongues but the power of Unconditional Love. Love is indeed a power; it forgives, liberates, and heals. The Holy Spirit empowers us to love even the unlovable, to reach the unreachable.

I am a Pentecostal because I believe in the miracles of the Holy Spirit. I cannot deny them. I have seen them in my own life. At the same time, I disagree with some of my fellow Pentecostal friends who merchandize the works of the Holy Spirit: the commercialization of His miracles is sacrilegious. I disagree with the overemphasis on miracles, signs, and wonders, at the expense of justice and the righteousness for the poor and oppressed. I disagree with those who practice Pentecostalism while their own personal character shows little or no sign of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. I disagree with those who pretend to be super Pentecostals but do not know how to treat their spouses, neighbors, or children. True Pentecost-experience changes our characters and leads us to humility, grace, peace, and love. These are as important as signs and wonders. Continue reading What Kind of Pentecostal Am I?

Our Muslim Neighbors

by Rachel Stella. Originally published in Mennonite World Review, republished with permission.

When we talk about living in peace with Muslims, some Christians become uneasy. They reason that because Islam and Christianity have such differences, true peace isn’t possible.

Yet a call to live in peace is not the same as a call to harmonize the two faiths. Indeed, it would be impossible to harmonize them without fundamentally changing one or both. Although they share a few beliefs in common, Islam and Christianity have major theological differences that are irreconcilable.

It is still entirely possible to live well with Muslim neighbors in our communities. Sure, you and your Muslim friend might enjoy a theological debate once in a while. (Depending on one’s personality, such an activity might or might not seem like a good time.) But it doesn’t have to keep us from getting along with each other as neighbors. Continue reading Our Muslim Neighbors

“Make Disciples of All Nations” – and Then the Nations Came to Us!

As Jesus was preparing to leave the earth and ascend to heaven, He gave his disciples a few instructions called the Great Commission. Jesus directed his remaining followers to go and make disciples of all nations, teaching and baptizing them in the way of the Lord. For the last 2000 years or so, that is just what the church has done (albeit imperfectly and not always contextually). Since Pentecost, ministers of the gospel have gone out to other places in the world to preach and teach the Word of God, and have led billions upon billions to faith in Jesus Christ. Amazing, right!

Over the last few hundred years, however, this cross-cultural ministry has primarily been led by American and European missionaries. Out of a desire to win the lost in exotic, third world nations (and sometimes out of a desire to colonize those nations, let’s just be honest) they have crossed land and sea, spending their entire lifetime discipling people in the way of the Lord. Yet, as a result of immigration and other global trends/ situations, something quite fascinating has taken place.

Now people of other nations and ethnicities are coming to America, looking for opportunities to start over, raise their family, receive education or just live to see another day. This has wonderful implications on the gospel and missions efforts, because now the very people that we’ve been trying to reach are our neighbors. But instead of reaching out to them, inviting them into our churches, our homes, our lives, many Christians and churches are pushing them away. Continue reading “Make Disciples of All Nations” – and Then the Nations Came to Us!

The Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism

I read and listen to a lot of people who talk about race, racism, and oppression within the church and the academy. Some are academics who I, a seminary-trained theologian-activist struggle to understand. Others are pastors and lay leaders who are excellent storytellers but have less of the critical race theory and historical context to round out their dialog.

Continue reading The Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism

Escaping Whiteness: Racing, Raising, and Razing Moses as White

 

by Paul Alexander

Part 3 of 3

Only one person raced as Egyptian (White) exits Whiteness alive—Moses. Can people raced as White locate themselves in Moses’ narrative and escape? Moses was not raced as ‘White’ from his mother’s womb. He was raced by Whiteness as Other.

Continue reading Escaping Whiteness: Racing, Raising, and Razing Moses as White

Eyes to See: How We View Racism in the Church

An Interview with Dr. Drew G.I. Hart

by Micky ScottBey Jones

Dog-whistle politics. Protest in the streets. Changing religious norms. For many, there is trouble to be seen everywhere we look. In Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism, author and theologian Dr. Drew Hart shares the racism he has observed in the American church and in the larger culture.

Continue reading Eyes to See: How We View Racism in the Church

Escaping Whiteness: Egypt as Whiteness

Vintage engraving of Ancient Egyptians building a Pyramid

by Paul Alexander

Part 2 of 8

It is well known that Israel’s exodus from Egypt is a central story for liberation movements, and it could be a way for people who have been raced by Whiteness as White to “inhabit the world beyond the theological problem of whiteness.”[1] I am inspired by African American biblical hermeneutics and the lyrics of slave spirituals that underline the resonances of exodus within enslaved Africans’ hearts and their hermeneutical freedom to identify the Egypt land with the US south.[2]

Continue reading Escaping Whiteness: Egypt as Whiteness