Tag Archives: race

The Multicultural DNA of Pentecost

God is not a nationalist. He does not only speak English, or Chinese, or Swedish or Hebrew or Swahili. He knows all our languages – and more.

He dramatically demonstrated this when he sent his Holy Spirit to baptize the church on the day of Pentecost. The disciples “began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” (Acts 2:4). This included Latin, Arabic, Greek, Coptic and many other languages (vv. 5-11).

The Holy Spirit is an international Spirit. Or rather, non-national.

Shouldn’t Spirit-filled Christians reflect this? Shouldn’t we be examples of international, multicultural love rather than tribalism and isolationism?

Jesus’ command was clear: make disciples of all nations (Mt 28:19). Pentecost was a Tower of Babel in reverse to equip the church to do its job. We need to migrate, study other cultures and even be a part of them in order to share the Gospel effectively.

This is why Paul was a Jew to Jews and a Gentile to Gentiles (1 Cor 9:20-21). He didn’t put his ethnic identity before his missionary task. In fact, he viewed his achievements from Phariseic Judaism as a “loss for the sake of Christ.” (Phil 3:7).

As a Christian, his focus was on something else: inviting people to become citizens in another state, another Kingdom. Heaven (Phil 3:20).

This is why Pentecost shatters nationalism and tribalism. It was repeated on Azusa Street, where the Holy Spirit once again enabled people to speak other languages. The power was real: the first issue of Azusa’s magazine, The Apostolic Faith, relates the following amazing miracle:

A Mohammedan, a Sudanese by birth,a man who is an interpreter and speaks sixteen languages, came into the meeting at Azusa Street and the Lord gave him messages which none but himself could understand. He identified, interpreted and wrote in a number of the languages.

Did you catch that? So many saints at Azusa spoke real foreign languages as they were spirituall baptized, that an interpreter who knew sixteen languages was overwhelmed and even heard messages directed specifically to him!

Azusa Street was a rare multi-racial and multicultural church, led by a team of different ethnicities. As Frank Bartleman said, “the ‘color line’ was washed away in the blood.”

Don’t we need some more washing today? Come, Holy Spirit, and fill us with your colorblind power and love!


Micael Grenholm is editor-in-chief for PCPJ.

ska%cc%88rmavbild-2017-01-06-kl-21-17-02Pentecostals & Charismatics for Peace & Justice is a multicultural, gender inclusive, and ecumenical organization that promotes peace, justice, and reconciliation work among Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians around the world. If you like what we do, please become a member!

Black Lives Don’t Matter As Much As the National Anthem

by Ramone Romero.

It seems sometimes that in the national debate about #TakeAKnee the focus has become about “the flag” and “the anthem”, and it is often being forgotten that #TakeAKnee is a protest about the systemic injustices of law enforcement against people of color.

Yet even if that is forgotten in the news and chatter, this is still intensely about race.

The #TakeAKnee protests in the NFL (and spreading across the sports world) are offensive precisely because they began with black athletes.

The offense people are taking as disrespect to the flag, the anthem and to “America” itself comes because these are black athletes protesting.

How dare they interrupt the anthem?
How dare they not salute the flag in the way we want?
How dare they draw any amount of attention to themselves?
How dare they interrupt our holy moment of nationalistic worship?

Continue reading Black Lives Don’t Matter As Much As the National Anthem

What More Can I Say? On Charlottesville and White Supremacy

by Ebony Adedayo. Originally published on her blog.

After the Charlottesville riot on Saturday, I wrestled with the idea of writing a piece  that would convincingly urge my Christian brothers and sisters to respond. I first contemplated the idea of speaking to the need for the Church to condemn the protest and violence of white nationalism, but it felt somewhat shallow. I then thought about issuing some sort of prophetic thesis, outlining the biblical mandate of justice and love for one’s neighbor. This too felt inadequate. Finally, I concluded that the church in America needed to have a bigger presence in not only speaking out against Charlottesville but all the other displays of white supremacy and nationalism, manifested through police violence, discrimination, lack of affordable housing, poor schools, and the school to prison pipeline. This approach, similar to the other ones, seemed to be gravely missing something.

Scrolling through Facebook, I noticed friends and acquaintances of mine hammering out these same messages. Watching CNN, I saw pundits from both sides of the political aisle putting their own spin on these same perspectives. I suspect that clergy all across America, mounted their pulpits Sunday morning rebuking not only Charlottesville but every vestige of white supremacy in America. And business leaders, if for no other reason but out of concern of their bottom line, have also put in their two cents about these racist events.

And that is when I realized that there is quite literally nothing more than I can say that has not already been said. I couldn’t devise a more clever Facebook post, or a more profound tweet, write a more convincing blog post, or preach a more compelling sermon simply because there has already been an abundance of information communicated through nearly every medium possible. And that is not just in regards to this particular incident. No, whether it was through BlackLivesMatter, the Black Power Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, the Abolitionist Movement, or in response to Charleston, Mass Incarceration, the War on Drugs, Jim Crow, or slavery, people have been speaking. Activists have been fighting, preachers have been raising holy hell, intellectuals critiquing, educators teaching, prophets prophesying, thought leaders proffering new ideas to get not only the church, but America’s people to pay attention to the disease of racism and white supremacy in our nation. Continue reading What More Can I Say? On Charlottesville and White Supremacy

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