The following is a post that I am re-posting from http://ephphatha-poetry.blogspot.com

Let’s play a game, shall we? The name of the game is called “Imagine.” The way it’s played is simple: we’ll envision recent happenings in the news, but then change them up a bit. Instead of envisioning white people as the main actors in the scenes we’ll conjure - the ones who are driving the action - we’ll envision black folks or other people of color instead. The object of the game is to imagine the public reaction to the events or incidents, if the main actors were of color, rather than white. Whoever gains the most insight into the workings of race in America, at the end of the game, wins.

So let’s begin.

Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters —the black protesters — spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government? Would these protester — these black protesters with guns — be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic? What if they were Arab-Americans? Because, after all, that’s what happened recently when white gun enthusiasts descended upon the nation’s capital, arms in hand, and verbally announced their readiness to make war on the country’s political leaders if the need arose.

Imagine that white members of Congress, while walking to work, were surrounded by thousands of angry black people, one of whom proceeded to spit on one of those congressmen for not voting the way the black demonstrators desired. Would the protesters be seen as merely patriotic Americans voicing their opinions, or as an angry, potentially violent, and even insurrectionary mob? After all, this is what white Tea Party protesters did recently in Washington.

Imagine that a rap artist were to say, in reference to a white president: “He’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on my machine gun.” Because that’s what rocker Ted Nugent said recently about President Obama.

Imagine that a prominent mainstream black political commentator had long employed an overt bigot as Executive Director of his organization, and that this bigot regularly participated in black separatist conferences, and once assaulted a white person while calling them by a racial slur. When that prominent black commentator and his sister — who also works for the organization — defended the bigot as a good guy who was misunderstood and “going through a tough time in his life” would anyone accept their excuse-making? Would that commentator still have a place on a mainstream network? Because that’s what happened in the real world, when Pat Buchanan employed as Executive Director of his group, America’s Cause, a blatant racist who did all these things, or at least their white equivalents: attending white separatist conferences and attacking a black woman while calling her the n-word.

Imagine that a black radio host were to suggest that the only way to get promoted in the administration of a white president is by “hating black people,” or that a prominent white person had only endorsed a white presidential candidate as an act of racial bonding, or blamed a white president for a fight on a school bus in which a black kid was jumped by two white kids, or said that he wouldn’t want to kill all conservatives, but rather, would like to leave just enough—“living fossils” as he called them—“so we will never forget what these people stood for.” After all, these are things that Rush Limbaugh has said, about Barack Obama’s administration, Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama, a fight on a school bus in Belleville, Illinois in which two black kids beat up a white kid, and about liberals, generally.

Imagine that a black pastor, formerly a member of the U.S. military, were to declare, as part of his opposition to a white president’s policies, that he was ready to “suit up, get my gun, go to Washington, and do what they trained me to do.” This is, after all, what Pastor Stan Craig said recently at a Tea Party rally in Greenville, South Carolina.

Imagine a black radio talk show host gleefully predicting a revolution by people of color if the government continues to be dominated by the rich white men who have been “destroying” the country, or if said radio personality were to call Christians or Jews non-humans, or say that when it came to conservatives, the best solution would be to “hang ‘em high.” And what would happen to any congressional representative who praised that commentator for “speaking common sense” and likened his hate talk to “American values?” After all, those are among the things said by radio host and best-selling author Michael Savage, predicting white revolution in the face of multiculturalism, or said by Savage about Muslims and liberals, respectively. And it was Congressman Culbertson, from Texas, who praised Savage in that way, despite his hateful rhetoric.

Imagine a black political commentator suggesting that the only thing the guy who flew his plane into the Austin, Texas IRS building did wrong was not blowing up Fox News instead. This is, after all, what Anne Coulter said about Tim McVeigh, when she noted that his only mistake was not blowing up the New York Times.

Imagine that a popular black liberal website posted comments about the daughter of a white president, calling her “typical redneck trash,” or a “whore” whose mother entertains her by “making monkey sounds.” After all that’s comparable to what conservatives posted about Malia Obama on freerepublic.com last year, when they referred to her as “ghetto trash.”

Imagine that black protesters at a large political rally were walking around with signs calling for the lynching of their congressional enemies. Because that’s what white conservatives did last year, in reference to Democratic party leaders in Congress.

In other words, imagine that even one-third of the anger and vitriol currently being hurled at President Obama, by folks who are almost exclusively white, were being aimed, instead, at a white president, by people of color. How many whites viewing the anger, the hatred, the contempt for that white president would then wax eloquent about free speech, and the glories of democracy? And how many would be calling for further crackdowns on thuggish behavior, and investigations into the radical agendas of those same people of color?

To ask any of these questions is to answer them. Protest is only seen as fundamentally American when those who have long had the luxury of seeing themselves as prototypically American engage in it. When the dangerous and dark “other” does so, however, it isn’t viewed as normal or natural, let alone patriotic. Which is why Rush Limbaugh could say, this past week, that the Tea Parties are the first time since the Civil War that ordinary, common Americans stood up for their rights: a statement that erases the normalcy and “American-ness” of blacks in the civil rights struggle, not to mention women in the fight for suffrage and equality, working people in the fight for better working conditions, and LGBT folks as they struggle to be treated as full and equal human beings.

And this, my friends, is what white privilege is all about. The ability to threaten others, to engage in violent and incendiary rhetoric without consequence, to be viewed as patriotic and normal no matter what you do, and never to be feared and despised as people of color would be, if they tried to get away with half the shit we do, on a daily basis.

Game Over.


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Seriously, folks, it is getting really ridiculous!  Factcheck.org)


Snopes.com

Politifact.com



So, there you have it Arizona legislators, birthers and everyone else who insist that the President is not an American. Sheesh, the length to which some folks are willing to go...shameful.

In the ocean!

Ask me anything

Leviticus 19: 33-34:
"When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him.The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God." (NIV)

This measure in Arizona should have us all outraged. I will remember where I was the day that this bill was signed into law. This law will go down in the history books as laws very similar to the Jim Crow laws of the fifties and sixties. To think that anyone, especially me and other believers, can sit back and allow this to happen is outrageous. I have a committment to always fight for justice and not be silent while injustice takes place. This is wrong. This law effectively legalizes racial profiling within the United States of America. President Obama was correct in condemning this bill and I would like to see real reform that takes into account dignity and worth.

I join with Rev. Jim Wallis, of Sojourners:

The law signed today by Arizona Gov. Brewer is a social and racial sin, and should be denounced as such by people of faith and conscience across the nation. It is not just about Arizona, but about all of us, and about what kind of country we want to be. It is not only mean-spirited – - it will be ineffective and will only serve to further divide communities in Arizona, making everyone more fearful and less safe. This radical new measure, which crosses many moral and legal lines, is a clear demonstration of the fundamental mistake of separating enforcement from comprehensive immigration reform. Enforcement without reform of the system is merely cruel. Enforcement without compassion is immoral. Enforcement that breaks up families is unacceptable. This law will make it illegal to love your neighbor in Arizona, and will force us to disobey Jesus and his gospel. We will not comply. (Click here for the full statement)

As a Christian and someone who loves justice and the Constitution, this must not continue.

Let's end with some Stephen Colbert humor:


The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - No Problemo
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News
Below is Glenn Beck talking about Social Justice and below that is a response PSA.

 Here is why I am a Christian who believes in--and advocates for--social justice:







Social justice seeks to ensure that justice reaches to every aspect of society and not just within a courtroom. So, to say that I am a Social Justice Christian is to say that I want to ensure that justice is achieved for all people.

So for me, I am a Christian who believes in:...


  • Equal pay for equal work
  • Non-discrimination
  • Access to safe and affordable health-care
  • Safety from danger
  • Ending chronic homelessness
  • Treating immigrants with dignity
  • Just war
  • Ending sex trade
  • Clean water


Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. Jer. 22:3

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, ...Matt 25:31-46



Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.” Luke 3:14

“Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.” Zech. 7:9-10

Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. -Eze 16:49


“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.” -MLK, Jr.




This has been such a great weekend! Yesterday I went to Hillsborough, where I lived for five fantastic years of my life and served as a Youth Pastor. I hung out with some of my boys. Mark and I drove over to ACS together after we chilled at his place for a little while. Jordan played a Spring League game at Alamance Christian School (ACS), where they killed the first game and got killed in the second (unexpected) game. My boy Nate was there, too.

Today Kelly and I went over to Mebane to see Taylor Tay-Tay Hall off to prom tonight with Nathan Nate-Dogg Jackola. Taylor was dashing and Nathan was dapper. Right now, as I type this blog entry, I am waiting for Jordan to call me so that I can pick him up at the Greensboro Coliseum; he is at the Nickelback Concert and he is going to chill with us tonight and go with us to Awaken tomorrow. I also got to catch up with my boy BJ who is up in Charlotte working and ministering to high school students through YoungLife.

This whole weekend has made me miss Youth Ministry so much. I don't miss the church politics or folks constantly thinking that I am not doing enough or that the youth ministry is not big enough. No. What I miss is being able to spend my time pouring into the life of my YWIT kids. I miss being able to share life with a group of folks who have not yet become jaded by life. I miss being with kids who have a love for God but who are also imperfect and still trying to figure out this whole journey and where they fit in the whole scheme of things.

Being with those guys this weekend has reminded me that even now, as an Executive Pastor, among my primary focus should be a desire to share my life with people. To go where they are and experience life with them. Youth Ministry has a way of reminding you that at the end of the day your job is simple: Love people and leave the rest to God's capable hands.

What has surprised me most about this weekend is that my YWIT kids love me and still want me to be a vital part of their lives. Not because I gave such incredible talks or dazzled them with my creative youth ministry gimmicks. No, they want me to be a part of their life still today, even though they have an incredible and very capable Youth Pastor in Jason, because I lived my life with them. I have cried with them. I have laughed with them. I have lost my temper with them and unfortunately, at times they have heard me cuss. You see, in ministry, especially Youth Ministry, the most important thing is to be real, love your youth and leave the rest to God. That is what I have learned in my ten plus years of Youth Ministry. After all, when the talk ends, life begins.

In Youth Ministry, the youth don't care how much you know or where you got your degree (only the adults worry with that); they want to know that you love them and when the hellish winds of this life start to blow, will you be there with them. They want to know if you will love them even when they stop coming to youth group on Wednesday night. They want to know if you will love them when they question the existence of God. The youth really want to know if you love them or is your love just a gimmick to get them to "accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior".

So, to any person who is considering giving themselves in service to Youth: Be sure that you will love them. Be sure that you will lead them to the hope of Christ. Be sure that you are called.

I love youth ministry; always will.

YWIT, you blessed me more than you will ever know. Thanks for letting me share life with you!
Many of you have probably heard Glenn Beck ranting about the evils of social justice. Glen Beck seems to ooze vitriol, misunderstanding and lies. I am not sure which bible Mr. Beck reads, but I think that he should take another read at scripture passages such as Matthew 25: 31-46. Or maybe you should read Jeremiah 22:16 or possibly Micah 6:8. Perhaps, Exodus 22:21. Maybe we should all heed the warning of Ezekiel 16:49 . We have begun to sound sadly similar to Jeremiah 5:26-28: "...Fat and sleek...refusing to provide justice and deny[ing] the rights of the poor."

What Mr. Beck fail to realize is that the bible is no proponent of Capitalism and does not see the American way of doing things as the highest or best way of doing things. As Christians, we are held to a much higher standard than the mighty dollar. The American dream may be to collect wealth, buy homes and tons of stuff. But the dream that God has for us is far greater. God's dream for our life is that we would, above all else, make much of him in this world. We make much of God when we surrender our life to him. We make much of God when we spend our lives on others. When there is an injustice, we make much of God by seeing that that injustice is righted. What Mr. Beck fails to grasp is that social justice that is rooted in the cause of Christ is honoring to God.

Mr. Beck, I, too, am a social justice Pastor because at the heart of the teachings of Jesus was a mandate to help the poor. At the heart of the teachings of Jesus was a call to stand with the widows. We would all do well to heed this warning from the Prophet Isaiah (10:1-3):

What sorrow awaits the unjust judges and those who issue unfair laws.They deprive the poor of justice and deny the rights of the needy among my people. They prey on widows and take advantage of orphans.What will you do when I punish you, when I send disaster upon you from a distant land? To whom will you turn for help? Where will your treasures be safe?
The bible is not ambiguous regarding social justice; it is clear! As believers, we must stand for it. As believers, we must do justice, love mercy and walk with humility with God!

Do you believe in Social Justice and will not leave your church if they do too? Then tell Mr. Beck here!

Let's end on a lighter note with the always hilarious, Stephen Colbert:


The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Glenn Beck Attacks Social Justice - James Martin
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News
So this has been a fairly tough week for me. Too much stuff to name, but suffice it to say that I have been more than a little bit stressed and worried. So, I got this text from a great friend and former youth, Lars Bria: "Miss you bro. Hope your day has been and will continue to be blessed." After some time of texting back and forth, he sent this  simple text (kinda related to another topic about his future):1 Peter 5:6-10.

Here is 1 Peter 5: 6-10 (NLT):

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 
Before today, I don't know if I ever realized how closely the admonition to be on alert against our adversary was connected to the text which talks about humility and not worrying. My buddy who I was texting was an instrument from God to me; no matter the situation: remain humble, be alert and don't worry! For me that means, keep a keen eye on Abba and I will be fine.

That exchange of texts reminded me that "ministry" is a two-way street. For far too long Pastors and Leaders have believed, falsely, that we are the ones with all of the answers, especially Youth and Lead Pastor (I can talk, I was a Youth Pastor for years). We say, "Sit back and listen to all that I have to teach you; I am so wise.--the saddest part is that we actually believe that--all the while missing the opportunity to allow them to speak into us. Today, Lars, or Larsy as I named him back in the YWIT days was an agent of grace to me today. Thanks, man!

Lord, may I continue to be humbled, alert to my adversary and worry-free. Because, as Lars reminded me today, you are a loving father! Thank you for loving me so sweetly and gently, Abba!
The other day I was at the home of a very dear friend and he said that someone, who doesn't know me personally, asked him if I was an activist. My friend proceeded to gently rebuke me for the things that could be interpreted poorly that I say on Twitter and FB. Well, I was annoyed. After thinking about it, I remembered these words of Dr. King:
"But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Was not Amos an extremist for justice: "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream." Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist: "Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God." And John Bunyan: "I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience." And Abraham Lincoln: "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free." And Thomas Jefferson: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that an men are created equal ..." So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremist for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime---the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists."


He also, told me that I was too political. Implying that as a Pastor, I should leave politics out of my life. Though I agree that while in the official capacity of performing my sacerdotal duties I should be non-political. I find it curious, however, that my passion for justice and equality is most often seen as political. I agree that a lot of my views are in line with those of the Democrat Party but the Democrat Party does not shape my views; the bible does.

I commit to always stand for truth and justice no matter how unpopular with the established church. I commit to always stand for truth and justice not matter how uncomfortable it makes the religious right. I commit to always stand for truth and justice no matter how unpopular it is to the unchurched. I commit to always stand for truth and justice no matter how uncomfortable it makes religious left.

I am not self-centered enough to think that I am always right or dogmatic enough to believe that God is always on my side. I hope that in all things love will prevail, even when I disagree with folks.

Oh, I pray that I will be an activist for justice, an activist for love and an activist for hope!
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