And Then She Wrote Things on the Internet

blackpanther

 

Thankful for the opportunity to write about the intersection of faith and pop culture. Here are some essays I’ve written on in the last couple of months, but failed to share here.

The Role of Black Women in the Church: A Wakandan View of Flourishing

It is worth considering if the church has created extra biblical standards in determining what makes someone a compelling speaker, teacher, or expert mentor. If the only way for a woman to achieve even marginal success or platform is to conform herself into a version of a white American middle-class Christian womanhood, then the qualifications need to be reconsidered.

The root of the problem is with the idealized version of biblical womanhood: It’s too narrow.

Finish reading here. 

Tambourine: Chris Rock’s Theology of Suffering 

Some of the lessons Rock has learned are wrong, as when he jokes that men are never loved unconditionally, but only for what they can provide for others. Christians would affirm men as created in the image of God and worthy of love simply because they are God’s creation. But ultimately Rock sees suffering as a valuable teacher. Theologian Dorothee Soelle describes suffering as an exercise, not an activity. If we allow suffering to do its work, we can emerge stronger, wiser, and freer—and use those experiences to help others.

Even as we learn through suffering, sometimes the biggest and best lesson is that in our deepest pain, we are not alone. We have a Father who comforts those who mourn, who empathizes with our hardships, and who through it all is molding us into his image. Even when the necessary tool is suffering, we can trust that our lives are in the hands of the Master Potter.

Finish reading here. 

 

“This Is America” and Nehemiah

From the outset, “This Is America” is disorienting—a lighthearted dance party in the front, destruction and death in the back. Since its premiere earlier this month, the new video from rapper Childish Gambino (the stage name for actor-producer-writer-director Donald Glover) has had everyone talking about its commentary on the American fascination with guns and violence. But Glover is not just focused on American culture generally—he’s specifically concerned with how this fascination affects the lives of African-Americans. “This is America” asks us to take a long hard look at things many of us would prefer to ignore, including those of us in the church.

“This Is America” provides an opportunity for the church to examine our own hypocrisy in this matter.

Finish reading here. 

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And then Her Heart was Heavy (link love)

The events in Ferguson, Mo are truly heartbreaking. Mike Brown is my brother, my friend, my neighbor. I don’t really have words for my feelings on what is happening to Black Americans across this country. Every week, I am confronted with a new name to add to the list Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Travyon Martin, Jordan Davis, Jonathan Ferrell, Renisha McBride, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Ezell Ford, and Mike Brown.  Honestly, it is hard not to internalize the message that some lives matter more. I don’t know what to say, but I do know that my God is a God of justice and that even if society tells black people our lives are less valuable, I know that is not true in the eyes of my heavenly father. I know because He tells me so in Isaiah 58:6, the fasting that the Lord has chosen is “to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?”

I am reminded that once a upon a time a young Alabama preacher was the clarion call for justice and equality in this country. His dream unfulfilled and likely to remain that way if we are unwilling as a nation and as Christians to actively break the chains of racism and confront our biases. I have posted links to posts that are much more eloquent than I for those who want to understand Ferguson both historically and in the context of our faith.

Here are some links on Ferguson that put the events in the larger context of what it means to be black in America.

Melissa Harris-Perry: No Rights Which A White Man is Bound to Respect

Ta-Nehisi Coates: Reparations for Ferguson

Jelani Cobb: The Anger in Ferguson

Kara Brown: This is Why We’re Mad About the Shooting of Mike Brown

Greg Howard: America is Not For Black People

Here are some links on Faith and Ferguson ( I am grateful for leaders like Matt Chandler and Russell Moore)

Austin Channing Brown: Black Bodies White Souls

Sarah Bessey: In which I have a few things to tell you about #Ferguson

Eugene Cho: Please don’t ignore it. Five ways that Christians and churches must engage Michael Brown’s death

Russell Moore:  Ferguson and the Quest for Racial Justice

Matt Chandler: More on Ferguson and White Privilege

Thabiti Anyabwile: Coming (Back) to America: My One Fear

Baptist Press: Ferguson and You

I hope that every Christian that has posted about ISIS in Iraq and cares about justice will be on their knees this week praying for the people in Ferguson and for their African American neighbors, co-workers, and friends because weeks like these are a heavy thing to carry alone.

“How long, not long because the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

And Then She Learned to Love Good Friday

 

 

true love-textwebsize“If patience is worth anything, it must endure to the end of time. And a living faith will last in the midst of the blackest storm.”
Mahatma Gandhi

 

I have been there. In a season, where every day feels like Good Friday. Filled with despair, suffering, tears.

Why God? Why this way? Why their death? Why this job?

No answers come, only more silence and more suffering. I am left at in a puddle at His feet.

Wondering, Waiting…when Lord?

It seemed like it was over. This is it. The darkness has won and I am defeated.

It is finished.

It is finished!

It is finished?

We grieve, we cry out, we remember that in “ a little while, and you will no longer see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me…Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy.” (John 16: 16, 20)

It is finished, but this isn’t how the story ends. No, Good Friday is just the beginning for Him and for us.

Suffering is a means of sanctification. We need our Good Fridays for Resurrection Sunday to come.

Despite how it feels today on Good Friday, God is working below the surface to breathe life into what we once thought was dead. Sunday is coming. Weeping will be turned to dancing. Sorrow will be turned into joy. Something beautiful will rise from these ashes. The Savior will come.

Why the cross?

For Your glory and Your great love.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Jesus prayed, “ I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” John 17:4-5

Why this cross?

For Your glory and my good…that I may know and believe Him.

“We were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us.” 2 Corinthians 1: 9-10

We grieve through the Good Fridays of our lives, but just hold on because Resurrection Sunday is coming. We will be reminded of His strength and what once we thought dead will be raised.