Where’s The Black Church?

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The problems that have infected and affected the black community need to be immediately addressed in a serious and sincere manner.  Most of these problems have at their center a lack of morality that was once readily present and recognizable in black America but has become increasingly rare.  Considering the depths and consequences of these issues, there needs to be a focused and concentrated effort- originating from inside the black church- that renews the minds and hearts of black Americans.  This renewal should focus on Christian character development and discipleship as the corrective to the pervading troubles that now afflict black America.

That blacks are in need of spiritual (and social, and economic) renewal is no secret.  Certain segments of black America have given themselves over to behaviors that most people label counterproductive, destructive and undignified- from the astronomically high numbers of black children born outside of wedlock and disproportionately high rates of abortion; black-on-black violence, to what has been termed, ‘flash robs.”  Frankly, these behaviors are embarrassing and morally disturbing. We know that the black church has failed its moral and spiritual obligation of leadership because the effects of the cultural degradation are too abundant to ignore or claim otherwise.  Of course, not all black churches have failed.  But collectively they have.

What’s worse is that many of these behaviors are now accepted and referred to as “culturally authentic.”

Because of the postmodern trappings of “tolerance,” “diversity” and moral relativism, blacks have willingly relinquished the painful process of self-critiquing their own community.  The moral and spiritual deficiency have led black culture to define “authenticity” as comporting oneself with behaviors and stereotypes that the generations of many black grandparents and great-grandparents sought to avoid and overcome.  In other condescending terms, this “authenticity” has been equated with “acting black.”

Many well-meaning white people- Christian and non-Christian alike- are almost equally complicit in this destructive form of “tolerance”.  For out of fear of verbal- and potentially, physical- reprisals, such as being labeled “racist,” “insensitive,” or worse, they refuse to speak out and condemn these unacceptable behaviors, passively accepting and legitimizing a form of conduct that they would never accept from anyone in their own family. The soft bigotry of low expectations comes to mind here.

Recognizing the silence and impotence of the black church, we must assume that black ministers have been evasive regarding the discussion of personal and communal sin.  The sermons regarding the guilt and shame of socially self-destructive and damaging behaviors don’t contain the condemnation they once did.  Again, this truth is self-evident, predicated upon the preponderance of detrimental activity that proliferates within black culture. This behavior is troubling, and the unbecoming conduct represents moral and spiritual captivity, which is very much in need of redemption.  The first slavery was obvious- it was an existential reality recognized by blacks and though accepted as reality, it was challenged as a moral evil and was eventually abolished.   This second slavery, however, is much more reprehensible than the first because though blacks are physically free, spiritually, they’re very much still bound while being, physically, the freest blacks, ever, in the history of the world.

Martin Luther King Jr.

I’m angry and sad that a community whose heritage and dignity once coalesced around the lordship of Jesus and his church has allowed itself to come to this. The timidity of the black pulpit in not properly teaching the gospel of truth regarding spiritual liberation along with the kind of character that’s centered on the fruit of the Spirit, as well as not holding their congregations to a higher standard of personal and communal morality has had disastrous effects.  The black church is a storied and hallowed institution in American history and we’ve seen the power of the black church as evidenced by its historical stands against slavery and Jim Crow, as well as its morally-influential presence during the era of civil rights.  During these times, the black church truly was a moral beacon of light and hope. It spiritually sustained generations of blacks during periods of time in our country’s history when America was much more racist and unbecoming than it is now.  It fostered an elevated level of moral character that included “blessing one’s enemy” while, “turning the other cheek” when circumstances made it exceptionally difficult to do so.

Many argue that because of the Church’s spiritual complacency, its influence on American culture is fading; some of these arguments have merit.  The voice of the American church has been morally compromised when it comes to religious and ethical positions on abortion, same-sex marriage, high rates of adultery and divorce affecting natural marriage; justice, and righteousness when dealing with immigration and poverty to name a few.  But the lack of moral influence that the black church has had on America in general over the past forty years is nothing short of disheartening.

Blacks must realize that cultural and spiritual redemption won’t come at the tip of a pen from a progressive politician; if so, it would’ve happened by now.  It will only come by moral renewal- re-engaging in the process of sanctification by repenting and returning (metanoia) to the biblical values contained in the Christian faith of the Bible- the faith of their fathers- facilitated by a church that steadfastly bears witness to that reality in the pulpit by holding their congregations accountable.

 

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Black Conservatives Discuss Guilty Verdict in the Gosnell Abortion Murders Case

My contribution to the National Center For Public Policy Research’s blog regarding the verdict in the Gosnell case-

Abortionist Kermit Gosnell was found guilty of first-degree murder today in the cases of three children who were born alive and later put to death during illegal late-term abortions that were conducted in his West Philadelphia clinic.

In a practice said to be routine when such botched abortions occurred at his below-standards clinic, Gosnell was convicted of cutting the spinal cords of babies with a pair of scissors to cause their deaths.

Gosnell was also found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death by drug overdose of an adult patient.  Further, eight other employees at Gosnell’s clinic already pleaded guilty to murder and lesser charges… Continue reading…

UPDATE- Today, Kermit Gosnell waived his right to appeal yesterday’s verdict and has escaped the death penalty.  As a result, he has agreed to two life sentences without the possibility of parole.  Gosnell will be sentenced tomorrow. More from LifeNews.com…

R.I.P. Dallas Willard

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I know that I’m late in acknowledging the passing of Dallas Willard last week, but it’s never too late to pay our respects.  Though I don’t claim to have known Mr. Willard, I did have the opportunity to meet and learn from him during a doctoral seminar he gave at the seminary I attend.  The wisdom I received that day, along with the wisdom I’ve received since by reading and re-reading his work has been incredibly influential in my life as a disciple of Christ. I’ve been grateful for that experience ever since.

The respectful words of appreciation by Dr. Black regarding the passing of Dallas Willard are appropriate and well taken-

Today, we mourn the loss of a great and humble man who profoundly impacted our lives and this generation. He taught us to rethink our thinking. He reminded us that God’s kingdom is within reach. He challenged us to pursue the effective reign and rule of God’s will in our lives and confess knowledge of reality, rather than mere profession of religious beliefs.  He trained us in the means for spiritual growth and taught us to position ourselves in such a way that we could choose to be transformed into people who easily and naturally live in the “easy yoke” with Jesus, learning to live as he would if he were us. Thank you Dallas for being a voice for direct realism in an age of postmodern constructivism and relativism. Thank you for reminding us time and time again that God exists, we can know that fact, and that he is good, faithful and loving. He speaks to those who listen, and ever the gentleman, reveals himself to those who truly desire to know his ways. Dallas,  we honor you today-beloved teacher, mentor and friend… For you, we rejoice in knowing your vision of a God-breathed world is now the air you breathe and the vista you see.  We are grateful for your selfless giving, humble spirit, and ongoing encouragement.  Our last words to you echo the final words uttered from your lips… Thank you!”