Christian, Christian Blog, Faith, Jesus, racial justice

Is Racial Justice Connected to Faith?

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The topic of racial injustice is one that weighs heavy on my heart and I’m committed to revisit this topic to continue learning and supporting those people of color in the community. 

Summer of 2020 I participated in a virtual racial healing small group through our church.  We used a workbook which brought us through several activities that revealed how you grew up, racial injustices you witnessed or were a part of, and how you responded to those events.  These events help shape our view and actions towards people of color. 

We also learned what white privilege is and how that can blind us from racial injustices.  The Very Well Mind website defines white privilege as “an advantage that protects white people against any form of discrimination related to their ethnicity and race.  White privilege, however, does not imply that white people have not or cannot experience challenges in life; it means that any challenges that a white person has faced or may face is not related to the color of their skin.”  This was an enlightening piece of information, something I had never heard in my 14 years of school.  Reflecting on my past verses friends of color and their history I could see this as a sad reality. 

The podcast I am reviewing this week is “The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey; her guest Jemar Tisby.”  Jemar is a Christian historian, podcast host, author and speaker whose goal is to propel Black Christians forward. Founder of The Witness: A Black Christian Collective, a multimedia platform. Author of ‘How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey Toward Racial Justice.’ He is also the co-host of the “Pass the Mic podcast.” 

Jemar explains how his passion for racial justice began.  “Everywhere I would go to speak or write about racial justice you always get that one question, what do we do, and that’s a great question.  It started six or seven years ago, I began developing this framework I call the arc of racial justice, and it stands for awareness, relationships, commitment.” 

Jemar talks a little about awareness and white privilege.  “So, I call this racial justice practice, I call it writing your own racial autobiography, and I mean there’s so much that goes into it, we just have these unexplored inner lives when it comes to race, especially white people because the way white supremacy works is that it thrives on invisibility. That means everyone else has a race or his race, but you as a white person you’re just you. Right, you’re just John or Mark or Susie, and you maneuver life and whatever happens to you is because of who you are and what you’ve done it has nothing to do with your skin color or how the society has structured itself around race, that’s what white supremacy tries to tell you, that means you go about life and have these experiences and you don’t look at it through a racial lens, even though you’re experiencing it through a racialized society right.  It is a very necessary practice on the part of the majority to stop and say, what is my earliest memory of race? Have you ever used a racial epithet? What did my parents teach me about race, when this big racial event happened in the world what did my church say or do?”

Jamie poses this question:  “So talk about that a little bit for the person who’s going, Okay, this is great Mr. Jemar but this is for somebody else.”

Jemar’s response, “So, it’s not enough to be not racist, you have to be actively anti-racist because the inertia of society is toward racism is toward white supremacy.  If I’m not mean to other people, if some of my best friends are black, if I’m nice across the racial and ethnic spectrum, quote, unquote, I’m not a racist, okay, I say great keep doing that. So now go the other direction.  So, what we have to do is think on a broader scale, what actually brings equity.  For instance, abolishing the death penalty, since 1973, 165 people have been found innocent, who’ve been sentenced to death row. 42% of people on death row are black, even though we make up only 13% of the population. I think part of the reason why we’re still talking about racial justice today is because so many people have that attitude is how does this affect me?”

Let’s dig into how this is biblically connected.  Jemar points out:  “Number one, it matters to Jesus, because justice matters to Jesus, I spent a good bit of time in the first few chapters of the book talking about the image of God. What does it say in the very first chapter of the very first book of the Bible, God says, let us make humankind in our image, in our likeness? Every single person has a fingerprint of God on them and that matters, of course, for racial and ethnic relations.  So, it matters to Jesus. So, if you’re a Christian, it should matter to you. Secondly, the world is changing, whatever is true now is not necessarily going to be true in the future. Already. The younger generations are majority minority. They’re not the minority anymore. So. in 2040- 2050 window, when there’s going to be that tipping point where there’s not going to be one clear majority of any racial or ethnic group that’s already happening with the younger generation. How are they going to be equipped?”

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”  Galatians 3:28

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.”  James 1:2

Jemar talks about how his book will help educate you into action. “The book is all about moving from conversation to action. When I say practical, I mean, practical. Every single chapter has what I call racial justice practices, these are things that you can go out and do.  I encourage you to do it with a group, book, study, group, church, study, group. I cannot wait to hear about ways that people really put this into practice and are changing their communities changing their spaces for the better because they love God and they love their neighbor.”

This book is on my to read list.  I recommend listening to the entire podcast as Jemar speaks more about racial injustices throughout history and Jamie gives examples of where she has experienced white privilege. 

To answer the title question is racial justice connected to faith – the answer is yes. God has created us all in his image and wants us all to treat each other with kindness and love.  Part of that requires us understanding the history of our nation and how we treated people of color in the past and how it has led to systemic racism.  If you are white, there are ways for you to come along side people of color to support them and show the world they are not less than, they are equal, in our eyes and most importantly in God’s eyes. 

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”  John 13:32

Thought you could use a laugh:

The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey and guest Jemar Tisby

Jemar’s book “How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey Toward Racial Justice.”

Follow Jamie on Instagram

Follow Jemar on Instagram

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Christian, Christian Blog, Faith, Five Minute Friday, God, Strong

Five Minute Friday: Stay Strong

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A few months after my son was born, I remember visiting my aunt and uncle.  The conversation revolved around my younger cousin’s recent automobile accident.  Thankfully she was not seriously injured.  My aunt was upset at how the other person in the accident treated her daughter.  Not with empathy or concern for her health but with anger and judgement. 

The teaching moment for me as a new parent was – you will do anything to protect your child and stand up for them when they cannot.  At the time I looked at this little boy in my arms and thought of all of the ways he could get into trouble, and believe me he has, but in that moment the belief that I could be strong and protect him was not giving me assurance that I could. 

You see at the time I did not have a strong faith walk and was attempting to do all of this on my own.  Of course, as a young mother I could not see how I would be able to be strong for my son but with God’s help I could. 

For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.  1 Corinthians 1:25

That little boy recently turned 22 and he has had many bumps and bruises along the way.  Thankfully by the time he turned ten I turned many of my concerns over to God and allowed him be my strength and not rely on my own will power to get through. 

Praying that you can look to God for help, so you can lean on him when you need strength.  For when you are weak, he is strong. 

Christian, Christian Blog, Faith, God, Habit

Making Faith a Habit

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How long does it take to form a habit; good or bad? According to a 2009 study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes 18 to 254 days for a person form a new habit. The study also concluded that, on average, it takes 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic.

Sixty-six days, that is a little more than two months. Not that long if you think about it. When I began praying every day, I started out with just five minutes a day. Now I pray 10 to 45 minutes a day, sometimes all at once, and other days spread throughout the day.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

The podcast I am reviewing this week is “Made for This” with host Jennie Allen. This episode is called Faith as a Habit with guest Jen Pollock Michel. Her new book “A Habit Called Faith” talks about our faith and how we actually practice it.

Jen Michel begins pointing out, “I think for a lot of people the whole idea that I’ve got to fake my way into faith or feel my way and that they feel totally untenable, like, I don’t even know how to do that. So, just to give somebody some practical advice to say okay, here are some things you can do.”

Jen explains how to keep up with a habit, “I think the struggle for me is to kind of constantly remind myself of what the purpose the habits are, you know that you can have spiritual habits you can have spiritual practices and discipline, they’re not the goal. They’re meant to bring you into friendship and communion with God and to be transformed into the image of Christ”

Jennie Allen interjects, “They’re waiting to feel something before they actually, you know, get into Word or, connect with God, they actually are waiting for some emotional draw, and you say don’t wait.”

Jen Michel explains, “I think that’s actually the real mystery of it is that you can practice something and it actually gives you the desire for the thing. You can think about exercise, like there was so long where I did not have an exercise routine because it’s just so hard, I don’t actually really want to. But then I kind of realized that maybe turning 40 like this probably I should do. And now that I have the habit of doing it, l actually feel the benefits of it, of doing it, then I don’t actually have all that resistance anymore.”

Jen Michel talks about conversations she has had around making scripture a habit. “When I talk to Christians who moan or lament that they’re not growing, and then you ask, are you coming back to habits for reading scripture? They’re like, oh yeah, I don’t really do that, and Jesus said it’s your food. I mean how would you expect to grow if you didn’t eat? If you didn’t eat three meals a day? I can’t eat once a week, or you know even twice a week. I couldn’t be happier than when I was 16 when I became a Christian, somebody said to me, you’ve got to make a Bible reading a daily habit, and they actually said do it for 10 minutes a day for six months.”

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked. But whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1:1-3

So where do you start? Jen gives this advice, “There are so many aids supports like we’ve never had more support than we have now to actually read the Bible. So, getting yourself a plan, getting yourself some help, to just help you feel like you know where to start. I mean, there are a gazillion out there, and maybe you guys can put some in the show notes. Jennie you’ve written some I’ve written for Bible projects, you know, there’s “She Reads Truth”, there is “You Version”

Sometimes it feels intimidating to talk about your faith; we do not feel qualified or well-read enough to speak about our relationship with Jesus. Really, all God wants from us to obey and trust him and be in the word, the rest will fall into place.

If you feel moved to speak about how God has changed your life for the better, then do it, do not resist this urge just because you lack a seminary degree. Your story may shift the way someone looks at God and want to start walking closer with him.

Wising you ever laughing life 🙂

Made for This” podcast with Jennie Allen and guest Jen Pollock Michel.

Jen Pollock Michel’s book “A Habit Called Faith”

Follow Jennie Allen on Instagram

Follow Jen Pollock Michel on Instagram

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