Christian, Christian Blog, Faith, Jesus, racial justice

Is Racial Justice Connected to Faith?

Photo by Monstera from Pexels

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

Follow me on Instagram

Christian, Faith, Jesus, Podcast

Where Do You Find Hope?

Picture by Gerd Altman

For many years I found hope in myself and I know that sounds arrogant and self-centered coming from a Christian but let me explain where I was and where I am now. I grew up Roman Catholic, going to church a few times a year. I attended catechism classes in Junior and Senior high school and understood who God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit was and I believed that Jesus was my savior I would go to heaven.

What I didn’t know, or maybe it is better said, what I wasn’t taught, is that the most important part of learning to be a Christian is establishing a relationship with God. Without that relationship I never felt compelled to obey God or listen to what He was saying to me. How can you have hope in something you have never experienced, something you haven’t spent time on, someone you have never spoken or listened to. You cannot, just as in any relationship in life you must spend time getting to know the person, the only way you get to know someone intimately is by talking to them and listening. The same can be said for our relationship with God. God has made it easier for us to get to know Him, he gave us His word in scripture.

I was in my late 30s when I started to realize there was a hole in my soul, something was missing, everything looked good on the outside but inside I was unsettled and had no purpose. I didn’t know why I felt that way until I started to read Joyce Meyer devotionals and books*. They guided me toward spending time with God, listening, falling in love with Him, and then watching what He was doing in my life. Which then lead to resting all of my hope in the God who is able to do abundantly more than I can ever ask or imagine. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 3:20-21

This week the podcast that I am reviewing is from Jennie Allen’s “Made for This” podcast called “How to Hope for What You Can’t See” and her guest is Matt Chandler. Matt is the lead pastor at the Village Church, in Flower Mound, Texas, and the President of the Acts 29 Network.

Jennie begins by asking Matt how he came to his faith in Jesus and in his words “I came to it late in life, well later than many Christians, at the age of 18. A friend invited me to church and youth group. The nearness and friendship of Jesus I had then has not changed. Jesus took all of the desires I had and shifted them from where they were and pointed them with laser like focus on Him.”

Jennie goes on to ask Matt how do you see heaven? Matt responds by saying “The Bible describes it as a place of ever-increasing joy. What your heart longs for will be satisfied there. Many of us cannot understand this, God is an inexhaustible well of joy and grace.” I liked this quote “We are caught on this treadmill of hope deferred here. In heaven hope is fulfilled and we are not looking forward. Everything we hoped for is fulfilled and is ever increasing.” Jennie states “It is important to understand this, deferred hope that it is coming changes how you live life now.”

Matt points out that he went through a time of unbelief but he kept praying, “I believe Lord, help my unbelief.” Jennie states “It is ok to wrestle with your faith, doubt is ok, but don’t allow it to take over, it steals, kills, and destroys. Matt’s response was “Be rooted in a community and the word of God. Being honest when you doubt. There are no secrets from God and when you say it out loud it takes away its strength.”

They talk about how to speak to kids about heaven and how to hope in God. Matt wrapped it up by saying many people think they have a picture-perfect life but it’s not working. The reason for that is you have been created for a relationship with Jesus. Those gifts and abilities were given to you by God for God. Life lived outside of a relationship with Jesus Christ is always going to be less satisfying than it was meant to be. Continuing to cultivate the relationship/friendship with Jesus is the most important priority in your life.”

I agree with Matt that life lived outside of a relationship with Jesus is less fulfilling. I have tried it and my life is so much richer with Him. I see everything God has made with in full color with a thankful heart, and I have hope for good days ahead, even during COVID. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 I pray that if you haven’t already you will put your hope in Jesus and start spending some time chatting with Him. He is longing for it and so are you.

*I mention here that I read Joyce Meyer devotionals and books but there are many excellent Christian writers that you can read to learn more about building your relationship with Jesus. Feel free to message me if you are looking for resources, I have read many.

Funny spot on the blog “Dancing Priest Does Hamilton”. It is hilarious, enjoy!

Jennie Allen’s Made for This Podcast with Matt Chandler.

Village Church Matt Chandler

Christian

Looking at Your Weaknesses.

Picture from Pixabay

The topic for this week is the enneagram. Simply stated it is a personality test and it has been around for hundreds of years. It has been used in Christian circles since the 1970’s. I became aware of the enneagram through listening to podcasts and reading the book The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. It has helped me to understand why I react to things in a certain way and it has allowed me to be humbler in my reactions to situations I have no control over. It also allows me to be more empathetic with others. What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:1, 3, 10

Technically you are not supposed to impose an enneagram number on anyone but yourself; once you learn about each number it is difficult not to type cast others. I tend to keep that knowledge to myself. If you are wondering I am an enneagram 1, the perfectionist who has a constant critical voice in my head. Always wanting to do the right thing, to be good, to calm that inner critic.

The podcast I am reviewing this week is called “For The Love” by Jen Hatmaker and the name of the episode is “What is the Enneagram with Suzanne Stabile.” Jen is an author and podcaster, her latest book is Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire. Suzanne Stabile is a highly sought-after speaker and teacher, known for her engaging laugh, personal vulnerability and creative approach to Enneagram instruction. After 25 years of studying the enneagram, learning from people’s stories, cultivating relationships, and learning under Father Richard Rohr, she used her work and extensive knowledge of the enneagram to co-author The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self Discovery with Ian Morgan Cron. She followed that with, The Path Between Us: An Enneagram Journey to Healthy Relationships.

What I like about this specific podcast is you do not need to have any knowledge about the enneagram to understand it. It is extremely high level, but Suzanne is such a good teacher that I even learned a few new things. Suzanne states the Enneagram will “Name for you what is your weakest point and potentially teaches you how to overcome that weakness. It takes a negative approach at who you are. We don’t know ourselves based on what we get right, we know ourselves on what we get wrong.” Jen asked Suzanne to identify the differences between the enneagram and let’s say the Myers Briggs personality tests? Suzanne responded “The Enneagram is determined by motivation and behavior. I am not a fan of online tests. There is a depth to the enneagram that a test cannot represent. It is best to learn from other’s stories and this is how I teach it.” Suzanne then goes through the nine numbers and how they each see themselves and what motivates them. The good and the bad attributes of each. If you are interested in looking inward, I highly recommend listening to this podcast and the 9 others Jen did with other self-identified enneagram guests. She goes through all 9 numbers and talks to her guests about their motivations and weaknesses. I will link to her podcast below. I will also link to Suzanne Stabile’s podcast called “The Enneagram Journey”. I believe if we are bold enough to identify our weaknesses and act on them we can show love to others and make our small piece of the world a better place.

The uplifting piece to the blog this week is a funny parody about the quarantine. Enjoy!

Jen Hatmaker’s “For The Love” podcast “What is the Enneagram with Suzanne Stabile”.

Suzanne Stabile’s website and resources.

Suzanne Stabile’s podcast “The Enneagram Journey”

Christian, Jesus, Podcast

Where to Next?

Welcome to the new website! As you can tell it has a slightly different look to it and the URL has changed to thegodlypodreview.com. In the weeks to come you will see a few more changes. Now back to the blog ….

Do you ever stop to ask God what should your next move be? I don’t mean physically moving your home, although for me and my family last year that was the case. I’m referring to what does He want you to do to serve more in your community, reaching out to someone to begin a friendship, a possible job change, or how to reach your kids more? Most of the time I have to intentionally look to God for answers and to be honest a good portion of my life, probably 38 years of it, I thought I knew what was best for me. Come to find out that was not the case, in the end God’s way has always yielded a better return than mine. In their heart’s humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9 Are you allowing God to establish your steps or do you prefer to take the lead and run ahead of what He has planned for you? I find when I do that, I end up taking 20 steps backwards and then stop and say oh yeah by the way God what should I be doing in this situation? Then I begin to take rights steps forward in God’s perfect will.

The Podcast I am reviewing this week is from Proverbs 31 Ministries. If you are not aware Lysa TerKeurst is the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries and a New York Times best-selling author. She has authored many Christian centered books, devotionals, and Bible studies. I completed one of her Bible studies called Unglued and found it very helpful. Two people that work for Proverbs 31 Ministries host the Podcast, Meredith Brock and Kaley Olson. The name of this Podcast is “What Does God Want Me to do Next” and they are interviewing a young woman who also works for Proverbs 31, Shae Tate. This topic is very relevent to many people and as Shae says “It translates into different seasons of our lives. We reaffirm our calling over and over in our lives. We ask what am I suppose to do and where am I suppose to go?” I like how she points out that “we all need direction and sometimes are afraid of doing the wrong thing but it is best for us to seek God’s call on our lives no matter what season we are in.” Another important argument she made, “God is reconciling us to Him, He is calling us to Himself, so we can help others be reconciled to God. We all have this calling and it comes out differently for each of us through our individual gifts.” Meredith states “God is saying come and be intimate with me and from that deep relationship we will gain wisdom.” This scripture seemed to sum it up:

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:8-11

Proverbs 31 Ministries links to a 6-week devotional that ties into this topic called “Thy Will be Done”, you can find it here. Links to the Proverbs 31 website and this Podcast can be found below.

The uplifting end to the blog is this newsletter I started to receive recently. It is called The Good Newsletter and you can sign up for it here. All of the articles are positive but the one I really enjoyed was about a church in Berlin Germany. They invited the nearby Mosque worshipers to worship at their church on Fridays during Ramadan since they ran out of room due to social distancing requirements. How loving and hospitable are the leaders of the Martha Lutheran Church? They are living out 1 Peter 4:8-10. I am praying you have a great week and spend a little time asking God where to next.

Proverb’s 31 Ministries

Proverb’s 31 Ministries Podcast “What Does God Want Me to do Next?”

Lysa TerKeurst website

Pictures from Pixabay

Christian, Jesus, Podcast

Being Faithful in the Midst of Tension

I like to think of myself as a faithful woman of God. Which leads to the question what does it mean to be faithful? Merriam-Webster defines it as: steadfast affection or allegiance; firm in adherence or a promise; true to the facts; and/or full of faith. I can relate to a steadfast affection for God and being full of faith in God. But why are we faithful? I am faithful because God is faithful and loving to me. I have seen it over and over in my life where God has stepped in and guided me in the right direction or put the right person in my life to lift me up when I was down. His faithfulness will be your shield and a wall. You will not fear the terror of night nor the arrow that flies by day. Psalm 91:4-5 His love for us goes deep and with Easter just last month it is so apparent what He did for all of us at the cross was the greatest act of love. So, for me it is His faithfulness and love that keeps me faithful to Him.

Today I am reviewing another Annie F. Downs “That Sounds Fun” podcast and her guest is Reverend Eugene Cho. Eugene is the President-Elect of Bread for the World, a prominent non-partisan Christian advocacy organization urging both national and global decision makers to help end hunger and he is the founder and former Senior Pastor of Quest Church in Seattle, Washington. Eugene is also the founder and visionary of One Day’s Wages (ODW) – a grassroots movement of people, stories, and actions to alleviate extreme global poverty.  This guy is amazing, what he has done to help end hunger and give those who don’t have a voice a say in the political arena, lifts my heart and ask myself why am I not doing more.

In the podcast Eugene talks about what Evangelism looks like today and how we as Christians should be advocates for those who cannot advocate for themselves. As Eugene says “There are many faithful followers of Christ who are good at compassion work, serving and raising money but when it comes to actually advocating, marching on streets, writing letters and calling politicians, there is a large segment that does not know that advocacy really matters.” Another point he makes is to “Be faithful in the tension of life. We normally don’t gravitate toward it. As we are faithful what does it mean to model that, showing grace, mercy, and love.” His Book “Thou Shall Not be a Jerk” talks about how our allegiance should not be to a political party. Our allegiance is only in God. He states, “It is important to be involved with politics but do not make it the end all. Everyone has a voice but not everyone is heard.” Make sure we are involved but also make sure we are listening to the people on the other side of the political party. Let’s work toward a common good in a righteous way.

In addition to Annie’s #thatsoundsfun podcast link I am including a link to a new podcast she is part of called “Annie and Eddie Keep Talking”. It is very light hearted and talks about Annie and Eddie Kaufholz’s day to day life, which in itself is very funny. Hope you take a listen and enjoy.

My uplifting end to the blog is this comic from Facebook. Thanks to Donna Johnson for reposting it! Until next time stay safe and keep the faith.

Annie F. Downs That Sounds Fun Episode; #221 with Eugene Cho

Eugene Cho’s book “Thou Shall Not be a Jerk”

Eugene Cho’s website

Annie and Eddie Keep Talking Podcast

Uncategorized

Time to Pause.

I know what you are thinking, that is all I seem to be doing every day since I cannot go anywhere, but let’s take a look at this from another angle. Maybe this extra time that we have at home, at least some of it, we should give to God. Read that devotional in the morning, look at the beauty of the flowers that are blooming, be grateful for the health of your family and thank God for it.

The podcast I am reviewing today is from one of my favorite authors, speaker, writers Annie F. Downs. When I listen to her podcast, I feel like I am listening to a girlfriend tell me about her day and then of course interview someone 🙂 She is really down to earth and has a love for God and people. I think of the great commandment when I think of Annie; ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39

Annie’s podcast is called That Sounds Fun and believe me she has a lot of fun and interviews really interesting people. This episode is a little more serious as it talks about putting more focus on Jesus during your day. She interviewed John Eldredge: John previous worked with Focus on the Family for 12 years and then launched Ransomed Heart Ministries, here you can find his blog, podcast, a daily reading, and my personal favorite is his Pause App! I use it every day, it allows you to get a notification once or twice a day to pause and reflect on Jesus. There is a 1, 3, 5, or a 10-minute pause option. Most times I chose the 1-minute pause but the 3 is really good too. Best part it is FREE! John is also a well-known, Jesus centered author and his most recent book is called Get Your Life Back. During this podcast Annie speaks to John about how he spends his time connecting with God and what his ah ha moment was when he realized he wasn’t spending enough time focused on God. John states “The distractions keep us away from our soul. The door opens from the inside which allows us to talk to Jesus.” He stresses how important it is to be present to the issues in your soul, to really feel it. Are we on our devices all the time and if so is that allowing us to listen and be present to Jesus? How can we be more whole hearted people open to the guidance of Jesus?

Something to make you smile this week. Comedian Julie Nolke did a three minute skit with herself, it is called Explaining the Pandemic to my Past Self. Hope it makes you laugh and until next time stay in and take that daily pause to connect with Him.

Annie F. Downs’ website

That Sounds Fun Podcast: Episode 210 John Eldredge

Ransomed Heart website

Explaining the Pandemic to my Past Self