Jul 1, 2009

Exodus to Wordpress!

Hey everyone!

This is Rod from the blog former known as Echomen Elpida which used to be Black Trinitarian Theology. After months of debating within myself and with others about the advantages of WordPress, I finally gave in. I will never give in to Twitter so just forget about that Rob! This blog is in homage to the works of John Howard Yoder and Stanley Hauerwas., who both believe that the Church is God’s political activity in the world and that the stories of Israel and Jesus inform humanity of a God of nonresistant love, a God who persuades us, the people of God, to live in truth, faithfulness, and nonviolent resistant.

Introducing Political Jesus!

Political Jesus Blog

Jun 12, 2009

Only God Can Judge Me?: A sermon on judgment in the Gospel of John

For my Johannine Literature course, I wrote a sermon for my final paper. The difficulty was incorporating my knowledge of the original Greek into the sermon and explaining what it meant for today's culture. So, the cultural references in this sermon include: The Simpsons, the movie Equilibrium, a track by Tupac Shakur, and the fundamentalists who drop off those annoying Chick tracts. Scriptural traditions I referenced were: the Bodily Resurrection, the Son of Man traditions, and the idea of God as Parent in the Gospel of John as well as Second Temple Jewish literature.

Only God Can Judge Me?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century

I have been meaning for the last month or so to address the rise of anti-Semitism taking place here in the United States. As a Christian dedicated to nonviolent resistance and anti-racism movements, one would be left to wonder why I have not fallen into deep despair over recent events. I see a pattern, whether it is the mainstream media showing only positive stories of the terrorist organization Hamas in Palestine or whether it is Jewish professors in academic setting being silenced because they exposed the hidden history of anti-Semitism in early and current Protestant liberalism. Last month, The United Nations Conference on Racism actually became the UN conference against the nation of Israel and Judaism. Just this week, Reverend Dr. Jeremiah Wright blames the Jews for keeping President Barack Obama away from him. The recent shooting shooting at a Holocaust museum proves that violence against Jews here in the United States is a symptom of an anti-Semitism that has yet to be confronted in American culture.

The problems lies with the North American church which struggles with not only the history of racism in the United States, but also the anti-Semitic history of both here in the U.S.A. and the history of the Church universal (oh, say, the Crusades and the Holocaust, for instance). Many Christians in the ecumenical circles try to whitewash over the differences between Christianity, Judaism, and Islam claiming that these are the three great Abrahamic faiths and that really, as monotheistic religions founded upon different prophets, we should all just get along and not even address histories of racial violence and real theological differences. But there is a problem with this approach: difference is viewed as PROBLEMATIC! On the other side of the coin, some in evangelical circles have particular readings of the New Testament in which the Church REPLACES Israel as God’s chosen people. This conclusion can only be drawn if one first presupposes that it is necessary to read the New Testament into the “Old” Testament. The Old Testament, then, and therefore the Jewish Scriptures, are viewed as not being a source of revelation with its own history and integrity outside of the Christian tradition. Thus, when Barack Obama and James Dobson argue over certain passages in Leviticus , we could hear Christian leaders on Fox News claiming that Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount SUPERCEDES the Jewish law.
UNIVERSALISM nor SUPERCESSIONISM are proper options to addressing the current predicaments faced by many North American Jews or the people of Israel. The church should look for a theological answer in the tradition of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of the leaders of the Confessing Church movement during Nazi Germany. In one of the documents he helped to author, the Bethel Confession, protested against the Aryan Clause that the German Christians were trying to enforce in churches, having segregated church services for Jewish Christians, etc., etc. It is important to note, that even though Bonhoeffer says that the Church living among all nations takes the place of the Old Testament people of the covenant, it is a theological argument against a NATION-STATE (Germany of the Third Reich) which claimed to be the new Israel. In Bonhoeffer’s European context, state churches still held sway over and against free churches. The freedom of conscience was a foreign idea. Notions God’s faithfulness and our faithful response are the keys to understanding Bonhoeffer’s political theology; this requires living out the biblical narrative of God’s suffering love in solidarity with victims. Christian support for Israel should not be a blind, uncritical love affair, but grounded in the recognition of God’s faithfulness in the story of Israel and Jesus the Messiah.

“God abundantly shows God’s faithfulness by still keeping faith with Israel after the flesh, from whom was born Christ after the flesh, despite all their unfaithfulness, even after the crucifixion. It is God’s will to complete the salvation of the world, which began with the election of Israel, through these selfsame Jews (Romans 9-11). Therefore God continues to preserve a ‘holy remnant of Israel after the flesh, which can neither be absorbed into another nation by emancipation and assimilation, nor become one nation among others as a result of the efforts of Zionist and other similar movements, nor be exterminated by Pharaoh-like measures. […]
No nation can ever be commissioned to avenge on the Jews the murder at Golgotha. ‘Vengeance is mine, says the LORD.’ (Deuteronomy 32:35, Hebrews 10:30). We reject any attempt to misuse the miracle of God’s especial faithfulness toward Israel after the flesh as an indication of the religious significance of the Jewish people or of another people. […] The special element in the Jewish Christians does not lie in their race or their character or their history, but in God’s special faithfulness toward Israel after the flesh and in that alone. The way in which the Jewish Christians have a special position in the church which is not based on any legal ruling in itself makes them a living memorial of God’s faithfulness with the church and is a sign that the barrier between Jew and Gentile has been broken down and that faith in Christ may not be perverted into a national religion or a racially determined Christianity. It is the task of the Christians who come from the Gentile world to expose themselves to persecution rather than to surrender, willingly or unwillingly, even in one respect, their kinship with Jewish Christians in the church, founded on Word and Sacrament.” (Bonhoeffer, 136-137)

In other words, the Christian response to the anti-Semitism should not a joining in of the chorus of liberal and conservative antipathy towards the story of the Jews, but a joining in solidarity with those being persecuted. The cross of Christ, the historical revelation of God's complete and unalterable faithfulfness, deserves no other.

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich, Geffrey B. Kelly, and F. Burton Nelson. A Testament to Freedom : The Essential Writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Rev. ed. [San Francisco, Calif.]: HarperSanFrancisco, 1995.


Jun 10, 2009

Pet Peeve: Political Campaigning in the Pulpit

I am taking a break from posting on Just(ice)fication: Divine Righteousness from a post-colonial perspective and an extended break from posting on Insights for Christian activism to discuss one of my pet peeves about certain church services.

My favorite Gospel in the New Testament to read growing up as a wide-eyed eight year-old in Louisville, KY was the Gospel according to Matthew in the King James version. This would explain a lot about my religious and political beliefs because I take the Sermon on the Mount to be authoritative since, you know, Jesus is the Master of the Universe in addition to being a very intelligent Teacher. Matthew 22:21 I especially love to quote, even today in the poetic form of the AUTHORIZED version of God's Holy Word: "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." This passage, after I took Dr. Ron Flowers "Church and State Law in America class" a few years ago took on a new meaning for me.

Do not get me wrong. I am not one of those people who say, well, Jesus was not into politics, as if a relationship with the Master and Messiah of my life has no implications whatsoever for my relationships with my neighbors, the opposite sex, my country, my government. Indeed, there are political obligations for those who wish to represent Jesus the Messiah, whether they be male or female, black or white, rich or poor, conservative or liberal, etc., etc.

What I disapprove of is the brand of Constantinian Christianity that says the church exists to legitimate the political powers that be, whether it is in the form of a democratic-republic, constitutional-monarchy, or Islamo-fascist state. Because of the Church's prophetic task to take the Good News to the world and make disciples, it is necessary for some Christians to become involved in politics. But this involvement should not be at the expense of ignoring Christian principles just to suit one's own agenda or appease the people.

What I continue to find disturbing is North American churches on the RIGHT and LEFT where the messages from the pulpit are little more than the campaign slogan of the last general election, maybe a YES WE CAN there just to get the people excited or COUNTRY FIRST here so we can wrap the cross of Christ around the American flag. It makes me sick to my stomach to see politicians come up in front of congregations and pretend they are not campaigning and tell about how much they love the LORD and how much of a family woman/man they are. I have heard horror stories, from white Democratic campaign activists themselves bragging to me how they love to go to Black churches to drop-off campaign material (identity politics aside-- i will address this in later posts)and I have also seen on television Charismatic pastors preach that George W. Bush was God's man in 2000 because God spoke to Moses through a burning bush in Exodus 3. These are plain abominations! But, alas no one cares because nothing is sacred any more. Very little distinction between the holy and the worldly, the Christian and the lost. But I guess that is the point, though, huh?

Jun 6, 2009

JUST(ICE)FICATION PART 1: James Cone’s Doctrine of Justification: Divine Righteousness in Post-Colonial Perspective

Recently, New Testament scholar Scot McKnight of JESUS CREED has been working on a series dealing with, N T Wright, Justification and the New Perspective on Paul . At the center of the debate is the discussion whether or not the Reformers (especially Martin Luther) were correct in understanding the apostle Paul’s doctrine of justification by grace through faith as a response to the early Judaisms’ work righteousness. Tradition tells us that Paul was making a case against the Jews who viewed themselves as following the law and somehow earning their salvation to the next world; but is this view of history accurate? The scholars of the New Perspective on Paul would disagree. It is hard for me to totally concur with the traditional Reformation understanding of justification as well since one cannot say that there was just ONE Judaism in the first and second centuries. I personally think that N T Wright (as a first-rate biblical scholar) wasted his time in addressing John Piper and the hyper-Calvinists’criticism of him and the NPP school. The debate over whether or not this or that Judaism taught salvation as earned or not is completely irrelevant to the pressing issues of today. The point of Paul’s Gospel concerning God’s righteousness is to describe for us God’s action in the continual story in the life of Israel and Jesus the Messiah.

When one looks at history, while there are some objective facts to be retrieved, one cannot help but see history as a mirror reflection of one’s very own story. Martin Luther, for instance, viewed his condemnation of some of the practices of the Roman Catholic Church as part of a tradition of the apostle Paul’s struggle against the Jews’ works righteousness. With this narrative understanding of history, let us take as our example, James Cone, to some known as the father of Black Theology. Cone sees himself (although a Methodist) as sharing a similar plight to Martin Luther and St. Paul; the difference being the historical context, social location, and type of heresy/works righteousness that needed to be confronted. In his work, BLACK THEOLOGY & BLACK POWER, Cone provides a theological doctrine of divine righteousness which seeks to destroy white supremacy both in the white American church and white American society.

Adherence to the Reformation doctrine “Justification by grace through faith” has political implications in the minds of Black Theologians. To accept God’s grace for Cone, means that “that because God has acted for all, all men are free—free to respond creatively to that act. It thus becomes the act of Christian love to proclaim the Good News of freedom by actively fighting against all those powers which hold men captive” (Cone, 52). God does not move out of necessity; God has the free will to choose to act because God is sovereign, and God has done so in a particular way in history. The drama of the biblical narrative reveals God’s just actions. Therefore, Christian doctrine of justification should first begin in the very praxis of Yahweh and his Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. Cone explains:

"It is important to note that God’s righteousness refers not so much to an abstract quality related to his Being in the realm of thought—as commonly found in Greek philosophy—but to his activity in human history, in the historical events of the time and effecting his purpose despite those who oppose it. This is the biblical tradition. Israel as a people initially came to know God through the exodus. It was Yahweh who emancipated her from Egyptian bondage and subsequently established a covenant with her at Sinai, promising: [Exodus 19:4-6]” [….] Divine righteousness means that God will be faithful to his promise, that his purposes for Israel will not be thwarted. Israel, therefore, need not worry about her weakness and powerlessness in a world of mighty military powers, ‘for all of the earth is mine’ (Exodus 19:5). The righteousness of God means that he will protect her from the ungodly menacing of other nations. Righteousness means God is doing justice, that he is putting right what men have made wrong.” (Cone, 44)

In other words, divine righteousness that is disclosed in the story of the Exodus is the fulfillment of God’s promise to protect the defenseless and weak Hebrew children over and against the evil Egyptian empire. Our faithful obedience to God requires our recognition that security and salvation lie with God alone. Cone adds:

“God will unquestionably vindicate the poor. […] If God is to be true to himself, his righteousness must be directed to the helpless and the poor, those who can expect no security from this world. The rich, the secure, the suburbanite can have no part of God’s righteousness because of their trust and dependence on the things of this world. ‘God’s righteousness triumphs when man has no means of triumphing.’ [Barth, Dogmatics] His righteousness is reserved for those who come empty-handed, without any economic, political, or social power. That is why the prophets and Jesus were so critical of the economically secure. Their security gets in the way of absolute faith in God.” (page 45)

While Cone does not explicitly discuss the Resurrection at length, the implication of his doctrine of justification is that the Resurrection vindicates God’s Elect Savior whose life and ministry is forever justified (1st Timothy 3:16 ). The emancipatory mission of Jesus of Nazareth has been approved by the One True God, the God of Israel for all eternity. The Son of Man came to judge the Roman Empire by taking the side of the oppressed, healing the lame and the blind, and opposing the religious and political authorities of his day. Not one human being is able to accuse Jesus the Messiah of any wrongdoing. As the apostle Paul asks, “Who will bring any charge against God’s Elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us” (Romans 8:33-34). We as sinful human beings are unable to bring any charges against God’s Son because he lives a perfect and blames life; and it is only by Jesus’s death and resurrection that God “makes a way out of no way” in which the Church can participate in his holy life.
I will let Cone have the last word:

“Radical obedience to Christ means that reward cannot be the motive for action. It is a denial of faith to insist on the relevance of reward. Is this not what St. Paul had in mind when he spoke of justification? When Paul uses the term ‘justification’ in reference to Christ he mean that sinful man, through complete trust alone, is accepted by God and is declared an treated as a righteous man. He is emphasizing man’s inability to make himself righteous. All human strivings are nil; man cannot earn God’s acceptance (Romans 3:20; Gal. 3:22). Salvation is by the free grace of God. There is no place for the conceit that men can save themselves by their own efforts, if they try hard enough.” (Cone, 125)


Works Cited
Cone, James H. Black Theology and Black Power An Original Seabury Paperback, Sp 59. New York,: Seabury Press, 1969.

May 29, 2009

The Gift of Meekness: A Counter to N.T. Wright's Case For A Stronger United Nations, PART 3


N T Wright on the United Nations:

"the USA and Britain could never act as a credible police force in the world, especially in the Middle East;
(ii) imposing the will of the West, by brute force, on another part of the world, simply invokes a might-is-right philosophy which we will strongly object to as soon as India or China attains superpower status and decides to effect regime change in London or Washington;

All this has happened, and I conclude that this war always was unjust, and that if we wanted to prevent Saddam tyrannizing his own people (why stop there? There are plenty of other brutal tyrants in the world) the best and only way was through . . . the United Nations. YES, I KNOW – this, quickly, to those who at once pour scorn on the very mention of it – the United Nations has been a laughing-stock and, despite many successes (some unsung), has had many failures and muddles. But part of this is because America has had a strong vested interest in keeping the UN weak (just like America doesn’t like the idea of an international court of justice, or the Kyoto protocol, etc.).
We badly need a credible international police force; we don’t have one at the moment; USA plus Britain can’t function as such; we should be working flat out either at enabling the UN to act in that way or at creating a body that can."

I agree with NT Wright that the War for Iraq was a political mistake but he is mistaken in thinking that the error lies in George W. Bush or Tony Blair not following the guidelines of the Augustinian Just War theory; rather, the Operation Iraqi Freedom was a blunder largely because the unfaithfulness of the Bush administration to the U.S. Constitution (specifically Article I, Section 8, Clause 11-the Power to declare war by CONGRESS!) and Bush presidency’s insubORDinate behavior (that is, their refusal to subject themselves to the demands of God’s Word) towards the command in Romans 13 to be subORDinate to the authorities, which is in this case, the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate according to the Constitution. Even the proposal of a United Nations’ created international police force by Wright runs contrary to the principles that the United Nations was founded upon.
Chapter 1, Article 1, section 1 of the UN Charter clearly states that the United Nations desires to MAINTAIN international peace and security as well as to develop friendly relationships, and achieve international cooperation; but it goes on to recognize in Article 2, section 1 that each state is EQUALLY SOVEREIGN and in section 4 of that same article that “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” In other words, the establishment of a police force that uses both actual and veiled forms of violence, is contrary to the UN Charter and violates the rights of individual member states.
In addition, Wright overlooks the unequal power relationships created by the existence of the U.N. Security Council as it stands right now. The notion that it is necessary to keep the same five particular countries which must remain on the council with veto powers or the peculiar statuses of the Vatican and Palestine having Permanent Observers to the UN. The nature of these relationships along with the good number of intergovernmental agencies such as the African Union and the European community must be dealt with before there is any talk of an international police force; are regional considerations and differences, for example, going to be respected? Lastly, if it is a possible to create a police force through the United Nations as it exists, what authority will the force be accountable to? The International Court of Justice? The International Criminal Court? Or maybe individual states?

Rather than trying to find a solution based on an unwarranted fear of chaos, I propose that the Church follow a model that first recognized the Mastery of Jesus the Messiah over the universe. Christians do have their own charter, the new Law given to us as a gift by Christ, from which we read about in Scripture called the Sermon on the Mount. We must subORDinate our lives to the law of Christ and then subsequently, the laws of the land. There is a Christian organization dedicated to making peace, and not just keeping the peace as the U.N. is called to do. The Matthew 5:21-26 Project is a group of Evangelicals and Pentecostals whose aim it is to recognize the Lordship of Jesus the Messiah by making him LORD over everything in their lives, including their relationships with strangers and “enemies.” They serve as an example of a peaceful witness dedicated to the limitation of governments to wield arms and the promotion of nuclear weapons reductions. An international police force will not be necessary because God has ordained the Church to serve as a nonviolent radical remnant beholden to the Crucified, Risen, and Returning LORD and the order that God prefers in the empire of God.

Vicit agnus noster; eum sequamur

Our Lamb has conquered; him let us follow.

Works Cited
Yoder, John Howard. The Politics of Jesus : Vicit Agnus Noster. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.Carlisle, U.K.: Eerdmans ; Paternoster Press, 1994.

The Gift of Powerlessness, Part 1

The Gift of Powerlessness, Part 2

DISCLAIMER #1 (NICHOLAS THOMAS WRIGHT)- There are many persons in the blogosphere who make it their business to criticize the work of NT Wright and the New Perspective on Paul based on hermeneutical and theological differences. Usually, it comes from the corners of the evangelical community that lean Reformed. This post is no such thing. I refuse to put Martin Luther, Jean Calvin, and for that matter, Karl Barth on a pedestal. Far from it; it is the author’s wish to push great men like these from their thrones in the royal court of theology and see Jesus the Messiah at the center of all theological reflection. That would include ethics, politics, race relations, sexual issues, and economics.

DISCLAIMER #2 (THE UNITED NATIONS)- There are a few Christian communities that have given society the impression that all Christians possess an irrational fear of the United Nations or any form of international cooperation. In fact, the producers of such stellar Christian movies such as MEGGIDO and the writers of the LEFT BEHIND series even go so far as to intimate that the UN or an organization as such will be an instrument of the Anti-Messiah. I do not interpret the book of Revelation in such a manner, and will I am fully aware of the tradition behind the pre-millenial dispensationalist reading of that text, there seems to be too many holes regarding that interpretation. I do affirm the physical, bodily return of Jesus the Messiah; I just do not share the same reasoning for believing in his return as pre-mils or Wright. This blog post is not going to be a fear-mongering, UN-bashing polemic.

The Gift of Meekness: A Counter to N.T. Wright's Case For A Stronger United Nations, PART 2

N T Wright says of the powers that be:

"The problem, of course, is that human authorities themselves are then tempted to become part of the problem to which they are supposed to be an anticipation of the solution, and then you get the double chaos of tyranny – a chaos held in place by an essentially chaotic, because unjust, rule. Because one of the God-given tasks of authorities in the present time is to protect the weak and vulnerable from oppression, I believe that police action is often necessary, involving physical restraint and sometimes actual violence to prevent wicked and powerful people getting away with their intended ill-treatment of the weak, poor and vulnerable."

N T Wright is correct; police action is necessary; humans need to be restrained at some point because we are all fallen sinners. Police action, however, should never be confused with war-making or empire-building. Normally, Christians use Romans 13:1-7 as their text when arguing the state’s right to go to war, but the passage is primarily about the policing affairs of the nation-state. The activity of police forces are held accountable to higher authorities. Yoder argues that it is fallacious to place the doctrine of just war under the umbrella of police authority. While violence from a police officer is (ideally) applied to an individual who breaks the law, the imperative for justifiable wars does not seem to be located in this text. The sword, or the machaira, was really a dagger used by the Roman military that served as a symbol of judicial authority, not executive (Yoder, 203). An honest reading of Romans 13 should lead us to conclude that the Christian concept of Just War theory (which excludes Jesus’ peace-making mission) simply cannot be found in the text, rather the doctrine of Just War is read into the meaning of this passage.
Also, I feel uncomfortable with Wright’s vision of power where god is invisibly working behind the scenes as that g-d secretly and unambiguously endorses the heroes over the villains while Jesus functions as some superhero in the mold of Captain America who will come back to save the day just as the world is about to drown in chaos. In the realm of international politics, where EVERY state is driven by self-interest, any nation can be considered the “good” guy at any point in history as well as any country can earn the label of the “bad” guy just as well. Wright still understands the power of God as the ability to control, to micro-manage the human situation at any given point in history, joining the good guys in their cause eventually at the end. While Wright is honestly trying to deal with the problem of empires abusing their power, he falls into the trap of promoting a soft form of triumphalism. Rather than viewing Christian victory as something where the divine assures us of our triumph because of the effectiveness of some method or strategy on our part; rather true Christian victory comes from joining in the faithfulness of Jesus the Messiah. If I may refer to Yoder once more:

"The triumph of the right is assured not by the might that comes to the aid of the right, which is of course the justification of the use of violence and other kinds of power in every human conflict. The triumph of the right, although it is assured, is sure because of the power of the resurrection and not because of any calculation of causes and effects, nor because of the inherently greater strength of the good guys. The relationship between obedience of God’s people and the triumph of God’s cause is not a relationship of cause and effect but one of cross and resurrection." (232)

Absent from Wright’s political theology expressed in his criticism of the U.S. and U.K.’s bilateral war in Iraq is what Luther called a “theologia crucis,” or a theology of the cross. Luther says that in Thesis 20, “He [sic] deserves to be called a theologian, however, who comprehends the visible and manifest things of God seen through suffering and the cross.” And in Thesis 21, he continues to say about theologians of glory, “A theologian of glory calls suffering evil while he [sic] calls works good. In fact, he [sic] works to avoid suffering.” One cannot divorce a theology of the cross from the Resurrection and Return of Jesus that easily in a Christian political theology. These three events constitute one salvific episode; to uplift one at the expense of the other is to neglect certain parts of the implications of God’s liberating and reconciling activity in the world. In particular, there is a tendency on both the right and the left to try to leave out as many references to the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth as possible. My fear is that Christian communities [that is, the many forms of Christianity whether they are Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, Mennonite, etc.] will start to adopt theologies of glory while neglecting those human beings on the margins of society, suffering and dying much like our Savior who has joined them in their oppressed state. In part three, we will examine what this means for a Christian view of international peacemaking missions.

May 28, 2009

The Gift of Meekness: A Counter to N.T. Wright's Case For A Stronger United Nations, PART 1

NT Wright on a stronger United Nations

Usually, whenever I find myself discussing issues of war and peace with other Christians, they always ask the exact same question: What if there is another Adolf Hitler [insert the name of a Two-Thirds world dictator here if you like]? From the very start, these Christians who are advocates usually of some form of Just War theory are asking the wrong question. That is the problem with Christians today! In order to make their case for the destruction of human life, they start out with inquiries based on fear of what happened in the past the Shoah or the Holocaust during World War II in most circles. As Christians, we participate in the life of Jesus the Messiah; therefore, he should be the beginning and end of all ethical questions and not Adolf Hitler or Saddam Hussein or Kim Jong IL. We should be asking, “What has Jesus done? What is Jesus doing? What will Jesus do?” NT Wright is one of those Christians that I was referring to earlier, the ones not asking the correct questions to begin conversations of ethical discourse. Rather than phrasing the question in a way that is Christ-centered, Wright, for example begins his case for a strong United Nations with typical Just War logic. Let us examine his case.

1. N T Wright says about the doctrine of just war:

"The doctrine of ‘just war’ was developed in order to emphasize that, though war is always an evil, sometimes it is the lesser of two evils.
Doing justice, in whatever form, is always about anticipating in the present God’s eventual design to put the whole world to rights, to gather up all things in heaven and on earth into Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1.10). Though God will eventually do this completely and fully, he does not want the creation to lapse into complete chaos in the present age, and so calls into being structures of human government and authority to bring about a measure of order, some kind of anticipation of his eventual putting-to-rights of all things."

Granted, Wright has to simplify his definition of what the doctrine of just war is for a general audience rather than a particularly Christian one, but he is defending the traditional Christian case for just wars. Now, the first problem is that he suggests that “doing justice, in whatever form” is done in the anticipation of God’s act of justifying the entire creation. I question the idea that we can be just in “whatever form.” From a Christian standpoint, we have a peculiar way of examining what is or is not just and that is the Justifier (Romans 5). There are many forms of justice; among them are: social justice, racial justice, gender justice, environmental justice, retributive justice, restorative justice, and transformative justice. The question we have to ask ourselves is: does God’s justice include all of these, only one of these, or just a few of these forms of justice. Christian concepts of any form of justice begin with God’s image, or Jesus the Messiah.
Rather than beginning questions of justice with inquiries such as, ‘Why does this or that injustice exist?’ and then subsequently answer that question with an answer that may or may not be biblical, one should start with, “How did/is Christ, God’s righteousness revealed, manage/ managing this event?” Secondly, Wright is presenting a God of LAW and ORDER who soothes the bourgeois classes’ fears of THEIR society going into utter chaos. Chaos is seen as a problem, as something that must be confronted and controlled. Does Wright ever bother to ask if chaos is God’s instrument to fashion the world, by allowing various free agents with free will living within the order that God sustains so that God can have a loving, covenantal relationship with that creation? John Howard Yoder had quite different Christian understanding by which God brings the state and political institutions into order:

"to put them in order, sovereignly to tell them where they belong, what is their place. It is not as if there was a time when there was no government and then God made government through a new creative invention; there has been hierarchy and authority and power since human society existed. […] Nor is it that by ordering this realm God specifically, morally approves of what a government does. […] God does not take responsibility for the existence of the rebellious ‘powers that be or for their shape or identity; they already are. What the text says is that God orders them, brings them into line, providentially and permissively lines them up with divine purposes." (Yoder, 203)

According to Yoder, God does not endorse or support any one form of government over the centuries; rather, God allows humans with free will to choose their preference of governance, and then God responds by sending witnesses to these powers in their place. The one rule that God accepts is the reign of the Messiah; the Church universal, which claims to adhere to Solo Christo), must subORDinate themselves under God’s chosen priest-king who both initiates and reigns in the nonviolent empire of God. All other forms of government are temporary, provisional, and fallen, and always in need of reform. No human empire or emperor has the divine right to impose their will upon the Earth. That authority is reserved solely for the Triune God; whether or not God has chosen to utilize domination as the means of accomplishing God’s will is a question to be answered in part 2.

May 26, 2009

NABPR paper presentation and sesssions

The NABPR paper presentation went well. Last night, at 11:15p.m., I sat down on the couch and wrote the last five sentences of my NABPR paper. That was a struggle. How does one conclude an assessment on three books, on the same topic, from three very different perspectives? My original plan was in the hopes of having at least two pages to sketch out my own constructive theology of sexuality involving the last half of John 2, 1st Corinthians 3:16-17, and 2nd Corinthians 7, three passages that unite the Resurrection of Jesus the Messiah with the story of the Jerusalem temple. So, instead, I only made a short allusion to it in this manner:

It is not possible for any one Christian thinker to come up with a resolution to the sexual and racial issues that currently divide the Body of Christ. Although one may not agree with their methodology and/or conclusions, the works of Grenz, Douglas, and De La Torre can serve as conversation starters to at least get congregations thinking theologically about race and sex. Jesus of Nazareth, whose human body the Evangelist of the Gospel of John refers to as the Holy of Holies of God, is the central revelation for the Christian understanding of the divine and human. Therefore, it should be the mission of the Church to develop an ethic of racial and gender justice where every human body is treated as the temple of the most High God.”

Fuller Seminary’s Glenn Stassen, a personal friend of the late Stanley Grenz, had high remarks for my presentation. One of Grenz’s students who was part of the audience even told me that I had a good grasp of Grenz’s views. Overall today was a good day. I got my inspiration from Acts 4 and Judges 6, two stories of great courage. During the sessions I was not presenting, I came out firing on all cylinders, asking the hard questions. I was merciful though; better a friend and member of a society asking the hard questions to prepare presenters than an enemy, right? To be honest, last night’s Opening program made me sad in the inside. I heard Bob Darden’s story of the Black Gospel Restoration Project. I felt like cursing the Hip Hop culture after that. It is a story of lost LPs, records, and Black recording artists getting scammed and facing racism as well. In recognition of this cause, I have added a link to this blog.

Later tonight, I did not calm down from this morning. I listened to a presentation on John Howard Yoder's call to Christian peacemaking. The author I completely disagree with because the author of the paper implied that Yoder was just some pacifist who just saw all religions united by nonviolence. This is simply untrue. Yeah, at Warsaw, in front of a Roman Catholic audience, Yoder would appeal more than to just Jesus and the scripture and Christian tradition, but for anyone who has read Yoder's The Politics of Jesus knows that the crucifixion is the key theological doctrine for his ethic of nonviolence; Yoder is promoting a particularly cruciform, and therefore, a Christian ethic of non-violence. There is a difference. Glen Stassen was in that audience and he agreed with me as did one other professor. I have already blogged about the difference between being an advocate of Christian nonviolence and being a Christian with the political position of pacifism; see here: A conversion to Christian nonviolence

Below is a copy of my NABPR paper presentation:

The Temple He Had Spoken Of Was His Body: Christian Sexual Ethics, Race, Sexuality, and the Biblical Narrative from Womanist, Liberationist, and Evangelical Perspectives

May 25, 2009

The Mass X-odus to Word Press.... and me an X-egete?

I have a few friends who have left either just begun blogging or who have made a switch to Wordpress.com. No worries, I am not leaving Blogspot.com anytime soon. It has been good to me;

I have known Richard since my days as a religious studies major at Texas Christian University. He is into Biblical studies and hermeneutics.

I met Rob on the Theology Rocks Facebook group. Ah, those were the days. Now, he is at Dallas Seminary mastering the Hebrew Bible.

I recently encountered Mike a few months ago on the biblioblogosphere. His interests are the New Testament and Christian origins.

On a personal note, it seems so funny that recently I have been seriously considering a change in my career path. Rather than working in the field of systematic and constructive theologies or theological ethics, it has been recommended to me that I should look into becoming a biblical studies person. You know, those people, that study all those weird sounding languages, in addition to Greek and Hebrew, like Aramaic or Uggaritic, or ancient Georgian. I really have run out of excuses as to why I am not. It is not like I could not do biblical studies, ethics and theology all at the same time; these are all interrelated, obviously. Imagining if I did change, I may pursue something to do with the 1)Gospel of Matthew, 2) the Letter to the Hebrews, 3) the Son of Man tradition 4) the Priestly Messiah in the second Temple Judaism. I do like what I read from the New Perspective on Paul folk, like N.T. Wright and James D.G. Dunn. I guess I will have to keep praying over this. What do you all think?

A Memorial Day Reflection

Michael, over at Pisteuomen, has an interesting Memorial Day reflection for Christians located in the U.S.A.

May 18, 2009

John D. Zizioulas on the individual

Some context and explanation for this quote. I came across this quote from John D. Zizioulas while I went back to read his Being As Communion again. I did not catch it the first time I read it because I was focused on Zizioulas' notion of Truth as ontology (rather than a propositional statement) as well as his view of community for my past work. But my search for his case in favor of theosis (the Christ follower's participation in God's Holiness) led me to find this passage. Keep in mind, the term persona, for Zizioulas, is used in a negative (i.e., not positive, or bad) sense, in which personas are really masks for human beings who continue to live a lie (outside the Truth, true being, a.k.a., Jesus the Messiah).

"Uniqueness is something absolute for the person. The person is so absolute in its uniqueness that it does not permit itself to be regarded as an arithmetical concept, to be set alongside other beings, to be combined with other objects, or to be used as a means, even for the most sacred goal. The goal is the person itself; personhood is the total fulfillment of being, the catholic expression of its nature. This tendency of the person, like freedom, is the 'two--edged sword' of existence. For applied to man it leads to the denial of others, to egocentrism, to the destruction of social life. As in the case of freedom, so with the unique and hypostatic nature of the person, a relativisation appears to be indispensible if chaos is to be avoided. Thus uniqueness is relativised in social life, and man becomes--in a greater or lesser degree but nevertheless assusredly so-- a useful 'object,' a 'combination,' a persona. But it is precisely this which constitutes the tragic aspect of the person. Diffused today throughout all forms of social life is the intense search for personal identity."

John D. Zizioulas in Being As Communion:Studies in Personhood and the Church. Crestwood, NY,St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 2002. p.47.

In other words, once we start denying the uniqueness of the human individual person, we risk objectifying people and only seen her and/or him as another cog in the machine, only useful for our own objectives. That would make all forms of essentialism and stereotypes dehumanizing, huh?

May 13, 2009

The Make Over for this blog

Just an update:

I have been considering for quite a while to change the template of this blog to make it aesthetically pleasing. The picture at the top is a saint in Greek Orthodoxy named Moses the Black or Moses the Ethiopian who lived as a slave at one point. I think that he is symbolic of the work I am trying to do, understanding the Chrisitian religion in light of imperial social structures such as slavery.

In addition, the title of the blog has changed to ECHOMEN ELPIDA which is greek for, We Have Hope! I thought it made sense given the url's namesake. I also have been wanting to, ever since I started reading and writing in Biblical Greek to re-do the title of this blog in something greek, like the peeps over at Euangelion and Koinonia as well as Epignoskein and Pisteuomen. You can just call me a copycat, w/e!

I HOPE (elpidzo) you all enjoy! :)

May 11, 2009

Between The Patriot's Bible and the movie The American President: The Futilitiy of Study Bibles

The conversation between Lewis Rothschild and President Andrew Shepherd:

"Lewis Rothschild: You have a deeper love of this country than any man I’ve ever known. And I want to know what it says to you that in the past seven weeks, 59% of Americans have begun to question your patriotism.

President Andrew Shepherd: Look, if the people want to listen to-…

Lewis Rothschild: They don’t have a choice! Bob Rumson is the only one doing the talking! People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they’ll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They’re so thirsty for it they’ll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there’s no water, they’ll drink the sand.

President Andrew Shepherd: Lewis, we’ve had presidents who were beloved, who couldn’t find a coherent sentence with two hands and a flashlight. People don’t drink the sand because they’re thirsty. They drink the sand because they don’t know the difference.”

Recently, on the biblio/theo-blogosphere, there has been some outrage expressed at the latest study Bible published by Thomas Nelson called The Patriot's Bible. Pastor Greg Boyd was so disturbed by the nationalism and violence promoted in this book that he has begun to write a series about it on his blog in addition to a book review on it. My friends Celucien and T.C. authors of Christ My Righteousness and Theological Graffitti have shared their concerns for the Patriot's Bible as well.

I believe that the real problem is not so much American Christian nationalism, per se, but that our dilemma starts with the fact that most North American Christians do not know the difference between the true religion of Jesus the Messiah and the American brand. Like Lewis Rothschild shouts to President Shepherd, that the people do not have a choice and so that they will listen to whoever offers the truth. Rather than being offered Gospel Truth by religious educators and preachers, lay persons, thirsty for knowledge and hungry for truth, run to their closest Christian bookstores and buy the latest, most fashionable study Bible. There are markets for study bibles for teenagers, women, men, African Americans, followers of Joel Olsteen, etc. What's next? A study bible for Democrats and another for Republicans? I forgot, they already exist, the New Revised Standard Version (D) and the English Standard Version (R).

President Andrew Shepherd is also right. The people when they are thirsty do not know the difference between sand and water. North American Christian education ministries have failed to equip the saints to be discerning between the truth and untruth. So, we should not be surprised when a book called, "The Patriots Bible" comes off the presses. What needs to happen is that alternative voices need to begin to speak out, to put to shame the liars and the false prophets. Otherwise, I can start doing research for the creation of the Libertarian Study Bible. Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

May 7, 2009

MY FIFTIETH POST!!!- Why I had a hard time organizing my library and upcoming posts

I just finished my final examination as a Master of Divinity student on Monday at around noon. Tuesday, I made a futile attempt to organize all of my books in my library. However, this was very difficult for me to do. Why? Because of interdisciplinary studies and the scholarship of the 21st century. Where does John Howard Yoder’s The Politics Of Jesus belong? Does he belong in my Christian Peacemaking section? Theology? Biblical studies? Does Cain Hope Felder’s Stony The Road We Trod have to be placed in my work about Black Church Studies, or in my recently created Biblical Studies section? I could not decide where most of my books belonged, so I left some of the works in the status quo. It is so confusing, even for Reinhold Neibuhr’s Moral Man And Immoral Society, History? Ethics? Theology? Empire Studies? Nothing is as simple as it seems. Labels have very little meaning in a “postmodern” world. Or maybe, it is a good thing that scholars are beginning to converse with scholars from other fields. We can no longer sit on our little islands and think that religious studies has nothing to say to economics, or that international law has nothing to contribute to biblical studies. Our world is shrinking and this calls for more conversation if everyone is live interdependently and independently as a community as well as individuals.


1. Only God Can Judge Me?- a sermon I wrote for Dr. Lozada’s Johannine Literature course

2. Honor the U.S. Constitution: Reading 1st Peter 2:17 while Living in a Democratic-Republic- A post looking at traditional understandings of 1st Peter 2:17 while engaging the historical context of the passage. [I owe this one to CJ from a while ago, but I have been working on it]

3. English Bible Translations and Empire- a series looking at the imperialist leanings of some English translations of the Bible that have real-life implications for those who are colonized. Starting with the New International Version. [I have been reflecting on this topic and my friend Adam has encouraged me to pursue it].

4. My Biases- Along with my friend Chad, I am posting some of my favorite things and ideological preferences such as politics, religion, and positions on various issues so I cannot be ever accused of trying to be neutral. [Thanks Chad for this idea].

5. An Anabaptist/Libertarian response to N.T. Wright's post on a stronger United Nations

Apr 23, 2009

Don't Worry, Be Happy!: the Death of Christianity?

Beginning in the 1960's, religious scholars note many so called experts who proclaimed the "death of god," or at least the deconstruction of the Enlightenment construction of the divinity as we knew him. Today, a new group of experts are cheering on the death of the evangelical wing of the American church.

Al Mohler

Michael Spencer

Jon Meacham

(btw: does death have to be the prevailing metaphor when it comes to the reform of religious institution? does that mean that Americans suffer from a narcissism grounded in a fear of death, the unknown, non-being?) It is funny that we used to see the church/synagogue/mosque/religious institution as the lone moral authority to direct public policy and social norms. Now, we have gossip columnists telling us how we should debate states' rights and how we should practice religious and civil rites.

If we could perhaps try to escape this metaphor of "reform/revolution as death" and think in particularly Christian terms of resurrection and new life. In a sermon I gave for Brite's Black and Womanist Theologies course a couple of years ago, I said that "Human tradition may die with humanity,but the Resurrected Messiah and his tradition are forever." What exactly did I mean by this? It means that our human construction of what religious institutions may look like or function in society may be subject to change at any given moment in history, but that Jesus of Nazareth, the Firstborn of the New Creation (Colossians 1), remains Master of the Universe in every instant, both now and in eternity.

The apostle Paul encountered our LORD on the road to Damascus. And as he confesses to the assembly in Galatia (Gal 1:11-16), he loved his religious tradition more than people, or even the God who created them. We all have seen the type. Those religious people, like I once was, who closed themselves off to those who think differently than they do. Yet, Paul was transformed by seeing the Resurrected Messiah with his own two eyes; this encounter was life-changing. Paul had seen the new life God was making available for all people groups. No longer is there an us versus them, but a royal WE (Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11)! We should rejoice and celebrate that Christianity may be changing because the Empire of God is invading our human space once more that we may experience the life-giving power of the Triune God.

For further reading on why we should not mourn but rejoice, see my friend T.C. Moore's post on Gregory Boyd's assessment of the current "crisis."

Apr 21, 2009

Only God is Good: A Response to Mrllgoode

The second half of Mrllgoode’s comments in response to my post on Clement of Alexandria appear as follows:

“ The Most Hon. Elijah Muhammad teaches that partial and half truths are worst outright lies, tell the truth Jesus was a jew. I was born and raised a christian but in essence it is the cult of chirst. Please tell me where in the bible that the great man Jesus told the people to pray to him or worship him, do he not say "that their is none good but the father". “

Mrllgoode, you asked me to tell you, “where in the bible that the great man Jesus told the people to pray to him or worship, do he not say “that there is non good but the father” I will answer your question, Mrllgoode,but Jesus never said, “there none good but the father.” That is a false assumption where we are reading our patriarchal western preference for referring to god as a him when in the original greek text of the two gospels you are quoting, the word “father” (patros in the greek) does not appear.
Come, let us reason together: here are the quotes that you are referring to:

Mark 10:18 (NIV)- "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone
Luke 18:19 (NIV)- "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone.

In neither of these passages, nor in the chapters that these verses are found in, do we even find the noun “father” in the context to referring to the divine. So, from the beginning of your arguments, your misquotation of the New Testament reveals a weakness.

Now, why would Jesus say, “No one is good—except God alone.” In both contexts of these passages, Jesus is talking to the a rich man, who asks Jesus “How can I enter eternal life?” (Luke 18:18 & Mark 10:17 respectively). We cannot draw any conclusions about what Jesus is saying about himself simply by quoting him whenever we feel like he is saying something that may or may not agree with our religious beliefs. That is called proof-texting and it does real damage to the author, the story, and the person who is at the center of the narrative; in this case I am referring to Jesus the Messiah. What one could do in this situation, since these are not a simple passages to understand, is to examine these passages in light of their place in the respected chapters they are found in (Luke 18 and Mark 10). Now, was Jesus talking about himself as he is answering this rich man’s question? No, he is only, in the context of his conversation with the rich man (Mark 10:17-22 & Luke 18:18-25) teaching the rich man, the audience, and then his disciples, how to enter into the kingdom of God (what I call the empire of God, in the greek, basileus tou theou can mean empire, commonwealth, reign of god/the divine).

Now, the authors of Mark and Luke, are trying to create a picture of Jesus and the 10th chapter of Mark’s Gospel as well as the 18th chapter of Luke’s Gospel are definitely portraying Jesus as divine. How do I come to this conclusion, you may ask?

Well, I will provide on example from Mark’s gospel, which can just as readily be applied to Luke’s gospel as well. The author of Mark in Chapter 10 does something really interesting, where he contrasts a rich man mid-way through the chapter who is exposed as an unbeliever (Mark 10:22) in opposition to a poor blind man Bartimaeus who believes in Jesus and receives salvation (Mark 10:52) [The same story can be found in Luke 18, refer to Luke 18:23 versus Luke 18:42-43].

Now, there is a huge difference in the way that the rich man addresses Jesus and the way that the blind beggar approaches the LORD. The rich man calls Jesus “good teacher,” in the greek the noun for teacher is didaskale. The rich man see Jesus as just one teacher among many of those who hung out in the Jerusalem temple. There is nothing special about a teacher who sits around and debates without a divine mission. Even Nichodemus in John 3 recognized that Jesus was a teacher sent from God. Now, if we fast forward to Mark 10:51, we will see that the blind beggar refers to Jesus as Rabbi, which means either Great One or Teacher. At first, there would seem to be nothing messianic about this title. But we must realize, like you said that Jesus was a Jew, and not only that, but a participant in Second Temple Judaism. Second Temple Judaism had a lot of diverse views when it came to the Messiah. The Messiah was seen as a Davidic King, the pre-existent Son of Man found in Daniel 7, but the most neglected of these images is the Aaronic view of the Messiah. The Aaronic view of the Messiah saw the Messiah as a priestly-figure who would teach Jews how to worship God and, according to the tradition found in the last seven chapters of the book of Ezekiel, the priest serves as a high priest (or prince, but not a king) who makes sacrifices in the new temple. I have argued that Rabbi is a messianic title, and not just a religious title for a Jewish leader The Priestly View of the Messiah. So, the blind man, at the end of Mark 10 confesses Jesus as the priestly Messiah coming to teach us how to worship and live. Therefore, both Mark 10 and Luke 18, with their strong emphasis on the Son of Man traditions (Mark 10:33, 37, 45 and Luke 18:8, 31) as well as the royal title of Son of David (Luke 18:38-39, Mark 10:47-48) along with the messianic title of Rabbi [as opposed to being called didaskle in the greek] (Mark 10:51), we can be confident that Jesus’ divinity, as well as his divine mission as the Chosen One, the Messiah and Savior of the world is affirmed in these two passages.

Apr 18, 2009

Working Postcolonial Theology Bibliography

My friend Joseph Duggan wrote a working bibliography for works on post-colonial theology for the Postcolonial Theology Network on facebook. I may create my own annotated bibligraphy to share in the near future. I will keep you updated.

Working Post-colonial Theology Bibliography

For those in biblical studies, and interested in Ancient Near Eastern works, my friend Mike over at Fox's Wanderings made quite an impressive bibliography on ANE studies, the Hebrew Bible, and the idea of covenant. The link is posted below.

ANE Covenant bibliography

Apr 17, 2009

Leaving the Left Behind Series Behind

Michael Gorman has written the general and legitimate criticism against the Left Behind Series (and dispensationalism).

I basically agree with him, and that was before I learned how to read the biblical Greek in the Unveiling of God to John of Patmos (the book of Revelation).

Gorman's post

Apr 11, 2009

Co-Authored article on Easter

My third published selection from the African-American Lectionary for Easter Sunday, co-authored with Dr. Juan Floyd-Thomas, Vanderbilt Divinity School.

Easter Sunday

The two other cultural resource aids for the AAL:

Communion Sunday

Palm Sunday

Apr 10, 2009

Free Will Theology after the Reformation


I know that the past few weeks I have been posting on Calvinism and hip hop, or the points of dissent I have with Reformed Theology, so here is an article Steven M. Studebaker of McMaster Divinity School wrote on the Reformation, Arminianism and the Free Will theology movements in Christian theology.


P.S., the picture at the top of this post was created by my friend T.C. Moore, aptly describing the debate between theological determinists and free will theologians.

He didn't even say a mumblin' word?

There is an old slave spiritual that goes, "He never said a mumblin' word My LORD, He never said a mumblin' word My LORD" "Not a word, not a word, not a word."

This song would give the impression that Jesus died passively, dying as only as a silenced victim, and therefore, all who follow him, it could be derived from this interpretation of his death, must die as quiet, passive victims, never speaking out on and/or against things that offend God. But it is not quite that simple; Jesus never complained against God his Father. The slaves were saying that like Jesus, they would never blame God for their plight; it was the wickedness of humanity that put Jesus on the cross and the Africans into chattel slavery. Asking God why, and pointing the finger at God for intentional sins that humanity does is unbiblical and very bad theodicy. As Jesus is dying, he quotes Psalm 22:1, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" but the whole context of Psalm 22 is a psalm of trusting in God alone for deliverance. Psalm 22:19 reads, "But you, Oh LORD, Be not far off; o my strength, come quickly to help me." In his very last breathe, even when superficially for those who do not have faith it seems as if the divine has abandoned Jesus the Messiah, Jesus is still proclaiming the Gospel, the Good News that God is still here. That is what Good Friday is all about: God is in our midst.

Apr 8, 2009

Brown University Makes the Right Decision--No More Columbus Day

I have been reading Liberating Jonah by Miguel De La Torre. For people like he and I who are Christian, anti-racist, and post-colonial, we find the celebration of Columbus Day problematic. For 2/3rds of the campus at Brown University, they supported ousting old Chris Columbus for Fall Weekend.

Fall Weekend

I pray that other universities follow suit.

Apr 2, 2009

The 2009 Schieffer School of Journalism Symposium: The Newspapers’ Last Stand

Bob Schieffer is a TCU alum and former moderator of CBS’s Sunday morning show Face the Nation. While he excelled at rarely revealing his biases, April 1st,2009 will remain the exception. TCU’s Schieffer School of Journalism hosted a Symposium entitled, “Obama and the Press: Is the media doing its job?” The subject matter originally was what drew me into wanting to go to this symposium; I had very little interest in the guests panelists, especially PBS’s Gwen Iffil and MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, two journalists who are openly biased and show no qualms about it. If I have not expressed my thoughts on the media’s adoration of Barack Obama; let me pull no punches. I always thought that the worst brand of hypocrisy came from churches here in the United States; that is, until, journalism, news, and media outlets, which are trained in academia to be unbiased and fair, took the historic opportunities before them in the 2008 election, as well their liberal political preferences to bash the presidential campaigns of Hillary Rodham Clinton and John McCain at every turn they could. Perhaps the most glaring piece of evidence came every time the cable news networks would show a McCain supporter or a member of PUMA interview in one segment, and then in the very next, go on to show an entire Obama speech live. McCain speeches, while not as inspiring or exciting or as articulate as Obama’s, did not get even half the coverage Obama’s speeches and townhalls received.
Andrea Mitchell was not able to make it to the Schieffer Symposium because MSNBC assigned her to London to cover the G20 summit. CNBC’s Trish Regan replaced Mitchell. At the symposium, the case was made by all five panelists, over and over again, that blogs were evil, and that newspapers were necessary to filter out the truth. I would like to ask, “Whose truth are you referring to?” The truth where only a select group of facts are chosen to give to the masses for liberal, mainstream propaganda? Is this the same truth that consistently puts racial minorities (besides BHO) on the front page as criminals despite only making up one-quarter of the population and even a smaller percentage of its drug-related crimes? Is it this very same truth that perpetuates the stereotype that Christians are uneducated and Republican? Tell me, Schieffer Symposium panelists, were you all making the case for a bailout of the newspaper industry in front of our eyes? If you all were, it was pretty pathetic.
Newspaper corporations, in comparison, are like John McCain to Barack Obama, in Barack Obama’s mind, who said in the DNC nomination acceptance speech, that John McCain just did not understand (economics, that is), and neither do the pushers of newspapers. The newspaper industry will go the way of General Motors, AIG, and the horse-drawn carriage: extinction, relics in the new economy in the 21st century. There is nothing new under the sun, as the writer of Preacher in the book of Koheleth wrote. There is a time for everything, a time for to build and a time to tear down. No institution that is made with human hands is eternal; all is temporal and everything has a beginning and an end, an Alpha and an Omega.

My Published cultural commentary for Palm Sunday

As I promised last month, the African American Lectionary published my cultural resource for Palm Sunday (Psalm 20). I reflect on Psalm 20 in light of the life of Jesus and Zechariah 9, reading Matthew 21 as what Dominc Crossan calls an Anti-Triumphal Entry scene.

Here is the link below:

Palm Sunday

First post to first published cultural commentary:

Communion Sunday

Mar 31, 2009

Fifth Annual State of the Black Church Summit and Banquet


Here is an announcement from the Black Church Studies program at Brite Divinity School.

Friday, April 3rd, 2009 will be the fifth annual Summit and Banquet. Click on the brochure to the right or click here: ANNOUNCEMENT for details.

Mar 30, 2009

Princes Shall Come out of Egypt: Clement of Alexandria

As an evangelical, one would think that in the great history of Christian theology, God stopped speaking in the seventeenth century and had perfectly revealed Godself to the Germans and the French. In terms of the geo-politics within academic settings, it would be suffice to say that up until the the latter half of the twentieth century, from psychology (Freud) to philosophy (Kant, Nietsche), to theology (Barth) to economics and history (Marx) to physics (Einstein), a vast majority of authorities in these fields were either born or educated European schools (many of them German institutions).

The world was not always like this. Before the Muslims conquered Egypt less than midway through the 7th century, Common Era, Alexandria was once the capital of Egypt. Clement of Alexandria was a Christian intellectual who would constantly write in response to the prevailing heresies and immoralities of his day. From the Gnostics to the Carpocratians, Clement was not afraid to confront his opponents in the bluntest of terms. He also struggled with traditions such as the Christian followers who studied Tertullian and who believed that studying Greek philosophy was a waste of time. To these, Clement would answer, "The earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof, and anyone who seeks to help catechumens, especially if they are Greeks, must not shrink from scholarly study" Strom., VI, 89. In today's world, there are many people in the church who question the need for religious scholarship. This is because they have chosen to divide the spirit from the body, in almost the way Clement's enemies, the Gnostics once did. Let us heed the words of Clement, who argues that the body and the spirit are in mutual need for each other:

***The task of the law is to deliver us from a dissolute life and all disorderly ways. Its purpose is to lead us from unrighteousness to righteousness, so that it would have us self-controlled in marriage, in begetting children, and in general behavior. The LORD is not “come to destroy the law but to fulfil it” (Matt 5:17). “To fulfill” does NOT imply that it was defect, but that by his coming the prophecies of the law are accomplished, since before the law the demand for right conduct was proclaimed by the LOGOS to those also who lived good lives. The multitude who know nothing of continence live for the body, not for the spirit. But the body without spirit is ‘earth and ashes’ (Gen 18:27).***

Clement of Alexandria, On Marriage, Chapter VI, #46.

Mar 28, 2009

Nick Norelli responds to T.C.'s Holy Hip Hop and Calvinism posts?

I am unfamiliar with Nick Norelli, but he felt inspired to respond to T.C.'s thoughts on Holy Hip Hop and Calvinism. Check it out!

Nick Norelli Responds

Edit: Nick found it necessary to describe his reaction to T.C.'s second post.

Nick Norelli's Responds, again

This is only the beginning. I hope that we can all continue this conversation. I think we all believe this is too important. The relationship between human worship and godly teaching must discussed if the Church is to embody God's reign in the 21st century.

Mar 27, 2009

The Ryan Moats--Dallas Police Incident

What would you do, if your own mother-in-law was in her last breathes, and the police officer intentionally stops you from seeing her because he wanted to prove a point to you by abusing his power? A long question, but there is no simple answer, because this actually did happen, just yesterday. See Celucien's response to this tragedy.

Ryan Moat's Loss

What would be the appropriate theological response to such an offense of human dignity?

Joerg Rieger on Multiculturalism and Postmodernity

"Postmodernity, to name only one example, is presenting us with new challenges. The pluralism and multiculturalism of a postmodern culture, for instance, while indeed creating some space for those who are different, paradoxically also tends to further render invisible those on the margins. The pluralist/multiculturalist assumption that society is made up of different groups which each have the liberty to pursue their own interests covers up the kinds of parasitic relationships whereby some groups exist at the expense of others. Likewise, contemporary efforts to support the less fortunate often end up using them for their own purposes and ultimately exploiting them. Even though powerful organizations like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank now claim their own options for the poor, power hardly shifts to the poor; and control remains rooted firmly in the hands of the traditional leadership group."

Joerg Rieger. "Protestantism" in
De La Torre, Miguel A. The Hope of Liberation in World Religions. Waco, Tex.: Baylor University Press, 2008. p. 44

Mar 26, 2009

Calvinism and Holy Hip Hop

My friend T.C. has been writing about the influence of Calvinist theology on Christian rap music, i.e., Holy Hip Hop.

Calvinism and Holy Hip Hop I

Calvinism and Holy Hip Hop II

T.C., while his assessment of Calvinists' dominance over the Holy Hip Hop industry is correct, he is mistaken to refer to this type of music and entertainment as hip hop. In fact, it would be suffice to say that HHH, as it is presented to a majority white upper middle class Christian audience, is more in line with secular rap rather than the hip hop industry. Rap Music is different from hip hop, and I plan to explain the difference in an upcoming post on "Towards a Holy Hip Hop Theology of Freedom," a reconstructive effort to ever so slowly undermine the monopoly the Calvinist theological grip on the Christian rap game. That is all I have for now. Enjoy T.C.'s sharp insights in the mean time!

Here are 2 past posts on my views on Calvinists (one actually recovered from my now defunct Xanga account):

Cage Stage?

Why I Kissed Calvinism Goodbye

Mar 21, 2009

NT Wright's Surprised By Hope: An Anabaptist Appraisal

Like him or not, N. Thomas Wright's work has become the standard for 21st century New Testament scholarship. His work on the resurrection, Surprised By Hope, is desperately needed in today's world where the doctrine has been put on the back burner of most churches. This book has been recommended to me by friends and I pray that I will find the time to read it after I finish Moltmann's Theology of Hope (one of the few Moltmann books I have not finished). My friend David over at The Centrality and Supremacy of Christ blog has written a review that simply must be read. It is a fair and critical account of Surprised By Hope.

David on Surprised By Hope

Mar 20, 2009

John's Jesus and theTemple

For a nice summary on the history of the First and Second temples in Jerusalem as well as their relationship to the Gospel of John, my friend Chad did some research on the topic.

Chad's Paper

It cannot be overstated that the Jerusalem temple, as Chad stated was the center of the Jewish religion prior to 70 C.E. Chad does a very nice job of identifying the various factions, the Christian Jews, the Pharisaic Jews, and even the ever elusive Essenes, while locating their role in Jewish history and John’s story.

As Chad points out in John 4, the story of Jesus’s encounter with the Samaritan woman can be seen as anti-temple centered religion narrative. The Johannine community, as Raymond Brown pointed out, had strong affiliations with the Samaritan community and John 4 may be a reflection of that. Jesus, ironically, shows zeal for the temple in John 2 and with what looks like his violent actions, may have stopped the worship of YHWH altogether that day in temple, since the sacrifice was so important. Jesus, in the Evangelist’s record of the good news, is the new Temple of God. Johannine theodicy does not, like the Pharisaic Jews replace the temple with the law, or reject the temple completely like the radical Essenes, but transforms the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus into the new Temple. Therefore, it is not a supercessionist argument where a construction of a temple is not necessary; rather, the temple was a sign (like Jesus’s miracles in John) that pointed to the presence of the Father. As Chad says, “people no longer had to go to God at the temple, but that God had approached them and dwells with them through the on going presences of Jesus.”

Mar 19, 2009

My 30th Post: Trinitarian Faith and Racial Reconciliation in Galatians 1:1-9

I have achieved a milestone in posting Black Trinitarian Theology blog for the thirtieth time. In commemoration, I made a post that gives a glipse into the kind of work I want to do on this blog as well in my scholarship. Below is my translation and brief commentary on Paul's letter to the Galatians

Trinitarian Faith and Racial Reconciliation in Galatians 1:1-9

*Corrections to Translation (thank you, Rob K.):

A. Verse 4 should read "The one who gave himself up" not giving himself up. The Greek word is in the aorist participle, and aorist always means a past and finished action.

B. Verse 6 should read "changing from the one," and not "changed"; this reflects the urgency of the moment for Paul writing to the Galatians in their historical context.

C. Verse 8 should read "beside the one which was preached to you" and not "the one who"; the relative pronoun and definite articles are in the neuter form and does not refer to a person in the original Greek, but to an object (an event), the Gospel.

Mar 17, 2009

Saint Patrick’s Breastplate (prayer)

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,
The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,
The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the love of seraphim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the hope of resurrection unto reward,
In prayers of Patriarchs,
In predictions of Prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,
In faith of Confessors,
In purity of holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I bind to myself today
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendour of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth,
The compactness of rocks.

I bind to myself today
God's Power to guide me,
God's Might to uphold me,
God's Wisdom to teach me,
God's Eye to watch over me,
God's Ear to hear me,
God's Word to give me speech,
God's Hand to guide me,
God's Way to lie before me,
God's Shield to shelter me,
God's Host to secure me,
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
Whether few or with many.

I invoke today all these virtues
Against every hostile merciless power
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids,
Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.

Christ, protect me today
Against every poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against death-wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort,
Christ in the chariot seat,
Christ in the poop [deck],
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

Mar 16, 2009

Commentary on John 1:47-51

Attached on this link is my commentary on John 1:47-51, using some insights from the Septuagint (Greek) version of the prophet Zechariah's writings.

Heaven Has Opened Up

Mar 15, 2009

Insights for Christian Activism, part 1: look BEFORE you leap, pray BEFORE you politik!

2 Sides of the Same Coin
Here comes an unremarkable statement: Liberal/Mainline Christians and members of the Christian right have similar approaches to political activism. Access to the nation’s highest office, in the North American context, the presidency, is the aim of all American Christian political activism. It is the dependence on the Executive branch in the hopes that she and her cohorts will execute God’s will on earth, whether it comes in the form of the progressive leftist agenda of the Christian Democrats or the restorationist vision of God-fearing Republicans. My experience as a Black Christian has impacted me tremendously in seeing the error of many African American churches embracing political candidates on Sunday mornings. My most vivid memory of this is when an underdog Democratic candidate for US Congressman in Kentucky’s 3rd District made an appearance at a church my family and I used to attend (it was a megachurch). Indeed, the pastor did recognize the candidate in the crowd and allowed this candidate to speak. I do not remember any members of the congregation protesting and I held my outrage at this offense on the inside (until now)

Resident Aliens
I am a Bible-believing Christian (someone who believes Jesus the Messiah is the path to the Father and who believes that Scripture is fully trustworthy) but as someone who has come to embrace the Anabaptist Christian tradition, I do believe in the Separation of Church and State (the disconnection between political and religious institutions). My undergraduate studies in religion, especially my class on the State and Church relationships made the difference. Then, as a seminarian, I encountered the work of Stanley Hauerwas, first through his book with William Willimon, Resident Aliens. One of my favorite quotes from that work goes, “Jesus’ eschatological teaching was an attempt to rid us of the notion that the world exists indefinitely, that we have a stake in the preservation of the world as-is”(Hauerwas and Willimon 1989). Christians nowadays believe that with every issue, the church needs to dive head first and baptize American democracy in Western Protestant imperialism. We only have to look at the culture wars to find Christians who believe that if they can change public policies or vote the right way, they can change people’s minds and hearts.

The Politics of Prayer
The first, and most subversive political action a Christian can take is to stop whatever she/he is doing and close their eyes, and pray. If we take the example of Nehemiah, for example, we see a couple of things in Chapter One that can aid those aspiring to be Christian social activists. First, Nehemiah addresses God in God’s Godness as God had revealed Godself to the Judeans. In other words, Nehemiah speaks to the great and awesome God of Israel who “keeps His covenant,” who “gave Moses the law” and who had “chosen a dwelling place for His Name.” (Neh 1:5,7,9). Nehemiah does not call God by anything Nehemiah so chooses; rather, Nehemiah knew that a relationship with the God of Israel and all other human action depends on the right knowledge of God and God’s revelation. A concrete example of this would be the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s where African Americans would go to church and praise God before they convened their protests. It was a full reliance on God, and not any one branch of the federal government that aided in the struggle for equality. Remember, the first step to Christian politicking: F.R.O.G.- Fully Rely On God!

Works Cited
Hauerwas, Stanley and William H. Willimon. 1989. Resident aliens : Life in the christian colony. Nashville: Abingdon Press, Page 88.

Limited Government, part 3: The Old Testament view

Up until now, I have been primarily dependent upon a particular interpretation of the New Testament and Christian theological resources. The reason for this is because I believe the strongest and most explicit religious case AGAINST any brand of socialism or form of strong interventionist federal government or executive branch rest in a majority of the Old Testament texts.
The Law
One of the most spiritually edifying and enjoyable courses I have taken at Brite Divinity School was The Jewish and Black Interpretation of Exodus. It was both a biblical studies and social ethics course co-taught by two of my favorite professors. For one of our assignments, we had to discuss the moral implications of the Exodus. My interpretation was actually pretty anti-imperial, if not in fact post-colonial in my comparison of Moses and Pharaoh. I contended that just as Pharaoh the oppressor, declared himself a god, so did Jesus himself warn us that not everyone who comes in the name of the LORD does not come from him (Matthew 24). I included with Pharaoh and the false prophets who claimed to be from God the European colonizers who arrived in Africa to redeem the pagans from the idolatry. The story of Moses (at one point an Egyptian prince) and the story of Pharaoh has political implications. The Exodus narrative can be seen as one where a man who fully relies on the power of the Almighty alone overcomes a false man-god who has the most complex scheme of tyranny to date.
Right before the judge Samuel dismissed the people from Saul’s ordination as king, he read them the regulations regarding (read: warnings against) the kingship. Deuteronomy 17:14-20 tells the Israelites not to go back to the ways of Egypt, the days where they were under the oppressive reign of Pharaoh. Constantly throughout the Law, they are warned against wanting to be like the other nations, who have monarchs who claim to be divine. The king of Israel is actually supposed to be submissive the authority of divine law; for a similar idea, the president of the United States of America are not above the U.S. Constitution. Long ago, God had approved of the rule of law, which had a judicial system, a select few representatives of the people (priests, in this case, for God) and a very limited executive. There are very close parallels in OT vision of public policy and the ideals of America’s founders, but not exact.
A short word on my interpretation of the book of Judges. The phrase, “and in those days, there was not a king" appears several times. I do not interpret that as a cry for a Davidic king, but rather, King YHWH Godself. It makes sense in light of the anti-kingship parable given in Judges 9 and the fall of Gideon’s son, Abimelech, whose name means, my father is king (a play on words). Gideon became arrogant, and his character was passed on to his son, who became even more boisterous and died and tragic death.
The Writings
On the surface, the days of King Solomon are filled with glory and joy and peace and prosperity. OT scholar Walter Brueggeman would offer a different suggestion. The question we should be asking is exactly, “who is doing the prospering?” and “at whose expense?” Maybe because we are so caught up in the glory of empire and the past histories of such royalty such as Queen Elizabeth and King Louis XVI that we both not try to understand the more ambivalent stance that the Bible’s historians take towards Solomon’s kingship. 1st Kings 4:20-28 describes how Solomon broke the law and had manual labor and gathered up war chariots for himself, and levied heavy taxes on the people, all contrary to the law! But yet, the text says, from East to West, each person lived safely under her/his own vine and fig tree. At this point, it is crucial to note Brueggeman’s contention about this passage, and later, how the prophets use the vine/fig tree blessing tradition: “[We] cannot know if 1st Kings 4:20-28 is a serious statement of state policy or if it is heavy handed propaganda, or if it is a subtle, critical irony. What is clear is that by such shrewd manipulation, the propaganda of the state promises the very thing it cannot give because it is in principle opposed to it. And the remainder of the Solomonic narrative makes the point: it cannot secure personal vines and fig trees for its citizenry because it is fundamentally devoted to rapacious use of those very products” (Brueggemann and Miller 1994) . In other words, the text given to us in 1st Kings 4 does not give us the whole story; we need knowledge of the Torah, specifically the warnings against Ancient Near Eastern Empire building in Deuteronomy and Judges, in order to comprehend the implication of Solomon’s actions as well as God’s rebuke of him in 1st Kings 11.
The Prophets
The formula of “every person under her/his own vine and under his/her own fig tree” appears also in Isaiah 36:16, Micah 4:4, and Zechariah 3:10. The first of these instances, in Isaiah, it is used as the rhetoric of Sennecharib, the emperor of Assyria. He tells the Israelites and Judeans to not listen to King Hezekiah, therefore, not the prophecies of Isaiah via YHWH. Sennecharib is promising a false peace where the God of Israel is placed at the margins of their life; this is a bogus promise that no true Torah-believing Judean or Israelite could take seriously. Zechariah 3:10 offers a messianic vision of the world where a priestly savior-figure takes away all of the guilt of Israel from the world and leads them into a land where each person not only has their own vine and fig tree, but that they also invite their neighbors to join them. It is a vision of justice and hospitality that excludes any notion of a monarch. Micah promises that no one will have any fear under their vine and fig tree. The messages of Zechariah, Micah, Isaiah, and the Chronicler (especially 1st Samuel 10:17-19), when read together, provide us with a vision of God’s dominion, which looks nothing like the statist policies of social democracies, communist or fascist regimes for that matter. The norms of God’s dominion are self-government, hospitality, justice, and peaceableness where expansion of the LORD’s empire results in an endless peace, with justice and righteousness at its very foundation (Isaiah 9:7)

Works Cited
Brueggemann, Walter and Patrick D. Miller. 1994. A social reading of the old testament : Prophetic approaches to israel's communal life. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.

Mar 10, 2009

Diversity in the Academy and the Workplace?

In the second episode of the first season of the Office, entitled “Diversity Day,” Dunder Mifflin (Scranton branch) manager Michael Scott and his employees are obligated by corporate headquarters to undergo racial tolerance training session by a company called Diversity Today. Embarrassed by the fact that the seminar was actually held because of his individual racially insensitive behavior; Mr. Scott decides to create his very own colloquium “Diversity Tomorrow.” In the “Diversity Tomorrow” video that Michael Scott makes, Mr. Scott says, and I quote, “Abraham Lincoln said, that if you’re a racist, I will attack you from the North.” By the end of the episode, Mr. Scott forces the employees to wear post-it notes on their foreheads which label them according to a particular cultural group that each will represent (Asian, African-American, Jewish, etc.); Michael, as a newly self-proclaimed progressive on race issues, plays the role of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and performs the function of mediator in ensuing the conversations about racial stereotypes that occur between his employees.

Although this episode does not tell us about actual events, there are some general truths about American culture that can be gathered. First, movements to promote diversity typically start from the top-down; corporate executives, university administrators, and the top church officials play the role of “Abraham Lincoln” by using a top-down approach to addressing issues of racism, sexism, and classism within their institutions. Diversity is the institutional practice that attempts to recognize plurality in the human experience by marketing an image that promotes white liberal democratic and capitalist norms in order to deny the history of white supremacy in the United States of America. We, as citizens of the world’s lone superpower, have had a tendency to forget the history of North American racial injustice by ignoring the heroic narratives of moral exemplars from marginalized communities in order to maintain Euro-American homogeneity within colleges, universities, businesses, and churches. The second lesson we can learn from Michael Scott is the utmost importance of heroic story in moral formation. For the “Diversity Tomorrow” seminar, Mr. Scott depends on a North American liberal meta-narrative of racial progress where the two complex stories of President Abraham Lincoln and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are simplified into a unified fiction where American racism has been ended while our heroes such as Dr. King and Honest Abe transcend the bounds of their historical contexts. [an excerpt from an introduction to a paper I presented last May]

The fact is that we still live in a racist society, one created, defined, and to a large extent, by the human construct in which we refer to a race. No one can escape racism; no one can claim to be color-blind. Sunday at 11:00am is still the most segregated hour of the week. To some degree, everyone has to capacity to be racist or be affected by racism. Academic institutions and corporations remain closed systems to the experiences of the racialized Other. We can pay tribute to Dr. King or plan events for twenty-eight days in commemoration of African American history, but there is still no honest and open dialogue. The conversation is hardly mutual; we are all fed the same mainstream media propaganda as they show us what it means to be Black like CNN’s Black in America. We learn that government intervention is the solution to our problems, and are told to give applause to such breakthrough policy efforts such as the Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society and affirmative action are the ways to save America from its racist past. Trust the government; we can save the United States from racial prejudice and white privilege. The truth be told, mainstream America’s delusion reflects an imperialist mode of being. In other words, by ignoring the complex power dynamics between the actions of the state and the individual, most Americans passively accept “the myth of the savior state” in order to avoid the hard work of racial reconciliation. We try to convince ourselves that the government can somehow impose its will upon our free will and our free conscience in order to make the world a safer place for multicultural. This is nothing more than a bold-faced lie rooted deep in the heart of neo-colonial logic.

Government is not the answer to the problem of the color line. God, the one rightful Governor of the universe, who alone able to transform hearts and minds, and who has already reconciled creation and humanity to Godself through Jesus the Messiah (Colossians 1:20-22). The appropriate response to God’s peace-making mission in the world is for people of all races and ethnic backgrounds to love each for their differences, and make intentional efforts to fellowship together for the glory of the empire of the One True God. Anti-racism movements must no longer be the burden of racial minority groups nor do we have to wait upon politicians in Washington, D.C. to enjoy racial harmony. We all must commit ourselves to intercultural communion and interracial communities of worship, just as John the Revelator envisioned as we will cry out in a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:10)