Friday, February 2, 2018

Stereotypical White Christians

I am not your stereotypical white Christian. 

From Wikipedia: “In social psychology, a stereotype is any thought widely adopted about specific types of individuals or certain ways of behaving intended to represent the entire group of those individuals or behaviors as a whole. These thoughts or beliefs may or may not accurately reflect reality.” Examples given include cops eating donuts and boys playing video games.

If I am correct, the stereotype of a white Christian these days is someone who:
  1.  Voted for and continues to support Donald Trump
  2. Is afraid of or dislikes Black people
  3.  Supports building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico; wants to deport a large number of immigrants and wants to severely limit immigration
  4. Is openly hostile toward gay people
  5.  May be a closet supporter of the KKK
There is probably more. Help me fill in the gaps.

I submit that this stereotype actually fits only a minority of Christian people, and that those it does fit are in violation of basic Christian principles.
  1. Who you voted for and why is your business and not mine. I won’t criticize you for your vote. I do believe that many people who voted for President Trump did so more as a vote against Hillary Clinton rather than in favor of Trump. The Democrats gave Trump the election when they nominated Clinton. However, President Trump does not represent what I believe are the core principles of Christianity.
  2. Christian people are actively working to reconcile Black and White Christians in the hope that doing so will lead the way to a broader reconciliation across the nation.
  3. Being opposed to immigration is contrary to Jesus’ teaching about loving your neighbors and to much of the Bible’s instruction to take care of strangers. We need to set our fears aside and trust in God.
  4. While it is true that many Christians believe that practicing homosexuality is a violation of God’s law, they do understand that it is mentioned in the same Biblical lists as gossip and pride. There is no excuse for being rude to people.
  5. We are all made in the image of God. We are to love everyone and to hold no group as more honorable than any other. That includes people of all races, faiths, and persuasions. We are to be welcoming, kind and gentle toward gays, Muslims, gossips, corporate directors and panhandlers.

While there are Christians who are very fearful and are therefore very defensive (and some times offensive), please don’t lump us all together in one large group and then dismiss us. We can be loving and understanding and sometimes even helpful.

Monday, October 30, 2017

My Nightly Prayer

This may seem strange, but I really do pray this prayer almost every night. 

To understand this, you need to know that to "keep" your soul means to stay alive. For God to "take" your soul means for you to die and go live with Him. Here is the prayer:

"Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to keep."
Though, Lord, as you know,  I'm not asking to stay here forever, or even for any extended period of time. What I am suggesting is that, if you really do have good works planned for me to do, like you did for Paul and like Paul wrote about to the Ephesians in Chapter Two, I am okay to hang here for awhile and work on some of them. I just ask that you would give me a pretty clear picture of what they are. But if you don't, I will keep looking for them.

But I want you to know that anytime you get ready for me to come home, I am good to go. The only request I have about that is that, if I go first, you would take really, really, really, really good care of Charlene.

"But if I die before I wake, I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to take."


Thursday, October 26, 2017

:"Growing Up White"

The following is the language from the back cover of my forthcoming book, "Growing Up White - From Pearl Harbor to Black Lives Matter." I hope to have it available in just a few weeks.

"This is the story of the enlightenment of one young man who lived through the Civil Rights Movement, who sympathized with it, cheered for it even, loved the music of it; but who didn’t do anything significant about it.

It will take you from WW2 to Viet Nam, from the murder of Emmet Till to the integration of Little Rock Central High School and from a Black Boy Scout Camp to James Meredith’s admission to Ole Miss. It tells of our adoption of an eleven-year-old Black boy, of the mother who ran away and the church that ran away, of my rescue by a Nigerian man, and of our successful efforts to get Black foster children adopted.

In the end it asks what Jesus would do and it suggests the beginning of a solution to our current racial issues."

Monday, August 21, 2017

Sterotyping People

To “stereotype” originally meant to make a mold of the type in a print shop and, from the mold, make copies of it. Every page printed from the resulting type would be identical.
To stereotype people, though, has adverse side effects. When you assume people are alike because of common characteristics, like height, weight, age, race, gender, color, language, likes, dislikes, religion, political beliefs, or income you do them and yourself a great disservice.

To believe that all black people, all Muslims, all males, all police officers, all atheists, all homeless people think or act in a certain way is just wrong thinking. God made us each unique (1 Corinthians 12:12-26) and He loves us all (John 3:16). To lump us in with all others with whom we have one common characteristic is to dismiss most of who we are.
We may be careful not to talk about people in stereotypical terms, but we likely do sometimes act as if the stereotypes are true. As God’s ambassadors to this world, we need to get to know the whole of every individual we encounter.