Thursday, June 23, 2011

True American Mosaic


i was surprised to see this article as one of the featured stories of Fox News:

Census Shows Whites are in Minority Among New Births in U.S.

This is like music to my ears. i love the diversity in America. i believe it is looking more and more like the ethnic make-up of the Kingdom of God. (This comparison holds strictly to the ethnic diversity of America and not it's policies or ideology or ethics.)

The news that white's will become a minority group by mid-century is not new. The birth statistics though are real numbers that make this reality more of a reality. It's like we're witnessing the birth of a star, the rising of a new nation through peaceful means, or some spectacular and incredible event.

For some folks however, it is a different experience entirely. Here is how the introduction to this news story reads:

"WASHINGTON -- For the first time, minorities make up a majority of babies in the U.S., part of a sweeping race change and a growing age divide between mostly white, older Americans and predominantly minority youths that could reshape government policies." (Italics mine).

Did you notice that this is all one sentence with a very peculiar ending? The news that minorities are becoming a majority is deeply disturbing for some because it means that 'minority youths could reshape government policies." For those who only read the first paragraph or two of news stories (most of us), they want to make sure you don't miss this major implication!

What is the fear? The fear is that someone other than older, middle-to-upper-class whites, could be directing the future of America! While FOX does not say whether this is good or bad, the implication clearly points to 'danger'! Why? Because it's going to 'change' our nation and its 'founding principles'. This isn't said explicitly, but if you watch or read FOX regularly you know this is very disturbing to their viewers.

Older white guys have run this world ever since the rule of the Greeks & Romans. What will happen if the world's super power is run by a non-Anglo race?

i am truly astonished to be witnessing the current level of blatant racism i see in this second-millennium. It seems to me that we've returned to the 1950's & 60's with a default white supremacy mentality which is simply unquestioned and unnoticed by the ethnic (racial) majority. It is not considered 'racism' but 'common sense' and 'patriotism'. I fear the national flag itself is becoming a symbol of white elitism as it is paraded by those who want to retain the power and influence of the historically majority race and culture.

Yet, as the birth statistics reveal, nothing can stop this change. What the future of American government policies looks like is uncertain, but i pray we don't assume that the country is going to hell simply because whites aren't the majority. The undercurrent in white conservative thinking is that it is 'our ideals' that keep the world from falling off the edge into utter ethical obscurity. History, i believe, tells a different story.

Scripture tell us, that apart from God, the world is in a downward spiral. Yet we ought to be very careful when it comes to the implications of our own thinking. To believe that our culture is more godly or that which 'keeps' the world from utter evil, is an utter evil in itself. It is this type of thinking that has wreaked the most havoc upon the world.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ramble On

i've been enjoying this song a lot lately. i don't know why. i've heard it a thousand times before, somehow it seems new again. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Don't Get Political Pastor!

The only time an evangelical finds politics distasteful is when the pastor is confronting politically motivated, unchristian thinking and behavior. That is, if the pastor questions a Christian's way of thinking concerning issues such as immigration, gun control, health care, taxes, Obama, or conservative talk show hosts, suddenly the evangelical parishioner finds a distaste for mixing religion and politics.

So long as evangelicals continue to listen to endless conservative talk show hosts who promote fear and hate, and politically charged media that sells itself as Christian, Pastor's will have to confront the forces which seek to distract Christians from the Great Commandments and the Great Commission.

Many evangelicals are primarily concerned with political issues as though these issues were a core part of their Christian faith. When Christians begin acting and thinking in unchristian ways, Christian leaders have a responsibility to point it out. When taxes, guns, military, immigration, and health care become the most talked about subjects in Christian homes and among Christian friends, then the issues need to be judged by a biblical perspective in light of the call of the Gospel upon the believer.

Does the Gospel want us to concern ourselves with being pro-gun, pro-military, anti-tax, anti-immigration, anti-health care (when funded by tax payers)?

These are the issues evangelicals are talking about today, and Christian leaders need to remind their parishioners of what the real focus and call of the Gospel is. If Christians get angry at a pastor for reminding them that Jesus probably isn't concerned about 'illegal aliens' or the size of our military, or our right to bare arms, or how much the government taxes us, or the injustice of the government using tax money to pay for someone else's health care, then we're probably confronting the right sins.

Speak the Language

The prophets often chastised Israel for their poor treatment of the alien and the sojourner. It is because Israel was an alien and sojourner both in Egypt and in their journey eastward, that they ought to treat the alien and sojourner among them in a helpful manner. Yet, since the alien and sojourner don't share the language or the heritage of the dominant ethnic group in the land, they are considered second class citizens.

In a recent sermon, i mentioned how we white evangelicals are still guilty of this second class treatment of the immigrant. We say things like "speak the language" to anyone who is speaking a foreign language. We don't know the people we criticize. They could be bilingual or a fairly new immigrant who is just learning the language. Most immigrants do eventually learn the language, according to the same process as German, Dutch, Irish, Polish, and Swedish immigrants did when they first came to America.

These two points should be considered. First, the English language is not native to America. Secondly, most citizens of other countries know multiple languages, so why should white Americans consider it below them to either speak or hear others speaking a second language?

Beyond this though is the challenge to white evangelical Christians. What does the preferred language of the immigrant in America have to do with the Gospel of Christ? Why would a Christian care what language someone chooses to speak in this country? Our job is to proclaim and present Christ, while the language a person chooses to speak is utterly irrelevant to Christ.

What is relevant to Christ is the elitist attitude of the white evangelical toward people who don't share their ethnicity. When confronted, white evangelicals try to downplay this accusation by appealing to the 'benefit' of speaking the dominant language, as though they were actually concerned for the sake of the immigrant. In truth they are intimidated by cultural change and identify more closely with secular nationalism than they do with the Kingdom of God. This is revealed in their statements concerning people whom they have no background information on. Is the person simply speaking to another person in a language they are more fluent in? Is the person relatively new to the country and only beginning to learn the language? The white evangelical doesn't care. They will spew out the elitist remark "Speak the language" and feel no need to ask such questions.

The only question that will be relevant to Christ is whether we tended to the material, relational, and spiritual needs of the alien and sojourner. The language the sojourner chooses to speak is not a Christian issue.

[as i write this i recognize the militant tone of the rebuke. i feel that i am forced to speak forcefully and unapologetically on these issues, otherwise i will be steam-rolled by a forceful and self-righteous counterargument. i wish i could speak passively or even congenially, but i sense the force of this way of thinking is only heard with the equal force of rebuke.]