“Social justice” is a term often thrown around, but very rarely defined, explained or even clearly understood in daily discourse. Yet a clear definition of this concept is necessary because there is indeed a such thing as social justice - and then there is justice. Contrary to popular delusion, there is a difference between the two, for if they were indeed one and the same, the term “justice” would be sufficient. No qualifier or modifier would be necessary. But I've found that most often conflate these two concepts, which causes much confusion, contention and debate amongst Believers regarding our charge as Christians. One might argue that it’s just semantics, but I’d passionately beg to differ. And I am sincerely alarmed when professed Christians not only claim “social justice” is what the Body of Christ is charged to pursue, but that they’d dare argue it’s what Jesus preached or supported during His earthly ministry.
I truly appreciated the diversity I witnessed at The Gospel Coalition’s Women’s Conference this year. Granted, this was the first TGC conference I’ve ever attended, so I’m not sure what the attendee and speaker demographics looked like in years past. But I was honestly blessed to see women of a myriad of backgrounds all up and through that place - speaking on the main stage, facilitating workshops, walking through the halls, leading praise and worship, checking in at registration, volunteering - all over. I saw a beautiful tapestry of women who varied in age, ethnicity, marital and parental status, education and vocation, ministries, and time in Christ. Yet, as I basked in the beauty of the diversity in the sisters around me, ironically, I found myself quite disturbed by an event the conference held for women of color.
Black Panther did well to bring black representation to the big screen, and I was delighted to see men and women who look like me playing roles that weren't of the “thug” or “slave” variety. Black despondence nor dejection were on the menu for this film, and I am 100% here for it. I’m also here for the diversity this film brings to media and entertainment. As far as film productions go, Black Panther was quality all around, and I sincerely believe it is Oscar-worthy. It really was THAT good!
But as other moviegoers across social media have shared their feedback on the film these past few days, the hype has reached a level that has caused me concern for my people - my Family in Christ.
Since Ferguson, Lecrae’s been much more vocal about racial injustice, and he’s taken some heat for that. In recent interviews he’s implied this backlash has come because American Christians are just too privileged to “get it”. According to him, the American Christian culture sees a black man speaking on such matters as being “too black”.
But as a Black Christian, I’ve have to interject and say, NO, my brotha! That is NOT the heart of the issue.
Author and White Privilege Conference speaker, Paul Kivel recently argued that everything negative in American society can be traced back to Christianity – racism being chief among them. I found it challenging to understand how he could rightly blame Christianity, in and of itself, for racism other than to characterize it as “the white man’s religion” and to bash the King James Bible as racist propaganda. So, I sought to determine if Kivel's claims had any legitimacy.
Is Christianity the white man’s religion? And does it, through the Bible, support racism and the inhumane treatment of Blacks and other people of color? Here are my thoughts.
It’s been a rough week.
As nine innocent churchgoers lost their lives last Wednesday night at the hands of a shooter poisoned by hatred – scratch that – sheer EVIL, I sat in the comfort of my home drafting a carefully crafted piece on forgiveness, specifically what it truly means, how to extend it, and how certain attitudes can hinder it.
In the days leading up to writing that piece, I’d wrestled with God over the topic because I felt it wasn’t ‘sexy’ enough. We’d been privy to the bizarre and the strange that is the Rachel Dolezal story for days at that point, and I felt I was losing too much precious time writing about “forgiveness” when I’d much rather get in on some “transracial” action!
But God nagged me to publish my next post on forgiveness and, honestly, I didn’t get it. I initially felt the subject had absolutely no relevance. “Who would even read it,” I thought. But I soon came to realize why God inspired me to speak on that particular topic.