Ferguson: Between Jesus and Barabbas #Evangelicals4Justice

A Guest Post by fellow Evangelicals4Justice Member, Drew Miller:

Evangelicals4Justice_Ferguson

In an intimate conversation between Jesus and his disciples, just before Jesus predicts that Peter will deny him three times, Jesus asks Peter, “Will you lay down your life for me?” As Jesus’ crucifixion approaches, his question to Peter becomes reality, and the people who know of Jesus or his movement must make a choice—to suffer and die with Jesus, or to slip away in fear and passivity—to welcome Christ, or to reject Christ.

Peter is certainly not the only one to face this decision. Judas must choose to betray Christ or not; the high priests must choose between power and mercy; Pilate must choose the approval of the people or trust his own conscience. These individuals, however, do not stand alone in their decision-making, but amongst one of the strongest but often overlooked characters in Scripture—the crowd. As Jesus stands before Pilate, it is not Pilate who truly holds power—it is the raging crowd before him that demands for the freedom of Barabbas and the crucifixion of Jesus.

When looking back on the crowd’s decision, it is easy to see how wrong it was until we begin to ask where we stand amongst the crowd in our time. In the case of Ferguson and the grand jury’s decision on Darren Wilson, most of us stand in the crowd, waiting to see what the grand jury and the state may do while we decide what we must do. All eyes are on the jury, yet many of us who are watching realize that the real power does not reside in Governor Nixon or the grand jury, but in us. Just as it is the crowd who sways Pilate to crucify Jesus, so it is we who can determine whether or not justice comes in Ferguson and everywhere where racism exists. As bell hooks writes, “Whether or not any of us become racists is a choice we make. And we are called to choose again and again where we stand on the issue of racism in different moments of our lives.” Today, we have another choice. The grand jury is under the spotlight, but we are all responsible.

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Book Review: Leading a Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church


Leading a Multi-Ethnic Church book coverLeading a Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church: Seven Common Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Why I picked up this book:

I received this book as a gift while attending the Mosaix Global Network conference last fall. It was at the top of my very long and ever growing post-seminary reading list. This book is also of interest for my current leadership position at Gordon-Conwell, as we are working to develop a partnership with the Mosaix Global Network.

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Race Matters: Let’s Go To the Movies Part II

There has been a lot of chatter about race, racism, and racial reconciliation over the past few weeks. In our media driven and social connections, it is so easy to follow the latest trends and then forget why we were initially outraged in the first place. We forget that God is outraged too, and we forget that people lives are being impacted by racial injustices. We forget that when humans die, they often have loved ones who remain. These loved ones are not following the latest trends. They are not forgetting; they are still mourning, crying, losing sleep, and possibility waking up in cold sweats. We should not forget them. As Christians, we should not forget to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep.

Today’s post is Part II of last’s Friday original feature of movies which draw us closer to racial reconciliation. Racial Reconciliation expert, Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil believes that to truly become reconciled people, “We need to feel what we don’t experience.” Movies have a way of making us feel by intimating connecting us to the life experiences of another.

Part I featured highlights, some commentary, and video trailers from the movies: Crash, 12 Years a Slave, The Help, Schindler’s List, Hotel Rwanda and 42.

Today, I feature six more movies that you will actually need to rent or purchase through your favorite movie viewing mechanism. In no particular order, here are movies that I recommend to better understand racial and ethnic issues. These movies can be a great starting point for having important dialogs with friends:

  1. THE BUTLER

Why watch it: This is a movie that is inspired by (not based on) the service of butler, Eugene Allen, who served under eight presidents, including Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan. While it is a fictional story, it is honest in the presentation of the experiences of Black people over a period of time as America was drastically changing. More than being yet another movie about “The Help,” I feel this movie does a great job of presenting the challenges and two faces of minorities who oftentimes live in a white culture that is automatically assumed “American.” The movie also does an excellent job of confronting generational conflicts, specifically how two generations of Black people saw the issue of racism but decided that the solution and strategic course for confronting that evil was distinctly different. This all begs the question, “How will we address the issue of racism today?”

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