Tag Archives: Racism

Be Overcome or Be An Overcomer . . . Your Choice


“Do not repay anyone evil for evil . . . Don’t be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12

I’ve been wrestling with how to respond to Charlottesville and especially to the alt-right event in my city (San Francisco) this weekend. The easy thing would be to be overcome by the evil demon of hatred for the lunatics that wave confederate flags, don riot gear, and carry weapons and shouting “Jews won’t replace us!” That’s what my lower nature wants to do, repay hate with hate, even though Jesus prohibits it. That’s the definition letting evil overcome me, i.e. come over me, seep inside me and ruin me.

Jesus said labeling people “raca” gets us into trouble with God and with one another (Matthew 5). It’s an Aramaic word that is probably best translated “empty” or “worthless.” Jon Carlson said, “When we insist that others are ‘raca,’ that others are empty and worthless because they’ve given themselves over to evil, we don’t defeat their evil. We actually endanger ourselves, feeding into the very destructive tendencies we wish to overthrow.” That’s what it means to be “overcome by evil,” when we take on their evil by hating them with the same hate with which they hate us. Continue reading




After Charlottesville’s disaster on Saturday, while waiting in my car for some friends with whom I was going into the park to try to love some people toward Jesus, I broke into tears. I just sat there and cried––overcome by the sadness of it all.

I’m appalled and grieved by the demonically inspired hate that one group of humans can have for another, by that hate turning violent and murderous, by our President’s wet noodle, obfuscating seesaw remarks about it, and by the adolescent rhetoric and sloganizing that, predictably, has followed in the media.

Let’s be clear, this isn’t about “free speech.” You can’t have “free speech” if someone brings a gun to intimidate those they despise. You can’t argue with the armed, especially if they have friends in the White House. Continue reading

James on Justice (An Appeal for Classless Christianity) James 5:7-20


These few highlights are from our concluding podcast message on the epistle of James. If you’ve followed these 8 or 9 teachings, you’ve already heard me say that James, the half-brother of Jesus, had a very specific theme in mind when he wrote, a class-less Christianity. In his last chapter, he pulled out all the stops and confronted those from a higher socioeconomic status who oppressed those with little to no status with impunity. Read at your own risk!

Here are a few select sound bytes of mine from the podcast

Jesus, the justice-maker is coming… The Leveler is coming and he will even things out…

The oppressor will be judged and the oppressed will be vindicated…

When the Lord returns, he’ll fix all inequities. You’ll get justice, if not now, certainly when he comes back. And he is “near.” Continue reading

Resisting Racism and Other Injustices the Jesus Way

A older white guy wearing a red ‘Make America Great Again’ hat asked my friend the other day, “Were you one of the NIGGERS rioting in Oakland last night?”

Troubling times. Very troubling. Solutions anyone?

selmaMartin Luther King Junior offered his own solution to troubling times called, “Nonviolence and Racial Justice,” which was printed in the Christian Century in February, 1957. The entire article is one of the greatest ever written on the subject of how a Christian or any morally anchored human resists evil. Part way through he defined “nonviolent resistance” in five precise points. I quote only the points and some of his explanations (without commentary from me). Read the rest of his article here.

First, this is not a method for cowards; it does resist…

The nonviolent resister is just as strongly opposed to the evil against which he protests as is the person who uses violence… This method is passive physically but strongly active spiritually; it is nonaggressive physically but dynamically aggressive spiritually.

A second point is that nonviolent resistance does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win his friendship and understanding…

The end is redemption and reconciliation. The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community, while the aftermath of violence is tragic bitterness. Continue reading

To Stand or Not to Stand (Part 2 of 2)

kaepernickRegarding Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit out the national anthem, I made an appeal in Part 1 for dialog over diatribe. This story has obviously hit a nerve about the racial tension in our country, and of all people on the planet, Christians should be the first to at least engage in level headed conversation about it rather than a knee-jerk visceral reaction. That’s not to say that after our debates we’ll all come to the same conclusion. But at least we’ll be able to say that we put as much effort into listening as we did into pontificating.

I wanted to share a couple more observations about the controversy…

First, I wanted to point out that Kaepernick broke no laws by his method of protest. There’s no law or any NFL policy that I know of that says the players have to stand during the singing of the national anthem. It’s a great tradition, but not a rule. The Scripture sanctions civil disobedience at appropriate times and places, but this is not an example of that. What the quarterback did was certainly distasteful for many but not illegal. Continue reading

To Stand or Not to Stand (Part 1 of 2)

kaepernickSome people applaud Colin Kaepernick’s method of protest, while others load up for bear. Because I’m aware of the demographic of the bulk of my “readers” I feel the greater need to speak initially to the latter, to appeal to you to put lower your weapon and put it on safety.

You may not appreciate the means Kaepernick chose or care much for the messenger himself for using those means, but I’d like to propose that rather than degenerate to rhetoric-laden rancor, let’s see if we can’t turn this into an opportunity for dialog and even open-minded debate. I trust that you’re discontent with an immature knee-jerk reaction of self-righteous one-liners. Don’t make this into a Left versus Right, Us versus Them, Black versus Blue. Let’s do our best to focus on right versus wrong. I’m not talking about “I’m all right and you’re all wrong!

Instead, let’s try to get into the Maker’s head for a moment and imagine what he might be thinking about all this. After all, it is him to whom we have to give an account. It’s not our party, our people, or our personal preferences that matter as much as what the Creator wants––the One Who requires that we love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves. Continue reading

“Black and Blue” Lives Matter

black-blue-lives-matter-cartoon-598There’s a bunch of stuff that doesn’t matter, like arguing about one another’s mottos about what matters!

Just so you know, I’m pretty sure that it’s my life that actually matters most! Okay, I’m willing to concede that everyone who looks like me and agrees with me matter too––somewhat.

Of course, we also stand for the officers who are serving their communities faithfully and with equanimity. Saying “black lives matter” is not choosing sides against law enforcement. It’s not saying that all cops are bad any more than it’s saying that all blacks are good.

It’s a contextualized statement, like saying “Children’s Lives Matter.” That doesn’t mean adult lives don’t matter! In Hitler’s Germany precious few courageous souls stood and said in effect, “Jewish Lives Matter!” [Before you rush to the reply button, I intend no precise correlation between German Nazism and American racism.] Nevertheless, racism is racism.

Nobody in their right mind believes that it’s “only” black lives––or blue ones, for that matter––that actually matter. In a semi-literate society we really shouldn’t have to explain that the dictum simply means that black lives matter too!

For clarity sake, this “too” isn’t the same as the other two “to’s” in our language. Though this too has two meanings, as in “too much” and “me too,” the former meaning being the one implied by the “Black Lives Matter (too)” movement.

So we should not be confused by the assumption that black folks only matter “to” us, or that there are only “two” of them or us that matter. Those are those other pesky two to’s. The “too” that we’re trying to clarify is the one that means also, the one we shouldn’t need to need in order to make it redundantly obvious that we don’t mean they’re the only ones that matter.

If all that seems too convoluted, I recommend just reverting back to me being the one who matters (most). Continue reading