The Practice of Living: All Saints Day

cloud-of-witnesses

Why do we run from death if death has been defeated? Why do we forget those who have gone before us and pretend that we have to go it alone?

All Saints Day is good for us here in America, in the West, where we are prone to ignore death and live alone.

All Saints Day breaks through our willed ignorance of death and our own myopic isolation.

All Saints Day is the day we remember the great cloud of witnesses that has gone before us by remember that the Church of Christ is much bigger than just those we see day to day, and it has lasted much longer than our own local extension of Christ’s Body.

Death has been Defeated

We must come to remember death instead of ignoring it, and for getting about those who has passed before us. But we must also remember that death has been defeated.

Much like Ash Wednesday, All Saints Day helps us remember that from dust we have been taken and to dust we will return. And yet the accent on All Saints Day is on the Church Triumphant, raised in Christ, the one who has overcome the grave and stolen death’s sting.

It is a day to remember and rejoice the lives of our friends and family who have died before us and sleep in Christ.

Here at Life on the Vine we spend the hour before our service bringing pictures and sharing stories of our loved ones who have gone on before us. And these pictures then stayed around our altar as we worshipped and shared the Communion of Christ together in the main service.

The Great Community

All Saints Day helps us remember the community of faith who have gone before us. It helps us remember that we are not alone, in this time and place, but that Christ’s church, the community of faith, is much bigger and longer than we often think.

all saintsFor we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses (Heb. 12), a great cloud of the faithful from all ages, whose lives speak of God’s great love, whose lives tell of God’s great work, whose lives continue to spur us on to love and good work.

In a long but good prayer our liturgist led us in remembering the Saint from the early church, from all continents, and all tribes, and all peoples who bear witness to the risen Christ.

Not the End

Let us remember that “This is not the End”, for the story goes on, “further up and further in.”

How have you celebrated All Saints Day in churches and traditions?

 

The Human Side of Prayer (along with Tim Keller)

I came across this on twitter and it caught my eye and made me think.

What do you think?

As a Reformed pastor and theologian I know Keller is seeking God’s Glory in all things, and rooting out humanity’s pride and arrogance in all things. I agree with this framework, to a point, in that in the Garden Adam and Eve fell because they wanted to be like God.

But this is only half the story.

Isn’t it also correct to say that Adam and Eve fell because they didn’t want to be who they were made to be?  They were trying to be other-than themselves, other-than created beings made in the image of God, designed for fellowship and communion with God. It is not just that they weren’t treating “God as God” but they weren’t treating “themselves as themselves” (I know that is an awkward phrase, but you get the point).

Returning back to prayer, I think it better to say not just that if we fail to pray we aren’t treating “God as God” but that in failing to pray we aren’t treating “ourselves as ourselves.”  When we don’t pray are not doing what we need to do to be truly human.  When we don’t pray we are becoming more and more sub-human (as it were).  It is not “weak” humanity that needs to pray, but rather it is “true” humanity that needs to pray.

This doesn’t make prayer all about humanity, but rather that true humanity is always a prayerful dependence on God, a prayerful seeking of God’s ways in the world.  True humanity always knows itself to be coming from and returning to God.

I worry that often times Reformed theology creates an “us” versus “God” dynamic (in this case it is prayer) rather than fostering an “us” with “God” perspective.

Why did Jesus Pray?

Let’s do a thought experiment and ask “Why did Jesus pray?”

Did he pray because he wanted to “treat God as God”?  Well, that seems funny because he already was/is God and so in that sens there would be no need for prayer.

Did he prayer in order to be a good example to his disciples about how to “treat God as God”?  Well, maybe, but again that would seem particularly disingenuous and inauthentic to fake prayers as an example (I suppose this would be something like a dad letting his kids win at a game).

Rather I would say we must not forget about Jesus’ humanity and this in his humanity (or better, as the “true” human) Jesus prayed because this is what he needed and had to do.  As the image of the true humanity living in faithful obedience to God, Jesus prayed to God for all that he needed (and even argued and pleaded with God, at least once in the Garden of Gethsemane).

Balance

So let us keep our understanding of prayer (and other practices) as balanced as our Christology (divine and human), taking into account both the human and divine directions of these practices (we could easily talk about evangelism, preaching, sanctification, etc).

For other thoughts about Tim Keller on prayer see Scot McKnight’s recent post on Keller’s Rules for Prayer.

(If you would like to stay connected about what I’m reading and writing, please subscribe to my blog at the top of the righhand column.  That way you’ll never miss a post)

Deeper Than We Thought (3): Drug War Myths

 

Post One and Twostopanfrisk_590_356-1

(This just happened: While writing this post on The New Jim Crow at a coffee shop an African American man asks me about the book and then tells me that he advised his son NOT to bring his car to college because the dad was worried his son would be arrested in the small college town.)

True Crime

True confession: I don’t really like crime shows.  And they seem to be everywhere.   How many different “CSI”s are there?  Well, after more of Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow I’m glad that I have not been watching.

As she says: “These television shows, especially those that romanticize drug-law enforcement, are the modern-day equivalent of the old movies portraying happy slaves, the fictional gloss placed on a brutal system of racialized oppression and control” (59).

Why does Alexander say this?

Chapter two discusses the “how” of mass incarceration, getting into the details of the mechanisms of the “War on Drugs” that has led the US to imprison a higher percentage of its population than any other country (last time I talked about how the “War on Drugs” was the transition between Jim Crow oppression and the oppression of Mass Incarceration).

The details are so dense and the content so intense that it is going to be difficult to summarize without just reproducing the entire chapter here.

But I will try under the rubric that Alexander’s chapter is a “Mythbusters” concerning the “War on Drugs” and how it plays out on the streets (next chapter bring it into the court house).

Myth #1: We are getting the Kingpins

High level drug dealers and Kingpins are rarely arrested or prosecuted (and if they are they have the money/lawyers to get drastically reduced sentences).  Rather, the majority of arrests are for minor violations like possession without intent to sell.  And the majority of those imprisoned have no history of violence or of selling drugs.

Myth #2: We are getting the serious drugs

Most drug arrests and convictions have been for marijuana possession not connected with more dangerous or violent drugs.  But even so sentencing has dramatically increased (but that is for the next chapter).

stopAndFrisk-300Myth #3: The Supreme Court is protecting your freedom 

When it comes to the war on drugs the Supreme Court has consistently opened up your person and possessions to law enforcement searches.  Most of the remaining myths are variations on this theme (but with very racial directed overtones).

Going back to British antagonisms, our Fourth Amendment prohibits police from carrying out unwarranted stops and searches on persons or property without probable cause of criminal activity.

In 1968, before the War on Drugs began, the Supreme Court ruled that a police officer could, if s/he had “reasonable articulable suspicion” that someone was dangerous, stop and search them for a weapon.  This became the “stop-and-frisk” rule.

Once the War on Drugs began this “stop-and-frisk” rule was extended (and supported by the Supreme Court) to include any drug related suspicion.

Myth #4: This is a Legal Search (kinda)

Of course the different between probable cause in relation to violence and probable cause in relation to drugs is pretty big, so police cannot just stop and search anyone.  So instead they seek “consent” for a search.  If a police officers stops you and wants to search you, they issue their orders in the form of a question (such as, “Will you put your arms up and stand against the wall for a search?” or, “Will you step out of your car please so I can search for drugs?”).  If obey their command-in-the-form-of-a-question then you have tacitly given your consent

And who besides this guy would refuse such pressure (esp. if you are from the minority culture)(watch out for explicit language). Watch the entire video because it illustrates some points below.

Myth #5: This is a merely traffic stop

In order to facilitate these types of searches police often rely on traffic stops (for any reason: changing lanes without signaling) to then begin fishing for drugs.  Minor traffic violations become the “pretext” for searching for drugs.

I remember in college being stopped for a tail-light or brake-light being out.  I’d have to give license and registration.  And then let go.  But if I hadn’t been white would I have been asked to get out of the car while it was searched.  Yes, probably, as was the case for the above video.

Myth #6: If you don’t give consent you won’t be searched

Maybe you didn’t notice in the video, but the man talked about a dog searching the car.  You see, even if you refuse consent the police can still search your car with a drug-sniffing dog.  The Supreme Court has ruled that walking a drug-sniffing dog around your car is not a violation of the Fourth Amendment, and if the handler interprets the dog as giving off a “hit” signal (again, as in the video), then this becomes the “probable cause” that was lacking.

Myth #7: This is an undirected process

No, unwarranted traffic stops used to fish for drugs has been a nationally coordinated and financed program.  Federal dollars have been used to train police in in pretext traffic stops and how to carry out “consent” searches.

Federal money has been used to train officers “how to use a minor traffic violation as a pretext to stop someone, how to lengthen a routine traffic stop and leverage it into a search for drugs, how to obtain consent from a reluctant motorist, and how to use drug-sniffing dogs to obtain probable cause.”

OK…

Ok, so this post has already gotten long enough, and I haven’t even gotten to the good stuff: like why our police for has been militarized (remember the show of force in Ferguson); how it “pays to play” the drug game; and who benefits from the “War on Drugs”.

I try and get to this early next week.

My last thought of the day is that while the “War on Terror” has certainly weakened many of our freedoms here in the US, but this process already started with the “War on Drugs”.  While now it is our phone calls and emails being illegally searched, before it was our cars and persons that were illegally searched.

Stop and Frisk Example:

 

http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2014/10/watch_ohio_police_change_story_and_arrest_couple_during_traffic_stop.2.html

 

Where I’ve Come From/Where I’m Going (Same Call & New Job)

Lighthouse_westside__9A427D

(Picture of Santa Cruz, CA, where I went to college and met my wife, Cyd.)

I don’t usually talk much about my day to day life on this blog. Usually is it more about what I’m reading or thinking or seeing in the church/culture more broadly.

But I have had some big changes of late.

Primary Calling

As you all probably know, I felt a strong call to ministry early in my life. In college I figured I would study philosophy as preparation for studying theology whenever I ended up going to seminary (which turned out to be Trinity in Chicago).

Halfway through seminary my wife and I found a great little church called Life on the Vine, and well, we kind of got stuck there. After seminary I came on staff and I have been co-pastoring there for the last 11 years.

Call Back to School?

But after seminary, and mostly under the influence of David Fitch, I had this growing thought that maybe I should go back to school and receive a Doctorate in Theology.

This was never something I had thought about or planned before or during seminary. I had always thought I would be a local church pastor and that was fine with me. Because of this call to be a pastor I didn’t even try and Ace all my classes or develop relationships with professors (for the purpose of them writing letters of recommendations later).

All that to say, I didn’t necessary have the strongest academic credentials or connections.

On top of that, because I was called to local church ministry, I decided that I was not going to leave my current ministry to pursue a doctorate. And I certainly was not going to go into debt to get a one.

So in 2005, with the conviction that I were not going to move and that I had to receive a full scholarship, I applied to only two programs. And you know what? I received a full scholarship to Marquette University (and the rest is history).

Secondary Vocation

So, “What are you doing with this doctorate?” you might ask.

Well, when I even began thinking about getting a doctorate I always wanted it to be in the service of the church (not just an ivory tower exercise).

In fact, I really wanted to somehow be part of what comes after “seminary” as we know it. For the last 10 years I have been sensing (like many of us) that how we train pastors needs to radically change.

I did not know exactly when, where, or how, but I knew that I did not just want to finish my degree and then begin teaching within an institution that was just working within a dying system of pastoral training.

MATM BackgroundDirector of Master of Arts in Theology and Mission

So, while I have had the privilege to teach Masters and Doctoral classes as Northern Seminary (and I have absolutely loved it), I’m very glad that now I get to be part of an exciting new program at Northern Seminary.

I am now the new Director of the Master of Arts in Theology and Mission (MATM).

This new program is extremely innovative in that it seeks to keep ministers in training in their local contexts, seeks to keep the cost as low as possible to avoid debt, and seeks to foster a community of theologian-practitioners.

The MATM is a strong step in the direction of “what comes after ‘seminary’ as we know it” by being affordable, local, and communal.  I won’t describe it more here, but please check it out (and tell your friends!).

Anyway, so I’m now spending about 20 hours a week of my time developing and promoting this new program (I began in September).

I’m still going to teach at Northern, which of course I’m excited about, and I will continue to pastor (my first and primary calling) at Life on the Vine.
That is all for now. Thanks for being part of this journey.

(If you would like to stay connected about what I’m reading and writing, please to my blog at the top of the righhand column.  That way you’ll never miss a post)

A Modest Plea for Coaches to Stay Pastors

When God called me to be a pastor I resolved I would never view the pastorate as a career ladder to be climbed.

Growing up I had seen and heard people talk about how some youth pastor had now become an associate pastor, with the implication being that someday he would be a senior pastor.  Or the similar idea was to move from a smaller to a larger church, and the really successful would become mega-church pastors, or at least staff pastors at a mega-church.

But with many in my generation of a pastors and ministers (I’m 36), dissatisfied with the church growth movement and its lack of growing mature disciples, I didn’t want to think of pastoral success in terms of butts (in seats), bucks, and buildings. I wanted to think in terms of faithfulness and longevity wherever God called me to serve.

And so I, like many others, had given up on worldly dreams of influence and success, and settled into a “long obedience in the same direction.

Or have we?

While it is true that in the circles I’ve been part of there is little ambition to be a mega-church pastor, I’ve begun to see something that might be analogous: the desire to be a church consultant/coach.

Over the last 10 years I have seen an increasing trend of those who talk about and then implement a “side business” of church consulting and coaching.  I saw this initially with those connected to mainline churches (probably because they have an established infrastructure for such things), but now more so within evangelical circles.

Certainly there are a variety of reasons one would become a coach: because you were asked, because you feel you have something to offer, you need a little extra income.

But I think there is also a more subtle ambition at work here.  It is sometimes expresses in words like “I feel God is calling me to lead leaders…” “I think God is calling me to greater influence…to influence the influencers…” “I want to pastor the pastors…”.  I have heard these and similar sentiments as justifications for becoming a church coach, which often entails an exiting of local pastoral ministry.

The trouble is, this is exactly how mega-church pastors talk about leading their churches, and how they justify the conferences they speak at.  Have we really come so far from climbing the pastoral “career ladder” when we sound like those whom we criticize for building their own kingdoms under the banner of building God’s church?

Read the rest of this post over at Scot McKnight’s “Jesus Creed“.

Are You Scared, Confused, Intimidated by Evangelism?

Aren’t we all? Is our imagination trapped by bad stereotypes of “evangelists”?

 

If you resonate with any of this then please come to this years Missional Learning Commons on “Evangelism and the Missional Church”, NOV. 7-8 (Chicago, IL). 

FRIDAY AND SATURDAY SESSIONS:

jameschambersTHE CONTEXT OF EVANGELISM
James Chambers  (InterVarsity)

Join us for an extended conversation and challenge to understand and engage our ever shifting culture with the powerful message of salvation.


 

FitchEVANGELISM and the KINDOM: THE ISSUES WE FACE

David Fitch (Lindner Chair of Evangelical Theology, Northern Seminary)

What are the different theological and cultural issues facing evangelism within and for the missional church?  This session will cover how evangelism relates to God’s Kingdom breaking in,  the church, and our culture.


Rich RichardsonCREATING A CULTURE OF EVANGELISM
Rick Richardson (Professor of Evangelism at Wheaton College)

This will be a panel conversation with local pastors who have been creating a culture of evangelism in their churches (see Evangelizing Churches).  Rick and these pastors have been together in a learning cohort and will share what they have learned about developing evangelism in local congregations.


jason-3RISKY EVANGELISM
Jason Smith (Vineyard Pastor, Mason, OH)

In the book of Acts, mission happens on frontiers familiar to our post-Christian context:  in the neighborhood (from house to house), in the religious milieu (synagogues, temples, town halls, and philosophy debate clubs), and in social networks (families and friends).  In every setting, disciples of Jesus continued to do the things Jesus did as they proclaimed the gospel with demonstrations of the Kingdom by the power of the Spirit.  What does it look like for us to take these same risks in evangelism today as we pray for healing, share prophetic insight and pray for deliverance in our mission contexts?


tim catchimTHE FOUR EVANGELISTS
Tim Catchim (V3 Movement)

What is our typical vision of an “evangelist”?  Is it someone who gathers large crowds and can guarantee a conversion? Or someone who bullys others with the gospel?  This session will look at four different types of evangelists who engage with the process of sowing and reaping of the seeds of the Gospel, helping all of us better understand our own gifts and opportunities as evangelists.

 

REGISTER NOW“Evangelism and the Missional Church”, NOV. 7-8 (Chicago, IL)

LOCATION: 

The Commons, of Peace of Christ Community Church in Westmont, IL.

Local Hotels:
ClubHouse Inn & Suites
630 Pasquinelli Dr
Westmont, IL 60559
Best Western Plus Oakbrook Inn
669 Pasquinelli Dr
Westmont, IL 60559

REGISTER NOW“Evangelism and the Missional Church”, NOV. 7-8 (Chicago, IL)

SPONSORS:

The Missional Learning Commons is glad to be supported by:

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Deeper Than We Thought (2): The Colorblind Racism

 

Those brought forcibly to America for slavery are now forcibly carried away through imprisonment.

Cimagesolorblind Racism

Two weeks ago I talked about how in my journey of sanctification I seem to be really working only on two or so deeply ingrained sins that seem to keep popping up in different ways. Just when I think I have gotten over it I find it sprouting up again: instead of the fruit of the Spirit, these are the weeds of the flesh, and they are hard to pull out.

Similarly is our societal problem of racism: just when we free those imported here from Africa from slavery then up comes Jim Crow laws; and just when that oppressive system is struck down through the Civil Rights Movement comes a new form of “colorblind” racism.

Just what this “colorblind” racism is and how it has come about is the subject of Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Her conviction is that “we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it” (2).

Today I’m going to look at her compelling narrative (chapter 1) about the three stages or systems of racism in the US: Slavery, Jim Crow, and Mass Incarceration.

The reality that demands explanation by citizen of the US is “the stark and sobering reality is that, for reasons largely unrelated to actual crime trends, the American penal system has emerged as a system of social control unparalleled in world history” (8).

My brief summary here does not do justice to Alexander’s detailed and persuasive argument (I would let you know if I’m not persuaded).

Slavery

In colonial America, laborers were needed to farm the land, and while we often think of the idyllic farmer and his wife tending their own plot on the frontier, most often it was indentured servants who worked for wealth landowners, especially in the southern colonies. These landed elite needed cheap labor to make their “New World” venture profitable back home.

The economic need of the elite eventually settled on the solution of slavery of Africans (because Native Americans were too wild (they tried) and the idea of enslaving fellow Europeans was not entertained). Racism (the pseudo-scientific and social belief that Africans were inferior humans) was utilized to justify slavery in light of what seemed to be a contradiction of the American claim of the freedom and equality for all (i.e. freedom and equality did not conflict with slavery because these enslaved people were not really equal and could not actually handle freedom). The social and psychological benefits of racism split the poor white workers from the enslaved black workers, ensuring that both groups would never unite and rebel against the economic elites. Racist ideology therefore did double duty in justifying the institution of slavery and in creating distance between poor white works and enslaved black workers who material lives were almost indistinguishable (classic move to divide and conquer the working class by the economic elites…something that is happening to this day, as we will see).

The economic needs of slavery created the psychological and social reality of “racism”. But the twist of history is that the “fiction” of racism as proved more durable than the “reality” of slavery, which did eventually come to an end in the US.

Jim Crow

After the Civil War Reconstruction came the KKK Redemption campaign (historical term for reclaiming the South for whites) that effectively instituted post-slavery racial inferiority for African Americans. Vagrancy laws forced recently freed slaves to work their masters again (basically it was a crime not to have a job every day), and petty crime such as “mischief” and “insulting gestures” were harshly enforced against African Americans.

During this time, political conservatives, liberals, and radical populists sought out poor white swing votes by pandering to racist fears (again effectively splitting the poor working class so as to keep poor whites and blacks in their place, but now convincing the poor white class to do the dirty work of race policing). As William Julius Wilson notes, “As long as poor whites directed their hatred and frustration against the black competitor, the planters were relieved of class hostility directed against them” (34) Again, those who would most benefit their own economic destinies by working together (poor whites/blacks) are split by racism, a perception of racial inferiority created to explain and sustain the economics of slavery.

And so Alexander says, “History seemed to repeat itself. Just as the white elite had successfully driven a wedge between poor whites and blacks following Bacon’s Rebellion [a multi-racial rebellion against the plantation elites in 1675] by creating the institution of black slavery, another racial caste system was emerging nearly two centuries later, in part due to the efforts by white elites to decimate a multiracial alliance of poor people” (34).

Mass Incarceration

After the Civil Rights Movement, overtly racist ideology could not be utilized within economic and political discourses to motivate policy. But this does not mean the sentiments disappeared from individuals nor that politicians stopped playing off racist fears for swing votes. Rather, through a linguistic mutation centering around the themes of law and order a new racist discourse developed: this was the “colorblind” emphasis on “crime” and “criminals”.

During the Civil Rights Movement political activists were cast as common criminals violating proper law and order. Segregation was cast as reasonable for sustaining law and order, a system now thrown into chaos.. Those opposed to the Civil Rights Movement attempted to criminalize those advocating for equal rights and equal access.

While the attempt to criminalize Civil Rights activists as a way of saving Jim Crow segregation ultimately failed, the focus only “law and order” by getting “tough on crime” became the blueprint for the next iteration of racial oppression.

In Congress and on the street, those who had previously cast a ballot for segregation (of housing, education, employment) would uniformly vote for strict crime policies that implicitly targeted black and brown populations.

Indeed, as has happened before, the poor white voter was split from the poor black voter under the guise of “getting tough on crime.” While conservative politicians are traditionally aligned with corporate interests and business elites, these conservative politicians could grab poor white votes by playing up racial violence and the need for getting tough on crime. A “colorblind” rhetoric aimed against crime (and those on welfare) was clearly understood to be directed at garnering white votes but impossible to prove as overly racist.

This “getting tough on crime” instituted through the “War on Drugs” (begun in the ‘80’s) is the reason the US incarcerates the highest percentage (by far) of its population of all countries, and why in the last 30 years our prison system has grown by 350%.

Once in place, “The system functioned relatively automatically, and the prevailing system of racial meanings, identities, and ideologies already seemed natural. Ninety percent of those admitted to prison for drug offenses in many states were black and Latino, yet the mass incarceration of communities of color was explained in race-neural terms, an adaptation to the needs and demands of the current political climate. The New Jim Crow was born” (58).

The actual mechanics of such a system of mass incarceration will be the themes of the next couple of chapters looking at the process of being arrested, the judicial process, and life after release.  These will be the themes of later posts.

ATV-prison-massWhat do you think?

In my last post I asked these questions:

  • Or, why does America have the largest incarceration rate of the “free world?
  • Why is that when people of all racial backgrounds use and sell illegals drugs at a similar rate, that people of color are disproportionately imprisoned for drug crimes?
  • Why does America imprison a larger percentage of its black population the South Africa did at the height of apartheid?

Do you have other answers than the one that Alexander is aiming at?

Deeper than We Thought (1): Our Society’s Sin

The Journey of Redemption 0e1140859_blog-racial-reconciliation

I’ve found in my journey of redemption that I don’t necessary sin egregiously in every category. Rather I’ve found I often keep struggling with the same two or three sins that seem to go all the way down to my core.

Every time I think I’m done with that sin God will gently tear off the Band-Aid and reveal just how bad the infection is. Over and over again this process goes on.

On a different level, this is true of our American society when it comes to race.

The Reality of Race

It seems that majority (white) people are often tired of talking about race (just like we are tired of dealing with that pesky sin of ours).  This is especially true of white evangelicals, where 69% think that the best way to improve race relations is to stop talking about race! It is as if we as a society think that because we acknowledge racism that we can now move on to our other sins.

But I would say this is probably one of the two core sins of our American society, and there is not easy movement beyond it.

And are we really working on it anyway? Or just managing it, like we manage having a short temper or indulging in too much dessert?

Aren’t we just managing “racism” when every so often we acknowledge the need for a “national debate”, or that those “real racists” need to be punished, or that perhaps the police are a little harsh on minorities, but never diving in to see how deep the sin goes?

These questions and concerns have directed me toward a book by Michelle Alexander called The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.

This book rips off the Band-Aid and shows how and why the problem of racism persists in a post-Civil Rights era of colorblindness.

The Questions

As any good pastor would, this books asks deeper and different questions about our sin, overlooking the “obvious” as it searches for the true causes.

For instance,

  • Why did the “War on Drugs” begin in 1982 (by Reagan) when drug use was on the decline, not considered a national problem, and a good 2-3 years before crack cocaine became broadly available in major US cities?

(Anybody remember this add?)

 

incarceration_1-800x510

 

And more specifically,

  • Why is that when people of all racial backgrounds use and sell illegals drugs at a similar rate, that people of color are disproportionately imprisoned for drug crimes?
  • Why does America imprison a larger percentage of its black population the South Africa did at the height of apartheid?

Notice the drift of these questions?

This is about our criminal justice system, not the proclivity of racial stereotyping by people or racial slurs spoken in the parlors.

Alexander’s questions seek to reveal the links between a new form of racism and our criminal justice institutions, forged through what has become known as the War on Drugs (all that is for the next post).

The Plan

So I’m going to spend the next couple of weeks reading through Michelle Alexander’s book and posting about it (mostly for myself but also in the hopes it will provoke some conversation among those who have and haven’t read it yet…acknowledging I’m a late comer to the party as the book came out four years ago).

In the next post we’ll look at her what she means when she says,

“We have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.”

Evangelism and the Missional Church (video)

Evangelism In The Missional Church: How The Kingdom Breaks In Among Us

Missional Learning Commons 2014

November 7 @ 7:30pm – November 8 @ 3:00pm | $25

 (Wait for the 1:08 mark to learn what Fitch really thinks of Geoff, and evangelism…)

 

This year’s Missional Learning Commons will focus on the oft forgotten member of the 5-fold gifts: the Evangelists. While the Attractional Church focuses mostly on Pastors and Teachers, the Missional Church often gravitates toward the Apostles and Prophets. But what of the Evangelists?

On Nov. 7th and 8th we will focus our attention on the Practices of Proclamation & Presence as we seek the Kingdom of God among us in personal spaces, social spaces, and public spaces.

The Missional Learning Commons is a great value as a 2-day conference (only $25, lunch and childcare on Saturday included), bringing together experienced pastors and theologians into conversations around important themes for the contemporary  church.

Get all the DETAIL AND REGISTER HERE.

 

Evangelism in the Missional Church: Nov. 7-8

Evangelism in the Missional Church:
How the Kingdom Breaks in Among Us

178869NOVEMBER, 7TH-8TH

This year’s Missional Learning Commons will focus on the oft forgotten member of the 5-fold gifts for the church (Eph. 5): the Evangelists.

While the Attractional Church focuses mostly on Pastors and Teachers, the Missional Church often gravitates toward the Apostles and Prophets.

But what of the Evangelists?

On Nov. 7th and 8th we will focus our attention on the Practices of Proclamation & Presence as we seek the Kingdom of God among us in personal spaces, social spaces, and public spaces.  

MORE DETAILS TO COME SOON

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SCHEDULE:

Friday, Nov. 7th (7:30-9:00pm)
Saturday, Nov. 8th (8:30am-3:00pm)

REGISTRATION (here): 

Registration will include a catered lunch on Saturday as well as childcare on Satuday for those who need it.

LOCATION:

The Commons of Peace of Christ Community Church in Westmont, IL.