Sunday, September 10, 2006

It's a Thin Line Between Love and Hate

I do believe it was Malcolm X who would frequently seek to assure America and the world that his love of Black America did not equate with a hatred for White America. According to Malcolm, many people mistakenly assumed that his vociferous pronouncements for the self-determination of Black America was also his despising of all things White. Malcolm was determined to show his "love" for Black America no matter the perception from White America. What Malcolm was reminding us is that there is a thin line between love and hate. Admittedly, Malcolm's language was often demonizing of White America, and thus one would have to ask the question, "Did Malcolm need to use the language of demonization of White America, to show forth his love for Black America? Did he cross the line from love to hate?" Well, I am not here today to take up that question. I simply refer to Malcolm in this instance because I can understand how our passion for one thing can easily be mistaken for a denunciation of another. This I have recently experienced when it comes to my insistence upon Reformed African-Americans developing our own agendas.

Some have assumed, wrongly, that my recent pointing out of the fact that the majority Reformed Conferences have a woeful lack of diversity was an attempt to indict or to impugn the integrity of those who put these conferences together. Nothing could be further from the truth. All I did was point out the obvious. My overall intention was not to denounce these conference. Hell, I plan to joyfully attend many of them. No, my main intention was, and continues to be, that the lack of diversity is a call for us, as Reformed African-Americans, not to lament the fact that we are not represented at these conferences, but to develop our own conferences and materials which will be representative of us. Actually, developing our own conferences is a step toward greater unity. I believe that is it only when my white brothers and sisters are able to come and fellowship with us, as we so often come and fellowship with them, will we ever come to the maturity of the Body of Christ. I also believe, that it will be primarily through the development of Reformed African-American leadership that Reformed theology will make serious inroads into the broader predominantly African-American church.

One need not assume that my desire for the further development of the Reformed African-American community is an indictment or even guilt-edged maneuvers against my white brothers and sisters. God forbid. I would not be who I am and know what little I know except for God's grace to me through the lives of men like RC Sproul, James Boice, Sinclair Ferguson, Richard Pratt, John Piper, and many others. Yet, I also know I am also who I am and know what little I know because of people like my mother, my coaches, my many close Christians of African descent who have never heard and may never hear of Sproul, Piper, or any of these men. Who will develop conferences for them to know and adore the supremacy of God in all things? Who will set before them a passion for the Sovereignty of God with language and faces that identify with them? We must. If God's gives me space and grace, we will.


6 comments:

Scotty J. Williams said...

I know exactly how you feel cause I got the same thing when I was in college. People would tell me that my love for the Black community and a a main initiative for spreading Reformed theology within it was a call for seperatism and division within the body of Christ. When I pointed out the lack of diversity as well people would think I was attacking that the majority community. It really sucks and please know that I will be praying for you.

Peace

Pastor Lance Lewis said...

You see this is why a brother can't have a blog... Will someone, somewhere please explain to me why Black people are the only people who cannot have a burden for our own?
How come when a white man has a calling to minister in the 'inner city' it's noble but when a black man wants to focus on black folks it's reverse racism and self-segregation?
How is it that Black folks are chastised when we speak of discipling our own via black conferences, blogs, campus ministries and yes churches and yet criticized when we dare to suggest that our white counterparts invest in the tiniest bit of true integration?

Riddle me this batman? How is it that when white ministries hold conferences with all white participants they're being 'color-blind' and only choosing the 'best' speakers, but should blacks do the same we're being separatist and divisive?

Tell me my black blogging brothers and sisters of all the white bloggers whom you refer us to on your sites how many refer you to their readers?

Case in point: I recently had the blessed privilege of preaching at the church of a friend of mine. This dear fellowship consists of second generation Korean and Chinese brothers and sisters. These dear ones like many other second gen Asians are much more fluent in Enlish language and American contemporary culture than their parents were, thus they've chosen to organize in their own churches.
Once more could someone please tell me why aren't they called separatist and divisive when they start and maintain their own churches? Since they've already so easily integreted into other aspects of mainstream culture why not do the same with their spiritual lives? Why aren't they told to disband their churches and integrate into white reformed ones? I'm sure their pastors would find work as assistants in white churches wouldn't they?

Once more could someone please tell me how long should we wait for the mainstream reformed church to notice the mission field next door? How long must we watch as black people drown in the flood of our own sin? How long must we endure the heretical teaching and despicaple lives of our so-called apostles, bishops and prophetesses?

Tell me if we're to simply wait in docile silence until someone comes to rescue us could we at least know around what decade they might start moving?

As I said... this is why a brother can't have a blog.

Peace with Truth
LL

John said...

Pastor LL and others,

This is not to deny what you said, because I have seen that there is truth to it; however, to answer your specific question regarding the whites passing on these blogs, I recently referred this blog to my father, and a good reformed (white) friend Brian Hedges (Mere Theology blog). Brian has, by the way, recently spoken of reading the biography of MLK. Philip Way, of pastorway blog, has been posting several writings on diversity and breaking down racial barries in the reformed communtiy. When I mentioned this blog they were both familiar with it and had many positive things to say about it. My father and I check it daily, and we also listen to Elder Carter's sermons.
Three weeks ago in our church of mostly older farmers from West Texas, I spoke on the verse in rev. "every kindred, tongue, people, and nation." We are not all blind to the need of diversification in our churches; my wife and I have discussed it several times recently.
And Elder Lewis, if I ever, by God's grace, have the opportunity to be in your area or Brother Carter's, I would consider it a blessing to worship in your church and hear your good preaching of the grace of our common Lord Jesus Christ, in whom we are all brothers.
Brother Carter has not offended the majority of white readers of his blog, I am fairly certain (at least not the true Christians among them.)
Incidently, when I have the money available (my wife has tightened my budget), the next book I plan to buy is "On Being Black and Reformed."
May God bless.

ajcarter said...

My man Lance,
So glad to see you check in. As usual your words are straight to the point and revealing. Thanks my brother. I look forward to seeing you soon.

John,
It is Christians with your heart and desire that God will use to grow us to the full maturity of unity we long to see. Thanks for checking in.

Scotty,
Thanks for your prayers. As you already know, I am praying for you and your new project. Godspeed.

JT said...

Tony:

Well said. Thanks for posting this!

JT

johnMark said...

I'm offended, but not by Tony's blog. I'm offended that every Sunday seems to be Segregation Sunday. My family and I watched a movie last night called "The Second Chance" and it touched on many issues within the church at large. I briefly mention it here: http://reformatabaptista.blogspot.com/2006/09/second-chance-on-dvd-watch-it.html

I wish we did have more black reformed conferences and beyond that reformed conferences that are equially black and white. I wish I would have known about the conference in Stone Mountain recently as I can't afford to travel anywhere and that would have been great.

Reading the comments on this blog help me see the otherside of the issue. I am "think" I understand, but I can't fully so I really appreciate the insight.

From my side here in the South I see the good ole boy network still in place in many areas. I saw it when I worked outside sales in Savannah and I believe I saw it during the last election when Herman Cain was clearly the best candidate. Instead, Isaakson won again who, if you looked at his positions side by side with Denise Majette you didn't see much difference. When I was a freemason before being saved I saw division then. I was taught and heard what the white masons said about the black masons, most of them anyways.

I know those are examples outside the church, but one of my former SBC churches was full of masons. And still is as far as I know. They even have the original cornerstone that was laid with the lodges name and the masonic symbols. Yeah, it's frustrating.

I did see John Piper preach in Atlanta a few years ago at an Asian conference. It was me and three other white guys. On the last night we saw four blacks guys who we sat close too. It was funny because we eight together were the minorities. No one cared and it was a great sermon. I believe they have this conference every year in different cities.

I could say more, but I'll stop. I'm just ranting anyways. I'm sorry some folks took wanting to have black reformed conferences in a negative way.

I don't have all the answers, but I do not want to be part of the problem. Tony, if there is anything I could do locally I would not mind at all. My time is limited a bit at the moment, but that's okay. Anyways...

grace and peace to you,
Mark