Oh did I type that outloud?
In a Facebook post from a highly educated, well respected, Baptist leader, (I have been corrected- not evangelical)** pastor, and professor of pastoral ministry, (not theology)**, he vocalized his concern for the racial divide in our country. He stated a young black man who attempted to find work using two different and ethnically diverse names on his resume, only to get responses from those with the “white” name used.
He also mentioned a woman who lived in an environmentally challenged neighborhood, where her child played outdoors in an atmosphere that could cause brain damage.
As I read the post and the replies to his post – I could only imagine that the rants and grumbling were met with shaking heads and wagging fingers…. so I asked: “What action was being taken to combat this issue?”
In essence (what I was thinking in and among my elevated temperature)– “What are you doing about this? And how can I help?”
Needless to say, the battle has been waged and the war of words and accusations is on!
We have a nation of privileged, entitled, whiny, people – but it’s not just white privilege or black pride – it’s Spiritual Privilege and it comes in all colors and in many denominations.
It’s the American Evangelical church, who, instead of leading the charge of faith with works – hide behind their veiled sin of complacency and blame those who they have allowed to be elected into office by their silence…. or unwillingness to run themselves.
Our nation, our communities are full of those who feel oppressed and abandoned, whose voices are silenced with bureaucratic red-tape – and those of us with a voice, those of us with the answer and the power of the Holy Spirit do little to nothing except shake our heads and wag our fingers – playing right into Satan’s hand of diversion and division.
What is it about the American church that makes them feel as if they have no responsibilities?
Oh, we have spiritual activists, who chain themselves to abortion clinic doors, spewing Scripture – yet fail to offer a hurting young woman, who fears losing the love of her family and her home because of a high-school decision gone bad – a ride home to be there with her as she breaks the news to mom and dad. Those who fail to offer resources for low cost medical alternatives, adoptive families, or a temporary home where she can find the love of Christ, help with school, transportation to and from Dr. appointments and fill out potential job applications.
We would rather adopt children from foreign countries – than give homes to the 670,000++ that are in the United States foster care system… or to those babies about to be aborted.
We grip about the black child whose resume was rejected due to the racist environment in which he lives – yet do not pool our resources to help him find a job or to relocate to a different town, in the home of a “exchange” Christian family who will help him achieve his goals and dreams, drive him to and from job interviews, feed him, clothe him, train him for his job interviews and prepare him to rise up to be all God created him to become, so that he can then go help others be all that God created them to be.
No. We nurture racism by posting it on Facebook and blaming ignorance – maybe because we don’t want to take a good, hard look into the mirror’s reflection of our own irresponsibility. We would rather sit behind our computers, in the comfort of our air-conditioned, EPA modified homes and complain.
As evidenced by the response I received to my question… no solutions, but a whole lot of excuses, blaming, derailing, and deflection.
Privileged Christians of the American Evangelical church stand back and do nothing regarding the atrocities on college campuses that are taking immorality, racism, and violence to a whole new level. We don’t stand in the open air of these campuses with a Bible in hand – no. We just watch Fox News and pray for change.
All while we lift “holy” hands to the Mighty God, I AM, and complain about a country that has gone to hell – as the stained glass hides the blood on our hands.
“If we build it, they will come” … “All the world needs is Jesus…” we spew…
But what happens when they do come? Do we take our blood-stained, holy hands and lay them upon their shoulders and say “go in peace, we will be praying for you…” Or do we take a mission trip to their “world” and forge a plan to help them raise their children? Feed their families? Provide clothing? Education? Training? Applicable help of any kind?
What about teaching them to fish?
What about filling out the forms to obtain welfare? What about helping them fill out a FAFSFA Financial aide application and college entrance forms? What about filling out their immigration paperwork so they don’t get deported? What about going to court with them as they try desperately not to lose their children? What about teaching them to budget their money and obtain a voucher for their children to go to a better school and contacting resources that will give them bus passes to get where they need to go? What about providing them with a ride to church and church activities? What about inviting them into your home when theirs is too dangerous to live in?
No. We don’t do that.
Because we are Christians. We are free. We are glorified. We are blessed. We….
We are the Spiritually privileged.
American Evangelical Christians have become so blind to their own sin and the needs of their own communities – that they actually don’t think twice about building magnificent structures with commercial grade kitchens and multi-purpose rooms by the dozens – all with state-of-the-art sound systems, special effect machines, and lighting systems, so much so, that the benevolence budget becomes that for which it is deemed: “members only.”
How often are these commercial kitchens used to provide meals to needy families? How often are these “multi-purpose” rooms used to house the homeless, the destitute, the orphans, widows, victims of violence, and the oppressed? How often is the church office open to help those who need help filling out an employment application or learning how to interview for a job? How often are these “multi-purpose” rooms opened up to offer alternative education opportunities? Complete with someone who works the community employers to hire these men and women?
It is summertime in America – and fundraising events are happening all over the nation to provide the much needed financial resources for the Church’s Spiritual Vacations… aka: “missionary trips”… Much will be raised, many items will be gathered, and volunteers with their special skills will be deployed to a beach-city somewhere across the sea…
After which, they will come home and expound on their glorious trip, embellish their spiritual work – after all, who will really know? If they did missions here in the U.S., there might be people who want to check the “numbers” with the local reporting agencies and hold them accountable – they would require accountability by asking who or when those you “witnessed” to were coming to church – or what church you have set them up in… How often do you visit them? Disciple them? What projects are you doing in their community?
Yes, it is much easier to travel abroad… and leave it all behind, with nothing to carry home except a big-fat-bag of pride.
But those of us who work in the trenches and need volunteer “missionaries” … Those of us who need the financial assistance and support of the church community – so that we can minister to those right here in our communities will be ignored for the most part. Oh, we’ll have a raffle and raise a few hundred here and there – and then a few months later we’ll have another and the same people will give again…
As a matter of fact, more often than not, just like the people they are commanded to “feed” … we are often pointed to non-Christian, government agencies to find our financial support, resources, and referrals…
Volunteers? Get the training the need to put all their God-given gifts to use for the Kingdom? Oh no! They might have to go into the dark places of America, it might be too “dangerous,” they might have to get their hands dirty, or be humiliated, spit on, and thwarted by the society that they cling to in complete desperation of their approval…
Yes, the supremacy, the biases, the privilege is alive and well in America – and its greatest numbers are found in what we refer to as “The Church.”
-Holly T. Ashley is the founder of R3 Redemption. Restoration. Recovery Domestic Violence Services and Training – a division of Cross Strength Ministries, a 501c3 Christian evangelical organization. Find out more at: http://www.Redemption3.com or http://www.CrossStrengthMinistries.com
#RaiseTheBar #CrossStrengthMinistries @DVRedemption
**This post has been edited on 6/7/17 for correction of the credentials at the request of the Professor, Dr. Doug Jackson.