Many Chickens Are Coming Home to Roost in the SBC. Cornerstone Church, Atlanta, Leaves the SBC Due to Concerns Over Racism.


“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.


When my father started school, he couldn’t speak English. His parents were Russian immigrants who lived in the Russian/Polish section of Salem, Massachusetts. When asked his first name, he gave a version of the name *William* in Russian. The intake officer didn’t know what he was saying and decided it sounded like *Walter.* His legal name was recorded as Walter Nalesnik. However, all of his Russian and Polish friends knew his real name was William so he was called *Bill* by all. That is how *Walter* became *Bill.* He experienced much discrimination. Epithets like *Red* or *Commie*   was often thrown at him. it was something that bothered him all of his life.

Despite his many foibles, he was virulently anti-discrimination be it due to skin color, economic status, or national origin. He even enjoyed a closeted gay couple who first came to him as patients (He was a family doctor.) The vase at the top of the post was a present from this couple to me when I got married. Both my brother and I grew up enjoying people from all nations, colors, and social situations. Perhaps the best example of his view of people was the day I brought home an African American seminary student whom I dated a few times. My dad was so excited, asking him all sorts of questions about his family, goals, and his favorite subjects. When that nice man and I went out separate ways, my father told me that he had liked him and was rather sad the relationship hadn’t continued.

I spent two years on the Navajo Reservation working for the Tribe. They schooled me in the horrific treatment of Native Americans by the US government throughout the years. Do you know about the Trail of Tears? How much of this was covered up by the government? I was so glad to be able to take my aging father onto the reservation to sew how medical care is delivered. At one point I saw my dad speaking to a very old medicine man while my mother was holding a beautiful Navajo toddler. You can imagine the questions that he raised in the aftermath.

Moving to the South was a bit of a shock to me. So many people told me that the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery. It was about *states rights.* I would quietly disagree. I had one person tell me that integration went well in the schools. He said that there was an African American boy in his class and everyone was friendly to him. So, I asked him if he had ever invited this black boy to his home or the movies. Silence. Don’t even get me started on the Confederate flag. It seemed so unnecessary. But, after all, I’m a damn Yankee.

My hard questions about the Holy Spirit and slavery

Before I begin, let me acknowledge the many Christians who spoke out against slavery-like William Wilberforce, John Wesley, Charles Spurgeon, Charles Finney, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. I’m going to open up a bit on an issue with which I struggle. As a Christian, I believe that the Holy Spirit indwells each believer. As a Lutheran, I believe that Jesus is present in the communion. He who dwells within me is the Source of Truth.

  • Why was slavery acceptable amongst Christians? So many bought and sold slaves. So many had slaves. Didn’t the Holy Spirit convict Christians 200 years ago about the heinous nature of buying and selling humans?
  • Why did so many who claimed the faith fight in the Civil War to preserve slavery?
  • After the Civil War, the slaves were freed yet so many didn’t treat them as fully human. They could live in their section of town and have their churches and schools. To make matters worse, the Southern Baptist Convention was founded on discrimination. Southern Baptist Seminary Confronts History Of Slaveholding And ‘Deep Racism’. How could this be? Was the Holy Spirit silent in the lives of the foot soldiers of the faith?
  • Why were Jim Crow laws considered appropriate responses by Christians?  “These were state and local laws that enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States.[1] These laws were enacted in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by white Democratic-dominated state legislatures to disenfranchise and remove political and economic gains made by Black people during the Reconstruction period.[2] The Jim Crow laws were enforced until 1965.[3]”“In practice, Jim Crow laws mandated racial segregation in all public facilities in the states of the former Confederate States of America and in some others, beginning in the 1870s. Jim Crow laws were upheld in 1896 in the case of Plessy vs. Ferguson, in which the U.S. Supreme Court laid out its “separate but equal” legal doctrine for facilities for African Americans. Moreover, public education had essentially been segregated since its establishment in most of the South after the Civil War in 1861–65.”

The SBC lurches from crisis to crisis, often forgetting the old one for the new one.

A year ago, the lid was blown off the SBC penchant for denying and covering up the many, many reports of sexual abuse of children as well as adults in many churches. I’m sure you remember that heads were going to roll and those bad actor churches would be thrown out…but they weren’t. And all the actions that were supposed to take place, didn’t. There is all sorts of politicking going on involving the Executive Committee and it has been rather ugly. I will try to get to that in a coming post. What this means is that sexual abuse is back burnered. It is one year later and there is NOTHING except a nice manual which churches are free to accept or not accept. Caring Well has been buried for the time being because…they don’t really care that well. I have news for you. I’ve talked with some churches and have found they don’t follow the manual that well except they have one to show everyone they *care.*

Two other recent stories are contributing to the *ouch factor* of the post.

1, Alabama SBC pastor and state legislator, Will Dismukes, was forced to step down after giving the invocation at an event honoring Confederate and Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest.

2. Eric Metaxas decided to tweet that Jesus was white and it was not well received

Dee upset the pug dogs by banging her head on the kitchen table after reading these two stories. Night after night, there are protests over racism. How could these guys be this out of touch?

Cornerstone Church in Atlanta is leaving the SBC due to racism.

I want to thank SBC Voices. I regularly read their blog. They keep me up on all sorts of things *SBC.* They posted Leaving the SBC behind? This has to be discussed about Cornerstone Church. I think this is a harbinger of things to come for the beleaguered SBC.

According to the  Christian Post in Cornerstone Church Atlanta votes to leave SBC: ‘We should’ve done it sooner,’ black pastor says:

Pastor John Onwuchekwa, lead pastor of the diverse but predominantly black Cornerstone Church Atlanta, announced Friday that his congregation has voted to leave the Southern Baptist Convention.

“On Sunday we voted as a church to leave the SBC. I don’t say this for applause (there’s nothing particularly commendable about our decision). I only mention it to bring clarity surrounding where (and with whom) we stand in days like this. Frankly, we should’ve done it sooner,” Onwuchekwa wrote in a series of tweets last Friday.

Pastor Onwuchekwa said he was concerned that other churches of color would think it was safe for their church to join in with the SBC because Cornerstone was a member. OUCH!

Onwuchekwa hinted that among the reasons his church is severing ties with the SBC is that he did not want to send the wrong message to particularly other Christian leaders of color that the organization is healthy for them.

“Often when you find yourself with people you dearly love and want the best for, you end up staying around longer than you should. That was us. In the coming weeks, I’ll be more vocal and comprehensive as to our reasons why. But for the time being, I’ll say this much,” he continued. “Whenever you swim in certain streams, you implicitly hold up a sign that says ‘Come on in, the water’s fine.’ We don’t want to hold up that sign. Instead, if I’m going to hold up any sign—it’s going to be one on the outside of the pool that says ‘Enter at Your Own Risk!’”

According to Christianity Today, Onwuchekwa is a council member of The Gospel Coalition. Apparently he felt sidelined when he brought up issues of social justice with the SBC.

Onwuchekwa also pointed to SBC leaders who had close ties to Trump, as well as a controversy over a resolution to denounce the alt-right at the SBC 2017 annual meeting. At first, the SBC committee in charge of resolutions decided not to put the resolution to a vote. A revised version of the resolution was later approved.

Onwuchekwa was also concerned when critics of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and its leader, Russell Moore, tried to defund the group.

SBC: Don’t do it!! Don’t ask for the money back. This move will haunt you for years. It isn’t worth the $175,000.

The folks at SBC Voices pointed to an underlying issue that could easily be overlooked.  They quoted from Christianity Today which posted Atlanta Church Splits With SBC for Downplaying Racial Issues. It appears the response from the SBC is more concerned with money issues.

When Cornerstone ­­­­needed a building, the SBC helped the church get a loan. Last year, when the church wanted to renovate the building, it got a $175,000 grant from NAMB to assist with that. The grant was distributed through Blueprint Church, another local congregation that partnered with Cornerstone as a “sending church.” Blueprint’s pastor, Dhati Lewis, serves as one of the vice presidents at NAMB.

It appears some SBC leaders think he Onwuchekwa needs to pay the money back. Kevin Ezell, head of the NAMB (North American Mission Board,) apparently hinted around that he wants the money back.

A few days after Onwuchekwa announced the church’s decision on Twitter, he and Ezell texted each other about the fallout from the announcement. That conversation led to Ezell bringing up the topic of money.

“The SBC has been very generous in their investment in Cornerstone and you,” Ezell told the pastor.

Ebert told Religion News Service that there was no written agreement saying Cornerstone would have to return grant funds if it left the SBC. But NAMB did expect that the church would remain part of the denomination.

“We wouldn’t invest in a church if we thought the commitment to the SBC was not there,” he said.

Ezell expressed great love for  Onwuchekwa and said that the Apostle Paul and Mark went their separate ways. I looked over that story which is found in Acts 15:36-16:10. I see no discussion about Mark forking over any funds to Paul. Apparently Onwuchelwas wasn’t thrilled about Ezell’s s big ask and recalled how much was taken from the slaves in the past. SBC Voices said that there was no written agreement regarding the church’s obligations in the matter.

There are written agreements for NAMB church plants. Evidently, no written agreement for the $175k renovation grant.

Onwuchekwa, son of Nigerian immigrants desires another conversation about repayment, more to be done to “reckon” with the pre-Civil War founding and founders of the SBC. Those in his congregation would certainly include many descendants of slaves. I’m OK with having that conversation too.

The chickens are truly coming home to roost. Lots and lots of chickens. I predict the SBC is going to have some difficult days ahead. I wonder if they have anyone who is skilled enough to handle such huge issues? About the only thing good coming out of this mess is the Calvinist wars seem to have faded a bit.
I would love input into my questions regarding how Christians centuries ago could condone slavery.

Comments

Many Chickens Are Coming Home to Roost in the SBC. Cornerstone Church, Atlanta, Leaves the SBC Due to Concerns Over Racism. — 315 Comments

  1. Interesting post.

    Growing up in the 1950s I was pretty shocked to see Jim Crow era signs on a driving vacation with my parents and little brother. “Whites Only” and “Colored Only” signs on a crummy gas station in rural south, I forget NC or VA or even GA perhaps. A very long time ago, now.

    My parents were Rockefeller Republicans in favor of civil rights and integration in a little coal town in WV, so I was called N**r-Lover in grade school. Being raised in a non-racist household, I didn’t even know what that word meant until later on. When I learned more about civil rights I was OK with the term, except for the hatred that came with it.

    My wife grew up in an American Baptist church, which was founded after a schism within the SBC church over racism, so I’m familiar with the history there.

    Really, there’s not much Christian about the Southern Baptist Convention. Note the word isn’t even in their name.

    First, still, maybe? huh…

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  2. Dee, I have the same struggle you do. On some level we are all blind to our sin, but there is some sins that are so heinous I do not understand how any Christian with the Holy Spirit dwelling in them could not be convicted about them. Learning about the past of the evangelical church in the United States, reading about all the issues that you’ve raised on the site, and my own experiences have put me in a position of really struggling not to be cynical towards any church.I love the Church, but I no longer trust the institutional church. As one who once was ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America, this has been a very difficult and life changing journey for me.

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  3. Dee’s questions on why racially based, human slavery was not only tolerated, but Advocated by supposedly devote, pious Christians is a BIG deal, IMHO. In fact, while defenders of southern slavery/culture like to quote Bible verses “allowing” slavery, slavery in Biblical times was political/economic. You lost to your enemy, if you are lucky he does not kill you and just takes you as a slave!
    It took Western/US culture to come up with the “curse of Ham”, and justify “our” slavery on the concept that people of African decent are inferior and “cursed”.. And of course, the great US Constitution enshrined this concept by making black slaves count as 3/5 of a white man!

    The US has ( the carnage of the US Civil war was horrendous) , and will continue to pay for this evil for along time.

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  4. I can’t tell you anything about Christians condoning slavery. My gg-grandfather and ggg-grandfather (fil to the gg-grandfather) fought for the Union — Kentucky Infantry, companies F and G. My gg-grandfather was captured by Confederate Troops and held in a prison in Bowling Green, Kentucky – about a 50 minute drive for me. I reside about 150 yards from where the ggg-grandfather’s house stood.

    What is now highway 68-80 was the unofficial dividing line between slave owners and non—slave owners. I live roughly 9 miles north of said line. I live 13 miles by highway from the Jefferson Davis State Park and Monument, where Jeff Davis was born – I can be there in 20 minutes—- I drive by the monument often…… I’ve been up in it, and sat in it’s shadow many times. (The former manager of the park was an American of African descent. His did more to improve the park and collected more historical artifacts than all of his predecessors combined.). Then there’s highway 106 —— we call it the Blue and Gray park road, because Union and confederate soldiers are buried there. The high school that 3 generations of my family have/are attended/attending ……… the Todd Central Rebels. Confederate flags are abundant here, but not so much as there used to be, and not for the same reasons.

    When I was in elementary school, two of the teachers got the bright idea to bring a black child from the south end of the county. The older kids threw rocks at the boy for three days, so teachers took him back to Guthrie. Back then, if a black person stopped at one of the little stores in Clifty to gas up their car, all of the white people around got whiplash.
    I have some second cousins (twice removed) that are biracial. They may be half black and half white, but that has no bearing on the fact that they are family — MY family, and I love them.

    Up until the last 20 years, the Rural area I live in has been white, all white, and nothing but white – and almost all Baptists. We now have mennonites, Guatemalans, Mexicans, El Salvadorans ….. my niece is dating a boy who came her from Puerto Rico……. we even have a couple from Asia (don’t remember what country) but still, no people of African descent.

    I also live not very far from the Kentucky leg of the Trail of Tears. I drive across the Trail often. I also drive past the place in Hopkinsville where two Cherokee chiefs died and were buried —Trail of Tears Park, by the Little River.

    That gg-grandfather of mine who fought in the Civil War??? His momma was a Cherokee. I can show you where she was buried. It’s just sunken place, outside of the cemetery, with no headstone —- maybe 100 yards from where my gg-granddaddy is buried. You see, she was an Indian, so she could not be buried inside of the cemetery boundaries.

    Living where I live, and having the personal and the ancestral history that I have, my mind and my heart have been torn, ever since I was old enough to understand. Sometimes I smile…..sometimes I fight back tears.

    What I do know is that I don’t care what color your skin or your hair or your eyes are, or what gender you are, or where you’re from, or what kind of accent you have, or what kind of vehicle you drive, or what faith you are ……….. Come on in and have a seat. I’ll start a pot of coffee if you like, and fix us something to eat. Tell me what you know!

    I was done with the SBC over 4 years ago. The SBCers need to get over themselves and their supremacy stances. on all fronts and facets, or just be over with altogether!

    Eeessshhhhhh. Was my comment long enough, or what?!

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  5. I’m actually surprised this hasn’t happened sooner, especially with the Founders and some New Calvinists running around harping on bringing the SBC back to the “glory” of it’s founding. I don’t believe them when they say it’s only about Calvinism, as they heavily practice elitism and hierarchy organizational structures. That theology is still there, just changed to different groups of people.

    There are definitely those in TGC who support founder theology. And I don’t believe TGC wants to support churches like Cornerstone as much (or at all) as they want pastors like Onwuchekwa to support them. Ezell definitely made that clear from NAMB’s perspective, though NAMB not getting a written agreement is a bit surprising.

    I worked with Pastor Onwuchekwa on a mission project some years ago, back when I still attended an SBC church. I doubt he remembers me, as there were a lot of people there that week. He’s quite an inspirational speaker.

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  6. Dee, I found the answer to “How could Christians support slavery?” in this book:
    The Problem of Slavery in Christian America: An Ethical-Judicial History of American Slavery and Racism by Joel McDurmond
    https://www.amazon.com/Problem-Slavery-Christian-America-Ethical-Judicial-ebook-dp-B07TT7PSPL/dp/B07TT7PSPL/

    Rather than try to review it myself, I will post this review by “John” on GoodReads:
    https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2404756979?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

    For me, this book changed my life. Half way through it I told my teen aged kids “Dad is now ‘woke'” – but lowercase W I say. We have started attending the MLK parade, and I pushed for my kids suburban home-school coop to observe that holiday out of respect for our African Amerian brothers and sister. I say lowercase W because I do not buy into some the ideas being pushed by the Critical Theorists/Critical Race Theorists (D’Angelo, etc.) But that is not to say that there isn’t still a problem with racism and the lasting effects of systemic (Jim Crow, etc) racism in our country.

    This book is a hard read, and will elucidate why and how Christians could support slavery.

    Todd

    P.S. The reason I Googled “How could Christians support slavery in the South?” two years ago (and found McDurmond’s book) is because I had just finished “The War Outside my Window – The Civil War Diary of Leroy Wiley Gresham” He was an invalid teen, wrote a diary for 5 years during the war, and died of spinal TB just after it ended. He and his family were believers (his father was an elder at First Pres. Macon), but had two plantations and owned a hundred or so slaves. The house he grew up is the 1842 Inn in Macon now. If you like history, you will love this primary source – and you will be teary-eyed at th : https://www.amazon.com/War-Outside-My-Window-1860-1865/dp/1611213886

    Note, Leroy is the uncle of J. Gresham Machen – Leroy’s sister is Machen’s mother.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LeRoy_Wiley_Gresham

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  7. From the post: “2. Eric Metaxas decided to tweet that Jesus was white and it was not well received…”

    From the 2020 US Census website:
    “White:
    The category “White” includes all individuals who identify with one or more nationalities or ethnic groups originating in Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa. Examples of these These groups include, but are not limited to, German, Irish, English, Italian, Lebanese, Egyptian, Polish, French, Iranian, Slavic, Cajun, and Chaldean.”

    https://2020census.gov/en/about-questions/2020-census-questions-race.html

    Per the US gov, Metaxis was not incorrect.

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  8. Ken F (aka Tweed): Per the US gov, Metaxis was not incorrect.

    The 2010 census definition for white is nearly identical, so it is not dependent on any particular administration:

    “DEFINITION OF WHITE USED IN THE 2010 CENSUS
    According to OMB, “White” refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa. The White racial category includes people who marked the “White” checkbox. It also includes respondents who reported entries such as Caucasian or White; European entries, such as Irish, German, and Polish; Middle Eastern entries, such as Arab, Lebanese, and Palestinian; and North African entries, such as Algerian, Moroccan, and Egyptian.”

    I’ve known about this for many years and it never made sense to me.

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  9. Well, there are two possibilities regarding men who bought other people and enslaved them called themselves Christians:

    1 — they professed Christ but they did not possess Christ and hence would not have the Holy Spirit to convict them deeply as true Christian men indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

    2 — They actually did possess Christ, yet they justified their actions, by whatever reasoning they mustered up, and the result typically is a miserable Christian, a joyless Christian, an ineffective Christian, for they are living a life far beneath the worth of the gospel.

    God help us all not to justify our sins.

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  10. Yes, as noted above, Metaxas was correct based on current racial classification. The context and further comments he made in the article link above about his statement also help clarify his valid point. He was commenting about the theologically bankrupt UMC asking the secular, ?Unitarian author of “White Fragility,” a book that people of various races and religions have taken issue with, to help it make some videos about “deconstructing white privilege.”

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  11. Folks, I know this is off-topic, but I would crave your prayers for the family of a coworker of mine, Carol, who died rather suddenly of sepsis today. And prayers for me. I’m just devastated. Carol was my best buddy at work, we’d been in the same department for 10 years, we texted and called each other outside of work and she’s gone now, gone so quickly. It’s like a punch to the gut. I prayed today that Jesus would take her soon so she wouldn’t suffer and that prayer was answered, but she’s *gone*.

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  12. Pingback: Many Chickens Are Coming Home to Roost in the SBC. Cornerstone Church, Atlanta, Leaves the SBC Due to Concerns Over Racism. – Worship.Global

  13. Growing up in the South, in addition to cultural heritage, I think that many Christians in the past were grievously deceived by the lie of the Curse of Ham/Canaan being a universal subjugation of dark-skinned “races” to light-skinned “races.” They could justify slavery and even make it “righteous” because God had ordained it. Of course it sounds ridiculous and savage to us today. But in an agrarian economy that was not mechanized, it was much easier to rationalize, I imagine. I read an article online which I wish I could cite which was enlightening. Basically it was a challenge — a thought experiment — to put ourselves in the place of a white person in the South in 1830 or so who had some social position (privilege) and ask ourselves what it might be like to stand up against slavery. It would have been social suicide, and I doubt that many could have withstood it. We are all very brave in hindsight and when our peers agree with us. I cannot in good conscience say that I would have spoken up under those circumstances.

    Nevertheless, there were many divided families in the South during the Civil War. My own family in Tennessee was bitterly divided with sons fighting and dying on both sides and daughters marrying veterans of both sides, then moving west like thousands of others.

    Southern Baptists are not monolithic. Please remember Max and me and all the others like us who care not for the nonsense in the SBC. I pray that black Baptists will find peace and joy in their new fellowship, though I do not believe that Critical Theory is compatible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I empathize with their frustration with denominational leadership. On the matter of the NAMB funds, I think it would be wise for them to repay the funds and wise for NAMB not to demand repayment.

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  14. Augustine:
    Well, there are two possibilities regarding men who bought other people and enslaved them called themselves Christians:

    1 — they professed Christ but they did not possess Christ and hence would not have the Holy Spirit to convict them deeply as true Christian men indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

    2 — They actually did possess Christ, yet they justified their actions, by whatever reasoning they mustered up, and the result typically is a miserable Christian, a joyless Christian, an ineffective Christian, for they are living a life far beneath the worth of the gospel.

    God help us all not to justify our sins.

    And patriarchal men with how they treat women? Bible verses in tow?

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  15. Ava Aaronson: Don’t know if he is even SBC

    He is not SBC, though the leaders approve of him, inexplicably. He is the founder of the Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Churches, which has been re-branded as the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches. It’s a deformed sort of Reformed, but that’s because it’s his proprietary denomination.

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  16. Here is an open question:

    How many Confederate/Southerner/Southern identifiers-ethusiast-decendents can commenters name?

    1. Todd said Machen, a Southerner. Machen’s Warriors/Westminster.
    2. Cyrus Scofield. Born in North, but lived with Southern relatives. Confederate enlisted man. Died a Southern Presbyterian.
    3. W.B.Riley. Southerner. Grandfather of Fundamentalism. SBC anti-semite/conspiracy theorist. Designated Billy Graham as successor. Pastor of Henrietta Mears.
    4. L.Nelson Bell. Southerner Segregationist and Southern Presbytetian. Influenced son in law Graham and first editor of Christianity Today.

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  17. Nathan Priddis: How many Confederate/Southerner/Southern identifiers-ethusiast-decendents can commenters name?

    There’s an unlimited supply. Might be more efficient to name denominations and seminaries. And no, I’m not trying to be humorous.

    The Eastern third of the US has quite a few old churches with overflow seating upstairs that used to contain slave galleries. Enslaved persons sat there out of sight during services, behind walls later removed. African Americans are painfully cognizant of this architectural feature, whereas white church members are blissfully unaware.

    I belonged to such a church for years before knowing it had such a gallery. The history is not taught. White church members are clueless when they lovingly invite their black friends to worship in a sanctuary that used to have confinement cells for their ancestors.

    We can’t put things behind us if we don’t learn what they are.

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  18. Gram3: I think that many Christians in the past were grievously deceived by the lie of the Curse of Ham/Canaan being a universal subjugation of dark-skinned “races” to light-skinned “races.”

    The only meaning I find in the phrase in Scripture is completely non-racial, it is a metaphor for violent superstitions prevalent in Canaanite religion at one time.

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  19. Ava Aaronson: And patriarchal men with how they treat women? Bible verses in tow?

    Hegelian dialectic ineluctability (a k a manifest destiny) is “shown to us” that “boys etc. = rapists” and “girls etc. = rape victims”. It’s only natural for the young to come alive to this threat within the limits of example.

    Bible verses: two examples for now. All letters in classical times needed to be kept short – and would be read by all and sundry en route. We don’t have some parts of the correspondence.

    1. “The” (a specific usage in Greek) women that had to not ask questions during church teaching should have been honoured by their husbands with proper relating and discussing at home (Roman husbands were usually stand offish at home and some Christian ones hadn’t risen above that). And ornamental ostentation of the period really was intended to come over very intense to put it mildly.

    2. Paul wasn’t a totalist (materially) and there was no reason why any Christian shouldn’t have stood up – as a Roman – to argue about slave questions. This was big. Paul wasn’t letting Philemon off the hook – he was actually confronting Philemon. It WAS a question that DIDN’T appear to compute in practical terms. Paul is the least off-pat person and the superapostles of today are insolent in quoting him. Have we forgotten that Holy Spirit gifts surprising prudence and discernment sometimes?

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  20. Dee, when mentioning Christians who spoke out against slavery, please do not forget Angelina and Sarah Grimké. These South Carolinian abolitionists were born to a plantation-owning family, and spoke tirelessly about the humanity of Black people, and the horrors of slavery.

    When any of you have a spare hour, please read their appeal: An Appeal to the Christian Women of the South
    (I hope the link works – fingers crossed)

    Also, there is no redemption for the SBC. The sooner it collapses, the better.

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  21. Micaiah,

    Metaxas is no stranger to social media. One should not tweet highly contectualized comments. He may be *right* but he was wrong to tweet like he did.

    I knew I would get the Metaxas crowd after me if I mentioned his faux pas. Just so you know, we read his book on Luther. I liked it. I still think he tweet was ill-advised. But, his fans will dig in on this. Remember, Metaxas is not the Word. He is not without error.

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  22. Since Dee has broached the depressing (if not worse) topic of Slavery in the US, I highly recommend the book:
    The Civil War as a Theological Crisis (The Steven and Janice Brose Lectures in the Civil War Era) by Mark Noll.
    Mark Noll is the author of allot of great books, including one of my favorites “The scandal of the Evangelical Mind”
    I could go on and on about both of these books; however, one really needs to read them to get the full impact of them. My emeritus, (and now passed), most scholarly preacher that I have known, after retirement, taught a Sunday School class using Noll’s Civil War book. When one reads the actually writings of Northern, Southern, and European Theologians during that time period, the more one “digs” into this topic, the more “depressing” it gets.. IMHO…

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  23. P.S
    I also agree with Dee, the Southern propaganda slogan “It was a war of States right’s) is just a scam…. and was a planed, well thought out campaign, to rewrite history… The writings of politicians and theologians from both the North and South wrote much about how, at the core, the conflict was about the “right” to hold slaves.
    And, I put before everyone one of the more famous song, ( to which Northern troop marched to), to come out of the Civil War for the Northern side… The Battle Hymn of the Republic… the writers were abolitionist, and the line:
    In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea
    With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me
    As He died to make men holy, let us live (some versions say die) to make men free
    While God is marching on

    says it all….

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  24. dee: One should not tweet highly contectualized comments. He may be *right* but he was wrong to tweet like he did.

    I am not a Metaxis fan. But he is technically correct and brings up a point worthy of discussion. And in this highly polarized culture, is it possible for a white person to make a statement about race that will not create a stir on one side or another?

    In a discussion about racism and white privilege, it is not inappropriate to define who is white. It turns out that the US gov considers people darker than Jesus as white. For example, North Africans. Should we care that the US gov definition of white makes no sense? Does it mean Moroccans have white privilege? I would think not, but they are classified as white. Should authentic whiteness depend on skin color only? If so, are light-skinned whites more privileged than dark-skinned whites? Or should it be based on ancestry from certain countries? If so, is there an average skin tone that should be the standard for which ancenstries called are white? There are Italians who are as dark as Arabs. Do they count as white? The whole thing is maddening and seemingly impossible to define. And even if it could be defined, in what way will it help?

    Race relations certainly need improvement. But I wonder if focusing so much on race is making the problem better or worse. Does it help me to think of non-white (whatever that means) people as fellow humans when I am constantlybtold how much different I am because of my whiteness? It really seems like a Gordian knot. I long for the day when race does not matter. In the mean time, I still have much to learn.

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  25. Ava Aaronson: Maybe that was his nod to the Southern Bro-boyz. He wanted in.

    I’m sure he appreciates the support, but that’s not why he named his organization a “Confederation.” They used to have Confederate-themed events. As much as I criticize the man, I don’t believe he is pro-slavery, but rather that he and those who have influenced him have a warped view of hierarchical social ordering which they believe is God-ordained for the family, Church, and human society in general. That’s why the CREC and Moscow, ID are Anglophilic and Antebellum-centric. Piper was the first Baptist (not SBC) to endorse Wilson because of Wilson’s patriarchal views. I think the rest fell in line after that, despite his questionable take on the Gospel, women, and other practical matters which Dee has covered here.

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  26. ishy,

    dee: “I would love input into my questions regarding how Christians centuries ago could condone slavery.”

    ishy: “…they heavily practice elitism and hierarchy organizational structures. That theology is still there, just changed to different groups of people.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    i think a good explanation is right here (or at least part of one).

    i think human nature likes to create in-groups and out-groups.

    i think it’s linked to survival of the species. all creatures are wary of other creatures who look different. the element of the unknown means there’s a potential threat.

    with humans, i think it’s a passed down instinct since the dawn of time.

    all creatures need power to live. at the very least, the power to find food, claim it as one’s own, and the power to resist being eaten by another creature.

    humans put their intelligence to this and mess everything up

    fear of others who look different
    +
    basic need for power
    + human intelligence
    = a propensity to push the envelope farther and farther in creating and enforcing in-groups and out-groups.

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  27. Gram3,

    I, for one, have NEVER understood, nor want to be associated with, the Confederacy. They committed treason. They did not really embrace the concept of HUMAN rights, as outlined in the Deceleration of Independence or the US Constitution. To me, it is that simple. And, it is clear that in the time period/culture when the Bible was written, their was NO distinction based on skin color. In fact, the stiry of Paul and the Ethiopian pretty much proves my point..

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  28. elastigirl,

    i observe people being ever-ready to co-opt circumstances and events as an occasion to rail against people groups who are different from one’s own people group.

    i mean, just look at covid-19 and the reaction against people with an asian look….

    i just…. the moronic & hateful self-centeredness is off the charts for how enlightened we all consider ourselves to be in the 21st century.

    i am proud to be human — but this has been such a deep disappointment. it’s tragic.
    ———–

    look at the Nashville Statement.

    After the Evangelical Theological Conference in San Antonio 2016 where ESS was roundly trounced, CBMW went into hiding.

    After some months, they re-emerge having reinvented themselves. Woman as the out-group couldn’t fly any more. so they switched to sexual minorities as the new out-group and started banging the drum to draw people to their ‘new’ in-group and banging the drum against their ‘new’ out-group now in their cross-hairs.

    (of course there’s nothing ‘new’ here at all)

    it was breathtaking to behold.

    regardless of how it’s all dressed up in christian-y theological language, these are the brass tacks at the bottom of the pot.
    ———-

    but it’s just shades –shades– of the atrocities committed –by christians– against people who were different.

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  29. Ken F (aka Tweed): in this highly polarized culture, is it possible for a white person to make a statement about race that will not create a stir on one side or another?

    As a young adult, I moved to a town that had an African American talk radio show. I heard so many stories and ideas that were completely new to me. Absolutely nothing was threatening or anti-white. What revelations I heard. Listening helped me understand my neighbors and our society.

    These days I am reading more than listening. History lessons are coming from myriad sources.

    In a city near me, every school built after Brown v Board of Education was named after someone who vigorously opposed integration. Some people think the schools should retain their original names. But these schools were named after local equivalents of George Wallace. How utterly insidious. The local folks deserve to choose whether or not to change the names.

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  30. elastigirl,

    fear of others who look different
    +
    basic need for power
    + human intelligence
    = a propensity to push the envelope farther and farther in creating and enforcing in-groups and out-groups.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++

    i left out a variable.

    the bubble of social isolation

    religions, like christianity, are built on fear of outsiders. so people in religions silo themselves off, more or less.

    unless a christian is guarding their own objectivity, they will inherently become afraid of outsiders.

    they become brainwashed to some degree and develop kooky ideas untethered from reality, common sense, and the golden rule.

    they tend toward being braindead to what is happening outside their silo.

    they tend toward being braindead to the obvious.

    …like when the SBC committee in charge of resolutions decided not to put the resolution denouncing the alt-right to a vote.

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  31. I’m going to be blunt here, but Evangelicals have been on the wrong side of so many things over the past few centuries. It *wasn’t* Evangelicals in Britain who pushed the slavery issue first; rather it was radical Quakers in the the UK and American colonies, people that Evangelicals who would probably not even consider Christian, who did. So when Evangelicals go on about Hannah More and William Wilberforce, I’d just counter with Benjamin Lay and John Woolman in the colonies, and the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade in the UK.

    But Evangelicals cling to More and Wilberforce, and *everyone* (Evangelicals/non-Evangelicals) ignores the fact that abolitionism was a controversial position in general. In fact, in the USA, it was a minority position until after the start of the Civil War. One of the ways of dealing with the slavery issue was the seriously-expressed position of just shipping all those black people descended from people stolen from other shores back so that this land (stolen from Native Americans) could be purified. *scowl*

    Also, using the US Census’ definition of “white” is fairly useless. We know that the “other” can be and is treated badly in the USA. Darker than normal skin color? Other. Different skin tone? Other. Speak with an accent? Other. Not heterosexual? Other. Female? Other. (Sorry, I’m all out of caring what people think.) To be perfectly blunt, if a swarthy Semitic-looking guy with an accent showed up preaching what Jesus did in an Evangelical church, the elders and deacons would hustle him out of there as quickly as possible.

    And, Eric Metaxas is also wrong on so many things. His Bonhoeffer biography tried to make Bonhoeffer into an American Evangelical, when he was a Lutheran theologian educated in the best German universities of his time. Bonhoeffer was NOT AN AMERICAN EVANGELICAL. Period. And trying to make him into one, as Metaxas attempted, was just *wrong* and has misled so many people trying to learn more about him. And if you don’t think Metaxas isn’t milking the craving for Bonhoeffer in the American Evangelical market for all it’s worth, then let me introduce you to the following other editions of his book:

    * Bonhoeffer Abridged: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
    * Bonhoeffer Student Edition: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
    * Bonhoeffer study guide
    * Bonhoeffer, All 4 Video Bundles [Video Download]
    * Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy Paperback – October 6, 2020 (publication date)

    Do I even have to mention that Metaxas was promoting a fake quote of Bonhoeffer in the fall of 2016, was called out on it by people who are much better that me (like Warren Throckmorton) and for our trouble, we got blocked?

    If you’re going to read a biography of Bonhoeffer, skip Metaxas, who pretty much cribbed from Eberhard Bethge’s biography to mold a Bonhoeffer in his own image, and go straight for Bethge’s biography. And yes, Bethge’s bio IS A SLOG. And yes, Bethge has his own problems (he was entirely too close to his subject). That said, at least Bethge took Bonhoeffer in his milieu and didn’t try to make him American. Remember, when Bonhoeffer came to the USA, where did he spend his time? Union Theological Seminary in New York City, which was not a home for Evangelicals.

    Eric Metaxas would like to think that he’s being persecuted like Bonhoeffer, but within the Evangelical bubble, he’s doing quite well for himself. *shakes head* Sorry to be so blunt about this, but Metaxas’ bio of Bonhoeffer is *abusive* towards its subject. *Abusive.*

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  32. Jesus wasn’t White because White wasn’t a category the first century peoples used (Jew/Gentile, man/woman, free/slave, Roman citizen, Greek [culturally], from a particular city were categories they did use). Now if Jesus had shown up in the US in the 1920s he might well have had a problem getting naturalized as a US citizen (naturalization was restricted at that time to White people). There were court cases over whether people from Syria or Armenia were White (won at the top level which is possibly why the US Census lists people from the Middle East including North Africa as White). There were also court cases over whether people from India were White (lost at the top level which is probably why the US Census lists people from India as Asian). By the way read the definition of Asian from the US census (“A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam”); I’m not sure where they consider the dividing line between the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East. Is someone from Afghanistan Asian or White? What about Iran? Jews were classified as White quite likely because to classify them as non-White would be to make Jesus non-White (though a lot of people classified modern Jews as inferior Whites [Semites] along with Syrians and North Africans).

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  33. Michael in UK: The only meaning I find in the phrase in Scripture is completely non-racial, it is a metaphor for violent superstitions prevalent in Canaanite religion at one time.

    You and I have been blessed not to have been taught by deceived teachers in a time when racism is almost universally recognized as evil. That was not the case for our brothers and sisters in in the past. It is an illuminating exercise to read the sermons and papers written at the time by pastors and theologians affirming the rightness of slavery. It’s sickening and almost incomprehensible, but persevering through it is worthwhile to appreciate that it *is* quite possible for intelligent and well-educated people to be deceived about something that is as morally weighty as human chattel slavery.

    Dee is making a huge point with this post. I don’t think that Christians of the 19th century are that much different from you or me. I am more inclined to think that perhaps Christians at any time are perfectly capable of rationalizing anything that we want to or need to rationalize, no matter how horrific it is. We must examine ourselves as well, I think, for we are vulnerable (or at least I don’t see how we are exempt from blindness.) There were plenty of Christians in Germany in the 1930’s, too. We could find other examples from history. In no way am I minimizing or comparing any of the atrocities to one another. I am saying that human nature is human nature. Thankfully, a very few are raised up and speak up to challenge the prevailing culture.

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  34. Jeffrey chalmers: we use to have statues

    We still have street grids. A town in my region was surveyed in colonial times. After the Civil War, many of those colonial streets were renamed after local men who had abandoned their families, homes, and churches to take up arms against the United States. There is a strong correlation between the current street names and the names of “owners” in the 1850 and 1860 Slave Schedules of the US Census.

    The town worthies were also the fire department till 1861. When they joined the Confederate Army, there were no firemen. This job was left to “Yankee scum” occupiers from the Union Army.

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  35. elastigirl: basic need for power
    + human intelligence
    = a propensity to push the envelope farther and farther in creating and enforcing in-groups and out-groups.

    Great summary. Racism is just one manifestation of that. And White-Black racism is just one subset of that. Less discussed is intra-racial racism of whatever skin tone. It’s everywhere. The way of the world is power. It’s why I say that Critical Race theory is incompatible with the Gospel. While it may seem to address the grievances of the black community, it is merely substituting one power structure for another one. The way of Christ is not the way of seeking power over another, even if that other is one who has had power over you. The way of the Gospel is for white leadership to lay down their lives/power/ambition and for black leaders to lay down their lives/power/ambition and for all to take up the Cross and follow Christ together. I hope that they can humbly do that together because that would look like the Kingdom will someday be.

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  36. elastigirl: After some months, they re-emerge having reinvented themselves. Woman as the out-group couldn’t fly any more. so they switched to sexual minorities as the new out-group and started banging the drum to draw people to their ‘new’ in-group and banging the drum against their ‘new’ out-group now in their cross-hairs.

    I totally agree with you that humans tend to seek power because it means safety/survival. But I don’t agree with this completely. Not because they haven’t switched messages–they have. But because they are still beating the “women are our slaves” drum, but keeping it within their ranks right now. It’s being taught in the seminaries and more conservative churches.

    I have a feeling they want to brainwash as many people as they can before they try to bring that message back to the public. They are already trying to install their people in non-SBC seminaries and colleges and other institutions. That was how they took over the SBC and they see that method as effective for changing large institutions and culture. They just didn’t have enough people in place in the evangelical sphere to make ESS fly, so they did a strategic retreat until they do.

    I’ll also note that the biggest proponents of the Nashville Statement and the Statement on Social Justice was John Macarthur’s crowd, which is a separate group from the SBC New Calvinists and TGC. They have very similar theology, but I know people in Macarthur’s church, and they feel they’ve already “won” the argument on subjecting women. It’s hardly true, but they aren’t the most logical crowd (see the last TWW post…).

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  37. elastigirl: can i come over? and can we have some fried green tomatoes, cornbread, country ham, hickory nut pie, and kentucky coffee?

    Come on! Pay no mind to the dogs – they’re more likely to drown you in adoring slobber than to bite you. (Watch out for Wacko Jacko – he may jump in the car with you).
    I have an apple pie in the fridge right now (apples from our tree), ham is in the freezer, fresh green (and ripe) tomatoes on the vine….. it take me about 20-25 minutes to make cornbread, and I can have a hickory nut pie done and cool enough to eat in about 2 hours. That Kentucky coffee is another thing, though….. whew, bitter…..it’ll take a lot of chicory and sugar to make that drinkable, and I drink my coffee black! Don’t know ‘bout that stuff – it could ruin the flavor of a fine hickory nut pie on the palate!

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  38. Jeffrey Chalmers: I, for one, have NEVER understood, nor want to be associated with, the Confederacy.

    As somewhat of a southern partisan, I hope I can help you understand.

    “They committed treason.”

    Nothing in the Constitution at that time prohibited a state from seceding. During the Jefferson administration, there was grumbling from some northern states about secession. In response, Thomas Jefferson said this:

    “If any state in the Union will declare that it prefers separation… to a continuance in union… I have no hesitation in saying, ‘let us separate.’”

    “They did not really embrace the concept of HUMAN rights, as outlined in the Deceleration of Independence or the US Constitution.”

    I would venture to guess that very few of the signers of the documents regarded black slaves as fully human. Many, maybe most of the signers owned slaves. They just wanted to get away from England with the help of the southern states. Remember slaves were counted as three-fifths of a person in the constitution at the time.

    “To me, it is that simple.”

    At the time, it wasn’t simple. Most Confederate citizens and soldiers owned no slaves, so why did they fight? Shelby Foote, noted historian used this anecdote: “a squad of Union soldiers closed in on a ragged Johnny Reb. Figuring that he did not own slaves, nor had much interest in the constitutional question of secession, they asked him: “What are you fighting for, anyhow?” The Confederate replied: “I’m fighting because you’re down here.” Foote regarded that as “a pretty satisfactory answer”.”

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  39. Ken P.,

    Yes, but, while most southern whites did not have slaves, these same southern whites knew they were better than the $&#@ slaves… in fact, from what I have read, the people that treated black slaves the worst were the middle/lower class whites that felt “threaten” by slaves. From what I have read, the whole Antebellum culture was based on a class structure…

    With respect to our “Founding Fathers”, yes many were racist…. and I contend that a person, no matter what their skin color, has the same rights as Stated in the Declaration of Independence. So, if our Founding Fathers meant only “whites”, then they should have said that…. the very fact that they later compromised that with the 3/5 rule demonstrates that they knew they were hypocrites… in fact, a number wrote that they were, effectively “kicking the can down the road”. However, none of them foresaw The HUGE economic impact that slaves picking cotton would have…. the economic numbers really tell why slavery became so critical to the South… and northern mills

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  40. Friend,

    You have a valid point, not only in relation to the numbers of Southern connected individuals, but also Southern immigration. Many connections would be unrecognizable after families relocated.
    Institutions have to be included.

    5. Stepping back in time to 1845 and the founding of the SBC. The Southern/slavery and later Confederate denomination.

    6. All SBC semminaries. Created to train young men in furtherance of SBC doctrines.

    7. Mordicai Ham. SBC evangelist. Racist/anti-semite. Converted the young Billy Graham.

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  41. Jeffrey Chalmers,

    PS
    From Wiki:
    In 1773, Day published his first work—The Dying Negro—a poem he had written with John Bicknell. It tells the story of a runaway slave, and sold well.
    The contradiction between the claim that “all men are created equal” and the existence of American slavery attracted comment from some quarters when the United States Declaration of Independence was first published; Congress, having made a few changes in wording, deleted nearly a fourth of the draft before publication, most notably removing a passage critical of the slave trade, as there were members of Congress who owned black slaves.[5] Day was among those who noted the discrepancy, writing in 1776;
    If there be an object truly ridiculous in nature, it is an American patriot, signing resolutions of independency with the one hand, and with the other brandishing a whip over his affrighted slaves.[6][7]

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  42. Ken P.: Nothing in the Constitution at that time prohibited a state from seceding.

    The Southern states did not just quietly walk away. This was not Brexit.

    They first tried to force other states to return enslaved persons who had escaped—a rather large pinhole in that timeworn states’ rights argument. They tried to spread slavery to new territories and states. Without secret ballots, they rigged secession voting by threats. They formed a new government whose many secession documents amply document their bedrock commitment to slavery on the basis of racial superiority. They renounced their US citizenship and took up arms against the United States. They drafted white men into the Confederate military, and forced enslaved persons to serve the cause. Their achievements included the Fort Pillow massacre and Andersonville.

    They surrendered in 1865, but never gave up that supposed moral high ground.

    This year we are finally seeing the results of insistently clutching onto terrible ideas for far too long, dressing them up all pretty in bronze and granite, protected for all eternity by extra-special laws carefully written to prevent removal.

    It’s time to let it go.

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  43. Ken P.: Laws can be changed. Go get it done.

    My dear man, what makes you think I don’t actively work against the myth of the Lost Cause? This is something I have done for years. Quietly, civilly, legally.

    Let me be more clear: Those who still hold the Confederacy in fond regard need to let it go. They have had their say. It’s someone else’s turn.

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  44. Gram3: They could justify slavery and even make it “righteous” because God had ordained it. Of course it sounds ridiculous and savage to us today. But in an agrarian economy that was not mechanized, it was much easier to rationalize, I imagine. I read an article online which I wish I could cite which was

    Question:
    The North (above the mason-dixon line) was also an agrarian economy in its formative years prior to industrialization.
    Why didn’t slavery take hold there and become an institution as it did in the South?

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  45. Jeffrey Chalmers: Confederates fired on fort Sumner to start the war

    Yes, and the Confederate States of America devised a heinous process for collecting ingredients to make ammunition. This story shocked even me. Granted, it started after Fort Sumter:

    “During the Civil War, the enslaved were given an especially odious job. The pay went to their owners.”

    On Nov. 13, 1862, the Confederate government advertised in the Charleston Daily Courier for 20 or 30 “able bodied Negro men” to work in the new nitre beds at Ashley Ferry, S.C. “The highest wages will be paid monthly,” the ad stated.

    It was odious work. The nitre beds were large rectangles of rotted manure and straw, moistened weekly with urine, “dung water,” and liquid from privies, cesspools and drains, and turned over regularly, according to accounts at the time.

    The process was designed to yield saltpeter, an ingredient of gunpowder, which the Confederate army desperately needed during the Civil War.

    The wages for this repulsive task went, of course, not to those toiling in the beds, but to their owners. …

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2020/07/09/national-archives-slavery-payroll-receipts-civil-war-confederacy/

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  46. Muff Potter: Why didn’t slavery take hold there and become an institution as it did in the South?

    Slavery was originally legal in northern colonies and states, but was gradually outlawed between 1777 and 1840. Migration patterns, types of crops, and availability of land made it harder for slavery to survive. Indentured servitude threatened it as well. Abolitionists worked long and hard to dismantle it.

    However, virtually everyone except the enslaved did benefit from the institution: Dutch families in New York, people involved in shipping, overseers of the poor, people who milled or sold cotton, people who used sugar or rum… No hands were clean. Racism was rampant in the North, but laws against slavery made life somewhat more just there.

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  47. Friend,

    “They surrendered in 1865, but never gave up that supposed moral high ground.”

    True. But are you referring strictly to political and social struggle?

    What if the defeated Southerners also turned towards struggle for church polity outside of the South?

    Would it be reasonable to say that sons/decendents of the Confederacy not only participated in later historical events. But went on to dominate historical Protestant events and movements? They participated in the Modernist/Fundamentalist war. They doninated in the founding of Neo-Evangelicalism. Control for doctrine inside Evangelicalism is a downstream effect of the Civil War.

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  48. On this post I have absolutely nothing to add for a very funny reason:

    Some of my forbears met the boat when the whites came to the now USA. Some were on the boats. Some walked the trail of tears. Some put them on it. Some of my forbears did own slaves (ugh!) but saw nothing wrong with it, having come to this country after being sold into servitude themselves. Once free they owned others, even bred themselves we think to produce those they could sell.

    Crazy mixed up mishmash. We moved here unaware that my forbears on both sides settled here very early on. Nor did we realize that on one of parent’s side, there were both Northern and Southern soldiers. Nor that the late unpleasantness is still a matter of contention here, and that family were involved in a well known incident. I keep it under my hat that I had folks on both sides.

    Nor do I mention we have right of return to Israel.

    I say all that to say that with my background, I see only two races: the saved already, and the not yet saved.

    Next year in Jerusalem! Or the New Jerusalem, more likely, given our ages and health and this pandemic and the fact our state is exploding with it.

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  49. And don’t forget Richard Furman (1775-1825), –they named Furman Univ after him. From Wikipedia: “As a young man he opposed slavery, but later he became a slave owner and came to support the practice on both economic and moral grounds. In 1822 he published an “Exposition of the Views of the Baptists Relative to the Coloured Population of the United States”, which set out the arguments that Southerners would use to defend slavery until the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (1865) finally put an end to slavery in the United States.” Most people are also shocked to hear about L. Nelson Bell (mentioned above). The articles/essays he wrote for the Southern Presbyterian Journal are available online; he fully supported segregation/Jim Crow, and believed you could preach the gospel without mixing the races. He felt that Jim Crow was an expression of Christian love! This from a man who headed the biggest hospital in China as a Presbyterian medical missionary. I have had friends who criticized Billy Graham for not doing more during the civil rights movement. After reading what his father-in law wrote, I’m amazed that Billy did anything at all!

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  50. Jeffrey Chalmers: Cotton…

    You won’t hear or see much about it in history books, documentaries, or movies, but tobacco was, and still is one of the cash crops. The bigger tobacco farms/plantations had slaves.
    I know from decades of personal experience what a dirty, miserable, back aching, hand blistering, potentially dangerous job raising a crop of tobacco is —— even with tractors, setters, fertilize spreaders, and scaffolds. It pains me to think what it was like before.
    Nowadays, Latinos do most of the dirty, muscle aching work. Most white people are either too lazy or too high-falutin’ (or both) to do that kind of work. Least that’s how it is in my neck of the woods, or baccer patch, if you will.

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  51. Muff Potter,

    I do not know the answer to that, but maybe I should since one of our churches had lectures on the Atlantic slave trade. Not sure if that particular question was addressed. I believe I remember that the invention of the cotton gin in particular drove the demand for slave labor, but I may be mis-remembering so I ask for correction if someone has information on that. Basically there was a demand for cotton textiles and a development of textile manufacturing and but there was a shortage of labor when Mr. Whitney, I believe, invented the gin to remove the seeds from cotton bolls. Slaves were already in the Caribbean growing sugar for rum. The economics for slaves and cotton and sugar apparently worked, but perhaps they did not work for wheat and corn and whatever the primary northern crops were. I’m sure it was an economic matter and not a matter of virtue.

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  52. Nancy2(aka Kevlar),
    I am from California, fourth generation. Out West, the dirty work (CA is a HUGE agricultural state) was done by the Mexicans, Chinese ( railroad building) , and during the dust bowl/depression years, the “Okkies” ( i.e. Grapes of Wrath)… today, it is done by Mexicans and Central Americans… they were (are) just one step above slaves.. I have seen many times their working conditions and very poor housing…
    . during WWII, my father spent a summer picking asparagus, he said it was the hardest/nastiest work he ever did…

    I remember visiting my wealthy friends in San Diego ( they were fundamentalist, right wingers) and they bragged about how cheap they could pay illegals to do their nasty work for them…

    My point is humans are always trying to exploit other people, and pay them cheaply to do their dirty work…

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  53. Muff Potter: I’m a little more optimistic.
    As more and more of the old men who run the show (SBC) below the Mason-Dixon line die off, newer and younger blood will rise and change things for the better.

    I dunno, Muff. In some conclaves, the newer and younger are being raised and trained to be just like the old guard, only sneakier and worse.

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  54. Nathan Priddis,

    I agree with your analysis.

    White people in the North have been able to have it all ways: lapping up “Gone with the Wind,” riding with the KKK (all over the North in the 1920s), joining whites-only labor unions, living in segregated areas—all the while scorning the South as the sole bastion of racism.

    At the same time, white Northerners have tended to be blind to white Southern hatred of Abraham Lincoln. White Northerners just aren’t preoccupied with the Union victory; it’s a non-topic. I think that this, too, contributed to indifference to the suffering of non-white people.

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  55. Should have read the thread from the bottom up. Once again, I get burned by being a Top Downer instead of a Bottom Upper. At least I guessed right. I was remembering from elementary school, and that was a long time ago. A lot of brain cells have crossed over Jordan since then and are awaiting the Resurrection.

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  56. Jeffrey Chalmers: I, for one, have NEVER understood, nor want to be associated with, the Confederacy.

    Good intentions.

    As a matter of fact, our family is a conglomeration of recent-immigrant-types though we pretty much pass for Caucasian. (Reference to the novel “Passing” by Nella Larsen of the Harlem Renaissance.) So, “privilege”, in appearance.

    However, as “The Color of Law” by Richard Rothstein articulates with precision, personal good will is transcended by or surpassed by stealth public policy that is clearly racist.

    Since our church institutions are now heavily politicized, it seems appropriate to go beyond the personal “Racist? Never me!” and as a Body of Christ publicly address our stealth racism, as in public policy & institutional practice.

    So this is a good post (thanks, Dee) with excellent discourse, beyond the personal “I am/am not”. Institutions. Body of Christ. Leaders & followers. Donors/enablers.

    Ibram Kendi is another writer that addresses the stealth racism prevalent in public policy & needed changes (opportunities).

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  57. Friend: The Southern states did not just quietly walk away. This was not Brexit.

    They first tried to force other states to return enslaved persons who had escaped—a rather large pinhole in that timeworn states’ rights argument. They tried to spread slavery to new territories and states.

    Remember that ever since 1776 the USA was in a tightrope balancing act between the Free and Slave states, each bloc distrusting the other, fearing the other would get so much representation in Congress that they could override the other completely. That was the reason behind the 3/5 compromise, the Missouri Compromise, the admission of Free and Slave states in matched pairs, the Compromise of 1850 — all attempts to balance things so the country wouldn’t split apart. Both sides pushing HARD every step of the way in a Culture War situation.

    All trying to keep a lid on the situation until in 1861 (when Lincoln and the new Republican Party won the Electoral votes without a single slave state) everything finally unraveled.

    “State’s Rights” can cover quite a range, but by the 1860s in the South it had narrowed down to a State’s Right to its Peculiar Institution and Animate Property Rights of its wealthier citizens.

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  58. Ava Aaronson: beyond the personal “I am/am not”

    Another arena where people stood by and watched (“but I would never traffic an underage girl”) is with the real cases of CSA (“child” or “clergy” in the C of the acronym).

    Right in the church as a Hunting Ground, predators on the prowl pick off their targets. Ongoing. For years. Thousands of targets. The Houston Chronicle has the mugs of over 700 clergy predators on public record. Tip of the iceberg.

    The “Good Guys in the white hats” (on church boards, members, donors big & small, Sunday School teachers, etc.) all cry, “But I never touched a minor.”

    The powers that be in and out of church passed around girls/boys and women like popcorn while everyone else in the theatre sat silently looking at the movie on the screen. Sat silently. In the same theatre screening room. Popcorn consumption going on. “It wasn’t me,” they say.

    Watching the Maxwell case unfold. Hundreds of minors. Lots of witnesses. Did nothing. Complicit. “It wasn’t me.”

    Jesus: “The Good Samaritan” halted his life & livelihood to rescue while the Good Guys raced by to church.

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  59. Muff Potter: Question:
    The North (above the mason-dixon line) was also an agrarian economy in its formative years prior to industrialization.
    Why didn’t slavery take hold there and become an institution as it did in the South?

    One factor is that producing cotton and sugarcane was labor intensive (and miserable work) to a degree that corn and wheat were not.

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  60. Ken F (aka Tweed): term

    Thanks for sharing this POV.

    In our mixed community, we honor people defining themselves. “Caucasian” is how some among us identify themselves, “outdated” or not. Agency nonetheless, which we respect without judgment as they are talking about themselves.

    Regarding race & identity & terms, one size does not fit all. Listening & responding to agency (one talking about oneself) seems to work in our community since everyone is different and self-description varies. Including among different generations.

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  61. Ava Aaronson: In our mixed community, we honor people defining themselves. “Caucasian” is how some among us identify themselves, “outdated” or not.

    Could they be doing it out of ignorance? I never knew I was not Caucasian until someone showed me the history many years ago. The only people who should be calling themselves Caucasian are those with ancestral roots in the Caucasus region. Also, to retain the Caucasoid typing also retains the Mongoloid and Negroid typings, by association. Is that really what we want to do?

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  62. I am a California gal. My ex husband was in the submarine service and we spent spent five years in Charleston, South Carolina. What a cultural shock that was. We attended Harborview Presbyterian Church which was totally white. In my naïveté I asked one of the elders what would happen if a black person came to the church. I was told they would be escorted out by the deacons. One of our neighbors was a music teacher at the high school. He invited a black student to come to his house for a music lesson. In the middle of the night the teacher woke to a cross burning on his front yard. I was working in a tax office at time and was amazed at the entitlement of white people to skip the line ahead of black people. I was really young( mid twenties) at the time and did not know how to combat racism. I was accepted in the community because I was white, at the same time isolated because I was an outsider. Every time I had an opinion I was told to go back to California
    I
    We had a really good friend from the boat who developed a great relationship with. We were told to dearie do him because he was (part) black. We didn’t
    The notice and didn’t care once this was brought to our.

    This was in the 70’s and I was in my mid 20’s. I hope things have changed in Charleston. When we got back to California we made a conscious choice to put our children into a Baptist school that had equal amount of black, white, Vietnamese and Indian children. Our children, now adults, are happy that we made that choice except for the Baptist part.

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  63. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    Which underscores the “folly” of trying “classify” humans…. what about all the “mixed race” that is becoming more common…. this will never end…
    Plus, with DNA analysis, it is possible to further show more “differences”… and supposed regions of the world you are from…..should we all just submit DNA?? Sigh….

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  64. Why did Christians have slaves? Simple. It was an acceptable practice, like polygamy, and slaughtering your enemy to last man, woman & child. It’s also why God is a king from a very top down position (non of this constitutional monarchy stuff).

    The Holy Spirit didn’t convict anyone because the concepts we have rejected were perfectly acceptable. And the “holy Spirit” hadn’t developed the ideas that would prove them unacceptable.

    The Bible is a very old book that reflects where that society was, not a how to manual for good governance

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  65. As for racism, it can be a darn subtle thing like being asked in a store “is that your son?” Or being asked in a restaurant if “we’re all together”. Or my wife having difficulty at the bank because her last name doesn’t match her ethnicity.

    Canada didn’t have a Jim Crow but the attitude was still there

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  66. Gram3: … I do not believe that Critical Theory is compatible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. … On the matter of the NAMB funds, I think it would be wise for them to repay the funds and wise for NAMB not to demand repayment.

    True Critical Theories are far bigger than the weaponisers are making out. Genuine scholarship depends just as much on degrees of inference, as on Popperian falsification, and these are in inverse proportion. Spiritual affairs have to be high on inference precisely because they are low on Popperian falsification. Logic = honesty. I’m coming back to the Table of Nations later.

    If you could give us a couple of potted instances where as you see it what gets called Critical Theory is wrong in opposing the Gospel, I’ll give you my opinion (as an unmarried carrier forward of civilisation) and I’ll try & help you prove where they are wrong: I think this is possible, and is possible soundly, rather than unsoundly as some would wish.

    Cornerstone have shown the other cheek (in the proper sense) already by pointing out the money is not due. Shall they (should circumstances permit) bring one of those giant “cheques” with marching band, cameras, and tied up in a huge pink bow – to underline the mockery?

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  67. Ken F (aka Tweed): Could they be doing it out of ignorance?

    In our non-homogeneous relationships, we never label, correct, question, shade anyone (i.e., “ignorant”) for the terms they use to describe themselves.

    Including you with your comments. What works for you in describing yourself, good for you. We’ll try to remember your preferences about you and honor them, for you.

    We listen to how people describe themselves (not how others describe/correct them, even armed with a wiki article). We listen, acknowledge, respect, and honor individual self-identity & self-description.

    “Groups”, in our experience, do not have group consensus in correct self-identity terminology. That is why we try to be good listeners to individuals about themselves, instead of authorities over them with research/articles/wiki/etc. to correct others in what they say about their own self-identity.

    We honor their understanding and terminology about themselves with appreciation not correction, about them.

    Self-identity, self-expression, listening, acknowledging, honoring, relationship, love.

    In answer to your question, no, we don’t believe they are ignorant. We believe they are different from you, and have experiences that include & exclude from that wiki article of your link. It’s phenomenology, as in lived experience, as research. Knowledge that is additive and neither replacement nor negation.

    You are acknowledged for what you say about you, and they are equally honored for what they say about themselves. Different destinies arriving via different paths using some of the same terminology differently; the dynamics of language recognized.

    Listening well and specific context fill in the gaps. All in the grand venture of being human in the company of our loving God.

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  68. Jeffrey Chalmers: the “folly” of trying “classify” humans

    Exactly.
    DNA & science, vs. culture, nurture, nature, etc., many factors figure into personal self-identity or how one sees oneself. It’s not science but finessing with love.

    Individuals in culture groups have different preferences for appropriate terminology to self-describe. We try to be good listeners so individuals self-describe, then we go with their preference. We never correct, shade, or diminish their preferences.

    It takes a lot of courage for some to speak up and self-describe. There are others that with hubris announce to everyone what is correct about everyone. (Not self-identity preference but what makes them the authority with their inside info.)

    We try to affirm individuals with their self-description and veer away from the speaking-for-the-crowd and speaking-loud ones (so we can hear individuals; everyone gets their say for themselves, not for others).

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  69. Sons of Ham include for example Cush (whose name means mountain). Based on Josephus and Egyptian sources, which findings of archaeology have tended to confirm, the clan of Cush, having come from Aratta, probably via Eridu, skirted the Arabian peninsula shores, opposite Somalia, to get to present-day Sudan. Similarly, Misraim settled in Egypt, Punt went further north to Lebanon. Every country these clans settled tended to later be called “God’s land” or “Holy land”. “Ham” is something different from a highly specific “curse of Ham”. Ancestry, and countries, and curses (if any) are purely incidental to each other, and are highly separable things in meaning. (Curses come to an end.)

    Nimrod who may have been a “mighty brigand against the Lord” may have been reflected in stories of the religious false unifier (similar to Julian, and some today) who tried to subjugate objects of worship of Aratta – remembered in epics as idols, but probably also implying worshippers of True God – in his refounded Babel, but whose kingdom fell apart due to demographic pressures probably exacerbated by natural disaster. Records got repeatedly destroyed out of bowdlerising counter-superstition, and in war. Archaeology is something that has been carried out in random fashion so far. God means us to hold all learning precious and to use maximum reason in the widest senses of the term.

    Proof means degrees of testing of various kinds. When astronomers say they have “found a planet beyond Pluto” they mean they have observed unexpected nuances in colour spectrums or magnetic resonances. What they did and how they did it doesn’t invalidate their interpretation. Working hypotheses are highly respectable things, and it is genuinely necessary in every field to have more than one hypothesis concurrently. Inference of spiritual terms, from individual observations in the light of Scripture’s meanings, is by no means undermined by theoretical falsifiability in material terms. That at any rate is how I would briefly put what I see as explanatory issues, from a middle of the road point of view.

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  70. dee,

    Congrats on reading the Luther tome, Dee; I only listened to the audio book. It was very inspiring to me at a time when I was also standing up to some oppressive, abusive church authorities at a church my family and I have since left. I am generally very appreciative of your many stands, in the tradition of Luther, against such authorities as well, and agree there is only one infallible Word of God, while at the same time being saddened by how skin color is used in such gross generalizations, today and throughout history, in ugly ways that betray God’s ideal and kingdom, which I look forward to being made right in the life to come, where all ethnicities will worship together before His throne.

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  71. Jeffrey Chalmers: with DNA analysis, it is possible to further show more “differences”… and supposed regions of the world you are from…..should we all just submit DNA?

    The companies that offer to own DNA all appear to give out exactly the same description to every “customer”: large percentages of northern and western European, smaller percentages of Anatolian and Levantine, an easy guess from history. They don’t explain how or why DNA corresponds to any geography. (I think it incidentally sometimes may do, which is a different matter.)

    In Britain stating an “ethnicity” is voluntary: has it been made compulsory in the US? In the UK it is partly to protect, say, Bangladeshis from oppression by Pakistanis. Our British government criminally destroyed records legitimising immigrants from the Caribbean.

    Whilst by 2020 standards I’m merely weatherbeaten, I refuse to differentiate myself from anybody because we were more of a mixture than average for our class, a couple of generations earlier than usual. As both a second and a third generation immigrant on one side, I get flak for my version of “received pronunciation” which is my only speech. We were in trouble for frequent changes of religion when that was still sensational.

    By the way in my blunt way I see lots of Native American in both white and black Americans, and I hope it’s not painful for you to hear. I did read once, the south-east had an advanced education system and it was the US that decreed that Native Americans had to disavow many of their people: atrocious. Scripture advocates interceding for our nations on the basis of past atrocities, but I don’t see churches picking this up.

    The latest that makes sense is that hunter-gatherers got plenty of vitamin D from diet so could be dark, even in Western Europe. A mutation for light skin helped the reproduction of some farmers in densely populated lands (probably in times of lesser sunlight), whose descendants spread west as many old tales tell. Prior to that however, races had mixed and re-mixed several times.

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  72. Jeffrey Chalmers: Which underscores the “folly” of trying “classify” humans…. what about all the “mixed race” that is becoming more common…. this will never end…

    It can sound like a good idea when speaking in generalities, but it falls apart when dealing with real individuals because none of us are purebred anything, as is being shown by DNA ancestry tracing. It turns out that racism is based almost entirely on how a person looks rather than their DNA ancestry. I was once accused of racism by a black colleague. It turned out that the only reason he called me a racist was because he thought I looked too German. As a culture, we need to find a way to get past this and view our race simply as “human.”

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  73. Ava Aaronson: In our non-homogeneous relationships, we never label, correct, question, shade anyone (i.e., “ignorant”) for the terms they use to describe themselves.

    I don’t find that approach helpful becauese it propogates race stereotypes and overemphasizes our differences instead of stressing our common humanity. “Caucasian” is a racist word with racist roots in terms of applying it to “white” people in general, so it seems appropriate to quit using it.

    It is not shading someone to suggest that they might be ignorant on a particular topic because ignirance literally means lacking knowledge. I have been and continue to be ignorant about many things. The good thing about ignorance is it can be overcome through learning. I used to be ignorant about the use of the word Caucasian and used it to describe myself until I learned it was not a good term to use. Have you asked any of your “Caucasian” friends why they use that word to describe themselves? Maybe they would be glad to learn what it means.

    As far as accepting terms people want to use about themselves, would you be good with people self-identifying as Aryans? See https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Aryanism

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  74. Jack: As for racism, it can be a darn subtle thing like being asked in a store “is that your son?” Or being asked in a restaurant if “we’re all together”.

    Our 3rd child is adopted from South Korea, so she looks very different from us (English and Northern European descent). Soon after she arrived, I had someone exclaim “that’s not your daughter!” when I was holding her (I just said, “She is now!”, not upset, just a moment for education).
    Another time a TSA agent tried to shoo her back from coming up to the TSA desk with the rest of our family; ironically, he was Asian himself, and apologized a lot.

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  75. Ken F (aka Tweed): As far as accepting terms people want to use about themselves, would you be good with people self-identifying as Aryans? See https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Aryanism

    Before Thule Society and that Austrian with the funny little mustache got hold of the word, “Aryan” meant a Persian or Northwest India ethnicity. It was also an older word for what’s now called “Indo-European” as in the language family.

    “Caucasian” also originally meant someone from the Caucasus Mountains (in the Balkans), i.e. Armenian, Azerbaijani, Georgian, Southwest Russian. You know, like the Romanian Robert Redford from Left Behind. The use of the term for “White Race” dates from an ethnic classification system of 250 years ago, and despite all the skull measurements and facial angles, “Caucasian Race” NEVER had any actual definition beyond “looks White”. (Given the rise of Scientific Racism in the Victorian era, it probably meant the ethnic “race” of the Scientific Racist.) In any case, its a very archaic term that’s long since been superseded.

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  76. Ava Aaronson: We honor their understanding and terminology about themselves with appreciation not correction, about them.

    Self-identity, self-expression, listening, acknowledging, honoring, relationship, love.

    In answer to your question, no, we don’t believe they are ignorant. We believe they are different from you, and have experiences that include & exclude from that wiki article of your link. It’s phenomenology, as in lived experience, as research. Knowledge that is additive and neither replacement nor negation.

    What sort of community are you describing, and how big and fluid is it? I have never lived in a place where everyone had an opportunity to say, “I am a ____,” and everyone else honored that.

    My closest experience was a religious house of some three dozen people. I certainly knew who was white, but people did not formally proclaim identity.

    Moreover, it would have been hard to remember that Sarah called herself Caucasian, whereas Bill preferred Italian American, and Joanne has just stopped capitalizing the W in white.

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  77. Friend: Muff Potter: Why didn’t slavery take hold there and become an institution as it did in the South?

    Slavery was originally legal in northern colonies and states, but was gradually outlawed between 1777 and 1840. Migration patterns, types of crops, and availability of land made it harder for slavery to survive.

    I remember reading that the boundary of “The South” corresponded pretty well to climate that allowed for warm-climate cash crops such as King Cotton and terrain that made large plantations practical.

    Early on, the South got locked into a plantation cash-crop economy (always a setup for class/labor exploitation) with a Feudal Aristocracy/leisure class of rich landowners on top (much like Europe).

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  78. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    “It turns out that racism is based almost entirely on how a person looks rather than their DNA ancestry.”

    “we need to find a way to get past this and view our race simply as “human.””
    +++++++++++

    i see relevance where gender is concerned.

    gender discrimination (and religious gender roles) are based on how a person looks rather than their chromosomes.

    to illustrate: oh, do i have stories on how differently my husband and i have been treated in christian environments.

    the welcome, the handshake, the acknowledgement, the attention, the personal interest, the engagement in conversation, the eye contact, the seeing, the hearing, the opportunities, the access, the permission, the favor…

    if i had been dressed like a man and carried myself in a stereotypical man-way (the more alpha-male the better), i would have been given the best of everything.

    “we need to find a way to get past this and view our race simply as “human.””

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  79. elastigirl: to illustrate: oh, do i have stories on how differently my husband and i have been treated in christian environments.

    Went to a new church as a nuclear family straight out of Dick Jane and Sally. Greeted with wild enthusiasm.

    The next Sunday, Father had to go out of town in his new roadster. I went to the same new church with the same children and go the single-mother treatment.

    I don’t think people even mean to do this. They just don’t think. Failure to think needs to rank much higher as a sin, imho.

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  80. As far as the fact that so many professing Christians could support American Chattel slavery despite the work of the Spirit…

    The fact is, all of us are far, far, far more socially conditioned than we think. I imagine most of us commenting here think that if we had lived 200 or so years ago in the south that we would not have supported slavery or the like. Probably about 95 percent of us would have. It is exceedingly difficult to overcome the biases of one’s cultural situation. We all desperately want approval from our contemporaries. We remember particular individuals who stood up for what was right in part because they are so few.

    Remaining and indwelling sin is a reality for every Christian. Not everyone is sanctified to the same degree in this life. And then things get really complicated when you look at the Bible. How could a believer filled with the Spirit commit murder? But David did. Samson regularly visited prostitutes. The list could go on.

    Any one of us is capable of committing any sin, even the most grievous of sins, under the right circumstances.

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  81. Michael in UK,

    Hi, Michael in UK.

    your comments are interesting. but i’m barely hanging on. i want to understand better.

    it’s kind of like when i attempted sewing. and my gardening pursuits.

    in trying to solve all my gardening problems, i research to learn and understand.

    i come up with lots of information peppered with technical terms and trade language. so then i research my research to figure out what all the terms and language mean. which yields a new level of terms and language…

    Michael in UK, would you be willing to hint at your background (as a favor to me) as a context starting point to better understand the information you are presenting?

    (i’m pretty sure it’s not sewing or gardening since “Popperian falsification” and “Table of Nations” haven’t shown up yet in my sewing handbook or gardening research)

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  82. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Agreed. My impression is that the North was more strongly anti-royalist than the South. I have read that enslaved persons had trouble surviving harsh Northern winters, under conditions of privation. This limited return on investment in a depraved way, but possibly saved millions of lives. So much here. All of it sad.

    US population in 1860 was about 31 million, including about 4 million enslaved persons. La Wiki has a table showing percentage of slaves by state. The seceding states had up to 57% enslaved persons: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1860_United_States_Census

    Unimaginable.

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  83. Michael in UK,

    Critical Race Theory, as it is being applied here in the SBC, is effectively another power religion. As such, it is against the Gospel which is the inversion of the power principle of the world. I have seen Jim Crow and segregation before the Civil Rights laws were enacted, so I understand the problem *as much as a white person can.* However, substituting one power structure for another is not the remedy. The only remedy is the transforming power of Jesus Christ who alone can make it possible for anyone to cause a person to willingly set aside selfishness for another.

    Regarding repayment, I do not think a marching band would be appropriate, unless it would be something like a New Orleans funeral band. Because that would be more like what I had in mind. It would be heaping coals on the head of SBC leadership. You missed my point, friend. I was making a wisdom statement, not a law statement. And I was making a wisdom statement for both parties. Cornerstone accepted funds which the *pew peons* of the SBC donated to plant an SBC church. Those funds were not the funds of the SBC leadership. So, in my view, Cornerstone has an obligation to the SBC pew peons, not to the SBC leadership. Similarly, in my view, SBC leadership is the bad actor with respect to Cornerstone, and therefore is the entity who should, in wisdom, decline to demand repayment, even though the debt is owed to the pew peons. Then the pew peons should throw the bums — executives and trustees — out.

    You are no doubt a learned man. I’m not, but that’s the view from the one spot on the ground over here.

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  84. Gram3,

    “The only remedy is the transforming power of Jesus Christ who alone can make it possible for anyone to cause a person to willingly set aside selfishness for another.”
    +++++++++++++

    i don’t deny the power of Jesus Christ.

    (i’m barely hanging on in general in my mental processor, so that’s my disclaimer as i throw out what it’s processing at the moment:)

    it just doesn’t happen. or it takes a couple hundred years for anything to happen at all. 😐

    and by that time, damage upon damage has been compounded.

    Yosemite… the organization and enforcement of rules and laws were established for a place like Yosemite.

    without them, not even the power of Jesus Christ would have prevented people from polluting it, cementing it over (more than it already has been), developing it to profit a greedy few, and basically destroying the flora and fauna.

    “They paved paradise
    And put up a parking lot”

    because there is inconvenience and personal cost to do otherwise.

    and because there are always many people who believe freedom gives them the right to not be bound by such things.

    maybe in a few hundred years humans would get the picture. ha, by then, it’s too late. it’s all been destroyed.

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  85. Just random info to toss into the discussion:

    Some of the slave owners were other blacks in the USA. How will we figure that into the equation of all we discuss? Some of the Latinos in my family oppressed the native peoples of Mexico. How do we address that now that Latinos are often oppressed? Some of the whites in the south not only did not own slaves, but fought for the North. Some who did fight for the south, not owning slaves, came home and fared worse than many of the slaves had fared in the post war upheavals. Bigotry is a two way street, for there are black churches where a white cannot be in leadership. Should we address that?

    As far as I know I have no asian blood. Otherwise, either I have to say yes or maybe to any label. Historically my family have been oppressors and the oppressed. I suspect good dna tracing and historical knowledge would put most people in that category.

    What I am about to say is controversial to say the least, so please hear me. You do not have to agree but hear me, the person of mixed up parentage, some who treated others horribly and some who were treated horribly, sold, trafficked, and discriminated against:

    We need a massive dose of all sides agreeing they are guilty of racism (yes, including minorities who can be extremely racist. I see them every family reunion.) We need massive doses of forgiveness for wrongs done in the past by long dead people. We need massive doses of forgiveness for unintentional slights, hurts, micro and macro aggressions that have occurred in our lifetimes, and may occur now.

    If we could all admit the past was often just plain wrong, but let it be in the past and move on, it would help. And then as we do that if we could all begin by assuming the best, not the worst, of others, it would hugely help. Sometimes we just need to let. it. go.

    I don’t care if you refer to my ancestry as containing some Indian, or Native American, or Cherokee. Call another part of it white, Caucasion, Celt, Irish, Scots-Irish, English, or Anglo. It.does.not.matter. If someone uses terms like black, African American, Negro, person of color, or colored I will not get my knickers in a twist. Only one word would do that and polite society has not used that term in ages, regardless of how dark or light they are.

    We are all humans, so of the same race: the human race. Eye color, skin color, hair texture, body build, and all the other racial markers are just nothing more than superficial variety. Yes, ethnically there are different groups, but how about if we allow each to treasure their own culture without denigrating other cultures?

    And when it comes to gender and sexual identity: having lived in a sex change capitol for a long time, I can tell you most people who do not identify as what they were assumed to be at birth pass very well for the other gender. Some folks are born male, some female, some neither, some both, and then there are all those who are male or are female but something biological malfunctions (variety of issues) and they function/feel like they are not the gender they are by dna. Most of the time no one besides family and drs even knows about the issue, but if others must it can usually be handled with a simple statement “I am John” or “I am Jane.” Let’s cut each other some slack here too. Some would feel the most loving thing to do when “Jane” identifies as “John” is to immediately refer to John and use male pronouns. For others that would mean violating their faith (variety of faiths, actually) and going along with perpetuating what they believe is a lie. So if the person doesn’t call you what you think you should be called, cut them some slack. Accept who THEY are if you want them to accept who YOU are.

    Or as my grandma (the one who was trafficked as a child)used to say: if you go around hunting runners you are bound to find some. But if you go around seeing people as nice you will not even notice their runners.

    As to Cornerstone: you took the money in order to be planted as an SBC church. I do not blame you for wanting out at all, but act with integrity. No one should have to ask for the money back. Just offer it. If I take money from McDonald’s to put up a McDonald’s restaurant but decide in a bit I would rather run a Burger King, McD is gonna want their money back. And to the SBC: you may deserve the money back, but there is no way this will reflect well on Christ. Don’t ask for it and refuse it if offered.

    See how easy all this is? Assume folks are trying to be nice, if they aren’t well bless their hearts ya’ll but be nice anyway.

    Drives Satan nuts when we do that!!

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  86. Friend,

    “…roadster…

    I don’t think people even mean to do this. They just don’t think. Failure to think needs to rank much higher as a sin, imho.”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    you said roadster…. 😮

    (no wonder it didn’t clear)

    indeed, failure to think is quite the christian culture pandemic.

    i marvel that people in church communities regress to middle school mindset — just going along with the group ethos like a leaf on a stream, no matter how dumb, senseless, destructive, corrupt…

    maybe it’s what groups tend to do in general — but nothing like the concept of God to propel it all like rocket fuel.

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  87. Friend: What sort of community are you describing, and how big and fluid is it? I have never lived in a place where everyone had an opportunity to say, “I am a ____,” and everyone else honored that.

    A loving, caring community. Listen rather than tell or correct or talk down. It’s not so difficult to remember what people say because people describe themselves uniquely, with their understanding of terms – what those terms about themselves mean to them. And it takes courage to be open sometimes. Respectful boundaries are paramount.

    We found each other, because like Simon Sinek describes, we share values.

    During this challenging time we meet online. Although, while communicating online, when we heard that one family had no desks at home for remote schooling, our family delivered three desk set-ups (3 desks, office chairs, desk lamps, & wastebaskets – nothing fancy) and a computer to that family for their students. Curbside deliveries – took more than one trip.

    We care about each other. God is love.

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  88. Ava Aaronson: Listen rather than tell or correct or talk down.

    It sounds like your loving community might have no way to defend itself against someone who sincerely does the unacceptable.

    So far you have not said whether “Aryan” would be a lovingly accepted term. That was a hypothetical.

    Growing up, I had Italian American friends who constantly referred to themselves by the term “w o p” (rhymes with mop). That was a xenophobic insult, supposedly from an acronym printed on shirts that Italians were forced to wear when detained in the US: With Out Passport.

    Never would I say that word out loud. I could not get away with it, but I didn’t want to: to me it was profanity. Yet my friends called themselves by this name.

    Italians had a hard time getting by in that time and place. They were mocked and scorned, believed to be of low intelligence, and assumed to be criminals.

    There are worse words that people fondly use to refer to themselves. We all know them. How would your group handle that real-world situation?

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  89. elastigirl: Yosemite… the organization and enforcement of rules and laws were established for a place like Yosemite

    I was speaking in the context of the church, specifically Cornerstone and NAMB. Government is and entirely different matter. I’m all in favor of good government! As I said, I lived through Jim Crow, and it was very ugly. I cannot imagine what it was like to be black then. I remember actual Woolworth’s counters. Really, they are not a myth. I remember the water fountains and rest rooms. Hotels. State park campgrounds and beaches! And, of course the schools. The unmentionable word everywhere. So, I get the need for civil laws to restrain human sin in the secular realm. Civil laws, however, will never change a human heart.

    Someday I would love to visit Yosemite. Somehow just never made it there. Dang Covid.

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  90. Gram3: I was speaking in the context of the church, specifically Cornerstone and NAMB. Government is and entirely different matter.

    One key problem there is that the SBC and NAMB have made a lot of promises they haven’t kept. I believe the leadership has been entirely dishonest for a long time about their intentions. But then they are shocked when a church wants to leave because those promises haven’t been kept, even when that church hasn’t actually made promises themselves, as with Cornerstone.

    SBC leadership is all about bringing people in and refusing to let them leave. That is what they model in their churches. I wouldn’t be surprised if they try to take Cornerstone to court, but I think without a contract, they’ll have a very hard time getting Cornerstone to pay it back that way. A gentler approach might have worked, at least in part, but I don’t think this isn’t really about paying back the money, and more about trying to force Cornerstone to remain SBC.

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  91. Friend,

    At a dinner in our home, we were discussing the Amazon rain forest, environmentally. We had science, business, research, & policy represented, informally, as this was a social night.

    At table, a Brazilian named Renner spoke up, “You are talking about my country. I find it interesting when the rest of the world seems to know best about us.”

    The discussion halted with reflection. Finally, someone spoke up, “We are expressing our viewpoints from our disciplines, Renner, but you are absolutely right. We are talking about your country. So, you shall have the last word here. You are Brazilian and we are discussing Brazil. We will all listen to you.”

    Mindfulness. We all learned something memorable that night and we established a new standard for our discussions. Informally, the closest stakeholders get the last word about themselves, or something like that.

    Noted: there are arguments for policy, globalism, semantics, ownership, stewards of God’s world, etc. This was a social, not policy, event with thoughtful people in discourse, trying to be respectful of each other. Truth and love combo. Humility.

    As churches, maybe if we were better listeners (like what witnesses have been telling us for years), maybe we would have a better handle on some issues (disparity, gender, race, etc.).

    Ever grateful that TWW is a forum for listening & sharing, respectfully. Wade Burleson’s website is also a good place for respectful discourse, and he is a pastor with a lovely church.

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  92. Ken F (aka Tweed): As a culture, we need to find a way to get past this and view our race simply as “human.”

    My 1st husband’s (died in auto accident) mother was born in Germany in 1946. A native of Guam (“Grandpa) married her mother and adopted her. Both of my deceased husband’s grandfather’s were US soldiers who fought in Germany in WWI. The American born grandfather hated my husband’s mother because she was German. He hated “Grandpa” because he looked like a Japanese. The grandchildren did not understand the hatred. They loved both men, and both men loved them.

    2 years after my 1st husband died, I married a soldier (now retired), stationed at Ft. Campbell, born and raised in Maine (I am a Kentuckian – ha talk about different worlds! Note: The one guy on the team that my husband clearly did not like was also from Maine). My husbands SF team was mostly “white” men, but the team wives were a little bit of everything. ……. white, black, Southern, Northern……….South Korean, Vietnamese, German, Puerto Rican.. ……… accents galore, minor language barriers, different beliefs………. but we were a team. We had one another’s backs anytime, all of the time. (Bonus: the food was wonderful at team cookouts!)

    My point is ( given my comparatively limited experience), it seems to me that if we look beneath the pointless surface barriers, we are all pretty much the same underneath.
    What really divides us is our own personal prejudices.

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  93. ishy: One key problem there is that the SBC and NAMB have made a lot of promises they haven’t kept. I believe the leadership has been entirely dishonest for a long time about their intentions. But then they are shocked when a church wants to leave because those promises haven’t been kept, even when that church hasn’t actually made promises themselves, as with Cornerstone.

    I’m not going to defend SBC leadership on any day ending in Y. I don’t know anyone at Cornerstone or anything about the situation there. I don’t give a fig about a contract or civil procedures. Really, It doesn’t matter what I think at all! That was so painful to type. The pew peons gave those funds in good faith for a purpose which was to plant an SBC church. That’s all. Those funds were accepted in good faith for a purpose which was to plant an SBC church. That’s all. Now they are withdrawing from the SBC. So should those pew peons’ funds that they gave for SBC church planting just be disregarded in this matter entirely? As if pew peons are not disregarded enough! That is why I framed my comment as a matter of wisdom and not of law. I think that Cornerstone should think carefully about this. I think every one of leadership should think carefully about this. NAMB is a disaster. The Trustee system is a disaster. No secret there. Actually, the problem is that there are too many secrets there.

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  94. Gram3,

    “I was speaking in the context of the church, specifically Cornerstone and NAMB. Government is and entirely different matter.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    (ok, i’m really in over my head, here — but i learn best by jumping in the deep end.)

    so, this critical trace freeway… triticale rice mcflurry…whatever it is… i’m sort of getting up to speed on it, but let me think out loud while that’s in process:

    you mentioned earlier, “The only remedy is the transforming power of Jesus Christ who alone can make it possible for anyone to cause a person to willingly set aside selfishness for another.”

    even in the context of church, the transforming power of Jesus Christ doesn’t happen like it is supposed to.

    [which is the topic / question of this post (ie, christians condoning slavery)]

    i mean it happens at times on a micro level.

    but look at macro level. look at institutions, like the SBC, Menlo Church (i still think of it as Menlo Park Pres), Belleview Baptist, so many others.

    institutions that are “for Jesus and for His fame”, that do what they do “in the name of God” will not do the right thing unless they are compelled to.

    just like many people will exploit Yosemite and kill it with pollution unless they are compelled not to.
    —————-

    (continued below)

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  95. Gram3,

    elastigirl,

    #2

    (#1 isn’t showing yet — it has the word mcflurry in it, for reference)

    in my process for getting caught up on critical race theory, i guess it’s called, and christian thoughts on the subject, i read an article in Christianity Today, by Dr. Kelly Hamren, an assistant professor of English at Liberty University.

    Here’s an excerpt:

    “Because I believe people are made in God’s image (Gen. 1); the God whom I worship warned his followers repeatedly not to oppress the poor, widows, foreigners, etc. (cf. Deut. 15:7 and countless other passages); and Jesus reached out to those whom society despised (women, Samaritans, etc.); I can argue with confidence that my faith is wholly consistent with working to mitigate oppression in the society in which I live.

    By doing so, I am not embracing an alternate gospel but merely living in a way consistent with the gospel I have embraced since I was a child.

    What some are referring to as “social justice” these days—making sure our laws and institutions don’t make it easier for the powerful to oppress marginalized groups—often refers to good, old-fashioned biblical justice.”
    ————–

    this articulates where my thoughts are at the moment. (but admittedly, i’m still in way over my head)

    what do you think?

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  96. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): it seems to me that if we look beneath the pointless surface barriers, we are all pretty much the same underneath.
    What really divides us is our own personal prejudices.

    I heartily agree. I wrote the below a couple of days ago but decided to hold it in draft. Your comment is a good reason to insert it now.

    My job moved me to Italy a number of years ago. It sounded like it would be a dream but it was a living nightmare. We lived in an area South of Rome that was once a penal colony of the Roman Empire – and it seemed like the mentality never changed. My German wife, who is highly fluent in Italian, was treated like the scum of the earth by the locals because they thought she was Ukranian (she did not have American manerisms and did not have an American accent). The well-off Ukranian women were mere maids, all the others were of the oldest profession. She was always assumed as the worst by the locals because she they thought she was Ukranian because of her appearance. There was no privilege in that. Her life could have been different if she would have treated the Eastern European migrants like slaves. Instead, she befriended them, which made our existence a scandal. It was a miserable place to live. The fact that she understood absolutely everything the locals said about her made it worse. I never want to go back to that pit.

    It was not the first time she faced racism. She was born and raised in the South of France where hartred of Germans was still well entrenched. Her childhood was literally torture starting in 2nd grade when they started teaching about the “dirty Germans who lost the war.” Her French became so good that they eventually considered her a local. After a few years of abuse school became tolerable for her. But the racism was never far below the surface.

    I utterly reject the notion that only “whites” can be racists and that “whites can never be the subjects of racism. By now, I don’t even know what “white” means as a race. I so wish that skin color, accent, ancestry, gender, and other us-vs-them distinctions did not exist.

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  97. elastigirl: just like many people will exploit Yosemite and kill it with pollution unless they are compelled not to.

    And there also many (of faith and no faith) who would not exploit Yosemite based on an inner voice that tells them it’s wrong.
    Erasmus put it this way:

    “Sacred Scripture is of course the basic authority for everything; yet I sometimes
    run across ancient sayings or pagan writings — even the poets — so purely and reverently and admirably expressed that I can’t help believing their author’s hearts were moved by some divine power. And perhaps the spirit of Christ is more widespread than we understand, and the company of the saints includes many not in our calendar.”

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  98. Todd: Dee, I found the answer to “How could Christians support slavery?” in this book:
    The Problem of Slavery in Christian America: An Ethical-Judicial History of American Slavery and Racism by Joel McDurmond
    https://www.amazon.com/Problem-Slavery-Christian-America-Ethical-Judicial-ebook-dp-B07TT7PSPL/dp/B07TT7PSPL/

    Thanks for this recommendation. Looking forward to reading this book. Answering Dee’s question is paramount.

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  99. ishy: One key problem there is that the SBC and NAMB have made a lot of promises they haven’t kept. I believe the leadership has been entirely dishonest for a long time about their intentions. But then they are shocked when a church wants to leave because those promises haven’t been kept, even when that church hasn’t actually made promises themselves, as with Cornerstone.

    SBC leadership is all about bringing people in and refusing to let them leave. That is what they model in their churches. I wouldn’t be surprised if they try to take Cornerstone to court, but I think without a contract, they’ll have a very hard time getting Cornerstone to pay it back that way. A gentler approach might have worked, at least in part, but I don’t think this isn’t really about paying back the money, and more about trying to force Cornerstone to remain SBC.

    What also comes to mind is not wanting the idea out there that people can get mega bucks donations to projects and then disassociate. Of course, one would think that a good look at where these funds are being spent is warranted. I’m not holding my breath on a transparent breakdown of what and where the spending is going, let alone alone that it will reach the people who think they are sending “mission“ funds for what might be in large part an insular pet project.

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  100. elastigirl,

    I think Christians should oppose oppression. That should not even be a question. However when relationships are being recast as Oppressor/Oppressed in the church, then I think we need to ask why power has become the principle under discussion. Further, if the only categories for relationships are Oppressor and Oppressed and dissent is quashed and any denial is taken as evidence of guilt, then I think there is a huge problem, particularly in a Christian setting. Now, I don’t think that things are quite that dire yet in the church, but I’m not naive, and the germ idea of power dynamic is there. The Gospel is not a power dynamic but rather the inversion of the worldly system which is precisely a power system.

    Jesus came into the world under an oppressive regime. The early church was born under the same system. Yet there was not a call for resistance to that power structure by replacing it with a different power structure. Arguably things went haywire when the church allied itself too closely with state power! In contrast, in the early church, barriers were broken down between former enemies, Jews and Gentiles, because of the changes brought about by the power of Christ in their inner hearts. Teaching and patient correction was necessary for everyone.

    I want more than anything for the church to look like the Kingdom. I don’t see that happening by going down a path that is not grounded fundamentally in principles of reconciliation between and among all who are at enmity or estranged or feel like outsiders.
    Shai Linne’s article at TGC is heartrending. So I empathize with the frustration that black leaders have. I guess I would summarize by saying that just as I view Complementarianism as toxic because it is based in power, so also I view Critical Race Theory as toxic in the church because it is based on merely substituting one power structure for another where there should not be a power structure, at least based on race or gender.

    The One who had all the power laid it all down, and I think he is our example.

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  101. Jerome: What a contrast to the Geneva Bible of the Reformed, which paired Moor with Black in its weird translation of Jeremiah 12:23 way back when.

    In the late Middle Ages, “Moor” became a term for any dark-skinned foreigner. Because of the Islamic incursion into what’s now Spain (al-Andalus), Moors (Moroccans/North Africans) would have been the most common dark-skinned foreigner Europeans would encounter, and the term became generic.

    It wasn’t until the African Slave Trade got rolling that dark-skinned Africans were viewed as subhuman animals; before that, they were just dark-skinned foreigners, emphasis on Foreign.

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  102. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Important point. I’m sure that’s out there as you describe.

    Our experience has never involved conflict. We do hear and honor different terms, though, from individuals, (i.e.: Indigenous, First Nation, Indian, American Indian, Native American, various regional names, etc. – yes, each of these, & no, we never argued/corrected someone describing themselves.)

    Maybe our experience is so boots-on-the-ground with just average working people that no one claims a hill to die on, or to speak for the group, or gets worked up, about their self-terms.

    Friendship & understanding surpass correctness. We hear, ask for, listen for, and observe personal self-identity preferences, peacefully (our experience).

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  103. Gram3: The pew peons gave those funds in good faith for a purpose which was to plant an SBC church. That’s all. Those funds were accepted in good faith for a purpose which was to plant an SBC church. That’s all. Now they are withdrawing from the SBC. So should those pew peons’ funds that they gave for SBC church planting just be disregarded in this matter entirely?

    TO plant a church or a Southern Baptist church? If it was to plant a church that would stay SBC, where was the agreement to do so? There was no agreement for the church to remain SBC. The Cooperative fund used to fund a lot of international church planting of churches that weren’t specifically SBC. Why do they have to be so now if they don’t specifically stipulate that?

    There are some questions, like why NAMB didn’t get some sort of agreement, like they usually do, but that makes it NAMB’s fault, not the church’s.

    Furthermore, where was the concern about the 5,000 missionaries that were fired from IMB with no consultation of the convention? Why are massive amounts of funds being shuffled around and huge decisions made by leadership without the input of members. This is how the SBC works now, because that’s what their new leadership actually believes–that membership should pay up without having any input.

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  104. elastigirl,

    1. My interest in languages (ever since my struggles as “student”) led me eventually to ask myself, who are the Amorites, Hittites, Horites, Elamites, Scythians, Sumerians, Phrygians, Medes, et al (from the Sunda Sea to the northern steppes), rather than starting with Romans & Greeks and never finishing. David Rohl & Peter James are New Chronologists; latter helpful about Plato especially. There are Short Chronologists. I don’t stick rigidly to one chronology because I think we need multi-hypothesis theory & multi-theory hypothesis. (I have a “system” for not getting muddled up.) Stephen Oppenheimer (a pediatric geneticist-epidemiologist) surveyed folklore starting from tribes he worked for.

    2. I’m not good at essay writing or even note taking but I hope to whet appetites. I looked at “evolutionary” science and cosmology: Lisa Randall, Carlo Rovelli and Stephen Jay Gould struck me (latter good at logic and rhetoric too). I had some lucky secondhand book finds; library books and web sites help too. I use transliterated words not original writing systems; and if grammar isn’t to hand I just get a “feel” for words. And my nose is in an atlas more often than any other genre! (tbc)

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  105. (contd) 3. The world the universe and everything – “christians” that aren’t interested are suspicious!

    . Logic – K Popper * and J H Newman (as a pair) (latter a nice rhetorician too), R H Thouless, W S Jevons (lovely dry humour), E Gilson
    . History of maths – Georges Ifrah
    . Happiness – Epicurus
    . “The age of genius” by A C Grayling
    . Semiotics: “Plastic” by R Barthes is wonderful
    . the Screwtape treatment at church & societal level rather than individually is in Os Guinness’ The Gravedigger Files
    . habitus: the very humane P Bourdieu
    . sociology of religion: no-one to beat P L Berger (BTW I think Durkheim is baleful)
    . poignant surveys:
    – The metaphysical club by Louis Menand
    – Grand hotel abyss by Stuart Jeffries
    – At the existentialist cafe by Sarah Bakewell

    4. Better thinkers try not to reify or nominalise, they are like lens grinders trying to get better glimpses at things. I enjoy allusions that convince, rather than feeling cowed by them. At any point – just ask away. Retirement hobbies.

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  106. Gram3,

    Yes! I think the racial views you describe (and possibly some devised to counter them) are only part of what is “critical” and a wicked distorsion of it.

    I get it now, SBC tried to trick Cornerstone into ignoring the pew peons’ moral view of what such funds would be for. When reimbursing the pew peons on moral grounds, Cornerstone should consider pouring coals on the SBC bosses’ head. Some of my own larger past denominations are like them, too. I over-focus on walking out as a stray individual. You’re sticking up for what congregation was always supposed to be about, whereas I had written it off as a lost cause.

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  107. Gram3: I think Christians should oppose oppression. That should not even be a question.

    As we’re seeing in practice, that only applies when Christians are NOT the one on top doing the Oppressing.

    However when relationships are being recast as Oppressor/Oppressed in the church, then I think we need to ask why power has become the principle under discussion.

    Hold the Whip or Feel the Whip, nothing in-between.

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  108. So here is a question. The last part of James 1:27 states “refusing to let the world corrupt you.”

    Not to ignore other complicit parties of that day (or today), but it is obvious that most Christians in The South let the world corrupt them and justified holding and mistreating slaves.

    In what way do we today allow ourselves to be corrupted by “the world”?

    This is not a rhetorical question. I honestly wonder how blinded am I? Where am I corrupted by the world? What is it that I can’t see which should be quite obviously wrong?

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  109. Deborah Blunt has written a book to expose and explain the support for slavery among southern churches before the Civil War. She quotes extensively from historical source material with footnotes and lists books and sources for further original research. This Maine Yankee learned much from this book.

    Dee, Deborah Blunt also had an unpleasant parting from the SBC church where she had worked many years.

    From her description of the book:
    “ More than 150 years after the American Civil War, We Confess! The Civil War, the South, and the Church takes readers into a past still being re-enacted in the US Evangelical church.

    We Confess probes the history of the white church culture in the 19th_century Deep South, and especially the denomination identified most closely with the region, the Southern Baptist Convention.

    We Confess explores the stunning choices made by the churched, from the settling of the region, through secession and Civil War, and then through Reconstruction and reassertion of “white rule.” It confesses the disturbing reasons behind these choices, as well as the tragic results. In all this, it exposes what remains undealt-with and still unresolved.”
    https://www.keytruths.com/we-confess/

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  110. Michael in UK: I over-focus on walking out as a stray individual. You’re sticking up for what congregation was always supposed to be about, whereas I had written it off as a lost cause.

    Or should Christians not be so hyper-focused on their denomination?

    In this situation, I’m actually really surprised the standard NAMB agreement wasn’t there. They did have one, at least 20 years ago. I encoded it for applicants to fill out. The New Calvinist believe so strongly in covenant contracts–it’s really surprising they didn’t do that with Cornerstone. Knowing how NAMB works, I doubt it was some overt complicity on the church’s part, more like a bribe from NAMB.

    But despite the fact that SBC leadership does not believe in the input of pew peons, the pew peons have allowed them to remain in power, mostly by burying their heads in the sand. The New Calvinists aren’t going to change to a democratic method. Yes, the church probably should pay back that money and be free of the SBC, but I doubt NAMB wants to give them enough time to do so. I doubt this is really about the money, but power. And we may see NAMB try to sue Cornerstone over the church building, hoping the members will remain.

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  111. Afterburne: This is not a rhetorical question. I honestly wonder how blinded am I? Where am I corrupted by the world? What is it that I can’t see which should be quite obviously wrong?

    I think it helps just to ask ourselves this question occasionally. I don’t think many Christians do. Or if they do, they ask it of others and not themselves.

    I often think of Micah 6:8:
    “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
    To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.”

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  112. JDV: Of course, one would think that a good look at where these funds are being spent is warranted. I’m not holding my breath on a transparent breakdown of what and where the spending is going, let alone alone that it will reach the people who think they are sending “mission“ funds for what might be in large part an insular pet project.

    I’ve long advocated that these outfits (religious ‘non-profits’) no longer be exempt from filing IRS form 990.

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  113. Bridget: As far as I’m concerned, these church building groups are more about their brand than about Jesus’s church as far as I’m concerned.

    And at one time, IMB and NAMB did plant non-Baptist churches, particularly IMB. Many Southern Baptists probably didn’t realize that. But many local churches also supported missionaries who weren’t Baptist or planting specifically SBC churches. My church supported me in an interdenominational missions agency that planted a nondenominational church.

    That’s the way missions has worked for a long time. I agree, it’s now a lot more about branding, and in the SBC’s case, control.

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  114. Afterburne:
    So here is a question. The last part of James 1:27 states “refusing to let the world corrupt you.”

    Not to ignore other complicit parties of that day (or today), but it is obvious that most Christians in The South let the world corrupt them and justified holding and mistreating slaves.

    In what way do we today allow ourselves to be corrupted by “the world”?

    This is not a rhetorical question. I honestly wonder how blinded am I? Where am I corrupted by the world? What is it that I can’t see which should be quite obviously wrong?

    Go read Galatians. Not a study guide, commentary or annotated bible. Just read the book as though you’ve never seen it before. And preferably a real bible translation, not a faux bible like the Message, LT or NLT.

    If you do, you will see that the Church is being faught over, as are you today. Any doctrine that was not preached by the Apostles is Ananthema. (I sure you can think of a false Antibelium teaching about Blacks, who also happened to be believers in many cases)

    You will see as well refrerences to Paul’s opponents. These are Judaizers. Judaizer = Judeo-Christian Worldview apologist.(Can the Christian Right be found in Scripture)

    Do the same with Colosians and you will find that a strict conservative lifestyle is in fact ordinances of the World. An example would be Bill Gothard’s entire lifetime of ministry and influence. His wisdom teachings, where not wisdom, but ordinances of this World, destined to perish.

    You will also read that any instruction or doctrine etc, received by visitation or any like aberration or appearance, is forbidden, and will result in death at the judgement.(Can you number off any modern figures who received a visitation)

    That will get you started.

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  115. Cornerstone may consider a counter-request to the various SBC entities to return the money that Cornerstone gave to the SBC? SBC has failed to perform in regard to Caring Well, and other issues. Likely there is no written agreement for this refund, but sauce for the SBC goose is sauce for the local church gander. Possibly the NAMB/SBC would then drop its request for a refund, since the last precedent it wants to set is sending refunds to local churches for the SBC’s failure to perform its duties and promises?

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  116. Headless Unicorn Guy: Including infighting within identity groups over the One Correct Self-Identity Terminology. (Sometimes approaching the level of “Judean National Front” vs “National Front of Judea”.)

    Astute point. However, the underlying issue (outside Judea) is not a vocabulary litmus test. It’s more about whether merely listening with love and accepting every testimony as sincere will lead to a healthy group over the long term. Uncritical acceptance can lead to abuse, cover up abuse, and deny the very possibility of abuse.

    I’ve belonged to some outstanding groups. Every single one has had conflict—including a burial ministry, pacifist Quakers, and a deeply intellectual alumni organization. Conflict can be toxic, but civil disagreement shows that people are thinking critically. If anybody needs a proof text, I recommend Matthew 10:16: “‘See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.'”

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  117. Friend: Uncritical acceptance can lead to abuse, cover up abuse, and deny the very possibility of abuse.

    I’ve belonged to some outstanding groups. Every single one has had conflict

    Alarm bells go off whenever I hear of someone describing a group completely free of conflict. And if one could find such a group, what would be the point of it being a group? I don’t think I would be welcome because I ask too many questions. Such as, “Why do you self-identify with an offensive term that has racist connotations?”

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  118. Ken F (aka Tweed): Alarm bells go off whenever I hear of someone describing a group completely free of conflict. And if one could find such a group, what would be the point of it being a group?

    I understand that was one of the problems with an old ’80s cartoon called “The Get-Along Gang”. Apparently, much of the ‘conflict’ among its members was lame, and ‘resolution’ usually involved getting the sole dissenting voice to admit that he was wrong. I only recall seeing one or two episodes myself, but didn’t find it all that interesting.

    Sorry if that’s too far off topic.

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  119. Serving Kids in Japan: I understand that was one of the problems with an old ’80s cartoon called “The Get-Along Gang”. Apparently, much of the ‘conflict’ among its members was lame, and ‘resolution’ usually involved getting the sole dissenting voice to admit that he was wrong. I only recall seeing one or two episodes myself, but didn’t find it all that interesting.

    This isn’t too far off topic because the concept of ‘conformity’ is relevant to this discussion.
    Because of Mass media the 80’s feels close to us but it was 30 years ago – going on 40. A lifetime.
    Look at the movies of John Hughes. All about conforming to majority.
    But the table is a lot more crowded now than it was then. The cartoons of that era were more aimed to the problems of the white middle class. Often with either pop psychology overtones (care bears) and hyper military (gi joe). Fighting communists uh cobra while needing a hug.
    This was the heyday of the moral majority & the Christian coalition.
    In 2017 I saw a poster in a store on our way to Texas. I think we were in Oklahoma. “ I miss Ronald Reagan “

    These have become the good old days. A golden age that never was.

    It seems that some churches are struggling with the new paradigm.

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  120. Gram3,

    “I view Critical Race Theory as toxic in the church because it is based on merely substituting one power structure for another where there should not be a power structure, at least based on race or gender.”
    +++++++++++++

    i think i understand. still in deep water over my head, barely hanging on, but here goes:

    #1:

    this is my thinking at the moment: there are many ideals communicated in the bible, based on truths.

    even so, just like selecting products off a Target shelf, we all choose things to help us along — to give the ideals a helping hand.

    God is all-powerful, and “heals all our diseases”.

    –we say yes and amen, as we take a pain reliever with a sip of water. as we visit the doctor for this, that, and the other.

    “The Gospel is not a power dynamic but rather the inversion of the worldly system which is precisely a power system.”

    –yet all human organizing efforts require leaders, hence a hierarchy of sorts. even Thanksgiving Day. certainly Christmas. in my prayer group. cub scouts.

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  121. Gram3,

    #2:

    for disclosure, i’m a white/caucasian/european descent person.

    i attended a bible study where it turned out i was the only white/caucasian/european descent person. i was sort of ignored, not out of anything malicious — just because i was different.

    the ice breaker was something about answering the question “what’s your favorite comedy”. lots of exhuberant laughter ensued. my favorite comedy was the only one mentioned with white/caucasian/european descent actors. no response. simply because it wasn’t on their radar.

    we paired up in groups of 2 or 3 to pray. everyone angled their bodies towards others to form these groups, angling away from me. i was groupless, so i inserted myself into a group.

    again, nothing malicious at all. i was just different, and people gravitate towards what is familiar, what they inherently belong to, what they know. because there is safety and confidence in that.

    it stung very mildly. it was a miniscule hint of a taste of what my companions encounter their whole life. Sting after sting after rejection after glass-chewing indignity.

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  122. Gram3,

    #3:

    now apply this to things of bigger consequence in a majority world in which there is organization hence leaders hence hierarchy–

    like employment, job promotions, elections, how decision-makers work together, law enforcement, court trials…

    it seems to me that the ideal of being “grounded fundamentally in principles of reconciliation between and among all who are at enmity or estranged or feel like outsiders” needs to be helped along.

    just like we help along the truth of God’s omnipotence and strength and healing power with aspirin, epidurals, warfarin, chemotherapy.

    the power structures of hierarchy need to be helped along with adjustments.

    i’m sure i could come up with other examples of how all of us lives in a dual reality – one in which we believe the ideals and truths in the bible; and the other in which we choose actions and items as if those ideals don’t exist.

    because those actions and items give us what we want (for better and worse), and what we need (for better).

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  123. Raswhiting,

    Thank you for the kind mention, Raswhiting. I wrote “We Confess! The South, the Civil War, and the Church” in 2011, when the 150th anniversary of the Civil War was just getting underway, and everyone around me was saying, “Why are you bringing that up? Isn’t that all behind us?” The ebook edition was reformatted and slightly updated earlier this year, and includes a “2020 Author’s Note.”

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  124. Nathan Priddis: You will also read that any instruction or doctrine etc, received by visitation or any like aberration or appearance, is forbidden, and will result in death at the judgement.(Can you number off any modern figures who received a visitation)

    So many of them we need to start a Take-a-Number System.

    Like all those “God Appeared to Me in a Vision and Saith…” Private Revelations?
    From Nuclear War to COVID Pestilence as “Chastisement” for America’s (usually sexual) Sins?
    Like cryptic “Now My Judgment on This Country Begins” after the 2008 elections with NO specifics?
    There’s a reason I’m skeptical of “God Appeared and Told Me…” Private Revelations.
    In my church (RCC) a variant of this called “Mary Channeling” is the characteristic way to Flake Out.

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  125. Nathan Priddis: You will see as well refrerences to Paul’s opponents. These are Judaizers. Judaizer = Judeo-Christian Worldview apologist.(Can the Christian Right be found in Scripture)

    Actually, they were an ethnically Jewish faction that wanted to (1) limit the Church to Jews, (2) force Goyisha Christians to first become Jews in every way, or (3) both.

    (And before any SJW gets on my case for “ethnically Jewish”, at the time there was no clear distinction between Ethnicity/Tribal Identity/Religion; the three normally came as a package deal.)

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  126. elastigirl: “Do their views align with God’s word?”
    ++++++++++++

    otherwise they have absolutely nothing valid to say? nothing a’t’all?

    (but be honest and say according to ‘my interpretation’)

    No. And I do not need to heed your advice and “be honest and say according to my interpretation.” Utter nonsense. I have read most of Jemar Tisby’s posts on The Witness, and he should be marked and avoided. And I have read tweets by Ally Henney and Michelle Higgins. More nonsense and unbiblical positions.

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  127. elastigirl,

    August 2 tweet from Jemar Tisby: “Remember to pray for your pastors. You might even ask them how you can be praying for them and let them know when you do.”

    First three replies:

    “yes sir!”

    “Good reminder, thank you for this!”

    “Great way to keep Pastors encouraged thank you for this wonderful reminder”

    https://twitter.com/JemarTisby/with_replies?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

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  128. Ken F (aka Tweed): Utopias of all stripes have a need to silence or “disappear” dissenters who ruin the myth of zero conflict.

    I could be way off here because I’m not following in detail(not fully retired yet), but didn’t Ursula Le Guin write about this in “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”, a short story, and author, introduced to me by my sisters, big SF fans. LLAP

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  129. Headless Unicorn Guy: So many of them we need to start a Take-a-Number System.

    Like all those “God Appeared to Me in a Vision and Saith…” Private Revelations?
    From Nuclear War to COVID Pestilence as “Chastisement” for America’s (usually sexual) Sins?
    Like cryptic “Now My Judgment on This Country Begins” after the 2008 elections with NO specifics?
    There’s a reason I’m skeptical of “God Appeared and Told Me…” Private Revelations.
    In my church (RCC) a variant of this called “Mary Channeling” is the characteristic way to Flake Out.

    I perceive we have some common background (several iterations of RC are in my “portfolio”) and a common interest in the “fivefold”. How do I find people (on the ground) to tell what I see about this?

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  130. elastigirl: well, i was just thinking, since there’s a range of positions on what is biblical / unbiblical, many variations in the conservative camp alone, if we really believe that ‘my position’ is the only correct one then heaven will be a very lonely place, indeed.

    I have a feeling that a lot of people are going to be surprised about who is in heaven and who is not and why…

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  131. Friend,

    Paul: pray nonstop – not once a month – no “briefings” – for:

    – the fruitfulness of the gifts of the saints
    – the needs of the saints
    – just government in your country.

    “Pray for rulers” MEANS the position of rulers in regard to quality of rule.

    Good angels will jog their elbows unawares. IF we keep it up. Nonstop.

    Please God do this for those in need of it, please Jesus give that to your needy ones, Amen.

    No buttering up. No superstition. How many of you have been told you will go to hell if you repeat the Lord’s Prayer?

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  132. elastigirl: institutions that are “for Jesus and for His fame”, that do what they do “in the name of God” will not do the right thing unless they are compelled to

    Ah, but they will negotiate to do a third thing, as long as it is seen to be different from what they were doing and isn’t what they don’t want to do.

    Thesis – antithesis – false synthesis – Hegelian pincer movement and false dichotomy, out of the hat by its rabbit ears!

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  133. Ava Aaronson: https://slate.com/culture/2020/08/liberty-university-falwell-black-athletes-football-sports.html

    Snobbery in maths teaching is a huge and grave scandal altogether.

    I would have loved maths and at the time of maximum pressure I was landed with the teacher who wouldn’t teach.

    How does a child know he has to become a complainer?

    It’s not as if the rest of the population has been helped enough either.

    Adding up is like honesty and truth, however multi-layered.

    Everything sacred has to be weaponised. Create an out-group.

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  134. Michael in UK,

    “Ah, but they will negotiate to do a third thing, as long as it is seen to be different from what they were doing and isn’t what they don’t want to do.

    Thesis – antithesis – false synthesis – Hegelian pincer movement and false dichotomy, out of the hat by its rabbit ears!”
    +++++++++++++++++

    with faith all things are possible.

    (even Gospel-grotesque, all the while making yourself out to be hero.)

    (it takes a special kind of person who has so much faith that they can be corrupt-for-christ and a jerk-for-jesus and sleep well at night)

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  135. Robert,

    “It is exceedingly difficult to overcome the biases of one’s cultural situation. …

    Remaining and indwelling sin is a reality for every Christian.”
    +++++++++++++++++

    i don’t think it’s a sin issue. i think it’s depth-of-awareness issue.

    a matter of how much one notices and recognizes. perceiving, seeing, hearing, and understanding.

    the best, kindest, most generous and gracious human beings i know practice no faith at all.

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  136. Muff Potter,

    ““Sacred Scripture is of course the basic authority for everything; yet I sometimes run across ancient sayings or pagan writings — even the poets — so purely and reverently and admirably expressed that I can’t help believing their author’s hearts were moved by some divine power. And perhaps the spirit of Christ is more widespread than we understand, and the company of the saints includes many not in our calendar.”
    +++++++++++++++

    oh my word, another bumper sticker!

    i LOVE this!…

    Erasmus… is that light reading?

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  137. Ella: I could be way off here because I’m not following in detail(not fully retired yet), but didn’t Ursula Le Guin write about this in “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”, a short story, and author, introduced to me by my sisters, big SF fans. LLAP

    I have been reliably informed by a friend of mine who is a science fiction historian that “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” has been read as LeGuin’s take on a couple of hushed-up child sexual abuse scandals within SF in the 1970s which should have deep-sixed a number of prominent figures (almost all of whom have since died). But there was so much protection of these writers that nothing happened. (Sound familiar?) Maybe the lesson to learn here is that it doesn’t matter the community–any community can have serious issues.

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  138. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    “And perhaps the spirit of Christ is more widespread than we understand, and the company of the saints includes many not in our calendar.

    “If the Bible is correct in calling Jesus the creator and sustainer of everything, is there any reason we should not expect this?”
    ++++++++++++++=

    tcha, no.

    we can’t be the only ones ruminating and discussing things like this.

    i suspect (…sense?) the inherent truth of this is in the process of making its own welcome in the collective conscience.

    (i feel fizzy with hope, all of a sudden…!)

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  139. Ken F (aka Tweed): My German wife, who is highly fluent in Italian, was treated like the scum of the earth by the locals because they thought she was Ukranian (she did not have American manerisms and did not have an American accent). The well-off Ukranian women were mere maids, all the others were of the oldest profession. She was always assumed as the worst by the locals because she they thought she was Ukranian because of her appearance.

    Ken, I need to apologize for not seeing this earlier. (We had a family emergency, and I missed some comments.) What a painful experience you and your wife endured together. I hope you and she were able to heal, although things like that do leave scars. Thank you for sharing such a powerful story.

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  140. Afterburne,

    “I honestly wonder how blinded am I? Where am I corrupted by the world? What is it that I can’t see which should be quite obviously wrong?”
    +++++++++++++

    (i’m sort of zigzagging all through the comments today)

    here’s what i think:

    mulling over “treating people the way i want to be treated” reveals a lot.

    i don’t think you are corrupted by the world. i think we can all learn from people of different faiths and no faith, to better recognize in ourselves that which is quite obviously wrong.

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  141. elastigirl: Erasmus… is that light reading?

    No, it is not (light reading).

    Erasmus and Luther (pronounced Loo-tair) disagreed vehemently on the state of humankind and its betterment.

    Erasmus was a humanist who believed that humans have the power to better themselves and thus the world around them too.

    Luther did not, and said that it was impossible for humans to better themselves because they are in a state of total bondage to the flesh and sin, totally depraved from birth with the double whammy of original sin.

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  142. Headless Unicorn Guy: Actually, they were an ethnically Jewish faction that wanted to (1) limit the Church to Jews, (2) force Goyisha Christians to first become Jews in every way, or (3) both.

    (And before any SJW gets on my case for “ethnically Jewish”, at the time there was no clear distinction between Ethnicity/Tribal Identity/Religion; the three normally came as a package deal.)

    My current belief is the Pharisees, Sadducees and Herodians are alive and very well. Their decendents have influenced, dominated and eventually controlled the Church. Jesus’s warning against the three leavens was not a general statement.

    The problems today are largely caused by the descendants (some genetic some idealogical) that form a continuous link for twenty centuries. Modern teachers of the Law, are the same as those of old. Where their message differs is discribed by Paul in 1Tim.1:17. They do not know what they affirm.

    This is my current narrative:
    1. Acts 6:1 There is already grumbling and factions between Helens and more conservative Judeans.
    2. Acts 6:7 A large number of Preist obeyed the faith. I don’t see how this group does not contain at least some Sadducees.
    3. Acts 11:2. A hostile circumcision group publicly bring condemnation on, and seperate from one of the chief Apostles. He feels the need for a lengthy defense and says don’t blame me it was God.
    4. Acts 15:1. A hostile faction from Jerusalem arives in Paul’s home base and counters his message.
    5. Acts 15:5 The Pharesses have a separate representation in Jerusalem. The Church Elders and Apostles have adopted a Sanhedrin structure. James appears to act as a President.
    6. Acts 21:20 Paul is told there are thousands of believing Jews in Jerusalem, all of them zealous for the Law. My view at this point: The Judean Church has failed and turned back from the Gospel.

    70CE The Temple is destroyed. The Apostles also reach the end of their lives. Both Judaism and The Way are in crisis. They forever part ways. Second Temple Judaism morphs into Rabbinical Judaism. The Church enters a brief dark age and emerges with a clergy/laity structure, and is anti-semite. It eventually marries Imperial Rome. Two separate streams now flow through time. The Clergy does occasionally borrow Rabbinical teachings over the centuries.

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  143. Michael in UK: I get it now, SBC tried to trick Cornerstone into ignoring the pew peons’ moral view of what such funds would be for.

    I’m not privy to what went on between Cornerstone and the NAMB leadersnip, who are the ones who would have mediated the terms of the plant, and I have next to zero confidence in SBC leadership. But I would not want to say that they tricked Cornerstone. My primary interest in this is that the name of Jesus has once again been profaned and an opportunity for reconciliation which he bought has been squandered. That’s why I suggested the settlement approaches I did for the parties.

    You have a daunting reading list(!), and I very much look forward to reading your comments.

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  144. elastigirl: it seems to me that the ideal of being “grounded fundamentally in principles of reconciliation between and among all who are at enmity or estranged or feel like outsiders” needs to be helped along.

    Absolutely. Reconciliation is hard, difficult, agonizing, exhausting work. It requires teaching, encouragement, prayer, the ordinances/sacraments, the rebukes when necessary and the comfort when necessary. I could go on, but you get the idea. All of the spiritual things that are necessary to heal our spiritual ills have analogs with our physical ailments, as you described in part 1.

    I don’t believe that imposing a system of guilt-based or shame-based rules about how to think about one another is healthy. That is actually just the inverse of the slave legacy mentality we are trying to escape: People should not be shamed because of their genes. I think the remedy is to teach the truth of who everyone is in Christ. And keep reinforcing it. That is what Paul did with his unruly congregations. And we need that for “race” and gender.

    With respect to #2, I can feel the pain in your words. I’ve been there so many times as an introvert who just wants to disappear but can’t. It’s exhausting and painful. I’m so sorry.

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  145. Gram3,

    “With respect to #2, I can feel the pain in your words. I’ve been there so many times as an introvert who just wants to disappear but can’t. It’s exhausting and painful. I’m so sorry.”
    +++++++++

    it was a mild sting. it was an opportunity for me to experience just a fragment of what my friends of color have experienced their whole life in a majority world.

    i think back to my lovestruck teen years – i bought a BRIDE magazine, just to dream on. it was fun (although i thought all the dresses looked weird – like applique armor-plate — not for me)

    every single model in that magazine was white (if that’s the correct word). as if only white brides existed — as if brides of other races had no business contemplating beautiful wedding dresses.

    reflecting back to my growing-up years — the same years in which my friends of color were also growing up:

    in the magazine aisle, on the movie theater marquis, in TV Guide, Disney & Disneyland, in Toys ‘R Us, coloring books, school books, book covers and packaging depicting people, in Saturday morning cartoons…

    to be a person of color was/is to be invisible. a white majority world that didn’t/doesn’t see you. you didn’t count. it wasn’t about you. you weren’t human enough to be represented, not even on Scooby Doo.

    things are marginally different now. but America is still a white majority world. where ‘normal’ and the baseline standard is white.

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  146. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    H.U.G, you have the gift to enquire what prophecy is false. (A clever trick of “them” is to combine both false and true together, to detract from the latter.)

    Gram3 has opened my eyes to the existence of true apostling, the instinct of the unsung “pew peons”.

    This leads me to a question for everybody.

    The fivefold, we are assured, are the private preserve of the powerful inner clique of bosses, and we ordinary folks mustn’t even mention they exist.

    Do genuine versions of Scripture say, “Ascending He distributed gifts differing” or do they say “Ascending he delegated ‘Elders’ (TM) to ration gifts so severely that no gifts = no differing”.

    What does the Panel think?

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  147. Friend: I need to apologize for not seeing this earlier.

    Thank you for noticing, but no need to apologize. We have so many stories from the time we lived there. What an eye-opener. On the bright side, it’s been the only time in our nearly 30-year marriage where we were within reasonable driving distance from my wife’s parents and siblings. And I learned to love espresso.

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  148. Gram3: a daunting reading list

    The key is, start where you are in any field of knowledge, plunge / dip into what you fancy, how you fancy, and have no shame. If anything at all strikes you, how would you reword it to an imaginary younger self, or how would you draw a simple diagram / jovial artwork of a bit of it? Or would you like to turn it into a chant or rhyme?

    A sign is not the same as what is signed. Language is signs for signs. It is also highly metaphorical and euphemistic in etymology. Quality of inference in all matters depends on the intersection of meanings. Most of my “knowledge” comes from concatenating what I cribbed from different books.

    I piggybacked on my default style of reading (rather spiral) and my gut feeling for the logic of any subject, and downright enthusiasm, and invented a way of “skim” or “speed” reading. Note taking began later.

    I started life as a spatial thinker which got schooled out of me. Chance brought people near me who started me on the road to my true self again. I see the universe as just as multi-layered as the best lasagne of the best grandma in Italy (we had an ad on the TV about her years back).

    Some nasty “Christians” say to me they know everything they need to know (to cover up their shame at being told they are dunces).

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  149. this guy wrote to his wife ‘your hair p***** me off so much i could barely look at you’ and ‘your hair cut made your face look fat’? He seems really obsessed with hair. I know that’s the least little bit but sheesh. there is a lot about weight loss too. This is all superficial stuff. If she had to go to a shelter that speaks really poorly of him to me.

    He’s an anti mask guy? Honestly that’s all i needed to know, but this is a mess and a half.

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  150. elastigirl,

    I would say those things are not mutually exclusive. Sin can cause a lack of awareness and sin can prevent awareness from translating into action.

    Making people aware of a problem is necessary, but no guarantee that anything will be done for it. And the most gracious and kind people are also capable of some very wicked things. People are complex.

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  151. Ken F (aka Tweed): Can you help me understand why that was such a fantastic reply to me? What do you think it communicates to me that I need to hear?

    I referenced you in my reply to Ava more to let her know which reply of hers I liked, as opposed to implying that I didn’t like your comment. But since we’re here, if I had to pick out a few sentences to sum up what I most appreciated about her reply, it would be “What works for you in describing yourself, good for you” and “We honor their understanding and terminology about themselves with appreciation not correction.” Ava also did a great job explaining the concept of agency. Everyone has their (yes I know that’s plural) own lived experience and has the right to identify themselves accordingly.

    When you say, “The only people who should be calling themselves Caucasian…” you are presenting yourself as the boss of how people should identify. It’s that word “should”. And yes, ignorance is a “lack of knowledge”, you say, but c’mon, it’s a loaded word, and usually considered an unkind judgment when used in reference to another person.

    Lastly, your question to Ava in a followup post “would you be good with people self-identifying as Aryan?” is kind of, to me, a disingenuous “gotcha” question. Personally, I’m OK with someone identifying that way if that’s how they see themselves and what they believe in – at least they’re up front about it, and consequently I’ll know that’s someone with whom I won’t want to cultivate any kind of relationship.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share!

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  152. RZ,

    Re: agency, cultivating community, one human race. 2 events over the weekend:

    1. At an online live forum, readers discussed books (White Fragility by DiAngelo, White Rage by Anderson, Color of Law by Rothstein, New Jim Crow by Alexander, Mindful of Race by Ruth King, and books by Ibram Kendi). Everyone voiced how to better understand & respond to others’ unique stories beyond the fact that we are all of the human race. Another POV: adding without negating.

    2. A friend called to say that a school acquaintance of 20+ years ago, was front page pictured in Portland, identifying differently than before. My friend knows the family: ethnicity, first language, names, etc. Now the acquaintance had changed part of their name, first language, and ethnicity. I asked my friend if they were going to update the publicity. My friend said it was a thought, but decided against. Time would out the harmless but clear deception. Cosplay. Fake not fatal. A blow to their personal integrity in the long game. With agency respected, people do many things. Sometimes, as you mention, “consequently I’ll know that’s someone with whom I won’t want to cultivate any kind of relationship.”

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  153. Robert,

    “I would say those things are not mutually exclusive. Sin can cause a lack of awareness and sin can prevent awareness from translating into action.

    Making people aware of a problem is necessary, but no guarantee that anything will be done for it. And the most gracious and kind people are also capable of some very wicked things. People are complex.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    i agree, people are complex.

    if lack of awareness is linked to sin, this is what i think happens (and my ideas should be challenged, here):

    christians don’t want to sin. they are afraid of sin and its consequences.

    they learn what sin is by reading lists of sins in the bible.

    in order not to sin, they focus on the biblical text. they read about sin and try not to do it. they pray that they won’t do it.

    i don’t think awareness and understanding come that way.

    pardon me: it’s kind of like deciding to have an 0rg@$m and trying to make it happen.

    it happens when effort ceases.

    i think awareness and understanding are cultivated through pain and working your way through it

    and through deepening and broadening one’s experiences with human beings —
    talking to them,
    listening to them,
    practicing acts of compassion with them and for them,

    and through reading a variety of good thinkers who are also good writers from a wide spectrum of fields. through reading good fiction (not christian — there are too many restrictions that hold the writer back).

    these thinkers/writers are already deeply aware through being wired that way and/or through their own journey. might as well take a short-cut and glean from them.

    putting these things in one’s life, opening one’s mind to reflect and ponder, and let awareness start to happen.

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  154. RZ: your question to Ava in a followup post “would you be good with people self-identifying as Aryan?” is kind of, to me, a disingenuous “gotcha” question.

    I very much appreciate the feedback even though I disagree with almost everything you wrote. I feel much more respected when a person is willing to engage me in dialogue rather than ignoring me (Ava never answered my questions, making me feel ghosted). My Aryan question was most definitely not a gotcha question because there are people who proudly identify as Aryan and/or white supremacist. Like you, I would not want to fellowship with such people. But Ava made it sound like their group would gladly accept anyone regardless of hateful views. That did not make sense to me. I cannot understand how such divergent views would not eventually lead to conflict of some degree.

    As for a person self-identifying as Caucasian, I would like to understand their rationale given its racist etymology. Knowing the word’s history, what is a good reason to identify with that term other than being from that region? I’m wondering how it helps racial reconciliation. I am also wondering how it honors “negroids” and “mongoloids” (“caucasoid” come as a package with those other two words).

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  155. Ava Aaronson: “consequently I’ll know that’s someone with whom I won’t want to cultivate any kind of relationship.”

    How does this integrate with your earlier reply to me where you wrote “We honor their understanding and terminology about themselves with appreciation not correction, about them.”?

    How do you show appreciation for a person you reject? What would you do if you discovered someone invited such a person to your group?

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  156. elastigirl: to be a person of color was/is to be invisible. a white majority world that didn’t/doesn’t see you. you didn’t count. it wasn’t about you. you weren’t human enough to be represented, not even on Scooby Doo.

    Baby dolls that were only pale with blue eyes from my childhood. The market (including media) is driven by one thing, and that is money, so that’s not surprising. The majority has the money. The question for those of us who care about those who are left out is what to do about it. And that, really, is where most of the knotty issues lie. People cannot agree even on what the problems are. Some problems cannot even be discussed. Some indirect causes (and I’m thinking of some that you probably are not thinking I’m thinking of) cannot be discussed, either. Not going further, because we will go into forbidden and unproductive territory. There is so much tangled, knotted, denatured dysfunction in many intertwined systems that it becomes easier to create a fictional but plausible, truthy narrative or avatars to blame rather than to try to fix those seemingly unfixable systems. Lots of different things have been tried for decades in diverse places, yet inequality persists, leading to frustration on all sides. Any magical thinking or imaginary “solution” along with censorship and shouting down of the facts and data actually prevents any possible advancement toward real solutions. So I am opposed to that sort of thing. It infantilizes black Americans and reduces them to social projects of white Americans. How dehumanizing is that?

    I cannot find any place where success is defined for eliminating this systemic racism or even a good *workable* definition of it. And that is a problem, no? I’m speaking now of the secular realm, because I agree there are grave problems and people are hurting. But I’m oriented toward solutions and planning and execution. Definitely not a think-tanker with a big, beautiful idea and book that ultimately doesn’t help anyone but makes me a boatload of money. I will await incoming from the DiAngelo fans…

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  157. Bridget: I’m sure there are some unbiased people somewhere in Italy that you might get along fabulously with.

    Yes, there are very many. It’s like in many other situationa where it only takes a few to ruin it all. It just happened that in this case the “few” were a majority of the locals in the town where we lived.

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  158. Gram3,

    so, i had to look up DiAngelo.

    (just like i did Popperian Falsification and Erasmus)

    (you learn the darnedest things, here.)

    (i really do know lots of things…just not these things.)

    so, i really am in over my head, here.

    from reading a few articles, it seems DiAngelo has lots of support. And lots of opposition. (i’m really good with the obvious)

    seems to me when things are polarized the answers are in the messy middle. it could be that purism is a fool’s errand, no matter what the topic is.

    i’m quite sure the answer is not in theology or doctrine (which to me falls into your category of “Any magical thinking or imaginary “solution” along with censorship and shouting down of the facts and data actually prevents any possible advancement toward real solutions.”)

    i’m as riled up as anyone.

    it’s unreasonable that there are no answers. but i’ll forego a brilliant summary statement cuz i got nothin, and just repeat myself instead – seems to me the answers are in the messy middle.

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  159. elastigirl: in the magazine aisle, on the movie theater marquis, in TV Guide, Disney & Disneyland, in Toys ‘R Us, coloring books, school books, book covers and packaging depicting people, in Saturday morning cartoons…

    to be a person of color was/is to be invisible. a white majority world that didn’t/doesn’t see you. you didn’t count. it wasn’t about you. you weren’t human enough to be represented, not even on Scooby Doo.

    Not unless you count Bill Cosby & the Cosby Kids. Fat Albert & his crew. I think Scooby Doo had the Harlem Globetrotters guest one mystery but that the 1976 “Scooby Doo Where are you?” Cartoon not the original 1969 series.

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  160. Dee, thanks for bringing to the forefront church history & its relevance today. Enlightening. Several helpful links are here.

    There are questions for me not directly answered. However, much was shared, sometimes case by case. Nothing to add.

    Appreciate sharing ideas and experiences, for reflection.

    A local leader, who identifies as POC, is gathering a network of tutors to help families navigate their children’s education this school year – free, for any family. We are boots-on-the-ground in this effort. As noted above (we donated 3 desk set-ups & a computer), we are still collecting & delivering needed study furniture.

    Hopefully, positive actions speak louder than words – as some of the families do not speak English at home.

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  161. Muff Potter: Don’t forget

    Nat King Cole’s show aired in 1956. Dihann Carroll starred in “Julia” in the late 1960s. Also in that era were “I Spy” and “The Sammy Davis Jr Show.” Pioneering shows all, very popular and enjoyable.

    In the 1960s there were also local radio stations that played only African American music. My home town had one, and it was great.

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  162. elastigirl,

    elastigirl: the answers are in the messy middle.

    Yep, I agree. Unfortunately, there’s no messy middle in a totalist system like DiAngelo’s and the Critical Race Theorist’s. Disagree and you have defined yourself as a racist for sure, just because you disagree with them! Raise any question, and you will be shouted down, censor, or canceled. But that is where the supposed thinking classes are right now. It is very similar to a religion, I think, and in fact it is similar to the Usual Suspects we talk about here. High demand, no dissent, rabid fans, faddish nature of the movement.

    Something that is substantive and real and lasting should be able to withstand testing and inquiry. I think she is an opportunist who is taking advantage of people’s distress and harming others by stirring up strife instead of binding up wounds and building bridges, and it seems to me that is what should make some other people furious or at least make them stop and think about what the positive outcome of all of it is. But, then, I didn’t get very far with my warning about Driscoll and Mahaney in the church…

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  163. elastigirl: well, i was just thinking, since there’s a range of positions on what is biblical / unbiblical, many variations in the conservative camp alone, if we really believe that ‘my position’ is the only correct one then heaven will be a very lonely place, indeed.

    True, there is a range of “positions on what is biblical/unbiblical…” But that is not an excuse to wade into various thoughts and opinions because there may be a nugget of truth lying somewhere within. In my opinion, so much out there is designed to distract us from the true gospel: Christ crucified for our sins and risen to give us eternal life. The enemy often succeeds with so many distractions to pull us off course.

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  164. Proffy: that is not an excuse to wade into various thoughts and opinions because there may be a nugget of truth lying somewhere within. In my opinion, so much out there is designed to distract us from the true gospel: Christ crucified for our sins and risen to give us eternal life. The enemy often succeeds with so many distractions

    Who is supposed to read things for us and tell us what is acceptable? Why should I trust that person?

    I spent years studying the devastating effects of Soviet Communism. My conservative Christians parents completely supported my efforts. They knew that reading about Stalin’s purge, collectivization, famine, and the Gulag would horrify me.

    More important, they trusted my mind and American upbringing.

    Meanwhile a neighbor heckled me about working for the KGB.

    Some of my colleagues went on to work for the US government and universities, equipped with skills and insights that helped to bring about the demise of the Soviet Union.

    Yes, there are bad ideas out there. Critical thinking, though, will lead people away from those ideas. I still read a great deal and never worry about “the enemy.”

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  165. elastigirl,

    I agree with a lot of the second part of what you say. The thing is, Christian ethics always involves looking at what the Bible says is sin and then not doing it. It isn’t exclusively that, but it’s required. Every major Christian tradition in the West at least looks to the Ten Commandments to define sin. Lutherans, the Reformed, Roman Catholics, all have extensive discussions in their creeds and catechisms of what the commandments command and forbid. Any effort that ignores the commandments is bound to fail.

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  166. Gram3,

    This is a very significant problem with a lot of the stuff being popularized right now. DiAngelo’s position effectively says that if you are white, you are necessarily a racist and that you will always be a racist. Everything a white person does in her system proves racism. But if everything is racism, then nothing is racism.

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  167. Ava Aaronson: Our experience has never involved conflict.

    I’ve been pondering how any group of humans can be fully affirming and accepting of what everyone in their group believes while also remaining conflict free. I see no way for this to be sustained for long because people are all so different, which is why I asked you a number of follow-on questions. I was wondering why you were responding to other comments but not to mine. But it seems your non-response actually answers my questions.

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  168. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    “I’ve been pondering how any group of humans can be fully affirming and accepting of what everyone in their group believes while also remaining conflict free.”
    +++++++++++

    i’ve been sort of following this conversation.

    don’t claim to have all the answers, but i look at my prayer group.

    we have very different beliefs on all kinds of things (baptism, saints, sexuality, spiritual gifts, atonement theories [it’s never been discussed in those terms but i can tell from hearing everyone talk that we have very different starting places]…)

    we have pentecostal/charismatic, baptist-y, lutheran, catholic, eastern orthodox, calvinistic-y, arminian-y…

    we simply function and operate based on what we agree on. there is always plenty to agree on. i figure humans agree on much much more than we disagree on.

    in my prayer group we agree on basic things. perhaps it’s the Nicene Creed we all agree on (although we’ve never discussed it in that term, either).

    i reckon it’s possible to zero in even further, and that any group could function based on the common belief in the Golden Rule.

    …but challenge me there, if there is a challenge.

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  169. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    (prayer group example, cont’d)

    our purpose is to pray. we can accomplish our purpose while having different beliefs on things.

    we all feel the conflict under the surface, but it’s benign-feeling, and like “so what?”. it’s not scary. it’s not something any of us are agitated about.

    if we were, then no more prayer group. and we value each other and the group too much for that.

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  170. elastigirl,

    This example gets to the heart of things.

    Your group approaches a laudable purpose without going below the surface to explore and resolve conflict.

    But a group like that (**hypothetical alert**) will have a limited mission, right? If your group has members who are adamantly for and against, say, women working outside the home, that topic doesn’t come up. Betty and Joan will feel each other’s disapproval, and that might be painful. Still, the prayers get said, and that’s why the group exists.

    In a different kind of group, Betty gets to say why she works, and Joan gets to say why she doesn’t. Then a young widow chimes in, and a very old Rosie the Riveter who got fired in 1945, and a mother who tearfully divulges that her family has filed twice for bankruptcy, and somebody clueless says something crazy. Frankly, a lot of groups would disintegrate after such a discussion. A determined group, though, would hear stories and make room for responsible viewpoints. It might grow stronger, approaching reconciliation in the grandest Christian sense. A group like that has a different mission, though, and probably focuses discussion on a book or guest speaker, so that the members don’t club each other with handbags.

    I’ve belonged to both kinds of groups. Both are great as long as the leaders stay focused, and members manage their expectations.

    What you are doing is hard enough, elastigirl, so keep up the good work!

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  171. elastigirl: we simply function and operate based on what we agree on. there is always plenty to agree on.

    That as well as well as mutual respect. I think that people often believe that disagreement entails contempt, and contempt is death to relationships. See John Gottman. If I believe that you disagree with me because you are stupid or evil, then we cannot have a relationship. However, if I see your disagreement as coming from your different experience or different knowledge or other basis for a different perspective, then we can have a relationship with differences and mutual growth.

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  172. Proffy,

    “so much out there is designed to distract us from the true gospel: Christ crucified for our sins and risen to give us eternal life.”
    ++++++++++++

    is it possible the ‘so much’ are bogeymen? shadows?

    and that “Christ crucified…” is less like a delicate and million-dollar machine that must be housed in a clean room, and all those who want to engage with it must be extreme-suited up…

    but rather more like a device that is so simple (yet built on complex chemistry engineered down to the point of simplicity) that that we aren’t afraid of it or afraid of losing it or damaging it.

    like, bread comes to mind.
    ————–

    it’s a miracle it ever happened in the first place (considering the complexity of all the many discoveries that had to happen to eventuate into ‘bread’, and that the big reveal happened in late bronze age technology)

    …i’m trying very hard to stay on track, here.
    ————

    so, bread. so complex, yet so simple at the same time we don’t feel the need to guard it and protect it. it is there for us. and it is there for everyone (they have to know it’s there, of course)

    ….i dunno, maybe i’ve gotten lost down a wormhole…

    but here goes (hitting Post Comment)

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  173. Friend,

    Friend,
    Actually, I could not agree with you more. I should have drank more coffee first and, with a clearer mind, established a context for what I was trying to say. What I should have said — and some will still disagree — is that Social Justice should not be an emphasis in church settings such as Sunday morning sermons, church home groups, etc. I think we should be studying God’s word during those times and not get distracted by social issues.

    Obviously, Jemar Tisby and others should be free to write all kinds of blogs about systemic racism and how Trump is a liar or is careless with his words (can’t disagree with the latter). But I don’t think these matters deserve our attention when God’s word should be taught and proclaimed. Then I think it becomes a distraction away from the Gospel.

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  174. Proffy: we should be studying God’s word during those times and not get distracted by social issues.

    Thanks for such a thought-filled reply. My own church does not usually address social justice issues head on, but they are in the subtext. The church down the street, though, takes a more direct approach. It’s an African American congregation, whose members have pulled together through every historical inflection point since 1801. Fair to say that both of these healthy groups comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

    You are so right about distraction! That is key. Sermons should inspire and motivate, not goad or marginalize. A lot of preachers present social issues as orders, or as upsetting hot topics, instead of examining them in the light of the Bible’s prophetic themes. I imagine it’s easy to churn out sermons about women’s clothing and what kids see on their phones…

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  175. Gram3,

    “Yep, I agree. Unfortunately, there’s no messy middle in a totalist system like DiAngelo’s and the Critical Race Theorist’s.”
    ++++++++++++++

    would you, too, need to compromise to some degree to meet in the messy middle?

    (perhaps you’ve already alluded that you’re there and i missed it)

    (…barely hanging on…

    i’m in the process of launching a new ‘thing’ in my self-employment that relies on new technology and am about to ask people for more money. i’m a technopeasant and feel guilty asking for money in return for my well-qualified services [which i attribute to years of church volunteerism manipulation], so i’m overloaded at the moment)

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  176. elastigirl: …but challenge me there, if there is a challenge.

    I don’t see a reason to challenge because I think we are all processing this together. Friend and Gram3 already gave excellent responses, so I don’t know if i can add more. But I’ll try anyway. I am not trying to instruct or lecture, just to explain my thinking.

    This conversation hinges on the meaning of “conflict.” It could mean everything from a violent fight to a minor disagreement to a scheduling conflict. I am thinking of it more in the sense of disagreement rather than a fight.

    Several decades ago I learned about the group dynamics of Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. If you search on these four words together you will find tens of thousands of references. The bottom line is every group/team cycles through these changes in some form whenever there is a significant change such as change in members or change in mission. Learning about this has been very helpful for me because I am less surprised by the storming phase and I am better equipped to work through the norming phase.

    In the case of your prayer group, it sounds like your team has established excellent norms that serve the group well. However, if a new member joins with a different set of norms, it would likely resort in some conflict that would have to be resolved, such as renegotiating the norms or perhaps people leaving the group if they don’t like norms. But if your group was tasked to do something very different, like go on a weekend camping trip together, all of a sudden there will be new conflicts to work through, even if it is nothing more than scheduling conflicts, simply because the team has a different force that requires a different set of norms that probably have not been negotiated.

    If a team never has conflict of any kind to work through I believe they should ask some hard questions. It could be a sign that they are more closed than they thinl. But that is just me perspective.

    Does this help?

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  177. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    Thanks so much for sharing, for engagement, for inquiry. As noted above in an earlier comment, there may not be time right now to adequately respond to all. However, there’s much remarkable phenomenology presented here with a lovely variety of viewpoints from the wonderful TWW community. It is especially heart-warming that Dee did this post considering our national conversation about race right now.

    We are involved in local activities that follow the BLM and race conversation – with some who do not even speak English as their first language. With that activity, the important national issues, and our focus on demonstrating love in deeds not words to the least of the least, perhaps words fail us at this time.

    However, thanks again, God bless, and always enjoy what you & everyone shares here. Exceptional food for thought, heart-warming thoughts. Ever grateful.

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  178. elastigirl,

    i’m sorry, Gram, if that sounded confrontational.

    In getting acquainted with everything, i’m wondering if christians who are at or near the polarized side of opposition are open to compromise some to meet in the middle. i think i made the assumption that your views were thereabouts.

    i imagine these issues are complex enough that neither you nor anyone else can really communicate en toto in a forum like this where they land on things.

    Maybe most of us don’t even know exactly where we ourselves land.

    anyway, i apologize for any assumptions and confrontational tone. geez, that’s the last thing i wanted to do. i reserve confrontation for things that really deserve it. (and then whap!)

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  179. Proffy,

    yeah, that was a first pass at putting into words what i was seeing in my mind’s eye.

    the gist is that i think christians have been conditioned to have an unreasonable fear of the evil worldly world, with the assumption that everyone who isn’t wearing the christian label is a goblin to be wary of.

    i am trying to reconcile this with the fact that the best human beings i have known (the most honest, decent, gracious, generous, and all at personal cost to themselves) are not christians but people of other faiths or no faith.

    in general, i have noticed many things that are championed and drum-beaten in christian culture that are are at odds with reality.

    it troubles me.

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  180. elastigirl: would you, too, need to compromise to some degree to meet in the messy middle?

    I think I am in the pragmatic messy middle mainly due to life experience. I have observed the harms done by Jim Crow, operated a business in the black community with black employees and worshiped in multi-racial churches over the years where we have talked with people about these issues. So, I get it as much as I can without having lived as a black person. I’ve seen the good and the bad of all kinds of people, and the ins and the outs of the “systems” behind the curtain and how they help and do not help. More to the point, *who* they help and who they do not help. I’m as open as ever to whatever will work and whatever respects the full dignity of each person. I’ve already seen enough movements come and go, and all they do is enrich the leaders and promoters. Nothing new there.

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  181. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    thank you for taking the time to write a thoughtful reply.

    “the group dynamics of Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing” — indeed, i learn the darnedest things, here! i’ll check it out!
    ———-

    “However, if a new member joins with a different set of norms, it would likely resort in some conflict that would have to be resolved, such as renegotiating the norms or perhaps people leaving the group if they don’t like norms.”
    ++++++++++++++

    –if someone joined who was muslim that would be norms different enough to result in conflict.

    i wish it weren’t the case. i have a few dear friends who are muslim — i’ve never prayed with them, but i would love to find common ground and pray about things that matter to all of us. this would be a bridge too far, though, for most others in my prayer group.

    there is a fellow mom in our association of school moms (from the elementary school that brought us all together) who is in a same sex marriage. she’s great. i would love it if she were to come. i would need to talk to the other moms in our prayer group ahead of time. without that kind of sensitive tete-a-tete, i think conflict could result. but i think i could make a reasonable case.

    we have unofficially agreed to agree on a few very basic things only.
    —————

    “But if your group was tasked to do something very different, like go on a weekend camping trip together, all of a sudden there will be new conflicts to work through.”
    ++++++++++++

    –indeed. i think a group like ours, where our purpose is one task only, is a rather easy one as far as conflict goes.

    i think groups with a purpose of answering philosophical questions, or how to handle money, have to be much more prone to conflict.

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  182. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    “But if your group was tasked to do something very different, like go on a weekend camping trip together, all of a sudden there will be new conflicts to work through.”
    +++++++++++++

    one more thought.

    (but i’ve been too present this evening!)

    camping trips are awesome, but indeed full of conflict. but the conflict brings people closer.

    and really, conflict isn’t anything to be afraid of. (not that you implied it was)

    i remember hearing a friend who was irish-itallian describe extended family gatherings around the dinner table. multiple loud arguments and conflicts galore all shooting across the table. and so what. it had nothing to do with their love and affection for each other.

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  183. elastigirl: anyway, i apologize for any assumptions and confrontational tone

    No apology needed. 🙂 I am at the pole on Critical Race Theory because I believe it is harmful to black Americans. Does that make sense? Let me give an example beyond the white-black issue. If the only categories are Oppressor and Oppressed, and the means and tools of success belong only to the Oppressor, then how can the Oppressed ever obtain success? To be specific, if timeliness is a “white” thing or logic is a “white” thing or mathematical axioms are a “white” thing, and black children are taught these kinds of things, then how can they ever attain success? They are being set up for failure. That is not loving them and that is not doing good to them. That is not respecting their dignity. So, on this issue, I am definitely on the pole. Whoever wants to can scream “racist” at me all they want, and I’m fine with that because this is the twisted definition of racist that they have. Words have been stripped of meaning. So their meaning means nothing to me.

    I’m also on the pole about various movements, though I agree about some of their stated issues. It’s really a matter of holistic issues that get ignored because they are too difficult or because it does not benefit people to call attention to them. Those disfavored
    people not in the news get left behind and things just get worse. That is not doing good to them or respecting their dignity, either. Movements get easily hijacked by the powerful, and manipulate too many. Not a fan of that because it short-circuits critical thinking. One advantage of being older is I just don’t care an awful lot what other people think. I do care about what is true and good. I have reflected on what you wrote about not wanting to hurt anyone, and that is how I feel, too. That is a good thing to aspire to.

    If you have a commute. Joe Rogan’s podcasts with James Lindsey or Bret Weinstein are good and entertaining overviews of the Critical Theory landscape in academia. Language alert.

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  184. elastigirl: –if someone joined who was muslim that would be norms different enough to result in conflict.

    It depends. If the new person agrees to accept the group norms the storming phase would likely be very minimal, with little normong requires. However, I think the group would need to go through the norming process in any case to find a healthy way to accomodate a new faith to the group. Does that make sense?

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  185. elastigirl: i think groups with a purpose of answering philosophical questions, or how to handle money, have to be much more prone to conflict.

    The dynamics are extremly evident in teams that do more than just thinking, praying, or diacussing. Think marriage, for example, where adding a child to the mix upends just about all the negotiated norms. Or a group of people that has to take action. For example, if your prayer group decided to support a local cause, all of a sudden there would be a quite a few issues that would need to be negotiated or re-negotiated.

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  186. elastigirl: indeed, i learn the darnedest things, here! i’ll check it out!

    I found this extremely helpful for knowing how to navigate change on all kinds of settings. On the job, instead of thinking that a new person is to blame for conflict, now I recognize there will be a need to renogitate roles and responsibilities. It helps me understand why “fish and family smell after three day” – the family storming phase usually takes a few days to manifest. Re-negotiating family norms, even if temporary, is the best path through the conflict.

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  187. elastigirl: remember hearing a friend who was irish-itallian describe extended family gatherings around the dinner table. multiple loud arguments and conflicts galore all shooting across the table. and so what. it had nothing to do with their love and affection for each other.

    I think in a family situation you are often able to tolerate more conflict because the underlying love is there? The history is there and you truly know those people. If you are going to dislike them you already know that too.

    There is a psychological safety to arguing with family members often that isn’t there with casual acquaintances.

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  188. Gram3,

    I find it helpful to think of racism as a system, personally. If you know there are systemic elements that need to be unbuilt and that actively hurt people, maybe i find it easier not to take criticism of it personally. You know they say it’s better in a relationship to take the ‘us against the problem’ instead of us against each other stance and I think it’s true for racism.

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  189. Lea: There is a psychological safety to arguing with family members often that isn’t there with casual acquaintances.

    There is also a cultural aspect. As I mentioned upstream, my wife is German, but was born and raised in the South of France. As a consequence, she is very emotionally expressive, talks loud, and talks with her hands. When she lived in Norway they chastized her for being too emotionally expressive. But when we lived in Italy they joked about her being a cold fish even though she was trying to be overly expressive. Discussions in Italy were almost always loud and expressive, way more than Northern Europeans like. Discussions like that might appear to be high conflict to cultures not used to that. For a highly expressive culture like that, a quiet discussion can be considered dishonest and rude.

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  190. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    ha…. spiritualize all of that with the concept of God and that’s christian culture. you’re too X, Y, & Z so you’re told you’re ungodly, unbiblical, sinful, therefore dangerous so we shun you and tell all of our friends to shun you, too. you go somewhere else and you’re not enough X, Y, & Z and you’re told you’re ungodly, unbiblical, sinful and get shunned there, too.

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  191. Ken F (aka Tweed): Discussions in Italy were almost always loud and expressive, way more than Northern Europeans like. Discussions like that might appear to be high conflict to cultures not used to that. For a highly expressive culture like that, a quiet discussion can be considered dishonest and rude.

    You’ll see the same dynamic in the Hispanic culture where I live.

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