The Black Church and The Black Lives Matter Movement

The Black Church exists because of white supremacy and racism. In America, Blacks were forced to worship separate from Whites. Since then, the Black Church has given Black Americans purpose and the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. 

Historically, the Black Church is known for being the spiritual center for Blacks in America. It has been the catalyst for social justice, civil rights, and education. Many Black leaders were discipled and set in motion by the Black Church. Since the emancipation of slaves, America has found new ways to oppress Black people and we are still fighting the collective sin of white supremacy and racism. 

Recently, America witnessed a white cop kill a Black man without any remorse. The world saw George Floyd helplessly beg for his life and the Officer didn’t care. After this tragic event, rioting, protesting and looting broke out across America and the world. Yet again, Blacks are fighting for their basic human right—to live. 

This time, the Black Lives Matter movement is leading the way towards justice and equality. However, its prominent leaders are not clergy. Black Lives Matter was founded in 2013, by three women, in response to the unjust acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murder. Since then, this multi-faced movement has gained momentum and notoriety across America and the world. According to the website, “Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, we are winning immediate improvements in our lives.”

After reading what Black Lives Matter stood for, I wondered if the Black Church fully supports and understands this movement’s agenda?

I spoke with a young minister from the Black Church who said, “I think we understand Black Lives Matter as a slogan, but don’t understand the movement.” This quote led me to reflect on the Black Church and the Black Lives Matter Movement. 

During my own frequent strolls through social media, I have seen different Black clergy using the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag, but I haven’t seen an official endorsement by black churches in support of the actual movement and its agenda.  In my opinion, the lack of Black clergy leadership in the forefront of this movement, makes it easy for the Black Church to disregard the actual agenda of the movement. With that, the Black Lives Matter Movement agenda isn’t being implemented in the Black faith community  except through marches. Unfortunately, we resort to using the hashtag for our own cavalier purposes. I’m not here to condemn our efforts. I believe there is an anxiety or fear that something bad will happen to those who partake in the implementation of the Black Lives Matter movement agenda. Some believe it is too radical and the methods are too abstract and risky for members of the Black Church to partake in.

Furthermore, I believe the movement itself is more diverse than its slogan. Many different people from diverse backgrounds are supporting and advancing the actual agenda of the movement; from Whites to Transgender politicians. This leads me to then ask a few more questions of the Black Church: Does the diversity and abstract methodology used to fight injustice impede on the traditionalism of the Black Church? Does the idea of fighting for ALL black lives infringe on basic Christian theology (i.e. Black LGBTQ lives, Black Muslim Lives, Black Atheist Lives). Is it permissible to fight for those who do not believe in or serve our God? 

In this article, I want to offer three ways the Black Church can understand and participate in the Black Lives Matter movement to maximize our fight for justice and equality in America.   

  1. Recognize that we are fighting the same fight. We all want liberty and justice for Blacks in America. To that point, I think the Black Church has to release its righteous indignation. For example, many Christians are judging who is worthy of fighting for. This mentality goes against the very Gospel we believe in. An example of this mentality is how some are recounting all of George Floyd’s past mistakes and wrongdoings to justify why he isn’t worth fighting for. My question for a Christian struggling with this is, did God withhold His love and sacrifice of Jesus because of your past and current sin? Certainly not. God sent Jesus to save the world (John 3:16). Therefore, we should take on the mindset of Christ and fight for the lives of those who are killed unjustly despite their background or skin color.
  2.  I believe the tension lies in the methodology used to fight injustice. To this point, I believe everyone should do what they are comfortable doing to protest. However, silence or no participation is unacceptable. Yes, I believe in non-violence protests. But, I also believe in Martin Luther’s King Jr. quote, “Riots are the language of the unheard.” I believe this level of rebellion advances the movement as well. Nonetheless, our actions shouldn’t cease because everyone isn’t fighting the same way. There are different methods to fighting.
  3. We must be willing to see one another. A greeting in the Zulu tribe is Sawubona. It means “I see you.” It’s letting the person you’re in front of know that you acknowledge their existence. Let’s hear what the leaders of the movement had in mind. Let’s read the website. Let’s educate ourselves on the movement and treat its intent with respect. 

In conclusion, in Isaiah 61:1-2 it is written: 

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn.”

In the New Testament, Jesus read this same scripture and stated the scripture was fulfilled. Jesus gave us insight into the will of God and the role of the Minister/Clergy. We are to fulfill the scriptures and we are not at liberty to choose who we do it for. As a Minister and member of the Black Church myself, I’m committed to understanding the Black Lives Matter movement. I’m open to the diversity and inclusion it will take. At the same time, I’m certain about my identity in Christ and commitment to do His will. With that being said, any Christian afraid to take action, educate yourself. Lastly, love your neighbor as you love yourself and leave the final judgment to God.

Black Men As Chattel

Black men are human beings. However, in America black men have been sold like chattel. We were examined and assessed as livestock and owned by other human beings for many years. We were evaluated by those human beings to determine our value. A price tag derived by the labor of our extremities, the appreciation of our physique, and depreciation of our human soul. We were nothing more than chattel slaves to them. Their property. White property.


Fast forward to 2020, where slavery has been ratified as illegal. We are no longer “slaves” but are still subjected to a system that assesses us as chattel. Yes, we black men are compensated for our work, but white men still get to determine the value of our life. They get to choose if we are “worth” living. A lingering question I have for America is this, “Does the black life have value in America”? The question presently haunts us all, but I believe the answer lies in the hands of its people.


White men with a God-complex now in an arrangement of uniforms openly kill black men without remorse. The question we have to ask is why? What gives them the boldness to decide whether we live or not.


I believe the answer is in their perception of us as chattel still and not human beings. We are assets or liabilities. If a human being can be handled as chattel, it can therefore be treated like property, and one can rid themselves of “their property” at whatever point they choose. Let’s be honest not all black men are killed by police officers, just the ones they deem valueless.


Historically and presently black men have been disposed of without remorse because of this mentality. White men make life or death decisions for black men in America because they’ve rationalized the worthiness of our living by our status. Did that piece of property really have any real worth? Did he even add value to this country anyway? Did he contribute to the betterment of our humanity? Whites don’t regard their killing of black men as humans. They are simply doing away with the worthless chattel.


What disturbs me also is that we are accepting the belief that we are worthless too. How many black men are “dead” to us without us even physically killing them? How many black male addicts, vagabonds, beggars (“low-valued”) have we walked past as they asked for money? How many black young boys are growing up without fathers? How many of us are killing black men without the weapon? This has to change. We have to know that WE ARE NOT CHATTEL. WE EXIST. WE ARE VALUABLE. Even with an addiction, criminal record, mental illness or any other human issue we matter!


White men are killing us with no remorse, and we are killing each other by simply ignoring that we exist. Justice happens WAY before the judicial system. Justice starts in the heart, then the home, then the neighborhood, then the city, then state, then country, and then the world. Why have we let injustices into our hearts? Why have we believed the lie that we are chattel? It’s because it’s easy. So I pray that justice would enter our hearts and compel us to SEE us again. Who actually knew the men that were discarded and treated them like they mattered? Here is how I believe you can make a difference today. Open your eyes and see your fellow black man, and value his humanity even when America does not.
I leave you with this scripture:


“Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.” Psalms 82:3 KJV

How God Rescued Me From Porn

I am writing to my brothers and sisters in Christ who are battling with an addiction to pornography. I want you to know—God can rescue you. In this post, I’ll share some research on porn and the negative impact it can have on us. Then, I’ll share how God rescued me from it after being addicted for many years.

According to research from PsychCentral, 40 million Americans regularly visit porn sites —

70% of men aged 18 to 24 visit at least once per month, the largest consumer group of online porn is men between the ages of 35 and 49, and Sunday is the most popular day of the week for viewing porn.

What society views as a normal activity, is actually something that is damaging sexual health, harming relationships, contributing to mental illness, and is influencing sex slavery.

For thousands of years, images have been created to tell a story. From the walls of ancient caves to sculptures, people have used imagery to showcase aspects of the human experience— including sexual activity. Some have considered sex scenes and nude images a work of art, while others consider it obscene.

Despite which side of the spectrum we fall on, the power and possession images have over the mind and behavior of people is evident. For the ancient world, the debate was centered around images and art. Today, it’s centered around pornography: the filming of sexual activity to be shared with viewers on a screen. Film and technology allow mass access to imagery more frequently and primitively. Viewers can watch sexual activity as much as they want, whenever they want.

Why do people, especially men, find pleasure in or desire to watch individuals or groups of people engage in sexual activity on a screen? In most cases, those showcasing sexual acts on screen are complete strangers to the viewer. The viewer has no physical connection or relationship with those they are watching. However, the viewer is aroused by the imagery and compelled to perform sexual acts with themselves through masturbation or brought pleasure by the mere sight of it.

Somehow, The imagery on the screen virtually penetrates the mind and emotions of the viewer and posses them to engage. The viewer is brought pleasure by the sight of something they can’t physically touch and their mind is stimulated and changed by every image they see.

Before I go any further, as mentioned earlier, I was a viewer of pornography. For 16 years, I frequently viewed it. I was exposed to it in 1997 at the age of 10 years old. From 10 to 26 years old, I derived pleasure from images on a screen. From VHS to internet websites, I watched other people perform sexual acts with one another for half of my life.

So how did God rescue me from porn?

For those of you who’ve read my prior blog posts, you know that 2012 was a pivotal time in my life. During that time, I spent some time incarcerated. God used that time to discipline me and reveal the darkness I had inside of me. I had an encounter with God. I realized how pornography made me feel comfortable around strangers having sex. It distorted my moral compass and made my brain believe things about sex that were not true in real life. Honestly, I didn’t understand the true purpose of sex. Unfortunately, I viewed real life like porn.

Once I realized this, I had a decision to make. That day, I gave my darkness to God and decided to walk in the light. I turned from porn. I surrendered to God and allowed Him to rescue me. From that point, I learned the true purpose of sex. I learned that God created sex exclusively for man and woman, who are married, to procreate and find pleasure in it. He created it as a form of intimacy between two people who know and love one another. Once I accepted this truth, I gave up everything that caused me to watch porn. I sold my iPad and iPhone and bought an old phone with no internet connection. When my mind became clear and free, I read the Bible more and watched only rated PG movies. To this day, I close my eyes on sex scenes. I reserve anything related to sex for my marriage. This didn’t happen over night. I had to work at monitoring what I viewed. Moment by moment, year after year, the desire went away.

It’s been 7 years since my rescue and I haven’t watched it since. Here are three things God did to rescue me:

1. He disciplined me. “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” Hebrews 12:6 ESV

2. He forgive me. God’s forgiveness through Christ Jesus released the guilt and shame that came with watching porn. “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”Romans 5:8 ESV

3. He made my eyes healthy. The less provocative things I watched, the less I desired them. “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” Matthew 6:22-23 NIV

I’m not subscribing a formula for rescue. I’m simply sharing my testimony with you. 7 years later, I have my iPhone and iPad back. I share all social media outlets with my wife for accountability and follow people who don’t post sexual content. God has been faithful to me. I know it is by His spirit that I am free. Scripture says,

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV

I pray that God would answer your prayers and set you free from the battle against porn addiction. I pray that God would rescue you and provide you with a way of escape. I’ll leave you with this scripture:

“O Israel, keep hoping, keep trusting, and keep waiting on the Lord, for he is tenderhearted, kind, and forgiving. He has a thousand ways to set you free! He himself will redeem you; he will ransom you from the cruel slavery of your sins!” Psalms 130:7-8 TPT

With Love,

Your Brother in Christ

A Letter to Young Black Christian Leaders

Dear Young Black Christian Leader, 

I don’t know about you, but I felt sudden sadness and frustration after reading statistics about Blacks dying from COVID-19 at a much higher rate than other Americans. I thought to myself, how did a virus from Wuhan, China become a death threat to Blacks in America? 

In full transparency, COVID-19 didn’t feel like much of a crisis to me until statistics on Black Americans were shared. Unfortunately, I took the crisis seriously when it directly impacted my race and community. The problem with this mentality is my lack of empathy for what was happening in China. When stories on the virus started to surface on the news, I thought to myself, “I’m so happy that’s not happening here in America.” Did you feel the same way? If not, I guess I’m the only insensitive person in America. LOL. 

Upon reflecting on this, I realized a good leader must empathize with others who suffer near and far and take their issue or problem as a sign that it could happen to anyone. I’m sharing this to acknowledge my racial bias and how it prevented me from responding to a crisis and stepping up as a leader. In order to step up, I had to acknowledge my ignorance and lack of empathy. After dealing with the man in the mirror, I went to the Lord. 

As a young black christian leader I depend on my biblical worldview to navigate life, especially during a crisis. After reading articles, watching the news, strolling through social media and reflecting, I prayed; “God, I know this doesn’t mean you don’t like Black people, because your word says you don’t show favoritism. So, why are we suffering and dying more than everyone else?” 

In that moment, God made four things clear to me: 

1.There is a season for everything.

2.There is hope in darkness. 

3. I will need faith and wisdom.

4. I must fight the good fight.

There is a season for everything.

In Ecclesiastes 3:1 it is written, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” ‭‭This scripture helped me realize that the current crisis our world faces has an end date. It’s for a season, a time and a purpose. In Daniel 2:20-22, he says, “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.” As leaders, we have to know and tell those who follow us, this too shall pass. We have to seek the Lord and tell the world, “God is in control.” I don’t want to get too preachy, because I’m still struggling with it all as well. But this is a benefit of a Believer in God. We have access to God who is in control of everything.

There is hope in darkness.

I lost hope when those statistics went public about Black Americans dying at an alarming rate. When I watch the news and read articles too much, it steals my hope. When hope is lost it’s hard to imagine an end date. I tend to slip into panic like the rest of the world and can no longer operate as a leader. However, I read a scripture that encouraged me. In Romans 5:5, it is written, “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” ‭‭After reading this scripture, I realized my hope was under attack. I let what I saw on television convince me that God didn’t love Black people. However, this scripture restored my hope and reminded me that believing things will get better is connected to my hope. My hope will not put me to shame and your hope will not put you to shame. Our hope is directly connected to our faith.

As Christians our faith must be accompanied with wisdom, knowledge and understanding. We can’t allow our faith to be used to avoid the truth. Things are not good right now. The present reality is really bad for many people. Therefore, we have to practice empathy in our approach to responding to this pandemic as leaders. Again, I’m not preaching, I’m just sharing what I’m learning during this time.

Have faith and wisdom.

In Hebrews 11:1 it is written, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” In order to activate our faith, we have to hope for a better tomorrow. After taking a break from social media and the news, I realized fear is the greatest distraction from hope. If we’re afraid of what will happen, we can’t hope for a better future. I’m starting to hope again. I pray that you can hope again too. Imagine a better future and people being more connected after this crisis. Imagine a world filled with love and peace. After distancing myself from the world and drawing near to God, I found my hope and that hope activated my faith again.

Fight the good fight.

We have to protect ourselves from COVID-19! Here is the deal, the government, hospitals and churches can’t protect us from this virus. We have to take on the responsibility for ourselves. This means being responsible and adhering to the guidelines put in place to help us navigate this new reality. As Christians we can’t use our faith to ignore wisdom and knowledge. I’m guilty of this. I’ll share something personal to me. In 2017, when my wife was pregnant with our first child, we had an early term pregnancy due to complications and we lost our son. Prior to this issue, there were signs that something was wrong, but I used my faith to override what I saw. I said things like, “ God got us, we’re gonna be okay.” However, I never used the wisdom that was screaming in my mind, “ GO TO THE DOCTOR!” If I’m honest, I was scared of the truth. I didn’t use my faith. While I don’t believe this is why we lost our baby, I think many of us are scared to know the truth. We fear finding out we have medical conditions. As Christians, some of us shout, pray and declare a healing without ever knowing the status of our health. I don’t mean to start criticizing us, because I can only truly speak for myself.

I believe we can use our faith to obtain healing but, we have to know the truth. In the Bible, no one went to Jesus unaware of their issue. They were aware of their health issue or situation and from that place of truth, Jesus was able to heal them. As leaders we have to preach and teach about a faith that requires honesty, not avoidance and distractions. Am I preaching again? I’m sorry. 

Leaders, we have to fight the good fight. America allows Black people to be oppressed. Power and authority is disproportionately distributed due to racism. Racism is a system based on color that gives people of a certain race superiority over others. So, how are we to fight racial injustice with the authority and power God has given to us? We have to face our own injustices within our hearts and exchange them for God’s heart towards all humanity. For example, In Isaiah 5:5-9, the prophet had an encounter with God prior to fulfilling his assignment from God. He had to face his sinfulness and then go to fight against the injustices of Israel. I believe we all carry some form of injustice and in order to fight the good fight, we have to address what’s in our hearts first. Fighting injustice requires a level of purity and surrender to the agenda of God. Our bias can’t lead us in the fight. God has to lead it.

During a time, when things are uncertain, we need to own our ignorance. Now is a good time to express what we don’t know more than expressing what we do know. This will require us to truly listen. I believe, post-pandemic, we will need to have more conversations than lectures. People are spending time with their thoughts and want to share how they feel about what’s happening and we need to be open to hearing other point-of-views. People want to be talked with and not talked to. 

Lastly, I pray you’re empowered to stand with God and fight the good fight. Challenge the status quo by asking tough questions to your leaders, families and friends. Plan events that will spark a movement to bring change. Don’t be silent. Speak up. Act. We need you to be a leader. 

With love, 

Your Brother in Christ

Faith and Finances

Growing up, it seemed like everything I wanted required an amount of money I didn’t have. From shoes to clothes and hanging out with friends—it all cost something! My understanding of money stemmed from not having it and not having money caused me to want it more than anything else. 

 

When I was a little boy, I stole ten dollars out of my mother’s purse. I’ll never forget that day. It was Friday. My school was selling pickles and popcorn and she wouldn’t give me money for it. On that Friday, I bought my cousins and I pickles and popcorn and we ate it before we arrived home. When I got home, I got a nice whooping for my behavior. As a child, raised by a single mother, I had no idea how my stealing impacted her finances. After that day, I knew money had to be earned-not stolen. 

 

Fast forward to teenage years. I started working at the age of thirteen. I couldn’t wait to earn my own money because I knew it gave me access to what I wanted. At this job, I was making three hundred dollars every two weeks. My mother set up a bank account for me and having my own money was everything I imagined. When I got paid, I bought what I wanted. I never saved and I ran out of money the week I got paid. Anxiously, I waited for my next check to have money again. The wait was painful!  My mind was filled with thoughts of what I would do next with the money. I spent until I had no more.

 

Money was important to me. I literally loved it. I loved all that I could do with it. Therefore, I worked as much as I could to obtain money. I’ve been in the workforce for 19 years and I’m only 32!

 

For the first quarter of my life, I thought the money was the source of life. I didn’t understand money as a resource given by God. However, when I started my journey with God, the Bible gave me a new perspective on money. I learned three valuable lessons I would like to share:

 

1. God is the Source of Life 
2. What You Spend Your Money on–Shows Where Your Heart is 
3. Giving is an Act of Worship unto God 

 

God is the Source of Life

 

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis‬ ‭1:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

 

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭24:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

 

After reading scripture, I learned that God is the creator of the heavens and the earth and everything in it (Genesis 1). This fact alone changed my mindset. If God created me; then, my livelihood is reliant on Him not money. Without God, I can’t work—let alone breathe. Therefore, God is the source of life. Without God, money wouldn’t mean anything.

 

What You Spend Your Money on, Shows Where Your Heart is 

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew‬ ‭6:21‬ ‭NIV

 

When I reflect on my past and what I spent my money on, I can see my heart desires. I desired to be accepted by others. Everything I bought was to cope with my brokenness and rejection. Majority of my life, I spent my money on new clothes and shoes, food, and entertainment. I spent it to make me feel good and to make people like me. Every time I gave, I expected something in return. I used money to create a life different than the life I truly had and I never made enough to do that.

 

 

Giving is an Act of Worship Unto God

 

I had no idea that money could be given without getting something back. Before this revelation, I viewed money as power to purchase. I never saw it the way God meant it to be. Once I allowed God into my life, I discovered I was a steward of the money I earned. As an act of worship to God, I can use my money to help people. I started to view money as a way to sustain my life and bless others. Now, I give as an act of worship to God. I give to people in need, my local church and other places I feel led to give. In conclusion, I learned that money is only a resource God gave us to do His will on earth. We have to give our finances to God and spend money in a way that honors and brings Him glory. That looks different for everyone.

Reclaiming Christ: Abandoning White Jesus

Growing up, I remember hearing someone say, “White is right.” According to them, this meant White people were able to fix anything and make everything right. Upon hearing this, it seemed as though they were telling the truth. On television, Whites were always depicted as problem solvers, leaders and heroes. Majority of what I’d seen and heard growing up reinforced that statement. Even Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World, was depicted as a White man. While America was comprised of many ethnic groups, including Blacks, it frequently highlighted the goodness of Whites. Often, Blacks were and still are depicted as criminals, disruptive, problematic and evil in media. Especially Black men.

In “Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority”, Tom Burell writes, “Negative media reinforcements not only influence how cops, judges, employers, and others view black males, they affect how young blacks view themselves.”

As a black male, I grew up thinking I had to mimic White behavior to be good or right. I had no idea I was being brainwashed by propaganda and there was a big system of racism controlling how I viewed myself. Not only did I adopt negative views about myself, these incorrect thoughts came into my faith and view of God.

Before reading about Jesus in the Bible and seeking to understand my faith in-depth, I’d seen an image of Him. It was an image of a White man with blue eyes and long wavy brown hair. For years, this image came into my mind as I lifted my hands and worshiped God. Since I could remember, every historical figure in the Bible was depicted as White. From the movie “ The Passion of Christ” to “Jesus Christ Superstar,” America took the image of a White Jesus and made him known to the world. Now that I am older and understand scripture, it is clear that Jesus Christ is of Jewish descent. Jesus’ real ethnicity did not reflect the image that was ingrained in my mind. Trying to imagine a Palestine Jew as Christ literally disgruntled my thoughts and made me curious at the same time. I wanted to know Jesus in the Bible versus the White Jesus I’d seen on television and hanging up on church walls.

When I read “Jesus and the Disinherited” by Howard Thurman, I realized the United States of America established and centered its union around an idol instead of the God in the Bible. Thurman explains how a group of powerful and influential White Americans replaced the true historical Palestinian Jew Jesus with a false Anglo-Saxon (White) Jesus. Sadly, this replacement and improper depiction of Jesus; brainwashed, controlled, and oppressed people for centuries.

From antebellum south slavery to modern day freedom, some Americans have misused the sacred biblical scripture for power and control over Blacks and other races. Insomuch, Black Americans were forced to bow down to the White Jesus instead of the Palestinian Jew Jesus. In America, the Protestant Church was built on the White Jesus image and cultivated it from generation to generation. This White Jesus impacted the black christian experience; however, it didn’t hinder Blacks from a relationship with God. Outwardly, we lived under the scrutiny of White superiority empowered by a White Jesus; but, inwardly we had hope in the real Jesus Christ. When reflecting on the plight of Blacks in America, I could relate to the real Jesus. His journey in the Roman Empire was like ours in America. He suffered; He was abused and oppressed; He was crucified like we were lynched. We are genuine partakers in the sufferings of Christ. In some ways we’re still trapped between the White Jesus and the real Jesus. Today, Blacks have the freedom to choose which Jesus we will serve.

Theologian, Howard Thurman said, “Living in a climate of deep insecurity, Jesus, faced with so narrow a margin of civil guarantees, had to find some other basis upon which to establish a sense of well-being. He knew that the goals of religion as he understood them could never be worked out within the then-established order. Deep from within that order he projected a dream, the logic of which would give to all the needful security. There would be room for all, and no man would be a threat to his brother. “The kingdom of God is within.” “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor.” After reading this quote, I ask myself do I follow this Jesus? I believe I do, along with other believers which include some White Americans.

In order for Blacks to reclaim Christ, in America, we must access “the Kingdom within” as Thurman described. For Whites, in America, they will have to give up white superiority in order to access “the Kingdom within” Thurman describes. Lastly, James Cone said it best, “For [Martin Luther] King nonviolence was more than a strategy; it was the way of life defined by love for others—the only way to heal broken humanity.” In order for America to reclaim Christ, we must love others and remain a follower of the Real Jesus.

Homosexuality, the Church and God

It takes sex between a man and woman to procreate; but, does it take sexuality? There are many debates about sexuality; such as, what is a sexual sin and what is acceptable to God? Should a person have only one sexual partner? Should a person be married before having sex? Is sex only permitted between a man and woman?

It’s important to note that sex was created by God, which means that it is in no way inherently bad. Sex is good! Concurrently, we must note that God’s construct of sex came with boundaries. However, in my opinion, mankind have deviated and ventured outside the boundaries of God’s perfect intention of sex. In this blog, I want to explore homosexuality, the church and God—to examine questions; such as, is homosexuality a sin? What role does the church play, and how does God view it?

Homosexuality is a romantic attraction, sexual attraction or sexual behavior between members of the same sex or gender. Though thoughts and considerations may be new or changing, homosexuality is not a new sexuality. There are many historical theories about homosexuality. According to Psychology Today,  in 1968, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) classified homosexuality as a mental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). However, years later, that diagnosis was nullified by the conclusion that practicing homosexuality does not hinder a person’s livelihood— although it brings a set of challenges. Despite these “challenges,” the APA considers homosexuality a “normal variant of human sexuality”. 

In this debate on the morality of homosexuality, our greatest dilemma will be law vs morals. Our laws may change, but if they are no longer moral, we must keep our morals and endure the punishment of breaking unjust laws.

Over the years, many nations developed sets of morals and laws surrounding sexuality. Those morals and laws were derived from many sources; such as, philosophy, science, Deity (God), etc.. Some nations have permitted homosexual activities without consequence, while others exiled whoever participated in such behavior. To this very day there are still 70 of the worlds 195 countries that still in someway ban or outlaw acts of homosexuality. Though America thinks herself “progressive,” there were still laws prohibiting homosexual acts on the books as recently as 2003. Yet, today in America, we face a historic moment in which our nation is at the tipping point of a new belief system regarding homosexuality. Now, more than ever, people want to understand homosexuality and rather or not it’s wrong. The current debate is attempting to nullify biblical laws that have governed America and guided the morality of western civilization for centuries. 

America adopted some of its laws and morals from those given by God to the chosen nation of Israel. In the book of Genesis, it is written that God created man and woman to “be fruitful and multiply (procreate).” Later on, God, gave laws to shape the culture of His chosen nation to model His desires for humanity in the earth. In the book of Leviticus in the Bible, God expressed who can have sex with who and who couldn’t have sex with who (Leviticus 18). The purpose was to separate God’s people by  their actions and behaviors from the rest of the people in the land. Before he ever reaches the subject of homosexuality there are 12 verses simply explaining why we shouldn’t have relations with close family members. This was out of love and protection of his people. His laws did not permit homosexual activity; therefore, making it an enmity against God-if committed. Which means, it is morally wrong—which makes it a sin. Consequently, if the laws are broken, the people are punished by God. This is the inception of punitive activity towards civil disobedience. Therefore, in my theological opinion, Homosexuality is a sinful act. 

Times have changed and people are fighting to have homosexuality morally acceptable with society and God. Unlike the psychiatric argument, biblical authority concerning this topic has not been nullified.  The New Testament declares it sexually immoral, but scholars debate that Mankind states that because homosexual isn’t an Aramaic term. Scholars are debating on scriptures and exegetical interpretations of God’s documented words and if He approves or disapproves. Scholars also state that it’s deemed immoral from the standpoint of evil practices within the practice. For example, murder is immoral if you just kill people; but, it’s moral if you’re protecting your country. This debate is being applied to the discourse surrounding homosexuality. History is being created as I type this blog. Change is among us. In this contemporary age, we stand at a crossroads.  Churches are cautiously or haphazardly declaring their stance. For homosexuals this is the final obstacle towards complete permission to practice homosexuality without social or spiritual condemnation. 

As a Christian and someone who has been converted from homosexuality, I believe God’s original words concerning sexual relations remain true today. I believe the Holy Spirit confirms it within our mind and emotions. After accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and receiving salvation, I believe the Holy Spirit resets us and aligns us with God’s original desire for our lives. Man and woman, marriage, procreation, and family. I believe church serves as a community to cultivate God’s desire and intention for humanity. However, I’m afraid for the church, because the agenda to nullify God’s logic for humanity and intention for sexual relations is being challenged at the core. The army of those who support homosexual activity is large and strong. We are at the crossroads of a new morality. The question is, how will the church cultivate God’s intention for humanity without being deemed judgmental and hateful. How will churches embrace people who have found comfort and their identity in homosexual activity? In my opinion, all of this must be addressed through preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, with love, and pointing everyone towards Jesus Christ and baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I believe the Holy Spirit will align everyone who believes mind with God’s original intention for humanity. Therefore, in church, we must accurately exegete scripture to bring understanding to God’s intention for humanity.

In closing, I will share my encounter with God after writing this blog. After I did my research, wrote, and revised- I paused and prayed. Alone, in silence, I asked God “what is your view on this?” After asking, I felt God’s  presence all around me. As tears welled up in my eyes, a small still voice said, “I’m waiting.” God is waiting. As a patient parent, He is waiting for all of us to find our way back to him. It is written in 2 Peter 3:9 of the Bible, “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” God is waiting for humanity to make its way back to Him. 

The Black Church Dilemma

“Church” is the English translation of the Greek word Ekklesia, which originally meant “to call out” and was later changed to mean “assembly.” According to the Bible, in Matthew 16:18, the church was introduced by Jesus the Messiah and developed by His chosen disciples (followers/students) who later became Apostles (messengers/sent forth ones). In Romans 12:5, the Apostle Paul describes the church as a body. Based on these references, I will define the church as a group of people who have been called out by God to believe in Jesus Christ and assemble together to fulfill God’s mission in the earth. God’s mission is to bring salvation and reconcile the world back to Himself through Jesus Christ. According to scripture, this is done through,

  • Evangelism sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19-20)
  • Discipleship equip believers to grow and serve (Ephesians 4:11-13)
  • Christian living a life that is worthy of God’s calling (Romans 6)
  • Service Helping the less fortunate (Matthew 23:11)

For Blacks in America, our experience with church dates back to slavery in the 18th and 19th century. “The Black Church: Its Impact on Black Culture” by Vanessa Taylor explains the system of slavery was built on the dehumanization and exploitation of Blacks. Taylor writes, “The dominant white culture of the time accomplished this through a system of forced acculturation, which included forced religious conversion.” While Blacks knew God, their experience was limited. Their one-on-one intimacy with God was infringed upon.  It wasn’t until slavery was abolished and Blacks were no longer criminalized for learning that they could actively participate in church. However, due to rejection and the inability to worship with Whites, they were forced to worship among Blacks only. This birthed the inception of the “Black Church.”

The “Black Church” is a term used to describe Protestant churches that have predominantly black congregations. The Black Church serves a myriad of functions for Blacks in America. Historically, the Black Church has provided social service functions and is responsible for the eventual formation of African-American seminaries, Black colleges and academies, insurance companies, banks, the NAACP, and the civil rights movement of the sixties. For many years, the Black Church has been the cornerstone of hope for the black community, especially off the heels of slavery. Although it is great how far the black church has come, I believe we stand at a crossroad. I believe we have a dilemma and it’s rooted in the ramifications of slavery, segregation and inequality. Additionally, societal issues such as LGBTQ equality and mass incarceration are creating pressure for black clergy and challenging the very core of the Black Church. Are we able to address growing issues, such as:

  • How will the Black Church respond and minister to homosexuals in an increasingly homosexual-friendly society?

  • How will the Black Church handle the decrease in church attendance and the increase in participation in social justice movements without the church?  

  • How will the Black Church respond and minister to the non-traditional family structure that doesn’t reflect a mother, father, and child?

  • How will the Black Church handle the endangerment of Black boys in America?

  • How will the Black Church handle and respond to the burden of mass incarceration as a new caste system for Blacks in America?

  • Will the Black and White Church unite despite our cultural differences?

If you’re reading this, you may have a solution, what are some ways the church can address these issues?

Prison and God

Part One: My Story

Blacks are being incarcerated at a higher rate than any other race in America. According to the Prison Policy Initiative, 40% of the people in prison today are people of color. Black men are six times as likely to be incarcerated as white men. For black men in their thirties, one in every 10 are in prison or jail on any given day. Some people have described mass incarceration as a hidden agenda—a new caste system to enslave black people in America.

In a recent conversation with my older cousin, he said, “Mass incarceration is a tool used to keep God’s people broken.” After reflecting on such a provocative thought, I remembered how nearly every adult male I knew as a child went to prison. My biological father and the majority of my uncles were incarcerated at some point in their lives. Some were gone for many years for drug offenses, while others went to prison for shorter sentences for smaller crimes. For so long, I considered my father and uncles “bad guys.” It was not until I had an encounter of my own with the law that my perception of them and myself changed.

In 2012, I nearly went to prison for 4-6 years for “failure to stop a crime.” This was life-changing and very eye-opening for me. From one experience, I was dismissed from my graduate program and fired from my job. Humiliation barely scratches the surface of what I felt. I was labeled a criminal and “a bad guy.” I spent almost five years in litigation for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Overall, I spent seven years being untangled from the web of the  justice system. I thank God I didn’t go to prison physically, but psychologically I became a prisoner to the trauma of being labeled and targeted as a Black man. This experience forced me to ask God many questions—why? Why was prison on my journey towards graduating from college? Am I a criminal? Was God punishing me?

I felt like a criminal. I felt bad, wrong. Not one of my accomplishments mattered in that moment. I was a statistic and my hard work came to an end. I’ll never forget that day in court. The judge looked at me and said, “You are being charged with a felony. Your bond is $300,000. You are a flight risk and a threat to the community.” The irony of this is, at that time, my current job was to serve the community. Yet, I was being charged and considered a threat. After hearing this, I threw my head back and allowed tears to roll out of my eyes as I whispered, “Oh God.” I was simply hanging out with friends, at a party, and this happened. After spending seven days in jail, five years in court and two years under court supervision, I can honestly say the justice system is unfair towards Black men. I believe it targets completely innocent people and imprison them. I believe it captures those who commit the crime, those connected to those who do the crime and those who are there and have no idea a crime is taking place. What’s complex about this is actually determining what is a crime. Often, blacks are involved in something that may resemble a crime, but it’s not. The justice system will sometimes exaggerate what was done and stretch the truth to make an incident become a crime—especially when Black men are involved. Again, this is all my opinion my personal experience and observation. I can only back it up by the countless stories of black men being incarcerated for crimes they didn’t do or crimes they didn’t know was a crime. I had no idea that being with someone who did wrong made the person who didn’t do anything a criminal. Guilty by association? I’m convinced that black men in America are in need of justice, redemption and the justice system needs to be reformed.

Biblically, the children of Israel (God’s chosen people) were enslaved by the Egyptians. In the book of Exodus (Exodus 1:1-22), it is written, the Egyptians placed slave masters over the Israelite people and oppressed them. The Egyptians were so threatened by the growth—they started to kill the boys. Biblically, this slavery is not considered punishment from God. However, they suffered and God didn’t intervene until they cried out to Him. After they cried out, God raised up Moses to emancipate them from slavery. God liberated the Israelite people so they could worship Him. Later in the Bible, we read how God redeems Israel in the wilderness and reforms society with His principles of justice.

Like Ancient Egypt, America enslaved Blacks. Like the Israelite people, Blacks were issued slave owners and worked hard without pay. They were fruitful and multiplied like the Israelite people and were oppressed for hundreds of years before they were liberated. Once blacks were liberated in America, they didn’t go to a wilderness for redemption like the Israelite people, they stayed in the same country among the same people who enslaved them. This is where the narrative differs from God’s chosen people. Could it be, Blacks are unable to be completely redeemed because we are still among those who once owned us? Does the freedom and progression of Blacks threaten the American empire? Are Blacks suffering because our dependence/faith remains upon our oppressor instead of God? Or even this: how do you positively impact and change the place you inhabit when its structure is built upon your oppression? Where is God in all of this?

I believe, God is within us. Unlike ancient biblical times, we are now in the era of Jesus Christ—the Gospel era. Like Moses, God sent Jesus to save the world. Like Jesus, Black men are falsely accused of crimes they did not commit. Jesus  is falsely accused of a crime, placed in prison, and killed as punishment. The Roman Empire imprisons Jesus, kills him and God redeems him by raising Him from the dead. As a result of this, those who believe in Jesus are saved and made right with God. There is a formula… slavery, punishment, redemption and reform. Do we need all of them? Is slavery good? Does punishment push us towards redemption despite the fact we may be falsely accused and or imprisoned?

God sends Jesus Christ to redeem mankind once and for all. However, in America, Blacks redemption is complex. Despite our redemption, we struggle to experience absolute freedom. I believe America is hindering God’s plan for Blacks. Reformation starts with recognition that there is a flaw in the societal system. We can see that Blacks are being imprisoned at much higher rates than any other race in America. Is this because we are the most sinful? Are we the “bad guys?” I don’t think so! Could we be involved in another form of slavery for the advancement of another group of people? Maybe! Do we need to cry out to God? Absolutely! Are Blacks being punished for ancient sin? I don’t think so. I think they are being oppressed. Could reform be achieved in a place that slavery has existed? I think so, but it may take us some time. If we advocate now, things can start changing. But, without God we can’t do it. Historically, God has been the liberator. We need Him to help us. We have to speak up on this and fight for change like Moses and maybe even die like Jesus. In order to do this, I believe we need to accept the story of Jesus Christ as truth. We need to believe in Him so that our sin can be forgiven and we can receive the Holy Spirit, which is God’s Spirit within us. With the Holy Spirit within us, we can live righteous lives and have the true power to turn from sin, which brings punishment. As a result of living righteous and powerful, we can then make the proper argument against injustice. But, it has to start with being in right standing with God, because He is the liberator.

In conclusion, America is a country that believes in civil death instead of redemption. Where is God in all of this? I believe He is with us, and our redemption still exists—even if it isn’t visibly tangible in the society we live in. We have to fight the good fight by challenging the systems in place and continue to share the Gospel. This is a heavy topic to tackle, I’m just sharing some of my thoughts. Here are a few reformation questions I’d like to ask to contribute to the discussion that is already taking place:

How does society shift its toxic dependency and usage of the penal system?

What can be implemented to ensure ex-felons have the opportunity to healthily and strategically return to society as productive and reformed citizens?

What does a reformed penal system look like? What does a penal system rid of discrimination and racial bias look like? How does it function and how is it properly being implemented?

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑