Category Archives: Activism and Peace Work

Part of an anthem About Peace on the hill


We have no control over the mongers
nor can we bring back the wrongful dead.
We cannot change a bomber’s mission
whose eyes and heart
have long been dead.

We cannot halt a crime in progress,
nor stop a public servant
from breaking his public’s back.
We can only watch a mob turned frenzied,
burning down stores of hard working people.
We cannot choose when the lines are drawn
nor order our neighbor to stand on our side.

We will become discouraged
and question our God,
for we are only human
emotional, mortal beings.
And the darkness is a heavy burden
a worthy opponent indeed.

But if we stand together
each shining an individual light
peaceful protest, speeches given,
solutions sought, hate amended
or however our gifts illuminate,
even when we tire or become weary
or the dreaded voices return…

As long as we remember,
no matter how dark it gets
if we continue to contribute
regardless of how meek it appears,
the next time, or the one after that
when the darkness sees its chance,
and starts to fall across the land
the light will be prepared for battle
and good will halt the march of evil.
allowing PEACE to overtake the land.

From: The Anthem: Even PEACE has a hill

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Trump-era spike in Israeli settlement growth has only begun

Donald Trump was the man who loved to have a say in everything and thought he was the best man to have the world in control.

Ex-President Donald Trump, who abandoned decades-long U.S. opposition to the settlements and proposed a Mideast plan that would have allowed Israel to keep them all — even those deep inside the West Bank, thought himself higher than God and wanted to be the man who made Jerusalem capital of Israel.

Although the Trump plan has been scrapped, the lasting legacy of construction will make it even harder to create a viable Palestinian state. President Joe Biden’s administration supports the two-state solution but has given no indication on how it plans to promote it.

> Please read more about it in:

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Evangelicals & Seduction

Following the previous posting, we continue to look at how Stephen Best looks at the American Evangelicals & Seduction, which may for us Europeans something very weird and incomprehensible wondering if those Americans are not better at using their own mind to make up their own ideas.

How is it possible that the majority of white US evangelicals were seduced into Trump’s dangerous political schemes?

When they heard so many bad things that he had done in the past and could see how he had treated women, plus how he had created all sorts of ‘untrustable businesses, showing clearly he would not be the best one to run properly a business or to become a respectful leader.
We wonder how their followers could come to trust his lies, and could wipe away his malicious and criminal behaviour.

How is it possible that those who call themselves Christian could go for a man who clearly showed no respect to others and carried a lot of racism in his heart. They now share the responsibility in encouraging racism, division, and sedition within the USA, and instead of making America great again they choose for someone who could break America and creat division as never before.

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To remember

  • American evangelicals their complicity in Trumpism > testimony + leadership = unreliable + negligent going forward.
  • interweaving of God + country = evangelical’s Patriotism > Christian Nationalism.  Christian Nationalism.
  • concept of ‘Manifest Destiny’ (John Louis O’Sullivan) = mission to expand its influence across all of North America => America’s wars with Mexico + the Indians+ expansion into Alaska.
  • Manifest Destiny > mission of promoting + defending democracy throughout the world > bias American ideology and politics. – growing ideology => Christian Nationalism
  • American vision >  fascination with the ‘New Jerusalem’ <=  early Puritans left for America with the sense of being an oppressed people.
  • Puritans aimed to build the Kingdom of God or their version of a Christian society = blending of religion + politics.
  • Christian nationalism = political ideology about American identity  => idealizes + advocates fusion of Christianity with American civic life
  • Christian Nationalism = collection of cultural myths, traditions, religion, + historical interpretations.
  • Evangelicals in a struggle with liberalism / socialism that threatens their way of life –  feel mocked +  dishonored, unheard + marginalized.
  • perceived risk: immigrants, LGBQT , law enforcement weakening, abortions persisting, support for Israel declining, + Evangelicalism diminishing, => Evangelicals feel their backs are up against the wall.
  • alliance of American Evangelicalism + Donald Trump =>  restoring  USA > conservative Christian society.
  • patriotism, Christian Nationalism, traditionalism, evangelicalism, denominationalism, + spiritualism =/= sustainable foundations in life =/= biblical foundations.
  • Christian foundations = spiritual realities  understood through Scripture, taught with faith + wisdom, received with sincerity, + realized through inward working of Holy Spirit in life of a Christian.  => secure + define new life while not depending on Christian governments, economies, religion, or social norms.
  • need to re-examine our foundations

Stephen Best

By Stephen Best

How is it possible that the majority of white US evangelicals were seduced into Trump’s dangerous political schemes? How is it possible for so many of their leaders to have encouraged their followers to trust his lies, and enable his malicious and criminal behaviour? How is it possible that they now share the responsibility in encouraging racism, division, and sedition within the USA?

For at least 60 years, evangelicals throughout the world have appreciated the contribution and leadership that the US has brought to the global work of God. Yet today, because of their complicity in Trumpism, that testimony and leadership is for the most part unreliable, if not negligent going forward.

If we are honest most Christians outside the USA have found the US brand of Evangelicalism a bit different to begin with. And that’s mostly due to it’s interweaving of God and country.

The blending…

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Evangelicals: For The Love Of Trump

For many Christians in Europe, it is unbelievable how it was possible that Donald Trump got such a liking and followers in the Christian camp.
We are curious how they would now look at that wolf in sheepskin.

The pictures we keep receiving from America let us wonder how it comes that so many Americans who claim to be Christian can still be so racist and are not able to bring forward brotherly love for those who have another opinion and other religion than theirs.

As the writing of this leader of some church networks and charities may insinuate lots of Europeans may have lost their belief in the Land of Freedom and of the Christian spirit racing through the United States of America, once having been a great nation, but now with and after Trump, having lost all credibility.

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To remember

  • not US citizens = bewildered by overwhelming support US Evangelicals > President Donald Trump.
  • sensationalism + rising division within US =/= subsided = Evangelical’s persistent fixation with Trump => growing tension .
  • Am. Evangelicals + Donald Trump = strange bedfellows > Donald Trump = extension of God or = guardian of American Christian Culture =  deeply flawed confidence.
  • Furthermore for them to continue to encourage that notion and put their faith in him, even after Trump losing an authenticated, legal, and fair election is unimaginable but nonetheless foreseeable.
  • Trump regularly warned rally attendees that “Christianity is under siege.” +  suggested > forces “chipping away at Christianity,” + accused Democrats of waging a war on Christmas.
  • US Evangelicals modeled a faith in God that came alongside governments + institutions regardless of party in leadership.
  • showed admirable confidence in public system + prayerfully supported their leaders. > changed = terms Evangelical + Republican = synonymous.
  • declining Christian population within US + subsequent weakening Christian culture  => understated fear amongst white Evangelicals.
  • Trump guaranteed Evangelicals pushback against insurgence of immigration, abortion, and socialism.
  • world viewed Trump = bigot, racist, bully, slanderer, liar, autocrat, narcissist, + swindler, wild Maverick,
  • believing in Trump, Evangelicals > flagrant discrimination, deception, subversion, injustice, intimidation, preferentialism, + irresponsibility on multiple levels.
  • Evangelicals mostly ignored Trump’s dreadful behaviour > US Evangelicals flirting with Christian Nationalism => testimony now joined to Donald Trump’s secular agenda.
  • patriotism + spiritual faith entangled + left unchecked = state religion that coerces religious values through laws = anti-bible.
  • God’s Kingdom =/= need democracy or autocracy to increase + =/= need capitalism, socialism, or communism to survive.  =/= left / right / liberal / conservative / green.
  • Kingdom = richness + flavour of Christ in us > moving forward because of passionate commitment of God, regardless of where we live and what type of government we have.

Through association with Trump, white Evangelicals have been complicit in stoking the fear and sedition that we now see within the USA.  They have enabled him and left him unchecked.  Very few Evangelical leaders have publicly spoken with the courage of the likes of Senator Mitt Romney, Beth Moore and John Piper.

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Find also to read:

Stephen Best

By Stephen Best

I possibly, like others who are not US citizens, am bewildered by the overwhelming support that US Evangelicals have shown President Donald Trump.  Prior to the 2020 presidential election, eighty-two percent of white American evangelicals were prepared to further Trump’s reign.[1]  (See [2])

As a father and grandfather to US citizens, and as a concerned ally for our southerly neighbors, I am both surprised and troubled that the sensationalism and rising division within the US has not subsided. This growing tension is partly due to the Evangelical’s persistent fixation with Trump. In other words Evangelical Christians are partly at fault for the existing turmoil.

Evangelicals and Donald Trump are strange bedfellows. To see Donald Trump as an extension of God or as the guardian of American Christian Culture is a deeply flawed confidence. Furthermore for them to continue to encourage that notion and put their…

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We and the other – unitary idealism and tribalism

Pietro Jun questions why speaking up against unitary idealism/tribalism is important.

We think we all have a responsibility to the world, i.e. nature, animals and other human beings. We can and may not keep silent about certain matters. It is our personal duty to react to certain events. No person should ever allow human rights to be offended.

Pietro Jun writes:

Pietro JunFrom time immemorable, the will to power of single-mindedly aiming, nations with narrow views of the political normative have sought and acquired power.

There was technical progress, for it made the work and communication easier – but the hurt and separation were and are bigger. China’s Uyghur and Tibet oppression, Russia’s attempt at cultural and geographical annexation of Ukraine, Nazi Germany’s evil, Japan’s imperialism and the ongoing attempts at the revival of army, Great Britain’s fiascos in the middle east. Difficult history is maybe more on the way. But we can do something about it. I think for once so can I. {Speaking up against linguistic totalitarianism/A letter of gratitude.}

In all this, what is important is that each human being should accept the other being equal and/or not being the same like him, everybody having the right to think differently and to have a different culture and language. No matter which language we speak as long as we can find a way to communicate in a friendly supportive way.

We shall not be able to avoid ‘genuine critics’ that would keep many problems at bay. It is worth the risk of being pushed down and downtrodden on, at times ridiculed.

Jun finds that we should

Stand for the little intricacies of your own language; your own values that keep you humane. However little of use it may seem or it in actuality is. {Speaking up against linguistic totalitarianism/A letter of gratitude.}

In an other posting he reminds us of the words of The Flower by Kim Chun-soo

We all long to be something.
You, to me, and I, to you,
long to become a gaze that won’t be forgotten. {I am a gesture}

Jun finds that

There are millions of different forms of life in the untraceable edge of universe which makes us seldom think that we are one or none. But what I know for sure is that we are one, to some one, and as long as the rules of universe do not alter themselves, we will keep on gravitating towards those whose existence we had no knowledge about. And eventually die out as one. {Stardust and photographs}

But it is up to us to open ourselves to others. We should allow others to come to know us better, without us imposing our ideas and laws onto them, but willing to get to know them better and to give our love too.

When we find love we have to keep it close and treasure it. We also should treasure the rich cultures around us and see the greatness of all that diversity, it’s giving us the opportunity to enrich ourselves and others.

> Please continue reading: Speaking up against linguistic totalitarianism/A letter of gratitude.

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Preceding posting

My Multi-Cultural Childhood Could be the Answer to Racism & Xenophobia

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Have your words to share with us and our readers

For some time now From Guestwriters is trying to bring some interesting articles which appeared on the net, by different bloggers as well from our own community.

Today we are still looking for writers who would not mind joining us to inspire people. Perfection is not required of anyone, but we would love to give a platform for remembering the power of your words and actions which is a must. We are convinced there are enough readers here who also could have some words on the tip of their tongue. They just should know that here there is a place where they can let those words roll from their pen or typewriter in a welcoming surrounding.

We’d be honoured to have you write for our site and interact with our great audience. We are convinced that such action, of you taking part in our guest-writing, will not only enrich this blog, but also enable you to spread the treasure trove of knowledge and life experiences that you possess, through your ideas. You also should know that what can be interesting to talk about could also be interesting for someone else to read about. Our blog will amplify your thoughts for readers within our reach and also give our website a boost.

Preferred Topics and Subjects ~

Lifestyle, humanity, life-lessons, wisdom, morality, family, kindness, compassion, gratitude, mindfulness, forgiveness, love, parenting, friendship, homelessness, gentleness, non-violence, humility, loss, grief, meditation,  physical and mental health.

May we all be an inspiration to someone else to give them hope and to teach them to be loving to themselves and others.

Also, when you have already a WordPress-blog and would not mind having certain articles re-blogged, please, let yourself known.

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As West Bank Settlers Try to Take More Palestinian Land

Rabbi Arik Ascherman lets us know

As West Bank Settlers Try to Take More Palestinian Land

I am actually in a bit of pain. I have barely felt most of the blows I have received in recent days from settler youth sent by their elders to accompany cows and sheep on a rampage of theft in the fields of the Taibe junction we had planted with Bedouin shepherds. These are mere children trying to be tough. However, a week ago Tuesday one of them managed to hit me in the back with the stick he was brandishing. I am trying to avoid overuse of pain killers, except for the adrenalin every day when I return to keep the cows and sheep out of the fields.

In addition to the physical pain, there is the great sadness that adults are corrupting these children in this way. I have been oscillating between telling them that they are thieves, and we have nothing to talk about, and telling them that I pray they will find an uncorrupted corner of their souls that will inspire them to return to what God asks of them. Almost every day I ask them if they wish to act like the descendants of Abraham and Sarah, or like Amalek, summarizing the words of Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsch I cited on my Times of Israel blog two weeks ago on the reading for the Shabbat before Purim, Deuteronomy 25: 17 – 19:

Don’t Forget:

Don’t forget a thing if the day will come when you will want to be like Amalek, and like Amalek you won’t want to remember your obligations or to know God, but will look for the opportunity in small or big matters to exploit your advantage to harm other human beings. Don’t forget this when the day will come, and you will want to rid yourself of your role and mission as the Jewish people that you accepted among humanity.

This week I have been suggesting to some of these troubled youth that we set up a “Reish Lakish club.” Reish Lakish was a thief who changed his ways and became a scholar frequently cited in the Talmud.

Last Thursday night, immediately after the reading of the Purim Megillah, we had an emergency meeting postponed from the previous night with a representative of the Taibe Municipality, a leading Palestinian activist, and legal counsel. As I will explain, the Book of Esther came to life for me.

For much of the past three years the struggle has primarily been that of Torat Tzedek and the Bedouin shepherds, with some support from the Municipality. Landowners have taken action when settlers tried to set up additional outposts on their lands. However, from the additional outpost Neriya Ben Pazi successfully set up on “State Land,” the settlers have taken their incursions, intimidation and theft of everything the shepherds plant for their flocks, to a new level. Our successes in 2019 to significantly cut down the level of theft were reversed in 2020 both because of this outpost, and because of incredibly heightened State support for settler aggression this past year. In 2020 settlers forced many Bedouin off the land, and now have begun to plow some of it themselves. Between fear of what the State can do to those who raise their heads, and tensions between the landowners and the Bedouin working and living on the lands, the landowners have been overly slow to take the steps necessary to save their lands.

Day after day, we have literally been holding them off. We stood guard as those shepherds who have not been totally intimidated planted. In areas where the fear was too great, we did the planting as well. We have been in constant conversation with the legal authorities, demanding that they do their job. Because last year’s losses have left family’s financially strapped, we helped secure financing for seed and tractors and contributed ourselves. Settlers have savagely responded by intensifying their attempts to ensure that their flocks eat everything that has been planted just as it is beginning to grow. They want the shepherds who dare to resist to believe that they will not benefit from even one stalk of the barley that was to feed their flocks from May through September. They call or “visit” the shepherds to warn them that they will pay a price for any connection with us. We call the security forces, who say they will do nothing until they see ownership papers, but have taken no action when owners have lodged complaints and even discouraged owners from doing so. They usually refuse to identify suspects, but last year froze a case by claiming that the perpetrators were not known. When there are enough of us, we can successfully keep the settler flocks out of the planted areas. I admit there have been days when I have broken the rules and been there alone, because I can’t bear to watch what happens otherwise. Expelling flocks alone is physically more challenging, and we are less likely to be attacked when the settlers know that we are filming them from several angles. I was alone when hit in the back on Tuesday.

Then, there have been the days I have just walked away and expelled flocks when the police have refused to do anything, and then had the audacity to order me not to do anything.

At the meeting, the lawyer explained the hard facts. With the settlers acting as if the land is theirs, and even plowing some of it, the next step will be to claim that it is theirs legally. They are already smirking and crowing that the Bedouin have fled, and won’t be coming back. On Friday, one of them scoffed at the idea that the ownership papers of “goyim” mean anything. At the meeting the Palestinian activist assured that many would support the Municipality and the owners and the Bedouin if they take the decisive legal and other steps that must now be taken.

For me the meeting was a Megillah moment. The most dramatic scene for me in Megillat Esther is the back and forth messages between Mordechai and Esther that transform her from a passive woman doing what she is told to a bold and brave leader:

Esther told Hathach to take back to Mordecai the following reply:

“All the king’s courtiers and the people of the king’s provinces know that if any person, man or woman, enters the king’s presence in the inner court without having been summoned, there is but one law for him—that he be put to death. Only if the king extends the golden scepter to him may he live. Now I have not been summoned to visit the king for the last thirty days.”

When Mordecai was told what Esther had said, Mordecai had this message delivered to Esther:

“Do not imagine that you, of all the Jews, will escape with your life by being in the king’s palace. On the contrary, if you keep silent in this crisis, relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from another quarter, while you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows, perhaps you have attained to royal position for just such a crisis.”

Then Esther sent back this answer to Mordecai:

“Go, assemble all the Jews who live in Shushan, and fast in my behalf; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens will observe the same fast. Then I shall go to the king, though it is contrary to the law; and if I am to perish, I shall perish!”

So Mordecai went about [the city] and did just as Esther had commanded him. (Esther 4: 10 -17)

Like Mordechai, I as a privileged Israeli Jew can paternalistically instruct Palestinians or Israelis in need of public housing, or whoever, what to do. Or, there can be a magic moment when the oppressed become empowered to be partners in fighting for their rights and dignity. We may have reached such a moment on Thursday – a moment in which we all realized that there is a reason why we are here. I use the word “partners.” Mordechai speaks of the salvation that can come from another quarter if Esther does not act. We spoke of all the aid that would come from other quarters if the villagers do act.

Ken Yehi Ratzon May it be the Will of God, Who is never mentioned in the Book of Esther, but was present. Together –– the privileged, the oppressed and God –– in partnership for a better world.

B’Vrakha (In Blessing),

Arik

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Friendly February

Although we may be kept apart, we can still stay socially connected. This month we’re helping people to focus on their relationships. So let’s stay in touch, show friendship and be kind in these challenging times.
Campaign Graphic - Friendly February

We need each other more than ever right now! This month let’s focus on reaching out to connect with others and doing our best to be a good friend. Our acts of kindness and connection ripple out and impact so many more people than we realise – and they also boost our own happy hormones too! In stressful times people around us may be feeling the strain, so let’s try to keep calm, take time to listen and show compassion.

Green Line

February 2021 Small

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Facts: Why they matter and how to check them

In the age that the majority of the younger generation does not want to spend time to read serious in-depth articles and only has an eye for eye-catching titles or just some short notices on social media and likes to do cherry-picking of short reviews of sayings without fact checking, our world needs to keep offering more details and research journalism as well profound scientific research.

As it has been always, mankind has to keep doing self-introspection as well as investigating all the information which comes unto him or her.

Living in the golden age of misinformation it is up to reasonable figures to put things right and to dare to speak up when it is going in the wrong direction.

In the United States of America too many allowed too often some people claiming that there were “alternative facts” and “fake news”. By not reacting against the false accusations the 45th President of the United States of America continually could spread certain ungrounded ideas and succeed his brainwashing. It was then only a little step to fulfil his “State Terrorism” and bring people to storm the symbol of democracy, the Capitol. The dignity and fate of American democracy will now largely depend on how politicians will deal in the next few days with that president’s call to go to the Capitol and claim their rights.

We can wonder how many noticed and were willing to react on the way Donald Trump showed no respect at all for ethics and human values, and how he disintegrated every rule of public and political decorum and conventional wisdom.
What happened on January 6th was the result of too many people having been silent and letting it happen.

The U.S.A. should now receive its Wake-up call and come to see what a similar act happened as in 1938. D. Trump managed to get his followers to break many glasses and to enter the house where Trump wants to be the boss or having all power. Here in Europe we only can hope more people in the States shall come to see that D. Trump is of the same calibre as the one who instigated the Kristallnacht or the Night of Broken Glass, also called the November Pogrom(s) in Germany. It is a fact that the four years of Trump and his call to the people is just a prelude to worse things to come if we allow it to continue.

It is high time enough people will stand up and shall come to open the eyes of the many blinded people and making them receptive to facts they were previously ignorant but also many blindly dismissing them as “fake news.”

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To remember

  • Many people = living in an alternative reality > everything that agrees with them = true, + anything that disagrees with them = biased, fake news or “just an opinion.”
  • fact checking = to boil down to, “from a source I like => true, +  if from a source I don’t like => false,” ==> extremely faulty & dangerous dichotomy.
  • all prone to cognitive traps & biases
  • Scepticism = skill to be practiced + requires training
  • fact = objective statement of reality > inherently apolitical
  • opinion = subjective perception of reality based on individual views, beliefs & preferences.
  • flawed thinking = pervades science denialism
  • veracity of a politician’s statements & reported actions matter > People are impacted by things politicians do & say
  • search & look for a broad range of sources
  • Many view fact checking as an exercise to find sources that agree with them, but = opposite of how it should work.
  • fact check = look for primary + well-respected secondary quality of source + verifiable information + agreement among sources
  • objective ways to evaluate whether or not a source is biased
  • look at evidence presented > verify & compare

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Preceding

Shall the American again being put to the test

Yup

The Weight of History

He Becomes a Fool Through His Endless Desire

Francis Fukuyama and ‘The End of History?’

The one that exploded the great American story that lay beneath it

The Trump clan declares itself a Kennedy-like dynasty

So-called own sacred values under threat

U.S.A. Investment in a demagogue

Dear Mr. President

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Additional reading

  1. Blinded crying blue murder having being made afraid by a bugaboo
  2. The clean sweeper of the whole caboodle
  3. At the closing hours of 2016 #1 Looking down at terror
  4. In denial, Donald Trump continues to insist that nothing serious is at hand and everything is in control
  5. A president daring to use the Bible for underlining his hate speech
  6. Trump going over the top bringing a blasphemous act
  7. The Hero of the greatest …. failures
  8. Hollowness of democracy
  9. A new decade, To open the eyes to get a right view
  10. 2020 in view #1 The 45th president of the U.S.A.
  11. 2020 in view #2 The 45th president of the U.S.A. not willing to go
  12. Stress-test for democracy #1 Storming of the Capitol in Washington
  13. Stress-test for democracy #2 A coup d’etat with bloodshed
  14. The death knell of an Empire
  15. 💬 Misquotation Pandemic and Disinformation Polemic: 🧠 Mind Pollution by Viral Falsity 

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Related articles

  1. It Was Hate
  2. Donald Trump’s Impeachment
  3. Big Tech pauses political issues after the Capitol uprising
  4. The 147 Republicans That Still Objected To The Election Results After The Capitol Attack
  5. Systemic Failure: Trump Was Right About the Deep State
  6. High school teachers, students learn from Capitol breach
  7. What is Malignant Narcissism?
  8. ‘Ruling Class’ Trump-Doubters Still Don’t Get It. And They’ll Pay A Price
  9. Ep 69: Coup The New Year
  10. Capitol, Legacy of Trumpism and China
  11. Ep 70: Crisis at the Capitol, Crisis in the Church
  12. So you want to impeach president Trump …. again
  13. How big tech companies reacted to the Capitol storm.
  14. Trying to make sense of it all
  15. Jake Angeli Brings to Light the Hatred of Whites Pervasive in America
  16. Don’t mistake an assumption for a fact
  17. Facts aren’t political (or religious)
  18. The fallacy fallacy: Reject the argument not the conclusion

The Logic of Science

We seem to be living in the golden age of misinformation, and while cognitive biases and motivated reasoning have always existed, they seem to have reached epidemic levels in recent years, with attacks on the very nature of facts coming from the highest offices in the land (the phrases “alternative facts” and “fake news” come to mind). Many people seem to be living in an alternative reality where everything that agrees with them is true, and anything that disagrees with them is biased, fake news or “just an opinion.” Indeed, I have frequently encountered an open disdain for facts and those who check them. For many people, fact checking seems to boil down to, “if it came from a source I like, then it is true, and if it came from a source I don’t like, then it is false,” but that is an extremely faulty and dangerous dichotomy. So…

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Reasons Why Racial Reconciliation Should Be a Church Priority

2020 has been a year when in several countries more division was created and more hatred was spread. Therefore it is not bad to remember once more why Christians have to avoid division and should do their best to unite people.
Let us look at what an American Baptist preacher has to tell about racism in church and in a community of followers of Christ.

“Pastor, why is racial reconciliation important for our church?”

This is a question I often faced as a pastor, posed by sincere church members who wanted to grow and learn. Here are three reasons why I believe racial reconciliation should be a church priority.

1. Racial reconciliation is important because every single person was created in the image of God.

The Bible is clear that there is no other way to look at your fellow human being other than someone sculpted by the hands of a loving God (Genesis 1-2; Psalm 139). It is this idea of the imago dei that informs our ethic. This means that there is no such thing as an “other”, only humans, image bearers of their Creator.

Prejudice is fueled by sin, sin that corrupts and divides. Sin causes us to favor people who look and sound and think like we do and causes us to disrespect and diminish the value of people who don’t. Christ came to heal that sin, to tear down walls, and to bridge the divide between races.

When we work toward racial reconciliation, we are saying, by our actions, that we agree with the gospel.

2. Racial Reconciliation is important because the Church is an outpost of the kingdom.

Revelation 5 and 7 describe a scene in Heaven where every nation, tribe, and tongue gather before the throne of God. This is not just some embellishing detail in John’s vision, this is an intentional display of the unifying power of the gospel to bring together in a new humanity what sin destroyed in the Fall. This tells us that racial unity is not just a nice thing for ideal communities, but something close to the heart of God. The vision of the Kingdom in Revelation tells us, this is what God desires.

Churches that work intentionally to model diversity show the world a glimpse of what is to come in full when Christ comes. Church becomes the place where disparate people from all walks of life are united by their love for Christ and their need for grace.

Racial reconciliation is important because it is the way we love our neighbours and contribute to their flourishing.

Christians are called to seek the welfare of the city, to love their neighbors, to be an agent of gospel renewal to the communities they serve. Many of our communities are beset by racial strife and filled with people who long for unity but feel powerless to achieve it. The church has the answer in the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we intentionally cultivate a thriving and diverse community, we offer a model for the rest of the community.

Racial reconciliation is one way we love our neighbors, by empathizing with the minorities in our communities who feel marginalized and by listening to the stories of our minority Christian brothers and sisters who might feel marginalized by the American Church.

Imagine if local churches could be safe places for people from different walks of life could work through their differences, incubators of racial reconciliation. Imagine if the Church became the one place where what is envisioned in Revelation 5 and 9 actually started happening and burst through the doors and into the community?

Racial reconciliation is not an idealistic notion; it’s a gospel imperative. It is difficult, slow, risky work whose full fruits will not be seen this side of Heaven. But those who bear the name of Christ are compelled by His love to pursue it, not only as a fresh gospel witness, but also to make glad the heart of the Father.

Daniel Darling is the Vice President for Communications for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention (ERLC). He is a regular contributor to Leadership Journal and the author of several books, including his latest, Activist Faith. He regularly blogs at danieldarling.com. You can follow him on Twitter @DanDarling.

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Preceding

Looking at an American nightmare

Diversity and Equality

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Additional reading

  1. Kingdom of God what will it be like
  2. Unity doesn’t mean uniformity

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Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Religious affairs, Social affairs