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9 Signs That You're Operating In Your Own Power

August 17, 2017
By Kyle Sanford

This is a quick and convicting article.  I can resonate with a lot of his warning signs.  It’s very easy to rely on our own gifts and make prayer the “backup plan”.

My Takeaway: If we want to see the power of God at work, then we need to work in his power.  This is accomplished through prayer.  Pray with me in this effort to become a more prayerful people.

Tags: Prayer
Posted in Christian Living

How to Respond in My Own Town

August 16, 2017
By Kyle Sanford

This is an older article, so it does not talk specifically about the events in Charlottesville.  But it help me process the question of “What can we in DeMotte do about this?”  We don’t live near Charlottesville.  Our rural town is primarily white.  Can we do anything more than tweeting our anger and grief with the situation?

I believe there is something a mostly white town can do, and it’s seen by disentangling the term “White Privilege.”  I recognize that this term comes with a lot of baggage, but above article sorts through the good and the bad associated with the term:

Where we should agree: Due to the sinful systems of the past, the white community established a significant lead in prosperity.  Even if a grandchild does not participate in these sinful systems, they too gain an advantage.  This is simple economics: “It takes money to make money”.  The person who inherits the blessings of an economically stable childhood will have an advantage.

Where it gets difficult: The heart of the debate is over “white guilt”.  Should the grandchildren of oppressors be responsible to pay the family’s debt?  It might be my cultural bias, but I think not.  Otherwise we perpetuate the problem: a child is born into debt due to the color of their skin.

The Solution: Instead of seeing privilege as an evil, we must see privilege good to be used for God’s purposes.  God gives strengths so people can bless and protect the weak.  God allows some to be rich, for the purpose of helping the poor.

Regardless of skin color, if you have a privilege then you also have a responsibility.  As Christians, we are no longer debtors to guilt.  Jesus Christ brought victory over our guilt through the cross.  But like the parable of the unforgiving debtor, our purpose now is not to hoard our good things.  If we understand the grace of Jesus, then we must follow his pattern of generosity.

My takeaway: We may not be facing the levels of racism seen this weekend in Charlottesville, but every community has injustice.  As Christians, we must give healing to those who are underprivileged.  Because that’s what Christ did for us.

Tags: Poverty, Racism
Posted in Theology

Know Your Enemy: Alt-Right

August 15, 2017
By Kyle Sanford

Here is another helpful article that unpacks the events at Charlottesville this weekend.  I found this particularly helpful because it helps me to understand the different variations of racism in play.  To my surprise, “white nationalism” and “white supremacy” are not the same thing.  Both have their roots in sin, but it pays to understand the language involved so we know specifically which sins we’re condemning at which time.

“White Identity” in its most basic sense is a recognition that there is a “white culture” and a desire to protect that culture from elimination.  If we were to stretch this far enough, we could find an element of truth: “Cultural Diversity” delights in a range of expressions and wants to see all identities preserved.

However, this positive notion of “Cultural Diversity” is quickly lost in the Alt-Right movement when they presume that other cultures are enemies who will destroy their own “white identity.”  This does not honor the heritage of our nation which is founded on diverse gifts of immigrant peoples.  More importantly, it does not honor God’s plan for new creation with a united people from all tongues, tribes and languages giving praise to God.

This desire to protect “white identity” leads to “white nationalism” – the belief that all non-whites should leave the country so that “white culture” can be preserved.  Note that this specific vain of the movement is not calling for violence against non-whites; they simply want non-whites removed.  This is how they justify their actions as “non-evil”.  The Alt-Right movement tries to portray its self as “non-violent”, but the illusion is easily shattered by their acceptance of Neo-Nazi’s, the KKK and other vile groups.

The message of “white nationalism” is also why they find an affinity with President Trumps defensive attitude towards immigration.  The president himself may or may not share the alt-right convictions, but we see how he has been easily categorized with the movement’s purpose.

It’s also important to understand the religious component of the Alt-Right community.  Many in the group will call themselves “Christians.”  Those opposed to Christianity are quick to point out this connection.  But we must understand that their form of Christianity is hostile to Conservative Christianity.  They hold few beliefs in common with Conservative Christianity, and hold to some heretical views, like the rejection of the Trinity.

My takeaway: Do not be sloppy with your language when it comes to condemning sin.  Sin is crafty and it tries to evade our attempts to pin it down.  It even tries to make Christianity the culprit.  Let’s be intelligent and wise in our discussions, so that God’s righteousness will be glorified.

Posted in Cultural Events

What Happened in Charlottesville?

August 14, 2017
By Kyle Sanford

There is a lot of talk right now about Charlottesville (and for good reason).  As social media is swirling with emotionally charged statements, the details can become confusing.  This is why I wanted to start the week by sharing a clear accounting of the facts.

Nearly everyone can see the evil in this situation.  But before I become another voice explaining what was evil in this weekend, I want to spend today simply lamenting the evil.

  • We start by morning the deaths and injuries caused in Charlottesville.  Any death is sad, but in this circumstance, it’s a tragedy.
  • We lament the broken trust and loss of safety, particularly minorities.  If this attitude exists in VA, who’s to say it doesn’t exist here?  I can’t imagine what it must feel like to fear stepping out of my own house, because of the color of my skin.
  • We grieve the reality that hatred like this still exists.  I’d like to imagine that racism is a thing of the past.  It’s sad that it takes an event like this to remind me that racism is a current issue.

Over the next few weeks, news sources and bloggers will be unpacking the events of this weekend.  People all over the political spectrum will be quick to prove that they are not the ones to blame.  But in the rush to justify ourselves, let’s not forget to pray for the ones most hurt by the events of Charlottesville.

Posted in Cultural Events
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