What does it mean to be brave? What does it mean to take a counter-cultural, yet Biblical stand when it comes to reconciliation to each other and the planet? Such are the questions addressed in this week’s Inputs.
Becoming Brave is a must read! It is a timely reflection on what reconciliation is and why the non-white church should take the lead. Brenda Salter McNeil writes about her own journey to understanding more fully what reconciliation truly entails. She writes about the need to call things what they are. She writes honestly about the pain of assimilation culture and of racism within systems. For far too long the White church has expected people of color to make their pain palatable for us. But no more! I firmly believe true reconciliation within in the Church will come when POC decide to take the lead. The Black church does not need to make white evangelicals comfortable. They need to speak, move, and stand in the Word, holding Truth – as uncomfortable and hard as is it for us white folk to take – as the beacon to a more just society.
I believe this action will separate the “true church” from those who just show up on Sunday.
Reconciliation, justice, equality, are not political issues. They are not “optional” activities within the church. Nor are they to be used to perpetuate further injustice by expecting everyone to “come to us.” In a society that hates pain, discomfort, depending on others, and true accountability, the Church must return to these things in order to be able to move forward. The white church must acknowledge the sin of whiteness. “The elevation and valuation of those who are white above all other racial groups, and the systems and structures that support this elevation” (p.39). Systems that favor white people over all others have been created, supported, and defended by those in the Church and it is time we repent of that sin and pride.
McNeil is a wise and trustworthy guide to those who realize reconciliation is Kingdom work. For people disenfranchised with the silence and complicity of the Church, McNeil’s book in a lantern in our current evangelical darkness.
The Green Good News takes a refreshed view of Jesus and the Gospels. In it, we find a man who stands in stark contrast to the empire, not only in the religiosity of the day, but also as it relates to relationships and our engagement with the land.
Wilson Dickinson does an incredible job at bringing together historical realities with Biblical exegesis. He manages to take away our “American” whitewashing of the Word to help place Jesus and His life back in its proper time and place. Dickinson looks at our relationship to the earth and each other. For too long we have exploited both. Dickinson challenges us to be open to this “subversive teacher” and let His life be as counter-cultural to us as it was to those Jesus interacted with in first century Palestine.
I learned a lot from The Green Good News. I appreciate Dickinson’s way of presenting information, it was engaging and thought-provoking. When we allow caring for the earth and others to become political (it is not) vs. letting it be a central pillar of the Church, we shape Jesus into a man made in our image. Dickinson puts Jesus back in His proper time and place and then gives us practical ways to interact with Him from there. He manages to take the air out of the manipulated narrative and brings us back to the Word.
Becoming Brave and The Green Good News invite us to a truer faith. Both feel like a call in the wilderness. Will we recognize the call of the Shepherd? Or will we cling to our privilege, power, materialism and pride?
The choice is ours.
McNeil and Dickinson reveal that God’s feelings on how we treat others and the earth are well documented in His Word. We ignore them and continue in our arrogance at our own risk. It would behoove many of us to take a step back and let God tells us how He feels vs. letting politics and pride steer us further and further from His heart.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received Green Good News free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.
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