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June 6, 2016, 12:00 AM

Thinking Out Loud--Church, Politics & Race


Pastor's Blog

Dr. Jerome Symonette

I guess what I’m doing is “Thinking Out Loud”! I have been wrestling with a few thoughts lately concerning the Church, denomination, political parties, and racial ideology. 

Within the ranks of many Churches, many key leaders and members do not engage in personal soul-winning, although they verbally embrace the notion and necessity of evangelism (sharing the gospel with the lost).  Unfortunately, this abdication of responsibility is found even among some pastors.  Many would readily affirm the need to “Preach the Word” (2 Timothy 4:2) but then ignore the biblical admonition given by the same person in the same book and chapter to “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Timothy 4:5). 

Another thought with which I have been wrestling is concerning some denominational groups.  Among many of them the bi-vocational or small-membership Church pastor are celebrated as a hero and the very backbone of the denomination.  Yet, during the course of the State and National meetings, rarely are these pastors slated to speak to these gatherings or lifted as an example.  (It is reserved for the mega-church pastor who is capable of giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to Convention causes or whose congregation may be experiencing hundreds of baptisms yearly).   We say that a “successful church” is not measured by “bodies, budgets, and buildings”. Yet, programming and schedules subliminally convey another message in these settings.

During every news report about politics or new election campaign cycle, I become greatly disturbed by the awareness that none of the parties or their political associates really represent much of my biblical or Christian worldview, morality, or ethical positions.  The Republican Party seems to be focused on supporting big banks, industrialists, and the military-industrial complex instead of the poor or those who are experiencing racial and class injustices.  The Democratic Party, on the other hand, often support policies and programs to assist the poor and disenfranchised but support platforms that included such morally repugnant issues such as abortions, cloning, and same-sex marriages.   Both parties squabble over common-sense solutions and could not come to any agreement, because of their political polarization.  This was much to the chagrin of the larger population. 

My next thought has been concerning many of our leaders in the African-American community, particularly concerning the race narrative or racial prism through which the Black experience is viewed.  I had felt for a long time, particularly if you are biblically or intellectually honest, that African-Americans in America have blamed too many of their problems on racism.  There is absolutely no doubt that slavery, Jim Crowism, personal, systemic, and institutionalized racism have and continues to be a problem and have caused many of the negative plights concerning African-Americans.  Notwithstanding, in my view, the “victim card” is played too often as the reason for the sinful actions and reactions of African-Americans in the United States.  When a Black boy shoots and kills another Black youth, the immediate explanation should not be that racism and its resultant hopelessness are the causes.  Even when a White police officer shoots a Black man, our automatic explanation should not be that the White police officer was racist! (Although many times in the history of the United States, Blacks have been and continue to be subjected to racial injustice). The problem with the first example is that it does not hold the Black youth accountable for his own actions.  What if, for example, a Black person throws trash from a car window as he or she is riding down the street?  Do we blame the White man or hold the littering Black person responsible?   No doubt, racism should be one of many causative factors examined; however, it should not be the sole explanation or knee-jerk response for every negative issue encountered or depicted in the Black community! 

A better criteria for assessment would be right vs. wrong or truth vs. falsity.  These categories help us to more clearly see what is important, who is responsible, and what can be done concerning the issues of life!  Therefore, I’m espousing the poles of right vs. wrong rather than Black vs. White!  I am promoting the “Whole Counsel of God” and not just a few selected biblical verses, which supports our already settled opinions or particular political ideology.  I espousing God’s truth, God’s kingdom and righteousness.  Then, and only then, will we be able to see clearly and act comprehensively and definitively! 

I am seeking first (continuously, constantly) the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and His righteousness!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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