Some helpful reading on the topic of race and racism

Some helpful reading on the topic of race and racism

fields

[Prefatory note:  I wrote the majority of this post last Friday, August 11th, before the grievous events in Charlottesville, VA, took place.  My original aim was that it would be a resource for anyone who, like me, has much need to grow and who desires to listen, repent, and learn to love.  May it serve this aim all the more.]

The Nobel Prize-winning economist George Stigler once lamented how a highly regarded expert in one field (e.g., in chemistry or literature) can presume to speak with expertise in another field (e.g., in public policy or history).  Stigler wryly criticized some of his fellow Nobel prize winners for the ease with which they speak to the public:

“They issue stern ultimata to the public on almost a monthly basis, and sometimes on no other basis.”

Not surprisingly, expertise in one field in no way qualifies as expertise in another.

I don’t consider myself an expert in any field, really.  As is so often the case, the more one pursues expertise in a given field, the more one becomes painfully aware of how little they actually know:  they (rightly) compare themselves to seasoned leaders in their field and realize that they themselves are but children.  That was my own experience as a PhD student, and I’m fairly certain I wasn’t alone.

Without expertise or experience 

Let me say the obvious:  I am not anything remotely approaching an expert on the extremely important, intricate, and intimate matter of race and racism.  But even beyond (and prior to) that, I do not have the experience (nor ancestry) to be a voice at the table.  But I can–indeed, need to–listen and learn, and I can begin to do so by at least two vital means:  (1) relationships (which may require relocating); and (2) reading.

As for the latter, here’s my journey so far:

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Random beautiful stuff I’m really thankful for

Random beautiful stuff I’m really thankful for

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First off is curly hair.  It would be difficult to calculate the smiles and sheer joy that has come to my family from the curl on this girl.  Add to it her seemingly endless enthusiasm for life and for, well, food (she’s a Clark), and little Julianne makes us all burst out laughing on a regular basis.  (And for the record:  she doesn’t wear glasses, BUT she adores accessories.)

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Why was Jesus silent about homosexuality?

Why was Jesus silent about homosexuality?

What’s to be done when the most influential person of all time is silent about arguably the most contentious issue of our own time?

Not only do the world’s 2.3 billion professing Christians look to the figure of Jesus of Nazareth as their moral compass, but countless more also respect his teachings and grapple with them, whether as private persons, professors, or public figures.

While nearly all parties present at Jesus’ trial demanded his crucifixion, since then Jesus’ popularity has only gone up.  And up.  He enjoys an unparalleled prominence:  Jesus went from being an untouchable to being untouchable.

That is to say, with rare exception over the past two millennia everyone has wanted Jesus on their side.  Some might dismiss Moses as a legalist, and the Apostle Paul as a misogynist.  But Jesus?

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Why (most) American evangelicals should now support homosexuality

Why (most) American evangelicals should now support homosexuality

Let me cut to the chase:  I’ve now become convinced that all (well, almost all) American evangelicals should no longer oppose homosexuality.

Instead, most evangelicals, if they are to be consistent, should have the same ethical expectations of homosexual relationships that they usually do of heterosexual relationships.

Two things have led me to this conviction:  first, a number of years of scholarly and pastoral reflection on the Christian Scriptures; second, a number of very life-giving, even life-altering friendships with gay and lesbian followers of Jesus.

But here’s what hasn’t led me to this conviction:  Scripture’s unified prohibition against homosexuality, with which I unreservedly agree.

Let me explain:

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How are Christians to think about national news?

How are Christians to think about national news?

Last November on the night of the U.S. presidential election, around 10pm I decided to check out the voting results for the first time that day.

For a variety of reasons I hadn’t followed the campaign much at all.  But from the little I’d heard (or couldn’t help but overhearing), Clinton was expected to win.

Within moments of checking online, I discovered that Florida had already reported a large majority of its votes, and it was essentially a tie.

The remaining Florida votes would be coming in from the Panhandle, where Sarah and I had lived for five years.

And that’s when it hit me.

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