50 years Later…

On that warm Virginia night in July, Mildred and her husband were fast asleep in their Central Point home.  Like other neighbors, the Lovings didn’t lock their doors so they didn’t hear Caroline County’s three lawmen until they were standing in their bedroom.

“Who’s that in your bed with you?” one demanded of Richard.

“I’m his wife,” Mildred said, pointing to the marriage license hanging on the wall.

“That’s no good here,” the one responded.  They’d been married in D.C.

It was 1958 and like nearly half of the states, Virginia prohibited interracial marriage.  Because Richard was white and Mildred was black/American Indian, they were arrested for violating the Racial Integrity Act and taken to jail.  In court, they were given the choice of leaving the state, or going to prison for a year.  They pled guilty and agreed to leave.  They were told that if they returned before 30 years, they would be rearrested and serve 1 year in prison.

Which meant they couldn’t visit their families.  Ever.  In the early 60’s, Mildred wrote Attorney General Robert Kennedy, wondering if the Civil Rights Act of 1964 might apply to their plight.  He said no, but referred her to the ACLU which eventually argued the case before the Supreme Court.  And won a unanimous decision 50 years ago in 1967.  Nearly 10 years after they were ordered to leave, the Lovings returned to their beloved Central Point where Richard built them a home.

Before the case got to the highest court, it made a stop at the Virginia Appeals Court where it was again rejected.  The judge who wrote the majority opinion suggested the Lovings might be “rehabilitated” by being allowed to return to Virginia and live apart, “contemplating the error of their way in going against God, nature and the traditions of the Commonwealth.”

Against God?

On Easter Sunday in 1960, Dr. Bob Jones preached a sermon entitled “Is Segregation Scriptural”? (he answered “Yes”, based on Acts 17:26), a public justification for a variety of Bob Jones University’s segregationist standards–one of which was no interracial dating (no longer policy at BJU).  While it’s true God wouldn’t let Jews marry non-Jewish neighbors, it was to preserve the purity of faith–not the purity of their ethnicity.  Marry a Chemosh-worshiping woman and there’s a reasonable chance she’ll talk you into visiting her temple and next thing you know you’re a member.  Scripture makes no case for opposing interracial marriages–as long as both are believers.  In fact, when Aaron and his sister criticized their Semitic brother Moses for marrying a black woman (Numbers 12:1), God dealt fiercely with them.

Although most Americans say they approve of interracial marriage, some white parents’s hearts still sink when their first-out-of-the-nest comes home from college with a black, Latino, or Asian boyfriend; and…, so do those of some black parents (or Chinese, or Latino, or Indian) when their son brings home a girl from another race.

Some of that is explained by an innate push back against change that marks many of us, but we shouldn’t rule out the possibility that other, darker implications linger.  John Piper has a point:

There “…is an inevitable pressure on all social structures to keep ethnic groups separate, especially among young people who might fall in love, if they hang out together. So, that includes neighborhoods and schools especially. No matter how much love or goodwill you may have, if my son or daughter is racially unacceptable as a spouse for your son or daughter, then you will keep your family at a distance from mine. And the social order will reflect that distance. And the desire for that distance will inevitably breed disrespect, suspicion, and antagonism.”

Parents who object to being tagged as racist because they’re uncomfortable over their daughter’s engagement to an Indian, say they have legitimate concerns.  Their backgrounds are so dissimilar, they’re going to have a hard time.  And what about their kids?  They’ll have a really hard time.

But since when do Christians wash their hands of what’s “hard”?  If we do, that might take all marriages off the table.  For sure it would take missions off the table, adoption off the table, foster care off the table, serving in the military, maybe even going to college for some or learning a trade, confessing sin to a sister or brother, and making restitution for sins committed decades ago.  It would take evangelism off the table…, and learning to live and worship side by side with those from other ethnicities.

Keystone is a mostly white church which, I am praying God will change.  I understand that in many of the communities we come from, we don’t enjoy the kind of racial diversity that’s more apparent in our cities.  But I think we should aspire to look as much like heaven as possible.  And although in Genesis we all began as one race with a common ancestor, in heaven we will gather as one people of many races (Revelation 7:9).  And frankly, I believe that only as God shuffles us together more and more–and deliberately draws us together as fellow worshipers and friends despite our unique ethnic backgrounds, does He purge the innate prejudices that haunt our hearts–the ones we admit as well as those we don’t.  And yes, it might increase the prospect that having those of other ethnicities be part of your family of faith, you end up with a son-in-law, daughter-in-law, or grandchildren who look different from you.  That’s ok, that’s a testament to the fact that you as a follower of Jesus–and we, as church leaders, are doing something right, just, and good in the eyes of the Lord who counsels us to “love one another”.

The Death of Hope on Netflix

After just a month’s episodes, Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” is a hit and has already been renewed for a second season.  Weird for a drama about suicide.  Or, as parents, teachers, and mental health professionals worry, scary.  No one who has ever loved or known someone who made their final exit this way can look at the topic “objectively”. Nor can those of us who believe in both redemption and life after death, pretend that in the hands of those without such confidences, art like this is harmless–or informative. Here’s Trevin Wax’s assessment. https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/trevinwax/2017/05/01/13-reasons-why-is-deceptive-and-destructive/

Thriving in–instead of just Surviving your Job

This commercial is hilarious.

Maybe because so many people feel the same way.  Is that all there is for an unhappy Christian employee?  Bite your lip and endure?  Or go all in looking for that dream job?  Or…?  READ on.

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-secret-to-job-satisfaction?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily%20Desiring%20God&utm_content=Daily%20Desiring%20God+CID_0bbad561580790a392d9e6f59a627031&utm_source=Campaign%20Monitor&utm_term=The%20Secret%20to%20Job%20Satisfaction

Remarkable Again

At this moment, UN-backed Ecowas troops are poised to enter The Gambian capital in West Africa to forcibly oust ex-President Yahya Jammeh.  Yesterday in neighboring Senegal, duly elected president Adama Barrow was sworn into office.  Jammeh siezed power in a 1996 coup and liked it so much that now, despite losing the vote, he won’t leave.

Meanwhile, in the US of A, a new president was sworn in today in front of an outgoing president. Between them there were polite handshakes, smiles, and pomp despite the ravages of a bruising election and despite holding wide differences on how to govern. The only guns in view were those guarding the now and the former presidents.  The former president is being flown to his vacation after willingly vacating the White House so his successor can move in.  

I never cease to be amazed–and praise God for, what we enjoy in this nation.  Whether your candidate won or lost, despite a new administration, no one needs to scurry for cover.  The winning political party will get to work.  The losing one will continue to publicly and freely advocate for it’s vision.  New parties may form.  Despite this country’s flaws, there’s no place else I’d rather live, and no place else where I’d rather sweat to improve.  Pray for our new president, the congress, our court, our nation: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all.  Amen.

Brander, Blogger, & Jesus Follower Jon Acuff (Stuff Christians Like) nails it

CHRISTMAS DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. THANK GOODNESS.

Through the power of the Internet, I am often able to look like I have my life all together.

I know the things to tweet and the things to edit.

I know the moments to Instagram and the ones to crop out like they never happened.

I know what to say in conversations with friends to give the appearance of stability.

But the truth is, all too often I kick my own life down a flight of stairs. I make mistakes. I blow opportunities. I chase distractions and hide. I make a mess of things. In those moments, I fear that perfection is the only path out of the chaos. That perhaps if I string together a few perfect days, I can repay the debts I’ve incurred from a life lived with brokenness.

Only I can’t. I know that. I’ve tried that a thousand times before and it doesn’t work. My track record of perfect living is perfectly flawed.

But then there’s Christmas.

It’s not what I expected. It’s not what I deserved. It’s not what I can comprehend most days. Why?

Because what is Christmas?

It is the answer to the question, “Are you loved?”

It is the answer to the question, “Do you matter?”

It is the answer to the question, “Is there more to life than this?”

Christmas is the answer to the question, “Are you loved?”
CLICK TO TWEET

And it doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t. The gift of grace fails to line up with everything I know about the world. When you make a mistake, you pay for it with an equal consequence. When you have a debt, someone eventually calls you on the loan. You made your bed, now lie in it. That is how life works.

But not Christmas.

Christmas doesn’t work that way.

Christmas is a gift from a sender who sent himself.

Christmas is a raucous world defining expression of love.

Christmas is enough because Christ is enough.

And it’s here.

Sometimes I try to fix myself. I look at my parade of mishaps, the failures bright and loud and think I have to fix it all. But I can’t. I can’t fix me, with me. And the good news of the gospel, the good news of Christmas, is that I don’t have to.

I can’t fix me, with me. And the good news of Christmas is that I don’t have to.
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In fact, God knew I’d never be able to. That’s why he sent his son. That’s why he gave us Christmas.

It’s a gift.

Never feel your hands are too dirty to receive it. It was sent because our hands are too dirty.

Christmas doesn’t make sense. Thank goodness.

DECEMBER 24, 2014

Urgent Good News for Parents

Even if you start parenting totally green–without any training or input, the job is so hard that you will inevitably seek advice from facebook, articles, blogs, books, friends–or other parents who seem successful at it.

mother scolds her child

Probably no one admits it out loud, but all of us are looking for tips that will WORK.  In other words, we’re looking for guidance that guarantees that our little violators will begin behaving, begin showing respect, and not embarrass us in public.  What if we’re majoring on the minors?  What if something else matters most for Christian parenting?  I found Paul Tripp’s article riveting–and wish I could get a do over!  Get your Bible out and give this a read.  http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/you-don-t-need-more-parenting-advice.