“Why We Can’t Wait?” By Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day! Take today to ponder the truth of these quotes and how they still apply to today. Ponder how the church can help further the legacy of Dr. King and what part can you play?

These are excerpts taken from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s book Why We Can’t Wait?

Wait

“Undeniably, the Negro had been an object of sympathy and wore the scars of deep grievances, but the nation had come to count on him as a creature who could suffer quietly  endure and silently suffer and patiently wait”

“Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say “Wait””

“when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”–then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair.” (BLM)

“I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens’ Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the presence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct actions”; who is paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time  and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.”

America

there is a certain irony in the picture of his (the Negro) country championing freedom in foreign lands and failing to ensure that freedom to twenty million of its own.”

“Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.”

“It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city’s white power structure left the Negro with no alternative”

“For too long the depth of racism in American life  has been underestimated.”

“It is this tangled web of prejudice from which many Americans now seek to liberate themselves without realizing now deeply it has been woven into their consciousness.”

“We need a powerful sense of determination to banish the ugly blemish of racism scarring the image of America.”

“The sooner our society admits that the Negro Revolution is no momentary outburst soon to subside into placid passivity, the easier the  future will be for us all.”

Opportunity

“When he seeks opportunity, he is told, in effect, to lift himself by his own bootstraps, advice which does not take into account the fact that he is barefoot.”

Christianity

I suggested that only a “dry as dust” religion prompts a minister to extol the glories of heaven while ignoring the social conditions  that cause men an earthly hell”

“We did not take this radical step without prolonged and prayerful consideration.”

“God’s companionship does not stop at the door of the jail cell.”

“Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that is higher moral law was at stake.”

Silence

“The ultimate tragedy of Birmingham was not the brutality of the bad people, but the silence of good people”

“Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the  good people.”

Injustice

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice  everywhere.”

Tension

“I am not afraid of the word tension. I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth”

White Voices

“A few white voices spoke out boldly, but few people listened with sympathy.”

Revolution

“A movement that changes both people and institutions is a revolution.”

Solutions

“Solutions to the complex plight of the Negro will not be easy. This does not signify that they are impossible.”

“Unity has never meant uniformity”

“It is impossible to create a formula for the future which does not take into account that our society has been doing something special against the Negro for hundreds of years. How then can he be absorbed into the mainstreams of American life if we do not do something special for him now, in order to balance the equation and equip him to compete on a just and equal basis?”

 

Take Time To Be Holy and New Years Resolutions

Take time to be holy.  Many began the year with an unshakable devotion to  New Year’s resolutions, but that devotion will die by February. It is hard to teach a legless dog how to walk.  Often, these resolutions ignore the real issue, sin. Working out will make you a healthy sinner. Getting organized turns you into a put together wretch. Saving more money makes you a rebel with a larger savings account. It is not unrighteous to set resolutions. But they often ignore the sin that lies beneath the behavior. In other words, they seek to change the fruit and not the root. I propose believers should pursue lifelong holiness and not periodical resolutions.

New Year, No Change

44% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions yet, only 8% fulfill them.  The reality is that few individuals have made immediate and significant life changes because of a dramatic New Year’s resolution,” says Paul Tripp. New Year’s resolutions may fuel behavior modification for a while, but they rarely alter our lives. Our flesh is too powerful. Our sin attacks every good intention. We can’t trust ourselves because we are deceitful and sick (Jeremiah 17:9).  We don’t need to pursue a yearly commitment to behavioral modification. We need to pursue a lifelong commit to holiness.

Little Moment of Change

We have all heard the testimonies in church about when God dramatically delivers a person. The story begins with the person telling how they were strung out on drugs, addicted to alcohol, or lived in sexual immorality. Then God saved them and one day they were completely delivered from a particular sin. Praise God he still radically saves people! But these testimonies are the exceptions, not the rule.

Salvation happens in an instant but, sanctification takes a lifetime. Most Christians take small steps to crawl out of the grasp of particular sins, which takes years.  The ideology behind New Year’s resolutions says,  “You have 365 days to change” and if you can’t change in a year you are a failure. Sanctification is a long, hard road that is filled with failure. The recovering alcoholics fail to stay sober numerous days. It is the day-after-day small decisions not to drink that help them have sober days. The journey to human transformation consists of many little steps.

“The fact of the matter is that human transformation is more of a mundane process. Changes typically take place in ten thousand little moments, not one life-altering event.” Paul Tripp

Pursue Holiness

Without holiness, no can please the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). The Lord has called us to be holy in all our conduct and to be holy as he is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). God has predestined us to be holy like him (Romans 8: 29).  The pursuit of holiness requires diligence and effort. It is a lifelong task. God has commanded us to be holy but it seems like an impossible endeavor. How can we become holy throughout our life if we can’t change a sinful behavior in 365 days?

How can we become holy? It is through the wonderful work of the spirit of God and the Word of God called sanctification. The good news is the weight of becoming holy is not completely on us. We do have to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12), but we are not alone (Matt. 28:20). When we fail on our journey to holiness we can know we are under grace (Romans 6:14) and there is no more condemnation for us (Romans 8:1). The Christian journey is a marathon, not a sprint. It is not about how fast we complete our race but if we are running the race with endurance.

Beloved, let us put aside the pursuit to recreate ourselves in 365 days. Let us pursue the lifelong goal of holiness. If we wage war on our sin our habits will change. Slothfulness will be replaced by biblical productivity. Disorganization will be overcome by a desire to do everything decently and in order. The urge to spend frivolously will be overpowered by the longing to be a good steward of God’s gifts. Pursue holiness to attack the root and change the fruit.

Don’t cancel the gym membership or plan to eat healthier. You don’t have to cancel your plans of becoming more organized. Keep your resolutions but ponder how are they going to help you pursue holiness. 

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;

Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.

By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;

Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

William D. Longstaff

Sources:

http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/

http://www.paultripp.com/wednesdays-word/posts/new-year-new-you

Bridges, Jerry. The Pursuit of Holiness. Colorado Springs: Navpress, 1978.

IF RUSSELL MOORE IS FIRED, “UNTO US” A TRUMP BAPTIST CONVENTION IS BORN

This a thought provoking piece about how we need Russell Moore in our convention. I wouldn’t consider leaving for the aforementioned reasons in this blog. #ISupportRussellMoore

Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr.

IF RUSSELL MOORE IS FIRED, “UNTO US” A TRUMP BAPTIST CONVENTION IS BORN

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

The first cabinet member that soon-to-be President Donald Trump will fire, may not be in his White House Cabinet. Russell Moore, President of the Ethics, and Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC–a cabinet level entity head position within the SBC org chart–will be the first person fired by the direct influence of Donald Trump and his influential supporters within SBC circles, if they are successful in their unprecedented public attempts, to discredit and dismiss from office the most compelling and effective spokesman ever to hold that office in the history of the SBC. The lynch mob in SBC life who is going after Moore are taking their cues from Donald Trump who was among the first to attack Moore with one of his infamous tweets during the primary season:

“Russell Moore is…

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Why We Can’t Wait and Walter Scott

Martin Luther King Jr.’s  “Why We Can’t Waitstill speaks to the postcivil rights black community. Racist signs in the windows have come down, but there are still places we are not welcome. The dogs and the hoses aren’t that popular anymore. We don’t fear those in white sheets as much as we fear those with blue uniforms.

Walter Scott’s death is one of numerous of unarmed black males killed by the police. The case of his shooting ended with the judge declaring it a mistrial. Another life is gone, and no one held liable.  How do King’s words speak to us today?

Waiting

People frequently say in cases like Scott’s we must wait for the details. King writes:

when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”–then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair.”

Nobodiness” is why the Black Lives Matter movement exists because we feel as if our people are nobodies. We are dying in the streets while the shooters walk away unscathed. For example, in New Orleans Joe McKnight died in the streets. The shooter spent 24 hours in jail,  released, and then charged. Mcknight’s  life appeared not to be worth over 24 hours in jail.  It was as if he didn’t murder a brother, uncle, or cousin. It is as if he murdered a nobody. King also writes:  “Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say “Wait.”” It is easy to saywait” when you and your people are not being attacked.

Silence Makes A Statement

The ultimate tragedy of Birmingham was not the brutality of the bad people, but the silence of good people” (MLK)

Throughout history, numerous churches have been quiet about racial issues. Their pro-life statements didn’t extend to the black males shot in their cities. Educational and economic racial disparities weren’t discussed in their mission strategies. Mission organizations learned enough to empathize with those in Africa but not those across tracks. The same is often true now. Silence says these are not my concerns. Silence implies I will let someone else talk about that. Silence means I don’t care. Shame on us if we are silent when our brother and sisters need our voices. We must repent of the silence of Christians.

“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the  good people.” (MLK)

Responding

It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city‘s white power structure left the Negro with no alternative” (MLK)

What are our options to responding to racial matters? How should we respond Scott’s mistrial or injustice?  King acknowledges we don’t have that many options that get the majority to listen. Colin Kaepernick kneels during the national anthem. Bilal Powell wears cleats about gun violence. Beyonce performs “Formation” at the Superbowl These are examples of utilizing our options. This is why you have the Black Lives Matter non-violent protest. Trevor Noah  asks, “What is the right way?

People kneel during the anthem and they are told to leave the country. They protest and they are whiners. What are the right methods?

I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens’ Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the presence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct actions”; who is paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time  and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.”

Solutions

“Solutions to the complex plight of the Negro will not be easy. This does not signify that they are impossible.” (MLK)

The issues that African-Americans face are difficult to solve, but they are not hopeless. There is not a 3-step process to fix America overnight.  Finding solutions begins with awareness, confession, and action.

It is impossible to create a formula for the future which does not take into account that our society has been doing something special against the Negro for hundreds of years. How then can he be absorbed into the mainstreams of American life if we do not do something special for him now, in order to balance the equation and equip him to compete on a just and equal basis?” (MLK)

 BUT GOD

“God’s companionship does not stop at the door of the jail cell.” (MLK)

    African-Americans have a history of oppression. We have been a people who have depended on God to deliver us from oppression. The slaves believed God would free them. Those under the yoke of Jim crow believed God would bring justice. They never believed God left them during the beatings, hoses, verbal abuse, and injustice.   God didn’t leave King when he was sitting in solitary confinement. Immanuel was still with him.

God is still with us. This why Judy Scott confidently proclaims the power of God in light of her son’s mistrial. God’s companionship has not left us in injustice. We should remember God’s presence and role in the fight for justice.

Lord, If You Had Been There

where-are-you-now

In John’s gospel in reference to the death of Lazarus, these words are written.

Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you would have been here my brother would not have died.” John 11:21

Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him she fell at his feet, saying to him “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died.” John 11:32

I remember sitting in a church service after a tragic incident had happen and heard “God had nothing to do with that.”  If the preacher had looked me in the eye when he said that statement he might have seen the look on my face that displayed my thoughts of “That ain’t right.” At that point in my life, I was a theological Nazi and I thought Jesus made me a missionary to those in theological poverty. As I have gotten older I realized that I have had my moments where I believed “God had nothing to do with that.” I never uttered the exact words but my actions on occasion would reveal this was my belief.

Many times I believe it is easier to say God was not there in a tragic event than to explain how he was watching when it happened. We live in a sinful world that is full of the sinful men. If you are having trouble believing how terrible this world is STOP READING right now and turn on the news. Believers must either decide that God takes breaks while sin takes action or that God is watching while the effects of sin affect this world. However, I found myself number of times in my walk when sin seemed more present in my environment. They resulted in me asking God, where are you? The cries of my heart echoed that of Mary and Martha “Lord, if you had of been there.” Mary and Martha were saying Jesus if you had of been with us longer our brother would still be alive. They were saying Jesus if you had been here things would be better than they are now. So how do we answer the question of where is God when the results of sins seems like more of a reality then he is? I would just like to share what I have learned.

My Answer

I answer the question with Exodus 2:24-25:

“And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.”

I heard a sermon by Voddie Baucham explaining this passage and the Lord rearranged my theology through his sermon. God does not leave or take breaks while sin seems to run rapid. God hears! God Remembers! God sees!  God Knows! This is good news because if the opposite is true then there is reason to be depressed. If the opposite is true then God turns his head for moments in time while evil runs amok. I don’t know about you but if God takes breaks then the fear of knowing that would scare me more than snail in a salt mine. However, I thank God that HE IS EVERYWHERE AT ALL TIMES.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones rightly said:

“This is the fundamental thing, the most serious thing of all, that we are always in the presence of God.”

We can never say God was not there.

Where can I go to escape Your Spirit?
Where can I flee from Your presence?
 If I go up to heaven, You are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there.

Psalm 139:7-8

 

Three Souls of Black Folk

“So DeAron why do black people (insert action)?”  Before I attended college, I was never asked that question.  My friends and classmates had labeled me a black apologist.  I began to discover that my white friends had different filters for processing information. Our difference of filters caused many discussions. We need more discussions about how we process information in the church.

 Double Consciousness

W.E.B. Du Bois in his book “The Souls of Black Folk”,  introduces the concept of “double consciousness“. Double consciousness is having “warring ideals” within one’s soul.  He likens it to having “two souls”, “two thoughts”,  and “two unreconciled strivings”. The two warring ideals within black people are American ideals and African-American ideals. Schools and media teach us how to be good Americans.  Our families and churches instruct us in the ways of the black community. We attempt to balance these opposing cultures without being an outcast or losing opportunities. We fear Americanization and ethnocentricism. Du Bois’s concept of double consciousness is accurate. I propose black believers have another dimension of consciousness, which is Christian consciousness.

    Christian Consciousness

The war between Americanism and African-Americanism is often tiring because they rarely agree. The Christain consciousness is another opponent for both. Our Americanism and blackness must submit to our Christian consciousness. Romans 14 is an example of how our culture  can influence our Christianity. The Jews in the Roman church upheld holy days and did not eat meat because of their Jewish upbringing. Their Jewish culture and Christian freedom were at odds.

There have been times that I have discovered my thoughts are too ethnocentric or worldly. It is difficult because the Word of God has affected so much of my culture and this country. Our forefathers came to America for religious freedom. The Word of God gave black slaves the hope of freedom. The first book printed in America was the Bible and slaves had a yearning to read just to read it. Black believers have a triple consciousness that causes warring in our members.

Encouragement

Christians of color, our brothers need to hear our voices. They need to know why we are weeping and why we are mourning. They need to know we struggle with singing The Star Spangled Banner and supporting Black Lives Matter. Our brothers need to know we have wrestled with how to think and respond to racial issues. We have failed in responding without error, but we are trying. We must allow them to hear how we process information so they might develop compassion.

To our white brothers and sisters take the time to listen. Trust we have filtered our statements through history, society, and Christianity. We have wrestled before responding. Ask questions so you will comprehend our position(s). Listen before you identify us as heretics, race-baiters, or un-American.

I pray this helps us be slow to speak, quick to listen (James 1:19), speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) and bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2) so that the body of Christ will be unified in thoughts, words, and deeds.

 

 

The Sin of White Silence

Lately, one of my family members has had many encounters with law enforcement officers in Wisconsin, and it has terrified me. My family member is not a model citizen, but I still love him. I feared for his life and prayed that the Lord would protect him.

The thoughts streamed through my mind: What if he complied just like Philando? What if he was at home like Korry? What if they thought he had a weapon like Tamir? What if he resisted like Mike Brown? What if they abused him like Freddie Gray? What if they grabbed him like Alton Sterling or Eric Garner? Each scenario I replayed in my head ended with his death.

   I feared he would be the next image-bearer to die at the hands of those who have sworn to protect us. I thought about the many articles that would bear his image and his name, but would be devoid of his dignity. Journalists would have blamed him for his own death, and those in blue would walk away unscathed. I was afraid an officer would ignore his education, his respectful career, and shoot him like Charles Kinsey.

     We could spend time debating the morality and differences of the people mentioned above. The fact is that most of them did not live to tell their story. I was anxious the same fate would befall a member of my family. He could have been the next hashtag, his death could have motivated a riot, or there could have been a vigil for him. He is not your family, but he is your neighbor. He deserves a voice in life and in death.

My Plea

     Church, I plead with you: do not look at racial issues and side-step them. If you are avoiding racial issues, you are avoiding the millions of your neighbors who are hurting. The Priest and the Levite in the parable of  the Good Samaritan are great examples of avoiding the hurting. They looked upon the beaten individual who needed their help and continued on their way. They believed that assisting this wounded person wasn’t their business.

     So often major evangelical voices consider these issues to be concerns for minority churches, but speaking up about racial issues is not limited to minority believers. These issues are Christian issues because they affect the body of Christ and our neighbors—not to mention that these issues are direct results of sin and we must denounce sin.  Thus, if you are in the majority, you can speak up about these matters. Yet, I would also challenge you to listen and embrace before you speak.

A) Listen

“If one gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame.”  Proverbs 18:13

We often share our opinions too swiftly. I challenge you to listen to minority believers about racism in American before you give them a lecture on your opinion. You can’t deny the truthfulness of a position unless you have listened to it. Listen to them with the knowledge that you all share the same Spirit of God, and He can correct falsehood better than you.

B) Embrace The Differences

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

  Mark 12:31

This commandment doesn’t contain qualifiers, so we must love our Black neighbor, Asian neighbor, Hispanic neighbor, and White neighbor. God requires us to love those who are different from us. When the topic of race arises, it’s common to hear someone say they are colorblind.” While the sentiment may spring from a positive motivation, this statement is unhelpful because it denies that God intentionally created us with differences and that there is incredible beauty in the diversity of Christ’s Church. We must embrace the differences, not just accept the characteristics we share.

C) Speak

As people who are part of the majority, you have the option of ignoring racial issues, but minorities don’t have that privilege. Frequently we are questioned about our positions regarding racially-charged events. We can’t help but speak about our kinsfolk who are victims of sinful systems. We can’t just walk around them because they are family, and we could be the next victim of injustice. I urge you to speak for those who don’t have voices in your circles of influence. 

Silence is Sin

Imagine the silence among the Jews and the Gentiles before Paul confronted Peter in Galatians 2. Peter feared the Jews so he slowly started to disinherit the Gentiles. There was no Jewish-Gentile forum to talk about the gospel and racial reconciliation.  They did not collectively confront the hypocrisy of Peter. The Jews probably talked to the Jews, believing it is morally right to separate themselves from the sinful Gentiles. The Gentiles probably talked among themselves, believing that the Jews were corrupt and that Peter was a traitor. However, the conversations among the groups possibly never left their sphere of influence, so there was silence about these issues.

But Paul, the Jew who was a missionary to the Gentiles, broke the silence. He confronted Peter in front of everybody. He accused him of being out of step with the gospel. He acknowledged these racial issues were not Gentile or Jewish issues but Christian issues. The question is this: will you break the silence in your church, workplace, community, and family? Will you continue to seek the approval of man or of God? Are you out of step with the gospel? I don’t say this as an angry black man, but as someone who is trying to encourage himself and others to love our neighbors. So Listen, Embrace, and Speak out of love for your neighbors and for the glory of God.

In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

—Martin Luther King, Jr.