I’ve struggled for a long time with the idea of race / racism being “real”: I’ve said that it isn’t real, yet race / racism is pervasive and influential, the phlogiston of social interactions.

Someone (Sean Carter--and not that Sean Carter) said something that cleared it up for me: Race isn't real. Neither is money. Yet an imaginary construct is so valuable to us that it controls our lives, our societies, our worth, our histories, and our futures.

Race is simply used by one group with the guns to do a brilliant thing: make the power remain to keep one…

And while you’re at it, do good, instead

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Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

I’ve been in Christian circles since the days when my years were numbered in the single digits. I’ve been through spiritual formation guided by the church and by the religious texts (the “Scriptures,” to use our church language) and that has built me up to be the person that I am.

I’ve been through many changes in my religious experiences and understandings, some which have happened through careful meditation and analysis, some as a result of a personal crisis where what I believed turned out to be wrong on certain essential points.

And I’m working through now how a Christ-follower…

Time to dig out the root of racism in the Evangelical church

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Photo by Adam Winger on Unsplash

RECENTLY WE’VE SEEN yet another example of suppressed white outrage bursting out because — gosh darn it! — we’re spending way too much time on the things that interest Black people and not the things that interest “regular” people. We’re focusing on Breonna Taylor and George Floyd (identified only with a racist slur) and not on the Things That Matter.

This time it was the daughter-in-law of a white pastor of a successful Evangelical church in the suburbs of a growing city in the Southwest. You can go hunt down the video if you want — I won’t link to…

Everyone has a part in celebrating — and promoting — Black lives

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Photo by Ono Kosuki from Pexels

Hey everyone — it’s Black History Month, and we learn about — and celebrate! — the many people who have contributed from themselves to the betterment of all, and who have largely been neglected by us because they are Black. Black history is America’s history, and Black history should be known.

These are all good things. But celebrating Black History Month is not the end goal here. It is a resource in our lives to understand what it is to be Black in America. …

Volume 3 Number 6

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Photo by Pexels.

Valentine’s Day is a day for love and affection, recalling the life of Valentine, who in the second and third centuries confronted the Roman empire and the emperor himself with the words and actions of love. He was made a saint because of those actions, for connecting with people and for standing up for what was right, all in the name of love. In our most recent call for submissions, Our Human Family prompted for stories about what “love one another” looks like in action, whether it is building new relationships or standing up against attempts to wear us down…

White Evangelicals, you’re in a bad place.

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A PREACHER FRIEND posited the statement recently that “if America is ever going to heal from her great racial divide, she must then be honest about how the white supremacy and nationalism displayed on January 6th, 2021 no longer represents the ‘fringe’ of the political landscape, but the mainstream.”

And while I completely agree with both the “if” and the “then,” I don’t think that the wish for racial healing is going to come to pass unless there is a desire to be healed. Because until there is the wanting, there will never come the healing.

There isn’t a desire…

Take the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase

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Photo by Arafat Tarif from Pexels

WHERE DO I START with promoting justice and recompense for those who have been negatively affected by white racism? And then what can I do that is meaningful?

This is an interesting question for us to consider. For many of us white people, the start is going to be at different places, but there is a common thread: we have to get out of our convenient world and into the world of growth. That will take a few things, most of them along the lines of learning new things. …

Followers of Jesus might want to refocus their interests and their concerns

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Image by nahirbarraza7 on Pixabay

RECENTLY I WAS ASKED TO COMMENT on an interesting topic (well, interesting to me) about where white Evangelicals go now that the forty-fifth president has left office. The topic came up because of an interview between Ed Stetzer from Christianity Today and NPR. Given that radio is slow TV, and people want sound bites, it is an interview that probes only the surface of the larger question of “What the hell has happened to Evangelicals?”

Mr Stetzer comes from the position of (I think) that this swooning over the disgraced and twice-impeached man is a recent falling but that the…

What went wrong for Republicans in 2020 wasn’t just a bad candidate

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Photo by Matheus Bertelli from Pexels

I WAS READING YET ANOTHER PIECE on the collapse of the most recent Republican candidate in the latest presidential election, where by a scant few votes in a few key states the Republican lost to the Democrat. The 81 million to 74 million final popular vote tally disguises just how close the election was.

This is a think piece on how much the writer regrets the collapse and apologizes for not listening to those few in the Republican camp who were speaking out — shouting, even — that the Republican candidate was not fit for re-election.

The author makes the…

In all their beauty and diversity

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I encountered (yet again) another well-meaning adult white person who commented on America’s love affair with racism — on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, no less. After seeing the increasing social and national protests initiated and led by Black Americans demanding to be treated as fully human just like the rest of America and listening to Black people saying “Just see me as human and stop penalizing me for being Black,” this person’s response was “Well, I don’t see color, so I am not responsible for this racism.”

I was taken aback by this frank, open response, but I…

stephen matlock

Writer; observer; sometimes doer. Senior editor Our Human Family. Fiat justitia ruat cælum. More at stephenmatlock.com

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