When white people decide they “know” the Black experience

Recently I was invited into a conversation about something I’m interested in, even though I was not originally included. The topic was race (I know — quelle surprise) and the people included were white or Black. In one sense, everyone was on the same side, so to speak — everyone believed that Black people have gotten a raw deal from life, and that white people needed to do some work to make that change.

But then there was the most interesting digression of whether one of the white interlocutors was fairly understanding what the Black people were saying. What had…

How we see Jesus is how we obey Jesus

So a local church sent out letters to their parishioners about how to file for a religious exemption for vaccinations. This is the church that went to court (with other churches) to stop the government from applying health protocols to larger gatherings.

I can understand that some people might not want to get vaccinated for medical reasons. But there are zero reasons in the Christian religion to not do what’s necessary to love your neighbor. Vaccinations are a way for Christians to behave as servants of their neighbors. And in my mind, it’s reprehensible for churches to not just allow…

We choose to be frightened of imaginary threats

Critical Race Theory (CRT) is the newest bogeyman, useful to rile people up. Most of the opponents are reacting viscerally to something that isn’t CRT at all.

CRT is about systems, not individuals. Systems are developed as shortcuts for lengthy processes so that we don’t spend all our time trying to figure out how to hand multiple situations and not have disparate outcomes.

For the system of racism in America (and this is the most strongly disputed point, that racism is only individualistic and felt/known by everyone who might be so extreme as to say the “N-word”), there is very…

Don’t be surprised when you find what you are looking for

I have friends who ask me “But what can I do as a white person to fight racism?”

I will answer with a story and then a question. First, the story. Note, however, that I’m raised and discipled as a Christian, so my stories come from the life of Jesus.

Seems there was this time that a rich young ruler came to Jesus to ask him how he (the rich guy) could be saved.

Jesus asked him if he knew the laws and kept them, and of course the guy said “I’ve kept them from my youth.”

You know, a…

We are more certain of fear than we are of facts

Much ink will be spilled in the next few months or even years about the topic of Critical Race Theory (CRT), both by those who think they support it and those who think they oppose it. We are going to hear the wildest claims about what it is, how it is either a blessing or a curse, how it either reinforces religious teachings or threatens them, how it brings freedom or chains. Emotions are going to drive 99.25% of this discussion, and that is not a surprise, for emotions drive most of our decision-making, with our minds coming up for…

It’s time for actions, not gestures

Am I happy that Juneteenth will be a national holiday?

Sure! It’s great news!

But something I’ve learned about protests is that power does not give anything away without protest and action, and power, when it does give something away, gives something that will affect its power the least. Every inch conceded is done so with great reluctance and with effusive self-praise on how it’s “giving up” something when it’s more likely to be an empty gesture with no power and no real meaning beyond a symbol. …

How Evangelicals hide the truths of their own history

I am fortunate to have people in my life who see me and who hold me accountable. No one can navigate the systems of this world without help; finding people who will give us their attention and seek our full transparency is a gift that everyone should seek to have-and to give to others.

One of my friends — or, as we say in the Christian community, a brother — is that for me. A pastor in a dynamic local church in another state, he texts me every so often with an update or a question, or simply to chat.

Seeing ourselves as others see us


This is the book that every white Evangelical should read. It is direct,
clear, honest, funny, and entirely human while also embracing the love and
divine calling of Jesus in our lives to effect change in our world as we bring
the healing and the forgiveness and the restoration of God.

A lot of white people are looking to understand why it is that “suddenly”
there is so much uproar and so many discussions about white people, white
Evangelicals, and the white church. …

Religious liberty is not the freedom to force a religion

Recently I was minding my own business reading a Facebook post by someone for whom I have the highest regard. Ally Henny is a magna cum laude graduate with a Masters of Divinity degree from Fuller Christian seminary. Among her many interests and activities is her work with The Witness, a Black Christian Collective, an organization that seeks to build up and center Black men, women, and children by giving their authentic voices a place in the American Christian conversation.

Ally made an entirely reasonable remark a few days ago about Christian nationalism and how it is more of a…

It’s possible to do better. Here are some ideas on how to do that.

Absolutely great. Frank, honest, funny, touching, real. Frederick Joseph here is at once wonderfully endearing and approachable and also blunt and direct, someone who is self-possessed and self-aware, and someone who is going to be a great friend for whomever will let him be exactly that.

I found myself laughing on quite a few pages, but almost in the next line wincing or even blurting out “oh my god.” There is so much truth here, and great observations, and the definite proclamation of “I am a man,” much in the spirit of the resisters of the 1960s.

I appreciated so…

stephen matlock

Writer; observer; sometimes doer. Fiat justitia ruat cælum. More at stephenmatlock.com Mostly off Medium now & writing elsewhere

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