Two Short Stories

Franklin Community Church is by no means the biggest church around. In fact, we are quite small. But we do, I think, have the most unique church with the most unique calling to reach a particular community. I have been pastoring for over 20 years and I can say that the last 6 years at FCC have been the most excited and effective years of my ministry. To God be the glory. I believe our church has found our niche in the larger body of Christ.

Here are two stories from today’s worship celebration. Continue reading

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Why Black History Month is Important

blackhis4“History is written by the victors” (Unknown)

Some people attribute the above quote to Winston Churchill but more than likely it is much older. Regardless who said it there is some truth in its message.

Every society has two groups of people – the dominant group and the minority group. These two groups are not called majority and minority because it is not about numbers but power and advantage. The dominant group in a society is the group in power; the group that has the advantage. The minority group is not in power, and thus, is disadvantaged. The dominant group makes the rules and writes the history. The minority group has to learn the culture, values, and beliefs of the dominant group. The minority group has to follow the rules of the dominant group while the dominant group does not necessarily have to know and follow the rules of the minority group.

For example, the early history of the United States was written by the dominant group in our society most often referred to as WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants). Thus, Columbus (a white European) discovered a “new-world” even though people were already here (I know Columbus was not part of the WASP, but he was part of their history). Furthermore, according to the dominant group’s history, Minute-Men were revolutionaries, Indians were savages, slavery was important to our economy, and Communism was evil. The history of our country looks quite different from the perspective of 18th century Britain, 20th century Europeans, or through the eyes of blacks and indigenous Americans. This is neither a critique nor commendation of the dominant group, just a statement of the way things are; and it’s the way things are not just in our country but in every country. Continue reading

Franklin COMMUNITY Church

IMG0965Those who know me know I have been on an interesting journey the last 5 years. It actually goes back farther than that, but 5 years ago marks my return to Franklin, TN and Franklin Community Church. It was at that time, after much prayer and reflection, that my ministry focus changed significantly. The simplest way to describe my journey was (and is) a change from being “seeker sensitive” to being “justice centered.” God has called me to minister to a struggling community in a very affluent city. I would not trade my journey for the world! The last 5 years have been the most rewarding years of my 20+ years in pastoral ministry.

If you have read my blogs then you have heard my describe some of the things that take place at Franklin Community Church. I think it is time you hear from someone else.

One of my elders (who will rename anonymous at this time) has shared the story of our church with the FWB church he grew up in. They have been interested in what we are doing and have offered to help. My elder wrote an email to the pastor of his home church. In the email he describes our church better than I can. I have changed the name of the pastor, and the church, to protect their anonymity.

What is great about this letter is the change in the life of my elder. He grew up in a very white and very conservative FWB church. The change God has brought into his own heart and life is nothing short of miraculous.

Please read his email. I did receive permission from him to share.

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments. Continue reading

Are We Post-Racial?

Are we a post-racial society?

Back in 2008, during the past presidential election, a theme among those supporting President Obama was that with his ascension to the White House would come the fall of racism in our society. After his inauguration, people suggested that we were now a post-racial society and he was a post-racial president. I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, but…

From my perspective, over the last four years, our society has become more racially divided, not less. It seems we lulled ourselves into believing racism was no longer a problem. What has happened over the last few years is that we discovered just below the surface are some deep seeded racial attitudes.

The cartoon to the left was from a “Values Voters Summit” last September. The cartoon to the
right was published not long after President Obama was elected. The monkey represented President Obama. At best, both cartoons are racially insensitive. At worst, they are examples of racism. (I guess racism is in the eye of the beholder. I think they are both racist.) There are far worst examples of racist cartoons I could have posted, but I think you get the idea.

When a white person, like myself, brings up examples and issues of racism, many of my white friends immediately give examples of “reverse racism.” When it comes to politics they mention the other side comparing President Bush to Hitler and all the terrible things said about him. Yes, President Bush did endure horrible attacks. But since when do two wrongs make a right? Besides, the attacks on Bush were not racist, but political and philosophical. Furthermore, does the fact that white people have experienced racism mean that racism does not exist? Can we not talk about racism because we know of white people who have been discriminated against? It seems to me, examples of reverse racism should make us more aware and more willing to talk about race, not less. Continue reading