Friday, January 23, 2009

President and Mrs. Barack Obama

Like many Americans I experienced a swirl of emotions this past Tuesday while watching the inaugural events of President Barack Obama. And perhaps like many I ruminated on how his adminiatration and example will affect this country for at least the next four years.

Of the many images that stood out for me two in particular are worth mentioning. The first was during the parade when President and Mrs. Obama got out of the limo and walked together hand in hand greeting the crowd. I wondered how the image of an African-American president and his wife walking side by side to lead a nation in one of its greatest times of challenge impacted young black people. I hoped that young men especially took note of the respect and love our President has for his wife. I hope they see that seeking to marry a gifted, wise and intelligent wife is a sign of strength and character, not an signal of weakness. I hope our young brothers (saved and not saved) could envision themselves as embodying leadership not by seeking to dominate our sisters but by acknowledging and thanking God for a wife who will walk by our side (not behind us) as together we tackle the issues of our community, country and world. It was indeed a beautiful sight, one that I am blessed to have watched.

The other was the first dance. If you haven't seen it do yourself a favor: take a few minutes, grab a smooth cup of coffee, look it up on the net and drink it in. It was fabulous. The dance occured at the Neighborhood Ball to the Etta James song 'At Last' performed by Beyonce. Before the dance President Obama spoke to the gathered crowd and highlighted the beauty of his wife. Following that Beyonce dedicated the song and serenaded the first couple as they took command of the dance floor. It was a most tender and touching moment. The image was as striking as their parade walk but for a different reason. Here our president showed the tenderness every man should have for his wife. Coupled with the parade walk the dance demonstrated how men can at the same time draw from the strength, wisdom and intellect of our wives while showing the kind of tender affection reserved for marriage only. I couldn't help but hope that millions of young black youth were viewing that dance and thinking 'so that's what it means to be a man'.

Why did these two images make such an impression on me? I suppose that the older I grow the more I comprehend the power of man of God displaying that godliness in the way he loves and respects his wife. Among evangelicals there's always a great deal of talk about ministry, culture, witness and relevance. We discuss, debate and argue about what the gospel is, the extent of its implications and the wisest and most effective ways to engage the culture (whatever that culture is) with the gospel. Well here's a bit of advice for those seeking to be winesome, witty, with it, relevant and attractive to our culture. And I'm particularly aiming this to our brothers.

Get married.

Find a wife to whom you can pour your love into and show authentic Christ-like leadership by serving her interest, issues and real needs. Establish a relationship in which you cultivate her beauty, gifts, intellect and wisdom and invite the community into your home to see that. Show some young men that though they may not rise to become president there's nothing stopping them (but their own fears and insecurities) from praying for godly wise wife and showing the beauty, order and goodness of the gospel of our Lord. by loving her as He loves His people.

For those of us who are married it's time to put all that theology into practice by learning to authentically love our wives as Christ loves the church. That might mean putting down your latest theology book (sacrilege I know) and actually participating in an activity your wife likes. It will mean shedding the myth that the husband's 'role' in marriage is to tell his wife what to do and makes sure she submits to him. It means humbling ourselves, learning to live selflessly and being the kind of husband that does all he can to genuinely serve the interest of our wives and not wait around for them to serve us. In short it means becoming and living like a man and not a spoiled 8 year old child.

If your lacking examples of this take a look at our President. (even if you didn't vote for him)
And think about the fact that having a brilliant, beautiful, educated and wise wife doesn't in anyway detract from his manhood but actually gives him a platform to show America, black men and the world what true manhood can look like.

To Him Who Loves Us...
pastor lance

Friday, January 02, 2009

Pass The Courvoisier

So who passed the Courvoisier at your holiday party? Opps almost forgot this is a Christian blog and as such we don’t partake of such beverages in our celebrations. That’s cool, but it should be noted that cognac has made a comeback and that comeback is almost exclusively due to black folks.

Thanks to a few hip-hop artists the once stodgy upper-crust drink has landed on the tables and in the gullets of the black masses. What’s of interest to me is not the kind of liquor one used to celebrate whatever holidays one celebrated this past season, but of the pull that African-Americans have in the world marketplace. Here’s an industry somewhere in France that was languishing in relative obscurity until about eight years ago when Busta Rhymes told his crew to pass the Courvoisier. Since then and with the aid of other rappers cognac has found new life. You can call it the black factor. A product may be on its last legs and then in a quirk of fate a rapper takes a liking to it, tells his or her dutiful followers that this is now cool and voila sales a million.

Some will point out how this shows the enduring power of hip-hop culture to affect world culture and thus why the church should just throw away any and everything that smacks of tradition and go all in with a Christianized version of hip-hop culture. I personally disagree with this sentiment but that’s not the subject of this post. I want to focus on the double-edged sword wielded by black economic power.

Thanks to the pull of hip-hop a whole, whole lot of French cats are now doing quite well. Sales are up which means that they, their communities and their families can enjoy a better standard of living. That’s one edge of the sword. Black people in America may have the unique privilege of increasing the wealth of almost any other group of people in the world. Since we still get far, far too much of our identity from what we have instead of who we are there remains the possibility that some fortunate manufacturer of something will hit the blackpot and enrich his or her family, community and country from the pennies of black folks. That’s not all bad. There is nothing inherently wrong with one group of people supplying the wishes of another so that both benefit. France benefits by sustaining an industry important to their country and heritage and black folks benefit by enjoying the fruit of the vine at our Christmas/Kwanzaa/New Year parties. Of course one of the downsides is that the French can reinvest the profits from their product in any number of ways to benefit the rest of their society whereas black folks are limited to enjoying a few glasses of booze and then maybe recycling the bottle.

It’s the other edge of that sword holds some intriguing possibilities. What might happen if African-Americans began to wield that edge of the sword with much more purpose and precision? We could for instance decide to throw our collective economic weight behind a crucial product in a developing country and then seek to influence the country to move toward adopting basic civil rights for its people. For example the West African country of Nigeria has developed into a global economic player with its recently found oil wealth. But how much of that wealth is being reinvested for the good of the common Nigerian citizen? What could happen if black folks did a little research, determined which oil companies are responsible for refining and delivering Nigerian oil into our vehicles and then determined only to gas up with those companies provided they would work with the Nigerian government to improve the living conditions of all Nigerians.

I mean if Gov. Sarah Palin can get the Alaskan legislature to pass a windfall tax on oil profits to benefit the ordinary citizens of Alaska why can’t the Nigerian government do the same their citizens? And even if they didn’t want to cut checks to every Nigerian couldn’t they mandate a percentage of the profits be used to build and rebuild the infrastructure of their country? And all it might take is a few rappers filling up their Escalades at couple of select gas stations.

Impossible you say? You’re probably right. I mean we might have a better chance at having a black man elected president of these United States of America.

Oh well you know what they say… mind as well pass the Courvoisier.

To Him Who Loves Us…
Pastor Lance

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year

Hey ya’ll Happy New Year!!!

My hope and prayer is that each and everyone enjoys a blessed, joyous and peaceful new year in our Lord.

I’m still not back to full strength blogging (we’ll still be in impulse power for at least another month or so) but I did want to give a heads up on a few series that are rolling around my egg nog saturated brain these days. Lord willing I’ll get to them this year so here they are in no particular order:

President Barack Obama – I’ll take a look at his historic presidency from the perspective of African-Americans, the black church, and the evangelical church. My take will be to examine what his presidency can mean for our witness of the faith.

The ‘G’ word. 2009 will no doubt continue the national discussion on homosexuality and how that impacts the church. I however wish to focus on Greed the other ‘G’ word. I wonder why is it that bible believing Christians and evangelicals speak so little about the vice of greed and how that might contribute to where we are economically at this time.

Christian Democrats? Are you kidding or crazy? Can there be no truer oxymoron. This series will trace the reasons why so many believers tend to vote with the Democratic party.

Abortion what next? This will resume the series I began on how bible believing Christians and evangelicals can address the issue of abortion during President Obama’s administration.

Black and Reformed? How are black led reformed churches faring? Should we rethink what we’re doing and go in another direction?

The new cessasionists. Don’t worry this will not be yet another discussion on spiritual gifts. This series will explore why the church continues to have those who insists that Christ has divorced His bride, decided to renege on His promise to be with her until the end of the age and that of course we need to do something else to ‘reach the culture’.

The religion of Star Trek. This will be in honor of the latest movie (which by the way is scheduled for release on my birthday). As an avid trekkie I want to examine the cultural foundations of the mission of ST and show how an avowedly atheistic series is in fact a vehicle for religious indoctrination. For those who still disbelieve check out the mission scene from ‘The City on the Edge of Forever from season 1 of ST TOS.
How can I do this you ask? Remember that old Vulcan saying ‘Only Nixon can go to China’.

Last but by no means least the CrockPot Kings will be back. The CLF Fantasy league will gear up for another season and that means the Pots will once again go for the Golden CrockPot.

That’s all for now folks. Once again enjoy a blessed, peaceful and joyous new year in our Lord Jesus Christ.

To Him Who Loves Us
Pastor lance