Confessions of a white evangelical woman


I guess the people that decide such things would categorize me as a white evangelical. Depending on what you read or who you ask, in our current social context, that might sound like I’m a Trump-voting, Religious-Right, conservative Republican.  I’m none of those.  But I am white, and I am a Christian- by the amazing grace of God in Christ! I guess I am evangelical in the sense that I believe the good news that Christ died for our sins and I love to tell others that good news in hopes that they might come to their senses like I did and follow Jesus. But in the social context that seems to connect the idea of being a white evangelical with being a bigoted, Christiandom, Culture Warrior  I want to be a light on a hill, driving out darkness and helping others see.  If I want to be a light, I first need Jesus to heal my blindness.

My pastor recently said something like, “Blind spots in a Christian’s life are not areas they struggle with.  Those are just usually areas where they don’t want to repent of sin.  Blind spots are just that. You’re blind to them. You don’t know they’re there.”

If I’m going to be aware of my blind spots I’m gonna need someone to point them out to me.  When it comes to being a white Christian in the U.S., I need my black, Latino, Asian, Indian and Native American friends to show me where I’m blind to my lack of love and burden-bearing with them.

MLK Day is one of those holidays where I feel haunted.  I feel a perpetually, present gnawing in my gut to get at what’s dividing me from the people of color (POC) in my life. Honestly didn’t think anything was.  But the more I hear the news and see the Twitter posts of Christian POC who are living with the history of the U.S.’s oppressiveness towards them, the more I realize I am not bearing this burden with them. I have no idea how they feel.  But I want to.

Dr. John M. Perkins said, “There is no reconciliation until you recognize the dignity of the other, until you see their view- you have to enter into the pain of the people. You’ve got to feel their need.

I wrote a post awhile back after hearing a radio broadcast on NPR about the African American wax museum in Baltimore, Maryland.  In that post I talk about my desire to listen to my black neighbors, co-workers and friends and to not be quick to say something to defend myself or make things sound better.  I just want to listen.  I want shut my mouth and enter into the pain of the people upon whose backs this country was built.

I never used to think about racism. I think about it a lot now.  I hear our President.  I see my elderly, white patient’s stand-off-ish reactions at work to the Nigerian doctors and Eritrean nurses who care for them.  I go to church, and I see mostly white people.  I go to the gym down the street and the grocery store and I see very few white people.  I drive through El Mirage, which is predominantly Hispanic and I see no grocery stores.  No kids playing outside.  No church.  I long to have personal relationships with POC where I can bear burdens with them.  I long for my church to be multiracial so we can be a more accurate sampling of the Kingdom of God which is made up of people from every tribe, tongue and nation.

So what am I doing about it?  I am blessed to work with doctors and nurses from all over the world.  There I have formed some professional relationships and early friendships.  But I want to go deeper.  I want to bear burdens.  I had coffee with a brilliant Nigerian nurse I work with a while back.  We talked about racism, being Christians, marriage, temptations we deal with… it was good.  But I know I need to go further. I’m praying about it.  Asking God to show me how I can be a minister of reconciliation to my Hispanic, African, Asian, and Native American neighbors.

On the way home from the gym I listened to this YouTube playing of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s sermon: Why Jesus Called a Man a Fool.  In his sermon he compared America to the fool Jesus spoke of in Luke 12:13-21. He was right.  And the spirit of America, where we build barns to store more of our wealth, has affected me too.  I have grown up in America as a white evangelical where the themes of being a conservative republican were preached as equally as the need to read my Bible and go to church.  I have never known oppression because of the color of my skin.  But I’m beginning to see the people around me who have grown strong under the oppression of America’s foolishness and I am emboldened by their strength to confess my blindness and follow their lead in speaking the truth in love- boldly, humbly, despising the shame of the fool.



5 Things Every Christian Can Do For President Trump (whether you like him or not) and the U.S.

Tomorrow the 45th president of the United States will be inaugurated into office.  I did not vote for Donald Trump. I’m one of those evangelical Christians that doesn’t identify well with any political party nevertheless feels compelled to enact my right to vote in this country. I could not (and cannot) support Donald Trump’s overt arrogance and shameless disrespect for others.  He is not a model of self-sacrificial manhood and he is certainly not a model of dignified leadership.  My pick for president obviously wasn’t chosen and so now what.?

Lots of people feel passionately one way or the other about the President Elect Trump. I try to avoid saturating myself with media commentary, but headline after headline has to do with Mr. Trump’s words, actions and selections for his cabinet and most of the mantra is leaning heavily towards either despising the guy or thinking he’s the political savior of America. But even staying away from media, the people in my life have very strong feelings about the man who will be the leader of the free world in 24 hours. I have strong feelings too but they are tempered with a hotter and higher view of life than American politics and capitalistic economics. In thinking about where my hope lies, passion heats up. In thinking about what life is all about, faith rises.

I honestly feel embarrassed in my love for this country about the actions and words of our soon-to-be President Trump. Mr. Trump causes me to have to shy away from pointing my sons to the president as an example of decency and leadership. I don’t like that. I want a president I can look to as a leader and a role-model. And I have some deep concerns about the tone Mr. Trump sets for multi-cultural and race relations in this country. But, because my hope doesn’t lie in Mr. Trump and life isn’t all about the United States of America I can breathe and not fear or dread the days to come. There are some things I can do though.

5 Things Every Christian Can Do For the President and the U.S. 

1. Live Like A Foreigner Here

“Beloved I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” -1 Peter 2:11-12 

Beloved- that’s you and me who love the Jesus we have never seen- we are not Americans first. We are citizens of the Kingdom of the Son of God’s first, and forever. Our temporary visa here in the U.S. will not last forever. Only a lifetime- ours or the country’s. We are sojourners here, exiles, foreigners, traveling through. So we aren’t entitled people. We aren’t begrudging people. We are thankful people who know this world is not our home. We don’t settle in here. We’re on the move. Running the race set before us. Eyes fixed on the Jesus our King.

2. Intercede Like A Priest Here 

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.” 1 Timothy 2:1-6 

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. -1 Peter 2:9 

President Trump doesn’t need to appoint me to his cabinet, or employ me as a spiritual advisor to have influence in his life. I don’t have to be a Trump supporter to be praying for him. God’s people are a royal priesthood called upon to make all kinds of requests and intercessions for all people, including tyrannical kings, and foul-mouthed presidents. Christ’s church has greater influence on this country than any election result when we call on the One who appoints kings and brings down kingdoms.

3. Spread the Gospel of Peace Like an Ambassador Here 

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. -2 Corinthians 5:20 “…and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.” Ephesians 6:15 

In a culture of violence, worldwide terrorism, racial tensions, and with a coming leader who seems to govern with guile and glib from Twitter, living in this country as ambassadors for Christ, with lives and words that implore people to be reconciled to God, we are the peace-peddlers that stand out apart. Tis human to jump on the bandwagon of criticizing one party or another, but Christian to draw attention away from all that to peace with God through Christ.  And we don’t even need to enter the political arena to be an ambassador of the gospel of peace.  Our homes and marriages are a very good place to start reconciliation.  The war on the family and marriage is raging.  We should be self-sacrificing ambassadors of peace to our husbands and wives and children.

4. Stand Like A Good Soldier Here 

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. – Ephesians 6:10-13 

Unlike the peace-core, many people- even our elected President- may not think it noble or cool when we stand as ambassadors for Christ in a culture that calls good evil and evil good. It’s going to feel like a battle, even in our own minds and in our own skin to be known by our words and actions as Christians. And though, like Peter said, we should be doing lots of good in this world with a humble, servant’s heart towards those who malign us, they will malign us. We are not doing good to please people or the president. If we are trying to please people we would not be pointing them to Christ. Pointing people to Christ is sure to get a battle going even though we want peace. So in the coming days we need to preach the gospel to ourselves, stand for the truth and remember who we are and whose we are and where we’re going and why we’re here and then stand firm, unwilling to be moved by the current cultural tide.

5. Serve Like A Son of God Here 

Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one anothers feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. – John 13:12-16 

We have a Lord, a King who is not lording it over us but has served us with his broken, rejected, despised life- washing our feet, building us up, calling us what we were not, making us Sons of God. We are his and we are free. And like him, we do not use our freedom to lord it over others or to join the world in godlessness, instead we go low. This is the god-likeness Christ calls us to.  In the coming days we Christians should be amping up our going low.  The needs are overwhelming- moms in crisis pregnancies, racial divides, an over-burdened foster care system, children being trafficked for sex, our elderly ignored and abandoned, disabled and marginalized people everywhere.  That doesn’t even begin to cover the opportunities for the people of God to take off their Health and Wealth Child of The King clothes, and put on their Feet Washing Like King Jesus Did cloths.

Our country may be going down a path we feel alienated from, but we can live light and hands off here because our home is not the United States of America. Our 45th president may not be a man we can get behind and support, but he is a man we can ask our Father to grant repentance to and stir and move according to his will. Our political system, international relations and marriages may be embattled, but we can be peddlers of the gospel of peace with God through Christ. Our foundations of family, society and order may crumble, but we can stand covered from head to toe in the impenetrable armor of God’s faithfulness, promises and salvation. Our neighbors and society may not respect and honor our Christ-clinging lives and words, but we can serve them anyway with love because we know who we are and where we’re going.

Church Hunting Woes

It was a like a mini Pathway reunion this morning. I took my boys to worship and listen to our friend from our old church preach at Grace Bible Church of Phoenix today. I got the pleasure of hugging my pastor and friends I haven’t seen in a month from Pathway. Miss them. A lot.

I’ve never been in the position I am right now- looking for a church.  I always sort of knew which church I belonged to by the name on the door.  At least that’s been my experience for most of my life.  As a child it was the Church of Christ with my parents.  As a newly married adult I started attending a Calvary Chapel (big change from Church of Christ) and continued with Calvary Chapels until a few years ago.

The teaching gift I was blessed to learn under at Pathway is unmatched anywhere I’ve been.  And I kinda feel like I probably won’t find another Pastor Craig anywhere.  And that’s O.K. I guess.  I’m just kinda bummed about it.  I learned so much and unlearned a lot of fluff.

I’ve attended one baptist church and today’s church since I began looking for a church a month ago.  The baptist church, after last Sunday, is out for me.  I can’t do fluff.  I need Bible.  Not tid-bits, sugar coated with bells and whistles so that you are so distracted by the bells and whistles and sugar coating you can’t really taste the, “pure milk of the word” anymore.

I enjoyed the teaching today very much!  But he’s not the pastor there so we’ll have to go back again and see.

Also, I have a problem with singing patriotic songs in church.  I don’t know that I can do a good job of explaining why.

The whole religious-right-America-is-a-Christian-nation-and-we’re-taking-her-back thing bothers me.  America is very blessed by God, but I don’t believe her blessing is in correlation to her Christian-ness.  The kingdom of God is from every nation and tribe throughout the world.  No one country enjoys exclusivity with God. When I lament the state of our nation it’s not because I think Barrak Obama is taking away what once was a godly nation and turning it into a godless one.  I lament because sin pervades and wrong is called right and right is called wrong and sooner or later it’s going to have it’s deadly effects on our nation.  I love America but I don’t approve of her in many ways.  I love her, I want what’s best for her and I grieve that she chooses a path that’s destructive to our society.  But this has no bearing on my worship of God corporately.  Whether America is governed by  Judeo-Christian values or is an enemy of Judeo-Christian values, when I gather to sing praises to God and hear the preaching of God’s word with other believers I want to do just that.  I don’t want to mix in anything that looks or sounds like Christianity is American or America is Christianity.

O.K.  that’s my church hunting woes for the week.