African children are not your pawns: World Vision and Evangelical Imperialism

Can World Vision save Starvin Marvin?

(image provided by South Park Studios)

Post-Evangelicalism, White Saviorism, and PA$$ING FOR WHITE [EVANGELICAL]

I’ve noticed somewhat of a trend that’s pretty problematic that I wanted to draw out. You can call this my official response to the World Vision / White Evangelicalism drama that went on last week.  At the center of the storm, there lied a Christian charity organization that decided to, then reversed on the decision, to hire Christians from denominations that affirmed same sex marriages.  The narrative goes: on one side, there’s the conservative evangelical wing and their Calvinist Popes who farewelled WV and on the other side, there’s the evangelicals who were lead to believe that evangelicalism was a Big Tent camp filled with Progressives, Emergents, and Missional folks. Both sides (in their blog posts), were more than eager to press this story as one where we had to “save the children.”  At no one point were the problematic practices of World Vision, its advancement of White Saviorism  through its advertisements or its questionable method of “child-sponsorships” (but not really child-sponsorships) ever put under scrutiny.  In fact, White conservative evangelical bloggers and post-evangelical bloggers did not hesitate to add numerous images of brown-skinned children (probably with disabilities as well) in their blog posts.  BECAUSE YOU KNOW, THIS DEBATE WAS ALL ABOUT THEM. UM HUMMM!

If I may wax Propaganda in “Precious Puritans,” it reeks of privilege, wouldn’t you agree? In reality, the money for the sponsorships do not go to the child directly, but to the community where they live (indirectly). The promise of these sponsorships not only promise meeting the material needs of children overseas, but also to ensure that these kids get to learn American Standard English.  Isn’t that just wonderful? We can do charity so that we can shape you in our own image! Nope. Not imperialist at all.

African and other nations populated by darker skinned people are represented time and again as the passive recipients of white benevolence.  This “help” however, is just a re-hashing of old Western-style colonialism brought to those countries by missionaries. Instead of Soviet and capitalist governments directly influencing the futures of these places, what is happening instead is that corporations such as SHELL, which will work as “monitors” for these “developing” communities, to aid in things like guiding “the communities is setting priorities” [robbing agency and human dignity from people of Color a national past-time!].  The problem with representing wholesale countries as “Needy Others” by discussing poverty outside of history (that is, remaining silent on the various political histories, economics, and regional trends) objectifies these children as Things. This is one of the primary reasons why White Evangelicals as well White Emergent / Postevangelical/ Nuanced Missional Christians were able to make flesh and blood children pawns for their White National culture wars.

After all the declarations of “I’m done with Evangelicalism” and aspiring hopes for renewal  and quotes about following Jesus and not the Church of the Pharisees [oh, that bit is problematic too, taking the Pharisees out of history, and yeah, that anti-Semitism thing]. Honestly, I always get a little squeamish when even the most progressive and high-minded Christians compare their opponents to the Pharisees because of the history of CHRISTIAN anti-Semitism we believers are guilty of. And you know what Fanon said, behind anti-Semitism, there’s anti-Black racism right around the corner.

It’s interesting how cabals of White Evangelical and Post-evangelical bloggers can arrogantly think that they have the future of Christianity in their hands.  And let’s not kid ourselves with Emergent/Emergence Christianity,etc.; the same people who appropriate the language of “liberation” from Christians of color are the same exact folks who talk about “civility” and “objectivity” as means of silencing most notably Women of Color. Evangelicalism has a bad history when it comes to race relations. Heck, all of Christianity does.  Social Justice critiques from within contemporary Evangelicalism did not start with Brian McLaren and Rob Bell; it started with the work of people like John Perkins and Tom Skinner. Unfortunately in White Evangelical institutions, John Perkins and the Christian Community Development Association were denounced as “liberals” because they dare suggest that White ministers could not properly do urban ministry unless they were discipled by persons who came from urban populations. THE NERVE! THE AUDACITY!

So here we are, rather than exploring and listening the ACTUAL over-looked party of Evangelicalism (Evangelicals who are racial minorities), we have a group of now (I guess?) former evangelicals who use their privilege to rejecting the label of Evangelical.  While there are others who can articulate this idea better than I (I got this idea from a book club meeting this week), Evangelicalism comes not only as a theology but also a history and a culture.  The history of evangelicalism in the North American context is a tale of both the social justice minded-abolitionists and the slave-holding Confederates.  Not wanting to be implicated in the social sins of the latter, many Emergent / Post-Evangelical Christians tend to focus on the former, while well, for the most part, many Conservative Evangelicals continue to glorify the problematic history uncritically.  Evangelical culture in general comes with an accomodationist approach to laizze-faire economics where every brand and marketing trend just needs a little Jesus sprinkled on it.  This is also leads to evangelical culture making charity the norm rather than solidarity

 It seems a little suspicious to me that on one hand, a number Post-Evangelicals want to keep the evangelical label, to retain the brand, the capitalist success, and access to higher social positions that it comes with, but on the other, now want to simply leave it when its convenient. In the United States of America context, in which a watered-down Protestantism turned deism has basically been the civil religion, White Evangelicalism means that a Protestantism that’s above other Protestantisms (this includes mainline churches, historically black churches, Chinese, Korean and other Protestant bodies worldwide).  These other communities are only found acceptable if they believe like, worship like, and vote like White Evangelicals.  Rather than take responsibility for their own history, the blogging bishophoric is now leading the way into a new kind of evangelical hegemony.  Indeed it would seem that the label of post-evangelical / emergent was nothing more than a way for Generation X’ers and Millenials to pa$$ as white [evangelicals], profiting while persuading others to join them on their journey into mainline Protestantism.

So what do you think? Are African, Indian, South American children being used as pawns in the White Culture Wars?

 

h00die_R (Rod)

priestly abolitionist time travelling supervillian

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Cesar Chavez, Refusing Reconciliation and Anti-Blackness

from Biography.com: http://www.biography.com/people/cesar-chavez-9245781

Tomorrow is Cesar Chavez Day in Texas. Brian LePort not only has a movie review, but also a nice reflection on sacrifice and what it means for humanity to be in communion together: Fourth Sunday Of lent: Chavez of Self-Sacrifice.

As I look and reflect on the lives of activists such as Chavez, I keep asking, “What must Christians sacrifice to achieve racial justice and reconciliation?” The same white supremacy that leads Texas politicians to try to prevent Chavez’s story from being told in public schools is the same one that keeps making anti-blackness a part of reconciliation efforts in churches. I would recommend, and I cannot stress this enough, Amaryah Shaye’s three part series on Refusing to Reconcile. I’ll close the comments so you all can read her posts and interact with her there.

Refusing To Reconcile: Against Racial Reconciliation

Refusing to Reconcile Part 2: Spatiality, Fugitivity, and Blackness as Wild(er)ness

Refusing To Reconcile Part 3: The Best Man Holiday and The Besideness of Blackness

h00die_R (Rod)

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#GodsNotDead and Neither Are The Biblioblogs!

Patristics Carnival XXXII

After a conversation with Brian LePort a week or so ago, he wrote the following post, Are The Biblioblogs Dying?

I have my own words on this on the cause of this concern, but that’s for later. I will say that new religious studies and Bible bloggers are rising to the occasion. And that’s good news to read about. Abram Septuagint Studies Soiree has been a breath of fresh air. and now Jonathan is adding The Ancient Languages Blog Carnival. Go to the link to find out more.

I like Jonathan’s style, especially since he’s not blogging for the fame. Let’s not kid ourselve though! Patheos ain’t interested in helping out religious studies! Ha! :-) :-) :-) :-)

While I’m at it, don’t forget to start writing or sending your articles for the Patristics Carnival 34 for April 20th, on Easter Day!

h00die_R (Rod)

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so i don’t have to

I just wanted to point out to excellent blog posts on racism in Christianity, and in particular, both posts were calling out Doug Wilson for his racist beliefs. It’s funny, that just because early Tom Petty and Lynyrd Skynyrd concerts featured the Confederate flag does not make something right. On the contrary, it proves critical race theorists point that we still in a thoroughly racist society, and so symbols of white supremacy remain acceptable. My question is just how far will Christians go to defend their “odd ball uncles” for the sake of preserving peace among the powermongers and Celebrities in our religion? Maybe it’s high time we stop seeing these figures as “crazy uncles” and start confronting them for what they are: the norm.

A hermeneutic of oppression, a hermeneutic of liberation by Zach Hoag

Precious PaleoConfederates, Laser Klan, and Big God Theology by fellow MennoNerd and friend T.C. Moore

h00die_R (Rod)

priestly abolitionist time travelling supervillian

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On Becoming A MennoNerd

mennonerds1

So, several months ago, I made it a goal of mine to at least start expanding my audience. I first started to contribute to Media Diversified UK with one posts on tv shows I currently refuse to watch because of diversity concerns, the other on education reform.

Earlier this week I received word that I had been accepted into the geeky peaceable collective known as the MennoNerds. As someone who has been heavily influenced by Hauerwas’ and Yoder’s theologies, and as a lifelong anti-war/ peace thinker, I was excited.

I was just thinking the other day that the usefulness of blogging/writer networks is to keep members accountable. If anyone has seen & enjoyed Justice League: Doom (Spoiler Alert), the League asks Batman what keeps him in check. Batman responds, “The League.” I know I can go “rogue” at times and write randomly, be eclectic and incomprehensible and all that other jazz.

So I think from time to time it’s good to be reminded what I believe and why, and that where MennoNerds comes in. So yah in a way, MennoNerds is like my Justice League now.

h00die_R (Rod)

priestly abolitionist time travelling supervillian

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Are Altar Calls Biblical?

Recently I read a, well, interesting post on the questionable practice of pastors doing altar calls at the end of church services. As long as I can remember, as a Baptist, that almost every single church service has ended in an altar call or an invitation to respond to the Good News. Even when I identified as a 4 point Calvinist, this practice I never really questioned this ritual.

One of the “dangers” critics say that Altar Calls can cause an “easy beliefism,” that a person believes in Jesus after the invite, but then goes on with their life living unsaved. And the other scarecrow I often read or hear about is the manipulation of human emotions. I am very well aware of the latter. Once at a Christian rock concert, I saw people’s feelings being misused as this huge guilt moment without any talk of hope, sanctification or resurrection. I was a little distraught and let my friends know how I felt.

However, myself being familiar with conservative Reformed concern-trolling about human emotion, there is another way of looking at emotions and manipulation. What about people who argue from the standpoint of fear about people’s emotions getting out of control? From Jonathan Edwards to Reformed cessationists like John MacArthur, the cases against revival-oriented/ Charismatic Christian traditions depend on this very fear of human emotion, something that is natural, something that is neutral in Scripture. David is praised for his passionate worship. Anger is only condemned if persons let it control them. God Himself cries with Mary and Martha. This denial of human subjectivity by feigning “objectivity,” “freedom from bias” is just another way of policing people’s various expressions of worship.

The term “biblical”when it used, as I have argued before really just means that a teaching or practice aligns with that person’s and her community’s INTERPRETATION of Scripture. As for myself, I could easily argue that my own affinity for the Nicene and Chalcedon Creeds are not strictly “biblical” just as any other tradition. With a tradition that regularly dismisses the implications of Jesus’ teaching ministry, his calls for repentance [inviitations], for example, it’s no wonder that members of the conservative Reformed tradition find the notion of an altar call disagreeable.

h00die_R (Rod)

priestly abolitionist time travelling supervillian

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#fleshYGod: The Complete Synchroblog by @Political_Jesus & @the_Jesus_Event

A very very very late posting about The Incarnation and Christian Culture

Our question was from the original call for Synchroblog contributions:

“Being that it is Advent according to the Christian calendar, believers receive an opportunity to ponder anew the meaning of the Incarnation of God’s Word. What does it mean for an Almighty, All-Wise God to choose the body of an infant to reveal God-self? What are the implications of the Incarnation for Christians engaging culture? We (Tyler and Rod) offer that there may even be problems with the way our views of the Incarnation are presented.”


Here are the contributions; if we left out any, simply leave a comment or tweet at us so that we can make the corrections.

“I Miss the Jesus Part of Christmas” by perfectnumber628:

“Maybe that’s what Advent is supposed to feel like- longing for Jesus to come. Wanting God to meet us. Wanting more than just the external decorations and the “merry Christmas” well wishes.”

Which Jesus Do We Worship?: Megyn Kelly, Sarah Palin, and Santa by Tyler Tully:

“But what should our mythos look like, if we actually worshiped the historical Jesus, not the Jesus of American Suburbia? Is it significant to our theology that Jesus was impoverished? Or that he was born a Galilean–meaning his Jewish identity also descended from Canaanite, Moabite,”

We’ll Take The Scenic Routes: The Lost Dogs, and a #fleshYGod in #PlanetCCM by Jason Dye:

“How sadly right they were, before Columbine. But it didn’t stop there. Where most of white Christian culture tends to look for responsibility solely in the individual (“It’s the crazy people with the guns that kill people and they could kill with spoons!” they say. Because they don’t think about how damaging and destructive their words are.), the Lost Dogs see the responsibility lies in all of us to end the Bullet Train. At that time, to see a Christian encourage activism, I don’t think it made much sense to me, but it was a part of my destiny and helped to shape the road I’d lead – as did other songs, like Adam Again’s “Walk Between the Raindrops” about systemic oppression and homelessness in a land of means”

God With Us by Gabe Pfefer:

“Well I don’t know where all these ideas of the perfect family and the ideal Christmas come from, but it sure doesn’t seem to be from the Bible. The scriptures emphasize the importance of loving connections and family relationships for sure, but what those families look like and who is in and who is out is often pretty different in the Bible than what we might think. We might be surprised to discover where God shows up in all these things as well.”


Prophets of a Misanthropic God
by Jason Dye:

“A God who became a subject of the Roman Empire, who was poor, an ethnic minority who could have sided with the oppressors like the religious and civic leaders in Jerusalem but instead decided to rid the temple of its exclusivist wares and widened the call to serve and love the oppressed and persecuted and hated.”

Related Posts:

Christmas Is Cross-Cultural by Christena Cleveland:

“Our Christmas celebrations often turn us culturally-inward. We focus on our biological/cultural families, our traditions, and exchanging gifts with those inside our social circles. These things are great! But if we truly want to commemorate the Incarnation, we must turn culturally-outward. We must follow our great High Mentor – and leave our cultural enclaves in order to inhabit each other’s stories this Christmas. Christmas is cross-cultural because the Incarnation is cross-cultural.”

Cruciform Incarnation: In which all bodies must matter and What Incarnation Means to me: A follow up post both by Dianna Anderson:

“The thing about incarnational theology is not that our bodies are determined by our evolution, but that our bodies matter insofar as they are a major part of our lived experiences. An incarnational theology that generalizes about the differences in our bodies and functions on a binary view of gender will necessarily be flawed and inapplicable to all – which creates a Gospel that is not Truth for everyone.”

and

“An incarnational theology – a Gospel – that does not take into account the lowest of the low, the people despised and oppressed by society is no Truth at all. I’m repeating myself here, but this is a Truth I believe so firmly that I’m willing to risk being a broken record over it.”

The Incarnation: Just Present Or Actively Present Part 1 and The Incarnation: Incarnation, Perichoresis, and Racism, Part 2 both by Brian Foulks

“The very essence of the incarnation celebrates the “personal” encounter with God. The need for a personal God is what makes Christianity such a fierce necessity for many in the black community.”

and

“One who embodies the methodology of incarnation intuitively or mystically unearths evil aspects of racism (really prejudice) through vulnerability.”

Other posts from The Jesus Event:

ReThinking Our Picture Of God

ReThinking Humanity

Searching For God With Herod and The Magi

From here at Political Jesus:

Duck Dynasty, Grace, and White Supremacist Gods

What Pastor Mark Driscoll and Tyndale House can learn from Shia LaBeouf

Peace On Earth, Goodwill Towards All

From Second Person in the Trinity to Second Class Citizen

h00die_R (Rod)

priestly abolitionist time travelling supervillian

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Your Fave Theologian Is Problematic: a call for guest posts

UPDATED

English: German stamp, showing Karl Barth. Deu...

English: German stamp, showing Karl Barth. Deutsch: Deutsche Briefmarke, die den Theologen Karl Barth zeigt. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

For freedom february, I thought it would be interesting to have guest posts by friends and participants to the series “Your Fave Theologian Is Problematic. I got the idea one night as I was staying up late one night last year, reading through all the problematic stuff that our favorite celebrities do on the Tumblr, Your Fave Is Problematic. One of the problems I have come across in theology is that rather than doing biography of religious thinkers, many theologians both on the liberal side of things and conservative evangelicals are doing more hagiography (writing these persons as saints). [h/t to J.Kameron Carter for that insight] One can see this in the push back last year with online discussions about Karl Barth, and recently with his student, John Howard Yoder.

So, in  a similar spirit to Your Fave Problematic, I am opening the floor to writers/bloggers from any and all perspectives to discuss which theologians or Christian writers whose work they appreciate, but may be problematic in some or many respects.  If there’s some new and oh so chic blogger or theologian out there that just gets under your skin, or someone who you just think is just a big mean meanie pants, then this series is right for you.

Lastly, the point of this series IS NOT TO MAKE people so upset that they stop reading their fave theologian all together.  What I am aiming for is a theology that is  more of a “critically concious fandom” that makes us aware of our own biases.

My goal is to have guest posts *in intervals throughout the year*; I have even set up a Tumblr for this series: Your Fave Theologian Is Problematic Tumblr

If you would like to participate in this series, tweet at us on the Twitters at @Political_Jesus, message us on our Facebook page, send us fan mail/a message on Tumblr, or simply use the Contact Us page on this site, or send us an email at politicaljesus [a] yahoo.com

*post has been edited to reflect time changes and the Problematic Theologies Tumblr*

h00die_R (Rod)

priestly abolitionist time travelling supervillian

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freedom february

Goooooooood morning everypony! I know that January really wasn’t all that busy here on PJ because I had been working and preparing for this month, and a few blogging events for February I’d like to refer to as Freedom February. With Black History Month, President Days’ and birthdays, and Constitution Day (Mexico) ahead for us, I thought I would various discussions on freedom and justice would be in order (from a theological standpoint.

FIRST UP!:

1.Your Fave Theologian Is Problematic is a blog series inspired by the tumblr meme which had various criticisms of people’s favorite celebrities. I think part of justice criticisms is a resistance to idolatry, and I believe that many theologians have been considered part of some Holier Than Thou Status. Towards this end, I am inviting anyone from ANY AND EVERY perspective to submit guest posts that give critical appreciations of various Christian writers and scholars. Various friends have already taken the following theologians: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Mary Daly, C.S. Lewis, and a friend has proposed doing a profile on me, yours truly. Outside of these choices, pieces for any Christian thinker/writer are welcome for submission.  If you would like to contact us before I send out the call for contributions, either: tweet at us on the Twitters at @Political_Jesus, message us on our Facebook page, send us fan mail/a message on Tumblr, or simply use the Contact Us page on this site.

UP NEXT!:

2. The Power Of Love : The Power of Love is a series about me re-reading works specifically by James Hal Cone and other liberation theologians, and exploring the idea of relationality in their works. I propose that Liberation theology is a relational theology, and that one cannot truly have a relational theology without a proper examination (and practice) of just relationships. In many Christian circles today, evangelical, emergent/missional, and mainline churches stress the importance of personal relationships. But in what ways is this approach a reflection of oppressive structures in society? I will use this series to explore just that!

AND LASTLY!

3. ONE CHURCH MANY TRIBES: With an editorial staff of five, we are launching a Christian educational anti-racist website for the Church. Named to honor the legacy the late Richard L. Twiss, One Church Many Tribes will feature guest posts, personal stories, and sermons that deal with racial reconciliation and racial justice. Keep up with the 1CMT on Facebook, on Twitter [at] @ManyTribalists, and Tumblr.

h00die_R (Rod)

priestly abolitionist time travelling supervillian

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Intelligent People Blogging Intelligently

 Intelligent People Blogging Intelligently is a weekly to bi-weekly feature at PJ giving link love in the name of Truth, Justice, and the Jesus Way!

Drew I. G. Hart: The Didache: Anabaptism and Black Theology?

Daniel Aguilar: Genealogy of A White American Jesus: From Slave Master To Billy Graham

Kyle Cantey: Liberated Space: The Black Church In Philadelphia

Fred Clark: Can you be an atheist without being an Ayn Rand Objectivist?

Dianna E. Anderson: Quick Thoughts: What You Protest Is What You Value

Pete Enns: is Pete Enns a Marcionite?

Elyse A. Minson: Rethinking Biblical Literalism for Our Own Well-Being

Susana M. Morris (Crunkadelic): Dear Gabby

Amna Iqbal: After Abuse: The Noise of the Unsaid

Abram K-J: A Six-Year old’s Quick Take on Angels

C.J. Rhodes, MDiv: Wise Men From the East: What We Should Learn from the Eastern Orthodox Church

Samantha Field: throwing feminism under the bus

Facebook Statuses & Posts Giving Life:

“God forgive us for only being grateful for and blessed by the fellowship of those in our same theological tribe rather than all those who have been crucified and raised with Christ and who wait with us for his return.”- Matt Emerson, professor, author of Christ And The New Creation, and blogger at Secundum Scripturas.

Like The Political Jesus Facebook Page at Political Jesus

Time Travelling Through Tumblr:

“What Facebook Will Delete, Tumblr Will Let Flow” from Son of Baldwin

Follow Political Jesus on Tumblr at PoliSyfyJesus

The Word According Social Justice Twitter:

(important #hashtags):

#howimetyourracism

#whiteproverbs

#maleproverbs

(personal favorited tweets):

Okay, let’s get this hashtag to be everything right now: #HowIMetYourRacism@cbs apologize for the yellow-face #CulturesArentCostumes

— Rod (@h00die_R) January 15, 2014

Hey @MichelleRhee any particular reason why charter schools fail students with disabilities? #AskMichelle#ableism: http://t.co/m56B4gP0c2

— Rod (@h00die_R) January 15, 2014

Macklemore is the first rapper with a positive message #whiteproverbs

— Rod (@h00die_R) January 12, 2014

Follow Political Jesus on Twitter at Political_Jesus or follow Rod at h00die_R 

h00die_R (Rod)

priestly abolitionist time travelling supervillian

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