Ten Things I Wish The Evangelical Church Knew About Me

Millennial notes on equity, social justice, and inclusion in the evangelical church

1. I feel most included in the delivery of church sermons when the referenced quotes don’t come from only white males and (occasionally) Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

2. I nod in agreement when the vision of America’s Founding Fathers is taught as one piece of a prophetic roadmap and not an infallible statement of where we are today in this country. The revolution of 1776 is yet incomplete.

3. I grow uncomfortable when church leaders elevate scripture’s cultural context above the principles of Jesus to justify one group’s priority position over another’s.  For instance, we are told that women can’t share God’s truth from the pulpit although a woman – Mary Magdalene – was the first forerunner of the message of the resurrected Christ.

4. It frustrates me when calls to prayer for our nation only surround the appointment of a Republican party representative or advancement of a conservative position.  I don’t recall many prayers going up for the Obama and Biden families or for health care access for citizens of this nation.

5. I am most confused when church members cast asides about certain sectors of society that they’ve never been in, interacted with, or influenced. Have you visited an inner-city? Have you mentored a millennial?

_t9quy5akkm-jazmin-quaynor.jpg6. I love worship. I do. Can we put some songs in rotation that will allow me to clap on the second and fourth beats?

7. I don’t fully understand current conflicts in the Middle East and the church’s priority position to support Israel. Some info-lessons would be nice.

8. I don’t believe that every ambitious woman is possessed by a Jezebel spirit.

9. I believe that small groups can be strengthened by equipping leaders to recognize signs of depression and loneliness.

10. I don’t think we’re ready to receive – i.e. minister to – the members of society we believe are part of the great harvest.  Are we ready to reveal the Father’s heart to former victims of sex trafficking? Can we deliver practical messages about revitalizing hope to men and women who were once suicidal? Do we have generous processes for moving people from poverty to prosperity? [One church body can’t do it all — so are we even connected to other bodies of believers who can fill in the gaps where we fall short?]

What are some of your moments of contemplation or consternation concerning your membership in today’s non-denominational (evangelical) church? Tell us in the comments below!

Throughout the year, I’ll be expounding on these thoughts – offering both concession and assertion arguments – to strengthen today’s church and my role within it.  Hint: To make things more “millennial friendly”: pay tribute to diversity and chisel us with God’s truth so that we can change the world!

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Post-edit: Look at what Johnny Enlow posted on January 20th!

I knew…

by Elise Lockamy | @warriorlise

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I knew. On October 3rd, I scooped up a (free) morning edition of the Wall Street Journal from the hotel lobby on my way to catch my shuttle to LAX.  During my read, I took note of the following words on the front page.

“The results mark another instance of voters rejecting counsel from their government and the establishment, after the U.K. vote to leave the European Union in June.”

After reading that line referencing the recent voter rejection of a Colombian peace treaty with rebels, I knew that the United States would experience its own “buck” to the establishment.  I didn’t want to believe it, but I knew that Donald Trump would be the next President of the United States.

As much as I love Jesus, I’m not big on that whole Republican kick. So, no, I am not thrilled about Mr. Trump’s election.  However, I am excited to report that alongside the rise of this outside occupier, rises a non-traditional crop of political leaders and decisions that also evidences voter rejection of the status quo.

Kamala Harris is now the junior senator of California.  She becomes the second Black woman ever elected to the U.S. Senate.  The state of Minnesota elected its first Somali-American Muslim female legislator, Ilhan Omar.  And some more states opted to raise their minimum wages. The culture is shifting and if it’s moving toward increased diversity in representation and reduced economic disparity, I’m here for it!

I’ll be watching Mr. Trump’s administration closely.  I know that many of my #woke and #empowered peers will be too.  In fact, I hope we all apply for jobs at the White House, ready to buck the establishment there so that it favors equity.  In the meantime, we gon’ be alright ya’ll.  We gon’ be alright.

Coolikan Podcast #7 – Jesus and Justice

In 1963, Preacher and Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Junior penned the “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” in which he admonished fellow clergy for their silence and reactions to nonviolent civil rights protest. In recent weeks men and women across the U.S. have engaged in civil unrest to protest police brutality and criminal (in)justices.

We at Coolikan see these events as opportunities for the Church to be the light and to unite and speak out against injustice.  Instead, we, like Dr. King, notice the silence.  We sense the need for greater solidarity in the Body of Christ concerning the plight of humanity and specifically racial inequity.

Jesus and justice.  Are these two mutually exclusive? If not, how can we embody the essence of Christ and principle of justice in our lives?

Thanks for listening!

 

**Honorable Mentions **

Embrace Healing Petition for Truth, Healing and Reconciliation – Sign Here

Site highlighting the protests around the U.S – Urban Cusp

Tim Wise – White Like Me Film  –  website: http://www.timwise.org

Blindspots: The Hidden Bias of Good People Link

Article on the need for the Church to come together – A Call to Arms

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Value and Worth: Hip-Hop, Trayvon Martin, and a Message to the Black Boys of America

by Elise Lockamy

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“Canaan, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

Without hesitation, he stood up gleefully and shouted, “I am going to be President of the United States!”

In this post-acquittal era of the George Zimmerman trial and the wrongful death of our martyred son Trayvon Martin, I’d be just as delighted if my elementary school-aged cousin had said, “Alive.  I want to be alive.”

Here’s what I can’t swallow, or seem to be able to have non-Black peers acknowledge, and that’s that if Trayvon was White, he would be alive today.  Zimmerman found him suspicious because he was a young Black male walking around the neighborhood, fitting the same profile of a former neighborhood burglar.  That other guy – Black. Trayvon – Black. Trayvon – dead. Killer – free.  I weep.

Trayvon’s unidentified body lay in a morgue for hours.  He was just another one of “them”.  Another Black male profiled and deemed unworthy of life.  I weep.

Trayvon Benjamin Martin was shot and killed on February 26, 2012.

I maintain that he died on February 5, 1995, the day of his birth, the day he was born a Black Boy in America.
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I sat in the congregation, afro in full force, as the Black missionary from Cameroon relayed all the wonderful things the church was up to.  There were healings and trips to heaven.   Ministry students were powerfully walking in their spiritual gifts.  The school was becoming the equipping ground for nation-changers.  The missionary acknowledged the congregants who monetarily supported the ministry and thanked the rest of us for our spiritual support.  She told anecdotes of her cultural re-adaptations to the United States.  She went on to mention that she was appalled by the music and television shows she saw on VH1. And then my sister, this sister with beautiful dreadlocked hair who had captured the ears of the mostly White congregation said, “Hip-Hop is killing this generation.”   I cringed as most in the audience nodded and clapped in agreement.  I still cringe.

Art, in its unmodified form, is an outward expression of the meditations of the inner-man.  Worshippers know that when Kim Walker-Smith or Richard Smallwood begin to use their instruments (vocal and otherwise) to exact adoration to the Father that it’s coming from a rich soul, and anointed with the Father’s presence that’s able to transcend time, space, and mode of hearing.  See it’s coming from the spirit.  When I listen to Hip-Hop, sometimes filled with meditations of bigotry, sexism, self-hatred, pain of the fatherless, and a dearth of hope, I know it’s coming from a broken spirit, a lost inner-man.

Hip-Hop is not killing this generation.  A lack of identity, value, and self-worth, rooted in the Father, is killing this generation.  We #Coolikans like to say that somebody lied to us.  Well somebody not only lied to our brothers, he or she stopped speaking to them altogether.

Ponder this – if people only paid attention to you when you achieved on the basketball court or the football field (and pushed your body to its physical limits in the process), wouldn’t you too only see value in another’s body?  I am not surprised that many songs feature the sexualized female form.

Ponder this – if the only opportunity you had to engage society’s influencers occurred when you had as much money as they did, wouldn’t you too want to equate your worth with your earnings and flaunt what you have? I am not surprised at the stronghold of materialism that is heard throughout popular music today.

Ponder this – if your father never came home and you never saw an engagement of fraternal love (between him and his intimate circle), wouldn’t it also be easy for you to slander a brother in a song?  I see how easy it is for some songs to drudge up imagery of murdering another person.

I have to ask – what have we (women, fathers, the education system, the jails, the ghettos, society-at-large, and dare I say the church) been telling our Black boys about themselves that drives them to the continued oppression of themselves and those around them?

Hip-Hop is not killing this generation.
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A couple days after the verdict was announced, a radio personality challenged listeners to call in and share what they will now tell their sons as a result of the tragic death of a beloved son and the acquittal of his killer.

A fierce mother called in.  She was angry. She was hurting.  She told that she will now tell her son that he is a member of an endangered species with a target on his back, viewed as a threat by all who manage or bother to see him.

I want to tell our fathers, sons, uncles, brothers, and cousins something else.2115162_orig

You don’t wear a target.  You wear a crown.  The Father says that you are kings.  Don’t look in the mirror and see a reflection of a workhorse, a mere athlete or entertainer, or a slave.  See a reflection of a Son of God, worthy of the calling of leader and lover.  For generations, your power, gifts, and talents have been feared.  I do not fear you.  I celebrate you.  Deaden your ears to the evil whispers of those who envy you and want to see your demise.  Awaken to the promise of abundant living and the esteem of a Father who sees incredible value in you.  Charge into Fatherhood and take back your families.  Charge into the boardroom and rip the price tag off your back.  Take it all back and stand firm.  He, the glorious Father, is with you.  

The songs of life (not fear and death) that will be sung, once the truth about His sons is revealed and celebrated, will shake the Heavens and draw us so close to the presence of God that we’ll be able to smell his fragrance.  That’s where Trayvon is, in His presence.  That’s where we all belong.