This week was a whirlwind of activity with the SBC annual meeting in Nashville and a narrow “win” for the leadership of SBC going to the least offensive candidate. (He is actually a good man and I am familiar with his work in racial justice in the Mobile area.)
It was a tense week watching conspiracy theories and bad information flow into a meeting, and then taking a breath as the SBC decided, for the moment, to not plunge totally into an abyss of at least the appearance of Christian nationalism. Even if it’s a step back from the brink, it’s still clear that a good strong wind could take care of that in quick fashion.
It was also the annual meeting for my church, the Anglican Church in North America, which went unnoticed with thanks to the SBC. This is a group not without problems as well. It must be noted that this can be said of any church organization meeting at any point in time. We’re all human, and sometimes we forget that.
Our Archbishop, Foley Beach, gave his annual address found HERE. It is bold in calling out the things we blatantly do wrong, such as how we present ourselves on social media. (GUILTY HERE.)
He issued a strong call for all of us to get to work in building more effective bridges to have more multi-ethnic ministry:
- Ask each congregation to pray and work for racial reconciliation in their community,
- Intend to develop a Provincial team to lead our multiethnic ministries and we encourage the development of regional networks to support those who are called to multi-ethnic church planting, evangelism, and discipleship,
- Invite dioceses and parishes to consider how they might actively develop more effective multi-ethnic leadership pipelines,
- Invite dioceses and parishes to make a financial commitment to supporting multi-ethnic leadership.
Just as in Nashville, though, there are a good number who struggle with this type of conversation. We have to keep working. This is the glad work I will put myself to and try to aid churches and leaders in any way possible.
But, we still have things to talk about. We need to cut down the straw man of Critical Race Theory. (A place the archbishop missed on in his address.) It’s still far too easy to let this term scare us, as white Christians. To that end, Esau McCaulley (an Anglican priest) revisited an old piece he put out a few years ago and shared it again on his social media. It bears repeating. READ HERE.
This paragraph is important:
“There is a long history of White Christian disagreement with these claims about injustice coming from Black Christians. But the nature of the disagreement is not a difference between Marxism and Christianity. It is the difference between what (1) some White Christian critics and (2) Black Christians believe that the Bible has to say about the disinherited.”
In other words: quit calling something you don’t like or understand “Marxist” just to shut down a discussion, or, worse, silence someone who needs to raise an issue.
So, we haven’t plunged into the abyss as white conservative Christians in this country, but we haven’t stepped away from the brink. We haven’t really delayed the Babylonian exile we’ve put ourselves into.
What I have seen this week is hope. There is hope because the vocal Christian nationalists of the SBC certainly showed up, but a great number of good solid folks also showed up, didn’t raise loud voices, and still took on the threat and backed off some foolish choices for awhile.
There is hope because I also witnessed some national church leaders finally stand up and call out the junk going on in their ranks and implored their leaders to do better.
This is Remnant work. This is what we will witness as part of the Babylonian exile. This is prophetic work and it was hopeful to see this week.