How Far Will Racial Reconciliation Go?

Michelle Higgins and her father want it to go far:

Perhaps we evangelicals are silent – some refusal to acknowledge the whole identities of LGBTQ+ people – because we are bigoted terrorists too.
Our propaganda: circulating a petition to boycott Target. Our victims: image-bearers whose souls conditions are neither revealed to or controlled by us. We live as if faith gives us the right to direct people’s bodies. This is not faith-filled living. It is oppression.
And much like the realization breaking upon us in the current political climate: this is not evangelicalism. At all.

Evangelicals are a diverse group, thankfully some of our circles include the LGBTQ+ family. Many of us are showing up in solidarity with queer communities around the world, grateful for the invitation to grieve together. But many others in our evangelical family walk a dangerous path of passing judgment before showing compassion. If we readily proclaim that LGBTQ+ people are sacred image-bearers, we must also confess and dismantle our participation in the long history of hatred that has them scared. It is easy to express sympathy for our fellow humans. But we are called to a greater task: to confess that the lives of our gay, lesbian, queer, and trans friends are sacred. We must be willing to say that the lives of queer people of color matter to God.

What if Muslims are people of color?

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53 thoughts on “How Far Will Racial Reconciliation Go?

  1. To her credit, PCA worship director Ms. Higgins had nothing to say about the PCA GA, but she did retweet the Sojourners conference. And she made this colorful remark about traveling:

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  2. “Evangelicals are a diverse group…”

    Yes. And this Diversity must include Christians who prefer to op out (Benedict Option style) of the Racial Reconciliation and LGBTQ Industrial Complex. Outside of The Gospel Industries Inc no one is paying to anything these people have to say.Their conferences, seminars, books, podcasts, sermons, declarations and resolutions are ignored by everyone outside their group. The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.This is what Cultural Engagement has been reduced to. Is this the point where the Cool Hipster New Evangelicals jump off? Or will winsomeness win the day?

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  3. She should be careful with the “+” otherwise the victim group will be too large to be a victim. Also, it’s already difficult for me to keep up with knowing all the people I’m supposed to hate, being a bigoted terrorist and all.

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  4. What about gay Islamists? Some reports say Mateen attacked after finding out htat some of his previous gay partners (from the same club) were HIV+….wait, is that what the “+” is for?

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  5. @P & R folks, it’s always a bit fun for an eeee-outsider to see your (legit) critiques of the PCA world. Fwiw, however, it appears you undermine one of your principle arguments for the superiority of the presby world, which is that your system of governance provides (in theory) higher quality control.

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  6. Petros, the claim isn’t higher quality control, it’s higher fidelity to the biblical prescription for ecclesial governance. Balance that with a higher fidelity to what it also teaches about abiding human sin and your glee might turn into an a-ha moment.

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  7. CW, yes, I DO appreciate your warts-and-all transparency.

    Zrim, thx, as I otherwise would be shocked to know that abiding sin is alive and well in the P&R world, too. (I agree with that the plurality-of-elders governance approach is more biblical, but would implement that at only a local level of a standalone eeee-church, and not superimpose all the presby hierarchies on top of it. If nothing else, it localizes the abiding sin, and doesn’t nationalize/denominationalize it!)

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  8. I can’t even keep up with all the different ethnicities we distinguish, now I’m responsible with being empathetic with all the unique self identifying sexual identities? This is really difficult just from a taxonomy angle. Hopefully, we won’t be required to know it in Latin as well. What about my story? How about this, I don’t care your color or ethnicity or sexual identity(just like Justin brought sexy back, I’m bringing colorblind back) as long as you’re a law abiding, productive citizen and I’ll give extra credit if you’re interesting and not a dullard. Can that all make the grade as faith-filled? What about me? Do I have to be empathetic with the pederast fat man in Nawlins? Cuz my seminary induced post traumatic stress disorder needs a scrip refill if that’s the case. This whole incarnational thing is going to require meds. Wait, didn’t Paul say to cast out the one among you who goes by the name of brother but is not sexually chaste but tolerate the neighbor(non criminal) who doesn’t claim to be part of the church? How about that story? Do I really have to affirm Caitlyn? I mean if we can make fun of the Kardashians and Kanye, how is Bruce spared? I have more questions and thoughts. I’ma take that 23 and me DNA test and really turn up the heat. Don’t be hatin’ on this light- skinned brother.

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  9. How does the covenantal-generational thing work if my ancestry isn’t southern protestant but irish catholic with KOC membership in good standing? Does my protestant standing now mystically unite me to, say, my KOC uncle who might not have been a vigorous proponent of 1960’s civil rights legislation but now by protestant proxy per Lucas’ identification theory, he’s now good to go? I’m gonna say, yes. This is really advantageous. I’ma get all my kin cleared through my savior like protestant conversion and now, thanks to PCAGA, their sin of WP will be cleared. This is a neat deal. This whole by proxy confession is a bit reminiscent of praying for the dead or springing souls from purgatory. It’s really handy

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  10. Can we expand our incarnationalness through alcohol? I’ma say, yes, to that as well.( I know this place prefers to promote tobacco, but I always found the two go together). First off, we’re gonna need to distinguish between the happy inebriated and the unhappy. The happy incarnator is what we’re going for. Shoot, he’s even systematic according to CTS. The happy inebriated incarnator loves urrrbody. The trick is keeping him/her(see what I did there) chaste. This is a lot to ask. But for the sake of being missional I think we have to risk it. In response to ‘how far can this go?” I think we have entire altered frontiers in front of us.

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  11. Petros says: CW, yes, I DO appreciate your warts-and-all transparency.

    you do? meaning appreciating the therefore, I can’t help it- it’s just the way I am- I embrace it- act on it- drag others in -devisive wart-lesserness-superiority? I thought such as these were hidden reefs?

    Zrim says: Petros, the claim isn’t higher quality control, it’s higher fidelity to the biblical prescription for ecclesial governance. Balance that with a higher fidelity to what it also teaches about abiding human sin and your glee might turn into an a-ha moment.

    for the purpose of?

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  12. for the purpose of? oh, never mind, just saw it ……

    ..to sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble; with humility of mind, regard one another as more important than yourselves; putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.; He gives a greater grace, therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Pet 3:8;5:5; Phil 2:3;James 1:21,4:6

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  13. Petros, it’s alive and well everywhere. The trick is in not just admitting it but also understanding it.

    Ali, as in understanding Peter’s, Paul’s, and James’ words to be law. Not only that but to consider that such embodied virtues might look very different from the saccharine understanding of many, e.g. bro culture.

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  14. I’m jus sayin’. Boomers been trying to make me carry their water my whole life. I was over it a while back. Carry your own mint green button up paired with periwinkle clown bow tie monkey. I’m better than you(them). Not my problem. Be led by a middle aged black woman from the Midwest, just leave me out of it. I’m not mystically united to your(their) gentrified protestant fathers and grandfathers.

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  15. It will never, ever be enough for the progs. Just saw a young man of European descent decrying the fact that after all these PCA gestures someone in PCA leadership had the temerity to appoint a 7-person study committee with three women who are…wait for it…ALL WHITE!!!

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  16. Michelle, “it ain’t me you’re looking for, babe…”

    (wait for it… it’ll dawn on you)

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  17. @DGH – yes, glad you’re not gullible about Rome. But you should think about embracing good expository preaching…you’ll find it with J-Mac and TKNY.

    @Ali – what I appreciate is that, given the warts, there’s no attempt to gloss them.

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  18. Petros says: @Ali – what I appreciate is that, given the warts, there’s no attempt to gloss them.

    oh ok.
    Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy.” Rev 22:11

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  19. Zrim says: Ali, as in understanding Peter’s, Paul’s, and James’ words to be law. Not only that but to consider that such embodied virtues might look very different from the saccharine understanding of many, e.g. bro culture.

    embodied virtues might look very different? Not sure what you are saying, but I think we’re told to the believer, by the Spirit, things are pretty obvious?

    13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you]please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another. Galatians 5

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  20. Ali, I’m saying one isn’t harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble just because he slathers on the pious grease (or machine guns verses all the time). In fact, the opposite may well be the case.

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  21. Zrim says:Ali, I’m saying one isn’t harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble just because he slathers on the pious grease (or machine guns verses all the time). In fact, the opposite may well be the case.

    ok Zrim, that sorta sounds good at first. Upon second thought (or is it first thought), one realizes it seems an empty, tired accusation: thoughts: who is claiming to be pious? ; who and what actions are you even talking about which you are judging; what does love for God look like anyway?; empty accusations are evil, etc , etc.

    Suggestion for all of us -sorry, it is bible verses (what else could it be): where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty and we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit; in humility, let us receive the word implanted which is able to save our souls

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  22. Ah yes, Petros, what the (P&R) world needs now is for more people to listen to celebrity pastors. And we should be wonderful and balanced Equal Opportunity Listeners giving the fundies and the TGCers equal playing time.

    Is it assumed to be a coincidence that there are no celebrity pastors who have similar gripes as OL? Is it really the case that we just haven’t heard these great biblical expositions because there are no little people who are good preachers? Because anyone who’s not a fundie and who pastors a church small enough to dislike TKNY can’t be a decent expositor?

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  23. Evangelicals are diverse. What about when diversity means including psalms in worship?

    I spent some time Sunday evening considering what it is about this song that I appreciate so much—what it is about singing Scripture that is different than any other song. Here are a few brief observations:

    That blog post was linked to from Ed Stezter’s website. Wowee.

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  24. @Walton, what the world needs is more people hearing good expository preaching, whether it’s in big, or small, churches, or given by celebrity, or no-name, pastors.

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  25. Singing scripture is really good for you, especially when you’re in (uncomfortable but hip) skinny jeans.

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  26. It’s clear Higgins has it wrong from the get go, regardless of the ways we treat LGBTQ..people. She says: “But many others in our evangelical family walk a dangerous path of passing judgment before showing compassion.” This means it’s ok to be LGBT. Higgins judges the judgers not the actual sin that is being righteously judged.

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  27. No doubt that Michelle Higgins is overcompensating in words and sentiments, but is that worse than not compensatingat all.

    Post Modernism relies on an outcome-based truth system. And the more we persecute others, we encourage that truth system by showing a need for it. So reconciliation involves choosing wisely. But for people who see either no need for reconciliation or who try to overcompensate for past sins, there is no need for choosing wisely. For them life’s choices are simple.

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  28. Sandwich jokes, here? (beef tom, butter lett, turkey bac, jewish rye)
    And when so many bisexuals are being discriminated against!?

    “….is that worse than not compensating at all? Yep. The spiritual destruction of her LGBLT affirmations far exceed the temporal situations.

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  29. Dear Ms. Higgins,

    Showing compassion entails declaring that homosexuals and all sinners are under God’s judgment unless and until they repent of their sins, including homosexual behavior, extramarital heterosexual behavior, etc.

    Thank you,

    The Word of God

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  30. sheesh Robert. “slathering on the pious grease”; “ machine gunning verses” “embodying (fake) virtue” with that “bro culture” statement, are you ? (though you forgot the reference (John 3:36), probably not to irritate zrim as much )

    BLT

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  31. Well, TKNY and CTS have sold the PCA on the Gospel as their(individuals in all their magnificent diversity)story. And then doubled down and sold it to them, in very much Osteen fashion, as the best version of their fulfilled self. I’m not sure how you retrieve that tribe particularly when all you can tell them is to come and die to your magnificent self. I thought this was the hard work parents did with their children when they told them, ‘no’, to all their needy impulses that children were certain that they would die if they didn’t get met. How do you go back and raise an entire generation when that generation has been affirmed in their egalitarianism by religious authority? Sometimes it’s necessary to screw up the courage to throw off errant religious authority. It’s a hard knock life……………………..

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  32. Is it just me, or are others getting the vibe that these overtures are really a way of saying “not supporting the civil rights movement is a sin”?

    A strong statement repenting, not just of racism generally, but the more recent lack of vocal support for racial equality during the Civil Rights Movement, is necessary because silence about the matter tacitly communicates either support or indifference.

    Furthermore, the sin of racism operates both through acts of commission and omission. It doesn’t take an individual or group engaging in overt acts to incur guilt for racism, all it takes is inaction in the face of injustice. For that we, as a denomination, acknowledge our complicity in racism and repent of it.

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  33. And though BLM differs from the Civil Rights movement,

    In sum, there are enough major differences to say Black Lives Matter is not an extension or rebirth of the Civil Rights Movement. Still, I strongly recommend full engagement with the concept and critical engagement with the movement, especially since there’s no evangelical alternative to Black Lives Matter. It grieves me deeply to say there’s no evangelical movement robustly, consistently, and practically affirming the value of disparaged black people. So we must be careful how we criticize Black Lives Matter in the absence of an evangelical alternative.

    Like the Civil Rights Movement, Black Lives Matter addresses racialized inequities in the criminal justice system and policing, disparities in education and healthcare, mass unemployment and underemployment. The church cannot affirm their Black Lives Matter leaders’ view of sexuality. We must maintain a biblically rooted sexual ethic. Nevertheless, we must critically engage the ethical questions they raise and decry the injustices they’ve highlighted.

    Finally, the Catechism calls us to act. Not just to think but to act, to “resist” any purpose that “tends to the unjust taking away of the lives of any.” So I can’t just study the issue and walk away saying, “Hmm, that was interesting.” If I’m going to be a good Presbyterian, I have to actually do something about these injustices.

    in 50 years will we be repenting for not supporting BLM?

    Also, why do you need an evangelical movement to “affirm the value of disparaged black people”? Why isn’t gun control a solution? or privatizing the police force? or starting some non-profit protection service? or decriminalizing marijuana? I mean there are so many cultural and political alternatives to protesting in the streets with a bunch of LGBTQ+ commies.

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  34. Walton, so I’d like to know when African-Americans themselves, the ones who don’t follow Malcolm X or the Black Panthers and argue for black separatism, will acknowledge that blacks too have been complicit in institutional racism by not overturning the institution. It does seem odd that the blacks in the PCA — unlike blacks on the South Side of Chicago or the ones disproportionately in prison — get to benefit from the institutions of racism while also kvetching about them.

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