Current Events Personal Racial Justice Uncategorized

Pastors & Prophets, or Political Pundits?

My worst fear -- and it is well-founded -- is that the white church will continue to be influenced and shaped more by partisan political rhetoric than by the God-ordained, Biblically drenched, Jesus-centered pastors and prophetic Christian voices God has placed in our lives for such a time as this. 

Dear follower of Jesus:

You are being inundated by a dizzying amount of political commentary and heated discussions on social media these days. The conversation is needed. The emotions are tense. The disagreements are many. The political divide is deep.

I’m pleading with people of faith to exercise judgment in where they are going for perspective and who is most deeply shaping their sensibilities and convictions in this historic moment for our country.

I am pleading with people of faith to turn to key Christian thinkers and pastoral prophets to help navigate these complex issues from a biblical and uniquely Jesus-shaped perspective. No, I am not talking about myself. On the issue of racial injustice, I myself am mostly taking a listening and learning posture and working hard to bring helpful resources and wise Christian voices to others that I have found helpful.

In the coming days, I will continue curating articles, video clips, podcast episodes, book and movie recommendations, and more for those who want to leave the noise and fury of the social media angst-fest and pursue greater clarity and education. I will also be sharing bits of my own journey around racism and white blindness, to make it clear I am not asking anyone to wrestle with things I have not already been wrestling with myself. I’m a fellow traveler and learner.

My worst fear — and it is well-founded — is that the white church will continue to be influenced and shaped more by partisan political rhetoric than by the God-ordained, Biblically drenched, Jesus-centered pastors and prophetic Christian voices God has placed in our lives for such a time as this.

I will say it repeatedly: I am so blessed to be part of the Evangelical Covenant Church where I am surrounded by wise and racially diverse leaders, and colleagues of color who continue to broaden my view of reality and help me gain a better understanding of my whiteness. (See service of lament featuring leaders of the ECC below.)

My speaking out more on racial injustice is not because I am “going liberal” or “being brainwashed by the Left” or some such non-sense that betrays an extremely narrow and unimaginative Right-Left view of reality. My views are shifting and my intensity growing, not because of political allegiances but rather collegial and familial relationships within my racially diverse denominational family: The Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC). These issue is no longer “out there” somewhere in the abstract affecting “those people” over there. Rather, these are my black and brown brothers and sisters in Christ I’m listening to and speaking up for.

DRE-headshot1-scaled
Dr. Dennis Edwards, New Testament Professor, North Park Seminary

The shift from “All Lives Matter to “Black Lives Matter” is a significant first step, but deeper still is the shift from Black Lives Matter to my people’s lives matter.  When “their struggle” becomes “my struggle,” now we’re on Kingdom soil.

Will you join me in expanding your circle of influence to include a larger segment of the Body of Christ? Paraphrasing Paul from 1 Corinthians 12: “You are One Body but many [racial] parts” and “when one part of the body suffers, we [should] all suffer.”

May I introduce you to one of the Covenant Church’s greatest thinkers and prophetic voices? His name is Dr. Dennis Edwards, and he taught my doctoral intensive on ‘Race in the Ancient World & Today” last year at Northern Seminary in Chicago, and is a New Testament professor at North Park Seminary. He is an ordained Covenant pastor who served most recently at Sanctuary Covenant in Minneapolis.

Here’s his opinion piece from May 29, 2020, in Christianity Today following the murder of George Floyd. Read HERE.

 

Jeremy Berg is the founding pastor of MainStreet Covenant Church in Mound, Minnesota, and Professor of Theology at Solid Rock Discipleship School. Jeremy is completing his doctorate in New Testament Context under Dr. Scot McKnight at Northern Seminary in Chicago. He holds a M.A. in Theological Studies from Bethel Seminary (2005) and B.A. from Bethel University (2002). He and his wife, Kjerstin, keep busy chasing around three kids, Peter, Isaak and Abigail.

1 comment on “Pastors & Prophets, or Political Pundits?

  1. Paul Lessard

    Pastor, thank you for this. Very thoughtful and hopeful. It helps move us forward

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