In conclusion, Black Theology shapes Christian ministry by showing the true distinction between “Daddy Rich” and the “Revolutionary” and compels us to choose the latter by focusing our ministry towards those who need it most: the oppressed. It is through preaching and teaching, participating in spiritual disciplines, and becoming involved in conscious social engagement that we can equip congregations to liberate the oppressed locally and globally. This means that we take a definite stance of negation against the existential five D’s-death, dread, despair, disease, and disappointment-and the isms of the larger society, namely racism, sexism, classism, and homophobism. At the same time, black theology can help create a new way of being and living as a liberated people. Using the sources mentioned above, Black theology can give us the spiritual depth and practical tools to fight against the real life issues of the prison industral complex, inadequate housing, education, and health care etc. Through these and other means, Black Theology shaping Christian ministry can provide concrete examples of “God as a way out of no way”1
Archive for the ‘Ministry’ Category
Tags: black history month, Black theology, cornel west, Five D's, ministry, prison industrial complex
Tags: Africa, Black theology, history, prophetic, white man's religion
Black Theology?!?!? Yes. Theology is not God. Theology is people speaking about God. This means that it can be formed and shaped by a variety of perspectives. One perspective that most do not know about or have a misunderstanding about is the African American or black perspective. I have had the privilege of studying black theology under a great teacher Dr. Ralph Watkins at Fuller Theological Seminary. This class stretched me and pulled me in very good ways. In honor of Black History Month I am going to publish my take on black theology from it’s sources in the cultural and religious roots of Africa, the faith tradition of African Americans, the emphasis on scripture and revelation, and the social/analytical tools and political praxis of prophetic Christian thought:
The sources of black theology are the cultural and religious roots of Africa, the faith tradition of African Americans, the Black Hermeneutical school’s emphasis on scripture and revelation, and the social analytical tools and political praxis of prophetic Christian thought. All of these sources combined inform the definition of black theology which is a multifaceted interpretation of Christianity as a black struggle against oppression and an unwavering faith in the liberating activity of God. First, the sources of black theology and their purpose will be explained. Next, the definition of black theology will be given in light of its sources. Lastly, an agenda shaped by black theology will be given for Christian ministry.
The first sources of black theology are its African cultural and religious roots. These sources of black theology help to correct culturally constructed Western Christianity with its blind spots and biases. In Tribal Talk, Will Coleman digs into the West African roots of slave religion especially how the ancestral memory of the Vodun influenced the cosmology, epistemology, mythology, and ontology of African American spirituality. This approach shows that African slaves did not come to the United States as blank slates but had their own religion, theology, and spirituality. Going back even further in history than Coleman, Oden’s book, How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind challenges the assumption that Christianity is a Western religion that is foreign to African soil. In reaching back to the patristic period he provides a link between Africa and Christianity that has previously been muffled. One of the important concepts that stand out in Oden’s book is that the early Christian church of Africa was a church of the persecuted and martyred who were influenced and energized by a unique understanding of the Hebrew and Christian stories of oppression and liberation. In this light, early African Christianity can be seen as a “countercultural, risk-laden, sacrificial, pre-Constantinian struggle for integrity in the face of overwhelming political power.”1 Although the relationship of West African traditional religion to early African Christianity and Early African Christianity’s relationship to the rest of the African Diaspora remains to be investigated; the sources given by Coleman and Oden are a much needed contribution to Black Theology. To be continued……..
Tags: buffalo, diversity, multiethnic, Vineyard City Church
This past weekend I had the opportunity to hang with Vineyard City Church in Buffalo, NY. Saturday we had a forum on race and invited local leaders and followers of Jesus to participate. Then I preached on Sunday morning and hung out with the leaders on Sunday night. It was a jam packed weekend that left my mind swirling with thoughts on diversity and being a multiethnic church. Here are some questions that remain in my mind:
How come the majority of multiethnic churches are led by white men?
If different ethnic churches share the same building can they be considered a multiethnic church? If not then what steps could they take to achieve that?
When planting a church in a neighborhood filled with multiple ethnic churches how do you cast vision for a multiethnic church?
Where do you draw the line between intentionality and God’s sovereignty when seeking to be a multiethnic church? Or do you draw a line?
I came to share my story and experience and left with more questions than answers. I guess that’s life. Buffalo is an amazing place full of diversity and God is doing amazing things. I will keep her, Vineyard City Church, and all the organizations who are pursuing God’s kingdom in my prayers
Tags: buffalo, Family, MLK weekend, Racism
Our holidays were great and we all experienced our first time as a family playing in the snow. The kids had a blast and I did too
It is a new years and we have some new things on the horizon. First off we are expecting a third unnamed Mayo in the house in July! Yes Yvette is pregnant. She is in her 16th week and we have been anticipating what this new little person is going to be like. Boy or girl? Introvert or extrovert? All we know is that this new little person will surprise us
Secondly, my book His Story, Our Story will be published through Amazon on January 31st. It is a 31 day devotional focusing on unique figures in black history and how we can learn about God through their lives. I’m so excited to be able to make this available as my first attempt at being published. It definitely will not be my last.
Lastly, we are going to Buffalo this coming MLK weekend to participate in a forum focused on providing solutions to racism. I will also be speaking at the Vineyard church in Buffalo on Sunday and hanging out with the leaders. I believe it is the beginning of God allowing me to speak into this topic and there will be more to come.
All in all we have had a very rough 2012 and we are looking forward to a much more joyous and fruitful 2013.
Please pray for Yvette and the baby. Yvette has been sick with a cold for the last two weeks. Pray for her complete healing.
Please pray for protection, good weather, and health for all of us as we travel to Buffalo. Please pray that God does something amazing in that city through our efforts there.
Please pray for my book. My desire is to see it in the hands of not only African Americans but people of all races and that it would lead to greater understanding of God and each other.
Thank you! Gracias! Merci! Dhanyavad! Shieh shieh! Ameseginalehu!
Tags: black history, devotional, Ebook
I have always wanted to be an author: Since the day I could open a book and read and probably before that I have always wanted to write a book. When I was in elementary school I would read the Last of the Mohicans, Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, The Three Musketeers and Oliver Twist. Then I would try my hand at writing stories. They never lasted more than two pages but I always wondered what if I could give people something more???
It’s a way to bless people: I have been blessed by books. My life has been changed by books. From the Autobiography of Malcolm X to the Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard I have found my life altered by the printed page and I’m hoping to do that for others
Books reach a wider audience: Everyone has the opportunity to influence those around them. I want to take it to the next level and influence those who are not around me. My dream is to influence people like Abel. The writer of Hebrews points out that although Abel is dead he still speaks. That’s what I want books to do for me.
Ebooks are shorter: I can definitely do an ebook. It’s a first step. It’s getting my feet wet and testing the waters in two areas: endurance and appeal. Endurance answers the question of “Do I have what it takes to write books?” Appeal answers the question of “Will people buy what I write?”
It combines two topics that are close to my heart: For a few years now I have been on a mission to dive into my African American identity and heritage in a substantial way. I have always loved our history and culture and I have sought to consciously reconcile it with faith in Christ in my everyday life. This book was birthed out of that idea.
All that being said it is a labor of love and I plan on publishing by the first of the year. Pray for me because now the fun is over. Time for editing and marketing and all that other stuff real artists don’t like to do
Tags: Christianity, immature, Jesus, Mature, Quitting Church, shallow, spirituality, substance, UnChristian, wisdom, You Lost Me
Recently I’ve been reading three books about those who do not attend or participate in church. UnChristian by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons is about the perspective of those outside the Christian faith on Christians. You Lost Me also by Kinnaman digs into the reasons why more and more young adults fall away from the faith. And lastly Quitting Church by Julia Duin reveals the concerns and desires of long time Christians who drop out of church. Here is a list of the well researched reasons that each group gives for avoiding contact with the Christian community
Get saved (too concerned with converting people)
From You Lost Me:
From Quitting Church:
Lack of community
Disengagement with singles
No place for women in leadership
Restricting work of Holy Spirit
Many of these reasons seem unrelated but as I think about it more they all are the result of one thing: an immature faith that lacks depth in spiritual formation and is held captive by the current culture. This is why those on the outside call us UnChristian. This is why the young on the inside shrug and respond “You lost me”. And this is why so many of the once faithful are quitting church. To put it simply many of these reasons can be addressed by solid disciples living out their faith in everyday contexts. Bumper sticker faith has got to step aside and make room for monastery cell and prison cell faith. It must be a faith that truly reflects the Jesus we read about in the gospels and not our own culturally constructed and distorted interpretations. The question is “How do we get that kind of faith to be the norm for the masses of those in the United States who name the name of Christ?”
Tags: addiction, escape, filter, hooked, Jesus, lust, misogyny, porn, sex, xxx church
Sexual addiction is rampant in our society. Now when we think of a sex addict usually we think of someone having a late night rendezvous in their car or walking into a xxx shop in a trench coat and that’s where we go wrong. I believe that sometimes addictions have degrees and you don’t have to be totally gone off the deep end to have an addiction. If we have a better understanding of the way sex is understood by our brain then we can get a clear picture of a sex addict.
Many of us consciously or unconsciously see sex as a way to escape our problems. A way to lose the reality of our world and get lost in the ecstasy of orgasm. So when we feel empty inside and need a dose of self esteem then we turn to the arms of another. When we have financial worries or anxiety about our children we choose sex to soothe us and give us peace. When we don’t really know how to relate and be intimate (news flash: intimacy and sex are not the same thing) then we choose sex to avoid the pain of our inadequacy.
Let me say this: There is nothing wrong with sex. I enjoy sex as a way of expressing love to my wife but there are times when it is not so noble. There are times when it is not so much about her but about a way of escape. The reason I know this is because in her absence or when she is not available I choose others means of escaping my problems i.e. the other addictions of food, knowledge, social media etc. There is nothing wrong with sex but sex as addiction is not the best avenue to healthy human flourishing. Why? Because I believe love is the key to human flourishing (Luke 10:25-28) and when sex is an addiction the other person becomes a means to an end-a sex object-and when people are objectified love is thrown out the window.
What I do to work through this is to
Stop and pause. I ask myself the question “Why do I want sex right now?” For some that may be ludicrous. A hedonistic or materialistic viewpoint would say “You want sex because it gives you pleasure” or because “Your body needs it”. Those things may be true but they are not the whole truth. I believe a Jesus oriented understanding of the human person says that I am more than just my body.
Next I sit and evaluate my motives and the previous day’s happenings. A lot of times I will find that I am upset, stressed, or lonely and there is nothing wrong with finding a way to address those issues but usually sex doesn’t address them. It only covers them up.
Lastly I find a way to address the real issues .Whether that’s talking to my wife or getting some work done that I have procrastinated over or calling up a friend I try to come up with a real solution. This way I fix the problem instead of covering it up with sex. This isn’t fool proof but it has helped me get a handle on the most important organ of my sexuality-my heart.
Believe it or not in spite of what our sex saturated world tells us there is more to life than sex. Sex is only a part of it and I refuse to let it dominate me. I would rather let it lead me into and not away from love-the best way to be fully human and fully alive.
Tags: Carnegie, Mayos, ministry, pittsburgh, update
Just in case you were wondering what was going on with us….
Kaydon and Syenna
Kaydon is going to preschool now! He took a little time getting used to it but now he shoos me away when I drop him off. He also loves to do homework. We’ll see how long that lasts….
Syenna is happy to get a little more attention from Mom and Dad. She also just started taking her first steps in being potty trained and is into everything that has to do with princesses.
Yvette just qualified to be a Jazzercise high impact instructor! It was tough but she did it against some impossible odds. Yvette continues to inspire the ladies at Carnegie Jazzercise and has recently done demos for a church festival and a youth group.
As for me I am revising my initial business plan and instead of copywriting I am going to just write freelance articles and see where it takes me. It’s something that I know how to do so the learning curve is not as steep. In line with the new direction I’m taking with writing I am about to finish writing my first ebook and hopefully it will be published by December. As of now it is untitled but it is going to be a devotional book based on significant figures in African American history.
We are also continuing to pray about the next steps in ministry God wants us to take here in Pittsburgh or beyond. We definitely are at a loss as to what he has in mind but we trust that it will be above and beyond what we can ask, think, or imagine.
Tags: burnout, church, Faith, ministry, rest, sabbath, symptoms, tired
One of the tensions that come up when the subject of burnout is addressed is the difference between being tired and being burned out. What constitutes an unhealthy feeling of overextending ourselves vs. the usual weariness that comes from doing hard work? They both sound the same but at the same time they are very nuanced states. In order to get a clearer picture on the subject I examined the life of Jesus and I saw a man who definitely got tired but never once did he get burned out.
And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. (John 4:4-6 ESV)
From the portrait of Jesus that we see in the gospels and my own experience with burnout (in myself and others) I can think of a few major differences between being tired and being burned out:
1. Tiredness is characterized by an increase in faith
Burnout is characterized by a decrease in faith
2. Tiredness means you can see the reason why you are investing your time, money, and energy
Burnout means you can’t see the reason why you are investing your time, money, and energy
3. Tiredness can be a result of doing God’s will
Burnout is a result of presumption
4. Tiredness is a result of over exerting ourselves
Burnout is the result of continuous state of over exerting ourselves
5. Tiredness is human
Burnout is a consequence of trying to be superhuman
Can you think of any other differences?
Have you ever struggled to recognize whether you were experiencing burnout or the tiredness that comes from honest hard work?