"Stop Explaining Away Black Christian Forgiveness"

In an article for Christianity Today, I respond to critics who refuses to seriously take the faith of the Charleston Nine Families who extended forgiveness to Dylan Roof.

The confounding forgiveness of the Charleston Nine families has led some to ignore its motivation and propose their own... Hanna Rosin, for instance, seemed to suggest that black forgiveness was a legacy of white supremacy. Others turned the conversation to whether or not forgiveness provided an easy out to the public, allowing whites to move on from the systemic injustices and racist doctrines that permeate much of our society. By the end of Roxane Gay’s op-ed in The New York Times, the autonomous, self-initiated (to our knowledge) motivation of the black family members was replaced with uncited references to “demands for forgiveness” from “white people,” and a universal declaration that “black people forgive because we need to survive.”

Is it really that difficult to imagine that these families forgave for reasons other than to please white bystanders or advance a social cause? If the family members identified their forgiveness with their faith, is it right to insist that their willingness to forgive is a result of their race? They did not forgive to express the values of their race or to represent the character of their country, but to be faithful to their God.

... Explaining away black Christians’ exercise of their faith, and equal access to Jesus, has deep roots.

Read on here.

Dispatches from Europe #2 (UK)

The second post in a series of reflections on travel to the UK and Paris by Michael Wear

Pope Francis, President Obama and Christian Political Engagement

Pope Francis, President Obama and Christian Political Engagement

Today's meeting between Pope Francis and President Obama was fascinating and elucidating. I wrote for The Atlantic in advance of the meeting, that we should look beyond policy pronouncements to the "deeper things" for the meaning of this meeting. I think this proved true.

It's also been stunning to see media reaction to the meeting. Some are asking if just by merely meeting with Pope Francis, the President's poll numbers will go up. Others are expressing either dismay or surprise that the Pope didn't subject the President to a diatribe on abortion.

Here are my takeaways from the meeting:

Duck Dynasty: A Personal Lesson from this Public Controversy

In that same interview with CNN, Al Mohler affirmed that Christians must be careful and considerate of the forums in which they make moral pronouncements. He was right. And Christians who do have a public voice, and take on the burden of teaching, should welcome the accountability other Christians can provide as a safeguard against the own sinfulness that can well up in our hearts. Our platforms are never more important than our faithfulness. 

Let us remember that whatever light is in us did not come from us. Let us remember our responsibility to share that light, and hold each other accountable as children of a holy and perfect King.