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  FROM THE APOSTLES DESK
FROM THE APOSTLES DESK
THE WHITE'S ITINERARY

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Racism in America is a white person's sin issue that can only be resolved by white America.

Sometimes when we are led to pray for others, we tend to forget that we are not exempt from those prayers ourselves. On Memorial Day, I joined a group of leaders and pastors to pray against racism and social injustice. Each of us was given a topic to cover in prayer. My prayer focus was for God to heal those who experienced injustice and for the Lord to grant them beauty for ashes according to Isaiah 61:3. Little did I realize that this moment would begin a journey I did not plan to take.

A few days after the prayer event, the prayer request that I had made to the Lord for others still pressed upon my heart. This time the Holy Spirit led me to reflect on myself. His words to me were, “You are not exempt from those who need to be healed. You have experienced injustice too.” At that moment, a 21-year-old secret surfaced.

On June 14, 1999, my parents received a call that changed our lives forever. My oldest brother was dead—shot and killed by the Baltimore police. Unlike many innocent black men and women shot by the police, my brother wasn't doing the right thing and was rightly to be arrested. Yet he resisted arrest and led the police on a high-speed chase until his vehicle crashed. At the crash site, a police officer approached his vehicle and reported that he thought my brother was reaching for a gun and fired as many as 10 shots into my brother’s body. As a result, the officer was placed on paid administrative leave.

During a private investigation, the original police report was found to be falsified. Instead of one officer being involved in my brother’s killing, there were three officers. The death certificate read “shot numerous times” and revealed more than 10 bullet wounds ...

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Looking at Marxism and Critical Race Theory in light of the problem of racism in America.

During the weeks following the death of George Floyd, I have been following the news with an increasing sense of sadness and concern for the problems facing the United States regarding race and racism.

I’ve been unsure how to respond as I’ve scrolled through social media and watched increasingly polarized rhetoric on both sides of the political aisle—except to listen to the voices of Black friends and neighbors who are hurting and to pray for justice.

I’ve tried to apply the biblical principle of being “slow to speak” (James 1:19), but I’ve been convicted recently about joining a particular thread of the (inter)national conversation taking place among those who share my faith in Jesus Christ and want to support truth and justice without compromising on principles peculiar and integral to our faith—principles that they are afraid might be stealthily replaced by rhetoric from other, incompatible frameworks of thinking.

Two frameworks I’ve been hearing about increasingly often are familiar to me from my own field: Critical Race Theory and Marxism. Because I have some expertise in these areas, I want to offer some thoughts and, hopefully, clarification to the conversation.

I’ll begin by giving some credentials, not to ask for accolades but to indicate why I want to address these areas of the cultural conversation in particular. I have two English degrees (B.A. and M.A.) from a Christian university and a Ph.D. in literature and criticism from a state university.

In my field, Marxism is one of the most commonly studied and most influential perspectives, and Critical Race Theory is also a significant force and gaining momentum. As a result, I’ve studied these theories ...

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The writer and activist measures them against the promises of Scripture and finds them wanting.

As D. L. Mayfield understands it, the American Dream offers a simple formula: “Anyone can make something of themselves if only they try hard enough.”

In one sense, I can’t argue with this formula because it’s been the story of my life. I’ve worked hard, and to a large degree I’ve built the life I want. Yet in another sense, I know it’s fanciful to believe I’m a purely self-made woman. My skin color, my family, my place of birth, my education, and my personal connections are just a few of the advantages I’ve enjoyed.

In her latest book, The Myth of the American Dream: Reflections on Affluence, Autonomy, Safety, and Power, Mayfield calls upon Christians to reject the “work hard and achieve your dreams” formula as both false and dangerous. For some, she argues, trusting in the American Dream is a recipe for disappointment. (After all, plenty of hard-working people see their ambitions thwarted by misfortune, injustice, or structural barriers.) For others, the ones who do seem to succeed, the greater danger is self-satisfied complacency. Overlooking their privileges, they fail to ask why others can’t follow the same path.

To expose the insufficiency of the American Dream, Mayfield measures it against the prophecy found in Isaiah 61, the passage Jesus used to inaugurate his public ministry in Luke 4:

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord ’s favor. (Luke 4:18–19)

Instead of orienting our lives around the false ideals of affluence, autonomy, safety, ...

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In the midst of trying to do the right thing, it’s easy to forget to do it in the right way.

Outside a US congressman’s office, Christians holding homemade protest signs and clergy dressed in their robes and collars attend a march to challenge the separation of families seeking asylum at the US–Mexico border. They join in impassioned chants of “Keep the kids, deport the racists!” and “Lock them up!” referring to those who work for the US Border Patrol. In protesting the dehumanizing ugliness of children being separated from their parents they dehumanize others in return, calling for their rights to be taken away and their freedoms restricted.

Inside the offices of a Christian nonprofit organization that provides legal assistance to immigrants, volunteers from a local church assist young immigrants with their DACA applications. These young men and women came to the US with their families when they were children and now find themselves undocumented, unable to live, work, or attend college in the US without the threat of deportation. The volunteers chat with the eager immigrants over donuts and coffee as they navigate the complex paperwork that will allow them to legally remain in their communities.

While the Christians in both these scenarios may believe very similar things about immigration, they have chosen to live out their convictions in dramatically different ways. But what makes us immediately recognize them as distinct from one another? I would suggest that the Christians in the second example are reflecting God’s beauty in the way they live out their beliefs about immigration. I believe that while God expects the content of our beliefs to be righteous, he also wants the form of our faith to be beautiful. Today, I’m using immigration as an example of how we can ...

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Four practical ways teachers can keep impacting their students as they teach through a screen.

For millions of Americans, the school year has already ended—good news for Zoom-weary students, parents, and educators alike. But even as families are figuring out how to entertain their children all summer long, teachers will have to regroup and figure out what distance learning might look like at the start of the school year. After all, choosing when to reopen schools isn’t a simple process. While some governors have said that schools will reopen this fall, last month, Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the US Senate that remote learning is likely to continue into the next school year. While the CDC provided recommendations for reopening schools, there is doubt from both parents and members of Congress alike. As an educator and parent, I share these concerns.

Although we’re in the middle of the summer, teachers must begin to prepare for delivering academic instruction. While teachers can look to their districts and colleagues for resources and support, educators of faith have an additional source of wisdom: Jesus.

Yes, much of Jesus’ teaching came in person. Though he sometimes addressed people from hundreds of feet away—from a boat while they stayed on land, for example—many of the stories found in the gospels portray a person who enjoyed being close to others. Yet despite the incarnational nature of Christ’s ministry, there were moments when Christ ministered through lessons and healing at a distance.

Here are four Christ-inspired techniques critical for Christian teachers, and all educators, to add to their teaching toolbelt for the fall:

1. Identify ways to be a blessing for students at a distance.

Jesus never let his physical ...

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With her husband Arlin, she rejected secular education and pioneered an alternative that started with student discipline.

Beka Horton, the “Beka” of A Beka Book and the cofounder of Pensacola Christian Academy and Pensacola Christian College, died on June 27 at the age of 90. Over the course of 50 years, Horton and her husband, Arlin, translated conservative Baptist beliefs about authority, discipline, sin, and salvation into a pedagogical package they promoted as traditional, biblical education. Their work shaped much of the Christian school and homeschool movements.

When Horton retired in 2012, her curriculum company brought in annual revenue of about $2 million, publishing the textbooks and readers used in 10,000 Christian schools and by more than 100,000 homeschool students, according to internal estimates. Rebranded as Abeka in 2017, the company, along with Bob Jones University, is one of the two major producers of Christian school curricula.

The couple never planned on building an education empire, according to Horton. They were only trying to reject what they saw as the secular and anti-Christian influences on mainstream educational philosophy and stay true to their commitment to be separate from the world.

“Our business is to be faithful. This is God’s work, not ours,” she said. “We didn’t want to live in disobedience, so we’d have to do what God wanted us to do.”

Horton was born in East Tennessee in 1929 and became a Christian as a teenager at a local Baptist church. Her newfound faith soon put her in conflict with her mother, as the young Beka Hall struggled with submission to authority. Her mother forbade her from going to Sunday night youth group, because she’d have to return home after dark on a bus, and it didn’t seem safe.

“My mother was very strict,” Horton ...

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The social media saga involving Aimee Byrd and Genevan Commons calls for discipline, justice, and restoration beyond “cancel culture.”

In an era when swift social media reactions and public repudiations offer an instantaneous form of rebuke and discipline, what role does the church have in holding its leaders and members accountable for online speech?

Aimee Byrd has found herself at the center of this question. The author of Why Can’t We Be Friends?, Byrd has come under fire from some within her Reformed theological tradition for her latest book, Recovering from Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

The fight has largely played out on blogs and in private online discussions, but also has Byrd and her critics each calling for Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) sessions (church elders) to take action.

Two weeks ago, screenshots from a private Facebook group called Genevan Commons were posted on an anonymous website that describes itself as an “archive of reviling, cyberbullying, harassment, sexism, and racism among church officers and laypeople.”

Byrd’s supporters have challenged the harsh comments within the Facebook group’s threads, including remarks that address her motives, appearance, and relationship with her husband. They’ve asked whether the leaders responsible will be held accountable for the remarks.

“We are greatly concerned that officers of the church, who have sworn to be accountable to ‘their brethren in the Lord’ would attempt to hide behind a group that pledges itself to secrecy, as if ‘locker room talk’ could somehow be exempted from the accountability of the church on the basis of an alleged right to privacy,” read a statement signed by several dozen OPC pastors and elders.

Byrd was well known for blogging as “The Housewife Theologian” at the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals ...

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Intercessory Prayer:  Sunday – Tuesday & Thursday – Friday 5:00 a.m.

Wednesday – 12:00 Noon & 6:00 p.m.

Saturday – 9:00 a.m.


    Abounding Love Ministries
    7076 Hooper Road
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana  70811
    Office Telephone:  (225)  356-4441 • Fax:  (225) 356-4454
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