From Hillsong's Carl Lentz to Liberty's Jerry Falwell Jr., including local scandals most of us never hear about, there has been no shortage of pastors, churches, and organizations that have been exposed using power and influence to cover up sexual misconduct, toxic work environments, and other assorted sins. In interviews with former Mars Hill church members, ex-evangelicals, pastors, journalists, authors, and all of those in between The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill tells the story of a church culture that drifted from being a church about Jesus to a church about the pastor.
Although the anti-critical race theory rhetoric didn't really begin in earnest until 2020 (hint: an election year), the groundwork was being laid back in 2018 by evangelicals on blogs, speeches, and sermons. Reporter Andre E. Johnson traces the roots and motivation of white evangelicalism becoming obsessed with opposing CRT.
Co-editor of Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings That Formed the Movement Gary Peller says that the vehement backlash against critical race theory makes is readily apparent why critical race theory is needed. Using simple, real world examples Peller details how CRT can help analyze social practices (policing, education) and how they are affected by racism.
Critical race theory is being used by many people as a weapon and many people are not taking the time to dig into what CRT actually is. Is critical race theory a tool that Christians can use? Absolutely. Is it a tool that Christians will use to direct church doctrine? No. As Christians we must be nuanced and distinct in our response to CRT.
Priest Tish Harrison Warren argues that the church's response to racism should be different then the worlds - we should be able to admit systemic racism while also moving past the guilt and shaming of others and ourselves. We love the both/and worldview of this article.
From the four gospels to Isaiah to Micah and more, the Bible paints a clear picture that Christians should pursue justice, not just with words, but with action. These actions can help repair the credibility of the church while helping marginalized groups in addition to serving as a witness to the power of the Gospel.
Professor and department head of sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago Michael O. Emerson writes about Christians who get so caught up in social justice/injustice that they abandon Christianity. Emerson says that the means and the ends matter and that divorcing Jesus from justice ultimately leads to failure and frustration.
Living in intimate relationships with people of color or at the very least speaking with people of different opinions is a must for Christians to work through racial issues says Natasha Sistrunk Robinson, the Assistant Director of the Center for the Development of Evangelical Leadership (CDEL) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Sistrunk Robinson also explains three things to help white evangelicals know where some black people are coming from when they say black lives matter.
Using the story of boxer Mohammed Ali leaving his Christian faith because the church he attended would not stand up for him in the face of discrimination actor Gauis Charles wonders if the Christian church is in a similar moment. The church in the past has been complicit with slavery and many churches have not engaged in anti-racism teaching. Will the failure of the church to lead on issues of race result in people walking away?
Five practical tips - from not trusting the exit polls to being patient to which demographics to focus on - to separate the facts from the hype during election day.