These conversations are not statements of our doctrine as expressed in the Book of Discipline, nor are they guidance provided by the Study Commission on Doctrine (SCOD), but they are intended to be open and respectful discussions on various present-day topics. Our intention is not to limit discussion but to elevate it by assuring that God’s love and respect is always expressed. For more information click ABOUT.
WAR AND PEACE

WAR AND PEACE

January 24, 2018 By dwayman
This post is from a retired Free Methodist Military Chaplain: Chaplain (CDR) David Thompson, CHC, USNR (Ret.)

Retired Elder/North Central Conference/FMC (USA)

On Sunday our pastor made the statement that our nation has been at war for 93% of our nation’s history since 1776, computing as of 2015  (222 years out of 239 years… so that in our history we had only 21 years of peace). I was astounded with that above-mentioned statement and so I looked it up after church with my friend “Google” (see: https://www.globalresearch.ca/america-has-been-at-war-93-of-the-time-222-out-of-239-years-since-1776/5565946 ). And there it was: The numbers were correct… and most of these wars were wars of choice or conquest rather than wars of deep moral conviction, like the Civil War or WW II…and for the most part, we as people faith went along with all this national warlike activity down through our history…just keeping “praising the Lord and passing the ammunition.” I then came across in The Naval Institute’s Proceedings magazine (the Journal of the Navy & Marine Corps) an article written by Navy Captain John Byron, USN (Ret.) in the August 2017 issue entitled “We Have Been at War a Long Time” that speaks to this issue (see: https://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2017-08/we-have-been-war-long-time ). The author leaves hanging the question of “what do you make of all of that? We really are a warlike people just looking at the hard numbers,
RAVI ZACHARIAS on the CHRISTIAN VIEW OF HOMOSEXUALITY

RAVI ZACHARIAS on the CHRISTIAN VIEW OF HOMOSEXUALITY

January 16, 2018 By dwayman

Ravi Zacharias provides a three-fold understanding of homosexuality and Christianity, or more appropriately sexuality and Christianity.  His call to be clear sociologically, theologically and relationally is a very helpful addition to the discussion.  It is a ten minute video.

Click here.

The comments on YOUTUBE provides opportunity to understand the responses of the “autonomous culture” to this area of our lives.

THE LETTER FROM BIRMINGHAM JAIL by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

THE LETTER FROM BIRMINGHAM JAIL by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

January 16, 2018 By dwayman

One of the most powerful statements on the church’s responsibility to work for “justice for all” was written by a Baptist pastor named the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  It happened in 1963.

In part he says:

“In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action. We have gone through all these steps in Birmingham. There can be no gainsaying the fact that racial injustice engulfs this community. Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of brutality is widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case. On the basis of these conditions, Negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers. But the latter consistently refused to engage in good faith negotiation…

You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored.

WELCOMING THE STRANGER:  Faith Communities and Immigration

WELCOMING THE STRANGER: Faith Communities and Immigration

January 7, 2018 By dwayman

In a recent article, Alexia Salvatierra, who is an adjunct professor at Fuller Seminary and an immigration activist, wrote a thorough history of the Biblical and American experience with immigration, the sanctuary movement, and current realities.  It is a great resource, but also a call to participate in the care of those who are being harmed.  Comparing the modern sanctuary movement with the “Cities of Refuge” and the “Underground Railroad” the call focuses on the center of Free Methodist biblical commitment and our own history of abolitionist action.

In part she writes:

“In the thirty-fifth chapter of the Book of Numbers in the Hebrew Bible, the writer lays out a remedy for a social and legal problem. In ancient Israel, the penalty for murder was death, “a life for a life.” Family members of the slain person normally carry out the sentence.  However, the writers of Numbers recognized that it would not be fair for accidental killers to receive the same punishment as those who kill intentionally. Raging family members could not be expected to stop midstream and investigate; the community is instructed to create cities of refuge where the accused can be kept safe until they can receive a fair hearing. The cities of refuge are the solution for people who committed a crime and received an unfair penalty.

This ancient remedy is the root of the sanctuary church tradition. Since the fourth century in England, churches have offered protection and shelter to those accused of a crime but who would be likely to be punished unfairly if left unprotected.

HOW THE MEDIA DISTORTS BLACK FAMILIES

HOW THE MEDIA DISTORTS BLACK FAMILIES

January 3, 2018 By dwayman

The systemic racism of our culture is reinforced by the media.  In a Washington Post article this was reported:

“…a research team at the University of Illinois that studies media patterns to examine what an average news consumer might have “learned” about black families (and white families) during the last election cycle. The results were disturbing.

 The study found that, at best, media outlets promoted racially biased portrayals and myths that pathologize black families and idealize white families with respect to poverty and crime. At worst, media outlets amplified those inaccurate depictions for political and financial gain. Such reporting reinforces debunked narratives, helping to justify actions from police brutality to economic policies that will hurt not just black families but all families for generations.

The research team examined more than 800 relevant stories published or aired from January 2015 through December 2016, encompassing coverage from national broadcast and cable news outlets such as ABC, CBS and MSNBC; national mainstream newspapers like The Washington Post, the New York Times and USA Today; and online news sites. In both written and television reporting, the researchers found that the news media systemically misrepresented black families.

When the media outlets examined in the study reported stories about poor families, they chose to feature black families in their coverage 59 percent of the time, even though only 27 percent of families living below the poverty line are black. Similarly, in coverage of welfare,

WHITE OUT: Understanding White Privilege and Dominance in the Modern Age.

WHITE OUT: Understanding White Privilege and Dominance in the Modern Age.

December 23, 2017 By dwayman

All of us in dominate positions within any given culture, whether it is by race, gender, economics, education or some other distinction, are often unaware of how that privilege harms both us and those who are the “least of these.” And yet as Jesus clearly teaches, how we treat these who do not have what we have, will be the dividing standard. (Matt. 25)

 

Thus it becomes a spiritual necessity that we understand how to care for these whom Jesus places at the center of our responsibility.  To assist in this two Azusa Pacific University professors, Christopher S. Collins and Alexander Jun have written a quick but necessary book they title:  WHITE OUT: Understanding White Privilege and Dominance in the Modern Age.

 

These insights will encourage your purchase and study:

 

  1. We define Whiteness as a system…a larger system that has constructed such a dominant reality that it narrows our sense of choices and beliefs as it relates to race. The system in which we live and operate can be compared to architecture, or a design that creates limited choices one can make when it comes to moving into certain spaces, opening doors, staying or departing….much of reality (or architecture) is designed to be the best fit for one group. Because it is a dominant reality, any group for whom the architecture does not work, it is the fault of the persons in that group – a individual problem that could be adjusted by assimilating….Any segment of an organized body that is 51% White is predominately white.
WHITES HAVE HUGE WEALTH EDGE OVER BLACKS (but Don’t Know It)

WHITES HAVE HUGE WEALTH EDGE OVER BLACKS (but Don’t Know It)

November 5, 2017 By dwayman

The economic inequality between white and black families is not only a grave injustice but it is not perceived by the whites.  Here is an article in the NY Times that says in part:

Psychologists at Yale recently asked hundreds of Americans these two questions:

For every $100 earned by an average white family, how much do you think is earned by an average black family?

$0-$25 – $26-$50 – $51-$75 – $76-$100 – $100+

For every $100 in wealth accumulated by an average white family, how much wealth has the average black family accumulated?

$0-$25 – $26-$50 – $51-$75 – $76-$100 – $100+

The Yale researchers suspected that many people would not get the answers right.

“I’m a person who studies inequality, who should really know how inequality looks,” said one of the psychologists, Michael Kraus, who researches the behaviors and beliefs that help perpetuate inequality. “And I look at the black-white gap, and I’m shocked at the magnitude.”

Black families in America earn just $57.30 for every $100 in income earned by white families, according to the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. For every $100 in white family wealth, black families hold just $5.04.

If Mr. Kraus, of all people, is taken aback by these numbers, what are the odds that most Americans have a good understanding of them? The answer, he and his colleagues fear,

SPU THEOLOGIANS’ COMMITMENT ENDING RACISM

SPU THEOLOGIANS’ COMMITMENT ENDING RACISM

September 27, 2017 By dwayman

We rely on our Free Methodist Universities to provide wisdom and guidance to our denomination.  The religion department of our university in Seattle, Seattle Pacific University has done just that in this statement.  This has been affirmed by our Free Methodist Schools of Theology of our Universities:

The Statement on Racial Justice has been signed by the Theology faculty of five Free Methodist schools:

School of Theology at Seattle Pacific University and Seminary
School of Theology at Azusa Pacific University and Seminary
Bastian School of Theology at Greenville University
School of Theology at Roberts Wesleyan College and Northeastern Seminary
Department of Theology at Spring Arbor University

In cooperation with SPU’s John Perkins Center and Office of University Ministries our theologians give this guidance:

Statement of Solidarity and Commitment to Action

As Christian leaders, we commit ourselves to the call of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to stand with those who experience discrimination and racism.  We commit ourselves to challenge expressions of racism occurring in various institutions of our nation, such as law enforcement, the legal system, the educational system, political structures, and the Church.

We repent for the ways Christians have been and still are complicit participants in these injustices.  In light of our history and recent events in our nation, we believe it is necessary to reaffirm our commitment to reject ethnic nationalism, injustice, and violence.

We thank God for all who pursue Biblical justice,

W.E.L.L. – WOMEN. EQUAL. LEADING. LEARNING

W.E.L.L. – WOMEN. EQUAL. LEADING. LEARNING

September 18, 2017 By dwayman

The Free Methodist Church in Southern California has an initiative led by a group of three excellent leaders: Rev. Colleen Hurley-Bates, Rev. Cheri Coleman, Lillian Johnson  They titled the initiative W.E.L.L.  You can find their work here.

They explain:

 Core to our freedoms within the Free Methodist Church is the freedom for women to participate fully in the life, ministry and governance of the church as called and gifted by God. We want to invite you to be part of the conversation as we discuss how women are currently serving within the life and leadership of the FMC in Southern California and identify new opportunities moving forward.

At a recent meeting they had an excellent presentation by Dr. Bernice Ledbetter of Pepperdine University.  This audio presentation is presented here to provide  recent research substantiating what many of us are experiencing:  Women and Men working together make better decisions and are more effective.

W.E.L.L. Meeting 9/10/17

Keynote by Dr. Bernice Ledbetter, EdD, Director, Center for Women in Leadership.

 

DEPRESSION ERA MEXICAN DEPORTATIONS – 1930’s

DEPRESSION ERA MEXICAN DEPORTATIONS – 1930’s

September 10, 2017 By dwayman

This is the official explanation (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) of the events during the 1930’s when hundreds of thousands of Mexican people were coerced into returning to Mexico.  The reasons were racist and economic.  It reveals the complexity of the situation in which the “official proceedings” were responsible for only a small portion of those who were coerced to leave.  The majority left out of fear due to the threats they received.  You can read this official report here.

The official explanation says in part:

“In most cases, however, no federal record exists for these departures. This is because, while an estimated 400,000 to 1 million Mexicans and Mexican-Americans left the US for Mexico during the Depression, relatively few of them were expelled under formal INS-directed removal proceedings. The majority returned to Mexico by their own decision or through officially voluntary – though often coercive – repatriation programs directed by state and local governments and charitable aid agencies.

INS did increase its deportation efforts during the 1930s and on several occasions the agency co-operated with local governments who sought to remove Mexicans from their jurisdictions. These actions understandably contributed to the current belief that the INS led a massive repatriation program. In reality, INS’s role in the removal process was somewhat more complex.

In1930, as the extent of the Depression became more clear some Americans accused Mexicans, as well as other aliens, of holding jobs needed by U.S.