Inside or Outside of the Church

“How can or should processing things like mass shootings work in the Church? How can or should followers of Jesus process these things? Lord, who do we need to be in this moment and in a society like ours?!?

Is it really as simple as saying, “Well, as long as sin is at work in the world there will be death?” Is that really a reason informed by the vision of God for the world as revealed in the Scriptures? Even the Church is left trying to react impulsively out of our grief and anger to what we see, because our processing of these issues usually happens outside of the Church.

I hear people say that these matters are political so we shouldn’t talk about them “in Church.” True, they are political. So is morality—at least the moral majority thought so, led by Jerry Falwell and joined by James Dobson, Pat Robertson and others as they worked to advance “conservative social values” on political levels, centering issues like prayer in schools, anti-abortion agendas, and the so-called sanctity of marriage advocating against gay marriage as Christian political issues. Greed is political. Justice is political. Violence is political. And yet all of these things are also theological. Violence is theological. Morality, greed, justice—all theological.

What I have come to believe is that when Christians say that matters like these are political and shouldn’t be talked about “in Church” they are most likely side-stepping the issue, because if Jesus gets involved in the discussion it might cost us something.

So then let me ask, what discussion should a Christian have that doesn’t include the Lordship of the Ascended Christ?

If the Church cannot learn how to process these societal sicknesses that evidence so clearly the reign of sin and death in the world we will be stuck to react in the way society reacts. We will inadvertently betray our own witness.”

This is a question I posed to the WCC family today (and many times before). I’m thankful to be a part of a church family willing to thoughtfully consider our faith in the real world.

About Fred

Fred came to serve greater Williamsburg and WCC as lead pastor in October of 2010 and is grateful to be a part of the family. He is a husband, father, certified trauma professional, S.T.A.R. (strategies for trauma awareness & resilience) practitioner, community organizer, TEDx alum, founder of 3e Restoration, Inc. and co-owner of Philoxenia Culture LLC. He received his B.S. in Ministry/Bible at Amridge University and his Master’s of Religious Education in Missional Leadership from Rochester University. Currently he is a candidate for a Doctorate of Ministry in Contextual Theology in at Northern Seminary in Chicago. Fred has also served as an adjunct professor for Rochester University and Regent University where taught courses in philosophy, ethics, leadership, pastoral care, intro to Christianity, and ethnography. He has also served as a guest lecturer on the subjects of racialized cultural systems, poverty, and missiology at various universities, such as William & Mary and Oklahoma Christian University. Fred has authored on book (Racialized Cultural Systems, Social Displacement and Christian Hospitality) and several curriculum offerings, including The FloorPlan: Living Toward Restoration & Resilience. Fred enjoys hanging out with his family anytime, anywhere. He is deeply grateful for how God graciously works through the Church in all her various forms, despite our brokenness. He is passionate about seeing the last, least, and lonely of every neighborhood, city and nation experience God’s in-breaking kingdom, and come to know Jesus as King. Oh, and his favorite season is Advent and Christmas. Fred is a founding member of the board of directors for Virginia Racial Healing Institute, a member of the leadership team for Williamsburg's local chapter of Coming to the Table, and a member of Greater Williamsburg Trauma-Informed Community Network's Racial Trauma Committee and Training Committee.
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