As mentioned in the last 2 posts, I am needing to come up with working names for the three different vantage points that I am exploring (see here for more info on these). In the current format I just simply call them “Vantage Point” 1, 2, 3 – but I have been told that can be confusing. So I am trying to come up with a name that I could use for each vantage point.
There have been great suggestions given for each of the two, and I am very grateful to all of you that have shared your ideas with me. Here is the last one!
Vantage point 3:
This person considers faith important, and considers that faith rooted in Christianity. The manifestation of their faith is primarily found in the realm of social justice. These are people who believe that a relationship with Jesus should translate primarily into compassion and justice on behalf of the poor.
For many of these people, the commitment plays itself out in volunteerism – serving meals at shelters, tutoring students, building houses with Habitat for Humanity, becoming a big brother or big sister with a mentoring program, etc. Sometimes their commitment actually reorients their career paths –inner city schoolteachers, social workers, Peace Corps, etc.
Suggestions so far:
- Social Justice Vantage Point
What are your ideas for possible names for this vantage point?
I am a lifelong Chicagoan, a pastor at River City Community Church, and an author who writes a lot about resisting and confronting white supremacy from a faith lens.
Our church was founded in January of 2003 in the west Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago, and is centered on the core values of worship, reconciliation, and neighborhood development. We long to see increased spiritual renewal as well as social and economic justice in the Humboldt Park neighborhood and entire city, demonstrating compassion and alleviating poverty as tangible expressions of the Kingdom of God. It is also through the gift of this faith community that I have learned to see the profound historical and spiritual impact of the stronghold of white supremacy, and where I have been challenged to broaden and deepen my understanding of discipleship in the hopes of becoming a serious enough Christ follower who is able to meaningfully participate with those who have risen up in defiance of this evil principality.
The lessons learned in this journey have been captured in a pair of books on race. The first, White Awake, explores the barriers that white people tend to face – white Christians specifically – when we attempt to awaken to and understand white supremacy through a faith lens. I spend a lot of time here addressing the internal defenses that are bound to go off when this journey is taken seriously, and I chart out a path for developing a resilient spirit that steadfastly moves towards truth, justice, and equity. The second, White Lies, further builds out the path for the white Christian who longs to actively participate in the resistance and confrontation of white supremacy. I spend a lot of time here exploring why it is so hard to tell the truth about race, as well as expose the lies that sustain it, within white, Christian, Bible-believing environments. I then propose nine practices that position us for engaging in this task.
On the personal front, my career started in the marketplace, as I was part of three dot.com startups in the 90’s. My vocational path shifted when I joined the staff of Willow Creek Community Church in 1998, and I spent five years working there. I started River City Community Church in January 2003 and have been happily serving here ever since. On the education front, my undergrad was in Business (Purdue University), my graduate degree in theology (Moody Bible Institute), and my doctoral degree in community development (Northern Seminary). On the family front, my wife is a Professor of Psychology, and we have two amazing children (Xander and Gabriella).
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