Continuing our conversation with Pastor Michael Walker... You can listen to PART ONE HERE.
Maggie jumps right in: When we’re reading stories from the bible, what do they illustrate for us today around how to engage racial tensions, political systems, caring for the oppressed and marginalized? What do we about injustice?
The story in Judges about the Levi and the concubine — the way she was treated (used and abused) is not just about her but it also represents a larger mistreatment of the people. Today that is what is happening around George Floyd—it’s not just about him but it’s also about all the black and brown bodies that have been oppressed in America for centuries.
God brings it to light and we need to walk in what’s right, to hold account. Our call is to walk in what’s right, but what if we can’t even agree on what’s right? We see today more division than ever and Churches are seeing injustice and choosing inaction.
Pastor Mike talks about the difference between being "Christian Americans" vs. being "Christians in America" ... When we identify as Christians who live in America; Everything filtered through the word of God. We are foreigners here. We are to be stewards of what we have here.
Mat 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers. We are image bearers and are called to a ministry of reconciliation: We are called to be God’s Ambassadors. This is what we are called to on this earth and we will be held accountable.
As Americans though we look through lens of “Our Rights,” or “capitalism”or Liberalism, rather than as Christians through the lens of Christ.
Danielle says it's about Empire & Kingdom. The Israelites wanted a king and physical kingdom. Now we are wanting a literal physical army to fight injustice. [But we are it!]
Pastor Mike says the key is that we need to see each other as image bearers and to “love neighbor as self.”
He gave the example of the 1988 Central Park 5 Case. There was such pressure to close the case quickly, even though there wasn't evidence and thought the 5 black kids were expendable and so put the fault on them.
Maggie asks, What will be the reckoning we receive for the Churches inaction now?
Danielle says they know about injustice and are purposely silent. She believes they’re hearts are hard.
Pastor Mike said, But still there is hope!—All throughout scripture where we see a massive movement of God it comes through breaking, crisis, tragedy and struggle.
People will falsely put hope in our political system but they will reap what they sow (see Gal 6:8). What is shown through the flesh, it will fall short. Hope in a corrupt system will corrupt our hearts.
We need to respond out of love not just out of anger.
And so what does Hope look like right now? Pastor Mike says we need to pray! Prayer is not about constantly speaking, but about positioning ourselves to hear and listen to God.
2 Chronicles 7:14 “…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
So Mike says we much be earnest in prayer. Asking God what is going on and how are we to walk in what is going on?
It is a call to repentance, lament, Godly sorrow. Individual repentance, as a church body, and as a nation.
Mike described a prayer meeting in Texas where blacks and white took turns kneeling and asking forgiveness. It was an act of courageous humility. To bless others is to kneel before.
We will be judged and hated when we walk in courageous humility and obedience.
God can take a few and transform a world. A few fully submitted to God.
Danielle says that both sides (Conservatives, Liberals) are driven by fear that is fueled by shame. Both sides are holding a sense of despair. Collective despair is treason to our faith.
“If we look and we expect men to be different than their sinful state, we’re going to feel hopeless.” But Rom 5:8 says that when we were hopeless, out of heaven comes Hope in Jesus. There is always hope in Christ. God is still on his throne. This means we need to be agents of hope, what he has called us to be in the world.
We have to grieve for human lives lost. It is a Godly Sorrow. We should be shaken to our core to see someone’s life taken.
People ask him, "How are you not angry and bitter?" He says "Because my hope is in God."
Maggie mentioned a Perspective Shift she learned from Marty Solomon of the Bema Discipleship - Judges is often referred to as the “Sin Cycle” — focus is on sin, on us. When we view it as the “Redemption Cycle” - the focus is on God: God has redeemed his people. He has endless love and grace and patience for His people. It says, "Look! These are all the places that God has rescued! Our hope is in God." Mike says it comes down to a choice: We can choose to be on the side of wrath or redemption.
Mike said the two countries that have shown the most growth in Christianity is China and Iran, both are oppressive countries. In America we get our Christianity confused with our “rights” to happiness, capitalism and other Western Philosophies.
You can find Pastor Mike on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michael.j.walker.549
Pastor Mike is reading: The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James Cone
Pastor Mike is listening to: Praise and Worship Music
Pastor Mike is inspired by: Young people rising up, speaking out and taking courages stands using tier voices and their energy to do what they know what is right.
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