After college I completed a year of service with Public Allies New York an Americorps service program. A national program with sites around the country the mission of Public Allies is: “to advance new leadership to strengthen communities, nonprofits and civic participation”. This experience had a great impact on my faith, my vocation and my worldview. Though Americorps is not a Christian organization because it focuses on community service many Christians have participated in its programs. Teach for America, is one of the most well known of all the Americorps programs and 50% of its membership identify as people of faith. As shown by Christ’s words in Matthew 25 service is essential to the Christian faith, so it is no surprise that many Christians are seeking ways to serve. As young Evangelicals increasingly seek to serve in urban areas programs such as Americorps can be a great option.
During the historic election summer of 2008 God blessed me with a fabulous internship at a leading Christian justice magazine and advocacy organization in Washington, D.C. Many Christian authors send their publications to our magazine for review and in the summer the un-reviewed books are put out for employees to take home. As an admitted book worm and broke intern this made my day! As I was going through the collection of books I saw titles on racial reconciliation, politics, Christian living, etc, when a hot-pink and black book stuck out like a sore thumb-Shannon Ethridge’s The Sexually Confident Wife. Why would someone send this book to a Christian social justice magazine? Is this a Christian book? I thought the book was more suitable for Cosmopolitan or an episode of Sex and the City than a faith and justice magazine. Didn’t Ethridge know we were in an election year? As a single woman I like to read about marriage in preparation for my own. When I got back to my cubical I was curious to see what the book was about because on the back cover I discovered that Ethridge was a co-author of Every Woman’s Battle which is apart of a respected Christian book series on purity; proof that this was indeed a Christian book!
This blog was first published for Sojourners God’s Politics in response to a online debate about the emergent church, race and homophobia.God’s Politics The Global Emergence Won’t Be Televised
“Religion deals with both earth and heaven, both time and eternity. It seeks not only to integrate men with God but to integrate men with men and each man with himself. On the one hand it seeks to change the souls of men, and thereby unite them with God; on the other hand it seeks to change the environmental conditions of men so that the soul will have a chance after it is changed.” –Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
There have been many reflections and comments about race in the Emergent Church movement, and as someone who has a heart for racial reconciliation I am interested in this conversation. My passion for racial unity comes out of the recognition that the sin of racism has become a stumbling block to many people of color accepting Christ.