We as Americans and others in the West have long overlooked the ways our actions affect the world around us -- both in positive and negative ways. Lent must be a time to reflect and repent -- in our own lives, in our churches, and in our nation. It's time to turn around.
Marching down the streets of NYC in remembrance of MLK, I thought not of the anger swarming around me, but of the King that Dr. King followed. There is no freedom apart from Jesus, no victory that does not include His name.
Let me be as honest as I can be: If white Christians in America were more Christian than white, black parents could feel safer about their children. It's time for us white Christians to repent -- turn around and go in a new direction.
To lament and confess. To acknowledge the sin of racism that is alive in our country, and therefore in our churches, and to repent of the way that the sin of racism hinders our ability to live into the Kingdom of God.
We all have a little bit of Officer Darren Wilson inside of us. We all own a piece of that scared cop every time we act on our assumptions and generalizations about the people we encounter in our lives. We all are in need of a cleaner heart.
You don't undo those things with better packaging, or a new release of an old product. You have to do the deep, soul-baring, painful work of repentance and asking forgiveness -- and do it without caring if this person ever comes to your church or not.
Sterling's comments are not unlike Cliven Bundy's recent musings. Bundy, the Nevada rancher who owes more than a million dollars in federal grazing fees wondered aloud if blacks might have been better off as slaves "picking cotton and having a family life and doing things."
In times past, most people heated their houses using fireplaces, stoves and coal furnaces. Some people still do. It makes no difference which of these forms of heating one uses, there are always ashes or clinkers to get out of the house and hauled away without leaving a mess behind.
God can renew and refurbish our spirits, our hearts, our drive, our attitudes. God can give us a positive, willing, and steadfast spirit to live and learn from mistakes and to change direction. Yes, God can.
Jewish tradition emphasizes the importance of good deeds, of tikkun olam or "repairing the world." Without doing our part to "repair the world," even in small ways, we have not fulfilled our responsibility.
In the Torah, we are first introduced to the term Hineni when we read about Akedat Yitzchak, the Binding of Isaac, in Chapter 22 of Genesis. When God calls out to Abraham, prior to commanding him to sacrifice his son, Abraham responds, "Hineni."
We are not born in sin; we are each born with powerful tendencies to both good and evil and the drama of human character is in the struggle and balance between the two. The corrective mechanism is teshuva, repentance.
The feminist Twitters and blogosphere have been ablaze the last few weeks, as a very troubling figure in the greater digital feminist ecosystem first announced his retirement from feminist discourse and then erupted in an explosive Twitter confessional.