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Clarification on “Sin and White Guilt”

May 20, 2013

Writing is a difficult task. Blogging presents an even greater challenge. Putting big thoughts into small spaces is a good discipline, but often you can lose things in translation. Words on a screen can convey many meanings to different people. Since writing “Sin and White Guilt” as a follow-up to a sermon illustration, I have had time reflect on some of the messages which may have been communicated. I would like to take a few moments to clarify what I mean.

One of these messages may have been that you cannot live in a nice home, drive a luxury car, and have lots of money while also serving the interests of Christ. This could not be further from how I feel. My desire is to caution people against feeling this kind of guilt. What the Lord has blessed you with and your standing before the Lord has absolutely no correlation and anyone who would tell you otherwise is preaching a false gospel.

Another message may have been that the American church and Trinity Presbyterian in particular are not generous. However, this is not what my heart was at all. There are many in Christ’s church in America and more specifically here in Tuscaloosa at Trinity who love their neighbors and communities in such a way that makes me stand in awe. From people who give free after school care for underprivileged children to those who provide pro bono legal and medical service to those who cannot afford it, we are on mission with Jesus! I want to encourage those of you on mission and to urge some of us to engage for the first time.

One final message is that you should not live in a good school district and that if you are currently living in one you should move out. The school districting in Tuscaloosa is an example of the corruptive force sin can have on a society. The socioeconomic divide in Tuscaloosa school districts is a symptom of a much larger problem known as sin. The only solution to sin is Jesus’s return. It is naïve for someone to think they are going to remedy the problem of sin in our community by trying to treat the symptom. One person moving out of a school district is not going to fix the systematic problem created by sin.

That being said, God is bringing his kingdom to earth and so he is going to ask all of us to be a part of that in some way. For most, it may look like being a blessing within our families and churches. For some of us it will mean being a missionary overseas. For others it will be to conduct honest business in a corrupt world. And…for some of us in Tuscaloosa it may take on other shapes and forms. Some of you have already sensed that call and have met the need in unprecedented ways. Others will be called to meet that need at some point in your life.

My heart is to say that if the Lord calls you to be a part of racial and social reconciliation in Tuscaloosa, that fear or guilt cannot be the motivator. Only Spirit-empowered wisdom and love for God’s people will be a sustainable force in these callings.

Thank you for being patient and forbearing with me as I myself wrestle through these same issues. My prayer is that the Lord continues to announce his fame through Trinity Church.

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