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Removing the Barriers
I saw Mary every Tuesday when I visited “the House”—a home that helps former prisoners reintegrate into society. My life looked different from hers: fresh out of jail, fighting addictions, separated from her son. You might say she lived on the edge of society.
Like Mary, Onesimus knew what it meant to live on the edge of society. As a slave, Onesimus had apparently wronged his Christian master, Philemon, and was now in prison. While there, he met Paul and came to faith in Christ (v. 10). Though now a changed man, Onesimus was still a slave. Paul sent him back…
The Day I Was Saved by Unbelievers
Eighteen years ago, my carefree life turned into a living hell overnight. It was May 1998, and riots broke out in my city, Jakarta in Indonesia. They were triggered by economic problems including food shortages and mass unemployment.
Why We May All be Guilty of Racism
Last week, a friend of our family was walking with his wife in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago when he was attacked by a gang of young men and badly beaten. He ended up spending the night in the hospital with several cracked bones in his face and other assorted cuts and bruises.
Minister of Reconciliation
As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached on a Sunday morning in 1957, he fought the temptation to retaliate against a society steeped in racism.
“How do you go about loving your enemies?” he asked the Dexter Avenue Baptist congregation in Montgomery, Alabama. “Begin with yourself. . . . When the opportunity presents itself for you to defeat your enemy, that is the time which you must not do it.”
Quoting from the words of Jesus, King said: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you .…
A powerful exchange between Jesus and a religious lawyer
The parable of the Good Samaritan is one of the greatest short stories Jesus ever told. Today we take a look at the stirring conclusion to a powerful exchange.
Our Moral Compass
When Abraham Lincoln was introduced to author Harriet Beecher Stowe, he reportedly said that she was “the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.”
Although President Lincoln’s comment wasn’t entirely serious, Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin was instrumental in abolishing slavery in the US. Its graphic depiction of racism and the injustice of slavery helped lead to the start of civil war. Ultimately, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation declared that all slaves “shall be free.” Thus, Stowe’s novel helped to change a nation’s moral compass.
Seeing The Person Inside
On February 1, 1960, four students from an all-black college sat down at a “whites only” lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. One of them, Franklin McCain, noticed an older white woman seated nearby looking at them. He was sure that her thoughts were unkind toward them and their protest against segregation. A few minutes later she walked over to them, put her hands on their shoulders, and said, “Boys, I am so proud of you.”
Not My Kind
In the Star Wars trilogy there’s a scene that reminds me of some church people I know. At an establishment somewhere in a remote corner of the galaxy, grotesque-looking creatures socialize over food and music. When Luke Skywalker enters with his two droids, C3PO and R2D2 (who are more “normal” than anyone else there), he is surprisingly turned away with a curt rebuff: “We don’t serve their kind here!”
Pride And Prejudice
Back in the 1930s, my childhood home was loving and happy, but my parents were often away. On those occasions, the center of warmth in our home was the kitchen and our tiny, joyous housekeeper named Annie.
I spent many hours with Annie, sitting at our kitchen table reading books or playing with toys and listening to her sing and hum spirituals and hymns. From her heart sprang a continual flow of wisdom, cheerfulness, and song.