PCA African-American Ministries Coordinator Newsletter

Status
Not open for further replies.

SemperEruditio

Puritan Board Junior
I posted this in the prayer forum however since it is opening discussion I posted here as well to allow discussion.

Wy Plummer, MNA African American Ministries Coordinator



February 2009

Dear Friend

Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
Colossians 3:11

The daughter of one of our members came to me recently asking if there was a PCA church in Austin TX like New City Fellowship. I had to admit ignorance and told her that I would get back to her. The young lady was going off to college and wanted to attend a PCA church with some degree of ethnic diversity. She wanted a worship experience similar to the one she had grown accustomed to at New City. After some investigating I suggested several PCA churches but warned her that she might be among the onesie-twosies.

I have a friend who lives in Baton Rouge and recently discovered reformed theology. He visited Redeemer Church in Jackson MS and was impressed by the teaching as well as the fact that Pastor Mike Campbell was African American. He is frustrated with his current church and wondered if there was a multi-ethnic church like Redeemer in Baton Rouge. I told him that there are PCA churches in Baton Rouge but that he and his family might need to join the ranks of the onesie-twosies. He immediately knew what I meant and was concerned about feeling welcomed into the fellowship.

I met an African American gentleman on a plane who asked if I could recommend a good Bible teaching church in Atlanta. I was surprised by the question knowing that there were many African American churches in Atlanta. In his experience he found his choices to be limited to ether fundamentalist churches with rigid rules or “health and wealth” churches that were only interested in his money. What he wanted was a church that taught the Word of God from a reformed perspective. I told him about Redemption Fellowship in South Atlanta but he told me that he lived more than an hour away. I recommended a church closer to home, but warned him that he might be the only African American in attendance. At best he and his family would join one or two other African Americans in attendance becoming what I called the onesie-twosies.

Onesie-twosies is a term I coined to describe many PCA churches that have one or two African Americans in attendance. When my wife and I attended a PCA church for the first time in 1981 we were the only African Americans. I noticed when I visited the nearby McLean Presbyterian there was also only one other African American family
~ Over please ~
~ Page 2 ~

in attendance. We got to know the family and began to describe ourselves as the onesie-twosies. When I visited other PCA churches I noticed that most of the churches had at least one or two African Americans in attendance, thus the term - onesie-twosies.

Not all African Americans are prepared to be onesie-twosies. It’s difficult being the only one. Most prefer to attend a church where there are others like themselves or at least where there is some degree of ethnic diversity. What I often hear from onesie-twosies is - “I don’t really like the worship experience, but I love the teaching.” I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve heard this statement repeated. Often they continue by saying, “I would love to attend a PCA church where they are more culturally sensitive but they just don’t exist. Can the PCA plant a multi-ethnic church in my neighborhood?”

Presently I am aware of three cities that want to plant PCA churches with African American leadership. Some of our white church planters are looking for an African American partner and will not begin the work until they find such a person. There are three multi-ethnic churches with vacant pulpits looking for African American pastors. The call for African American leadership far exceeds the supply. Will you join with me in praying that God will raise up more African American leaders? Will you pray that there will be increasing numbers of African Americans interested in Seminary? Will you pray that our present PCA churches will take a strong interest in other ethnic groups so that people will no longer feel alone and isolated? Will you pray that God will tear down the wall of separation so that there will no longer be a need to describe a church as black or white?

If you, your church or presbytery want to be involved in this exciting ministry, first of all, please pray for us. Secondly, consider contributing financially. We are very grateful for those of you who are already supporting us and we welcome new partners. You may send your gifts to Mission to North America with the designation: African American Ministries, 1700 North Brown Road, Suite 101, Lawrenceville, GA 30043. Further information about the ministry of MNA can be found on our website at Welcome to the Mission to North America Homepage.

In His Service,

Plummer

Wy Plummer, MNA African American Ministries Coordinator
__________________
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
I don't understand this really. What does preaching the true Gospel and singing hymns have to do with race? If all agree that we are brothers and sisters in Christ, then why feel out of place? I wonder if we are carrying the world's perspective on race into the church and making it the priority on choosing a church. However, I will pray that God raises up more reformed preachers of every race as we certainly need them.
 

SemperEruditio

Puritan Board Junior
So I'm curious, what are some particular obstacles that African church goers face in a predominantly white church? He said that he wished these churches had more "cultural sensitivity" but what does that look like? Are there specific things we are doing that are alienating our black brothers needlessly? When my father pastored a small PCA church in Lutz, Fl we had white, black, Asian, and Hispanic congregants. Here in Kansas we have a predominantly white church (not by design that's just the way its worked out) with a bit of ethnic variety. (Some onesie-twosies you might say!) I'm genuinely curious here, what is it that makes African Presbyterians uncomfortable in a predominantly white church?

:eureka:

-----Added 5/30/2009 at 09:57:25 EST-----

I don't understand this really. What does preaching the true Gospel and singing hymns have to do with race? If all agree that we are brothers and sisters in Christ, then why feel out of place? I wonder if we are carrying the world's perspective on race into the church and making it the priority on choosing a church. However, I will pray that God raises up more reformed preachers of every race as we certainly need them.

Are any of the hymns composed by African-Americans? What era are the hymns from and are they limited to that time period alone?
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
I don't understand this really. What does preaching the true Gospel and singing hymns have to do with race? If all agree that we are brothers and sisters in Christ, then why feel out of place? I wonder if we are carrying the world's perspective on race into the church and making it the priority on choosing a church. However, I will pray that God raises up more reformed preachers of every race as we certainly need them.

Go to an all black, inner city, Baptist church and tell me how comfortable you feel ;) Now picture those people being the only black person, in a white suburbanite church, where you don't even hear an occasional "amen", the music sounds more like a funeral parlour than praise and worship (no offense, but the Trinity hymnal took some getting used to even by me), and the pastor doesn't seem to be excited about what he's preaching on.

*This is not to insult...it's perspective only! I've known some fiery white ministers and some that are simply enjoyable to listen to, even if they are "tame" :D There is much to be said about culture and what one is accustomed to. And much balance to be maintained, on the flip side of that.

-----Added 5/30/2009 at 10:10:59 EST-----

hmmm, a good portion of this thread disappeared...
 

raekwon

Puritan Board Junior
hmmm, a good portion of this thread disappeared...

It was split into two threads . . . the original is still in the Prayer Request forum, and this one is more for discussion.

BTW, I'm mulling over the question you asked in the other one, and I'll respond here. :)
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
I don't understand this really. What does preaching the true Gospel and singing hymns have to do with race? If all agree that we are brothers and sisters in Christ, then why feel out of place?

Have you ever worshiped in a predominately Black church?

Have you ever worshiped in a traditional Presbyterian church?

Completely different worship styles, music, congregational participation. Quite possibly different style of attire.

That's enough to make anyone uncomfortable.
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
Are any of the hymns composed by African-Americans? What era are the hymns from and are they limited to that time period alone?

I'm not sure who wrote which hymn much less the race, but if they proclaim the Word of God it doesn't matter to me which race wrote them. Does it matter to you? Isn't God suppose to be getting all the glory anyway and not man?

-----Added 5/30/2009 at 10:32:57 EST-----

I don't understand this really. What does preaching the true Gospel and singing hymns have to do with race? If all agree that we are brothers and sisters in Christ, then why feel out of place? I wonder if we are carrying the world's perspective on race into the church and making it the priority on choosing a church. However, I will pray that God raises up more reformed preachers of every race as we certainly need them.

Go to an all black, inner city, Baptist church and tell me how comfortable you feel ;) Now picture those people being the only black person, in a white suburbanite church, where you don't even hear an occasional "amen", the music sounds more like a funeral parlour than praise and worship (no offense, but the Trinity hymnal took some getting used to even by me), and the pastor doesn't seem to be excited about what he's preaching on.

*This is not to insult...it's perspective only! I've known some fiery white ministers and some that are simply enjoyable to listen to, even if they are "tame" :D There is much to be said about culture and what one is accustomed to. And much balance to be maintained, on the flip side of that.

-----Added 5/30/2009 at 10:10:59 EST-----

hmmm, a good portion of this thread disappeared...

I didn't feel comfortable in an all white baptist church that I went to once but that was because it was baptist not a certain race. If I went to a Presbyterian all black church and they sang songs that honored God and used which ever instruments they wanted to use and preached the Word of God like it's suppose to be preached, I wouldn't have a problem with it. The reason I had a problem with the all white baptist church is because of all the man-made laws I saw going on in that church from the moment I stepped foot in it. I don't care what race the church is, if they are worshipping according to the RPW and are preaching the law of God and His Gospel in a truthful manner, then I should embrace that church whole-heartedly as my family.

-----Added 5/30/2009 at 10:36:53 EST-----

I don't understand this really. What does preaching the true Gospel and singing hymns have to do with race? If all agree that we are brothers and sisters in Christ, then why feel out of place?

Have you ever worshiped in a predominately Black church?

Have you ever worshiped in a traditional Presbyterian church?

Completely different worship styles, music, congregational participation. Quite possibly different style of attire.

That's enough to make anyone uncomfortable.

Why? If a person is looking for a reformed church which worships in the RPW and preaches the truth, why would anyone feel uncomfortable? If I went to a Pentecostal church black or white I would feel highly uncomfortable, but that would be because they are not worshipping according to the RPW and most likely their preaching isn't quite up to snuff.
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
Are any of the hymns composed by African-Americans? What era are the hymns from and are they limited to that time period alone?

I'm not sure who wrote which hymn much less the race, but if they proclaim the Word of God it doesn't matter to me which race wrote them. Does it matter to you? Isn't God suppose to be getting all the glory anyway and not man?

-----Added 5/30/2009 at 10:32:57 EST-----

I don't understand this really. What does preaching the true Gospel and singing hymns have to do with race? If all agree that we are brothers and sisters in Christ, then why feel out of place? I wonder if we are carrying the world's perspective on race into the church and making it the priority on choosing a church. However, I will pray that God raises up more reformed preachers of every race as we certainly need them.

Go to an all black, inner city, Baptist church and tell me how comfortable you feel ;) Now picture those people being the only black person, in a white suburbanite church, where you don't even hear an occasional "amen", the music sounds more like a funeral parlour than praise and worship (no offense, but the Trinity hymnal took some getting used to even by me), and the pastor doesn't seem to be excited about what he's preaching on.

*This is not to insult...it's perspective only! I've known some fiery white ministers and some that are simply enjoyable to listen to, even if they are "tame" :D There is much to be said about culture and what one is accustomed to. And much balance to be maintained, on the flip side of that.

-----Added 5/30/2009 at 10:10:59 EST-----

hmmm, a good portion of this thread disappeared...

I didn't feel comfortable in an all white baptist church that I went to once but that was because it was baptist not a certain race. If I went to a Presbyterian all black church and they sang songs that honored God and used which ever instruments they wanted to use and preached the Word of God like it's suppose to be preached, I wouldn't have a problem with it. The reason I had a problem with the all white baptist church is because of all the man-made laws I saw going on in that church from the moment I stepped foot in it. I don't care what race the church is, if they are worshipping according to the RPW and are preaching the law of God and His Gospel in a truthful manner, then I should embrace that church whole-heartedly as my family.

:banghead:

Skip the theological issues. It was an example. The point was the cultural style and differences. MOST people ARE uncomfortable when they feel like they don't fit in...to the extent of feeling unwelcomed.
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
I understand that, LadyFlynt, but church isn't a social group where we try to find our little click. I hear the same complaint amongst white people. For example, many young families won't come to our church because there are not a lot of people in their twenties with whom they can be friends. There's nothing wrong with having friends but one shouldn't discard a church because they won't find friends their age!!! It's completely ridiculous. Now that person is going to a not so good church because she has decided that making friends is more important than solid biblical worship. I caution anyone on choosing a church based on anything earthly. If a church as lots of nationalities, then that's a bonus and I wish all our churches had this. But one shouldn't reject a church because they might be the minority. There is no minority in God's family. We had Native Americans in our church and they felt right at home. They only left so that they could be missionaries to their own people.
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
I understand that, LadyFlynt, but church isn't a social group where we try to find our little click. I hear the same complaint amongst white people. For example, many young families won't come to our church because there are not a lot of people in their twenties with whom they can be friends. There's nothing wrong with having friends but one shouldn't discard a church because they won't find friends their age!!! It's completely ridiculous. Now that person is going to a not so good church because she has decided that making friends is more important than solid biblical worship. I caution anyone on choosing a church based on anything earthly. If a church as lots of nationalities, then that's a bonus and I wish all our churches had this. But one shouldn't reject a church because they might be the minority. There is no minority in God's family. We had Native Americans in our church and they felt right at home. They only left so that they could be missionaries to their own people.

No, it's not supposed to be to find a "clique". However, when the majority of the church seems to be one, do you really want to stick around with people that you sit next to on Sunday, but who otherwise have nothing to do with you/don't seem to understand where you are coming from? What kind of looks would a black man get if he said, "amen!" to something a pastor said.

What SHOULD be and what IS are two different things, unfortunately. And that is the point.


On the Native Americans: one family doesn't represent the whole of the issue. They are the exception.
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
Sorry I spelled clique wrong :). If the whole church is a clique, then I wouldn't call that a reformed church and so that person still needs to search for a reformed church since he hasn't found one. My church is the OPC adn if a black man said amen in our church, he would get the same looks as the white baptist man who just lost his church and is now attending our church gets....not one look since we all agree with his amen because our preacher rocks with his preaching! We just are not vocal as he is but we agree with him. Really, this shouldn't be an issue. My pastor has said time and again that if we started getting other nationalities in our church then our instruments could change to incorporate their tastes too and we don't mind people saying amen but that doesn't mean I have to yell out amen. However, he stated that we would never veer from the RPW and that should always be the point.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
Why? If a person is looking for a reformed church which worships in the RPW and preaches the truth, why would anyone feel uncomfortable? If I went to a Pentecostal church black or white I would feel highly uncomfortable, but that would be because they are not worshipping according to the RPW and most likely their preaching isn't quite up to snuff.

Perhaps you need some cross-cultural experiences. The 'preaching isn't quite up to snuff' comment shows a certain, to put it kindly, lack of knowledge. To some folks, it's OUR preaching that isn't 'up to snuff'. The fact that our teaching may be on a much higher plane may be generally (but not universally) true, but the delivery itself will leave a lot to be desired to folks from other cultural backgrounds.

In addition, for southern Blacks of my generation or older, there is a history of not being able to use water fountains, or restrooms, or restaurants, or doctor's waiting rooms; being physically barred from white churches. And there is always the question as to whether the whites on the pew even want to be sitting next to them. Then add on the cultural differences in worship style, and you can't understand why there might be a level of discomfort?

There is a difference with younger folks, who grew up going to school with (but perhaps sitting at different tables in the lunchroom from) whites. But there are still cultural differences.
 

SemperEruditio

Puritan Board Junior
Sarah,
While visiting a new church have you had a child come up to you and swipe your arm with their finger and wonder out loud why the "dirt" didn't come off?

Have you had someone you've never met at a church your visiting bring you some ice for your lips because they assumed your lips were swollen and "the ice helps with the swelling"?
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
Why? If a person is looking for a reformed church which worships in the RPW and preaches the truth, why would anyone feel uncomfortable? If I went to a Pentecostal church black or white I would feel highly uncomfortable, but that would be because they are not worshipping according to the RPW and most likely their preaching isn't quite up to snuff.

Perhaps you need some cross-cultural experiences. The 'preaching isn't quite up to snuff' comment shows a certain, to put it kindly, lack of knowledge. To some folks, it's OUR preaching that isn't 'up to snuff'. The fact that our teaching may be on a much higher plane may be generally (but not universally) true, but the delivery itself will leave a lot to be desired to folks from other cultural backgrounds.

In addition, for southern Blacks of my generation or older, there is a history of not being able to use water fountains, or restrooms, or restaurants, or doctor's waiting rooms; being physically barred from white churches. And there is always the question as to whether the whites on the pew even want to be sitting next to them. Then add on the cultural differences in worship style, and you can't understand why there might be a level of discomfort?

There is a difference with younger folks, who grew up going to school with (but perhaps sitting at different tables in the lunchroom from) whites. But there are still cultural differences.

I'm sorry but the Pentecostal churches that I attended growing up and even after I was in my twenties didn't know much truth and the man-made elements they put into their churches (speaking in tongues) could curl anyones arm hairs. As for the rest of your comment, I believe that thinking comes from outside of the church. No God-fearing church would discriminate against any race and so if a person goes to a church which snubs them, then they need to find a church which is God-fearing (reformed church which practices the RPW and preaches the Word of God in truth and lives it out) LIKE MY CHURCH! ANY CHURCH WHICH DISCRIMINATES AGAINST OTHER RACES IS NOT A CHURCH. We shouldn't be praying for black preachers to rise up just so that they can have an all black congregation and we shouldn't be praying for white preachers to rise up just so that they can have all white congregations and each of those churches have their own culture....that is racism! However, since I don't seem to be getting my point across I'll stop.
 

Hamalas

whippersnapper
I find some of these comments about "Well you just need to get out more and experience multiracial interactions" presumptive and somewhat degrading. Just because we may not agree with everything you're saying about this issue doesn't mean we are ignorant, sheltered, suburbanites. Please brothers (and sisters) I am not trying to offend! I just want to make sure that we are all showing each other love, grace, and respect in this somewhat sticky topic. I think all of us can grow in our understanding. Some of the problems we are facing with this issue comes from white prejudice, and some of it stems from black bias. But I think the single biggest reason is human ignorance! If we can correct some misconceptions and fill some gaps in our brothers knowledge on this issue then praise be to God! But let's try to do it with tremendous humility and patience. :handshake:
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
Sarah,
While visiting a new church have you had a child come up to you and swipe your arm with their finger and wonder out loud why the "dirt" didn't come off?

Have you had someone you've never met at a church your visiting bring you some ice for your lips because they assumed your lips were swollen and "the ice helps with the swelling"?

SemperEruditio, did these people do this (the ice thing....the child thing is just children being children...I've seen children do much worse things to other people of their own skin color) out of ignorance or out of meanness? If out of ignorance, then educate them. A black friend of mine thought she was giving a compliment out to overweight people when she told them how heavy they were and we just had to tell her that it wasn't a compliment and she stopped. They might have been seriously concerned for you which would show you their love for the brethren. It's hard to believe this is out of ignorance, however. So my advice is to not think that white reformed churches equal racism. Look for a God-fearing church who love God and His people. Who lay down their lives for each other. You would never find racism in my church. I think you might be going to churches that are spiritually dead and filled with dead man's bones! Blessing to you and your search and other people's search for a biblically based church.
 

Simply_Nikki

Puritan Board Junior
I usually don't like responding to threads that deal with race, because sometimes I feel that it is futile and that no one will even try to understand different perspectives... nevertheless I'll attempt to address one thing in particular, since this is the type of thing I am interested in studying.

I of course do not speak for all black people (I prefer the term black rather than African-American), however in my humble opinion, I think that whenever we want to discuss racial issues, we must be candid yet sensitive and open to people's experiences and emotions.

Sara, no Christian should have a problem with "race", it should of course play no part in Christian unity, but race does exist. It is not necessarily evil or sinful to acknowledge that God created people of all ethnicities and colors who developed distinctive cultural differences. The evil with race or "the world's view of race" is that historically, it has been socially constructed to assign value to certain cultures or ethnicities at the expense of oppressing or devaluing others. You say you fear that the church is taking on this worldly view of race.. in my opinion, the church took this worldly view hundreds of years ago when it, as one example, opposed interracial marriages for fear of preservation and dilution.. not of the black race.. but of the white race, a fear perpetrated by eugenic scientists and social darwinists. As a backlash, sinful though it may be, there were black Christians who also did not think it fit to marry whites because of pride, fear, and sepratist sentiments. To this day we see some hesitation to interracial marriages even within the "Reformed" church (take a look at this thread: http://www.puritanboard.com/f103/dating-preference-sin-26340/ ). Of course there are for various reasons for it, but I think had the church took a firm stance against the fallacious claims of world in this area, we probably would not have made such a big deal over it.

This is just one example, but the point is, in worship, we have elevated one style and form of worship (tunes from the 17th and 18th century European composers) over that of other cultural forms of worship. We say that this style we typically see in mostly white reformed churches are the "standard" and is what the RPW should sound like and anything else is "different" and not as pleasing to God, but what many people fail to realize is that this "traditional" style of worship also comes from a cultural perspective, that of Europeanism. Now some may say that maybe the Europeans just had it right, and that they did it the best; therefore we should emulate them in their style and culture. Fair enough, that is one's opinion. I don't know what I could say to one who believes that. But I do wonder where they'd place the style of worship of the Hebrews. :um:

Anywho...the effects of hundreds of years of blatant sin in the area of race, propagated by Christians and non-Christians alike, has taken its tole on many people of color. I believe we are finally beginning to heal and overcome it, and we will continue to do so, as long as we are willing to continue to talk about it and not sweep it under the rug as a dead and gone issue, it still haunts us and the effects of it still present itself in some circumstances.

I feel for the lady who seeks a culturally diverse reformed church, I truly understand the desire to seek that out. If people from every tribe, nation and tongue will be in heaven worshipping God, why do we not see reflections of that vision in many of our church congregations? There is a saying that the most segregated time in America is Sunday mornings, I don't know about you, but this observation brings me to shame and disappointment.

That is all I will say for this thread. I hope what I've said will be received graciously.
 
Last edited:

Hamalas

whippersnapper
Thank you for your post Nikki. However, my original question still stands: Are there specific things we are doing that are alienating our black brothers needlessly? I really do want to know! :)
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
Nikki, you said,
This is just one example, but the point is, in worship, we have elevated one style and form of worship (tunes from the 17th and 18th century european composers) over that of other cultural forms of worship. We say that this style we typically see in mostly white reformed churches are the "standard" and is what the RPW should sound like and anything else is "different" and not as pleasing to God,

This just isn't true in my church (OPC which is very reformed). Again, my pastor has told us time and again that things that have nothing to do with RPW would change if we started getting other nationalities in our church who desired a change. We would incorporate changes that reflect the differences within God's people. It's quite simple really...if you love God and His people racism won't exist. I refuse to believe that my church is the only reformed church which takes on this view. I do believe there are racist churches out there but they are not a church plain and simple. I just don't want to see us dividing ourselves up even more by wanting black preachers to form black only churches or wanting more white preachers to form white only congregations doing this only separates His people and I don't think that's what He would want....maybe that's not what the OP is saying and I have misread.
 

SemperEruditio

Puritan Board Junior
Sarah,
You presume too much about me. My signature should tell you that I am in a church and not searching. You also jumped way over to the conclusion that I believe white reformed churches equal racism...? I do not believe such a thing.

I am intrigued at how you claim I missed an opportunity to teach. I would be interested to know what exactly am I to teach someone who has never met me and assumes my lips are swollen "beyond normal"? I just smiled and said thank you. However I guess I should have explained that there are people with lips which are larger than others and I just happen to be one of those...?

Hi...My name is Frank...and "no" my lips are not swollen this is what is considered normal for an Afro-Cuban..."yes" this is my skin color and it is not dirt..."no" you did not hear me speak in some 'spiritual' tongue but that was in fact Spanish...

-----Added 5/30/2009 at 11:51:30 EST-----

I just don't want to see us dividing ourselves up even more by wanting black preachers to form black only churches or wanting more white preachers to form white only congregations doing this only separates His people and I don't think that's what He would want....maybe that's not what the OP is saying and I have misread.

It is clear you have misread.

Will you join with me in praying that God will raise up more African American leaders? Will you pray that there will be increasing numbers of African Americans interested in Seminary? Will you pray that our present PCA churches will take a strong interest in other ethnic groups so that people will no longer feel alone and isolated? Will you pray that God will tear down the wall of separation so that there will no longer be a need to describe a church as black or white?
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
Sarah,
You presume too much about me. My signature should tell you that I am in a church and not searching. You also jumped way over to the conclusion that I believe white reformed churches equal racism...? I do not believe such a thing.

I am intrigued at how you claim I missed an opportunity to teach. I would be interested to know what exactly am I to teach someone who has never met me and assumes my lips are swollen "beyond normal"? I just smiled and said thank you. However I guess I should have explained that there are people with lips which are larger than others and I just happen to be one of those...?

Hi...My name is Frank...and "no" my lips are not swollen this is what is considered normal for an Afro-Cuban..."yes" this is my skin color and it is not dirt..."no" you did not hear me speak in some 'spiritual' tongue but that was in fact Spanish...

I didn't mean to offend you by stating blessings on your search. I got caught up in writing and forgot that you were trying to find a church for someone else. I truly am sorry. With that said, you shouldn't feel embarrassed about educating ignorant people. You happen to know more than they do and educating them will help them to understand you better. My friend who kept telling some of my other friends how fat they were was ignorant of our culture. We were able to educate her on our culture and she stopped telling them how fat they were. We knew she wasn't trying to be mean and yes it was slightly uncomfortable telling her that she was in the wrong to say such things, but we all became fast friends in the end. Just because you know more about your culture and your race than the people you run into, shouldn't make you feel uncomfortable especially if they are of God's family. I would feel very stupid if I thought something of you which wasn't true and you didn't love me enough to correct me. There's nothing wrong with being up front with people and correcting their misunderstandings. I'm not trying to be mean to you really I'm not. People have misunderstood me and what I really am many times. Educating them on my background and what I really am like has always produced some of my very best friends. None of us (black, white, Mexican, Asian etc) knows everything about every race and sometimes we respond inappropriately to the other race. We should determine if it's done out of ignorance or out of malice. If done out of ignorance, then educate them. If done out of malice, then call then on the carpet and tell them how to act in a more biblical manner. Really, this is the only way to root out those big problems that races have against each other. Again, blessing and peace and yes I will pray that more reformed black and white and all other nationalities of preachers rise up to teach all of us!
 

Simply_Nikki

Puritan Board Junior
Nikki, you said,
This is just one example, but the point is, in worship, we have elevated one style and form of worship (tunes from the 17th and 18th century european composers) over that of other cultural forms of worship. We say that this style we typically see in mostly white reformed churches are the "standard" and is what the RPW should sound like and anything else is "different" and not as pleasing to God,
This just isn't true in my church (OPC which is very reformed). Again, my pastor has told us time and again that things that have nothing to do with RPW would change if we started getting other nationalities in our church who desired a change. We would incorporate changes that reflect the differences within God's people. It's quite simple really...if you love God and His people racism won't exist. I refuse to believe that my church is the only reformed church which takes on this view. I do believe there are racist churches out there but they are not a church plain and simple. I just don't want to see us dividing ourselves up even more by wanting black preachers to form black only churches or wanting more white preachers to form white only congregations doing this only separates His people and I don't think that's what He would want....maybe that's not what the OP is saying and I have misread.

Sara, what I was saying was a general assessment, of course not all specific churches believe this, and it pleases me that your church does not. I also don't think people intentionally say "I'm going to start an all black church" or "I'm going to start an all white church", but nevertheless we still see all black churches and all white churches, the question is why? Of course we can (and should) all point to sin as the ultimate answer and that would be correct, but when we look at immediate reasons, why don't see wee more ethnicly homogeneous congregations? Well we can look at a few things, like the de facto segregated residential patterns and where the church is placed or we can look at what areas of neighborhoods that church reaches out to, or the dominant cultural make-up of that church.

I know i said i wouldn't responda anymore on the thread (haha :oops:) , but let me try to explain it a little better with an anecdote. I went to an all white bible study group at DePaul that was sponsored by the local presbyterian church as an outreach ministry to college campuses. I loved those people, and I'm sure they loved me, but there were times where culture and race became apparently relevant. For example, I desired to participate in the worship music, the problem was I had never heard a hymn or any of the white contemporary christian artists that we sang. I was unfamiliar with this style, but everyone else knew all the songs and would ask me questions like.. "you never heard of this song? You never sang this hymn? You never listened to this band? :duh:" and i'd say.. no i grew up listening to black contemporary christian artists :um: to which of course they never heard before.

I think one of the beneficial things about the hymns and psalms is that they are an equalizing medium and in a way "standardizes" and unifies worship experiences. However, I think perhaps we can do things like.. have variations on certain hymns or different melodies for psalms that sound more like what other cultures may be familiar with. I'm not saying bring out the Jimbe drums and the Sitar.. (though that could be cool lol):lol: but I think things like that would aide in making other cultures feel not just unaliented but also appreciated for their creativity and style in worshipping God. (I think this also answers brother Hamalas's question).

I think it is a perfectly acceptable desire to want to see see reflections of heaven in all its diversity embodied in our praise and worship in our local church congregations. I desire this greatly, and hope everyone here desires to see that as well :).
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
Nikki,
I'm right there with you on the hymn thing! :lol:. I grew up in a Pentecostal church so I didn't know any hymns! I'm slowly learning them, but I am surprised that I can sing along with the ones I don't know! I'm a person who loves music and all kinds of music even reformed rap! But I have to admit that I do appreciate the simple accompaniment of the piano. Of course, that could change in time and I hope I'm very gracious in enjoying whatever change comes. I do really like all the instruments that Sproul has in his services, however. :)
 

Theognome

Burrito Bill
Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
Colossians 3:11

My opinion- if this passage were really being taken seriously by ALL parties, the rest of the post wouldn't have been written.

Theognome
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
Sarah, I wasn't correcting your spelling, dear ;) I was just emphasizing the word.

There is a difference between a minority in a church being corrected by the majority (not speaking racially here, but culturally) vs a minority in a church correcting the majority. He would have created great embarrassment for the person offering him water and since there weren't 20 of him for her to do that to, it was best to let it go. In your friend's case, it was something she was doing to all those around her.

:sigh:

Sarah, do you not realise that some view CERTAIN styles of worship, including the music choices, to be part of the RPW? We had this issue within the EP churches. Some were seen as "not fully or properly" singing the Psalms because of the tune selection! *Reformed Denomination A has several familiar tunes used. *Reformed Denomination B has tunes that are older and more attuned to 17th and 18th century *White European Country (which, at more than a few parts, is difficult to master). It's like (not is, just like) saying that we SHOULD be using shaped notes instead of round. By this standard, some in *B felt/acted as though the *A was not "holding true" to EP and the RPW. (people on this board can't even agree with what is RPW and what isn't! I've been around enough years to know!)

(*names of denominations withheld to keep me out of trouble, it doesn't matter, and for those that it matters, then to protect their identity :p )



There are just as many white people, that if the style were to change to outside their cultural norms/expections, would leave and go elsewhere. You're church is also just ONE church. Your ideals and intentions are good! But we are talking about how to deal with the reality of a situation, what the causes are, and how to overcome the hurdles. You can't just tell everyone to "get over themselves" (and I know you didn't say that like that...but in so many words, that is what it boils down to ;) ).

Also, some people can handle the loneliness of being in a church to worship and ignored the rest of the time...no fellowship, no understanding, etc. Not many people can. Just as much as church isn't supposed to be about "finding friends and cliques", it IS about fellowship. And you are suggesting they continue attending for worship, but lack of fellowship doesn't matter? (I don't think you are, but that is the conclusion of one of your posts...that it shouldn't keep them from attending)
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
nevertheless I'll attempt to address one thing in particular, since this is the type of thing I am interested in studying.

Thank you for so eloquently stating that which I was being unsuccessful in communicating in my posts on this thread.

And for all the others on this thread. I apologize for my tone in this discussion. I was getting quite frustrated in my inability to communicate.
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
But you did correct my spelling and for that I'm glad...I learned something. There's nothing wrong with learning... I can't know how to spell every word.

As far as music styles being apart of the RPW I would have to disagree with them, and I would have to say that this isn't really a race thing. Even I wouldn't want to be in a EP church if I could choose my church instead. However, if the EP was the only one around then I would go to it as long as they really did uphold the RPW and preached the truth. I wouldn't sacrifice those two things and go to a church who did not uphold the RPW and biblical teaching just so that I could hear hymns/songs with instruments. This will probably knock your socks off, but if the only reformed church within 100 miles around me made women cover....I would go to it than go to one which didn't uphold the RPW and didn't have biblical teachings! :eek: I'll let you savor that one! :lol: I never said that fellowship wasn't important. I said that it was less important than having a church which follows the RPW and correct teachings. My friend who is in her twenties refuses to go to my church because there are not very many people of that age, and instead chooses to go to a church which doesn't follow the RPW and has less than good teachings. There are other young families who are in their 30's that she could easily be friends with and have fellowship with. There are not any who are of my decade of birth in my church but I still am able to fellowship with those who are younger and older than me. This seems like an excuse to me, really. If someone is feeling ignored (which doesn't happen in my church cuz they hound you to come to their house for dinner :lol:) and really are being ignored, then I have to again wonder if they are going to a church filled with God's people. God's people reach out to each other and lay their lives down for each other they don't ignore each other.
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
I'm not sure who wrote which hymn much less the race, but if they proclaim the Word of God it doesn't matter to me which race wrote them. Does it matter to you? Isn't God suppose to be getting all the glory anyway and not man?

But have you noticed that apparently the only hymns that proclaim the Word were written by white people with soft, slow melodies?

That is probably not the case, but in my church it is!



Nikki,
I'm right there with you on the hymn thing! :lol:. I grew up in a Pentecostal church so I didn't know any hymns! I'm slowly learning them, but I am surprised that I can sing along with the ones I don't know! I'm a person who loves music and all kinds of music even reformed rap! But I have to admit that I do appreciate the simple accompaniment of the piano. Of course, that could change in time and I hope I'm very gracious in enjoying whatever change comes. I do really like all the instruments that Sproul has in his services, however. :)

There is so much in this thread.

In our church, which is in a city, there would be the threesies-foursies. (Families, not individuals.) I didn't know what to think of that, or if I was allowed to think about that, until during Sunday School a month or so ago when we were discussing worship and the RPW, and one of the black men mentioned how he loves our church but knows that the worship style is not his preference and wonders why we do only sing old hymns in old styles. I don't want to slander him or put words into his mouth, but I think he may have used the word boring. And I don't think that would be a sin to complain in that way. He definitely was saying that the style of music he enjoys is absent from our church.

We could claim RPW, which thankfully my church did not. The elder teaching the lesson admitted that though the RPW allows for other songs and arrangements, we don't have the talent or the willing-talent to go beyond the piano-led European hymns. (Not a debate about RPW--obviously the PCA believes that accompanied hymns are RPW, and so, our church cannot confine that to old white guys, specific rhythms and the piano.)

Now I personally would dislike a more exciting worship service, because I personally am into the most minimal, chill, folk-rock type music. I do not know what rhythm is, nor do I have any interest in finding out. But I know this is my preference. I really do LOVE singing a theologically strong hymn accompanied by an acoustic guitar (which we don't do because we have no guitarist). And I would be uncomfortable singing the same hymn if it was upbeat. I just don't like upbeat music. So if I went to worship in a black church or a multi-ethnic one, I would probably be wishing for the music of the old frozen chosen. And of course I wouldn't leave the service or anything, but I could see wanting to find a church that had chiller music.

In fact, we visited one church before landing at our church that did have more instrumentation and we did not return!! We didn't try to make an argument from Scripture against drums (they weren't even loud!) but it just did not feel like home to us. If that were the only PCA church, or we felt that the preaching was the best, we would have gone and worshiped there again. But in our area, we have many PCA churches and sought one out that we liked both preaching and worship style. I think anyone would do this, with choices available...maybe based on something else, like having similar peers, but we do want to feel comfortable in our church.

I personally can see why this article/prayer request was written and I thank you for posting it!
 

raekwon

Puritan Board Junior
To me, Rev. Plummer's prayer request seems to boil down to mission and incarnation. In the same way that God became man to minister to man. Not only did he become man, but he became man in a particular place and ministered to a particular people. He took on their culture and their customs. In the same way, the PCA is seeking black pastors and church planters to minister in black communities. Is this to say that white (or for that matter, Asian, or Native American, or Latino) pastors are unable to minister effectively in those communities? Of course not! But still, this seems (to me) to be a case of wanting to meet people where they are and incarnate the Gospel there, just as Jesus did for first-century Israel.

Ain't nothin' wrong with that.
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
To me, Rev. Plummer's prayer request seems to boil down to mission and incarnation. In the same way that God became man to minister to man. Not only did he become man, but he became man in a particular place and ministered to a particular people. He took on their culture and their customs. In the same way, the PCA is seeking black pastors and church planters to minister in black communities. Is this to say that white (or for that matter, Asian, or Native American, or Latino) pastors are unable to minister effectively in those communities? Of course not! But still, this seems (to me) to be a case of wanting to meet people where they are and incarnate the Gospel there, just as Jesus did for first-century Israel.

Ain't nothin' wrong with that.

Would you be willing to say that those who are EP are not willing to incarnate the gospel to the surrounding community?

CT
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top