You are currently viewing archive for August 2007
Category: Social
Posted by: RBAFounderMM

Whether viewed from a doctrinal standpoint or observed for the people, decisions and ideology that form its ranks, reformed believers in America constitute a social and religious community (used loosely). In observation of any religious community, one may ask, “In what way do religious communities make sense?” Who would ask such a question? It would probably be people on the boundary-the boundary between the expectations of the particular community and the expectations which they have of themselves and others.

Some individuals in the reformed tradition of course, feel so secure in this religious community that they do not consciously ask this question. Others feel so alienated from the reformed tradition that they cannot imagine how such a tradition and community can make sense. But many believers who happen to be reformed stand on the boundary: the reformed community attracts them, they may even participate in it; but we also wonder if it makes sense.

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Category: Culture
Posted by: RBAFounderX
Posted on: 08/24/07:

What Black Men Think

Category: Black
Posted by: RBAFounderX
In case you haven't heard, there is a new film called, What Black Men Think. The film attempts to debunk many of the stereotypes and myths about Black men. I definitely want to see it because I don't even know what I think as a Black man half time. But seriously, has anyone seen this yet? I've read some reviews. I just hope it is beyond the normal political propaganda from the left or the right.

The Washington Post has a writeup here.

In 2005, according to the Census Bureau, there were 864,000 black men in college. According to Justice Department statistics, there were 802,000 in federal and state prisons and jails, "even with the old heads holding on," Morton says.

Between the ages of 18 and 24, however, black men in college outnumber those incarcerated by 4 to 1.

Still, the idea that the reverse is true stems from an image that has been perpetuated, Morton says, by the government, the media and the black leadership, whoever they are.

So you ask him to ask the white men sitting behind him at the restaurant.

"I'm not worried about them," he says. "My point is I'm worried about us and what we think about ourselves."
The video that started it all:

Here's a video from the site of people's opinion about the film:
Posted on: 08/22/07:

Michael Vick: I Had To Comment!

Category: Culture
Posted by: minruth
Michael Vick & Pitbull

If you are reading this, Michael Vick has already accepted a deal to plead guilty and there is speculation that he will serve eight months to a year in prison.

First of all, it concerns me when a case like this dominates the headlines; it makes me wonder what important news we are actually missing. For instance, our national tabloid media covered the fund raising of the 2008 presidential candidates, highlighting that Obama pulled in 30 million dollars in one quarter, but there was no coverage informing the public from whence that money came and therefore exposing the public to whom Obama would be beholden if elected president. So every minute we log watching the fabulous life of Michael Vick (go up in flames?) something is being missed that REALLY matters! Second, it is clear now that the American media is motivated by avarice for high ratings rather than by the public service of keeping the people informed with news that matters; our nefarious media preys on a credulous public! The irresponsibility of our media insidiously weakens our judicial system, particularly the notion that American citizens are innocent until proven guilty! Does anyone remember Duke? Does anyone remember Kobe? Does anyone remember Ray Lewis? FOR GOD SAKE, does anyone remember Dan Rather? It does not matter whether Michael Vick has pleaded guilty or whether someone settles out of court, the media’s reckless coverage indoctrinates the public with regimented ideas that subvert due process and denies the accused of the possibility of an uncontaminated jury pool! For this reason many accused parties accept plea bargains and settlements regardless of actual innocence. We seriously need to have a public debate about producing legislation to restrict media coverage of legal cases; the very integrity of our legal system is at stake! While one may not view pre-trial media super coverage as jury tampering, one must at least admit that the jury pool is drastically reduced and having already heard arguments about the case, drastically polluted.

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Posted on: 08/20/07:

Black Weblog Awards Finalists

Category: RBA
Posted by: RBA
Black Weblog Award Finalist

Thank you for your nominations! The results are back and we have great news. Reformed Blacks of America's blog is a finalist for 2 categories: Best Faith-Based Blog and Best Group Blog.

This presents a great opportunity for more interaction between other Blacks, Christian and non-Christian alike, and Blacks doing reformed theology in creative and exciting ways. Therefore, we need you all to show up and vote one last time so that we can win our two categories. So if you did not vote the first time, you have one last chance.

Please take just a few minutes to vote for Reformed Blacks of America's blog to be the winner of the Best Faith-Based Blog and Best Group Blog at before August 31st. Vote now before you forget!
Category: Culture
Posted by: RBAFounderX
Summer is almost over! But if you are trying to get the last bit of summer vacationing in, visit the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture to make sure your educational component isn't left out. They have an exhibit, Stereotypes vs. Humantypes: Images of Blacks in the 19th and 20th Centuries that is worth checking out in light of the media circus over the last several months from Tony Dungy, O.J., Barry Bonds to Michael Vick.

Exhibit info:
For much of the 19th and early 20th centuries, stereotypical images of people of African descent dominated the public media, especially in the United States. Black men, women and children were portrayed as "coons," "mammies," and "pickaninnies" in the press, in children's and comic books, in marketing and advertising promotions, as well as film and television. Many of these mythological images persist today in the public consciousness and public eye. This exhibition uses vintage photographs of black people, as well as representational paintings, sculptures and other artworks to challenge these mythological images and present accurate, humanistic depictions of these maligned black folk. It also poses the question of why certain whites in western culture found it necessary to create such stereotypical images of their human forbearers.
And if you decide to go, drop a brutha a line. I might wanna carpool, if you live in or coming through Philly...ha, ha.
Posted on: 08/17/07:

Jim Crow lives on in America

Category: Social
Posted by: RBAFounderX
Jim Crow lives on in America
By David A. Love

Racism and Jim Crow are alive and well in America. The recent conviction of a black teenager, and the indictment of five others in Jena proves that.

It all started when a black student sought permission from school administrators to sit under the "white tree," a tree at the high school where white students normally gathered. School officials told him to sit where he liked. So, on Aug. 31, 2006, some black students decided to sit under it.

The next day, three white students hung three nooses from the tree, prompting a protest under the tree by the school's black students. Later that day, LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters, accompanied by police, told the black students they were making too much of the "prank."

"I can be your best friend or your worst enemy," Walters reportedly told the students. "I can take away your lives with a stroke of my pen."

The school principal had recommended expulsion for the white students who hung the nooses, but the superintendent of schools overruled his decision and gave the white students only three-day suspensions.

Racial tensions heated up, and one of the black students, Robert Bailey Jr., was beaten by a white teen for attending an all-white off-campus party that Bailey reportedly was invited to.

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Category: General
Posted by: RBAFounderX

Maximizing Ethnically Diverse Relationships

From my experiences in attending evangelical conferences, there has always been a problem of diversification on many levels, including race relations. But before dealing with how Whites should relate to Blacks, particularly in a conference setting, we need to address the fundamental question/assumption that underlies any racial/ethnic diversity discussion: what is the nature and role of (ethnically diverse) human relationships?

First, it is important to discuss briefly what ethnic diversity is not. It is not a predominate representation of one racial/ethnic group among another ethnicity. Second, ethnic diversity is not evidenced in merely the acknowledgment of the presence of various ethnicities, but rather ethnic diversity is the acknowledgment of the unique value of various ethnicities. Third, ethnic diversity is not the recapturing of every ethnicity under one roof, but the recognition and maximization of their unique purpose and gift under any roof.

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Posted on: 08/10/07:

Black Weblog Awards Nomination

Category: RBA
Posted by: RBA
Black Weblog Awards logo

It is now time to show your support for RBA's blog articles by casting your ballot for Reformed Blacks of America. Please take about 2 minutes to nominate Reformed Blacks of America's blog by entering
" " for the following categories below at

Best Faith-Based Blog
Best Group Blog
Blog to Watch
Blog of the Year.

We appreciate your support as soon as possible before the voting is over. So cast your vote now!

The RBA Team
Category: History
Posted by: alex
Charles Hodge

I. Introduction

Charles Hodge was a leading nineteenth century theologian and has been described as one ably equipped to speak on any subject of his day.[1] And speak he did, he wrote almost one-hundred and fifty articles for Princeton’s Biblical Repertory and Princeton Review addressing most, if not every, major issue of his day. Since Hodge had to navigate many new issues uniquely allowed for by a diverse and youthful nation, he proves himself to be quite a commendable figure. However, Hodge was forced to comment on perhaps the most controversial issue in American history. The issue was the involuntary enslavement of Africans in the United States.

While commendation might be in order for his intellectual labors and broad ranging accomplishments, analysis and assessment of his position on the critical issue of slavery is equally pertinent for understanding Charles Hodge. Traditionally it has been the case that Hodge has been either scorned or venerated,[2] but the proposal of this paper suggests an understanding Hodge’s views of slavery reveal his evil and goodness, as well as an ultimate rejection of simplistic one-sided categorization. In this paper we will examine Charles Hodge’s understanding of the function of providence with regard to Scripture, humanity, church, and civil government, and how these issues shaped and influenced his views on slavery.

There are many issues inevitably raised in addressing highly sensitive and controversial concerns of the past. One example of these difficulties relative to our present concern is the unavoidable imposition of a contemporary ethic or theological ideology onto a past socio-intellectual landscape. Evaluating the issue of slavery in the nineteenth century through the lens of a contemporary ethic might produce an unhelpfully charged vigor inhibiting us from viewing the context as accurately as we might. On the other hand, the temptation of Calvinism seems to be a theological complacency which allows for gross injustices to take place from both within and without the Church. In the present paper we will seek to avoid both vices, while not denying a commitment to both traditional Reformed theology and at the same time abhorring the Reformed advocacy of slavery. For this dilemma Charles Hodge has left us with invaluable counsel equally helpful for understanding him as a person and the views he expressed: “Unmixed good or evil, however, in such a world as ours, remains a very rare thing.”[3]

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Posted on: 08/02/07:

Remembering Baldwin

Category: History
Posted by: RBAFounderX
James Baldwin

Today James Baldwin would have been 83 years old. He was such a towering (literary, public, creative) figure in so many ways in this country.

Here are a few quotations:

“The people who call themselves ‘born again’ today have simply become members of the richest, most exclusive private club in the world, a club that the man from Galilee could not possibly hope – or wish – to enter.”

“Lincoln’s intention was not to ‘free’ the slaves but to ‘destabilize’ the Confederate Government by giving their slaves reason to ‘defect.’ The Emancipation Proclamation freed, precisely, those slaves who were not under the authority of the President of what could not yet be insured as a Union.”

“He may be a very nice man. But I haven’t got the time to figure that out. All I know is, he’s got a uniform and a gun and I have to relate to him that way. That’s the only way to relate to him.”

“Because I was born in a Christian culture, I never considered myself to be totally a free human being. In my own mind, and in fact, I was told by Christians what I could do and what I could become and what my life was worth. Now, this means that one’s concept of human freedom is in sense frozen or strangled at the root. This has to do, of course, with the fact that though he was born in Nazareth under a very hot sun, and though we know that he spent his life beneath that sun, the Christ I was presented with was presented to me with blue eyes and blond hair, and all the virtues to which I, as a black man, was expected to aspire had, by definition, to be white. This may seem a very simple thing and from some points of view it might even seem to be a desirable thing. But in fact what it did was make me very early, make us, the blacks, very early distrust our own experiences and refuse, in effect, to articulate that experience to the Christians who were our oppressors. That was a great loss for me, as a black man. I want to suggest that it was also a great loss for you, as white people.”

“But those songs we sang, and sing, our dances and the way we talk to each other, betray a terrifying pain, a pain so great that most Westerners, are simply baffled by it and paralysed by it, because they do not dare imagine what it would be like to be a black father, and what a black father would have to tell a black son in order for the black son to live at all.”

Category: History
Posted by: minruth
Reformation & Culture of Persuasion

Reformation & Culture of Persuasion
Reformation and the Culture of Persuasion. Andrew Pettegree. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. 237 pp. $25.99. ISBN 0-521-60264-5.


Andrew Pettegree is professor of Modern History and founding director of the Reformation Studies Institute at St. Andrews University. It was his work as an editor of the St Andrews Studies in Reformation History Series that first arrested my attention and the focus of this book as expressed through its title that further engaged my interest. As he points out in his preface, the work seems to bring together a central theme of his career, in his words “the extraordinarily innovative manner in which the Reformation made its appeal for public support, and the manner, perhaps very different, in which this appeal was received.” One should note that among his administrative and otherwise scholarly duties, Dr. Pettegree is the director of a collaborative project on the French Vernacular Book, before 1601 being undertaken by the St Andrews Reformation Studies Institute.

The first chapter, which is fundamentally an introduction to the book, is entitled The Dynamics of Conversion. In what has been deemed the first chapter of this book the author ask several questions that, prior to reading the book was to me quite interesting, however, upon completing a reading of the book I learned to be of tremendous importance and perhaps taken for granted. Why did people choose the Reformation? What was it in the evangelical teaching that excited, moved or persuaded them? How, and by what process, did people arrive at the new understandings that prompted a change of allegiance, and embedded them in their new faith? He then proceeds to present the phenomenon of conversion in the opening paragraph as being conscious and in the face of great resistance. Here and throughout the book he toggles between the realities of the pre-Reformation era and those of its first generation and its latter generations. He points out that the first generation of converts to this “new order which was untested and largely unknown” would be confronted impudently with a painful decision not akin to the haphazard changing of churches that the twenty-first century Occidental would be familiar with. Pettegree makes his reader very much aware of the isolation, persecution and threat associated with first generation conversion to Reformational ideals, something he devotes a paragraph length to at least three times in the chapter alone. Pettegree then provides an interesting figure depicting the Protestant conversion process along with several examples of Reformers who emphasized and perhaps dramatized their personal conversion experiences as a means of transferring the focus of the movement from the inherent ramifications of accepting this new paradigm to the “motivating power of theology, particularly Luther’s teaching of Justification by Faith Alone.” Prior to closing out the introductory chapter the author summarizes the chapters that will follow.

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