You are currently viewing archive for January 2008
Category: RBA
Posted by: RBAFounderX


It’s been more than 70 years ago since Carter G. Woodson wrote the classic, The Mis-Education of the Negro. Educational opportunities for Blacks have been transformed probably more than he would have imagined. Having such opportunities have undoubtedly afforded many Blacks passage to unforeseen heights.

Today, we have an unprecedented number of black owned businesses, CEOs, individuals in middle to high-level management in different areas, such as government, education, and religious settings. In fact, we have more trained Black clergy than ever. However, given all the black advancement and achievement in those areas of life, I am afraid in my estimation that we have yet to see the full potential of Blacks, particularly in theology.

Although, there are a growing number of conservative Black seminary students and Black Reformed folks in general, this is an illusion of meaningful progress. The progression I have in mind is not merely an increasing aggregation of Blacks in each field, but rather Blacks advancing their respective field. Even though, we have more Blacks attending seminary (still in disproportionate numbers), we are not producing seminal Black theologians/thinkers, specifically from reformed and/or evangelical seminaries.

Of course, there are a number of reasons that have been offered to explain this phenomenon, such as a lack of scholarships, Black faculty, Black applicants, cultural insensitivity, and so on. There is no question that these factors are important and need serious attention by most reformed and evangelical seminaries. But I want to suggest an alternative explanation to this problem. I want to argue with Woodson, as my conversation partner, that we as Reformed Negroes have been miseducated by these respective institutions and their debilitating ideologies to such a degree that, unless something radically changes, it will continue to retard a healthy production of Black Reformed theologians/thinkers who are self-conscious, socratic and constructive.

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Category: General
Posted by: RBA
Part 1 of 2

Part 2 of 2:

1. What are some of the cautions and warnings you would communicate to Blacks who decide to enter an evangelical seminary?

This is a difficult question to address. Before going into some particulars, I need to mention some preliminary points. First, in the midst of the things I want to share, I must caution that these things do not apply to everyone in an evangelical seminary setting. I certainly want to be fair. This leads to a second consideration, that being that so much in matters of race are measured by intention. “I do not intend to be prejudiced, or racist, therefore everything I do or say, even if problematic, should be seen against the backdrop of my “intention.” This can create the atmosphere that basically says, that there may be problems, but because they are not intended, they can be acknowledged but not directly confronted. If particular conversations are mentioned that cause some African American students to feel uncomfortable, or put down, they are not intended. What such people fail to consider is the effects, despite their “intentions.” Intention is one thing, but results, or perpetuation of negative elements of the community, have to be confronted. From what I can determine, evangelicals hang out with evangelicals, often of their own race. How do they come to see themselves differently, or begin to see the perspectives of others, particularly the marginalized in the community?

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Category: Misc.
Posted by: RBAFounderX
The black elite: Who's in? Who's out? Who cares?
Controversy swirls around upcoming book chronicling leading families
By Ernie Suggs

Lawrence Otis Graham gets the question all the time.

"Are you bougie?"

For the uninitiated, the word is derived from "bourgeois," and it's gained currency in the black culture, both as a compliment or as an insult for those aspiring to a higher class.

As a black man with degrees from Princeton and Harvard who uses "summer" as a verb to explain what he does on Martha's Vineyard, and who has written extensively about society and class, Graham is used to the question.

"Do I think that there are people who call me that? Yes," Graham said. "But bougie is middle-class, and I have risen beyond that. I would be lying if I described myself as bougie."

No matter what you call him, Graham knows how to spark a debate.

Graham is touring the country for a series of interviews for his upcoming book, "The Our Kind of People 800 Register."

It will be the first national directory of the richest and most socially elite black families and people in America.

Graham said the book is a natural sequel to his "Our Kind of People: Inside America's Black Upper Class," which looked at the history and traditions of the black elite. He said the new book, due this fall, is an attempt to do what whites have done, which is identify and catalog their social elite.

"The first book talked about the lifestyle," he said. "But many people said, 'You neglected to mention the so-and-so family in Charleston.' So, let me tell you who they are and how they got their money. I am going city by city, family by family, credential by credential."

Oprah Winfrey, Black Enterprise Publisher Earl Graves and Johnson Publishing's Linda Johnson Rice likely will make the list.

Russell Simmons, Michael Jordan and Tyler Perry, three of the richest black men in America, probably won't.

Atlanta's Usher or Jermaine Dupri? Don't even think about it. A headline in a recent press release announcing the book read: "Who's In: Black Doctors, Lawyers, Bankers & Rich Socialites; Who's Out: Baby Mamas, Basketballers & Ghetto Rap Stars."

"I know it is going to upset people, but I have an important goal in mind, " Graham said in a recent interview. "This is about more than finding the 800. I am also trying to address the negative images that seem to pervade the media and mind-set. The only black success stories we seem to want to embrace are athletes, comedians and entertainers."

Which creates this paradox: While Black Entertainment Television founder Bob Johnson might make it, Jay-Z, whose music helped build the BET empire, will not.

"People like Oprah and Bill Cosby shouldn't be compared to Jay-Z and Beyonce," Graham said. "While all the people on the list will be millionaires and billionaires, it is also about where did you go to school? Who are you married to? What med school did your granddaddy go to?"
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Category: Church
Posted by: RBAFounderX
Senator’s Inquiry Into Megachurch Money Hypocrisy Sparks Church-State Showdown
By Rob Boston

The New Testament reports that Jesus rarely used fancy modes of transportation to get around. He walked most of the time, although Matthew and other gospels mention that he once rode a borrowed donkey into Jerusalem, where he burst into the Temple and tossed out the money changers.

Nearly 2,000 years later, some who claim to speak in Jesus’ name are taking a different view. Consider Bishop Eddie Long, who pastors a megachurch in Lithonia, Ga. With a salary approaching $1 million a year and a nine-bathroom mansion situated on 20 acres, Long’s choice of vehicles reflects his opulent lifestyle: He drives a $350,000 Bentley.

Far from casting out money changers, Long is likely to join them. In a 2005 profile in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, he defended his high-flying ways, insisting, “I pastor a multimillion dollar congregation. You’ve got to put me on a different scale than the little black preacher sitting over there that’s supposed to be just getting by because the people are suffering.”

Long’s lack of humility has probably done him no favors. At the time, U.S. Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), expressed dismay.

“When I hear about leaders of charities being provided a $300,000 Bentley to drive around in, my fear is that it’s the taxpayers who subsidize this charity who are really being taken for a ride,” he quipped.

In November, Grassley, who serves as ranking minority member on the Senate Finance Committee, ramped things up a bit. He announced that he is seeking detailed financial information from six mega-ministries, Long’s among them.
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Category: Politics
Posted by: RBAFounderX
How black America can revive Obama's campaign
By Melissa Harris-Lacewell

So much for the post-race horse race. The exit polls in New Hampshire were accurate for the Republicans and for the second-tier Democrats. The only miscalculation was the amount of support for Obama. That miscalculation is about race. Iowa caucus-goers stood by Barack, in part, because when voting with their bodies, in front of their neighbors, Iowans are held accountable. In the quiet, solitary space of the voting booth, some New Hampshire voters abandoned Barack.

The reasons are not simple. Some media believe that women voters want a woman president. But there is not a substantial gender gap in American politics. Historically, white women voters are as likely to be Democrats as Republicans; as likely to vote for male candidates as for female; and as likely to describe themselves as conservative or liberal. It is not as simple as gender solidarity. Some observers will argue that naked racism explains Tuesday’s result. But that argument ignores the thousands of white women and men who built Obama’s local organization in New Hampshire and worked tirelessly on his behalf for months.

The New Hampshire results are a reminder of why Obama’s strategy is so new and difficult. He is asking voters to believe that although he has a “funny” name and does not look like them, he is nonetheless like them. He is asking voters to peer through the veil of America’s racial history and actually see him. It is a hard thing to do. When Hillary Clinton’s eyes welled up with the strain of the campaign, she evoked immediate recognition from many white women of her generation. “Oh, yes,” they thought, “I remember feeling like that.” Former President Bill Clinton rallied angrily for his wife, as he claimed that the media were picking on her while being soft on Obama. This is a familiar American narrative of race and gender, and it resonated with thousands of New Hampshire voters. Clinton cried about being attacked in the debates, but there are no public tears shed for the strain Obama must feel as a result of death threats, which caused the doubling of his Secret Service detail.
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Posted on: 01/09/08:

Abortion Questions: 2 Examples

Category: General
Posted by: RBAFounderX
As far as I can tell these days, more questions and discussion need to take place by religious pro-life proponents of which I am an advocate. Here are a few questions: how can evangelicals (including Reformed folks) take the “moral high” ground by being pro-life while also minimizing and neglecting moral socio-economic injustices that usually lead to abortions? Shouldn’t Christians be equally concerned about those issues too if they truly love their neighbor just like Jesus taught?

In other words, does it matter at all that Michelle who lives in the suburbs have access to private health facilities, social network and financial means to pay for an abortion that no one will ever know about versus Mary who lives in the inner city, cannot receive health insurance, lives on or below the poverty line with two kids on a job that does not pay her fair and life sustainable wage, which virtually forces her to go to a public health clinic (where she will become a statistic unlike Michelle) to get an abortion because she cannot manage nor afford to take care now 3 kids in her current socio-economic conditions?

Is abortion so black and white that nothing else matters, especially for the Christian who ought to care about bringing redemption to all the brokenness in the world and its systems? So does anyone see anything different and/or wrong about these two situations with Michelle and Mary as it relates to the abortion discussion among Christians?

Co-Founder Xavier Pickett

Related: Abortion on Balance
Category: Theology
Posted by: RBAFounderMM

Humans have found many ways to gain an understanding of that which is meaningful to them. By taking a look at humanity’s attempts to understand meaningful things, we can better comprehend how our God has equipped and provided insight to humans as relational images of Him. One of the most important ways we gain a better understanding of God, our world and ourselves is by developing numerous perspectives on a particular theme. Within the bounds of our own human attempts today, it is granted that some attempts will be erroneous; but some perspectives provide wonderful insight and meaning for our Christian lives. By approaching a subject or object from different angles, we are able to gain greater understanding about that which is being observed.

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