With an increasing number of Christian writers arguing that a significant gap exists between black and white Christians, the latest findings from a significant ongoing study of religion and race in America offers some hard statistics—and suggest that polarization is increasing.
In the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting, CT noted the growing gap in how black and white Christians now think about race. Researched by Michael Emerson of Rice University and David Sikkink of Notre Dame (and released by the Association of Religion Data Archives), the second wave of the Portraits of American Life Study found that divergent perceptions on race among black and white Christians have continued to widen since 2006.
We should find balance. We may fail, but we should keep trying. We should not recede from the public square and a growing number of conservatives are showing more willingness to drive from the public square those who urge greater measures of Christian grace and charity than they prefer.
Here is the paragraph where Dr. Pruett reveals what for many may be a transformative bit of information about prayer “in the Name of Jesus” :
What is the significance of praying in Jesus’ name? In the Bible, a person’s name represents his or her nature. Praying in Jesus’ name doesn’t mean asking for a Ferrari and tacking on the magic words “in Jesus’ name.” It means presenting requests that resonate with Jesus’ character, praying “for his name’s sake” prayers that advance his plans for the earth–in other words, proclaiming Kingdom of God-oriented prayers.
He goes on to explain:
“Jesus’ name comes from the Hebrew root word meaning ‘to save.’ Praying in Jesus’ name literally means praying about obeying Jesus’ command to bring his salvation to each person and to the ends of the earth. Prayers in Jesus’ name center on the desire to see people far from God coming to know, love, follow, and obey Jesus.” (p.20)
And his thesis is that it is these prayers in Jesus’ name that God has promised to “do whatever you ask”–not just any prayer.
I have a confession to make. It’s embarrassing and humbling, but I’m willing to make it publicly: I’m not always excited about reading and studying the Bible.
I go through periods of what I would call spiritual boredom, when the “old, old story” just isn’t very exciting to me. On my worst days, reading God’s Word feels burdensome to me, and my heart is motivated more by duty than worshipful joy.
When I hit these periods, there are 3 things I require myself to remember…
The Church of Christ has done and is doing some great things. At the same time, we have done many wrong-headed, incorrect, ungodly things. We need to recognize this fact, and admit to ourselves and the world that we are as fallible as any church ever.
The difference is starkly obvious. The Muslim presence is very much where it was, but what was the “heathen” territory is now overwhelmingly Christian.
In raw numbers, over the past century, around half of Africa’s population transferred their allegiance from primal faiths to one of the monotheistic religions. And of that number, Christians outnumber Muslims four to one.
- We are mortal and live in a diseased and death environment
- We are foolish and make poor decisions
- We are connected to and injured by others
- We are vulnerable and suffer from man’s inhumanity to man
- We are righteous and darkness hates light
We’ve actually developed a system that automatically sends mixed signals to kids as they mature. Parents drive a car with bumper stickers that say: “My Kid Is Awesome. My Child Is Super Kid of the Month. My Kid Is an Honor Student. I even saw a bumper sticker that said: “My Kid Is Better than Your Kid.” We subtly send them the message: “You’re incredible. Just be nice. Stay within the boundaries and you’ll be rewarded.” Then we place them in institutions that are industrialized, where if they simply follow the rules, keep their nose clean, make a decent grade and follow the advice of the career guidance counselor—their dreams should work out fine.