March 14, 2012

Seven Feelings Rise In My Heart

I've received a double punch in my studies over the last couple of weeks.  The first punch came from my study in Ephesians for last week's sermon.  Eph. 2:11-22 deals with race relations and its connection to the cross.  The second punch came through Bloodlines by John Piper.  I received the book as a gift from my wife for Christmas, but didn't pick it up to start reading until I was preparing for the sermon.  I thought it might add some extra insight into my perspective of this passage.

This two-punch combination left me filled with a whirling turmoil of thoughts and feelings in regards to race relations in America.  More importantly, it has stirred up some emotions in regards to race relations in Danville, IL.

Here is a quote from Bloodlines that both explains and furthers my thoughts on this subject:
When I step back from this controversy over personal responsibility versus political and community engagement with systematic racism, I have at least seven different clusters of thoughts and feelings. 
First, I feel regret for my own sinful contributions to the seemingly intractable problems of race relations between black and white in our land.  Second, I feel sorrow over cycles of despair and hopelessness, and over the ruin of so many lives.  Third, I feel anger at the sins I see on every part of the landscape of race relations and race discussions and racial intervention -- all sides.  None of us is righteous, no, not one (Rom. 3:10).  Fourth, I feel frustration over the untold layers of complexity that make every proposal for improvement seem thanklessly embattled.  I empathize with Harvard social scientist Nathan Glazer when he says that behind the racial troubles of our day are "factors in infinite regress."  Fifth, I feel empathy with the truth and the emotion of both sides of the controversy.  Sixth, I feel a great longing to see the gospel of Jesus proclaimed, with the power of the Holy Spirit, into this situation and this controversy.  And seventh, because of the power of the gospel, I feel hope that there are breakthroughs possible that human strategies from either side have not achieved.

 Here is last week's message at Edgewood where I attempted to expound on Ephesians 2:11-22 in regards to race and the cross.


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If you would like to hear a much better sermon on this topic, here is a link to a Piper sermon on Ephesians 2:11-22:  click here.

You can also download Bloodlines for free from Desiring God: click here.

Or the short documentary based on Bloodlines: