The other day I got an email from a friend on how he was getting frustrated and tired of reading books and hearing lectures on Eurocentric theology and church history. He wanted to have some color injected into his Bible college and seminary education.
It’s a story I’m all too familiar with. By the end of seminary, most people are screaming at the top of their lungs, “Let me out!” But they press on anyway because they know they have a calling and they know this is the path God has them on in order to equip them. This is even more true for those students who are of non-white ethnicity. The seminary is a far cry from their home culture and the things taught there are taught from a predominantly white historical and theological perspective. Consequently, you can feel like you are being brainwashed or indoctrinated into whiteness or at the very least just made to feel like an oddball or invisible because your experience is different from a lot of the other students. I’ve been there. And I would have lost my mind if it weren’t for these principles working themselves out in my life intentionally or unintentionally.
1. Remember why you are there
You are there because you are called. You are here because you want to soak up the knowledge to make you effective in ministry. You are there to connect with like-minded folk who may one day partner with you in ministry. Do not let the overwhelming whiteness take you off course. Learn. Soak it in. Grow.
2. Make two sets of notes
There are two sets of notes to take. Notes for the paper you will write and notes for yourself (Shout out to MK Asante). Some things will be helpful for your academic career but other things will help as you take your seminary training back home.
3. Find the alternative books
When I first started attending Fuller Theological Seminary I had the privilege of working in the library. As I put the books back on the shelves I learned about James Cone, Gustavo Gutierrez and so many others. I began reading those books even before I started classes because they spoke from a perspective I understood and was familiar with. Just the exposure alone helped me to tackle some of the lack of diversity I was experiencing.
4. Find like-minded students
There is always, at least, a handful of students of color on any campus. If you can’t find students of color then there are many white students who understand where you are coming from. Reach out and connect. It may be the best thing you have ever done.
5. Find like-minded professors
In an attempt to make their faculties more diverse, most seminaries and Christian universities have hired at least two or three non-white professors who teach from a different perspective. Go and take their classes if you have the opportunity. If you can’t take their classes then find some way to connect with them. They understand your experience and are rooting for your success. Personally, I found Dr. Ralph Watkins and Dr. Jehu Hanciles. Just their teaching and course content helped me to not lose my mind!
6. Ask thought-provoking questions
Don’t just sit in class like a lump on a log. Ask questions—thought-provoking questions. Not solely to cause trouble. Ask questions from your unique ethnic and socio-economic perspective. It will not only bless you but also those in class around you who may be going into these contexts or just those who need to have their world expanded
7. Keep a vital and dynamic relationship with God
Last but not least, keep your eyes on Jesus. Don’t stop praying. Don’t stop reading your Bible. Remember this isn’t about ethnicity. This is about God’s calling on your life.
What about you do you have any other tips to include? What was your experience in seminary like? How did you keep from losing your mind?
In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, podcasts have become all the rage in recent years.
If you are a Christian there are a lot of dope podcasts out there. And, if you are a Christian millennial then you are really in luck, because there are podcasts out there just for you.
We’ve sifted through tons of podcasts and found the ones that are best suited for a Christian millennial audience. The Urban Faith team has included some of our favorite podcasts for your listening pleasure below:
Truth’s Table delivers exactly what it says: #truth. Not just any old truth, but the truth of Michelle Higgins, Christina Edmondson, and Ekemini Uwan. These three sisters tackle issues of culture, race, politics, and gender all through the lens of Christian faith. If you are a millennial of color and you want to have a faith perspective on the things that matter to our world, then this is the podcast to check out!
If you’re a millennial and you are a leader right now, or have aspirations of leadership, then the Catalyst Podcast is for you. This podcast interviews Christian and non-Christian leaders from diverse backgrounds about different aspects of their leadership and faith journey. Even if you are not an official leader, this podcast gives tons of insight into the way we all are called to lead in our everyday lives.
Branding for Believers
This weekly podcast is all about equipping entrepreneurs and thought leaders for success. Sometimes being a Christian and getting your hustle on is a hard road to navigate. Dr. Shante Bishop is basically the mentor you need to crack the code for believing bigger things in regards to your success. Put those earphones on and listen to her teach you how to get to the next level.
Jude 3 Project
If you are a Christian millennial and you don’t know how to answer your friends’ questions about the faith, then you need to tune in to the Jude 3 Project podcast. Lisa Fields’ podcast is named after the 3rd verse in the book of Jude, which encourages believers to contend for the faith. In each episode she interviews an expert on topics ranging from “Does the Bible condone slavery?” to “The Church and Sex”. You will definitely get your faith upgraded after listening to this podcast.
Pass the Mic
Jemar Tisby and Tyler Burns dish up some great conversation from a black Reformed theology perspective. They talk about everything from white supremacy to the use of the word “woke”. The great thing about this is that they do it from the unique perspective of two brothers who are in a theological movement that’s not typical for African Americans to be involved in. Listening to Pass the Mic will definitely get you soaked in theological and biblical truth and how to apply it to culture.
What about you? Do you have any podcasts you’d recommend? Share them below.
The internet is saturated with tons of information for all facets of life, including spiritual resources.
In fact, if you do an Amazon search for something like study Bible results will include a wide variety of options. While scrolling down the list, you will find study Bibles for men and women. You will find study Bibles for couples and you can also find a study Bible in just about every translation. So why would anyone need another study Bible, particularly the Africa Study Bible?
Well, to start, we suppose you should start by asking, “What exactly is the Africa Study Bible?”
While all of aforementioned study Bibles have their merit, the Africa Study Bible delivers something unique. It contains insight and knowledge about the Bible from a non-majority culture perspective. It is packed with over 2,400 features, and 350 scholars from more than 50 African countries have contributed to the making of this Bible.
The features of the Africa Study Bible speak on different topics through the lens of African culture. Whether you’re African or a member of the African Diaspora, this Bible provides in-depth knowledge to show that Christianity extends beyond just one group of people.
Contrary to popular opinion, Christianity is not solely the territory of those of European ancestry. In fact, it is the countries and cultures of the South and the East where Christianity is growing at a rapid rate. Not only that, but studies show that Africa played a major role in the development of Christian theology. The Africa Study Bible helps to make that clear and it can make that clear for you as well.
Book introductions explaining the history of each book
Touch Points to show where the culture of the Bible meets African cultures and how Africans shaped Christian belief
Learn Notes to teach the foundations, values, and the doctrine of the Christian faith.
Proverbs and Stories to enlighten readers through the parallels of Scripture and cultural wisdom found in wise sayings and fables.
Application Notes to inspire readers to reflect on issues and apply truth to everyday life
Articles giving practical advice on how to live out the Christian faith, focusing on 50 critical concerns facing the church in Africa and its people
Topical Index and Concordance that lists the biblical text s and Africa Study Bible features by topic and defines difficult-to-understand words connecting concepts from Genesis to Revelation for research and teaching
Maps, Graphical Timelines, and Other Features that spread throughout the Bible and help provide insight and understanding
With this Bible you will have specific insight and knowledge into the cultures and customs of the Bible from an African perspective. This will equip you with tools to share non-majority insights with your congregation or Bible study. The Africa Study Bible can help you to reclaim Christianity’s African roots.
Father’s Day is this weekend and stores all over are reaping the benefits by selling ties, home improvement and meat products. Of course, we realize that Father’s Day isn’t a momentous occasion for everyone, particularly those who grew up without a father. But thank goodness for those TV dads that we all grew to love as a kid that taught us some of life’s greatest lessons. So, as a tribute to fathers everywhere Urban Faith would like to take a walk down Memory Lane with our top five black TV dads:
No talk of favorite black TV dads would be complete without James Evans from the hit 70’s television sitcom “Good Times.” James goes down in history as the hardest working dad on the small screen. He was always hustling making sure Florida and the kids had what they needed, and he held it down by any means necessary. Most importantly, he made sure to steer his kids in the right direction by avoiding drugs and gangs in the middle of the projects. Nobody was going to grow up and act a fool in James Evans’ house. He had the authority and the weight that every father should have.
Remember Carl Winslow from the 90’s favorite Family Matters? Carl would get into some crazy situations, but in the end, the 90’s dad genuinely cared about his family. He was always there for his three kids Eddie, Laura, and Judy, his wife, Harriet, and, of course, we can’t forget his love-hate relationship for the family’s next door neighbor Steve Urkel. Carl would try his hardest to be stubborn and refuse to give in to his family’s requests, but in reality he was a big, soft teddy bear.
You have to love Julius from “Everybody Hates Chris.” He knew how to teach the value of money. I mean, if you know that $.17 cents worth of orange juice is left in the container, then you will not pour it down the drain in Julius’ house. That’s especially if you’re working two or three jobs to buy that orange juice. Julius taught us not only to make money but to keep money. End of story.
Yes he was rich and bourgeoisie, but Uncle Phil knew what was up. When it came time to throw on a dashiki and let folks know the way they did it back in the 60’s. the famous uncle from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was ready. Not only that, but Uncle Phil took in his nephew Will and raised him as his own.
Now before you get into the details of the recent controversy that has saturated the media, please remember that Bill Cosby is not Cliff Huxtable. Sure, he played the character on one of television’s most popular sitcoms in history, but Cliff Huxtable is, in fact, a character. And, what a character he was. Cliff could act silly with his kids, teach some valuable life lessons, and then go and do something truly ridiculous that made you realize he was just a man like everyone else. And, on top of that, he also devoted his time to being a great husband and practiced medicine in his community. Real-life controversy aside, Cliff Huxtable (the character), definitely deserves a spot on this list.
So, those are our top five black TV dads. They may not have been our real dads, but they made us appreciate fatherhood. In fact, those qualities they displayed on TV are very similar to “the Father from whom every family on earth derives its name” Ephesians 3:14-15.
Let us know who your favorite TV dad is in the comments.
We are fascinated with the Illuminati. If you have been following any celebrity of note, then you have to be familiar with the concept of the Illuminati. The secret society that controls the world from the shadows is supposedly filled with Black celebrities. Jay-Z, Beyonce, and even Lecrae, the Christian hip-hop artist, were named as members of this elite group of world takeover artists. Now, LeCrae as a member of the Illuminati is about as believable as Donald Trump as a crusader for social justice. Although it’s ridiculous and almost laughable, the question still remains, “What is our fascination with the Illuminati?”
History of the Illuminati Fascination
The Illuminati has always been a hip-hop staple since I could remember. There were always subtle references in songs. From the Goodie Mob’s “Cell Therapy” to LL Cool J’s reference in the “I Shot Ya” remix, hip-hop from the mid-90s to now has had an obsession with the Illuminati. Ras Kass, Outkast, Bun B, and many others have all mentioned the Illuminati in their lyrics. In Tupac’s prime, he released Don Killuminati, and the reference was not missed.
It’s gotten to be a staple for the YouTube crowd as well. Tons of videos analyze different artists and how their music and videos are laced with Illuminati symbolism. The symbolism is usually related to the all-seeing eye or Eye of Providence—the famous image on the dollar bill—as well as references to light or pyramids. Also, skulls, goats, snakes, the sun, fire, and eagles are seen as Illuminati symbols. Basically, everything is an illuminati symbol.
Doing a casual search on YouTube will also reveal celebrity exposé interviews with the likes of Professor Griff of Public Enemy fame and others speaking of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G. as Illuminati blood sacrifices. There is also a theory that the Illuminati-controlled hip-hop industry is influencing young men to turn homosexual.
Theories abound on how hip-hop is influenced by this supposed secret society. And hip-hop is chock full of references about the Illuminati’s influence over the entire world. But just who are the Illuminati? Where did this understanding of a secret society dominating the world even come from?
Who are the Illuminati?
The Illuminati was a group in the 18th century formed to oppose religious and cultic superstition. It’s ironic that this group that was formed to fight against superstition has now become the stuff of legend. Charles Theodore, a Bavarian ruler, used an edict to outlaw the group, along with a host of other secret societies. Subsequently, the group disbanded.
This didn’t stop people from believing that the group was still in operation. Soon after, they were accused of being responsible for the French Revolution. This was the first of many accusations that the formally disbanded Illuminati were supposedly masterminds behind, some of the greatest events in history. The Illuminati have been said to be responsible for events from Napoleon’s defeat at the Battle of Waterloo to the assassination of JFK. Even recently, they were said to have orchestrated the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The organization is said to have risen to this kind of power because of their connection to the big world banks. Through these connections, they have consolidated power in the media industry as well. This has given rise to theories that different music artists and Hollywood stars are also members of the secret society. In fact, the list of people who are said to be members of the Illuminati is a who’s who in terms of the Hollywood A-List; Kanye, Snoop Dogg, Lady Gaga, Emma Watson, Celine Dion, and Miley Cyrus have all been alleged to be on the Illuminati roster.
Why are we fascinated with the Illuminati?
So, the question remains, “Why are we so fascinated with the Illuminati?” There is a lot of energy and discussion about a secret society that no one knows for sure exists. The evidence regarding their existence is skimpy. The different signs and symbols used to rope celebrities into the Illuminati’s orbit are coincidental at best. What makes people suspect that a secret society is pulling the strings of everyone on the planet?
I think this goes back to the feeling of powerlessness many in underprivileged communities feel. Since things are so bad, then there must be a secret power doing this. This can’t just be normal life. There’s got to be an explanation for the evil we see in the world. There’s got to be a good reason for the injustice and oppression that makes its way to my neighborhood on a daily basis.
Said in another way, there can be no good reason for people to be losing their minds like they are now. Why is there so much Black-on-Black crime? Illuminati. Why is there so much pollution? Illuminati. Inflation? Illuminati. Unhealthy relationships? Illuminati. Pharmaceuticals with crazy, harmful, side effects? Illuminati. Every bad thing can be traced back to the Illuminati, and ultimately no one is responsible.
When it’s connected to celebrities, it’s kind of a different story. People want to know how someone like Jay-Z can rise to the top and make millions and they can’t. They want to explain away success. In their minds, for someone to be that successful, they had to sell their soul to the devil and join a secret society. Let’s push aside hard work, talent, and market trends. Let’s give credit to people we can’t even verify exist.
How Do We as Christians Respond to This Fascination?
It’s crazy that some people have actually accused Lecrae of being a member of the Illuminati because of his latest video. Yeah, the same Lecrae whose songs are laced with the fundamental truths of the Gospel. I don’t see how the Illuminati can use the story of the Creation, Fall, and redemption to their advantage. This is where Illuminati conspiracy theories become laughable.
The funny thing is in some way I agree with many of the Illuminati conspiracy theorists. There is someone pulling the strings. It’s just not the inheritors of an 18th-century secret society bent on world domination. When it comes to evil and oppression as a Christian, I believe there are invisible forces at work whose sole goal is to control people’s actions and direct them towards evil.
In the Bible, they are called demons and are led by Satan. In Ephesians 2, he is called the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who is now at work in the sons of disobedience. The devil is bent on world domination by causing people to disobey God. When they don’t bend to his will, then he is set on destroying them. That’s his modus operandi.
At the same time, I’m convinced that, ultimately, He’s not the one pulling the strings behind it all. That position goes to God himself. There’s an attribute we give to Him called sovereignty. This means no matter what is happening, God is in control. He is superintending over world events and personal decisions.
Who knows, there might be a secret society out there, but I’ll take my chances with a faithful, loving, and compassionate God who not only has my best interests, but the entire world’s best interests in mind.