Christian Blog: Irrevocably Beloved

For Jesus And For The Culture. . .Being Black, Christian and a Millennial In America

How to Practice Christ-Like Empathy & Love Through Race Dialogue & Discourse

The difficult and often uncomfortable conversations about race have never been more important than it is today. These conversations can bring awareness to those who are unaware of their implicit bias, and if done right, it can lead to a deeper understanding of what racial equality means in our society and the world. To have constructive dialogues about racial justice, we must practice empathy and love through a Christ-like perspective. By practicing understanding, patience, humility and grace, we can create a safe space for open dialogue that will foster growth and acceptance. Through these practices, we can come closer to having success with social justice conversations on issues such as racial equality, hate crimes, gun violence, racial identity, race and poverty.

1. Understand the Subjective Nature of Racism. 

One of the most important aspects of race is that it can be difficult to objectively measure or define what racism is because people experience it in different ways and for different reasons. For example, some people may feel that they have experienced more instances of racism than others because their skin color or culture makes them a minority in their country (“In America…”). Although many view racism as being about power dynamics between races (gaining or losing), others may feel that negative experiences with people of other races is not related to race or culture. A study on “race and racism” conducted by the European Social Survey found that many people view racism as a personal experience, rather than an institutional one (“The Concise Introduction to Racism”). This results in a large variation between different groups of people in how they define what constitutes racism.

2. Understand Different Types of Racism.

 One form of racism, overt racism, is defined by the dictionary as “a belief or action that maintains there are innate differences among human racial groups, and that one’s own racial group has an inherent superiority”. Overt racism is the most well-known form of racism in society because people see it as blatant, and it has been linked to discrimination and violence.

3. Understand Racial Identity.

 Racism is often directly tied to racial identity and what it means to be a person of color. What are the different types of racial identities, and how do they affect people?

4. Understand Why Racism Occurs.

 Racism is a social process that can occur in many different situations, including during conflicts between groups, when individuals make judgments based on group membership, and when stereotypes are used as part of social processes (i.e., racism occurs when people believe a certain race is inferior).

5. Be Aware of Your Own Racial Bias. 

When it comes to matters such as how the media treats people of different racial identities, what privileges are available to certain groups, and how racism is experienced in different contexts, we all can have racial biases.

6. Learn How To Fight Racism.

 It is important to recognize when racism is occurring, understand the history of racism and its effects on individuals and societies, and know how to fight against it.

7. Reconcile Racial Identities. 

Racial identifications are often in conflict due to misunderstandings about each other’s histories/experiences/ideas/lifestyles8. Be Aware of Historical RacismThe history of race has been a long one marked by violence, unethical experimentation, and exploitation as well as by compassion, empathy and love.The history of slavery and its impact is a vast subject which cannot be covered here in its entirety.

Does this sound like a lot of work? YES! because it is. Just remember that your counterparts don’t get a break or vacation from the racism that they experience on a daily basis so the FIRST part of being able to treat your counterparts with empathy and love is to educate yourself. 

The Complex Role of Church & Religion in Racial Tensions

Religion has often been used to justify racism, with some churches and religious leaders using it to promote intolerance and exclusion. This has had a significant impact on racial tensions in the United States, as well as other parts of the world. At the same time, religion can also play an important role in promoting social justice and racial equality. Churches have long been a place where people can come together to discuss difficult topics like race and religion. They can provide a safe space for people of all backgrounds to share their experiences and perspectives on these issues. This article will explore the complex role of church and religion in racial tensions, looking at how it can both perpetuate racism or be used as a tool for social change. It will examine how religious institutions have responded to racism in the past, as well as what role they might play in creating a more just society today.

Religion has often used by governments to make claims about the inherent superiority of one race over another or to facilitate policies that would lead to discriminatory practices. One example of this is Manifest Destiny, a belief that white Americans had the right and responsibility to spread across the continent and claim it for themselves. This idea, which was promoted by religious leaders in the mid-1800s, led directly to a wave of racial violence as whites tried to push non-whites out of their settlements.At the same time, religion can also play an important role in uniting people. Religion has a long tradition of advocating for social justice, although it is often difficult to ascertain where that advocacy ends and religious practice begins. As an example, consider the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament. In this text Jesus states that those who help the poor are blessed with “good measure” and “shall be repaid at a time their soul desires” (Matthew 5:44). This passage inspired Martin Luther King Jr.’s activism against racial discrimination, while also inspiring practices such as tithing within many Christian denominations.The role of religion in race relations is therefore both complicated and nuanced. As illustrated by the texts in this section, religion has been a driving force in the fight against discrimination, yet at the same time, has also been the reason for racist and isolationist policies

Is Racism Biblical? Does the Bible endorse one population or creed above another. Are we not all one body in Christ? The Good Book is not a manifesto of a particular cause, sect, race or ethnicity. However, it does point us to the truth that we are all God’s children and all one in Christ. Sometimes this reality is not easy to see as reflected in society when groups are given preferential treatment over others who may be more marginalized or oppressed. The Bible does support equality and building up those who have been disadvantaged, but it does not endorse any particular group above another.

So What can we do? As Christians, we must ask ourselves: What is our role in promoting racial equality? How can we ensure that everyone is treated with respect and dignity? These questions are not easy to answer, but they are essential if we want to create a society where everyone feels included and valued. We must look at our own beliefs and practices as well as those of other denominations to see how race has shaped Christianity throughout the centuries.

Our worship services should be places where we are all welcome and not a means of segregation.Maybe it’s time to get rid of the physically division. in worship and change our approach to how we are in those spaces.Most of the time, when people think about church, they typically think about Sunday morning (or Sunday afternoon) services. These services can be segregated by race because of a variety of factors that contribute to this racial divide. One such factor is the differences in worship styles in different churches. In many African American churches, there is an emphasis placed on praise music with drums and clapping as opposed to hymn singing with just a piano accompaniment as seen at many white churches. Another contributing factor is the awkward small talk at welcome time that often leads to unconfortable confrontations of difference.

As a black woman it is very awkward and uncomfortable for me to take part in racial discussions, especially any mandatory DEI ones. However, as someone who feels uncomfortable in church spaces because I’m sometimes the only brown face… ok most of the time. Race and difference might be a necessary topic. Perhaps we should examine our worship services. What are we doing in churches that makes them separate into either all white or all black and brown spaces? Is it the differences in worship styles? Is it the awkward small talk at welcome time? Racial inequity exists in the world in a way that makes our lives outside of church very different but our lives inside of church should not be.

Let’s all work towards a more equitable church and a more equitable world. 

Be Anxious For Nothing 

Being anxious has become a “normal” part of life for many in today’s society. Life can present daunting challenges, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and anxious. The Bible reminds us that, as Christians, we should not succumb to anxiety because God has given us the power to overcome these feelings through faith in Him.

Being anxious for nothing is essential for us to glimpse the grace and perspectives of God about our life struggles. Anxiety is a part of the human condition. It can be normal to feel an anxious feeling in life, but it can also be debilitating and irrational. The problem with anxiety is it tends to become our normal because we are always thinking about what might happen instead of focusing on what is happening right now. We know that God has control over what happens in our lives and that as His children, He will never allow anything to happen that we do not want for us (see Psalms 23:4)

The best way for us to go about overcoming feelings of anxiety is through faith in God and His promises to us. We can put our trust in Him completely, knowing that all things work together for good for those who love God (see Romans 8:28).

In this article, we’ll discuss how Christians can practice being anxious for nothing by using Bible verses and prayer as a basis for their faith. We will also look at practical ways to manage anxiety in our day-to-day lives so that we can trust that God will take care of us when times get tough.

Anxiety Symptoms

 Before getting into Scripture, let’s first talk about what anxiety is. Anxiety is a feeling of tension or dread that comes from an exaggerated thought or concern over a possible negative event. People with anxiety feel they might be in an unsafe situation, or they may obsess over themselves and their thoughts. They may also avoid certain situations and seek out others (1). In short, people with anxiety experience more than the average person. (2)Anxiety can be triggered by various experiences such as death in the family, animals dying unexpectedly, arguments with friends and loved ones, moving to a new area, and changes in routine. More than half of people with depression are diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder.

Coping Mechanisms 

Some common coping mechanisms that people use to deal with anxiety include: joining a club or group, being in the company of friends or family members, using alcohol/drugs, self-harm (cutting/punching oneself etc.), smoking cigarettes/weed, putting off responsibilities and avoiding tasks that may cause stress such as exams, job interviews, and social interactions. What is a normal progression (pattern) of anxiety symptoms? Mood changes, and physical symptoms, but some may have trouble finding the right words to describe these feelings. So they might talk about black dogs or dark thoughts in their head. This makes it difficult for others to understand them. Over time, this pattern becomes noticeable as people start to avoid things that make them anxious, including going out and interacting with others because the fear of saying something weird or embarrassing themselves is too much for them to handle. . What are common physical symptoms of anxiety? Heart palpitations, clammy hands, abdominal pain, dizziness.

Faith and spirituality can be a powerful tool in managing anxiety symptoms. Praying and meditating can help to reduce stress levels, calming the mind and body, while connecting with a higher power or divine force can provide comfort, hope, and peace. Practicing gratitude and focusing on the positive aspects of one’s life can also be beneficial in relieving anxiety symptoms. Furthermore, having faith in oneself and believing that everything will work out can help to improve overall well-being and happiness.

Please note that I am not a medical doctor. Some people may need the help of medication for a season or for a lifetime to help with their anxiety symptoms. However, I know that for some faith/ spirituality in action is their only tool to help cope with this broken world. I am not a professional, I’m just someone who cares about the suffering of people. I hope that this article gives you some new insights as to how to help those struggling with anxiety.

Anxiety for Nothing 

A common theme in the Bible is that we have to have faith. Faith is a method by which we can trust God to take care of us despite what may happen. This can be a challenge for many Christians because when people are anxious, they often feel like their anxiety has merit because of the events that are happening around them. Furthermore, when things go wrong and people seem to struggle more than usual, anxiety often takes over as a sense of entitlement and self-protection against what could happen. So how do we practice having faith in God while avoiding anxiety? By using Bible verses and illustrations to help us understand what the Bible says about God’s protection. Anxiety is a real struggle. Sometimes it may feel overwhelming like we can’t do anything to stop it.

But there are things we can do to lessen our anxiety without giving into panic and trying to avoid the source of our anxiety. One way is by believing in God and His power as described in Psalms 37:4 which says, “Deliver me from the anxiety of fear; for thou wilt surely distinguish between my enemies and me.” Another way is by using faith-based strategies for managing anxiety. Anxiety can feel like a fight, even though it’s not a physical battle. Sometimes it may feel overwhelming like we can’t do anything to stop it. But there are things we can do to lessen our anxiety without giving into panic and trying to avoid the source of our anxiety.

The most common method psychologists and mental health professionals train people who are anxious to manage their symptoms is to focus on their breath. But It’s His breath in our lungs and who better to call on than the one who created this autonomous system of getting air into the body! Count your breaths then praise the one who gave you breath. None of this is easy or simple. I want you to be encouraged today that every day, every hour you can begin anew. That the battle for your mind is not yet over and that you’re not stuck with anxiety for the rest of your life. We serve a living God who is involved in all the details of our lives, including our anxiety. 

History of the Holiday We Know Today as Valentine’s day

Valentine’s Day is a special day celebrated by millions of people around the world. But how did it come to be? The answer lies in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia which was adopted and adapted by the Church to create the holiday we know today. This article will somewhat explore how this transformation took place and how evolved over time. What is Lupercalia?

Lupercalia was a fertility festival celebrated in Ancient Rome, more attributed to lust than love in ancient times. Over time, the Catholic Church adapted this festival to create the holiday we know today – Valentine’s Day.

The origins of Lupercalia are not fully understood. It is thought to have originated as a sacrificial cult that worshipped the Great Goddess. A wild goat was sacrificed on this day and its blood would be used to anoint the heads of young girls and initiate them into the cult. Young men would do battle with each other in order to win a prize such as marriage, money, or land in what is thought to be a fertility ritual. Unsafe abortions were also commonly done at this time, so the goddess could bestow health and fertility onto the initiate.

The women who won these prizes were often called epulas while their husbands were called famuli/famulari. These terms are used to this day in juridical contexts. There is a plaque with the inscription “Epulae et famuli in urbe Roma” (“epulas and familiars at Rome”) on the façade of the Palazzo dei Conservatori. The word “famulus” is a Latin derivative of the Roman term famulus, which originally simply meant “servant”. In ancient Rome, a slave who had been freed was called a famulus (and thus the term became synonymous with slave) who could become either an ordinary servant or a staff member in some important office. After gaining his freedom and becoming rich, a man might use his wealth to support slaves who would do anything he asked and serve as his familiars. Slaves freed by their masters were also called famuli. Within certain levels of society, the first slave was the owner’s wife, who could not be forced to work outside the home.

The Roman Republic and, later, the Roman Empire allowed slaves to buy their freedom. Slaves who achieved sufficient merit might be granted citizenship by the state and allowed to enter public life. In ancient China during imperial times (between 600 BC/200 AD), people were classified as slaves if captured in war; those enslaved would have their individual liberty taken from them if they were unable or unwilling to perform labor for a period of time ranging from one month (in some cases) up to three years without probation. Persons could also be sentenced to forced labor if they were convicted of a jailable offense, such as murder. The law also granted authorities the ability to sentence persons convicted of non-jailable offenses to forced labor for up to nine months. 

When the Catholic Church came to power, it tried to do away with cultural and pagan practices that it believed would get in the way of people’s salvation. Lupercalia, a holiday based on lust and fertility,  was not one they could encourage celebration of, especially while encouraging practices of chastity and purity. As a result, the Church banned Lupercalia in AD 404. And now we have a neat and tidy Valentine’s day. 

Valentine’s Day is not the only day that has a rocky holiday history.  The Catholic Church also tried to make the date of Christmas conform to the date of Jesus’ birth. It took some time for them to get it right, though..The first mention in Church history notes that December 25th was celebrated as Christ’s birthday in AD 336 by Pope Julius I and others that he appointed, but there is no evidence that December 25th was actually celebrated then or even at all during Jesus’ lifetime.

2nd Century – Church Father Irenaeus was the first to write about it: “For our Lord’s birthday shall be yearly observed on the 25th of March, on which day He rose from the dead.”

3rd Century – Church Father Tertullian wrote about it: “This day [December 25th] is that on which our Lord Jesus Christ, the son of God, was born according to the flesh.”

4th Century – Church Father Hippolytus in The Liturgy of the Hours writes: “On December 25th, Christ our God is born!”

5th Century – Pope Pius I in AD 525 decreed that December 25th would be celebrated as the day when Christianity began.

6th Century – Church Father Isidore of Seville wrote about it: “This day [December 25th] . . . we celebrate with joy and gladness in honor of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was born according to the flesh”

1400 – Renaissance scholar Petrarch wrote about the use of candles on this day: “On December 25th, in imitation of the birthday of Christ, there should be no light save such as is given by a candle.

“1569 – Bishop John Calvin wrote about Christmas celebrations… and so on and so on until we have the Christmas holiday we know and love today.

I am not discouraging you from celebrating holidays with your family. I hope you have plenty of opportunities to hang out and dwell in divine love; however, I do think we should be knowledgeable about what the holidays mean and how they came to be.

Tips for Staying Financially Fit this Holiday Season

Dear Reader: 

The holiday season is upon us once again! ‘Tis the season of giving, and that often means spending. Lots of spending. But just because everyone else is racking up credit card debt doesn’t mean you have to. This is the perfect opportunity to get creative and save some money. So before you start your holiday shopping, check out these tips for staying financially fit this holiday season.

Set a budget—and stick to it!

The first step to staying financially fit during the holidays is to set a budget—and then stick to it. Determine how much you can afford to spend on gifts, travel, food, etc., and then make a list of all the people you need to buy for. Once you know how much money you have to work with, you can start getting creative with your gift-giving.

Get creative and save money

1. Set a budget and stick to it

2. Get creative with your gift-giving

3. Shop sales and use coupons

4. Make your gifts

5. Draw names in your family or group of friends

6. Exchange services instead of gifts

7. Have a potluck party instead of catering

8. Celebrate at home instead of going out

9. Delay some of your holiday spendings until after the holidays

10. Use a credit card that offers cash back or rewards

Get crafty!

One of the best ways to save money during the holidays is to DIY as many gifts as possible. This year, why not crochet a scarf for your Aunt Martha or bake some homemade cookies for your neighbor? Not only will your loved ones appreciate the thoughtfulness of a handmade gift, but they’ll also be impressed by your mad crafting skills!

Make a holiday savings plan

If you know you’re going to need extra cash for holiday expenses like travel and gifts, start saving now! Open up a dedicated savings account and set aside a little bit of money each week leading up to the holidays. This way, when December rolls around, you’ll have one less thing to worry about.

Shop smart

When it comes time to do your holiday shopping, take advantage of deals and discounts whenever possible. Join retailers’ email lists so you can be among the first to know about sales, and search for coupons before heading to the store or checkout page. You can also download cash-back apps like Ibotta or Rakuten to earn money back on your holiday purchases. Just be sure not marry any purchase just because it’s discounted—only buy what you need (and will use)!

Use rewards points

If you’ve been racking up rewards points all year long, now’s the time to cash them in! Many retailers offer bonus points or special rewards during the holidays, so be sure to take advantage of those if possible. You can also use points from credit cards or loyalty programs like Airlines Rewards to help offset travel costs or score some freebies for your friends and family.

The holidays don’t have to break the bank! By following these simple tips, you can stay financially fit this holiday season without sacrificing quality or quantity when it comes to gift giving—or anything else. So put down that credit card and get creative! Your wallet (and your loved ones) will thank you for it later.