Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hip-Hop, Idolatry, & The Church Pt. 5

Can Hip-Hop Be Redeemed?

The redemption of hip-hop has become an important question in the lives of many within the church. This is partially because hip-hop's messages and inculturations run so deeply that it is hardly distinguishable as a world view contrary to Christian spiritual growth and development.As pointed out in Hip-Hop, Idolatry & The Church Pt. 3 some individuals have claimed hip-hop to be an indigenous culture within America born from the depths of the souls and out of the genome of the black race. In fact one of the main proponents of this theory The Ambassador (aka William Duce Branch ThM) of the group The Cross Movement claims that culture (in this case hip hop) cannot be purged or separated from the people:


"People are at the root of culture, and neither people nor their culture can just be thrown away. Aspects of their culture can be discarded when those aspects offend God, but you cannot force total cultural assimilation on any group. You see it’s easy to throw away something you don’t care about, but it’s hard to let go of something you feel an attachment to."~ The Ambassador, The Christian Living In Hip-Hop Times Pt. 1 Oct. 2005

Along with this is the belief that a hip-hop message is essential to reaching the hip hop masses. As Kirk Franklin stated regarding his song entitled "I Like Me"
  • "When you're trying to reach kids you've got to speak their language. Kids like beats, so I had to drop some like they was hot."
Still others believe that if nothing else there are "redeemable elements" of hip-hop which can be used to glorify God and reach the masses caught in sin. Remember the elements according to those who promote and develop hip-hop are as follows:
  • Breakin, (Dancing)
    Emceein,
    Graffiti Art,
    Deejayin,
    Beatboxin,
    Street Fashion,
    Street Language,
    Street Knowledge and
    Street Entrepreneurialism

Most of the time Christians refer to what "good" that hip-hop seeks to provide or do as something that God can use. In other words, because hip-hop is (or can be) a peaceful way of expression, then maybe we can use the hip-hop method of expression to teach simply disregarding the worldly inculturation and it’s negative aspects.

An example of this is the efforts of Dr. Rani Whitfield who provides medical education with hip-hop flava. He founded the Hip-Hop Healthy Coalition as a way to "get involved in the culture and have some positive influence on it" and as a way to educate blacks and minorities who suffer from heart disease, hypertension, and strokes at a much greater per-capita rate than non minority individuals.

On a more confused note, there are others in the hip hop industry such as Pastor Troy, who have created a potpourri of mixed messages using biblical scriptures painted on street the street canvass in efforts to spread his version of "street knowledge".


As for the gospel music industry, another example is Pastor or Bishop Hezekiah Walker who is known as "The Hip-Hop Pastor": The article says the following about his nickname:

He got his nickname by hosting Sean Combs, Lil' Kim, Missy Elliot and other hip-hop artists at his church. The church is widely known for its Grammy Award-winning choir, which Walker leads.

Considerations

Contrary to what one may think, the purpose of this complete writing is not to minimize the efforts of those who seek to provide human services or better lives for individuals using non-traditional methods, but to shed light on the proper, biblical methodology of reaching and teaching the lost. I believe the efforts of individuals such as Dr. Whitfield and The Cross Movement and others in the "Christian" rap and arts industry are commendable, as they are seeking to promote the Christ message. The problem is that hip-hop has a clear definition of what it is and what it strives to be. Additionally, many of those who seek to promote the Christ message using hip-hop are forced to submit their practice, associations and lifestyles to hip-hop. In other words they are required to bow themselves down at the altar of another god in order to preach and promote the God of the bible. Is that what the church should be engaged in doing?

As good stewards, we must ask the questions, are these efforts to use the culture to reach the culture biblical, and does God want his church to use those elements or any variation of the elements in the promotion of his message of truth and light to the world? In other words, in the promotion of the Kingdom of Christ, does the end justify the means?

To the spiritually discerning, it is readily understood that hip-hop as is currently presented to the world, is a worldview that is antithetical to Christianity and godliness. The facts are that those that have defined hip-hop, including it’s founders have summarily consistently stated that hip-hop is a culture that includes social, spiritual and political agenda. This makes hip-hop a complete worldview.

Questions arise when we note individuals such as Dr. Whitfield. His message, although secular, does not promote a world-view of any sort. It simply sets forth messages of health and personal awareness. However does this methodology square biblically even in the promotion of secular messages? Does the methodology of Bishop Walker affirm the practice of inclusion and association within the church? Where is the church in general in this conundrum? More importantly where is the WORD in helping us to understand and distinguish the elements of sin from the elements of culture?

As you may already perceive this is a book, worthy of time and effort far greater than I will take to address here, however I will do my best to outline a few biblical concepts that should be able to assist you as you ponder these important questions. As a point of reference I also understand that some of you are looking for information for your personal and family situations and youth enamoured by the hip-hop industry. Still others of you have contacted me and asked how you can best bring this information to your pastor and church youth group without offending him and them. To assist you I will conclude this section by addressing a few common questions I hear as I preach, teach and write on this subject.


Biblical Insights:
An Encounter At Ephesus With The Culture

1 Cor. 15:32-34 ~ "32-If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die. 33-Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. 34-Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame."

Apostle Paul in his teaching to the Corinthian church provides one of the most pivotal insights on the resurrection accorded within scripture. In this chapter Paul confirms his understanding that Jesus was raised from the dead bodily or physically and explains the mental and physical frustration of every Christian if the resurrection of Jesus did not occur. Paul affirms that Jesus is not a myth or merely a spiritual aberration. In verse 32 he explains his plight of having done everything possible to preach that message even to hostile crowds. He is referring to his experience recorded in Acts 19:24, during his third missionary journey, in which he was confronted with the culture of Ephesus. This culture was so steeped in the false religion of Diana or Artemis worship, and the buying and selling of statues and figurines that went along with that worship that the Townclerk in trying to save Paul’s life and abate a rising insurrection and possible retaliation of Rome if things got out of hand simply says,

v. 36 "Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet and to do nothing rashly."

The Townclerk in speaking to the people suggests that their practices "could not be spoken against". This is the suggestion that what they believe is in accord with their culture. In a little more technical language, he is suggesting that the worship of their false God is indigenous to them. The people agreed that Diana was to be worshipped above all gods and that she was favored by her father Jupiter who had sent a statue dedicated to her that mysteriously appeared overnight as an approval. The mere mention that anyone was talking against Diana was a monetary death sentence to the silversmiths and slap in the face to those who lived within the culture.


A Second Point:

Back to Paul in verse 32 of 1 Cor. 15. Paul also invokes a scripture from Isaiah 22:13. This is often called Isaiah’s oracle concerning the valley of vision, in which God promises judgement upon Israel and in the face of that judgement, instead of repentance, the people continue to live selfishly, fulfill their own desires and disregard the word of God.

IS THAT 21ST CENTURY AMERICA OR WHAT?

As you can see that’s plenty of preachin’ material, but let’s stay on point...

This verse (32) is abruptly brought to an end by a reminder of v. 33…-Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners"

Be not deceived- Planao me planao,(don’t be led astray or caused to wander in error) evil- kakos (bad nature or corrupted modes of thinking) communications- homilia (companionship or communion) corrupt- phtherio (corrupts or destroys) good- chrestos (a virtuous, good pleasant or useful) manners- ethos(character and morals)


Having evil associations bound together with money is the smoky, seemy, slithery, cocktail of destruction to Christian moral values and moral absolutism. The world and what it offers in one hand along with the cross of Christ in the other cannot be mixed to the creation of a new, subdued, quasi-sin/saint mixture of spiritually and socially acceptable service to both God and humanity. One worldview must die so that the other can take root and grow. Any growth of both together is the recreation of neither’s original value system. It is the equivalent of the creation of a dualistically natured monster who awaits for the opportune time to rear it’s head speaking dual languages and acting pluralistically but never fulfilling it’s duties and responsibilities and having no commitment or regard for those whom it tramples and uses to fulfill its desires.

1 John 2:15-17 ~ "5-Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16-For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17-And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."

There are three primary roots of sin in the world. John summarizes this as, lust of the flesh and eyes and the pride of life.


Additional Scriptural Insight Pt. 1:
The Replacement Of Canaan

Before one makes a conclusion that hip-hop can be used by God or in service to God a biblical precedent must be set. In other words there should be a compelling reason to engage hip-hop and give it credibility as both an indigenous culture and as an instrument worthy of God’s usage. Numbers or mass appeal is not simply enough as there has been mass appeal and social acceptance of many things historically that have proven to be ungodly and harmful to humanity.

I must say that upon examination, I don’t see that precedent anywhere in scripture. I do however see plenty of references of God rejecting certain cultures because they were sinful and did not glorify the true and living God.

From the beginning of the establishment of God’s plan among the nations HIS people have been warned not to embrace or allow the culture of the people to dictate the relationship of his sevants towards God. Once such example is found here:

Deut. 7:2-5~ "2-And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: 3-Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. 4-For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. 5-But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire."

The whole object of Israel’s blessing was spiritual and moral purity. There was a reason that the Cannanites were to be displaced. That reason was because they worshipped other gods, and were totally and completely morally depraved. The following is noted concerning the Canaanites:

  • "The religion of these pagan people was basically a fertility cult. At temples scattered throughout their land, Canaanite worshipers actually participated in lewd, immoral acts with "sacred" prostitutes. Theirs was a depraved form of worship that appealed to the base instincts of sinful human nature. They also practiced human sacrifice, and their religion sanctioned unbelievable cruelty in warfare. In contrast, the Hebrews worshiped a holy God who insisted on purity and righteousness among His people." ~ Youngblood, Ronald F., General Editor; F.F. Bruce and R.K. Harrison, Consulting Editors, Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1995

The culture of the people was not redeemable. God did not wish to use any aspects of this culture in worship or service to him. Yes, there were souls at stake. Yes, there were lives in the balance. The lives in the balance were those who had covenantal relationship with God. In any case, the Canaanite world view was not to be molded into something acceptable to God. The children of Israel repeatedly suffered for and eventually lost their possession because of their disobedience. Yet the modern church with its modern leadership has a better way?


Additional Scriptural Insight Pt. 2:
Saul’s Disobedience Toward Amalek

1 Sam 15:3 ~ "3-Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass."

This was the command of the Lord to King Saul because of what the Amalekites had done to Israel by attacking their elderly and weak and being a "pirate" and antagonist in the wilderness, as recorded in Ex. 17:8-16, Num. 24:20 (as an oracle of Baalim), and Deut. 25:17-19. The culture and all of it’s remnants were to be destroyed no matter how godly any of it looked.

What Had Happen' Was…

1 Sam. 15:8-9 ~ "8-And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. 9-But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly."


Saul and his army began to make moral value judgements against the word of God. They looked and placed "value" upon what God had rejected for his own historical and purposeful reasons.

When questioned about his actions by Samuel, Saul responded with a nice religious answer and one that Christians trying to smuggle hip-hop into Christianity agree with:

1 Sam. 15:15 ~ "15And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed."

That which God had cursed, Saul thought to take the best of it and use it as a "sacrifice" unto the Lord??? Saul made the fatal mistake of assuming that there was something "good" that God could use and that the good was redeemable. His complete idea led him totally away form God and HIS plan for the people. This led to Saul’s ultimate nightmare…his total rejection:

1 Sam 15:22-23 ~ "22-And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 23-For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king."

God didn’t want anything that Amalek had to offer. There was to be a complete purging of the sins of Amalek from the land and from among the people of God. Amalek was not to be redeemed in any way.

I think I'll stop there and save Section 3 and the answeres to popular questions for post 6. We're not finished yet by any means. God bless.

Blessed!


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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hip-Hop, Idolatry & The Church Pt. 4

The Effects Of The Hip-Hop Culture On Social Morality, Sexuality & Promiscuity.

To continue our examination of the church and its relationship to hip-hop we must look at some of the peripheral issues that help set the stage for the message and trap of hip hop and the churches oblivious nature in relationship to those peripheral issues. ie: We gotta look at what the culture uses to trap our youth and why the church has been so slow to respond to those set traps.

One of the first things to note about modern hip-hop is the tone that it sets for it's adherents and followers. As we've stated in Hip-Hop, Idolatry & The Church Pt. 1, hip-hop is a anti-God and anti-Christ world view, complete with it's own codes, standards, and statements of faith or belief. These elements qualify it as a humanistic religious system. That alone makes hip-hop incompatible with Christianity and Christian practice in general.

Biblical Insights

In ANE or (Ancient Near East) biblical history there were several areas that pagan religions affected among it's adherents. I will focus on a few of them in this section and draw parallels to what hip-hop has done among many of our youth and society in general.

Part A- Social Morality & Clothing

Deut. 22:5 ~ "5-The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God."

Known as probably one of the most popular scriptures in the identification of a holiness church, this verse has often been quoted in and out of context to make the point that God wants there to be a difference in appearance between male and female. In proper context it should be noted that this scripture was referring to pagan practices of dawning the apparel of the opposite sex during religious and other ceremonies.
  • “As the word...geber is here used, which properly signifies a strong man or man of war, it is very probable that armour is here intended; especially as we know that in the worship of Venus, to which that of Astarte or Ashtaroth among the Canaanites bore a striking resemblance, the women were accustomed to appear in armour before her.” ~ Clark, Adam. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 22:5". "Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible".
Due to false worship, there is also strong historical evidence that a woman was not permitted to array herself for battle with a man's armor or war garments including men's weapons such as swords. This is one reason that Jael killed Sisera with a tent spike and not a sword. (Judges 4:21) A sword was used as a man's weapon and would be prohibited for a woman's usage. (See Rabbi Jon-Jay Tilsen of The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism from an article entitled “Cross Dressing and Deuteronomy 22:5".)

Regardless of the interpretation, the bible is deliberate about setting forth a distinction between not only men and women, but apparel that is honorific to God in general, and does not confuse genders. In the Christian world view garments were and are an extension of worship and honor towards God.

Hip hop however, has established it's own purpose for garments and totally blurred if not obliterated the lines of acceptable societal standards and reestablished and norm based on it's own idea of street fashion.

A Culture Of Death & Resurgence Of False Religion
One such evidence of garments that help proliferate the hip-hop message is the skull and crossbones scheme set forth and popularized by fashion designer Mark ECKO. This is one of the most popular arrays of garments among today's youth and the hip-hop faithful. The problem here is that the design itself was originally used to indicate either one of two things 1- When the bones are behind the skull- poison or danger and 2- when the bones are underneath the skull- a "Jolly Roger" which indicates piracy or thievery. In both cases the skull and crossbones combination ultimately indicates DEATH. In other words the whole symbolism and purpose of the display is death.

Now, the skeptic says that the military also uses such symbols, and we call them heroes and I respond by saying, rightfully so. However, I would point out the mission of the military in times of war. The military shows up for an express purpose and that's to destroy the enemy and his plans. Knowing that, I would say that the use of the symbol is highly known and in line with its message...need I say more?

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Friday, February 6, 2009

What Do They Have Planned For You?


ACT I

I would like to begin this post by stating that part of it initially affects those churches who have been deceived into following governmental dollars to fund humanitarian programs within their communities. Formerly known as the faith based initiatives under, President Barack Obama this department will be known as the Office Of Faith Based & Neighborhood Partnerships.

Yes, there is a vast difference between the two.

Under former President Bush, the law didn't bring into question the employment practices of a religious organization using money to promote their mission to the community. Under President Obama however, it is at best obscured as to how organizations that do not hire from ALL GROUPS of individuals will actually be looked upon when it comes to competing for federally funded grants within their communities.
Part I: Enter The Courts

According to a CNN report, "...Obama does not rescind Bush's provision to allow faith-based groups to discriminate in their hiring practices, but does provide a legal process for organizations to go through in order to that ensure hiring is legal and non-discriminatory."

A Legal Process??? IE: A court structured remedy...Does anyone else see this as alarming?

As I stated I am not and have not been a promoter of any faith based government money, but the greater point to make in this post is how religious organizations will now be treated when it comes to what is now deemed as "discriminatory practices" in hiring. By the way, those "discriminatory practices" are said to be instances in which a religious organization doesn't hire individuals outside of their faith or when they don't hire individuals that meet their moral standards. The problem here is that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 gives religious organizations the right to remain true to its essential makeup and teachings.

What is tricky here is that the new provisions apply more specifically to religious organizations that preach and teach against homosexuality. If the trend proceeds in the path that it is going, not hiring homosexuals to carry out the work of the ministry or not hiring individuals who even believe in the shared goals of the ministry could be a criminal offence at worst or an offence by which a religious organization is disqualified from participating in community service oriented grants.

Part II: Enter The Dragon

Notice how the language has changed and simply been adopted casually even by religious individuals...Point is that ministries that hold fast to the biblical message of godliness and holiness and against homosexuality more specifically, and live out their faith within the community are said to be "discriminatory" and have "discriminatory practices" and this is said rather casually as if it's true

In fact, look at the matter of fact words from one of the 25 new President's Faith Advisory Council members:

"We're going to have to work that out, because on the one hand, you don't want to use federal funds to discriminate. But on the other hand, we can't have religious organizations taking money on the condition that they will hire people who live a lifestyle contrary to what they teach," ~ Dr. Joel Hunter Senior Pastor at Northland Church in Longwood, Florida member Council Of Religious Leaders Office Of Faith Based & Neighborhood Partnerships.

This Pastor, hand picked by the President, to represent the "leaders and scholars" that "will foster a more productive and peaceful dialogue on faith", swallows hook, line and sinker, and validates a completely new paradigm of biblical teaching and doctrine...The new paradigm is that setting forth TRUTH and a biblically centered message is now considered DISCRIMINATION. This is the affirmation that was desired from the beginning. The affirmation that religion is merely another form of discrimination.

So the devastating part of this argument is the unchallenged acknowledgement that the church IS a discriminatory vehicle. This should also be alarming because now we are not talking about biblical truth, but we are talking about religious pluralism and social ecumenism and creating and holding standards of human morality ABOVE the standards of God and his word.

ACT II

Part I: Joshua Dubois and the introduction of the social gospel as normative.

What is a social gospel?

A "social gospel" simply says that Christians should take care of the poor and the disenfranchised, and be a conduit for social causes as opposed to being standards for community morality and bearers of moral causes such as the sanctity of marriage as being between one man and one woman and defenders of the unborn's right to life. In other words, because society is so deep in various inculturations, religion should not seek to promote it's values but just live them out individually as individuals see fit to do so.
Appointed by the President as the Director of the Office Of Faith Based & Neighborhood Partnerships, 26 year old Joshua Dubois is no stranger to pitching religion to make political sales. He was candidate Obama's campaign "religious director" and was instrumental in allowing Donnie McClurkin to travel with the campaign. He was also responsible for offsetting Pastor McClurkin's testimony and teaching against homosexuality by hiring openly gay minister Rev. Andy Sidden, pastor of Garden of Grace United Church of Christ in Columbia, SC. to play down Donnie's teaching that homosexuals can be delivered from their homosexuality. Speculation is that he (Rev. Dubois) was probably the one responsible for Pastor Rick warren getting an opportunity to do the opening prayer at the 44th inauguration of the President Of The United States.

Needless to say, there is no rhyme or reason to his methods other than political. If this trend continues churches and ministers will continue to only be used in that capacity to gain support on certain issues that solidify the President's popularity.

Part II: What Does Rev. Dubois Believe?

Joshua Dubois has his roots within in the AME Church and inspirations within United Pentecostal Assemblies Of God Church Of God, Cambridge, MS. Going from a trinitarian belief to a oneness pentecostal belief will have it's challenges because they are two vastly different concepts.

Although Rev. Dubois initially refused to make his statement of position on abortion known to WORLD Magazine, according to Chicago Free Press in a Feb. 4th report he decided to let the cat out of the bag by saying that abortion was simply an issue equivalent to health care and putting food on the table.

In a Wall Street Journal report 8/16/2008 Rev. Dubois said, "Abortion is certainly a deeply moral issue, but so is struggling to afford decent health care for your family, or straining to put food on your table,"

Yes we agree that each of these are great moral issues, but the point here was not simply to point out multiple similar moral issues, but to minimize abortion and simultaneously exalt other social issues so that all exist on same level. Also calculating as he spoke those words to a group of Catholic workers.

President Obama is certainly excited about Rev. Dubois and the opportunity to "CHANGE" Christian minds regarding religious and social issues. He speaks this regarding Rev. Dubois's efforts, "The grassroots conversations we've held across the country, our landmark evangelical meetings...are helping to change our nation, person by person."

I believe that as time goes on, it will be further confirmed that this President's idea of change is not and was not only for social, or economic change, but was for religious, ideological and even moral change.

ACT III: The Big Picture

"Some folks on the left are uncomfortable with these topics," DuBois said. "There is a constitutional and clear separation between church and state embedded in the fabric of our country. And some folks think that means we have to be separate not only in our legal approach to policy but also who we talk to, who we engage with, whose concerns we can listen to." Faith In Public Life from article in WORLD Magazine 1/22/2007 Mark Bergin

"The big picture is that President Obama believes faith-based and smaller secular neighborhood organizations can play a role in American renewal. They can work with the federal government to address big problems,"..."We're also going to make sure we have a keener eye toward the separation of church and state." Rev. Joshua Dubois Director Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships 2/5/2009

In the mind of President Obama and his new appointee the separation of "church and state" means the secularization of the state. Any religious impact upon the gov't from the church is not supposed to exist outside of dealing with issues that come from the proliferation of the "social gospel". This leads us directly back to the goals and aims of Dr. Paul Kurtz's Council For Secular Humanism's Humanist Manifesto of 2000. There were 3 primary objectives:

"…The wider platform for human progress as part of a New Enlightenment needs, I submit, to advocate secularism in the above three senses:(1) the separation of religion from the state;(2) the humanization of values that satisfy the deeper interests and needs of human beings; and (3) the decline of religious practice, entailing the growth of the Human City in place of the City of God."


You may say this is conjecture or theory, but I challenge you to read and research both the President's and rev. Dubois's statements in light of the sense in which they are intended instead of the sense that both you and I hoped they were intended when they were made.

ACT IV: Directives & A New Cast Of Characters

In addition to watering down the gospel, Rev. Dubois's office will have the following 4 directives:

* The Office's top priority will be making community groups an integral part of our economic recovery and poverty a burden fewer have to bear when recovery is complete.

* The office will be one voice among several in the administration that will look at how we support women and children, address teenage pregnancy, and reduce the need for abortion.

* The Office will strive to support fathers who stand by their families, which involves working to get young men off the streets and into well-paying jobs, and encouraging responsible fatherhood.

* Finally, beyond American shores this Office will work with the National Security Council to foster interfaith dialogue with leaders and scholars around the world.

These are all noble causes that the President has picked. The objectives is not what is in question. The means or how we arrive to an end is.

Finally, according to Streetprophets.com and U.S. News God & Country, the newest entity along with The Office Of Faith Based And Neighborhood Partnerships is the President's 25 member Faith Advisory Council. Who's current members where chosen because , "These are folks who are at the top of their fields — both religious and secular that really represent diverse backgrounds and a range of political perspective." Rev. Joshua Dubois 2/5/2009 Christianity Today, Sarah Pulliam.
15 of the council members have been listed as follows:
  1. Judith N. Vredenburgh, President and Chief Executive Officer, Big Brothers / Big Sisters of America Philadelphia, PA
  2. Rabbi David N. Saperstein, Director & Counsel, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and noted church/state expert Washington, DC (Hated Bush's faith based initiatives but promises to work with President Obama's version and stated, "(this is an opportunity to) enhance the Reform Movement’s ability to speak out publicly and robustly, both when we agree and disagree with the White House’s policies.")
  3. Dr. Frank S. Page, President emeritus, Southern Baptist Convention Taylors, SC
  4. Father Larry J. Snyder, President, Catholic Charities USA Alexandria, VA
  5. Rev. Otis Moss, Jr., Pastor emeritus, Olivet Institutional Baptist Church Cleveland, OH
  6. Eboo S. Patel, Founder & Executive Director, Interfaith Youth Corps Chicago, IL
  7. Fred Davie, President, Public / Private Ventures, a secular non-profit intermediary New York, NY
  8. Dr. William J. Shaw, President, National Baptist Convention, USA Philadelphia, PA
  9. Melissa Rogers, Director, Wake Forest School of Divinity Center for Religion and Public Affairs and expert on church/state issues Winston-Salem, NC (This professor has written a book encouraging tighter restrictions on religious organizations receiving federal funds ie: seperation of church and state)
  10. Pastor Joel C. Hunter, Senior Pastor, Northland, a Church Distributed Lakeland, FL
  11. Dr. Arturo Chavez, Ph.D., President & CEO, Mexican American Cultural Center San Antonio, TX
  12. Rev. Jim Wallis, President & Executive Director, Sojourners Washington, DC
  13. Bishop Vashti M. McKenzie, Presiding Bishop, 13th Episcopal District, African Methodist Episcopal Church Knoxville, TN
  14. Diane Baillargeon, President & CEO, Seedco, a secular national operating intermediary New York, NY
  15. Richard Stearns, President, World Vision Bellevue, WA (This group promises to back out IF President Obama changes the current regulations regarding faith organization and hiring practices)

We often rightfully say, "Pray for our President" that's good, but I believe everyday we are learning just a little more about what to actually pray for.

Blessed!


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