Future Letter To The Last One

This is a fictional letter written to a Christian in the distant future. It was inspired by the book project Letters to a Future Church that is hosted by IVP-Likewise books and Patheos. Please check out some of the great letters composed by thoughtful voices in North American Christianity. Here’s my contribution:

Future Letter to the Last One

Dear Rosa Watkins,

I hope all is well with you. I’ve been wanting to write to you for a while. I’ve been waiting for all the media flurry to subside. I can’t imagine how you emotionally survived the overwhelming attention of being the last professing Christian on our dear planet. I was amazed by the coverage and numerous documentaries of your own spiritual journey and how this ancient faith sustained you to its very end. Are you saddened or thrilled to be the last one? I cannot imagine the emotions you are experiencing as you remain the last disciple of a religious tradition that has existed for several centuries.

I’ve had the coveted opportunity of pouring over global archives on the Christian faith. It appeared to be, and I’d add remains to be through you, a resilient faith for centuries. It had its up and down moments. Seasons of complicity with political and social oppression and exclusion. Missed opportunities to be welcoming to all only to give in to harmful and violent human tendencies. In spite of those less than glorious moments in history it still gave witness to a profound counter-instinctual social and political witness of love in a dying world that was plagued by political, social and religious instability. Your faith survived what many call the Circling. When we all nearly brought our small fragile planet to the brink of political and ecological oblivion.

I came across a sermon written by your now deceased pastor, Reverend Josiah Lee, that talked about the completion of what your tradition called the Great Commission. While you have the distinction of being the last Christian, he, of course, has the honor of being celebrated as the last Christian pastor. He said, in his last recorded sermon, that all the nations now follow the teachings of the revered Jesus. I felt a chill down my back when I read the ancient teachings of this person and considered how it has become a vital part of our global socio-political DNA.

Because of this profound Christian witness the global-state we are both privileged to be a part of can not imagine a world where every human being is not given loving dignity by all for all. We cannot imagine a world where a disproportionate number of people live in poverty. In spite of your beloved Christian tradition’s aiding and abetting global injustices until the end of the Circling, the end of the 21st century, something happened.

Your tradition died and rose again in the beginnings of the 21st century to become a global leader to help facilitate what we now see and hear in this present global moment of peace. A world with no war. Where small provinces peacefully collaborate with larger provinces. A global space where we no longer kill each other for a god, a political belief or a natural boundary.

It seems as though Christianity has died and in its ashes the nations were healed. I thank you for your witness to that kind of faith. However, I am saddened by your being the last Christian. But I guess, as you said in a recent press conference, we do not need the Christian faith any longer. You said that Christianity has finally made its calling and election sure. That it has prayed and bled heaven onto the earth for its perpetual healing.

Blessed Memories,

Anthony

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Dialog: The Gospel, Social Injustice, and War

From my brother Rod Garvin over at Soul.  He has enaged a black Reformed brother on the relationship between the gospel, social injustice, and the role of the church in the midst of these realities.  Great discussion taking place.  Here’s an excerpt from the post:

I have been having a very stimulating and enlightening conversation with Thabiti Anyabwile, one of my Reformed Christian brothers, over at Pure Church. His post entitled, “‘This Day and Age’ and the Church” served as a starting point for the dialog. I welcome you to read the original entry, as well as the comments below and weigh in on the very important questions that we both have raised during the course of the dialog.

I believe this to be an important discussion for black Christians (any Christians actually…for this seems to be a discussion taking place everywhere…it seems) of whatever tradition to have.  The black Church’s tradition of prophetic witness and social justice is waning, in my opinion, and is becoming overtaken by more insidious forces such as American Individualism and Consumerism.  I look forward to seeing these brothers (maybe some sisters can chime in as well) dialogue.  I have joined the fray as well.

Christmas Reflections

My good friend Rod Garvin has posted Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s last Christmas sermon.

Celebrating the Prince of Peace

 

Passages from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “A Christmas Sermon on Peace,” – the last Christmas message he delivered, (December 24, 1967):
This Christmas season finds us a rather bewildered human race. We have neither peace within nor peace without. Everywhere paralyzing fears harrow people by day and haunt them by night. Our world is sick with war; everywhere we turn we see its ominous possibilities. And yet, my friends, the Christmas hope for peace and good will toward all men can no longer be dismissed as a kind of pious dream of some utopian. If we don’t have good will toward men in this world, we will destroy ourselves by the misuse of our own instruments and our own power. Wisdom born of experience should tell us that war is obsolete. There may have been a time when war served as a negative good by preventing the spread and growth of an evil force, but the very destructive power of modern weapons of warfare eliminates even the possibility that war may any longer serve as a negative good. And so, if we assume that life is worth living, if we assume that mankind has a right to survive, then we must find an alternative to war?and so let us this morning explore the conditions for peace. Let us this morning think anew on the meaning of that Christmas hope: “Peace on Earth, Good Will toward Men.” And as we explore these conditions, I would like to suggest that modern man really go all out to study the meaning of nonviolence, its philosophy and its strategy.

Thinking about Tookie


Many thoughts. Very few words. I have been thinking about Stan “Tookie” Williams alot lately. Actually I am a little depressed about the whole deal. I found this quote from one of my favorite theologians, D. Stephen Long in his book The Goodness of God. I thought it somehow applicable to this situation.

Christianity was born out of the imprisonment and execution of an innocent person. Given our history, we cannot seek the solution to crime in a punitive prison industry. Although Christians and other innocent persons have often been labeled as criminals, this does not imply that all criminals are unjustly persecuted. Some people do evil things that require the kind of correction imprisonment could potentially bring. Imprisonment should not be a time of punitive retribution but an opportunity for people to face the reality of the evil they have committed in hope that they might yet repent and turn toward the good. p. 299

Did Stan turn toward the good? I hope so. Whatever good that he did do I hope that it finds it way towards the hood in the midst of nihilism and violence. I hope the good that Stan may have done be not swallowed up by the revenge of the State. Much more to think about.

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