Monday, June 21, 2021

Justice: Yes — “Whack-a-Mole:” — No

Behind much of the radicalism and turmoil today is a yearning and cry for justice — cosmic justice.  Biblically speaking, when God created the universe, He described it as “good” and when He had created humans “in His own image,” the description was “very good” (Genesis 1:1-31).  If we understand biblical wisdom we would know that God is perfect in righteousness, wisdom, knowledge, etc.  So, for Him to say that His creation was “very good” it meant “VERY GOOD.” 


Any observer of the current condition of reality knows that, while there are glimpses of the original goodness of the creation, its present condition is not good (whether due to pollution, climate change, floods, deadly earthquakes, tsunamis, destructive volcanos, supernovas, gamma ray bursts, etc.).  Truly, something has gone wrong in the cosmos.


The present condition of mankind is deplorable in many ways: totalitarianism, crony capitalism, crony socialism, anarchy, war, ethnic conflict, etc.  Other manifestations of our atrocious condition are seen in various types of “us-isms,” where “us” becomes the standard of judgment for “them” — rendering “them” as inferior — not being able to be “us” as well as we can be “us.”  This is seen in tribalism, racism, classism, culture-ism, and the caste system — to name a few.  


When we make ourselves the standard of judgment, we reduce evil to aspects we perceive do not condemn us and we get into trouble. When we exclude ourselves from the full scope of sinfulness, we make ourselves the standard for a twisted piety.  Individually, this is “me-ism,” collectively, another form of “us-ism.” In the resulting self-righteousness our evil runs rampant under the illusion of non-evil. Truly, something has gone wrong with humanity.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Protest and Anarchy in Black and Blue

Everyone knows that food left out in the right conditions will draw roaches — pests that carry disease, destruction and death.  In the last weeks, we’ve watched once-peaceful, constitutionally protected marches draw parasitical ideologies that commandeered the demonstrations for their warped intentions and destructive aims. 

Moving beyond whether we agree with the reasons for a person’s peaceful protest, the destructive elements who’ve attached themselves to these current demonstrations should cause all living in a democracy to ask: in what other ways can we express our convictions when the infestation begins?  In what ways can one safeguard against an infestation altogether?

If you’ve ever dealt with a parasite in your home, you know they have numerous ways of infiltrating, and then adapting to just about everything you throw at them.  Homeowners and apartment dwellers alike know this to be true...parasites have to be admired for their smarts and constant adaptability, if for nothing else.  They adapt to all your tactics in order to gain or maintain their advantage.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020


I have a decades long history of helping the Body of Christ navigate the particular concerns of minorities. Most of my ministry has been done through publishing, speaking, teaching, and one-on-one discipleship of young men. 

Because I serve a minority population, much of my work has involved addressing the unique challenges that such communities face. One such example is defending the Christian faith against the accusation that “Christianity is a ‘tool of oppression.’” 

This defense has involved engaging people who have looked for answers in counterfeit teachings, often disguised in theological language – teaching on the bankruptcy of these ideologies when compared to the biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ. The genuine Gospel that answers these ideologies is the robust and transformative message found in the Scripture along with all its implications, not the anemic or privatized version that emanates from some quarters of contemporary American Christianity. This was the basis for a book I wrote decades ago, Free at Last?. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Fine Dining or Dumpster Diving: A Paradigm for Activist Theology, 10 June 2012

As the cultural ground shifts under our feet, the church often gets caught up in these tectonic quakes — unnecessarily so.  Much of our stress is due to an inadequate theology.  Not that our theology is wrong as far as it goes.  It’s just that it has further to go.  Most Christians I talk to define theology as, “The study of God.”  While I affirm this definition, it leaves out the cultural and historical context in which we study God.  A broader, more comprehensive definition is, “The application of God’s Word by persons in every area of life.” (Dr. John Frame) This includes the study of God.
By Khalid Aziz    

In our Western context, several valuable methods of doing theology have developed such as Exegetical theology and Systematic theology.  However too often I have seen a tendency to think that all theology that can be done has been done.  This is a short step from relying on theology more than on the Word of God itself.  The scope of the Bible covers all of reality while the scope of theology is limited.  If the Bible can be compared to a movie, our theology would be one frame from it.  
Theology can be approached from at least two perspectives.  In terms of epistemology — what we should know about God, and in terms of ethics — how we should obey God.  Theology can also be done on both sides of human intelligence.  The cognitive side — involving conceptual knowledge and the intuitive side — involving perceptual knowledge.  If the epistemological approach is ‘Side A,’ then the ethical approach is ‘Side B.’  Similarly, the cognitive would be ‘Side A’ and the intuitive, ‘Side B.’  

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Some Things I’ve Learned Along the Way

Soon I’ll be seventy years old.  It’s hard to fathom this, since I still feel twenty-five.

When I was young, I lived for moments.  Today, I’m living for time. Langston Hughes has a poem that included the line, “life is short, but God is long.”  That’s how I feel these days.

My decades as a Christian activist have taught me valuable lessons.  I’ve had to learn a lot of these things the hard way, but I boiled a handful of “lessons” down to twelve common sense and overlapping principles of protest, some of which are adapted from my book Free At Last? — all of which are based on familiar biblical truths. 

They’ve served me well at different levels of cultural engagement, so I offer them as a reminder of our true focus, the gracious God who has ‘shown us what is good.’  I hope they can help us avoid the “syncretistic subculture” discussed in my last blog, and save us unnecessary tears and wasted years as we seek to ‘do what the Lord requires of us — namely “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with...God” (Micah 6:8).

Many of you in the field will already be familiar with these concepts, but there are also some men and women I’ve spoken with who are just wading into the waters of protest and prayer, even at this stage.  If you don’t find these principles helpful today, I hope they will be useful in the years to come.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned, there will always be something in our immediate surroundings that will fall short of God’s plan for a just society.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Reflections on Black Lives

Last night, two young Black Christian leaders from our community came to visit us.  They joined a steady stream of young people who’ve come to our home in the last few years seeking answers.  One brother was primarily concerned about unjust policing in our city, the other with the high crime rate in his neighborhood.

Both of these issues have affected them and their friends deeply.  My two young brothers expressed their frustration with measures that often lack practical application, be they protest or prayer.  They were united by their larger concern over the lack of discipleship, the absence of applied biblical principles, and a prophetic void – all three, they sensed, were at the heart of their frustrations.  They expressed a profound sentiment: “‘Black Lives Matter’ won’t matter to us until all Black lives matter.” 

They also came with a question, “What do we do?”

Most folk acknowledge that there are at least two versions of “black lives matter.”  For the Christian, making some sort of distinction makes it possible to participate in the movement for Black lives without compromising fidelity to Scripture.  Not long ago, the two versions were distinct.  They’ve since become so intertwined that it’s worth revisiting how they’re framed and perceived, and how they might be evolving.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Racism Alone? – Reflections on the Current National Divide

When I heard the decision not to indict the killers of Eric Garner, my outraged response was, “here we go again!”  If the Michael Brown case lacked moral clarity, the senseless tragedy of the Eric Garner case was much more clear.  No matter what the circumstances were, here were two more African American men added to the list of senseless killings, arousing strong reactions nationally and internationally.

Some claim that these killings demonstrate the existence of racist structures that permeate our society.  Others claim that these killings resulted from criminal behavior or “a lack of personal responsibility.”  While both positions point to contributing factors, they both continue to ignore the elephant in the room, namely culture – a factor that dwarfs the previous two. 

We have made astounding progress against racism thanks to the Civil Rights and Black Consciousness movements.  Yet in the ’hood, conditions have not improved accordingly.  Today, there is a growing culture of dysfunctionality eating away not just at the ‘hood, but at our larger society.  It is often government funded through well meaning but mismanaged subsistence programs.  It is having devastating effects across cultures, yet is felt most profoundly in the ’hood.  It is a culture derived from the old “redneck” South – a culture nurtured by structures of oppression and one that wears down initiative and personal responsibility – whose value system elevates and encourages anti-achieverism, fatherlessness, dependency, helplessness, hopelessness, self-sabotaging/self-destructive behavior, fratricide, etc., and in extreme cases, nihilism.