Signs of the time
By Pastor Rasheed Z. Baaith
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” (2 Timothy 3:1)
We know the events that happen around us and the type of events they are give indication to the flavor, culture and beliefs of the time in which we live. Looking around we see we live in a time where:
Black people help perpetuate negative stereotypes about themselves. Mary J. Blige’s Burger King chicken commercial is a perfect example. No-body likes fried chicken more than I do but no matter how good it is, it never makes me start singing with eyes closed and chicken held lovingly in my hand after I take a bite. For Mary J, it did. Badly. After an increasing number of protests, Burger King pulled the commercial and Mary J. Blige apologized for her participation in this new version of being the happy negro.
This disrespect by the corporate world of Black people is not new but it has become more stark than ever before. Adidas developed a sneaker shoe that had shackles the wearer attached around the ankle, the same type of shackles slaves wore in the Antebellum South and inmates wear today. In each of the two examples cited, the wearer was and is forced to wear shackles, which was to be the first time someone (us) would voluntarily place their own body in chains.
Adidas apparently believes that, one, so many of us still have such a strong slave mentality that we would find nothing wrong with placing fake yokes on our feet or two, we have such a desire to be among those who wear the latest styles, no matter how outrageous that style may be, we don’t worry about being insulted or slurred. We’ll buy and wear a thing no matter how self-contemptuous it may be. I’m not sure what the bigger insult is, what they made or the fact we willingly participate in these insults. We’ll shrill for these people or buy the material slander. Yet, no one makes us do these things; we do them because we want to. The fault is ours.
Even worse, the one place where we have always found correct thinking and an uncompromised behavior is off track. The church is so concerned with trying to “reach” people, it won’t “teach” people. We’re trying to become like the world to save the world. We keep diluting the power of the Gospel because we think if we make it more palatable to those who are unchurched they’ll fill seats. That is faithless thinking and theological error. Jesus was clear when He said in John 6:44, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him…” That means that unless Father God puts the desire in a person’s heart to come to Christ, they are compelled for the wrong reason.
So we are not to use hip hop music to draw the young, not to wink at sinful behavior to draw the unconverted or promote those parts of the Bible that we find uncontroversial to draw those with “itching ears.” Jesus has set a standard where we do not and cannot become or think like the unsaved to “reach” the unsaved.
There are of course those in the church who love to quote Paul in 1 Corinthians 9 saying, “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” This Scripture is taken out of context to justify the “reaching not teaching” theology so prevalent in today’s church. First of all, this is about why Preachers/Pastors should be financially blessed by those he serves. Paul is talking about money. And he reminds the readers that people under the law have certain expectations on them and he expects them to fulfill those obligations. But he teaches them even if they do not pay him as they should, he will still teach, those under the law and those not. Verses 7, 11, 13, 14 clearly speak of financially supporting the Pastor/Preacher.
Nowhere does Paul say we are to be alcoholic to reach alcoholics, use crack to reach crack addicts, go to strip clubs to reach strippers or indulge in pedophilia to reach pedophiles. Or use “Holy” as a prefix for irreverent and profane music and dance to draw folk into our churches.
Finally there is this from Psalm 53:2, “God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God.”