Pastor or Business Man

At coffee with my friend Ken today, he asked, 

“So is it Daniel, the phone guy, or Daniel the pastor?” 

This evening a girl stopped by my house to purchase a phone, and she said, 

“I felt safe coming by your house to purchase the phone because I saw that you used to be a pastor.” 

So who is Daniel Bryan? 

Is Daniel Bryan a business owner or a pastor? 

Two comments in one day got me thinking, which led to a bit of writing, and that’s why you’re reading this blog. 

Two thousand years ago, the apostle Paul devoted his life full time as a missionary proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world. He also made a living making tents. 

I am employed full-time as a pastor. I love and serve my local community at 65 Home Avenue. I’ve had the honor of being the pastor at Cornerstone Bible Church for the last decade. I am a pastor. 

I’m also a pastor of a small church community who has found her numbers shrunk thanks to the pandemic. Despite profound generosity on behalf of my church community, I’ve taken pay cuts over the last four years. 

What do you do when your salary does not support your family?

So what do you do as a pastor when your Salary does not provide enough to support your family? Do you pray and wait to see how God provides? Or do you pray and look around yourself to see what resources God has put in your path? I chose to pray and look and act. 

Four years ago, I chose to start a little business to help provide for my family. I wanted to stay in place and keep serving the community God called me to. I also wanted to provide for my family. The solution for me to do and deliver was to innovate on the side. 

Nowadays, thanks to the blessings of God, my business is growing and steadily provides for my family’s needs. Simultaneously our church continues to struggle to find our identity in a post-COVID world. 

I know across the United States, churches have lost nearly 25% of their members. And I’ve also heard that almost 40% of pastors have retired. Ministry has always been challenging; today, it’s complicated with fewer people. 

I believe more and more pastors must innovate by producing income with a side business. To continue to serve in small communities, we need to do what we can to provide for our families. Perhaps in some places, trusting God to give means praying and then looking for a miracle. But in most cases, I find that trusting God to provide involves praying and working, and following God’s leading while moving. 

So who am I? 

Throughout the week, you will find me spending hours studying God’s word and preparing to preach and teach a couple of times every week. You will find me making calls and visiting and leading worship on Sundays. You will find me fixing phones and encouraging around 50 strangers a week who visit my house for phone repairs. I will often post about my business, my church, my family, and dad jokes on social media. 

I am a pastor, a husband/father, and I am a tentmaker who repairs phones. 

God, the Persistent Parent and His Wrath

Sometimes being a parent causes you to backpedal like crazy! I have moments with my daughters where I start to scold them for something they forgot to do. In those moments, my daughters will sometimes remind me that I didn’t tell them anything in the first place. When they correct my forgetfulness, I backpedal like crazy, apologizing for what I didn’t say.

Paul describes God as the persistent Father

When we look at Romans chapter one, we see God painting a picture of a persistent father. Paul is writing about a world God created as a relentlessly communicative father. Paul describes a father who doesn’t have to backpedal because He has forgotten to remind us.

20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ro 1:20.

The heavens declare the glory of God, 

and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. 

Day to day pours out speech, 

and night to night reveals knowledge. 

There is no speech, nor are there words, 

whose voice is not heard. 

Their voice goes out through all the earth, 

and their words to the end of the world. 

In them he has set a tent for the sun, 


The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ps 19:1–4.

So in Romans chapter one Paul describes a world where God has made himself explicitly clear. To everyone who cares to pay attention, God has revealed himself. Whether you look at the constellations in the sky or the trees around you, you can see nature pointing to something greater than itself.

We give glory to the wrong thing.

And see, that’s the problem; people sometimes don’t pay attention to what God displays. And sometimes, instead of giving glory to God or thanks, they honor those things God created.

It’s like walking up to the Mona Lisa painting and complementing the image on how well it created itself. The Mona Lisa painting is just oils and canvas created by a genius. In the same way, when we look around the world, we should ask who made a world like this instead of worshiping the globe. And Paul says that’s what the people of his time (and ours) are forgetting.

21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 


The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ro 1:21–23.

So what is glory?

We don’t grasp this concept as a culture. In the Hebrew world, the word glory meant “weight.” If something was full of glory, it was a heavyweight. It was gold; it was silver. It was fat, wealthy people. Obesity, through much of history, indicated wealth/glory/importance.

That which receives glory is that which you give the most weight to. That which has the most significant sway in your life is what you are giving glory to.
If your boss’s opinion matters more than anyone, then you give them glory.
If your spouse’s opinion matters more than anyone, you are giving them glory.
If preserving and earning money matters more than anything, you give money glory. (We all know what the Bible says about the love of money (1 Timothy 6:10)

So Paul wants us to see that the sin of humanity is that we are exchanging the immeasurable glory of God for material things that we see around us. God’s worthy of glory because he’s powerful and eternal. Animals, stars in the sky, trees, creepy crawly things, money, and people are all unworthy of the same level of weight that God is worthy of.

Paul’s argument in Romans chapter one is that creation points to a marvelous creative God. And ever since the beginning of creation, God has been revealing Himself to humanity. And He has given humankind the capacity to understand him. And in rejecting the reality of a God worthy of glory, humanity becomes fools.

The end of chapter one of Romans is about the consequences of humanity rejecting the glory of God. When we abandon God’s glory, God leaves us to our sin. To quote an uknown author, “The consequence of sin is often sin.”

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. 

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ro 1:24–32.

The reality is that when people act like they don’t know God, they move to worship something else. God made us to worship and give glory to something or someone. When we worship inanimate objects, those objects cannot declare how we should live. When we worship things or ourselves, the result always is sin. When we worship God, righteousness is a result.

My point in sharing the passage I copied above is not to write a blog about any of the topics mentioned therein. My point, just like Paul made it is to hold up a mirror showing the results of sin. Paul is clear and concise in showing the results of God giving people over to their sin.


Paul wants us to see that God constantly reveals himself to us like a faithful and persistent parent. If we pay attention, he will tell us the truth about this world and ourselves. If we reject God’s truth and give glory to unworthy things, our lives will degrade into sin. No matter how we spin it, sin is still devastating, painful, and destructive.

Let’s pay attention to the messages God pours out to us in the creation and his word.

The Wrath of God

When we think of God, we think of Him as a loving and kind deity. When we think of God, we think of Jesus loving on children or healing the sick. When we try to explain God to a friend or a family member, we talk about how much God loves us. We talk about how God loves us so much he is willing to sacrifice his son for us.

How often do we think of the wrath of God?

What Paul shows us in this following passage in Romans is that God’s wrath is as much part of His being as His love is.

I’m a father to two elementary-age girls. I love them with a fierce and committed love. Love defines so much of what I do for them. And yet, because I love them, I act with wrath. I fiercely work to teach them not to do things that would hurt them. When they were younger, I would yell at them if they started to cross a busy street to protect them. I’m willing to act with a vengeance to defend them. In many ways, my love and my wrath go hand in hand with my children. In much the same way, love and wrath go together when it comes to God.

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ro 1:18.

So in this passage, Paul says that God pours His wrath against those who suppress the truth.

And what’s the truth?

From the beginning to the end of the Bible, God desires to live in a relationship with humanity. From the genesis account of God walking with Adam and Eve throughout the Old Testament, God wants to live in connection with his people. When we get to the New Testament, we encounter Jesus, who teaches us that the greatest commandment is to love God and your neighbor.

What God wants is a relationship with us.

From the beginning of the Bible to the end, God has dealt with the problem of sin in the world. God wants us to live free from the devastation that comes from evil. God wants us to experience the love and forgiveness that he offers.

When you look at the New Testament, there are few times that Jesus gets angrier with the religious elite than when they add so much to the law that they keep people away from God.

God’s wrath is different than our wrath.

When we think of wrath, we think of overreactions and regrettable choices. We think of violence that is unwarranted. We think of actions that are fundamentally tainted by sin. So, when we think of wrath, we think it’s something terrible.

But isn’t wrath also used for good? Shouldn’t you feel anger when trying to defend someone from an attack? Shouldn’t our police departments act with fury to fight against violent crime? Shouldn’t apparent act wrathfully like a mother bear doing whatever it takes to protect her children from danger? There are sometimes when wrath drives us to make righteous choices. Sometimes, when we extract the twisting of sin, wrath drives virtuous actions.

When God acts in wrath, He is not tainted by sin.

The Bible talks about God’s wrath in two ways.

The final judgment of God

But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ro 2:5.

One type of God’s wrath is the final wrath of God at the end of time. It’s when God judges all sin. However, I will talk about this frequently.

God’s current reaction to what stands against His Holiness.

God’s fundamental nature is to react with wrath against what contradicts his holy nature.

This wrath is what Paul is talking about in Romans 1:18. God’s wrath consistently flows out of his nature. Since he created the whole universe, the Bible teaches he has the right to define what’s right and wrong. And then, when he sees something wrong, his reaction is wrath.

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 1 Jn 4:8.

It’s easy for us to accept that God fundamentally is love. But we must also accept wrath if we truly understand God.

God loves us and expresses His wrath towards us.

The beautiful part of scripture is that, like a good parent, God continually gives us both love and wrath. He’s constantly the God that loves us like the Good Shepherd does his sheep in Psalms 23. But He’s also the God who acts like violence against sin.

If we’re going to understand the gospel, then we must understand the wrath of God. If we’re going to come to grips with why we share our faith with others, then we need to come to grips with the wrath of God. If we share our faith with others, we need to come to grips with the wrath of God. God wants people to know the truth. And the truth is he loves humanity and wants us to know him.

How to start a phone repair business on the side that earns thousands of dollars per month. 

Over the last four years, I’ve built a business repairing devices such as phones, tablets, computers, and TVs in my spare time. I’ve grown from having a hobby bringing in a few $100 a month to a business that employs three workers and brings in thousands of dollars in revenue and a good amount in profit every month. I’ve done this all while working full-time as a pastor.

I believe anyone who loves working with people and is reasonably proficient at working with their hands and learning from YouTube can do just what I did. I intend to show you how to do what I did so that you can do the same if you’re interested. Sound good?

I believe in today’s economy more than ever; we need more small businesses and entrepreneurs stepping up to solve problems. And in today’s digitally connected world, we need men and women able to provide service for these devices. We don’t need more mega-companies; we need invested, local businesses.

So, stay tuned in, and in the upcoming weeks, I will unpack my journey from a hobby to the highest-rated repair company in the Wabash Valley.

Reopening The Church

What reopening our church is like 

June 7 of this year, we opened after shutting our doors for ten weeks! The 2020 Coronavirus closed the church doors longer than anything I’ve seen in my lifetime! Looking forward, the experts say the virus might shut us down again. The thought of shutting our doors again saddens me, so I’ll focus today on the experience of reopening. 

We decided to reopen the church at the end of May. We decided to open both because the state restrictions decreased, and the Covid-19 case level had leveled off. 

Preparing to open

In preparation to reopen, we went through and did the necessary cleaning of the whole church. We operated under the assumption that the church sat mostly empty over the past ten weeks, not collecting COVID bacteria. We also used signs and painters’ tape to block off pews and remind people to social distance. 

We changed our schedule as well. We operated under the understanding that spreading a virus has to do with proximity and duration. We worked to help people maintain 6-foot distancing. We also shortened the service from about 1:15 to about 50 minutes.

We also reduced opportunities to spread germs. We did not pass out or have a bulletin available. We eliminated in-person coffee and donut time. We decided not to restart our children’s ministries of the nursery or children’s church. 

The experience of meeting in person 

First of all, masks change everything! We opened our doors on June 7 for our first service. Everyone who joined us wore masks. I love looking out and seeing a sea of colorful masks. I don’t like how muffled everyone sounds in a mask. Singing in a mask stinks because it stifles you. Also, masks make catching up difficult because you can’t read expressions. 

Secondly, social distancing moves people to new places in the church. Most of our members have general areas where they sit. Social distancing has moved everyone around the church to new spots. The beautiful thing is the church looks pretty full with social distancing. Everyone spread out makes it look like a packed church! 

Thirdly, we missed the younger children. Two families with older children have attended the past two weeks. The two families with younger children have not attended. I know, not offering services for children has put these parents in a bind. I want to serve these families. 

Growing forward. 

We plan to continue wearing masks and social distancing for the indefinite future. These measures are practical and easy to implement. We need to figure out how to connect with and encourage our children at CBC. We need to keep leaning into caring for our families in creative ways. 

Elon Musk

Elon Musk is changing how the world views space travel, electric cars, tunnels and more.

Recently I watched Elon Musk in an interview about his new Starship.

In this interview, he had a few points. 

First of all, the most important thing to do is to ask the right question. Whether it’s building a rocket or an organization, you need to ask the right questions to get where you need to go. 

Secondly, he argued that everyone in the organization needs to understand how most of the systems work. They must assume the constraints they are under are likely wrong. They need to design and think for the whole organization. Elon was talking about building a rocket, but I think the applications go beyond it. 

Thirdly, he said one of the most significant errors that engineers make is they optimize a part that shouldn’t exist. 

I think Elon Musk has changed a lot of the world by his work ethic and perspective on many things. 

His work ethic is legendary, where he puts in over 80 hours a week regularly at work. Yet, what’s changed more things is his relentless capacity to find solutions to problems. 

I love how he simply looks to solve a problem without respecting norms. He doesn’t look for how people have fixed things in the past. He simply looks for how he could solve the problem. His solutions usually surprise people, and they work. 

Examples of solutions. 

Tesla—Electric cars that are fast and powerful

The Boring Company—Underground tunneling to relieve traffic.

The Cybertruck—A different look for a truck. 

SpaceX—Build and launch satellites for everyone on earth, so you can fund your goal to reach Mars. 

His dreams are crazy, ambitious, and literally out of this world. Somehow, though, Elon Musk keeps hitting his targets. Because of Musk’s work, our world is changing. 

I could learn something from Elon Musk. 

This digital service has improved my work life, spiritual life, and health

I’ve spent 415 hours on this digital service this year, and it has improved my work life, spiritual life, and health. No, I am not talking about Facebook, Youtube, or Disney Plus. 

One of the most significant problems I face is managing myself when I’m working alone. In a given week, I work on the study, preparation, and more by myself for more than 20 hours. I struggle with distraction, demotivation, and more. Yet, I love my job; I love the work I get to do. 

Focusmate changed how I work.

Focusmate is an online digital coworking community. You can think of it as having a digital study partner.

Here is how Focusmate works. Say you need to work through your email inbox, and you’ve been avoiding it. You log on to Focusmate and select a 50-minute time period that you want to spend working. At the time you selected, you log on, and the system matches you with another person in a video chat. At the beginning of the session, you and the other person (usually a stranger) share for 30-60 seconds precisely what you will be working on that hour. Then you and your partner will generally turn your microphones off and get to work. At the end of 50 minutes, a chime will sound, and you both report to each other how you did. You thank each other for the help and sign off. 

This simple service works. It has dramatically boosted my productivity at work. It has also helped me to develop some incredible habits. 

If you go to the Focusmate website, you’ll see an explanation of why this works. I’ll explain how this has worked for me. 

Focusmate integrates five behavioral triggers to achieve a flow state:

I love working in “the zone,” where I lose myself in my work. This flow state makes my work better and my use of time more productive. Focusmate helps me get there every day. 


Pre-commitment means that I commit with another human being that I will start work at a set time. It’s effortless to change commitments I make to myself. If I commit to myself that I’m going to get up early, myself is very understanding if I need to sleep more. It’s a whole different deal when I wake up and realize I have a Focusmate session in fifteen minutes. If I miss the meeting or am late, then I let someone else down. Pre-commitment holds you internally accountable. 

Implementation intentions

Focusmate also forces me to define how I plan to work. There’s a world of difference between you saying to a friend, “We should get coffee sometime” and “Let’s get coffee tomorrow at 8 am.” When you spell out what you intend to do, it’s easier to do it. When I tell my Focusmate partner what I intend to do that session, it solidifies the commitment for me. If I commit to researching the whole hour and watch a show, instead, I break-a commitment.  

Social pressure

I admit it. I’m affected by the people around me. When all the people in my house want to go to Baskin-Robbins, I want to go too. When I belong to an online community committed to focusing and productivity, I raise the bar in my own life. 

You are supposed to only take about 60 seconds at the beginning and end for check-in/out. That said, I have had countless short conversations about life and productivity journeys. I meet many awesome people striving to focus on important things and get work done. They challenge and inspire me every day. 


It matters when someone asks me if I did what I said I would do—keeping my commitments matter even when talking to a total stranger. I want to see myself as someone to does what he says he would do. Committing to another human to work hard for 50 minutes matters to me. 

It helps that I’m working with strangers. Think about your home and workplace (office). You have (hopefully) good relationships with many of the people there. You talk about family and hobbies and work. It’s hard not to talk about the fun things in your life when you should be working. On Focusmate, the system partners you with strangers who are only there to get something done and help you do the same. You don’t talk about other things in your life because you often don’t know other items about your partner’s life. 

Specificity in the task definition

A lot of times, I don’t know what I’m doing. When I hop on Focusmate, I have to look someone in the eye and specify what tasks I will do in the next hour. That moment forces me to work through the fog in my head and come up with a game plan. Sometimes I stick to the program in my sessions, and other times I come up with a new plan. Either way, when I specifically define my next steps, they are much easier to take. 

I love how international Focusmate is!

Every day I work with people in different parts of the world. I’ve met men and women all over Africa, Europe, Asia, and islands around the world. I’ve had to use google translate to talk in one session. I love meeting so many different people! 


I am so thankful through the Pandemic that I’ve gotten to partner with this community. Focusmate has helped me focus on the important but not always exciting work I must get done. I hope perhaps it can be a help for you. I would love to see you on there!

A White Friend Who Wants to Be An Ally

For the last week, I have struggled to figure out how to be a more potent ally to people of color in America. I ran into this article and have read it several times now. This blog is some of my reflections and action steps.

First of all, here is the article link. It’s a more critical read than my blog.

“For Our White Friends Desiring to Be Allies” By Courtney Ariel

Listen More and Talk Less

Today I’m committing to spending more time listening and less time trying to prove how caring I am. I’m committing to pay more attention to the people around me and hearing they say.

Sit in someone else’s experience.

In 11 years of marriage, I’ve learned Ashley doesn’t always want a solution as much as a listening ear. Similarly, I’m going to work on sitting for a moment in the experiences of others. It insults my wife to think I know better than her experience. How much am I insulting people of color when I offer my opinion on their experience?

Educating myself

I just bought Michelle Alexander’s book

“The New Jim Crow, Mass incarceration in the era of color blindness.”

This was recommended to me for understanding black people’s experience in America. I will take time to listen and consider more of the problems they face.

Don’t be surprised

It’s carefree and foolish for me to be surprised that racism still happens today. My experience in America has always been enjoyable. Yet, I know many who have suffered much for many reasons, including racism. I need to be sensitive to the fact that this is a reality for millions of people in America.

Do the work and then ask questions.

When I’m exhausted, my daughters’ persistent questions annoy me. I need to remember America is full of exhausted men and women Before I ask a lot of questions I need to work to learn.

Stop talking about Colorblindness.

I need to realize this is a blind statement. We have never been colorblind in America. I have never been colorblind. I believe I have always tried to treat people fairly. Yet, I also know I have drawn many conclusions based just on skin color. I must remind myself regularly that I’m not colorblind. I must work to see where I am making harmful assumptions about others.

Privilege means a debt owed.

In some way, I have a debt that I owe because of my privilege. I have enjoyed years and generations of cultural benefits. It’s up to me to invest in and share my blessings with others.


The article by Courtney Ariel challenged me to think and listen to the black experience in America. I believe despite the best of intentions. I am, in some ways, part of the problem. I intend to change this.

I don’t believe God has called me to live in fear but in a spirit of power and love (and a sound mind). I also don’t think it would be useful to walk around, holding onto a guilty conscience for generations of privilege. I hope I can cultivate a greater willingness to stop and listen to black pain. I hope I can learn to speak up against injustice wherever I see it. I hope I can rigorously challenge the assumptions I make in my heart.

Several Church Attendance Issues the Church Must Face

What will church attendance look like in the next few years, and what does this mean?

Yesterday I read a thoughtful article by Carey Neiuwhof on this topic, and I’d like to share my thoughts and responses here.

Infrequent church attendance means people don’t value what we’re offering.

We need to remember that infrequent church attendance also means people don’t value what we’re offering. People often show up for what they consider essential. If they aren’t showing up frequently in church, they don’t think what we offer is necessary.

I need to major on the mission at CBC.

I will work harder to major on the mission at CBC. I must do my best to help each individual under my care understand what’s truly at stake. I must prove the importance of every single event or commitment I ask out of people. I must remember people don’t assume the ministry of CBC has value. The job of CBC leaders is to show the value of the ministry and mission of our church.

Infrequent attendance means lower devotion.

Decreased frequency of church attendance has been and continues to be a negative faith sign for believers. When we care for someone, we show up in their lives. When we attend church less frequently, we show a sliding devotion to God.

I must invite people to pursue a relationship, not an organization.

It’s so easy to get caught up protecting the institution of the church that I forget it’s all about Jesus. I need to work to connect people to God as the most important of the work I do.

The church thrives when we do life together.

We must choose to facilitate life together in our facilities and everywhere we can. The church going forward is a community of people that doesn’t have to be in a facility. We must leverage our organizational and financial strengths to facilitate community and gatherings everywhere we can.

Online is the front door now more than ever.

The churches of the future that are growing will see online as a front door more and more. In this past, this has been just the website. Now it is a more robust online service and meeting offering schedule. It is treating online as the front door of the church and doing our best to connect with new people through our digital front door.

I need to leverage all that I’ve learned from living through the Pandemic.
I need to make our online offerings high quality and high engagement. The first point where people will engage is online and then later possibly come through our front door. Importantly, I need to build our online content for engagement, not just consumption. I want to walk people from Facebook live to 65 Home Avenue.

Children are the real ones suffering.

When parents connect online, only it is the children who suffer. Parents have a ton of tools to connect these days. Our children have far less. We must, as a church, create opportunities to connect with and serve our children.

Evangelism isn’t about the organization but the people.

Church leaders like myself must see it as my job to equip people to reach their neighbors. The institution of the church will have fewer opportunities to carry forward the evangelistic message. Especially in a post-pandemic world, we must equip individual believers to carry and share their faith. Empowering people to share their faith isn’t giving up as a church, it is strategizing for the future.

The church of Jesus Christ will continue to change lives going forward. The question is whether institutions like Cornerstone Bible Church will remain. For us to do so, we need to invest the strengths we have from the past into facing the new problems of the church. I believe we will make the changes we need to make because God is working in us.

Responding to the cultural chaos

This morning I’m trying to respond to the chaos in the world around me. Black men and women around the United States are furious about how the culture has systematically mistreated them. This discussion is nothing new. Yet even though we have protests and more every few years, things don’t seem to change much.

Systematic inequality

Some write about systematic inequality. Reporters talk about how blacks are less likely to get a loan than a white family. They talk about city planning initiatives that favor whites over blacks. I’m sure the list continues from there.

I know that many of the systematic issues are beyond what I can reasonably influence. So what is an area I can change?

What I can change

Well, I know I can change myself. I know I’ve made assumptions about men and women just because they are black. I pride myself on at least striving to treat everyone equally. I know that I make assumptions not only on skin color but how someone looks. I’ll be wary of a white person dressed all gangster just as much as a black man. But do I tend to profile black people more negatively?

The sad domino effect

There’s a sad domino effect I see. Black people are far more likely to live in poverty. Poverty correlates to drug uses and crime for white and black communities. So the effect is more often I categorize many of the black people I meet as in poverty and likely connected to one of its adverse effects.

I don’t want people to make assumptions about me.

I see two problems with this logic. First and most importantly, I would want someone to see me for me. Even if I were born in poverty, I would fight, and yearn for someone to see me on my merits and not just where I was born. It’s wrong and unloving for me to assume things I don’t know about anyone.

Generational poverty

The second problem with my logic is that I fail to ask why more black people are in poverty. I know that poverty often correlates with injustice. Many people stay in poverty because of systematic prejudice against them. Many people also remain in poverty generationally. If your parent was in poverty, there’s a good chance you’ll stay there.

Somehow in some way, I need to advocate for greater justice for those in poverty. I need to speak up for initiatives that help those in poverty. I need to create these initiatives in my church. I need to use my voice and my pen to write in support of equal justice. I need to point out and highlight injustices.

It’s kind of my fault
I know that the generational poverty of many blacks in America connects back to slavery. If your ancestors lived in abject poverty, they passed this on to you. If your ancestors lived in an explicitly segregated society until the 1960s, they passed on inequality to you. The starting point for generations of black poverty is my ancestor’s fault.

So how do I live today to make some difference in this world?

I don’t know.

I do know I need to change.
I do know I’ve got the power to lead.
I do know God has called me to love Him and love my neighbor as myself.