Recently I heard a pastor describing his efforts to reach marginalized people in his community with the good news. He cited this story and made a startling statement: “Sometimes in order to get people to Jesus you have to mess with the structure.” These entrepreneurial men didn’t let propriety stand in their way! They messed, quite literally, with the structure.
Whenever I hear Austin Channing Brown interviewed about her book I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, one of the first questions she is asked refers to the opening line of her book: “White people can be exhausting.” It’s more than just a provocative first line—it sets the tone of the book. It’s a signal to readers that Brown is not going to dance around the truth in this space.
As a seminary student, I knew that the majority of Covenant churches were in rural communities, but when the time came for me to accept my first call, I was looking everywhere but a rural setting. I wanted adventure. I wanted to create change. I wanted opportunity. And where in the world is Ceresco, Nebraska?
There’s a legal doctrine that I’ve learned from the equivalent of several years of law school from watching legal dramas. It’s known as “fruit of the poisonous tree.” … Over the last few years I’ve come to see this as another handy metaphor to describe the failings of American evangelicalism.
As Greater Faith grew, so did their call to serve their community in Clayton County. Noel says, “I was preaching mercy, love, and forgiveness but it just wasn’t enough. I was preaching to people who had their electricity turned off, or they had felonies on their records and couldn’t get jobs. I realized the justice piece was critical.”
The congregation began to partner with Healing Communities of Georgia, a network of nonprofits, state agencies, and faith-based organizations working to bring restoration to returning citizens, their families, and victims of crime.
Let the Trap Say Amen is relevant yet also prophetic. It is deeply grounded in the sounds and struggles of contemporary culture, yet the words urge listeners to seek a hope beyond one’s present circumstances.