Jim Davis and Mike Aitcheson continue a conversation with Jon Aragón and Ameen Hudson, picking up with power dynamics in culture and society and the concept of transitional justice as a means to bridging gaps in America’s traumatic racial history. Aragón and Hudson share things they wish the church would embrace in this cultural moment. The group addresses:
- Power differentials in Scripture (0:34)
- How Jesus addressed power differentials (8:42)
- Understanding transitional justice (16:29)
- Taking justice seriously (25:28)
- Promoting greater human flourishing for minorities (31:13)
Explore more from TGC on the topic of race.
1. Why is it powerful for the church to own past wrongs even if it didn’t participate in them? Where might the Bible point to the need for this? How could this shape the church for the future?
2. What would it look like for the church to embrace a more robust view of justice that applies the whole testimony of Scripture to this world? What will it cost?
The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.
Matt Kenyon: You’re listening to As In Heaven: A Christian Conversation on Race and Justice. In this episode, we continue our conversation with Jon Aragòn and Ameen Hudson about power dynamics in culture and society, and the concept of transitional justice as a means to bridging the gaps in America’s traumatic racial history. Jim Davis is your host. Mike Aitcheson, once again is your cohost. Mike Graham is the executive producer. My name is Matt Kenyon I’m the technical producer. And without further ado, please enjoy this episode of As In Heaven with Ameen and Jon.
Jim Davis: Related to the subject of power dynamics in language is the concept of power in general and how it plays itself out culturally, sociologically, and in the church. This is another all play. Whoever wants to answer this, can you unpack some of the various parts of scripture where you see significant power differentials between people, and how scripture encourages us to navigate those differentials?
Ameen Hudson: Even in general, some of the power dynamics that you see in scripture, you see the power dynamics between the weak and the strong. You see power dynamics between the rich and the poor. You see power dynamics between those who have power and those who don’t have power. In scripture, usually power, it also comes with resources and money. Even in James, chapter 2, you see when James is talking about the partiality that the church is showing, and he says, “Why are you guys showing partiality to the rich, who are dragging you guys to court and oppressing you?” Power dynamics there. You see it even between Jew and Gentile, which we see Paul trying to actually bring that reconciliation about in the New Testament, especially what’s happening within the new covenant, what God’s plan always was for his people, having a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-generational church.
You see this between the Hellenists and the Hebrews in Acts, chapter 6. One of the things that I think that we see in scripture, and which God shows us, is that we should be concerned about justice that happens in the context of dynamics of power within society. In Isaiah 1:17, he says, “Learn to do good, seek justice, correct oppression, bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” You see him in Proverbs 31, we see it says, “Speak for those who can’t speak for themselves, for the rights of those who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly.” We see in Jeremiah 22, Yahweh says, “Do justice and righteousness and deliver from the hand of the oppressor and those who are being robbed, and do no wrong or violence to the resident, alien, the fatherless, the widow. Don’t shed innocent blood in this place.
It’s all over scripture in which God shows that He has a heart for the vulnerable. Usually, what we have seen in scripture is that the vulnerable are those who are outside of power or those who are the weak within society. That’s who God has a special place for. It’s not about partiality, but God goes to those people. That’s who God loves. And so, God is particularly drawn to the weak. So much so that even in Romans when Paul is talking about the weaker brother, Paul talks about the stronger brother favoring the weaker brother. So much so that even when he’s talking about meat, even when he’s talking about dietary restrictions, even when he’s talking about that, who does Paul say we should favor? The weaker brother, even though on a technicality, you could technically do what you want to do with your liberty here.
But, who you should be actually concerned about is the weaker brother among you. Paul doesn’t tip his hat to the strong. He tips his hat to the weak because he’s being like God, and that’s how God always is. I think that for the Christian, what you have to do is recognize who is the weak in society? How do we contextualize that? Who is the weak in society? That’s going to look different. Sometimes the weak in America in the history that we have in America is unique. It can look different than it looks in Africa, look different than it looks in other countries. But if we’re talking about here in America, stateside, we have to deal with who has been the weak and the vulnerable here. Immigrants have been weak and vulnerable, the poor of all races have been weak and vulnerable. People of color have been weak and vulnerable. There’s ways in which it still happens, so God cares about that.
Even when we think about Acts 6, when you have the conflict between the Hellenists and the Hebrews when they’re saying, “Hey, our widows are being overlooked in the distribution. Something has to be done about this.” Right?
Jon Aragòn: Right, right.
Ameen Hudson: What do God’s people do in that context? They don’t say, “Well, your people are probably not working hard enough to get what you need in the distribution. Maybe you guys aren’t loud enough. Maybe you guys aren’t where you should be. Maybe you guys aren’t in position to get what you need.” There’s not any excuses being put on them. They acted immediately and swiftly to ameliorate the problem. What they did is they said, “First of all, hey, us as the main guys, we can’t really dedicate time to this, but we need to seriously look at those who can. Let us pick men in our community that is full of the Spirit of God, people that we know that love Jesus, that are going to be like God, that have the heart of God to not be partial, and they’ll have the heart of God to serve. Let’s choose these people, and we are going to lay hands on them and pray over them before they even start serving, showing that this was a very serious matter for them.” It wasn’t just like, hey, choose these people and have them hand this stuff out. It was like, no, we need God to move in this.
Ameen Hudson: And so, we are going to establish these people that are going to make sure that the Hellenists get what they need. The people that they established were also Hellenists. I think that what happens, though, what you see in Acts, chapter 6, I don’t think that what is going on in Acts, chapter 6 is that you have the Hebrews intentionally trying to discriminate against the Hellenists. Maybe some of that is there. But what I think is happening is what usually happens a lot of time with predominate culture is that I think that the Hebrews did not even recognize that the Hellenists were being overlooked. That’s why God talks so much about you being intentional about not only doing things for the poor, but noticing the vulnerable within society. Because if you are not part of the vulnerable, and if you are part of those who are predominate or have power, you will not see them. You will overlook them. I think that that’s what was happening in Acts, chapter 6.
It wasn’t like, “We don’t like y’all, we’re not going to serve you.” I think it was like, “We don’t even notice that y’all are not getting served. Because our people are being served, all I see is me, our people, and I see that our people have what they need, I’m not even recognizing that there are other people here that are going without.” I think that one of the things that we have to do is we have to be intentional about recognizing who is being devalued, and those who are the weak and vulnerable in society, which is why God talks about it with so much intentionality. Because if we’re not intentional about it, we won’t care. That’s the thing about it. I don’t need help not caring for the vulnerable. My heart and my depravity, all of our hearts and our depravity already bend towards not caring about other people. I don’t need anymore help doing that.
Ameen Hudson: What I need help, what I need the Spirit of God to help me do is actually start caring and having a heart. This orthopathos, this right feeling and affection and emotion-
Jon Aragòn: Feeling, yeah. Towards the vulnerable, that’s what I need help with. I don’t need help not seeing them. I don’t need help trying to make excuses for why they are where they are. I need help with my heart breaking for them. And so, yeah, I think that scripture speaks to this a lot, and I think that God’s heart is bent towards the vulnerable. If His heart is bent towards the vulnerable, then our heart should be bent towards the vulnerable. If it’s not, then we have a God problem. We don’t just have a theological problem, we have a heart problem. If God is a God of the fatherless and a protector of widows, and we are not those people, when the quartet of the vulnerable are speaking up about how they are being suppressed and even oppressed in society, and we make excuses or we tell them that it’s their fault, or we find anything that we can find to make us not have to care about their oppression, we have a God problem, bro. We’re not being nothing like our savior.
I share the same sentiments. You and I, we’ve talked about these issues for years. Ameen covered a lot of ground scripturally. Just to reinforce that, I think about the means by which our savior came into this world and the expectation that Jews and, well, Greeks, but Jews had of how the savior worked to come into this world. He flipped all of that on its head. It’s just incredible for me to think that Jesus came into this world as a brown man, born into a low income family without access to modern day healthcare, if we call it that. That’s the type of family that Jesus was born into. It shouldn’t surprise us that scripture is riddled, of course the old testament, with the quartet of the vulnerable, and the new testament of clear, clear imperatives of how we ought to care for the most vulnerable among us. Because God embodied in his vulnerability as a human, he embodied that for us. He identified with the most vulnerable within that community. When we are called to care for the immigrant, the orphan, the widow, it’s a call that comes from God’s heart Himself.
Those things for us, and as Matthew 25 talks about, will really reveal if we’re truly His. If we’re grappling with whether or not we should care about these issues, again, to reinforce Ameen’s point, it’s a God problem and we’re called to be a voice for the vulnerable. We’re called to pray for those who lack access to resources because there are structures and things that are put in place that not only, they start at a disadvantage, but put them farther back then where many of us can even start. Scripture speaks very clearly to these things. Yeah, I think it’s encouraging. It’s a truth’s truth, and it’s encouraging to know that Jesus spoke to these very things very clearly. He embodied them for us. There in conversation or as we’re grappling with these issues, whether or not they become politicized or not, as Ameen said, yes it could be a God problem. I think scripture, biblical illiteracy is an issue because if we’re not able to know God’s word and see how throughout redemptive history he’s always been on the side of the most vulnerable and the oppressed among us, how should we view those who are in our midst? How should we view them?
Would God be approving the way we are now treating the most vulnerable in our community? For you fellow Christian or believers that are watching or listening to this, what’s your heart posture? Ask yourself this question. When you see someone in your community that is disenfranchised, whatever that looks like, either they’re an immigrant, they’re someone that lives on that bad side of town that you don’t want to take your kids to, where’s your heart posture? What’s your heart posture when you see that image bearer? Someone created with dignity, value and worth. What’s your heart posture when you see that image bearer? I think that’s a question we need to ask ourselves.
If we’re wrestling and if our hearts are in a place of despondency against image bearers that aren’t at a disadvantage because of their own doing but … sorry, they’re not at a disadvantage because of their own doing, but they’re victims because of systematic oppressions that are in place against them, we need to be asking ourselves, what would God have me to do?
Ameen Hudson: I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to keep going.
Mike Aitcheson: Go ahead.
Ameen Hudson: Even what Jon said I think is very important, especially because of the whole culture war around justice, what he says that they’re not necessarily where they are because of their own doings. The bible makes it very clear. I think it was actually Tim Kellan that pointed this out, that people’s situation is not always a result of the choices that they make. Especially when the bible talks about poverty, man, and disenfranchisement. The bible talks about poverty and disenfranchisement can come by someone, yes, culpability of there’s one being lazy, not working hard enough. Bible talks about poverty and disenfranchisement coming from situations that people have no control over. It could be natural disasters, it could be famine, it could be COVID-19. It could be those things. And then the bible also talks about people being in poverty because of injustice, right?
Mike Aitcheson: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ameen Hudson: I think it’s Proverbs 13 that says that the fallow ground of the poor yield much fruit, but it’s swept away through injustice. Michael says, “Woe to those who devise wickedness and work evil on their beds. When the morning dawns, they perform it because it is in the power of their hand. They covet fields and seize them, and houses, they take them away. They oppress a man and his house, a man and his inheritance.” There’s a very real sense in which injustice happens due to oppression, and poverty and disenfranchisement happens due to oppression. Christians should be speaking to all of those things. This is not political. Every one of those things should be spoken to because God speaks to all of those things. Yeah.
Mike Aitcheson: Yeah. It’s time to pass the plate around.
Ameen Hudson: Go ahead, play it off [inaudible 00:14:43].
Jon Aragòn: [crosstalk 00:14:43] understand what you just said.
Mike Aitcheson: Can we get one more? Let’s sing that last line one more time.
Ameen Hudson: Let’s get these young brothers to where they need to go on this mission trip from First Missionary Baptist Church.
Mike Aitcheson: First Missionary Baptist.
Ameen Hudson: We’re going to pass the plate around one more time.
Mike Aitcheson: Man, oh my goodness. As you guys were talking, I was thinking about just the Mosaic Laws with the gleanings, with the Sabbath, the jubilee. Moses even says, “And don’t you dare withhold a loan from your brother if it’s close to the Sabbath year. Because it’d be tantamount to a grant.” He anticipated the ways that people would try to slip shot their brothers. I think about what you all said about how the powerful … and scripture is very clear about this, it warns about the dangers of power and the proclivities towards certain sin. Think about Naboth’s vineyard in 1 Kings 21 where Ahab sees Naboth’s vineyard, and he wants it. He wants to annex his land as Micah preaches against. He’s like, “This is my father’s inheritance.” And then Jezebel’s like, “Well, aren’t you the King?” She’s like, “Let’s figure this thing out.” And so, she concocts this plan, to conspire to take the man’s land. It really is just very clear what you all … you presented clearly the bible’s concern for the least of these and the emphasis that scripture places, old and new testament. This is an entire redemptive story issue. Thank you for bringing that to the for.
As we think about that, one of the things that seems obvious after the Civil Rights Movement was that there was a failure at every level of society to … excuse me … instigate what many have come to call transitional justice. And so, these are steps that have been taken in places where significant trauma like Rwanda and South Africa to deal with egregious structural problems. One sociologist defines transitional justice like this, it’s a set of measures and processes adopted to deal with the consequences of mass human rights violations in the aftermath of regime changes, violent conflicts, wars and other historical injustices that were derivatives on Democratic regimes, colonization, occupation and so on. Dr. Anthony Bradley offered up a few handful examples of transitional justice as well and some of the things that should’ve been done in the wake of the Civil Rights Movement but never happened. He said reopening unsolved racially motivated crimes including lynchings, acts of domestic terrorism and other crimes against humanity, he said assess and redress monetarily those who had been victims of crimes, and thorough vetting of those actively participating in things like the KKK and the Citizens Council, and their removal from public sector employment like the criminal justice system, state legislature, social work, public education, law enforcement, and the list abounds.
Mike Aitcheson: And so, society should have robust programs for the education and memorialization of those who are victims, to preserve historical memory. These are just some of the things that he teased out in terms of examples of transitional justice that should’ve happened in the wake of the Civil Rights Movement. As we think about this, if you had a magic wand and could go back to the late 1960s and early 1970s, and could use that magic wand to help America transition from the late Civil Rights Movement into a version of America with greater human flourishing for black and brown folks in America, what would be a few things that you would do?
Jon Aragòn: I feel like in responding to that, we also want to acknowledge how we have historically been on the wrong side. I say we, the church. We need to own a lot of these things. We have historically been on the wrong side of all these issues, especially going into in the 1960s. You think about slavery, defending slavery, siding with the Confederates, church based discrimination, Christian schools and organizations being developed and propped up in an effort to segregate black and white people, reconstruction.
Ameen Hudson: Watch out now.
Jon Aragòn: And black codes, not advocating for issues there. The assault on blackness within the culture, and not defending within legitimate, people’s humanity and the citizenship of black people. Obviously, Jim Crow, and defending segregated churches, lynching. My goodness. The list goes on and on. And of course, the freedom movement. I say this grieving. This grieves my heart, but the church has historically been on the wrong side of these issues. We’ve had individuals that God, and through their own volition, but God in other spaces has raised up to be voices during those times. But if I had a magic wand, I think I wish the church would have stood on the side of the vulnerable. And we didn’t. We failed. That’s one of the things I think, not the entire church, but by and large, the church failed during that time. We have made great strides up until today, but we’re still dealing with systemic racism and the enduring biases that are still permeating within our culture. Not to mention all of the societal wounds that black/brown people have had to carry in terms of generational trauma because of all the things that have happened over the last century.
Jon Aragòn: I think the wand that I would wave would be one of the church standing up for the vulnerable. If the church would have stood up for the vulnerable, a lot of these things wouldn’t have had to happen. But unfortunately, they did. That can sound accusatory towards us, but we need to won those things as God’s people. We need to own them. We need to. I think that requires … I don’t know what public repentance would look like with that, but that requires some level of acknowledgment that the church has co-opted a lot of these things. Yeah.
Ameen Hudson: I actually agree with Jon. I think that Jon gave a really good survey on that because I feel like one of the things that in America, man, when we had the Civil Rights Act pass and we had the Voting Rights Act pass and we had Brown v. Board of Education, and we can keep going on and on about laws and things that we have done to essentially say that we ameliorating these problems of injustice and discrimination within our country. We’ve passed all these nondiscriminatory colorblind laws. But I think that one of the things that we know as Christians is that laws do not change hearts, bro. Laws being passed does not change hearts. One of the things that I think permeated America, especially during those times is … I’m going to say a bad word here, white supremacy. What I mean by white supremacy is not people dressing up in KKK uniforms and all of that. I mean centering whiteness and white experience. I think that’s one thing that the law did not fix, that the law may have codified new nondiscriminatory, colorblind type of laws as far as form. But it didn’t actually play itself out that way in function.
That’s why when you had Brown v. Board of Education pass, and then later on, especially in late 60s, early 70s, you saw this kind of emergence, this erection of these privatized organizations, mostly Christians that were seeking to get their white children out of these schools so they didn’t have to integrate with these black kids in these schools, especially in predominantly black districts. And then you saw that move into arguments about religious freedom. You saw during the Civil Rights Movement, people say that folks like Martin Luther King … What I’m saying is that theologically conservative, orthodox Christians calling those black Christians who are fighting for justice, Marxists and Communists, which is now, I guess the equivalent would be Marxists now. But they were calling folks like that, Communists. They were even calling them Marxists. Look up the essay that King wrote on Marxists and why he disagreed with it and why he was not a Marxists. But they called him that.
You had Christians during the antebellum period when you had abolitionists fighting for black folks to be free from slavery, you had Christians during that time saying that these Christians who are fighting for the freedom of black people at this time are being deceived by humanitarian ideology and that humanitarian ideology is creeping into the church and turning the church into a justice movement instead of a movement about the gospel. You had Presbyterian pastors that preached during antebellum periods against injustice, and then church members sending them notes and coming up to them after service saying that, “You need to just preach the gospel and stop talking about all this social justice.” What I’m saying is that what happened in the history is still happening. We hear all of the same arguments now, and the church does not recognize the way that they are repeating history. It just looks different.
And so, one of the things that I wish that we would do is we would take justice seriously. If I had a magic wand, I would hope that we would wind up on the right side of history by not being moved, and I would even say established in political, partisan and even American ideology, but that we’d be establishing a biblical one that transcends ideology. Where you can advocate for justice for your brothers and sisters in Christ, and not be seen as a liberal or as a Marxist or as anything that your political tribe is going to blast you as simply because this is what they are rooting their ideologies in and then putting a Christian veneer on top of it. I think that that is what the church needs. We need to be radically transformed when it comes to the way that we view justice in society, and we need to stop linking it to partisan, tribal ideology. But we need to link it to biblical ethics. The biblical ethic behind God’s heart is what this is bleeding and flowing out of. Until we kill those idols of partisan-ism, until we kill those idols of Americanism, until we kill those things, we are going to be experiencing reiterations of the same problem over and over and over again, and every society is just going to look different.
I think that one of the things that has vexed me is that as I have studied the history of Christianity and its relation with politics and in its relation with justice, is how much the Christianity during the antebellum period, the Christianity during Civil Rights, just even pre all of that looks similar. That the arguments are similar, that the accusations are similar to 2020, and it just looks different. We don’t see the value that the black church has brought to Christianity and America when it comes to having a wholistic understanding of the gospel, that doesn’t just save a man’s soul, but also cares about a man’s body and a man’s plight. Jesus did not look at people that were in the situations that they were in and say, “I know that you need help, I know Mister Leper that you are being ostracized from society and that this leprosy is ravishing your body, but I’m going to give you the gospel and then everything in the by and by will be well with you.” That’s not how Jesus actually went about preaching the gospel on earth.
It wasn’t a social gospel. Jesus was primarily concerned with the salvation of man’s soul. He wanted men to be saved. He wanted men to have eternal life. But that’s not the only thing that the gospel requires of us, man. That’s what we see all throughout the bible. That’s what Jesus talks ab out in Matthew, chapter 25 when he’s like, “I was sick. I was in jail. You came and visited me. I needed clothes, you gave me clothes. I was hungry, you gave me food.” He’s not just talking. He’s not talking about spiritually. Same thing with the Exodus when God frees the people from … Everybody, oh the Exodus is just talking about the coveted and it’s also spiritual. And then God tells his people, “Look, now that I freed you from the land of Egypt, don’t turn around and do the same thing to the sojourners because you remember what it was like.” Right?
Mike Aitcheson: Right.
Ameen Hudson: That’s not talking about spiritual. He’s not just talking about spiritual. We have devalued the witness that not only black Christians but that the black church has brought to this nation. We don’t see the black church as a persecuted church. We don’t see that people like Frederick Douglas were risking their lives, teaching black people how to read and he was teaching them how to read the bible. We don’t see that Christians in these eras were risking their lives to read scripture. If they got caught reading the bible, they would be flogged. Some of them would be killed. We don’t see that these people were a persecuted church. That is what we see. That’s the first persecuted church we see in America, right?
Mike Aitcheson: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ameen Hudson: We don’t value the witness of black Christianity. I’m going to call it black Christianity, the Christianity that black Christians have brought to bear on this nation, that has held the nation accountable to ethics that are biblical and not just talking about the souls of man, but the wholistic care of man and of humanity, and of society. Which, I believe God wants. You see how He sets the children of Israel up for this when he’s moving them to the Promised Land. Old testament, he’s constantly telling the children of Israel the kind of people He wants them to be. Right?
Mike Aitcheson: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ameen Hudson: That’s what we see in Leviticus 25. That’s what we see with the year of jubilee. That’s what we see with Gleaning laws. These are the people that I want you to be. People that are just, people that are just in society with how you deal with the poor, with how you deal with the vulnerable. This is why I’m giving you guys this stuff, because these are the type of people that I want you to be. And they were a foreshadowing of us, the church. If we don’t look nothing like what God is saying in His principles and ethics, then we’re off base, man. We’re off base.
Ameen Hudson: We’re off base. And so, that’s the magic wand I want to wave for the church, that we get on base with that, God’s ethical heart to have a wholistic care, a wholistic love of neighbor that doesn’t just care about their souls. Yes, that is primary. But also cares about their situation, their body, their social circumstance and whether or not they are being abused in a society which God would say that type of abuse is not right. That’s what I would like the church to be. I think that’s what God is calling the church to be.
Jim Davis: I’m going to have Jon, I want you to answer my last question. Because you answered the wand question in history, you answered the wand question today. You did it masterfully, you did it biblically. I can’t thank you enough for that. Jon, we’re going to give the last word to you. If you had the same magic wand, and you’re going to wave it today, how would you use it to promote greater human flourishing in black and brown folks in America today?
Jon Aragòn: Our dear brothers and sisters are hurting. They’re hurting. I think about the times that we’re living in, and they feel cruel and unjust. Even in the honest dialogue that I have with God in my devotion, I try to use honest, crass language so that the emotion of what I’m feeling is felt and I’m not bottling those things up. I would like for us, for the listeners to think about the resilience of black and brown people who have had to endure centuries of injustices, not limited to spiritual abuses, but also the impact that it’s had on our bodies and on our souls. I think about, you mentioned Frederick Douglas but he talks about this, and others do as well, what it must have felt like for a enslaved person … and I use that term intentionally because their identity wasn’t that they were slaves but they were enslaved … and enslaved person to be whipped and belittled and their humanity to be ripped from them by someone who was in a position of power and authority, exercising God’s word to do that very unjust thing.
Jon Aragòn: I think about the ways that that has had an impact, not only within the African-American community but all across the diaspora, all over the world. If I were to wave a magic wand, I think in tandem with what Ameen was sharing, that we would have a more robust view of what a justice filled world would look like. A world that would acknowledge the plight of the most vulnerable, and that we would also identify ourselves with them and that we would see ourselves in them. I’ve often talked about before where the proximity to truth can be helpful, but sometimes it isn’t enough. It isn’t. I say that and I’ll explain myself. Only because if I’m able to see someone who is in a position of incredible vulnerability, and turn a blind eye to that and justify my despondency or my indifference to that injustice with scripture, that there’s a much larger heart issue that needs to be tackled there outside of what the political conversation may be in that very moment.
I also think about how the injustices that are still being felt and experienced today is in a lot of ways re traumatizing our fellow brothers and sisters. Not only are we dealing and grappling with all of the generational trauma that has impacted our people, but also we’re being currently, today, re traumatized by all of the injustices that are happening in our back yards and in our nation, and the sheer amount of indifference from bible believing Christians that are justifying their lack of love, care and concern for us because the issue or the concern is turned into a politicized conversation. I say all that to say I just wanted to acknowledge the resilience of our people, the resilience of people of color to endure so much and to still have a faithful witness of who God has been even in the midst of all that injustice.
In waving that magic wand, if it were today, to use the term again, I think that we need to recover what it means to see image bearers flourishing. If we believe that God has given dignity, value and worth to every single image bearer, that also means that we need to care for those who are most vulnerable among us. Because I cannot say that I will go out of my way to flourish and to accrue wealth, and to obtain all the things I would like on this side of eternity, while also turning a blind eye to the most vulnerable I just have a strong conviction around the reality. Again, Ameen, you touched on this, that the gospel along with the redemptive element that it has for our souls, it also has implications to our orthopraxy, how we live and what we do. The gospel speaks to all of those things.
It’s going to be costly. It’s going to be costly. Here in the States, we love our comfort. I think we love our comfort a little too much. In order for justice to be done properly, it’s going to cost us something. I think that looks different depending on what context you find yourself in. It’s going to cost you something. It’s not just simply putting something out as a tweet or a social media post. That’s easy. It’s going to cost you something. I think, I would call our fellow brothers and sisters to be on the receiving end of hearing and sitting under our fellow black brothers and sisters and hearing from those voices, and having them speak into the ways that they can be contributors to the ways that we can move forward, and that they can be allies without coming into the conversation and censoring themselves, but amplifying the voices of people who have experienced these things and that can speak into them in a more substantive way. Because it’s through experience. But yeah, I think God has a heart for human flourishing and I think all of the injustices that we see grieves God’s heart.
Jon Aragòn: We need to ask ourselves, the church, what are we doing about that?
Mike Aitcheson: Yeah.
Jon Aragòn: Yeah.
Jim Davis: Man, you have brought in so many different themes of this entire podcast. Trevin Wax talks about how much we, as the church, is beginning to move away from the table of power, seat of power into the margins of society, how much we can learn from historic black church, how much we can learn from our brothers and sisters of color. Themes of real Christian empathy. I hear you talking about real Christian empathy, really understanding real relationships. I love how you say justice costs something. That’s at the foundation of this entire podcast, is the cost that Jesus Christ paid for the redemption of our souls. That’s the ultimate cost for the ultimate justice for our ultimate injustice. Guys, I just can’t tell y’all how much I appreciate what you’re doing, how much I appreciate your time here today. I just want to remind our listeners, if you are in the Tampa area, Living Faith Bible Fellowship, we’ve got these guys. We’ve got Daryl Williamson. I feel like I just want to take a Sunday off and go visit myself. We have the Southside Rabbi Podcast. Ameen and KB, I commend that podcast to you. Maybe we can put a link up and point our listeners there. That part’s not my doing. But we would love to do whatever we can to platform you.
Jim Davis: We’re thankful for you. We’re thankful for your faithful ministry, and certainly praying every blessing on your ministry, your church, your families. Thanks, guys.
Jon Aragòn: Amen.
Ameen Hudson: Thank you, brother.
Jon Aragòn: Thank you.
Ameen Hudson: Bless you, guys.
Ameen Hudson: Man, thank you for having us. We appreciate you guys. Man, grace to all of you.
Jon Aragòn: Likewise. Yeah. This was life giving.
Ameen Hudson: Amen.
Jon Aragòn: Thank you, brothers.
Ameen Hudson: Amen.