Artificial Intelligence is Coming. How Do We Prepare?

A very long time ago, in 1997, there was an excellent Disney TV show called Smart Guy. In the show a genius little boy, 10 year old T.J. Henderson, transfers from 4th grade up to high school. In one of the episodes T.J. faces off against an undefeated computer in a chess tournament for the honor of his school. Being a kid at the time, it inspired me to see a kid prevail over a computer.

Smart GuyThat episode captured much of what our society views as true happiness. It captured the social connections we create with one another being necessary, our own sense of importance within a community, and a sense of purpose in a time of change. “Change”, in this case, being a world approaching artificial intelligence (i.e. AI) and automation. Today we see the rate of this “change” is accelerating.

It is hard to imagine a future world where humans are not the smartest beings. The question for our society becomes whether the pros of artificial intelligence outweigh the cons. Even though we cannot predict the true future extents of AI we do know the world is changing at a rapid pace, so thinking critically about these changes is crucial if we want to continue thriving in the future.

It is important to note that this post is not advocating against furthering AI. The improvement of AI is coming whether we like it or not. The purpose is to prepare us for the inevitable possibilities AI will bring us. 

Lets define AI:

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an area of computer science that creates intelligent machines able to complete a task, problem solve, learn from experience, adjust to new inputs, and/or perform human-like tasks.

There are three main types of AI:

  1. Artificial Narrow Intelligence: This type of AI exists in our world today. Narrow AI is predetermined/programmed to perform a single task — whether it’s checking the weather, playing chess, or analyzing raw data to write journalistic reports. Narrow AI is not conscious, sentient, or driven by emotion the way that humans are driven. Siri is an example of Narrow AI. The automation of jobs that we see replacing people is done by this AI.
  2. Artificial General Intelligence: This type of AI does not exist yet. It would be able to perform any intellectual task that a human can. AGI is expected to be able to reason, make judgments under uncertainty, plan, learn, and integrate prior knowledge into decision-making. These machines would have such traits as imagination and autonomy.
  3. Artificial Super Intelligence: This type of AI also has not arrived and may never arrive. However, researchers believe that when [the previously stated] AGI is developed, these same machines may eventually be able to enter never-ending self-improvement loops that would lead them to a greater cognitive performance than humans in all domains of interest. They could become so powerful as to be unstoppable by humans.

That said, there will be a spectrum use of AI. Not just three categories. There are computers, robots, genetic engineering, and then a merging of individual human brain/computer interfaces (i.e. a blend of humans with AI capabilities added to them similar to a performance enhancement drug). The rest of this post will be focusing on the further innovation of Narrow AI and automation brought about by AI.

The prediction of when science will achieve these various levels of artificial intelligence varies. In their last few active months of the Obama Administration warned us that 60% of our jobs will be automated by 2030. A bipartisan-style warning telling us that this isn’t a political matter but a human matter. Sam Harris, the popular philosopher, neuroscientist and public intellectual fearfully said on the matter, “We are in the process of building some sort of god.” [A statement analogous to the biblical Tower of Babel story, but I digress.]

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Workers exchange spools of thread as a robot picks up thread made from recycled plastic bottles at the Repreve Bottle Processing Center. Source: Chicago Tribune

To display the positive side for a moment – some of the benefits to AI and automation include:

  • It will aide in the daily productivity of businesses.
  • It will add new, ancillary jobs that we’ve never had before.
  • It will be able to spot and detect people’s diseases and health defects better than any human doctor can detect.
  • It will drive down consumer costs, making many of our products and services more affordable than ever before.

These are beautiful benefits that people have to agree are good.  Since we have problems that we need solved – e.x. Alzheimer’s, cancer, climate science, etc. – we WILL continue to innovate our technological intelligence to try to fix them. However, every beneficial thing on this earth has a dark side. Just as the advantageous social media has a dark side….the dark side of AI and automation is arguably worse.

Here are five points that we need to begin to take serious for the near future:

1) How will AI affect the workplace?  AI automation will affect jobs. We’ve all seen employees replaced at our local grocery and retail stores by machines. For another example, a large number of truck and taxi drivers are predicted to go away within the next 10 years. That’s a ton of middle-aged adults left without a job and likely do not have the scholastic means to find another profession they’re qualified to perform. Companies like Amazon, Uber and Google have already stated how they want to increasingly automate their jobs that are currently held by people. Subsequently, millions of jobs are likely to be displaced.

Why are companies seeking workforce automation? The primary goal of any company is to increase revenue. With AI automation usage a company saves money by (1) not having to pay their machines a salary and (2) not having to pay healthcare for human employees. And, to add, these machines are not limited to 8 hours work days and vacation time – they can work 24/7. This drastically decreases company costs thus increasing revenue.

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Prediction of how Automation Affects the Human Workforce. The Economist

2) How will AI affect unemployment?  As jobs are displaced due to AI automation, there will be new jobs created [as previously stated]. Unfortunately it is hard to predict how many new jobs and what they will look like. Additionally, today we already have many jobs waiting to be occupied. What we do know about these jobs is that many of them require a high level intelligence. Not everyone has the cognitive gifting to be a lawyer, dentist, or computer scientist. This trend will lead to an even wider income gap in our country and an increased rate of poverty. With the way our youth educational system is currently setup children are not properly equipped for the new sector(s) of jobs that will be in demand.

3) How will this affect the family?  With research we are beginning to learn the psychological and sociological effects of unemployment. People are meant to how-men-can-confront-toxic-masculinity-sad-man-feature_1320W_CL-1work. We are hardwired for it. When people lose their jobs they feel they lose their purpose. Studies have shown that men and women tend to respond differently to job loss. In men, there is increased escapism. We have seen the rates of depression, opioid overdose, fatherless households, and suicide increase in some correlation to the increase in male unemployment. Conversely, women show no statistically significant emotional effects correlated with their unemployment status.

This effect is coupled with society still grappling/learning the effects of women increasingly entering the workforce. Before the introduction of women into the workforce men only competed with other men – now they compete with both men and women. We also know that today women are generally better educated than men; so these men are now at the increasing disadvantage of both women and AI machines in the workplace. That is not a reason to oppose women [or AI] being in the workforce but rather an objective analysis of the unprecedented, complex outcome of it. Where men are walking in their purpose of design, the home and society at large flourish. With AI, men will take a more direct blow. Because, you see, people don’t need money, they need function. Where that doesn’t happen, there is a backslide of society.

4) How will this affect the cohesion of our society?  The historical cause and effect from the rise in poverty is an increase in crime. The empirical evidence is indisputable that inequality drives crime. Sometimes we can see an increase in uprisings from the lower income class when there is massive inequality. During the Industrial Revolution of the 1800’s England and America saw numerous revolts from the labor force due to the sudden replacement of jobs by machines.

We have to be careful here because if the amount of inequality ramps up enough then our social system will destabilize. The likelihood of an uprising from the lower class increases when they believe their economic opportunity (and the opportunity of their offspring) is fixed/rigged to stay below a reasonable level. The economic game being fair is the American Dream. AI automation can bring down cohesion within society as it takes away the opportunity of masses of people and as it increases poverty.

The estimated job replacement of AI automation is at a much higher scale than that of the Industrial Revolution. If we do not expect the possibility of some form of revolts, then we’re being quite optimistic. We also need to look at the impact of AI on our individual, everyday lives. Will automation cause a decrease in our patience, empathy, care, and investment in others? If a student can supplement their brain with some level of AI will their cognitive advantage over regular students be taken into account or not? Think about how smarter we are right now with the ability to look up anything on our iPhone. Imagine having that ability installed in  your head.

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5) Miscellaneous: How will this affect international relations? How will it change social media? How will AI weaponry change how we view the morality of war? How will AI sex robots change the world?

 

Throughout history the rate of growth of society has been an intuitive, linear slope. With linear progression humankind is better able to adjust. The past half century has shown that technological growth is an exponential progression. So as we get closer to AI capabilities, we won’t experience 100 years of growth within a century, it will actually be more like thousands of years of progress within a single century. This is extremely difficult for humankind to adjust to.

Google futurist, Ray Kurzweil’s, graph to illustrate his beliefs concerning exponential technological growth.

Historically, the Church has had a tendency to be late on discussions of technological advancements. We are typically late to the game and reactive. It seems to be the contrary this time around. Recently (April 11, 2019) over 60 well-known evangelical leader created and signed a new statement centered on the principles of AI.

“We recognize that AI will allow us to achieve unprecedented possibilities, while acknowledging the potential risks posed by AI if used without wisdom and care,” stated the authors of the new statement unveiled to The White House.

This is a key step in approaching the global discussion of AI. It marks a claim for a seat at the AI ethics table for Christians as world governments try to prepare for the future change rapidly occurring in our world. Still, it isn’t solely up to our evangelical leaders; the rest of us also have a duty to uphold. Our awareness on the topic is paramount. AI tools and their limitless potential can be at odds with a belief in human dignity and morality based on the image of God.

There are warning signs around us if we simply open our ears to hear. The economic growth of our society is not what sustains us. The world, the family, and the individual were each designed with a particular hierarchical purpose in mind. What we will need to focus on is the preservation of our communities as one of our greatest challenges today and in the near future.

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Do Group Identity Politics HELP or HARM Minorities?

Group identity politics is an idea used over the past 30 years to try to defeat social injustice. In this post I will attempt to test rather it is specifically effective for minorities. Before doing so, the concept must be properly defined:

Group identity politics is based on political positions focusing to divide people in society into different groups of shared interest and perspectives. Instead of society being based on the individual, the individual is identified within a particular exclusive group. It makes ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, political party or social class the primary element of our being.

When we look outside at the world, we see an increasingly depraved, polarizing, impatient world that is complex beyond measure. In this broken system, people have been trying to fix the world since the beginning of time. In particular, with the current social issues that have plagued us we are still searching for solutions. Identity politics is the current “potential solution”.

The thought is that by putting people into groups it will empower the people within them and raise awareness against things like racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, etc. That this will help people who have been victimized also come together as victims and rise above the oppressors. Sounds like a plausible solution.

However…the primary question is…..:

Do Identity Politics work?

My 12th grade AP Economics Teacher taught our class a key principle in consumerism – “There is no such thing as a free lunch.”  That is, every choice/solution in life has a cost. That cost may be our finances, time, energy, a human right, a relationship, 431265-Thomas-Sowell-Quote-There-are-no-solutions-there-are-only-trade.jpgquality of relationship, or a life itself. Today we hear chants for social justice. We want things fixed and we want them fixed “immediately”.

A wise approach when considering a new policy, system, or ideology is to consider as many outcomes as humanly possible if it is implemented. The most important outcome to consider above the others is the worst possible outcome.

Before making a decision, asking a question such as: What are the ways in which we might accidentally make things worse with this? Or, if we open this door to make something better, are there other ideas (or consequences) that will walk through that same door now that we’ve opened it?

We use a similar thought process in the engineering world when we conservatively design buildings. We do this in the sports arena when setting up rules to protect players from injury. We even do this when choosing which car to buy or where to eat for dinner. In the fields of mathematics and the social sciences, this process is called game theory.

Sometimes the costs are worth paying but, historically, many of times they are not. Besides Christ, there is especially no solution to any social issue that, if implemented, would not then be taken/used/twisted by the enemies of God several years down the line.

How does group identity politics affect the world?

The world is too complex and “endlessly” diverse for identity politics to function with consistency. It cannot be measured and quantified. It cannot be used as a tool for success on either political spectrum.

Within the Social Justice Movement and group identity politics there is no hint of consistency due to the absence of objective truth. This movement wants to remove any given number of contradictory rules and then tell us all which rules apply at any given moment. Our country cannot reasonably function with these rules.

maxresdefaultIn the same sentence they say, “You cannot understand me because my experience is too different. But wait, you also must understand me because my experience is too different.”

A person’s opinion matters not on the individual level but relative to their identity group. So a gay white woman’s opinion matters less than a gay black woman – both are oppressed by the man-dominated world, both are oppressed by the heterosexual majority, but the black woman has the added victim-hood of racism. The more memberships in oppressed groups you have, the higher you rank on the hierarchy. It plays out everyday.

  • We attack Kevin Hart for homophobic tweets in 2010 but we let white female comedians slide when they’ve used similar homophobic tweets. On the intersectional scale, Amy Schumer, a liberal white woman, gets a pass over Kevin Hart, an apolitical straight black man, because her combined political and gender oppression outweigh Kevin Hart’s single racial oppression.
  • For myself, being a black male I have noticed that I get away with speaking more freely on social issues (race, gender, class, homosexuality) than my white male counterparts.

You see, without objectivity we rely on subjectivity. In a subjective world view, anything goes at any given time. Conversely, anything can be taken away at any given time. Group identity politics is insufficient in covering the marginalized because all people are marginalized in some ways. Everyone is oppressed. In a subjective world, how are we going to say one person’s marginalization trumps another person’s marginalization? Who dictates the hierarchy and the extent of oppression? How far back in time do we account for the oppression of our ancestors? It is not simply black and white or men and women.

  • The LGBTQ community is oppressed too right?
  • Asians, Hispanics, and Native Americans are marginalized.
  • Jews and Muslims are discriminated against as well. Look at the complexity of the Crusades, the Israeli-Palestistian conflict, the Holocaust.
  • What about the deeply tense tribal differences between the several Asian communities with all their wars over the past hundreds of years?
  • For the gender fluid white women who will identify as white men tomorrow, will they simultaneously then be classified as privileged oppressors and hierarchically dominant white men?
  • Are white people who grew up poor less marginalized than black people who grew up in middle class families?
  • Do black women and Hispanic women deserve more than white women in the workforce?
  • What about job positions in society that Asians preferentially occupy? Are there too many Asians in the STEM fields? Are we going to put a quota on them?
  • Should oppression of black Africans equal that of black Americans?
  • And what about attractive people who have walked through life more privileged than less attractive people?
  • What about shorter men? Should they get privilege over taller men?
  • What about intelligence versus a lack of intelligence?

This goes on and on until we get to the level of individual people which is exactly where we should be in the first place. The victim system will never be equal. The irony is that it is our SHARED sense of oppression and pain that unifies us, not what separates us. We have each felt pain and caused pain. No one is innocent. Separating off into different groups does more harm than good. The benefit may be a short-termed warm feeling of camaraderie.  However, this does nothing long term for reconciliation and fixing the actual problem.

What do we risk when grouping with identity politics?

  1. We run the risk of being ignored because we have all these other accompanying social ideas and accompanying proposals that are not the same. For example, fighting for racial reconciliation tends to be accompanied by the acceptance of homosexuality. They may be similar looking by the standard of oppression but there are massive distinctions theologically, sociologically, and politically. Some of those distinctions may reduce our own quality of life. Having those accompanying ideas hardens the hearts of people who argue for the fact that there are distinctions.
  2. Some of the ideas associated within identity politics will, in turn, hinder our relationships. It will further polarize people. It will cause further tension between people who identify in seemingly opposing groups rather than unite them as humans.
  3. It will open the door to radical Right wing racists who would also like to play identity politics.
  4. It runs the risk of demonizing people who do not deserve to be demonized. For example, it puts Louis CK at the same evil level as Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby. It puts a white Chipotle manager, who did her job in refusing to serve two black men who Dine & Dash, at the same evil level as white supremacists. Or it simply names anyone transphobic who believes gender dysphoria to be a mental disorder.

(I will stay on that black-white racial tension train for the remainder of this post). Black Americans are being duped by identity politics to carry a weight they are not meant to bear. Black minorities are being pushed to the front of the line [by other identity groups] as a plea for diversity & inclusion when ultimately much of what those groups truly care about are their own agendas. Racial diversity is just the ticket inside the door that, if left unmonitored, allows in other ideologies. People are prone to give in to accompanying ideologies that they cannot defend against for the sake of the continued validity of our own hopes.

What actually works as a solution?

Image: Chris RockWhite privilege is real. We may not agree on the definition – CNN, NAACP, and other sources may have different versions of the definition. It may not be quantifiable. However, it is undeniable that, historically and today, there exists some form(s) of white privilege. This does not mean white people are criminals. There are other forms of privilege that people of color have that white people do not. Our society doesn’t have  a white problem it has a heart problem. As Chris Rock said at the Oscars, “Everything isn’t racist, everything isn’t sexist.”

A true “solution” for racial reconciliation would be to aim for incremental [compounding] improvement. By approaching it incrementally we can more effectively defend away chaotic and unnecessary accompanying ideas that are not needed for the overall goal of racial reconciliation. Let me explain: There is a difference between a person who is a reformer and person who is a revolutionary.

A revolutionary person attempts change in an immediate time frame with little foresight and, in turn, risks damaging the world. A reformer sees a social problem and understands the complexity that fixing it will possibly take hundreds of years. The reformer understands the wise, loving, beneficial patience in an incremental approach. MLK was a reformer. In an increasingly impatient world, we do not do too well with reformers – their ideas take too long. Jesus and the Apostles were also reformers. The world did not treat them too well either.

The solution is a sacrificial approach. Jesus died on the cross for something He did not do. He died for us. For racial reconciliation we all need to be willing to sacrifice for one another regardless of who it is. We must see people as souls, not as a particular social group.

The solution is grace. Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. For racial reconciliation we all need to forgive one another. It is wise to learn from history but we should not let history dictate our current emotions. All people should recognize the effects of history on people today and work through it for the sake of equality.

I recently heard someone say it like this when speaking on corporate repentance in the Book of Ezra, “Sometimes repentance is taking responsibility of sins past and present that are not your own.”

Jesus’ prayer is that we will be one. ONE. He said this because there is a spiritual war that is much more important than any societal or cultural war. It is by fighting the spiritual war together that we also have success in the societal and cultural wars.

The answer is simple in deed, yet complex to carry out. But the answer is good and worth the attempt.

 

The Answer: Why do Black People Tend to Think Whites Are Racist Or Hateful Toward Blacks?

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First things first, the goal in answering is NOT to bring about anyone’s emotion. This isn’t about morality therefore in this discussion it doesn’t matter if anyone thinks a particular treatment is tragic or justified. A psychologist or economist limits their emotion and opinion in their analyses. Yes, they consider it in their notes. But in order for them to see more clearly and objectively they leave as much out as possible. Too much emotion may cloud and control our reasoning, as C.S. Lewis once framed it. So this “answer” is not about justification of riots, protests, cop killing, slavery, buying candy, or talking back to parents.

How am I somewhat objective and qualified?

If you follow me on social media you may notice that I have never talked about race issues. This is because (1) I’d rather write about Jesus; (2) honestly, I’ve grown to feel ashamed and embarrassed that I am black (something that applies to this topic but may be elaborated on in a future post) and (3) it always seemed pointless coming from me. That is, people would think I’m biased because I am black. I would NOT get upset at that either. I can’t really blame others for that natural reaction. If a Boston resident tries to tell me how great Tom Brady is…I’m naturally going to be skeptical because of course that guy loves Brady and The Patriots. However, I am opening up now because I realize much of the stuff I know isn’t known by many whites and what I can say isn’t being articulated by many blacks.

In today’s world, many people on both sides are not good with listening and being OBJECTIVE. In my experience black people get too emotional inside their bubble that they can’t have an objective discussion with white people. There has grown an innate level of distrust. Many whites, whether they care or not, have a hard time as well because they have natural blinders and historical privileges that prevent them from seeing objective as well. There is nothing inherently wrong with either side in their reasons because it’s not really a conscious effort. It’s naturally subconscious. For the past 50 years, most of this is due to the economic and sociological effects of our society.

What do I mean by sociological and economic effects? I’ll explain. This answer will be in 5 different phases: Micro, Macro, Familiarity of Stereotypes, Indifference, and Dr. King’s Frustration.

We’ve got to do a little ground work before we start though:

My professional career is in community and economic development. This is the process and policies by which a nation, state, county or city improves the economic, political, and social well-being of its people. So what my company does is try to bring companies, large and small, to our state. Jobs, capital investment, and revenue are the goal. And darnit we will sell this state the best we can. With statistics, innovation, and persuasion, and more.

Various KEY factors come into play, such as transportation, quality of life, location, money, branding, etc. If you look it up, you’ll see that your own city and county has its own economic development department, chamber of commerce, and other affiliates that are focused on this initiative together. Economic development directly affects the current generation AND the generations long after it. 

Ok now, do we understand that? If so, we can move on.

1. The Micro

Now let’s begin to answer the question of why many black people see whites as responsible AND what is the reason of how much of the black community is where it is today.

We’ve got to go to history of course.

Set race aside and just view it in an Economic development lens. Let’s go back to Tulsa – however, not 2016, but 1921. There was an area in Tulsa that was booming! It was a black community. It was rare because of course the odds weren’t in their favor but they just luckily rolled a 7 with the dice multiple times. As one of the most successful and wealthiest black communities in the United States during the early 20th Century, it was popularly known as America’s “Black Wall Street” until the Tulsa race riot of 1921. They had black lawyers, doctors, teachers, black-owners, entertainment, oil, etc. (Now again, ignore the race factor for now…it doesn’t matter for this analysis piece). Then one night the outside white people grew too jealous, came in and killed many of the successful people and burned down their businesses and streets. It was horrific. They even punished the few white people around for not doing it sooner.

Then the white political and business leaders proactively prevented that community from reconstruction or picking themselves up. This wasn’t hard because due to rights back then black people didn’t have much of that ability anyways.

So think economic development: They are SCREWED for about the next 100 YEARS. For the next 60 years those blacks won’t know about diving into the community and economic development process. How could they? Their schools are IMMEDIATELY affected. Their job structure is shattered. Their families destroyed. They are currently crippled as a society. Not only that but also their kids’, kids’, kids’ are also now crippled. It becomes a generational snowball effect due to that initial occurrence and the laws established for years to come. There was no hope for them and it becomes too hard to thrive. Therefore, poverty in Tulsa. Therefore, violence because that’s all you have and know due to having to survive from being poor and having no good education or possibly/knowledge of escaping. (Although, poverty doesn’t correlate to violence). What happened doesn’t just end in a year…..it resonates within the fabric of a society for years to come in the form of both emotional distress AND economic instability (incorporating education, companies, businesses, families, crime, etc).

In my job, bringing in 1 company positively affects that entire community – their family benefit, the nearby retail and restaurants benefits, the schools benefit, tourism boosts, more companies follow suit, and more. This occurs positively for the next generations in that area as well. Black Wall Street had the opposite case. And it was not a single company. It was ALL of it.

That is  an objective analysis of cause and effect. Again, it doesn’t matter if what happened was bad or good in this analysis. FYI, this happened in other places as well. We must understand this “momentum effect” in this micro example in order to understand the answer in its fullness.

2. The Macro

To keep low with word-count I’m going to bypass the macro. It has similar cadence to the micro piece but without the violence and is, of course, on a larger scale. Please ask me in person or on Facebook if you want that piece as well.

3. Familiarity Of Stereotypes

I grew up around Blacks and Hispanics, but over the past 10 years of my life at least 95% of my friends and acquaintances are white. So it is extremely hard for me to stereotype people in either group because I have lived life with so many different types and I know their souls and hearts. The way society is laid out (because of white flight, economic structure, convenience, and family history) black people have been left to live amongst one another. So those black people naturally HAVE to CATEGORIZE all whites into the same group. That is how a human brain works.  This doesn’t happen to me because I have lived among others.

White people can easily get categorized by what is seen on television, social media, oImage result for racismr in stories told by the older generations. For example, I’m sure none of us know any native Cambodians personally because we don’t live around them. So we naturally group Cambodians into one category of people. Now we know people in Cambodia are all different with various opinions, personalities, languages, and subcultures. However, in our minds we have tendencies to group them together don’t we?

4. Indifference

The disbelief from much of the black community that a shooting or possible wrong-doing will gather positive help from the white community is from past years of “neglect” from that side and their current state of “emotionlessness”. That continual reaction from many white people makes it hard for many black people to listen/trust simply one white person with good intentions, when numerous other whites have failed that quota.
Let me explain.

If my mom had cancer and a stranger had cancer I’d show much more sympathy for my mother than the stranger. I naturally have a different level of connectivity and value for my mom.

One group continues to uniformly state “we should wait for the facts after these shootings before doing anything”. I agree, in theory. In a perfect world we should always wait and diagnose a situation. However, this isn’t a perfect world. Those same people flip-flop depending on what the crime is and who did the crime.

There is no objectivity in our reactions. We all react different and with different poise depending on what it is. The less subjective empathy I have, the more ability I have to refrain and diagnose the situation and wait for the facts. But when it’s my mom or a friend it becomes tough to control.

For the bomber “suspect” at the Boston Marathon – we wanted his head immediately. With a man “accused” of child molestation we want to give him the death penalty once he’s caught. When a college athlete is “accused” of rape we want him immediately kicked off the team before the trial begins. All the while, many in the black people continually watch a black person killed (justifiably or not) and those same people show unwavering objectivity and poise the entire time. That shows a different level of respect and love.

Black people see the immediate reaction of emotionlessness and interpret it as white people not caring.

In Romans 1 we see that God’s indifference is a very scary form of wrath; different from violence. Hate is NOT just someone spitting on another person. Hate isn’t only the KKK hanging someone. Hate can also be passive. Even Satan knows that. Indifference OVER TIME can be interpreted as unloving and hatred. That’s what happens psychologically in the minds of a people. So we can’t blame them that much, can we?

5. When Dr. King was Frustrated

MLK Jr. led protests in a manner that would “shame” those who were discriminating. People like to say his method was non-violence. Not really –  his method was shame and he used nonviolence to achieve it. His tactic was that if he could have people feel ashamed for how they thought and acted, it’ll force them to change. Read his writings.

What’s interesting is that in his later years when King went to Chicago, he tried his same tactics but the white people beating them didn’t feel ashamed at all. It was different from the South. And it scared MLK. When a people aren’t aware enough to have the ability or respect to feel shame toward the treatment of someone else, then that is when something is off. Which begs the question of what the next step would be.

One friend I debated correctly claimed that ‘King’s tactic did work in the South though, because it was more saturated with Christians’. If that is true then it still proves my point: We, as a nation, are less Christian today. Therefore, King’s tactics of shame won’t work as effectively here anymore. That said, our nation is more like Chicago in that King was scared because it was seemingly and hopelessly in a state of chaotic reasoning that shocked him. It left Martin Luther King afraid and scrabbling for a new tactic. That’s where many in the black society would say we have been growing in subconsciously [through the eyes of blacks and whites]. Even in the past 50 years, before social media.

As scripture says, in the last days nations will turn their backs from Christ. America is doing that. Hence my friend’s point flows into this – shame isn’t working here anymore. hat’s why there are frustrated protests (good or bad) and riots (good or bad). That’s the only next step people can think of on the fly. We all have the same natural tendencies when trapped into a corner for so long.

In conclusion, we cannot just look at “today’s” knee jerk reaction of the black community. We must look holistically. This is similar to chaos theory. It’s ALL connected. This isn’t about black on black crime BUT black on black crime is a subset of the results of history. It’s not about Charlotte. Charlotte can be 99% wrong…but it doesn’t matter. The deep damage was already done.

This isn’t out of the blue. It’s a past 300-400 years thing. It’s a 1920s and 1980s thing. Look at old Richard Pryor or Dave Chappelle stand-up and old low budget black films from the 1970s-1990s. They are screaming and crying about the same killings. And no one cared. Listen to R&B songs from that time period. They were constantly crying about it and asking for help and America turned it’s head. They didn’t have Facebook Live to make it public. I’m not making this stuff up. So little by little day by day that people group grew to a particular view of white people. Skepticism. Distrust.

The solution is another story, but when a black person tells a white person they don’t understand or aren’t qualified – They are really saying that you don’t know how they got there and why. Therefore they are not truly known and loved. But if the black person knows that the white person objectively knows this stuff and still wants to love on them…..goodness gracious the effect that will have.

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Why I Walk into Church with my Head Down: A Semi-Sexism Story

Tunnel vision. My motion, my focus, is analogous to that of a Nascar driver. Tunnel vision. I park my car, walk through the double doors, tread softly past the daycare commotion, dodge through the packs of chattering people, enter into the main sanctuary, and finally sit down with my eyes glaring toward the stage. My eyes are closed during the musical worship. During the sermon, my eyes are glued onto the preacher. I make sure I am on my best behavior.

This has become my socially systematic ritual in and around the church service. For almost two years I have been unintentionally trained to be careful around the wives – so much so, that my very personality and natural being is completely different on Sunday mornings. I no longer look at the wives or even try to initiate contact with the husbands so not to risk anything. I refrain from being my normally playful, outgoing self for the sake of others. A few times, I’ve actually avoided going to my church and attended somewhere else…just for a rest-break.

Now I love conservatism: theologically, politically, socially, and even in some professional sports. At the same time, I have found myself in a church culture that surpasses the “imaginary” line that should NOT be crossed. It couples ultra Christian-conservatism alongside the strange relational subculture of the seminarian culture and resulting into  fractured, unfulfilled relationships.

One way in which this fracture has overwhelmed me is the issue of women and men NOT being friends in the church.

I have been stressed with this social climate where many of the wives are timid around me and the husbands show possessive body language in front of me when their wives are present. This is not everyone. Neither do I believe that it is a conscious action by others either; to the contrary, it is a “subconscious” action. However, it still hurts us who go through this. It hurts to not be trusted. We are guilty before proven innocent. I can give NUMEROUS examples that I have been through: primarily face to face; also email and social media. Additionally, I have read books and am very cognizant of social norms, body language, and rapport. In church we may say the right words and use political correctness in our lingo… but our actions and communal fruit tell a completely different story.

For a female’s perspective, you can read this lovely article on The Gospel Coalition’s website.

There are at least 5 side effects of this fracture that risk a retardation of friendly relationships:

1)  It causes a nuance of loneliness: This loneliness grows into a feeling of being unwanted or removed from the body of believers. The scriptural illustration, 1 Corinthians 12:12-26, depicts the church as a body. If a finger is removed it does not keep growing or playing its part, now does it? No, it shrivels up and dies. In this case the joy of the individual becomes damaged.

2)  This causes a CHAIN REACTION into OTHER basic types of relationships: This climate becomes the air that everyone breathes. Soon, this standoff-ish nature becomes normal between everyone: between other married couples, singles, visitors and members. There have been social psychology studies to show that we will, in certain ways, conform to our environment. In our general case, relationships will become robotic. This can be seen in the decline of some linear, mathematical, doctrinal types of churches. Now I line up with these types of churches, but there still needs to be a line drawn. Otherwise relationships grow stale, empty and mechanical.

3)  It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: I fully understand we are called to steward our marriages. That is extremely biblical and good. But where is the line that keeps it from becoming fear-mongering. As I said in an earlier blog, some people “suddenly” lock their car doors when I walk past their cars. True, I am black. Statistically speaking, I cannot blame them at all for being extra careful. However, if we are in the suburbs and I am wearing tailored dress clothes with Cole Haan shoes … maaaybe you don’t need to be afraid of me. That said, if we’re supposed to brothers and sisters in Christ … maybe you can trust that I do not want to kiss your wife in the sanctuary and ask her out for coffee. This fear can lead into believing “something” happened before it ever did.

4)  Personal walks with God are affected: If I have to be a “different person” around married couples then I can begin (or Satan can begin) to tell myself that they do not truly know me. How can I can truly allow them inside my walk with Christ if they do not understand or know the real me?

5)  Both the image of the trinity and Gospel community are tainted: Between God the Father, God the Holy Spirit, and God the Son…there is no hierarchy. Only delight. They freely give to one another and receive from one another. [John 1:18, 16:12-15, 17:3-5]. Therefore we, being made in that image, should being naturally copying that. We should delight in and celebrate each others strengths. We should spent time together [not limited to small group time]. As one pastor cautioned, “without this happening, subconscious frustration and jealousy will lead to overcritical spirits that will erode the foundation of deep intimacy in relationships.”

We know there is no perfect church. Maybe I shouldn’t bring this up about my own. I love my church and I love The Church. But would it not be hypocritical for me to have called out Joel Osteen’s church, single men, young people, the liberation gospel, lukewarm Christians, atheists, and even Michael Jordan in past blog posts… but then stay silent about a flaw in my own community? No way Jose. Nothing gets fixed if we do not discuss it.

Still, social media isn’t going to solve this. Small groups are not going to fix this. Social media plus Small groups does not equal biblical community. It will have to be pursued and fought for. People do not simply “fall” into deep community – they pursue it. We will have to surrender and sacrifice. And once this is attained … oh my how splendidly holy and beautiful it will look!!! May we care for the needs for one another. I pray that we commune deeply with one another. You know, to get a head start on eternity together.

The Beautifully Hated DNA of a Christian Bigot

Our society is blessed by it. Our society is cursed by it. The very existence of it saves lives. The very existence of it kills. Oh, the ebbs and flows of social media. It has the power to uplift a person and, with the same token, to inflict pain. A few weeks ago, I was spontaneously unfriended by a girl that I was Facebook friends with for one month. When I found out, I was flabbergasted… Flabbergasted.

My first inclination was to suspect that it was a glitch or a mistake, so I requested to be her friend again, ha. That attempt yielded zero results. Weeks later, I finally saw her at a social dance. Without hesitation I innocently asked her why on earth she unfriended me (awkwardness does not affect me). Initially, she was stunned that I had approach her to bring it up. After 10 seconds of silence, she admitted that she deleted me because I was a Christian and she did not want any arguing on her Facebook page. Reason being – she is very liberal, both politically and socially. Additionally, she has a fairly outspoken Facebook page where she posts links and has discussions on trending topics of interest. From my perspective, it is fine that she does that and I have complimented her before on her intellectual endeavors. [In fact, for quality discussions you should encourage people of dissimilar beliefs to comment; but I digress].

However, the question still stands … why did she delete me as a Facebook friend? I was totally nice to her beforehand whenever we were together. Never did I show intolerance. An interesting fact is that in the month that we’d been Facebook friends I was practically absent from Facebook. There was barely a hint given to her to conclude that I was anything more than a typical lukewarm Christian. Therefore, what has happened that caused her to automatically delete me from her social media web when she found out that I was a Christian?

The sad state that our society has grown toward is a state that perceives Christians as hateful bigots. There is now a natural tendency for the public to presume that the very air that Christians breathe at church on Sundays is fuel for us to spew out hate towards anyone who does not follow our holy stance. In reality, that idea is far from the truth. Christians are simply given an awareness of something that is outside this world and we are inwardly transformed to think in a manner that is different from this world (Romans 12:2). Here are four everyday examples that the psychological state of a “Christian bigot” can somewhat be analogous to:

1)   There are women in this world that have experienced the tragedy of sexual abuse. Either directly or indirectly. Many of whom dive into the calling of spreading awareness of sex trafficking, prostitution, child abuse, and rape to the masses. They post links of news articles, volunteer, raise money, etc. The oddity of all this is that most people have a tendency to ignore their cries. For example, we know that each of those types of sexual abuses are tragic, however, how much have we donated to an organization for that cause? When was the last time we volunteered and or even read an article? To be honest, anytime an advocate comes out for those causes, I kind of view them as crazy and as a burden to listen to. The term “ignorance is bliss” has its merit. Those women have gained a deep, tangible awareness of sexual abuse and it has caused them to view the true significance of it in our society. Contrarily, most of us have not gained that same viewpoint and live everyday life as if sexual abuse is not rampant. Which of us are correct? We can say the same thing about people fighting for world hunger, war, genocides, political deception, violence, and other topics.

2)   Extrovert versus introvert comparisons can be enjoyable. Being an introvert, I have realized that extroverts generally view most social events very differently than I view them. Sometimes I can explain to an extrovert that I would prefer to stay in, alone, and watch Netflix. Even with that explanation, because they do not have the same mental DNA/perspective, they cannot necessarily relate to my inclination. And vice versa.

3)   I used to call my parents the Devil #1 and Devil #2 when I was younger. They would discipline me at times and not buy me whatever I wanted. Exactly, devils. As I grew older I realized that their weird viewpoint that was so different from mine was actually in my favor.

4)   Police officers often get a bad reputation. They are called out for profiling and stereotyping. They see hideous activities on a daily basis and get harassed for their inclinations. But looking at their inclination from a hypothetical example– lets say we visibly see that redheaded Irish people are scratching mothers all around the world. Today, you’re leaving your mother’s house and a redheaded Irish person passes you going towards your mother’s house. Are you really not going to turn back around, just in case? Not trying to offend anyone. I’m an African American and any time I walk past an occupied vehicle in a grocery store parking lot, I hear the person “suddenly” lock their doors. The hurt from that sounds hurts each time. But based on statistical evidence, can I completely blame them for their precautions? Police officers have the insurmountable duty to protect us. They have experiences that different from ours and generally want for us to be safe.

With all that said, are Christians being bigots or are they simply burdened with seeing something from a totally different perspective? I think about the girl who unfriended often. I pray that we do become legitimate friends. My friendship with her, however, would not terminate on that. One thing I can say to her in context to her reason for deleting me is that I do, indeed, wish for Jesus to save her. I hope for her. I hope for us. May the world understand that Christians are given a new heart and mind that gives them a perspective on many topics that are different than most Non-Christians. There is a certain way that God designed the world to flow and for people to live. This way leads to eternal joy in our life and in the Lord (Psalm 16:11, John 17:3, John 10:10). We as Christians yearn for everyone to be saved and to seek the face of Christ (Luke 15:7, 1 Timothy 2:4). It sounds weird. But to the Christian, it sounds beautiful and glorious!

Youtube Moment: Beautiful, Childlike Worship

For anyone older than 16, anytime we get a glimpse of the unique innocence of children, it reminds us of a “different” time in our lives. A time of believing in Santa Claus, fairies, and magic. Almost everything we did at this time in our lives was done with some sort of passion. I remember the joy I felt when learning to ride my bike. Or my brothers and I being unable to fall asleep on Christmas Eve. Or even singing along with Barney on the television. I distinctively remember the warm feeling of each of those things.

This video is another one of my Youtube favorites. The video is of kids singing a Coldplay song together in their music class. I keep looking around in the video to see if any one of them purposefully aren’t singing…but sure enough they all are. Some, you can tell, are introverts; others, extroverts. Each kid is singing with a certain zeal and enthusiasm without any remote feeling of shame. If you look at their hand movements and facial expressions you begin to realize that what they are doing is worshiping. Unknowingly, worshiping. We were all created to worship God in all his glory (Revelation 4:11, Zephaniah 3:17, Hebrews 13:15).

Funny how these kids are unknowingly doing what they were deeply created to do. It makes sense because their souls were trained to do this at their creation….so it is natural to them. Due to it being natural, it becomes unknowing to them. Hence one of the billion ways that God reveals to us that he is very very extremely real. If there were no God, why are these kids performing the mannerisms that they are performing? What foundational standard are the standing on? Where do they have the ability to attain those uniformly objective feelings of emotions from a simple Coldplay song? It is impossible outside a sovereign Creator God and Savior in Jesus Christ.

This is why we innately worship. And the main purpose for that worship being for the praise of his glorious grace which he had freely given us, says Ephesians 1:5,6. The ultimate climax of that grace is Jesus dying on the cross. And I pray that I worship like these kids whenever I dwell on those facts. I fall short in that area daily.. The closer that that holy dwelling occurs 24/7 in my life, then the better my joy will be. I pray that it to be shameless and with childlike zeal that causes the angels in Heaven to say, “Yes, that’s exactly what you should be doing, duhhh”. haha