I’m not ok

I’M NOT OK

A lot of you have been calling, texting, and checking in to see if Andrea, Max, and I are ok, and in all honesty I’m not ok.

I’m not ok because white supremacy, white nationalists, Neo-Nazis, KKK members, and other domestic terrorist groups thought they could come into my town and cause my friends to fear.

I’m not ok because some folks don’t denounce these groups unambiguously.

I’m not ok that a young woman and two police officers died as a result of this alt-right, fragile-ego foolishness.

I’m not ok because on Friday night after attending an interfaith, multi-ethnic, intergenerational prayer vigil in which God’s love was palpable, in preparation for the day ahead, we were told that 300 men with torches were outside the church and it was unsafe for us to leave the building.

I’m not ok because some folks, sipping their Starbucks, following the news on Twitter, posting comments in perfect safety from their phones, have the audacity to question what we, who are on the ground, are doing in response to what is happening, and asking why aren’t we posting pics of what great activists we are.

I’m not ok because some folks aren’t bothered by what is going on.

I’m not ok because I had to call our church members and let them know that some parts of Charlottesville were going to be dangerous.

I’m not ok because I had to present them with the horrible option of staying home if they felt unsafe with bringing their children out in such conditions, or gathering to pray for God’s protection on our community.

I’m not ok with a whole lot more than this, but even though I’m not ok, I’m going to be alright.

I’m going to be alright because I have so many friends and family who have been checking up on me.

I’m going to be alright because Scripture foretells that the days of the hate groups that came into town this weekend are numbered.

I’m going to be alright because clergy in Charlottesville have been meeting for months planning ways to combat the hate we were anticipating yesterday with compassion.

I’m going to be alright because even though there are folks who think they are courageously posting comments criticizing the very ones who were in the path of danger, they need our compassion too—at least they are bothered by what happened.

I’m going to be alright because our church will continue to gather, sing, pray, read, and respond.

I’m going to be alright because one day we are going to beat our swords into plowshares, and our spears into pruning hooks, we will not lift up sword against one another, neither shall we learn of war any more.

I’m going to be alright because one day soon, we will live in freedom together, in the garden of the Lord.

Pastor Daniel

The picture above is of my son, Max, playing in front of a piece of the Berlin Wall that is on display at the University of Virginia. It is located just a few hundred yards from where the 300 white supremacist torch bearers were chanting, “We will not be replaced,” on Friday night. The fact that this wall is used as a museum piece, and the fact that my two year old was laughing, dancing, and playing tag with his dad in front of it, should remind supremacists and haters from around the world, “You already have been replaced.” Love wins!

Daniel Xisto pastors the Charlottesville Seventh-day Adventist Church. He is also co-president of IMPACT, an interfaith movement whose mission is to empower the faith community of greater Charlottesville to create significant social change through unified direct action. This essay originally appeared on the Charlottesville Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Facebook page. It is reprinted here with permission.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Xisto.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/8163
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Very grateful to see the local Adventist church and pastor not just aware but engaged with what’s been happening in Charlottesville. Now is the time for all Christians to speak out clearly about the evils of racism and take tangible actions. Our family’s thoughts and prayers are with this community.

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There will always be racists; there will always be bigots, both in the world and in the church. We should expect it in the world, because the world is under the rule of Satan. But there is no excuse for it in the church. Anyone in the church who looks down on someone from another race, is not worthy of the name “Christian.”

Many people are agitated and worked up about this incident, and with good reason. But where is the denunciation of the left wing extremist groups which foment the same kind of hatred? Where is the condemnation from the left of groups like ANTIFA, or any group which uses violence to achieve its ends?

People are having vapors about Trump not condemning white supremacists strongly enough. But where were they when their darling Obama refused to condemn Islamic terrorism? There’s enough hypocrisy and culpability to go around. None of these extremist groups have any credibility and they should be marginalized. And their leaders should not be given air time by the media.

The media should quit trying to undermine Trump’s presidency and concentrate on finding ways for the various ethnic groups to learn to a appreciate each other. But I doubt that’s going to happen. They’re too busy wallowing in their collective “white privilege” guilt. They blame Trump for much of the current divisiveness, but the media keeps stirring the pot by highlighting and exaggerating many of the incidents that occur. If one sees everything in terms of race, it’s easy to become like Chicken Little.

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We are so naive when we follow the news and interpret reality based on the simulative reality in the news oversaturated by different agendas.

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This is a horrendous situation for those , especially with reference to blacks themselves, who want to see civil democracy become more evident in America.
There are indeed “many sides” to so-called racism.as the President has opined but I couldn’t say whether his “many sides” , are congruent with my “many sides”. Firstly, strictly, there can be no human racism as such , since there are no human “races”. All humans are made up of the same double helix DNA and “whites” Are simply those who from ancestral times manifested an embedded pituitary hormone (all humans have it ) which blocked the production of melanin thereby producing a pale epidermis which admitted more sunlight in order to ensure that bones were firm. Homo sapiens was created in the Rift Valleyregion of Africa and gradually moved northward when an extended drought eventuallythreatened starvationThat being said we all are one and “racism” per se is one of the embedded human traits which divide people because it SEEMS to mark a difference in our species. Even the KKK and the neo-NAZIS have no coherent racist platform. The scottish clans were massacred by the English in order to make room for sheepherding and Hitler knew next to nothing about a coherent basis for racism. Hitler divided the WHITE RACE so-called into three parts 1. Tall longheaded Blue eyed blond Nordics of Northern Europe (the “most advanced” of the human species2. The Alpines-relatively shorter roundheaded whitesof Central Eutrope These has usually mpousy-brown hair or black hair and 3 . What he called the mixed-race Meditteraneans (Greeks and Italians). Theyoften had black, curly hair due to race-mixing with Africans it was claimed.Hitler was baffled when it was pointed out by his top racist advisers that it was the so-called Meditteraneans who had created the greatest civ ilisations of Europe and that the Nordics never rose above sdmall-scale piracy and terrorism of some places ion Central Europe for som 2oo years. Nordicism was therefore dropped and somewhat retained for simpletyon racists. Aryanism also floundered when the Nazis realised that they originated from an area in Asia and were mixed race with the Indians.Be that as it may, If blacks (fighting for respect as a minority)want to hasten the lessening of racism in these timesproper parenting must take front and center. It is a terrific waste when black parents allow their children to become part of the gang culture , instead of pushing, pushing hard to emphasize EDUCATION / Business/ Sports/ even politics/ ther MILITARY and so on, now that these are not segregated as in former times. When I say education I don’t mean being foremost ion Block parties either , or joining STUPID greek fraternities. Gathering together in Christian churches can prov ide places of refuge but this will never , by itself, as the ROOF massacre has illustrated.solve the horror of racist attacks.

I’m less okay.

Create safe routes to church rather than join the crowd in opposition to the terrorism and false-image of Christianity? Trivialize the deaths of two law enforcement officers and a young woman as “alt-right, fragile-ego foolishness?” Three people did not die because of “alt-right, fragile-ego foolishness.” They were killed by a domestic terrorist attack by white nationalists, fascists, KKK members, and anti-government militia banding together with guns and torches to strike fear into the heart of a rural community. To water down that reality. To make “all sides” culpable. To give this act or terrorism the false equivalency with other political demonstrations is abhorrent and dangerous.

The gospel of Christ demands more of us than to prop up the false security that “one day soon, we will live in freedom together, in the garden of the Lord.”

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I want to be clear — I am not seeking a spiritual leader for the White House. But I was hoping for someone who would represent the lives, hopes, and values of a predominantly Judeo-Christian nation.
Aside from the 45th President’s checkered past and “evolving” views, his language concerns me the most. For some reason, people seem to gravitate to the President’s challenge to political correctness. I agree that the constraints of political correctness have gone too far, but the President’s is often simply hateful. Calling women “fat pigs,” “dogs,” “bimbos,” “disgusting animals,” and “slobs” is just one example of the President’s lack of control over his tongue. Most of the language the President and his closest aides are using, Spectrum- this magazine, probably would choose not to print, or repeat. His mocking of a disabled reporter and his relentless name-calling have revealed a flaw that, in my opinion, disqualifies him from serving as our 45th President… I hope we are better than this.
I am extremely troubled by the President’s relatively high approval results with Evangelical voters and among some SDA congregations. Ask yourself a question. Does the President exemplify the teachings of the Christian faith , not in how is leading the country but in how he has lived his life and managed our country thus far, as our president?
Ask yourself clearly and honestly these questions

  1. Is the President conceited? Remembering, this is something God detests.
  2. Do the candidate’s words align themselves with the teachings of scripture and does he have control over his tongue?
  3. Has the President been faithful to his spouse, his children, his friends?
  4. Does the President’s behavior and history lead you to believe that the fruit of the Spirit as outlined in Galatians chapter 5 is exemplified in his life?
  5. Is the President honest or is he given to embellishment, dishonesty or deceitfulness?

The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. Prov.16:5 (NIV)

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Nice article. Timely and much appreciated.

What we have in the church is a TON of “looking down on others” regarding ideology (as well as gender and sexual orientation). You have amply demonstrated it yourself in the demeaning remarks, Mr. Birder, that followed this quote of yours. When we read your choice of words - “hypocrisy…culpability…extremist…guilt…blame…exaggerating” - we can readily discern how quick you are to characterize those whose views differ from your own. I certainly agree with you that far left can be as outrageous as the far right, but the Fox-worthy condesencion that you and many other “Christians” espouse simply fuels the rage that is tearing this country - and our church - apart. Please seek a Christ-like spirit and tone it down.

Me too. Trump has hijacked Christianity for his own purposes. Can anyone really see Christ in his words and actions?

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What happened is a group of haters from the right legally filed the right to demonstrate - this does not mean that I support their cause. Groups of haters from the left - Black Lives Matter and AntiFa (with a history of violence) - elected to show up in Charlottesville from around the country to protest - counter-protest! Both sides are haters.

I do not understand how your comment on President Trump is relevant to this topic, except it is clear that you don’t support President Trump. It is unfortunate that one would use this tragedy . . . and it is a tragedy . . . to attack the president. You don’t even mention the events in Charlottesville once. .

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Christ said, A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. If you love me keep my commandments. My prayer is not for them alone, but for everyone who will ever believe in me through their word. I would that you would be one even as my Father and I are one.

A rose by any other name, Alternate Right, KKK, Neo-Nazi, Vanguard America, Traditionalist Workers Party, Skinheads, the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, are all avowed white supremacists. The self-stated goal of white supremacy is to “Conquer or Die”, any entity that improves the lives of non-white people is our enemy. Empower and elevate Caucasians everywhere in every way. The genesis of the slogan, “Make America Great Again”, is rooted in white supremacy. To return America to a time when all Non-caucasians were marginalized.
The self-stated goal of ANTIFA (Anti-facism protesters) is to fight against facism and all of it’s forms wherever they surface in every way possible. The self-stated goal of BLM (Black Lives Matter) is to oppose entities where black lives are systematically targeted for demise.

To characterize all of these organizations as “hate” groups fails to realize their symbiotic relationship. Which one would not exist without the other? Why are there are Seventh-Day Adventists present in all of these organizations? These are the types of critical questions that must drive any profitable discussion.
How can the Seventh Day Adventist Church address these societal issues when it refuses to address these issues in it’s midst?
Why were Regional Conferences created?
Why are they still necessary?
Can the “remnant” church be racially divided?

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And what did they come up with after months?

2 additional questions for Pastor Xisto:

Reply with your concept/definition of the gospel in the most pithy way you can.

Can the omnipotent, almighty creator of the universe get any humans to stop sinning, through grace, before they die or the 2nd coming?

cfowler…so your answer is>>>>>>>_________???

I am referring to the question in my original post.
Try going objective instead of subjective.

I’ve never met anyone who has stopped sinning, or heard of one yet. Have you stopped sinning? If not, why not?

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Regrettably, Adventists have their own racial history, with our church prophet, EGW, pontificating that blacks and whites should not worship under the same roof!

This is perpetuated with our "regional conferences ".

I left South Africa, in 1961, because my fellow interns at the 2000 bed Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, Johannesburg, who had the same medical degree as myself, were paid, for the identical job, one third of my salary for my friend, the black intern, and two thirds of my salary for the Asian intern!

But then the US Navy in 1968, sent me to the US NAVAL Hospital in Memphis Tennessee, during the Vietnam war, and I encountered racism in this Mississippi border town, just as bad as in South Africa. This was the city where Martin Luther King was assassinated during my stay there!

It seems that fifty years later racism is still endemic in America.

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I don’t think I buy this reasoning. Does pushing back against evil make one evil? Does hating the hatred make one a “hater”? I don’t think so.

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Daniel, I didn’t know you and Andrea and the family were in Charlottesville. I am grateful for your positive witness for the God of peace and the Biblical message of reconciliation in the midst of the crisis in your community.

There is no room for the slightest hint of racism in a faith tradition called into being by God to give history’s final message of hope to “every nation, kindred, tongue, and people” (Rev. 14:6). Seventh-day Adventists should be out in front preaching and demonstrating the harmony between all ethnic heritages which God’s Word enjoins. Those who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus (Rev. 14:12) must be uncompromising racial reconcilers. Racial hostility is sin, pure and simple, in all its forms. But like every other sin in the human experience, it can be forgiven and fully overcome through the empowering grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I do have one concern, however, regarding the initiative of certain ones in parts of the South and elsewhere to remove particular historical monuments. As a historian myself, I fear that the removal of such objects could lead to forgetfulness, a great deal of which we see already in our country. (I saw a survey not too long ago which reported that a majority of Americans believe the Battle of Gettysburg was fought during World War II.) Some have suggested placing Confederate memorials of various types in museums, and if that would be less divisive than having them on public property in the open, I would favor that. But I do not favor destroying them, any more than I would favor destroying the Nazi death camps in Europe. Uncomfortable remembrances dare not be forgotten. Santayana’s words about those who fail to remember the past are still valid.

May the Lord continue to bless yours and Andrea’s ministry, and may your witness for our faith lead thousands in that lovely community to better understand God’s plan for the relief of suffering, the unity of all irrespective of ethnicity, and the total victory of righteousness over sin as promised in Holy Scripture.

To Harry Allen:

Your questions are provocative and merit discussion. At the bottom line, however, history—particularly unpleasant yet instructive history—dare not be forgotten. The fact that the motive for the construction of many of these memorials was the infliction of terror on African-Americans is precisely the reason they should not be obliterated. This was a vile and grotesque part of American history that must not be blotted from national remembrance.

Again, I am quite in favor, if a local community is uncomfortable with Confederate statutes, of removing them to a museum. But I am not in favor of destroying them. I would not oppose the new legislation of Senator Cory Booker to remove Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol grounds, provided they are removed to a museum and are thus not forgotten.

As the late novelist Gore Vidal said so well, America could rightly be called the United States of Amnesia. Historical forgetfulness is a major problem in our culture, and the destruction of memorials like these could for many be the first step in forgetting all about what they symbolize. Few outcomes could be more dangerous. In order to learn from the past, we have to remember that it happened in the first place.

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“I’m extremely troubled by the President’s relatively high approval results with evangelical voters and among some SDA congregations…”

Christian values seem not to be very different from the values of non-Christians around them. You don’t have to look far to see evangelicals defending Mr. Trump’s behavior, silently not objecting to it, or justifying it by comparing it to the behaviors of others.

There are many Christians as well as nonbelievers who are inherently kind, loving, and respect the rights of others.

All of us make mistakes in judgement and have the ability to learn and change.

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I have to say that I am stunned at the degree of racial animus under the guise that KKK=BLM that I’ve seen among a lot of Adventists here and on social media.

No, they aren’t equivalent. BLM is standing up against police brutality that they believe is directed against them because of their race and the KKK and other racist groups are making a claim to power that excludes African Americans and others. They want to rebuild and inhabit a neo-Confederacy and Robert E Lee and his ilk are their inspiration.

I’m going to stand out here and say it - those who say these things are “equivalent” and that “both sides” are equally bad are racists. They may not be carrying tiki torches, guns, or other symbols of phallic power but they will stand by and watch it happen and try to defend those who would strip this nation of hard fought freedoms.

I will say it again to be clear - the claim that both sides are to blame is a racist claim.

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I have no use for white supremicists, kkk, Nazi’s, etc. ad nausea, but Trump was right when He decried hate on both sides. This is one time his usual bombast would have been appropriate against the events in Charlottesville, VA, but instead he drew back with measured response. Belatedly he did finally condemn them by name two days later, but it seemed to fall on deaf ears by the roar of those on the radical left who seem to itch at the chance to take to the streets spreading mob rule and mayhem at every turn. (Witness events in Durham, N.C. in the aftermath) Both protests came there itching for a fight and they both got it. The national guard should have been called out to stand as a wall between the two opposing camps. Unlike Seattle, the Charlottesville police were ill prepared to deal with this. It seems like it is easier for people to just bash Trump, then to see that these nut job extremists of KKK and the like probably never got the traction they did to even have this “rally” were it not for the continual agitation of those who want to rid the south of the Confederate memorials. Some of them have been there for over a century without a problem until now.

This country has made great strides in the last 50 years to overcome institutionalized racism. That Barack Obama was elected as this countries first black president is a testimony to that. I never liked his policies but I nevertheless saw it as a milestone in the improvement of race relations. It’s time to quit trying to refight the civil war. Racists and race baiters of all colors need to move on and quit trying to stir up animosity. The David Dukes and Al Sharptons both need a sock in the mouth.
President Trump could go a long way toward advancing the cause of reconciliation of us as Americans, as he called for yesterday, by choosing his words wisely, weighing the consequences before he speaks, and maybe replacing people like Steve Bannon in his administration.

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I must say, Robert E. Lee was not “ilk”. He was a fine gentleman and a fine soldier - so much so that President Lincoln asked him to be a general on the Union side; Grant was a distant also-ran in their classes at West Point. But, Mr. Lee felt he had to be true to his own homeland of Virginia, so he declined the President’s offer. Good men are sometimes compelled to follow their hearts, and if the President had not been assassinated, I’m sure Mr. Lee would have been welcomed as part of a rebuilding coalition. The civil war was a terrible thing; we lost so much because we lost on both sides - it’s a pity we are still fighting against ourselves today. Statesmen like Lincoln and Lee are so rare.

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From the eye witnesses I heard describe on the radio what happened I got this picture.
Both groups were given City Permits to assemble. EACH GROUP was assigned particular
spots where they could meet. And they did at first, according to the eye witnesses.
They said the one group decided NOT to stay in their spot, but MARCHED and invaded the
space of the other group. They reported the police just LOOKED ON when they invaded and
began beating up the other group. Apparently the MAYOR [announced on the radio today]
had told the police NOT to do anything.
The radio call-in person said the invading group had metal bats and other implements for
attacking.

DVD says it is TIME FOR SDAs TO LEAVE THE CITIES.
I believe that SDAs did THIS a Very Long Time Ago. At least by our behavior. No where over the past decades have SDAs INVADED the cities and presented the Messages of Jesus [as in the New Testament] to the cities.
Instead of doing this Invading with our presence on the Streets, and calling people to Christ, we try to do this with mass mailings of Books that only warn against Armageddon, or something similar.
There is no personal invite by another person to Love God.

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