Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. This blog is exactly what it says it is — John Luke’s itinerant preachings. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussin’ and a-feudin’, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof). Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

I’m a Reformed Baptist, but don’t consider it important to compare who’s the better Five-pointer. And I don’t believe that Jesus particularly cares about fine (even not-so-fine) distinctions among his flock. I don’t see there being multiple-choice or essay questions during the judgment, with a minimum score being required to pass into His presence.

But, if one’s faith is not grounded in Scripture, it can not stand. 



  1. concerned christian · · Reply

    I felt compelled to respond after quickly perusing your blog in response to Wright and his comments today. I’ve actually just finished watching his statement and his response to the questions. Unlike you, I have become far more impressed and respectful of him as a result of my watching. I would imagine from what you’ve written that the minute I make this statement, you will immediately begin discrediting what I would say.

    This is not to say that I have a hard time receiving what he has to say. My life does not intersect the issues he and his congregation have been forced to face for the last decades. I could only describe my circumstances as circumstances of privilege in comparison to what many from his community have had to face. And, even then, I have only my shallow understanding of their circumstances from the time that I spent serving a community in the inner city for a summer a while back.

    The reason it is difficult to hear is because his description of reality does not match what I daily experience. There is very little lack of education in my church. There is minimal poverty in my area. There is no gang violence, very little injustice, and my family is far safer in our community than many in his congregation. Had I not experienced for a short while the reality that they face, I would probably be writing Wright off too.

    However, I would strongly caution you calling him racist. He is merely a man who is cognizant of the circumstances of oppression and injustice in which he lives. Furthermore, for you to call him racist only suggests to me that you did not really understand what he was speaking about. He repeated over and over again his understanding of God’s vision of equality and reconciliation. If you could understand these subjects, I think you would be far less eager to heap the judgements upon him that you have.

    There is a great deal to the manner in which he speaks that I have great difficulty with, being that I am Caucasian and not from his culture. There is a swagger and seeming pride to the manner in which he speaks and in which he engages the audience. It would be easy to seize upon this difference in manner as a proof of his pride and evidence of unfounded perspectives. This is an inclination of mine I constantly have to keep in check, simply because MY culture tends to consider people like that to “bombastic,” ‘over-confident,’ and ‘egotistical’ – all of which are condemned.

    I have another understanding though, and I will share it with you. When I finished my time serving in the inner city, I had a strange culture shock when I returned to my community. After facing the issues I dealt with on a daily basis, the things I normally faced seemed laughable, trivial, and incredibly UNimportant. For someone in Wright’s position, his confidence is inevitably born out of his experience serving in some of the darkest places in our cities. The opinion of the media, the repetition of the “sound bites” as he claims them, and the statements of the press then become laughable. Did you notice his comparison of his congregation to the American government? He listed everything his congregation had been doing for the poor – all of which states BY ACTION that they are far more familiar with and concerned about the issues this country faces than most of the people who have condemned him and his statements. And from this experience, he challenges the American government because he sees the source of the oppression he fights against as having root in the government that claims to be trying to help.

    Thus, there is good sense in that he would be saying the things he says in the manner in which he says them.

    Now, I don’t really agree with him on many of the things he says– especially about the AIDS issues. But I would venture to say that his experience in the inner cities and the dark corners of our society give him a right to speak in the fashion that he does. Furthermore, I would say that those of us who are not daily amidst this experience would do well to listen and consider what he says, as one who is uniformed listens to the words of the informed.
    I would encourage you to re-read those passages that discuss God’s justice. You can read Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and any other prophet and you will quickly find the concepts of God judging and “damning” the governments and systems that cause oppression and injustice. In fact, you may conduct some study of the “cows of Bashan” and find some very disconcerting news about those who indirectly aid in oppression. The heart of God is revealed in the judgements, though we don’t always like to hear it. It is even more terrifying when you consider what God must think of even some of the commonly understood actions of our country!
    As a warning: while you dish our very damning words yourself….
    “There is little doubt that Barack Obama’s long-time pastor is a stone racist. His remarks on the alleged differences in the brains of blacks and whites, his repeated message of hate against America, his racist remarks about white people, they all continue apace”
    … you may be wary that that same measuring stick might be applied to you. Be careful what you say, I implore you.

    As for his “other sheep have I” quote and your subsequent response- I believe it is very telling how you both perceive the issue of justice, acceptance, and redemption. Wright refused to have the question define his position of God’s redemption. The question sought to divide him and the unsaved – hoping to get his condemnation of the practices of the people so that it could be stated as a condemnation of the people themselves. Rather than to claim out of his own understanding that their path will be damned, he instead associated himself with the sheep, noting only that they are still in need of being found. You however, are much more interested in the judgement, and perhaps of holding that scepter in your own hand?

    John Luke, we are not called to persuade people into the kingdom of God. We are called to love people and show them by example how we need to follow Jesus, the savior. Condemning others cannot achieve this. It must be achieved by associating with, joining with, and loving people where they are. It can only be done in standing alongside them and telling them that Jesus is asking them to come home. I encourage you, as one Christian to another, to refrain from blasting other fellow members of Christ. Instead, I encourage you to investigate the basis by which he makes his claims and the issues in which he endeavors to change. And, if you really still feel as strongly that his thoughts and methods are broken, perhaps them you can speak words of correction out of love.

    Your Concerned Brother in Christ

  2. I picked up your comment on the new Mosaic NLT as I’ve been looking at it for a Bible Study (for the meditations) and noticed you say you are “Reformed Baptist.” I’m curioius. I am a Reformed Baptist from Nova Scotia Canada, and I didn’t think there were any Reformed Baptists left after we merged with the Wesleyan Methodists in the 60s. Obviously I’m in the dark. I’d be interested in learning more if you have the time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: