taking the words of Jesus seriously

Buy cheap viagra soft” width=”185″ height=”166″ />This week Duke University’s Center for Reconciliation is hosting its annual Summer Institute. I realize that sounds a little fancy schmancy, but I promise you, these folks are just like you and me. Restless leaders, sisters and brothers from across the country and from around the globe, who have gathered together, for one week, to hammer out together just what God had in mind for humanity.

So that’s no small thing.

On Tuesday, in one of the plenary sessions, center co-director Chris Rice tried to interview his good friend John Perkins. I say “tried” because this was one of those situations where—regardless of the actual question that was asked—the answerer is just going to say whatever they want to say anyway. Thankfully, predictably, in the case of Dr. Perkins, it was all inspiring stuff.

You know how, when you watch a movie for the third or fourth time, you start to see random bits of minutia? You start noticing how much time has jumped on the clock in the background, or how much soda has, or has not, been drunk out of a glass?

Since I’d heard Dr. Perkins story before, maybe three or four times, on Tuesday I was set free to notice something new in the background.

When John, who became a Christian as an adult, describes his very humble upbringing in Mississippi, he explains that folks in his family were bootleggers and gamblers. He notes, with a chuckle, “We sold our whiskey and stolen good to pastors and deacons.” Then, more seriously, he confessed, “We loved money more than we loved people.”

It was that last part that caught my attention. I realize I shouldn’t have been surprised by it, what with the human condition and all, but somehow I’d gotten it in my head that affluent white people had cornered the market on loving money more than we love people. Go figure…

John also described his friendship with two white pastors in Jackson during the 1960s. One was Presbyterian and one Baptist. As an ordained Presbyterian clergyperson myself, I was particularly interested in this one. When one of these friends of John became energized about partnering together in ministry, building bridges with the black community, his congregation did not respond well. Rejected by these ones he served, this pastor committed suicide. Later, John’s other pastor friend also took his own life.

John lamented, “That’s when I saw what racism had done to whites and blacks. I saw the equality of the sin, and the effect of the sin upon us.”

Equality of sin?

His insight was chilling. Sin, the enemy of love, shows no deference to race or class or privilege. It simply wreaks havoc in the lives of all those who are beloved by God.

I won’t lie. It sort of pissed me off that sin could possibly have a leg up on kingdom righteousness when it comes to equality. If you’re anything like me, that sobering news either makes you want to throw in the towel or it ticks you off so much you want to kick sin’s butt. So after you grieve with me the bitter reality and far-reaching grip of the death-dealing power of sin, choose wisely.

Margot Starbuck is a communicator who writes and speaks about kingdom living, God’s heart for the poor, body image, edgy love & other fresh ideas. She’s convinced that because God is with us and for us in Jesus Christ, Christians are set free to live love that is for others, especially those who live on the world’s margins. This is kind of Margot’s big thing. Margot lives in the Walltown neighborhood of Durham, NC, with her husband, Peter, and their three kids by birth and adoption. At , she shares life among friends with and without disabilities. A graduate of Westmont College and Princeton Seminary, Margot is ordained in the Presbyterian Church USA.

Click here for more information on Margot Starbuck and the work she is doing for the Kingdom.

About The Author


Margot Starbuck—author, collaborator and speaker—earned an MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Bachelor's from Westmont College. She’s convinced that because God, in Jesus Christ, is with us and for us, we’ve been made to be with and for others. So she’s passionate about equipping folks to love our (sometimes unlikely) neighbors and is the author of seven books and collaborator on others. She enjoys speaking to audiences around the country that include: Messiah College, MOPs International, Young Life Women’s Weekend, Urban Promise Ministry Summit and Wheaton College Center for the Application of Christian Ethics. Margot lives downtown Durham, North Carolina, with her three teens.

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