My brother recently sent me the book Glory Road: The Journey of 10 African-Americans into Reformed Christianity and it has caused me to reflect on my personal journey as a believer and the road that I continue to travel. In the Afterword of the book, Anthony Carter describes the three common characteristics which connect the stories of the men in the book: Black, Reformed, and foremost, Christian. In my first blog since I’ve taken a break from blogging, I thought it would be instructive to use the same format and describe myself in three words. The three words that I feel best describe myself are: Black, a scientist, and foremost, a Christian.
On Being Black
In Glory Road, Anthony Carter gives an articulate statement of what it means to be Black that I wholeheartedly agree with.
This means that we have a distinct, if at times, bitter experience. It means that our parents often drank of the waters of Marah in a land that flowed with milk and honey. It means our foreparents felt the lash of the whip and witnessed the horror of babies and loved ones cast down to the depths of unknown graves in an angry deep during the Middle Passage. It means their sweat and blood were fertilizer for a land upon which they could labor and see but never own. It means being African-American. It means we are ever conscious of minority status. It means having a face but often no name. It means having a home, but sensing no country. It means having a voice to cry with, not a voice to vote with. It means having to learn to sing a joyous song in a strange, foreign land. It means learning to live upon a God Who is invisible and trusting His purposes, though they seemingly ripen slowly.
Being Black means that I’m consciously aware of the history of my ancestors and the current status of many of my kinsmen and how these realities shape my view of many social, political, economic issues.
On Being Christian
This means that Christ is my Lord and I have a heritage in Christ that transcends my skin and ethnicity. It means that the grace of God has appeared to me, bringing salvation according to His good pleasure. I’ve been saved from the just penalty of my sin in Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone, and to the glory of God alone. This also means that I’m constantly being restored back to God – Christ is actively restoring my affections, my identity, and my image into the image of Christ. Because of the grace of God, I’ve been grafted into the body of Christ and thus, my heritage includes believers from every people and nation. It means that my heroes are not only men like Frederick Douglass, but also men such as Martin Luther, Charles Spurgeon, John Owen, and A.W. Tozer. It also means that I can look to men like Jonathan Edwards and listen to his ability to articulate the dangers of theological inconsistency in regards to God’s sovereignty in election and yet question his inability to comprehend the dangers of the sin of racism.
On Being a Scientist
I am a professor by vocation and I am professionally trained as an atmospheric scientist with a background in applied mathematics, physics, astronomy, and meteorology. This means that I view myself as an intellectual with a biblical worldview and I’ve seen firsthand how a biblical worldview stands in stark contrast with the dominant worldview of today (humanism) and among many fellow scientists (naturalistic materialism). As a scientist, I seek to love and worship the Lord with the full expressiveness and intentionality of my heart, as well as the full engagement of my mind. This means that I stand against the anti-intellectualism (and anti-confessional nature) and emotionalism that has crept into many mainline Protestant churches, as well as the cold, inexpressive orthodoxy that has crept into many Reformed churches.
I have two primary goals with this blog site. First, I desire to present a faithful witness of Christ in a postmodern and post-Christian culture by addressing the salient issues (and presuppositions) of the day from a biblical worldview. Second, with the means that God has given me, I desire to continue to bring reformation to the church in my personal context by urging those who will listen to return back to the sufficiency of scripture so that we may “give instruction in sound doctrine and also to refute those who contradict it” (Titus 1:9) and “be prepared to give a defense to those who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).