I read Mugisha Charles’ post this morning on the history of the Azusa Street Revival, and these few sentences made me smile:
“People of all ages flocked to Los Angeles with both skepticism and a desire to participate. The intermingling of races and the group’s encouragement of women in leadership was remarkable, as 1906 was the height of the “Jim Crow” era of racial segregation, and fourteen years prior to women receiving suffrage in the United States.”
In the aftermath of Ferguson, Baltimore and now the tragedy in Charleston, there is much talk of healing our racial divide, of coming up with solutions. I have one, and it is simple:
Laugh, scoff and dismiss, if you must, but it really is that simple.
I’ve been witnessing something very cool in a city near me: Blacks and whites from both urban and suburban churches are coming together to revitalize the city. Some are volunteering as tutors in the elementary schools, some have started a community center – where, among many other things, students from a nearby Christian college formed a t-ball team this summer, investing in the lives of some of its youngest residents.
The Spirit brings racial unity.
As Zephaniah said, on behalf of God, “Then I will purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve Him shoulder to shoulder.”
It’s going to take God purifying our laughing, scoffing, dismissing, racially inflammatory lips to get us working shoulder to shoulder doing stuff that is productive and good.
We need a revival, a move of the Spirit.
I smiled at revival’s tie to women in leadership.
And I thought of Job.
At the end of all his suffering, after he uttered those famous words, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you,” after he had an up close and personal understanding of the character of God, Scripture records this:
“The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters. The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.”
Did you catch that? Job granted his daughters an inheritance, too.
Because once you know the character of God; once you not only know about Him, but actually know Him, you finally get that He created us in His image, male and female. We each represent 50% of His image, and all of His image is necessary to represent Him, all of His image is necessary to lead in His causes.
I have sat in churches where half of His image is excluded from leadership and I have felt a heartbreaking, annoying, at times painful, restlessness in my spirit. Because the Spirit just doesn’t stick around where half of Him is being dismissed, where the teachings of Paul trump the teachings of Jesus.
Want a revival in your dying church?
You might start by taking another look at the Scriptures; by dethroning Paul and making Jesus your King.
I shared all that I was thinking this morning with my daughter and she had some really good things to add.
So I asked her to write it all down.
I’ll post her words tomorrow.