Archive for the ‘Tolerance’ Category

Worn Path

Friday, January 1st, 2010

In Eudora Welty’s short story “Worn Path,” the elderly and slightly senile grandmother protagonist, Phoenix, has come to the doctor to obtain medicine for her grandson. But, she cannot remember why she came!

The nurse tries to tease out of Phoenix her reason for coming.

“You mustn’t take up our time this way, Aunt Phoenix,” the nurse said. “Tell us quickly about your grandson, and get it over. He isn’t dead, is he?’

At last there came a flicker and then a flame of comprehension across her face, and she spoke. “My grandson. It was my memory had left me. There I sat and forgot why I made my long trip.”

“Forgot?” The nurse frowned. “After you came so far?”

After coming so far, after working so hard, have we home schoolers forgotten why we came? Are we at the place where we can get the solution to our problems, but have we forgotten why we came? The challenge for us in 2010 is to sit down together and talk. Look around at all that God has done, and give thanks. And then go forth, Elijahs, and challenge the gods of this age—at Harvard, at the Supreme Court, in Hollywood. Give no quarter and ask for none. The God we serve deserves nothing less, accepts nothing less!

Crossing the Rubicon

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

I don’t know, home schoolers, when we crossed the Rubicon. Perhaps it was when we turned off the television or refused to buy the latest entertainment center. Maybe it was when we drove our old cars another year so we could buy the best curricula for our kids. Or was it when we decided to read classics together in our homes? Somewhere, sometime, we crossed the Rubicon and there is no going back.

To push my metaphor farther, we were first “Obadiahs.” Obadiah, like Daniel, was a very influential in a very evil regime. King Ahab and Jezebel are very capable, and in many ways, successful monarchs. From their perspective, they are the ‘true’ leadership. Elijah, and the prophets, were radical, unreasonable, uncompromising troublers of Israel. They were not team players. No doubt Ahab and Jezebel could not understand why Elijah could not carry on a civil discussion about what they saw as tangential, civil issues.

This generation is the Elijah generation. To Elijah, the behavior of Ahab and Jezebel is absolutely appalling. While claiming to worship the Hebrew God they also fill the land with syncretism, with apostate worship of the BAALS. The crowning blow, to Elijah, was when these scoundrels placed the Asherah poles (places where believers could have sexual relations with temple prostitutes) on the hill next to the Temple. Enough was enough and Elijah was ordered home to confront these evil powers on Mt. Carmel.

And Elijah was not accommodating nor was he running away – don’t you just wish Ahab and Jezebel!—he is coming home to challenge the gods of this age.

Ahab and Jezebel are Post-Modernists. They celebrate the subjective. They are committed to compromise – it is their religion. Live and let live! What is the big deal?

Well, you see, Elijah cannot compromise with the stuff they are doing. There is no wriggle room in Judah and there is getting to be precious little wriggle room in the U. S. A. too.

The world of the Baals, folks, is falling apart. And quickly. As sociologist Peter Berger explains, “American mainline culture can no longer offer plausibility structures for the common man. It no longer sustains Americans.” Or, as my old friend Professor Harvey Cox, at Harvard, coyly observed, “Once Americans had dreams and no technology to fulfill those dreams. Now Americans have tons of technology, but they have no dreams left.”

In short order the Ahabs and Jezebels are going to find out that Elijah is not in a compromising mood either. Folks, there are some things one cannot compromise. Elijah and Jezebel are going to meet a man of God who speaks with concrete clarity, who carries the weight of truth.

Elijah is coming in 2010, Christian brothers and sisters. The days of Obadiah are over. Elijah is coming to town.

Are you ready? Can you give up your anonymity? Will you risk everything this year to do what God tells you to do? Will you go the extra mile in your home schooling to make sure that this generation will stand on Mt. Carmel and proclaim the sovereignty and goodness of our God? So they can bring the Kingdom on this earth as it is in heaven? The stakes are high; the potential rewards astounding. We have a chance, perhaps in our lifetime, to experience an unprecedented revival. This is the generation of Elijah. The generation that will have to walk the long, arduous walk up Mt. Carmel and they will challenge the gods of this age. Bring it on! We are ready! Every knee shall bow, every tongue shall profess, that Jesus Christ is Lord. Bring on the fire of Elijah, again, on this nation! God is calling forth our children–Elijahs who will go to the high places of our nation to challenge the prophets of Baal—in the courts, in the university, in the shop, in the home, in churches.


Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

If we are confused about what is right and wrong, about individual responsibilities, we are even more confused about toleration. S.D. Gaede, When Tolerance is No Virtue, says . . . “In our culture, there is considerable confusion about how we ought to live with our differences and a cacophony of contradictory justifications for one approach as opposed to another. All appeal to the need of tolerance, but there is nothing like common argument on what that means. The question our culture raises by nature and development is what is truth and what can we believe? Our culture doesn’t know the answers. In fact, we have lost confidence in truth and have come to the conclusion that truth is unattainable. Thus, tolerance moves to the forefront.”

Finally, in the years ahead, there will be real confusion about sexual roles. Sir Arnold Toynbee says . . . In the nineteen forties Toynbee studied civilizations and came to the following conclusions: Based on his study of twenty-one civilizations Toynbee found that societies in disintegration suffer a kind of “schism of the soul.” They are seldom simply overrun by some other civilization. Rather, they commit a sort of cultural suicide. Disintegrating societies have several characteristics, Toynbee argues. They fall into a sense of abandon People begin to yield to their impulses-especially in the sexual area. They also succumb to truancy that is escapism seeking to avoid their problems by retreating into their own worlds of distraction and entertainment. There is a sense of drift as they realize that they have no control over their lives. Consciousness is adrift, unable to anchor itself to any universal ground of justice, truth on which the ideals of modernity have been founded in the past.

Evangelicals, therefore, must not merely talk the talk. They must walk the walk. They are seeking to create an alternative community of hope. We/they are sabotaging the conspiracy of hopelessness and self-centeredness that is so pervasive in our nation. Bring on the revolution!


Monday, November 16th, 2009

What is an evangelical to do? An evangelical makes 1550 on the SAT and is invited to apply to Princeton or Rice or Stanford or Duke. Should he? And, if he is accepted, how does he survive—even thrive—in a secular prestigious/competitive college. Should you attend competitive secular colleges? Or do you attend Christian schools alone? I give an overview of how a Christian can prosper in an environment that is ipso facto hostile.

Under what circumstances would you perhaps decide to attend a secular college?

If you are a Daniel, or can exist and thrive in Babylon without being an Babylonian, you might choose to attend a secular college. Daniel was part of the elite culture in this hostile land. He was honored and respected, but he remained a worshiper of Yahweh (Almighty God). Even though he lived in a hostile, risky, dangerous land, Daniel was able to maintain his identity in the Lord. Remember: you can make bad choices in a Christian university as easily as in a secular University. The fact is, a better choice is merely to make Godly choices regardless of where you are!

When I entered Vanderbilt University as an evangelical freshman, before I began, I had decided to be obedient to Scripture. I decided that before I began my studies! And I am glad I did!

Over the next four years of undergraduate school, and then two years of graduate school, I was sorely tested. For example, I had decided to remain morally pure and chaste. That was no easy thing since I lived in co-ed dorms both at Vanderbilt and then at Harvard! But I persevered. Success was rooted, however, at the moment I committed myself to a discipline, before the actual temptation began. It wasn’t that the temptation was mitigated; it was simply that the desire to be Christ-like was greater than the temptation. Again, though, it began before I went to college.

If you are a Daniel, you may be called to an academic discipline no Christian college offers. In that case you might choose a secular university.


Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

One Harvard professor, the great evangelical author Fred Buechner resigned from Harvard Divinity School because he felt embarrassed to mention God in his classes. “The mere mention of God-an omniscient God, God as a transcendent being– when I was there . . . would be guaranteed to produce snickers,” Ari Goldman wrote (Atlantic Monthly, Dec., 1990).

By 1920, with its reductionism mentality, the American secular university had become an inhospitable place for evangelicals. The mother turned and ate her young. The place that was founded by evangelicals, to prepare Evangelicals to be the elite of American culture is now a place of danger, risk, and struggle for its progeny.

Worse than that: Evangelicals seemed to accept willingly their own demise. Evangelical Christians in positions of formal power passively yielded to each stage in the advance of secularism. And, when they did resist, they failed.

Why? Douglas Sloan, in Faith and Knowledge: Mainline Protestantism and American Higher Education (Philadelphia: Westminster/John Knox) argues that the university looked to liberal Protestant Christianity to replace Evangelical Christianity. What no one understood, including Evangelical Christians, was that science, as understood in the late 19th century, was fundamentally at odds with Evangelical thought. The university was firmly in the camp of positivistic philosophy that basically had discarded the notion of supernatural from American intellectualism. Evangelicals tried accommodation, but, after the Scopes Trial, they abandoned ship, so to speak. So, if the secular university rejected evangelicalism, by 1920, evangelicalism abandoned the secular university.

In the end the university pulled back from affirming the real possibility of knowing God and of the existence of a spiritual world. What evangelicals learned, or thought that they learned, was that the secular American university was too dangerous a place to be. So they formed their own universities. It is unfortunate that there was no fight to the finish in the 1920s. If the issue had been forced who knows if we would live in a society dominated by secular-minded people. In the initial stages, though, Evangelicals did not muster the intellectual resources necessary to challenge the cultural assumption that knowledge comes only from natural sources (see Phillip E. Johnson , “How the Universities Were Lost,” in First Things 51 (March 1995) 51-56). They never have–even until today.


Monday, November 9th, 2009

This author doubts, really, if a free, and open debate can occur in a community (i.e., the university) where there is no loyalty to a higher truth, where consensus is absent. The best the American secular university can generate is tolerance for the sake of tolerance. History is reduced to a “pleasure principle.” Reality is not based on truth but on the latest political agenda of the reigning department head.

At the beginning of the 21st century there is truly an exciting phenomenon occurring in American society: a resurgence of evangelicalism. As sociologist Peter Berger accurately observes, evangelicals generally subscribe to two strongly held propositions: that a return to Christian values is necessary if the moral confusion of our time is to be overcome, and that the Enlightenment is to be blamed for much of the confusion of our time (Peter Berger, “At Stake in the Enlightenment,” First Things, March 1996, p. 18).

In fact, 21st century evangelicalism is one of the most potent anti-Enlightenment movements in world history. The excesses of Enlightenment rationalism, exhibited so ably in the secular university, have sabotaged the certitude of classicism and Christian theism that so strongly influenced Western culture long before the formidable onslaught of the likes of David Hume.

The Washington Post in 1993 coyly observed that evangelicals are “largely poor, uneducated and easy to command.” And, among our own, evangelical professor Mark Noll unkindly observed, “The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.” Indeed. Not any more. While conceding that faith is not a makeshift bridge to overcome some Kierkegaardian gap between beliefs and evidence, Evangelicalism posits that it still is important that people look beyond their experience for reality. Human needs and aspirations are greater than the world can satisfy, so it is reasonable to look elsewhere for that satisfaction. Worth is the highest and best reality (a decidedly anti-Enlightenment notion) and its genesis and maintenance come exclusively from relationship with God alone.

Evangelicalism, then, moves backward in time, far back in time, when intellectualism was not separate from religion. It blows the claims of the Enlightenment to bits.


Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

In the World it is called tolerance

English evangelical Dorothy Sayers warns us, “In the world it is called Tolerance, but in hell it is called Despair, the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die.” This discussion, illustrated with increased freqency in contemporary society, is an age old world view discussion.

All contemporary worldview discussions can be traced one way or another to Plato and Aristotle. Plato was the Pharisee of his day—the conservative, the one who believeed that the gods were intimately involved with human beings. His “Republic” was a perfect society based on the notion that mankind was creating a city based on the word of the gods. Cosmology, or the presence of supernatural being(s), in other words, was very important to Plato. Likewise, to the Pharisee, who believed strongly in the Resurrection, the supernatural was very involved in human life. To Plato, the gods defined reality.

Aristotle, on the other hand, in his important essay Poetics, argued that the world was governed by impersonal laws. Aristotle argued that mankind defined who the gods were. As long as the gods were alive and well, they did not much concern themselves with the world. Therefore, mankind should be concerned about finding out about his world without worrying about the gods. This view was evident again in the Sadducees—who rejected the suppernatural—and later in philosophers like David Hume. Discussing Heellenistic philosophy is for the reason of pointing out that the struggle over worldview is over three thousand years old. It is the struggle that Elijah joined when he fought King Ahab. King Ahab was a good Jew; the problem was he did not live his life as if God were actually alive. Is God intentionally involved in the affairs of mankind or is He not? The answer to this question is more or less the battle that is raging on college campuses today.

Plato had a great influence upon Christianity. A Roman author named Plotinus (204-270 A.D.) combined Plato’s philosophy with a heightened emphasis on personal relationship with God. His work deeply affected Augustine of Hippo. In Augustine, Plato’s division of the world into the reality of True Being, as well as the separation of the soul from the body, were given Christian interpretations. In a sense, Augustine’s “beatific vision of God” (Book IV, Ch. 16) is very similar to Plato’s “gazing upon the forms.” Paul, a student of Greek philosophy, was deeply affected by Plato. The Holy Spirit led Paul to write: “So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen; for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18).

Can you find other examples of Platonic influences on the Apostle Paul’s writings? Next, can you find examples of the cultural war raging in your world? Of course the most famous is 1 Corinthians 13 where love is presented as a perfect “form.” In fact though, any reference to the Resurrection (e.g., 1 Cor. 15) hints at Platonic influence. Today, there are battles raging everywhere. The question is, “Is our society to be based on human experience or on the Word of an unseen God?”

Confusion About Toleration

Friday, September 11th, 2009

With the loss of metaphor and rhetoric, there has grown to be a considerable confusion about how we ought to live out our differences. With the death of classical rhetoric (ethos, logos, pathos) there has been a concomitant loss of what toleration means. To modern America to use a phrase from G. K. Chesterton Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions. We have lost confidence in truth and have come to the conclusion that truth is unattainable. The Christian basis for tolerance is our commitment to truth and justice. To modernist culture tolerance is commitment to pragmatic relativism. If something is held sincerely and fervently and harms no one, then it is respected and encouraged (S. D. Gaede, When Tolerance is No Virtue).

Our culture deifies self-reflection and existential possibilities. Without the rhetorician standing and saying, “Why?” we have lost the sense of irony. There is no individual essence to which we remain true or committed. As the boundaries of definition give way, so does the assumption of self-identity. “Who am I?” is a teeming world of provisional possibilities. And no one can stem the tide . . . ((Kenneth J. Gergen, The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Life).

Black Nationalism – Summary

Friday, February 13th, 2009

By the 1990’s, within the African-American community the marriage of race and power was secure. Equality was no longer a goal: empowerment was. Now the movement wanted more than a piece of the pie–they wanted to be in charge. After so much misery and given the failure of the white church to address the needs of the African-American urban community, who can blame them? The Black Power movement encouraged a permanent state of rage. “Anytime you make race a source of power,” a Black Power leader wrote, “you are going to guarantee suffering, misery, and inequality. . . we are going to have power because we are black!” Many African-Americans today, influenced by black nationalism, argue that the distribution of power in American society has become the single issue of overriding importance to the upward progress of African-Americans. From 1965 to the present every item on the black agenda has been judged by whether or not it added to the economic or political empowerment of black people. In effect, Martin Luther King’s dialogue of justice for all–whites and blacks–has been cast into the conflagration of empowerment. The triumph of black nationalism made black anger an indelible part of the racial reconciliation quest.

Today, the politics of difference has led to an establishment of “grievance identities.” The African-American community has documented the grievance of their group, testifying to its abiding alienation.

While predominantly white colleges and universities now enroll a majority of the more than 1.3 million black college students, the fact is there is not much race mixing really occurring. Racism divides and conquers still. “We have a campus of 25,000 students and there is no mixing across cultural and racial lines . . . even during a campus rally for racial unity all the blacks cluster together and all the whites cluster together.”

No one can deny that the Civil Rights initiatives in the 1960’s bring substantial improvements to the African-American community. As a result of these encouraging developments, many black Americans developed what some historians call a “black revolution in expectations.” African-Americans no longer felt that they had to put up with the humiliation of second-class citizenship. This progress was short lived and incomplete. White privilege–who basic underpinings are based on the myth of racial homogeneity and white superemacy–mitigated all progress.

The results of a recent Time/CNN poll revealed that 70 percent of black respondents agreed that the radical racist Farrakhan “says things the country should hear,” 63 percent agreed that he “speaks the truth,” and only 34 percent see him as a racist. It deeply troubles me that this purveyor of death and hatred has so much credibility. I fear, though, that the blame lies in the lap of the white church. We have not provided the leadership and resources in the urban setting that the black community so desperately need. In fact, with our propensity to white privilege, our inability to take responsibility for our sin, has driven many moderate African-Americans into the arms of separatism and divisive nationalism.

Increasing numbers of black middle class professionals are embracing a nationalistic/separatist agenda. Despite its very evident prosperity much of America’s African-American middle class, in 1999, is in great pain. The cry is not for two automobiles, a manicured lawn, or a house in suburbs. The cry is for justice.

As a member of the white community I grieve that I have been a part of driving my African-American brothers and sisters into nationalism and separatism.

In the next chapter we will examine a contemporary and devastating development in the African-American community which has been another demon of racism: the failed welfare system.

Black Nationalism – Violence

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Black nationalism was mostly nonviolent. However, some African-American leaders were very angry. To these people, gradualism was anathema. It suggested that races could coexist together at the very time when many were suggesting that the races should remain separated. In The Fire Next Time (1962) James Baldwin wrote of the “rope, fire, torture, castration, infanticide, rape . . . fear by day and night, fear as deep as the marrow of the bone.” By 1970, many African-American thinkers, religious leaders, social workers, and politicians were outraged. In fact, hatred and unforgiveness ran so deeply in African-American culture that the struggle became the end itself–instead of a means to an end.
Five days after the great 1967 Newark race riots, the National Conference on Black Power, held an auspicious conference that marked a dramatic change in African-American resistance strategies. A seminal paper was presented by Adelaide Cromwell Hill entitled “What is Africa to us?” Hill asked this haunting question,”On this soil, the Negro has never been given an opportunity to name himself.” Black leaders vigorously called their people to resist white cultural encroachments. For the first time violence was openly sanctioned. The black nationalist movement was a black power movement.

In Pittsburgh an inflammatory pamphlet “The Black Mood in Pittsburgh” was widely read in the African-American community. “Black is anger, Tom,” it proclaims. This pamphlet called for a “Burn Day.” “Black Power cannot mean only a black sheriff in the sovereign state of Alabama. . . black power is the power to control our lives,” LeRoi Jones wrote in 1971. “We can have nothing without power.” Black power consciously tied its views to the historical reality of America prejudice. Part of the black power movement were trying to ameliorate its race through community-based interventions. But, from the beginning, black organizers saw themselves as soldiers in a war against white domination.

White American culture was a culture that for three hundred years dominated and controlled, not nurtured and comforted. Black nationalists now decided to wage war on that society. They felt that they had no choice.

What caused the black community to move from non-violent resistance to violent resistance? There were isolated instances of African-American violence before (e.g., Nat Turner Slave Revolt), but nothing like the violence manifested in the summer of 1968. The black community moved from non-violent resistance to violent resistance because African-Americans saw themselves in an intolerable state of shame. This violence was precipitated by the April assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., but frustration had been brewing in the African-American heart for years. Violence was inevitably seen as a course of last resort–the black community understood that it was their community that was being destroyed not the predominately white community–but it became necessary because they felt they had no choice. To the African-American community, the 1968 riots were retributive justice. To most whites this violence was a wake-up call.

African-American violence increased even more with the assassination of Martin Luther King, jr. For many African-Americans King’s assassination seemed to seal the demise of nonviolent resistance as a viable means of achieving equality for black America. But, as early as 1962, with the murder of James Meredith, African-American leaders like Stokely Carmichael were calling for a more radical response to racism. Stokely Carmichael and Charles V. Hamilton had a powerful vision: Pan-African nationalism and Separatism. Carmichael’s vision was decidedly political.

A similar vision arose that emphasized the cultural uniqueness of African-American culture. From this perspective, in 1966, the Black Panthers were founded by African-American nationalists Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. Sympathetic to this movement included radicals like H. Rap Brown. Brown spoke with great pain and anger: “Fuck attitudes. Fuck a muthatfucka who hates me, because if I ever get him on the wrong end of a gun he’s in trouble.” “Separate but equal is cool with me. What’s the big kick about going to school with white folks?” “We stand for the transformation of the decadent, reactionary, racist system that exists at this time . . . We don’t like the system. We want to negate the system.”

The Black Panther Party of Self Defense was an organized movement designed to spread a message of pride and empowerment to African-Americans. Their tactics were openly aggressive, and violent if necessary (as contrasted with the National Association of Colored People and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference). They wanted immediate results and were not willing to wait for legal and legislative processes. The Black Panthers wanted revolution not gradualism. The Black Panthers did not allow radical whites to belong to their organization–an uncharacteristic phenomenon for any Black Power movement. Black power advocates were calling for educational segregation.

But they were more than urban guerrillas. They set up community-based medical testing for sickle-cell anemia and lead poisoning, registered voters, and organized food giveaway. Now blacks did not have to rely on whites for anything. All their programs promoted an old tactic first suggested by white supremists: segregation. They urged the African-American community to form a separate nation in the United States. They excluded themselves from white America.

Malcolm X and Louis Farrakhan began the controversial Nation of Islam or African-American Muslims. The idea of returning to Islam as the ancestral religion of African-Americans was not new. In the 1920’s Marcus Garvey suggested that Blacks reject white institutions–including its religions and form their own. But now, Farrakhan and Malcolm X connected Christianity to white hatred. “A White Man’s Heaven is a African-American Man’s Hell” is the national anthem of the Nation of Islam. Farrakhan saw a vast white conspiracy seeking to conceal the glorious past of African-Americans and the Nation of Islam sought to set the record straight. Sharod Baker, a Columbia University student, and a member of the Nation of Islam, recently quoted, “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying I hate them [whites]. They have caused me harm over and over, and I wish they are [were] dead.”

King called for reconciliation and nonviolence, assimilation and peaceful coexistence, not violence. Toward the end of his life, King shifted somewhat toward separatist tactics, but he never embraced violence. Martin Luther King, Jr., stressed the unity of society and wanted to gain those ends through non-violent means. “African-American Americans should have the same right to vote, the same access to education, and the same economic opportunities as every other American,” King argued. “They have the same goal as every other immigrant group–full assimilation into American life.” King gave both blacks and whites hope that the race problem in America could be solved. But when African-Americans saw that assimilation was not working, some embraced “tribalism”.

Another black power champion was Stokely Carmichael (mentioned above), chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

The SNCC was founded in Raleigh, North Carolina, in April, 1960, at the suggestion of Martin Luther King, Jr., as a student arm of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The SNCC’s objective was defined as integration through non-violent protest all of which was incorporated into the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project launched in 1964. The SNCC formally adopted a black-consciousness philosophy and a separatist stance. African-American resistance was clearly defined as pro-black and anti-white. Northern white activists were expelled and the group broke with Martin Luther King, Jr. The organization faded from the public eye by 1969 but its causes were embraced by nationalistic groups. The Black Panthers, too, were disbanded by the middle of the 1970’s, but during this decade they captured the African-American social agenda and deeply impacted African-American society. Any racial discussion that speaks of “black power,” “black identity,” or “black self-determination” traces its genesis to the black nationalistic movement.

The 1960’s marked a shift in resistance: from non-violence to violence, from gradualism to immediatism, from desegregation to separatism. Clearly this shift, that exists today, marked a new challenge for racial reconciliation proponents. In the middle 1970’s fully 30% of black Americans felt that violence may be necessary to bring change and 8% were sure that it would be necessary. Very little has changed in twenty years. Similar studies and articles today confirm those fears among many African-Americans.

Today, the African-American community increasingly feels betrayed and short-changed by American culture. In fact, the General Baptist Convention of North Carolina is on record supporting African-American churches of all denominations establishing and operating separate Christian schools. In other words, the General Baptist Convention in North Carolina abandoned assimilation on “Christian” grounds rather than racial grounds exclusively.

The African-American poet Langston Hughes wrote in his poem “A Dream Deferred:”

Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
Like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
Like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
–Langston Hughes