Jul 302012

Back in March 2012, during an event titled “Race and the Christian” with John Piper, Tim Keller, and Anthony Bradley, they surfaced a number of the challenges and difficulties about the topic of race in the Christian ministry and church contexts.

One particular segment during the Q&A portion was particularly poignant (and insightful, to me, so much so, I’ve transcribed it below), where Anthony Bradley raised the question of how difficult it is to be discussing topics related to race, due to the power differential between the whites and non-whites. Tim Keller makes quite the effort to explain the systemic problem of white privilege [ed.note: emphasis added]:

That’s a very hard question.. I’m going back to what I was trying to say about systems… (this isn’t quite the same.. you were starting to move in the direction of discussions). But, for example, the evangelical world is based on raising your own support… you go out and you raise support from amongst your friends. This, of course, is systemic; it excludes, it marginalizes people who aren’t white. Because what happens is.. white people that don’t think of themselves as very well off can do it, they can raise their own support. And not just black, Hispanic, Asian people.. (and most people think of Asian people as very prosperous).. Asian people have trouble raising support for various cultural reasons, that whole model privileges white people… privilege cultures in which that kind of volunteerism works; it certainly doesn’t privilege Black [or] Hispanic people who don’t have lots of well off friends. And yet the system assumes that everyone who goes out there has equal social power and they don’t. Now I would call that a systemic problem, a big systemic problem…

… very often, these organizations, huge parachurch organizations, that you have to raise your support, and you come up in the power structure, having raised your support, then you kind of go on staff, and you move on your way up. Now I know about InterVarsity and plenty of places understand this, and they’re trying to do everything they can to recognize the fact that people don’t start with the same amount of social power. And therefore we can’t, we say it’s a level playing field, we’re meritocratic, we’re individualistic, that is to say, everybody has an equal chance, we’re not giving anybody an extra leg up in any way, and of course what that immediately does is destroy the people who already don’t have a leg up…

Maybe somebody is offended by what I just said… The system.. it doesn’t mean, for example, that everybody in a ministry in which everybody has to raise their support is deliberately, intentionally, trying to marginalize people, but, nevertheless, the system is worse than the individuals in the system. And just by being a part of it, you’re participating in this… white people have got to learn how to have those kind of spectacles, is what I was trying to say, they have to be thinking about that…

Same thing happens inside churches… Very often, what it means to say, we want to have multiracial churches, we want everybody to become white — culturally white, act white, think white, make decisions like white people… without knowing we’re saying, why are you always protesting, why are you having a problem with, we’re open to everybody..

… [as] a white person in an urban setting, is that even though white people are not the majority, they’re still the dominant minority, that have vast amounts of social power… over the 23 years here, I’ve been forced to see, over and over again, I’m being insensitive, I’m being blind…

A couple people have said, “… all I want from you as a white man is not to be anything else.. I just want you to be surprising me; in other words, as a Christian white leader, I just want you to surprise me.. you know a little more about what it’s like not to be white, because most white people have no idea.” … all that I’m struggling for, is just to surprise non-white people a little bit, that I would even notice that kind of thing.. that’s how bad it is.

Jul 182012

Facilitated 2 social media workshops at National Worship Leader Conference this week in Kansas City (Leawood), KS. Here are the slide decks.

Download slides for Social Media Basics (PDF)

Download slides for Advanced Social Media (PDF)

Stay connected with me on Twitter @djchuang and Facebook facebook.com/djchuang and 949-243-7260. Listen to the Social Media Church podcast at socialmediachurch.net

Links mentioned in workshop sessions:

Jul 122012

Without knowing the name, this hot sauce was elusive to find. I searched high and low all over the Internet. I had tasted it before. There are hot sauces spanning the whole range of that Scoville scale heat index. Most are just plain straight heat. Most are either plain liquid or whipped into a puree finer than baby food. Some have 2 layers of flavors, like being mostly spicy hot with a vinegary touch a la Tabasco. Very few have the robust complex layers of yummy flavors that this Chinese hot sauce has.

I knew what the jar looked like. It’s red and yellow with a stately lady’s face. But I couldn’t find an image match until I bought a jar at 99 Ranch last week and read the label over dinner tonight: LAOGANMA. And a quick Google search for Laoganma turned up 149,000 results! That’s far short of the number of jars that the LaoGanMa factory produces daily, numbered at 430,000 jars. In a day!

One blogger wrote this, echoing my palette sensibilities:

… the best hot sauces are rich, chunky, flavorful and, of course, hot. My favorites also share another characteristic—I can actually see the ingredients in the sauce, whether chili peppers, hot oil, pieces of garlic, onion bits or soybeans. Lao Gan Ma fits all my criteria. It has complexity. It has bite.

Now, here’s where I need help. Especially those of you who can read Chinese and are bilingual. I can’t read Chinese. I don’t know what it says on the jars, so I don’t know what I’m getting into with the 3 different jars above. Can you explain and enlighten me before I do my taste test?

Jul 102012

Next week in Kansas City (Leawood, to be exact) is the National Worship Leader Conference, where 1000s of worship leaders will be coming in from almost every state in the US of A and probably a dozen countries or more around the world! Follow the conversation via the twitter hashtag #nwlc12 .. I’ll be there!

For those who’ll be there, who are you happy to see? And for those who aren’t able to make it, you can get a Virtual Pass to livestream all 3 general sessions with some of these worship leaders below, 3 select workshops, and more! Who would you be happy to see – click on the thumbs-ups (powered by Ranker) [if you see an error message, go directly to poll>> ]

NWLC KS 2012 Worship Leaders

[disclosure: I work with Worship Leader Magazine, host of the NWLC]

Jul 022012

With less than 2 weeks before this BIG event, if you live and worship within driving distance of Kansas City, you’ll find the National Worship Leader Conference (NWLC) a most valuable training for your worship team. Looking on my online map of choice, that’d be cities like St. Louis, Wichita, Topeka, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Lincoln, Omaha, Des Moines, and Springfield too, both Missouri and Illinois. And for the ambitious, especially those with hybrid cars, you can drive it from Little Rock, Memphis, and even Peoria.

The National Worship Leader Conference is touted as the biggest worship leader conference of the year and it’s less than 2 weeks away! Get to Kansas City on July 16-19, 2012 for a great road trip. 2 big highlights for why you need to be there:

Unique Workshop Experiences

You will have more than 60 unique learning experiences to choose from; and with an added workshop time slot this year, you will be able to attend 9 different workshops. It’s like squeezing a year of training and experience into only days. Lead wiser, plan better, play or sing more expansively, offer the prayers of your congregation with more authority and humility–play, present or perform with greater passion, devotion and skill. And ride the edge of technology without falling off.

Song DISCovery Listening Panel

Get your latest worship song in front of a panel of experts, which will include songwriters and major publishers, for critique and the chance to get your song on an upcoming Song DISCovery CD. Bring your song on a CD along with 5 copies of the lyrics. Songs will be chosen at random.

Worship leaders who’ll be leading worship leaders in times of worship and training include: Israel Houghton, Crowder, Paul Baloche, Elevation Worship, Laura Story, Rend Collective Experiment, All Sons & Daughters, One Sonic Society, Brenton Brown, Travis Ryan, Aaron Keys, Gateway Worship and many many more! Oh, I’ll be there too, leading 2 workshops: basic social media and advanced social media.

And 1 more thing. This year’s special pre-conference SING! covers every aspect of congregational singing: starting with the individual voice to the multi-voice choir, the “HOW TOs” of getting your congregation singing, the biblical reasons we sing, and the transforming power of worshiping together. Good? Great!

[disclosure: I work with Worship Leader, the host of NWLC]