John Piper’s Bloodlines: Chapters 3 and 4

While Piper includes chapter 3 in part 1, it could just as easily fit into part 2. He outlines the shifting demographics of both the church and the world. This change necessarily means the church must get the issue of race firmly settled on the cross of Christ.

In chapter 4, Piper gives three reasons, and then expounds on those reasons, why he focuses on black-white issues when there are so many other racial tensions in the world. One, it’s his story. Two, the uniqueness of slavery in the U.S. makes black-white issues more profound (though, if we take this reason alone, he would be amiss to neglect the Indian issue on similar grounds, though certainly different). Three, the post-civil-rights era has made so few improvements and, in fact, appears to be digressing in race relations and opportunities afforded to blacks, especially black males.

He then spends the the majority of the rest of the chapter dealing with how blacks, particularly prominent blacks, have looked at the issue. He quotes, at length, Bill Cosby, Juan Williams, and Michael Dyson.

In the middle of this overview, he also talks about white guilt and how whites continue to hold blacks in slavery through the entertainment industry—though, I’m not sure that is the best analogy he—or Juan Williams—could use here. In talking about this issue of white sin versus black sin, Piper says, “Since majority people don’t think of themselves in terms of race, none of our dysfunctions is viewed as a racial dysfunction. When you are the majority ethnicity, nothing you do is ethnic. It’s just the way it’s done. When you are a minority, everything you do has color.” An interesting take on the stereotypical way we view the sins of others.

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