“Black Lives Matter” – Michelle Higgins @ Urbana 2015

John ArmstrongACT 3, America and Americanism, American Evangelicalism, Civil Rights, Culture, Current Affairs, Ethics, Race and Racism7 Comments

Many evangelical and conservative Christians, especially older white Christians of conservative persuasion, are weary of the popular slogan: “Black Lives Matter.” Some are even angry at the actual movement that is associated with this name and believe it is harmful to our culture. I’ve heard various responses regarding this negative view of the slogan and the movement but the most … Read More

Reading Maya Angelou

John ArmstrongBooks, Civil Rights, Culture, Current Affairs, Freedom, History, Marriage & Family, Personal, Race and Racism6 Comments

I owe a debt of profound gratitude to my friend Vill Harmon (second from left in this photo with my good friends and two ACT3 board members). Vill is the secretary in the office of Ecumenical and Interreligious for the Archdiocese of Chicago. In July (2015) Vill and I shared a conversation about our background, especially in terms of race … Read More

The Killing That Stunned America: April 14, 1865

John ArmstrongAmerica and Americanism, American Evangelicalism, Church History, Civil Rights, Culture, Current Affairs, Race and Racism, The Church, The Future19 Comments

One hundred-and-fifty years ago on this day America was emerging from its long nightmare, a war between the states that we call the American Civil War. More Americans died in this four-plus year conflict than in all other military operations in our entire history put together. During this great ordeal brother killed brother and entire families were torn apart. Towns and cities were … Read More

Two Modern Films That Define Us as Americans, Part Two

John ArmstrongAmerica and Americanism, American Evangelicalism, Culture, Current Affairs, Immigration, Personal, Politics, Poverty, Race and Racism, The Church, The Future, The War on Terrorism20 Comments

In complete contrast with American Sniper the new film McFarland USA is a Disney movie. It is also based on a true story. It is an against-all-odds story of the 1987 McFarland high school cross country team in an economically challenged community in the central valley of California. Some reviewers think the film is “corny” and hopelessly romanticized. I found it … Read More

“Crips and Bloods: Made in America” – A Disturbing Film That Needs to Be Seen

John ArmstrongCulture, Current Affairs, Death, Marriage & Family, Poverty, Race and Racism1 Comment

The first image that you see, in the opening scenes of Stacy Peralta’s powerful documentary, “Crips and Bloods: Made in America,” is the central Los Angeles skyline turned upside down. I was enraptured with this image and thus was immediately taken into this urban scene in a unique visual way. It is both striking and unnerving. With this image of … Read More

Waiting for Another MLK – What Can We Do As Christians?

John ArmstrongACT 3, America and Americanism, Current Affairs, Film, Gospel/Good News, Kingdom of God, Missional Church, Race and Racism, The Church, The FutureLeave a Comment

My good friend Rev. Carlos Malave, the executive director of Christian Churches Together USA, shared a lovely meal with me in Louisville just a few weeks ago. Carlos was raised in the Seventh Day Adventist church but eventually became a Presbyterian minister. He was drawn to ecumenism while a student at Fuller Theological Seminary, where he was influenced by another … Read More

Three Films on Race and Racism That Will Help Us as Christians

John ArmstrongAmerica and Americanism, Civil Rights, Culture, Current Affairs, Film, Race and Racism, The Church, The Future5 Comments

Seeing popular movies will never change your heart at the deepest level. Yet movies are a powerful art form that can reach into your human heart and this power can deeply impact us, both personally and corporately. I believe 12 Years a Slave does this as well as any movie about race that I have ever seen. Indeed, it is … Read More

What Has Trayvon Martin to Do With Faith, Grace and Freedom?

John ArmstrongAmerica and Americanism, Civil Rights, Current Affairs, Race and Racism, The Church8 Comments

The Trayvon Martin case, hotly debated several months ago and now off the front page, offers a unique opportunity for Americans in general. It offers an even more important opportunity for Christians in particular. Can we deeply ponder where we are in terms of race and racism in our nation? I do not know but I am resolved to be … Read More

Was Lincoln Right About God’s Providence and the Great Sin of Slavery?

John ArmstrongAmerica and Americanism, Civil Rights, Current Affairs, Race and Racism2 Comments

American slavery was evil, completely and totally evil. It was a form of human condemnation to a frequently violent life and an even more tragic death. There is nothing benign or acceptable about the institution or its practice. What we as a nation did in defending and protecting this evil is hard to fathom living in the legal freedom of … Read More

12 Years a Slave – A Film That Reaches Into the Heart

John ArmstrongCivil Rights, Culture, Current Affairs, Film, Personal, Race and Racism7 Comments

Steve McQueen’s stunning visual portrayal of the story of Solomon Northup, a black musician living in Saratoga Springs, NewYork, with his wife and two young adoring children in 1841, is nothing if it is not one of the most moving films I’ve seen in many years. 12 Years a Slave is art but it is art at its highest and … Read More