John Perkins

I went to hear John Perkins with my wife and some friends the other night. Here are some of the notes from that talk. He’s amazing.

7 helping principles for those involved in social justice:

1. Family: Create and establish family among your people
2. Truth: bring truth back through faith the bible
3. Purpose: it is purpose/vision which keeps us from getting addicted to ourselves
4. Courage: because fear paralyzes. He says that courage is to live out your convictions in the face of fear.
5. Identity: you have to know yourself & your limitations real or imagined. Eliminating the imagined limitations, such overcome race as a limiting issue is imperative. You have to know yourself as precious in God’s sight.
6. Suffering: which he has done a lot of, must be seen not as an ill one must endure, but suffering is a discipline. Suffering has great value for us, it forms us into the likeness of Christ.
7. Faithfulness: never give up.

My favorite part of his talk was in the section on identity. He used the words to the Children’s Sunday School song “Jesus loves the little children…brown and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight.” He said how important of a song that it for him. He said “I’m not gonna let my blackness stand in the way. And I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to push your whiteness out of the way.” I don’t know why it struck me, but I might never forget he said that.

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  • Great recap Tim. I think so many time race becomes the issue many people never talk about or maybe they talk about it but don’t really deal with it when it is a huge part of our or other people’s identity. Sounds like it was very impactful to hear him.

  • A couple years ago I read the book “Divided by Faith.” I’ll never be the same. Our theology is part of the problem in the race issue in America. Christian Smith’s research convicted me of that. Here’s a post on it:

    http://timsuttle.blogspot.com/2007/10/hope-center-divided-by-faith.html

  • I just learned that John Perkins is a registered Republican . . . Interesting.

  • So am I…you are right that is interesting.

  • one of my favorite seminary memories is leading worship before john perkins spoke in chapel… he spoke twice, two days in a row…

    what i remember most was just his presence…

    here are a couple of nuggets from my scribbled out notes:

    “justice is a stewardship issue… who owns the earth? justice, then, is an economic issue… problems are solved by energy management… resource management.”

    “when God begins to begin a movement, he starts with the family (see all of the family of origin issues in biblical leaders).”

    “regarding church: become effective NOT successful”

    i think you can find his talks on the denverseminary.edu web site, somewhere… good stuff