Lost in Translation

Communication is a complicated thing. Too often, our words are misunderstood. Our assumptions cloud the message. Someone said that “good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity.”

The cultural debate is plagued with misunderstanding. The radicalized left seems to believe that no good thing dwells within America nor its history. The strong language of the right emphasizes an unwillingness to learn and feel the hurts of those marginalized in our society. The majority of us cannot align ourselves with either extreme.


Here are two terms that have become convoluted, and because of that, we need to clarify what we mean when we use them.

1. Black Lives Matter

Yes, they do! They must! I’m okay with the rallying call “Black lives matter.” We must face the reality of racism and the injustices the black community has experienced. However, I’m not okay with the organization called #Black Lives Matter. The former seeks to improve our society, but the latter is a political Marxist-like movement that wants to dismantle it. Their charter states that they want to “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure…” which, by the way, is Biblically-prescribed! They also hold views that are anti-Zionist and inflammatory toward Israel. These are causes for concern, not on the same level or with the same urgency as our concern for our Black and Brown brothers and sisters, but concern just the same. Don’t you find it unsettling that the figure of Lenin in Seattle is still standing undefaced while the tributes to Frederick Douglass in New York and abolitionist, Hans Christian Heg, in Wisconsin have been destroyed? I do and I believe it is evidence of how the truth that Black lives matter has been co-opted to represent something else. The bottom line is that in regards to BLM, we can affirm the cry but we must denounce the organization.

If you’re searching for a way to communicate solidarity with people of color, considering using alternative phrases which also speak to value and compassion: Everyone Against Racism, End White Silence, Love Over Hate, or I Support Black Lives.

2. American Capitalism

No form of human government is perfect. However, I can’t think of a better place to live than America. Every country and people have blemishes. It is prideful and dishonest to think otherwise. The good news is we have a representative government with a free enterprise system of commerce, founded on Judeo-Christian principles. But as we have lost our moral compass, we have lost our credibility and integrity. We have pursued free enterprise outside of the principles of care and compassion and forgotten to love our neighbor.

First, there is a good form of capitalism. It is committed to a strong work ethic (2 Thessalonians 3:10). It conducts business honestly and fairly (Proverbs 11:1; 16:11). It is generous with its profits. It holds to the ethic that one is blessed to be a blessing (Deuteronomy 15:11; Proverbs 19:17; Luke 6:38). It recognizes the importance of private property (Deuteronomy 19:14 Exodus 2):17). It believes that all should experience liberty and justice.

Second, there is a bad form of capitalism. This kind of free enterprise is driven by selfishness. Materialism becomes its god. It believes “what I have is mine and I deserve more.” In this system, the rich become richer faster than anyone else. As the disparity between the rich and the poor increases, so does the tension between the two. 

Sadly, when I listen to the fears of some conservatives, I wonder if all they are concerned about is losing their stuff. They want to make sure their money is secure while turning a blind eye to inequality and injustices around them.

Here’s the bottom line: Christianity is not called to defend capitalism. Capitalism without God leads to greed, and that is never good!


Understanding begins with empathy. The Bible says that we are to “rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).  Empathy is more than listening. When we empathize, we actually start to feel what another person feels. We are slow to judge and willing to hear the other side.

Empathy puts into action that which validates another’s hurts and fears. James 2:14-17 says this– “What does it profit if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

What are your thoughts? How can we understand and care for each other more?

10 Comments Add yours

  1. bill Vermillion says:

    This is so well done. A nice combination of clear information resulting in forceful exhortation. Thanks Brother!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cammy Hastings says:

    Thank you! So many people, including some influential church leaders did not have knowledge of what the BLM organization was really about when this all started. Any caution advised about jumping on that bandwagon was immediately painted as racism. And those well meaning leaders have done far more harm than good to the goal of unity, encouraging young people into the hands of radicals who do not have the elimination of discrimination as a goal. Those leaders need to be just as vocal in correcting the miscommunication before it is too late.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. thegreatredlion says:

    Hey Chief, Thanks for your solid message this morning.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pam Wright says:

    Thank you so much for these well thought out thoughts. They are so true.

    Appreciate your postings each time.


  5. Judith Miller says:

    Thank you Randy. The part about empathy really impacted me. “Empathy is more than listening. When we empathize, we actually start to feel what another person feels. We are slow to judge and willing to hear the other side”

    Many people find Christians to be very judgmental. The door slams shut. But there are Christians who do listen and empathize and show compassion without judging and are willing to hear another side. The door then opens.

    I would ask; Are we really listening? Are we really willing to hear the other side? Are we actually willing to try to understand how another person feels without judging? Is it even possible?

    I want to be a Christian who, listens and empathizes and shows compassion without judging and, opens doors. I hope that when we are able to come together as a church body again that we can explore these questions with openness.

    Respectfully, Judy Miller

    > >


    Liked by 1 person

  6. Chris Neilson says:

    So well done brother, so well done!

    Sent from my iPhone



  7. beknowdopodcast says:

    Randy, thank you for this post. Much needed information!


  8. Tom Hurt says:

    Great post Randy. I appreciate your thoughtful expression of truth and grace. May we be full of both through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Tina Hohman says:

    Fantastic Randy! Thanks so much for your balanced, thoughtful and Biblical view of this situation. It is so refreshing to see.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Rachel Schendel says:

    Thank you Randy! Your compassionate words are refreshing!

    Liked by 1 person

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