Mark Charles is a prophetic voice to the US church culture. He describes himself this way:
I do not lead any organization nor do I work solely for a specific group, ministry or church. I am merely the son of an American woman (of Dutch heritage) and a Navajo man, who is living on our Navajo Reservation and trying to understand the complexities of our country’s history regarding race, culture and faith so that I can help forge a path of healing and reconciliation for our people.
Thank you, Mark, for your writings, including the following excerpt from your post, “Without Exception.”
I have seen the uncomfortable truths of God’s character and His call immediately explained away with the quick pointing out of a few exceptions to the rules. This happens so frequently that I fear we may have forgotten what some of the rules actually are.
God chooses the foolish, weaker, lowly, despised things of this world – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. (1 Corinthians 1:27-30). These are God’s rules.
The weaker, second-born son, Jacob is the rule.
The slave, become prisoner, Joseph is the rule.
The prostitute, Rahab, is the rule.
The foreigner, Ruth, is the rule.
The shepherd boy named David is the rule.
The fisherman, Peter, is the rule.
And the babe, wrapped in cloth, and born in a barn is the rule.
The highly-educated Pharisee named Saul is the exception.
The rich, young ruler, walking away from Jesus, is the rule.
And the camel, named Zacchaeus, going through the eye of the needle is the incredibly rare exception.
As American Christians, these rules make us uncomfortable. For we live and follow Jesus in the wealthiest, most militarily powerful nation in the history of the world. And even though the founding fathers read the Bible and prayed to God, our nation has an incredibly dark and unjust history. Yet many still fancy the United States, and the American church, as the new Israel, with this continent being our “promised land” over which we have a manifest destiny. And so we cannot even begin to imagine that we just might, instead, be one of the other empires in the Biblical narrative, on the receiving side of God’s anger.
This is because we have taken the exceptions and made them our rules. And so when we hear the rules, because we do not align with them, we must quickly point out the exceptions. For the exceptions are what explains our existence and what justifies both our actions and our inactions.
Thank you, Mark. We need to be reminded of “uncomfortable truths” that deeply convict us and yet, if embraced, set us free.
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Excerpt from Mark Charles, “Without Exception,” Reflections from the Hogan, posted June 20, 2014. Mark’s website: wirelesshogan.com. Twitter: @wirelesshogan. Since writing the piece above, Mark has relocated to Washington, DC.