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Since you've effortlessly mastered your personal calling, it's time to get to work. But how DO you work, as a Christian Man?

Spoilers: With a lot of White Supremacy and Horrific Bullshit.

It's time to Get To Work with Christian Man Academy!
Austin Channing Brown is a writer and speaker on Racial Justice, Faith, and Black Womanhood. She's written "I'm Still Here" ( and you can find her at
She's running a kickstarter for an important podcast project called The Next Question. Its "mission is to be a part of expanding America's imagination for the pursuit of racial justice by asking the leading voices of our time to tell us more, to add depth to this conversation,
to convince us of what's possible for our future.
We will invite artists and activists, historians and academics, writers and more to converse with us.
Lets ask The Next Question!"

If you found this post valuable at all, please support her and listen:…
Also, did I mention I write books?
Just a quick disclaimer: you know how I went on a whole rant on verses taken out of context ()? Murray uses a LOT of Bible verses in this article, cause the man loves his lists and proof texting.
I'll look up each of them, but I might not deconstruct ALL of them - just the ones I think are important.
If that bothers you, I think it's worth noting that while Murray felt it was important to do a lesson on how you ought to read your Bible, he never felt it was worthwhile to talk about HOW you were supposed to read your Bible.

It's the things we assume that really kill me.
Murray: "First of all, you are to work as unto the Lord (Col. 3:23)."

Now that I said I wouldn't do this for all verses, we're gonna have to take a fucking minute. Let's get some context for that verse, kay?
"22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,
24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism."
Oh, right. The verse is talking about SLAVES, not going to your day job. While slavery in ancient Rome wasn't the chattel slavery of the Americas, it wasn't ideal. Do yourself a favor and scan this:…
Important, because we want to remember that we KNOW that slavery in Rome wasn't good. Slaves were property, regardless of how they ended up there. While it wasn't necessarily always a life sentence, one could be born and die in slavery; in fact, that was likely.
Christians do a lot of work to handwave all of this away. A quick Google search led me to this (…) which is pretty damn standard.
"The Greek word (doulos) can be translated “slave,” or sometimes “servant” or “bondservant,” and often referred to people who had a surprising level of legal and social status in the first-century Greco-Roman world. Most were not “slaves” from their birth, or for their whole
life, or because of their race—for instance, the Roman jurist Gaius (second century) claimed that most slaves were prisoners of war who actually would have been slaughtered if not made slaves."
Note the lack of references cited. They have a "surprising" level of legal and social status? It says more about you that you're "surprised" to discover that they could have the pipe dream of buying their way out of slavery than it does about the historical record.
Unskilled slaves in Rome were still sent to the mines, farms, and other work camps, where they lived short, horrible lives. Skilled slaves were owned, with no rights or legal representation (until much later after Paul penned his words), and little hope of a life of their own.
One MIGHT get lucky and have a decent master; that, too, was a pipe dream that kept many in chains.

Murray wants to skip this, he says the verse tells us this"means you are to work as if the Lord was your boss, that he was employing you, paying you, and you reporting to him."
No, Murray. Just because you like to say - loudly - that you're a "slave to Christ" doesn't mean you get to co opt the tragic history of those who were actual slaves, and those born to those who lived in captivity.
Your surrender to a higher master (described as a "harsh man" Luke 19:21) is entirely voluntary AND symbolic.
And Murray ought to know better, because he's Australian. Not only is Australia's white history build on penal labor, but also "Between 1860 and 1970, Australia effectively had state-sanctioned slavery of Aboriginal people.
Historians Dr Rosalind Kidd and Dr Thalia Anthony have documented how Aboriginal Australians of all ages were forcibly sent to work on sheep and cattle properties across Australia under government schemes that were supposedly "designed to protect them". "
"Laws in Western Australia allowed Aboriginal children to be sent from the age of 12. The conditions were often horrific: 16-hour days, floggings and forced removal from families. They were either unpaid or received only a few shillings pocket money." […]
That was just one version of slavery that existed in Australia. The above article details out at least three other forms that existed (and still exist).
Murray is 52 years old, which means he was born 3 years before this horrific practice was officially outlawed. This means he ought to know his own country's past, and as one connected with America, ought to know ours as well.
Note that Australia's version of slavery is much more closely aligned with Ancient Rome's version. I haven't researched Australia's history a lot, but I'm just guessing that some of these verses we're going through today showed up in justification and support of those practices.
Murray, let me quote you something: "Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism." What you teach is wrong. You are wrong. Your racism and erasure is WRONG.

And I truly wish there was "no favoritism". Now, stoppit.
Murray: "Second, do it with all your might (Col. 3:23). You are being paid to give your time, talent, and energy to your calling and therefore everything not given to it is theft.
You are stealing. On the question of theft, do not steal even a pencil from your employer. Just because others do, doesn’t mean you should."

It's pretty fucking grand to say that if you don't work hard 100% of the time you're on the clock, you're STEALING when using a verse about slavery to justify it.

I say to you, work with integrity. Whatever that means. You're adult, you can crunch the moral numbers.
It's also baffling, because for a classist piece of shit, Murray is ignoring, you know, salaried and other higher level jobs.
My wife, for example, is on salary because she's a creative marketer. Sometimes, she works weekends, sometimes, she works shorter hours during the week, or in piecemeal.

It's almost like the world is large and complicated, and it does no service to pretend otherwise.
Murray: "Third, your work is your witness. Your primary responsibility at work is not to evangelize but to do the work you have been called to do. The best way to witness is to excel in your work or studies."
I'm surprised Murray doesn't use Daniel and his friends for this point. This is just another example of using external witness to motivate internal states. Because you never know who might be watching, and you don't want to make Jesus look bad.
Apparently, only Christians work hard. Just… ignore all the non-Christians who work really hard. By now, it should come easily to you.
He does note that if you're trustworthy with your day job, Jesus might find work for you in the Church. He cherry picks a verse from the Parable of the Shrewd Manager (Luke 16) for this, and if you haven't read that Parable in a while, you should. It doesn't really... help...
He also uses 1 Tim 3:10, which is… just really yanked from any sort of context in a very boring way. Also, 1 Tim is a garbage book.
M: "Fourth, speak respectfully of your employers, employees, colleagues, customers, clients, patients, etc."

Ooo, we're just demanding things now without using Bible verses! How exciting!

I, too, don't feel the need to cite a Bible verse when I tell people not to be an asshole.
M: "Fifth, accept disappointments and prepare to suffer injustice even for doing good at work. In doing so, you will be an example of Christ (1 Peter 2:13-25; 3:14-18)."
You know how I promised I wasn't going to go through every verse? Friends, I was a fool. I forgot how carelessly Murray and his ilk use the Bible; I forgot how angry it makes me to see things stripped of their historical and textual context.
I, using my white male privilege, forgot about SLAVERY. And it's such an easy thing to do, for ME. I don't have to be reminded of it and it's long shadow every damn day of my life, and I ought to be. Because others around me are.
Our country is built on its power, and seeks to keep people in captivity.
One of the way that White Evangelicalism does this is by taking verses in the Bible and using them to justify their practices and thoughts. They reframe and recontextualize words and stories, then use those to prop up their ministries of death.
Example: 1 Peter 2:13-17: "13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority:whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that
by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor."
First of all, this passage was written to those who were subjects of a hostile Empire that Jesus fought against. EC has BECOME THE EMPIRE, and I tell you, when I realized that truth, it shook me to the core.
Many of the verses EC cites are condemning them, yet they wish to co opt those redemptive stories.

Secondly, this passage was directed at free people. This stands in contrast to the next part that Murray just casually lumps in with it.
1 Peter 2:18-25: "18 Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are
conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.
21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps."
Okay, so, this is monstrous. I'm sorry I had to remind you that this is in the Bible. This passage has done so much fucking damage and harm in our history, and if I could, I would erase it and its taint on our world.
Let me remind you that Murray, a white man born to an Empire tradition that was founded on the subjugation and exploitation of others, used that fucking passage to say "accept disappointments and prepare to suffer injustice even for doing good at work."
This passage is not about "disappointments".

It is not about "suffering injustice even for doing good at work."

It's about slavery.

The exploitation of others in a cruel and brutal system that robs humans of their potential and basic fucking dignity.
To use it and say, "You know how the boss was kind of a dick to you? Don't worry, God's got you" is an erasure of such monumental proportions that the moment you finished typing it, you ought to be struck with horror.
Doing this ought to drive you to your knees in sorrow, it ought to break you out of your rigid adherence to Whiteness and drive you in terror towards redemption least you become such a monster that you must be opposed at all costs least you cost others much.
I have no greater disgust in me than this: Murray blithely clothes himself in clothes soaked with the blood and tears of others, and calls himself wise and worthy.

I wish I could stop talking about this, but IT KEEPS GOING.
Murray: "Sixth, stay where you are (1 Cor. 7:20). One of the best pieces of advice I received in my life was “Stay where you are unless God shows you clearly otherwise.”
Murray: "Of course, there are times when God calls you elsewhere but you shouldn’t jump ship every time you face a problem or someone offers you an extra dollar an hour."
After talking about slavery, it seems in poor taste to follow up with the command to "stay where you are". It was with no small amount of trepidation that I looked up the verse.
This follows a passage talking about whether or not to divorce your spouse if they're not a Christian after you convert. That, alone, would be worth talking about, but we have no time.
"17 Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them.This is the rule I lay down in all the churches. 18 Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised.
Was a man uncircumcised when he was called? He should not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing.Keeping God’s commands is what counts. 20 Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.
21 Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so. 22 For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave.
23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings. 24 Brothers and sisters, each person, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation they were in when God called them."
I'll confess that there are times when the Biblical narrative can still move me. I have some concepts and stories baked into my DNA. When I think about Jesus standing in front of all and declaring that his ministry is to set the captives free, I want to cheer.
When I read about how God constantly commands us to fight injustice, to shelter the weak, to lift up and support the disenfranchised, I get hopeful.
But I don't know this god who would command through his servant that slaves remain meek and mild, that the free ought not fight to set the captives free. The god that teaches that captivity is freedom, that subjugation is strength, is no god of mine.
Christians often approach apologetics as if the greatest task they have before them is to prove that God exists - for if he does exist, then surely, he must be worshiped and followed.
There is a second, greater test: after you prove to me that God exists, you must then prove that God is Good and worthy of being followed.
Because if he is not, if he is instead exposed to be a petty tyrant set upon slavery and suffering, then the only just response is to resist him with all of our might, no matter his strength, no matter the cost.
This god, that would smile and nod on a man using these words to encourage stagnancy of mind and position, is not Just or Good.
He is not worth following, and he is not worth anyone's service. If we must pay him any attention - and we must, for he thrives where we are willfully blind - then it is only to resist him and his efforts at all cost.
Murray: ""Seventh, seek personal development. Pursue studies, training, challenges, etc., to help you to grow and multiply your talents (Matt. 25:14-30)."
Again, in this lengthy conversation of slavery and servitude, we're presented again with a story of servants (or slaves) who serve a master.
In this Matthew tale, we're reminded again that this master is "a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed." He inspires fear, not love.
And the object lesson of such a story is this: "“‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.
30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’"

I have no patience for your "hot take" that these bags of gold are our innate talents, Murray, that we must develop for another to exploit.
Your master is a hard man, who steals and exploits from those too weak to stop him. I will not allow you, or your master, to advise me on how I ought to grow as a person.
Finally, friends, for this has been long and full of unexpected suffering, Murray ends with a twist: "Eighth, establish work boundaries. "

Indeed, his action is to establish those work boundaries, for "Real men work hard….within boundaries."
It is telling that there is no Bible verse, no external justification. This is a lesson he learned from the secular world, from science, and he'd like to apply it here. I had planned to talk about that, but I find that instead of boundaries, I can only think of cages and chains.
So, your homework from me, is to spend some time this week looking for how you can resist. Support and enable others in their fight for equality. Don't presume to know how you can; ask them, and listen.
If you do nothing else, give your damn money, for our misquoted Bible reminds us that we can't take it with us, so we ought to give it to other in need while we can.
May you allow your eyes to be opened, to see the world around you with clarity. Allow your ears to hear, and your heart to feel. Take courage, and be good to each other, because it's a fucking nightmare and all we have is each other.
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