When the Law Does Not Deliver: A Conversation with Bradly Mason

In our best Schwarzenegger voice, “We said we’d be back!”

Sojourner’s interviewed Nathan Cartagena on teaching Critical Race Theory to Evangelicals. When asked about the different assumptions students have when taking a class on critical race theory now that CRT is such a lightning rod subject he noted,

Oh yes. When I first started teaching, most people had never heard of critical race theory, and they certainly weren’t familiar with an acronym. Now, the teaching is harder. People are carrying a whole host of ideas about CRT, the overwhelming majority of which are completely false.

Why Nathan Cartagena Teaches Critical Race Theory to Evangelicals

What would it mean if pastors and church leaders paused to explore the roots of a theory that grew out of trying to answer the question, “How is it the new law did not make the difference it promised?” Wouldn’t there be a bit more sympathy knowing that this is also a question that could have well originated with the Apostle Paul who wrote to Roman Christians pointing out that,

For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.

Romans 8:3

On today’s podcast I am joined once again by Bradly Mason, @AlsoaCarpenter. We take up the task to give a genealogy of ideas, the “Where did this come from?” by looking at Derrick Bell’s essay, Serving Two Masters: Integration Ideals and Client Interests in School Desegregation Litigation found in Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings That Formed the Movement. For those, like me, that recall when your public school district desegrated, you know that desegregation did not necessarily obtain integration. If you carry that further, one may realize that the educational goals aimed for in desegregation rules did not materialize. Civil Rights advacates, and Critical Legal Scholars, began wondering how is it the law did not accomplish its aim.

Litigation ensued to insist the goals remain at the forefront and not the simple satisfaction that white and black students attended school in the same building. Going back to legal decisions led to a critical look at laws past that seemed unable to achieve their end and a theory as to what happened resulted. Nothing nefarious. But, the questions remain uncomfortable in light of the annual statistics that leave some wrongly concluding that the issue rests solely with the person and not with the structure. And this will hopefully whet your appetite to understand the intellectual history that developed in light of our social history.

For pastors wondering about the helpfulness, or not, of the insights into our legal system consider again what enabled the Apostle to see the ineffectual nature of the law to overcome the Powers of Sin and Death. Until Revelation came, Saul was content to let things be as they were. What if, the way things are, keep us from seeing what could be when a legal theory revealed to us ways we ourselves were blind to the other, to our neighbor? At least give us a look-see or listen.

if you missed our first conversation, here is the link: The Dangers of Mediating Ideas: A Conversation with Bradly Mason

If you find the podcast helpful, share it with your friends. Share it with your pastor friends as well as folks you know involved in leadership that touches on the pastoral. Also, consider heading over to iTunes, login, search for patheological and give us a five-star rating and a kind review.

About the Author
Husband to Patty. Daddy to Kimberly and Tommie. Grandpa Doc to Cohen, Max, Fox, and Marlee. Pastor to Snow Hill Baptist Church. Graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reading. Photography. Golf. Colorado. Jeeping. Friend. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and should not be construed as representing the corporate views of the church I pastor.

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