What is The Front Porch?

Many people fondly remember growing up in a house with a front porch.

I was raised in rural Michigan, just north of the “big city” of Grand Rapids, amidst the glistening lakes and rowed pines of Newaygo County. My family’s house was located on a dirt road for most of the year and a snow-packed road for the rest. It was a few steps from the front porch of our small but warm home. The porch wasn’t much to talk about. That’s why it fit the house perfectly. Like the house, the porch’s worth wasn’t in the structure, but in how it served my family and our neighborhood. Our porch didn’t just welcome people to the house; it welcomed them to our home. It welcomed them to our lives. It was the portal to conversation for all things family and community.

Thabiti Anyabwile, Louis Love, and Tony Carter

The brothers on The Front Porch (left to right): Thabiti Anyabwile, Louis Love, and Tony Carter.

You will experience conversations about faith, family, fellowship, and food, just like the front porches when we were growing up.

Not everyone has a front porch.  I bet almost everyone has places where friends, family, and even foes gather for conversation and debate.  Such places serve a similar unifying and comforting purpose. We hope you experience those same kinds of conversations here. And that’s what we want to accomplish. Welcome!

The Front Porch aims to be a place for conversations on biblical faithfulness in African-American churches and beyond.

Faith

Driving the conversation is what matters most to us, namely, our Triune God, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the necessity of faith in him. We hope to discuss the essentials of the Christian faith, reformed theology, and how these intersect with the African-American Christian experience.  We pray these conversations build faith and lead to faithfulness ().

Family

The Front Porch’s conversations focus on the family of God, the church. The church local and universal, militant and triumphant, is beloved by our Lord Jesus Christ (). Therefore, it must be loved by those who love him.  We love the church in all its multifaceted, multi-colored, and multi-ethnic expressions that God has ordained.  In fact, it’s because we love her that we will sometimes extol her virtues and sometimes admonish her shortcomings.  All we say about her we say in love as those within her doors, as part of the family, praying the church will be all that Christ calls her to be.

Fellowship

God’s people are keen on fellowship. The Front Porch allows you to just sit down, listen, and enjoy the conversation without adding anything. Yet your presence is welcomed. Please add your two cents to any discussion. But prepare to also be challenged.  Many issues are taken up and settled on neighborhood front porches. And even those that are not should not destroy the fellowship of brothers and sisters.

Food

The Front Porch is a great place to exchange old and new recipes. How does the faith of the saints who have gone before us help us understand and persevere in the faith we profess today ()?  Are there recipes of faithfulness we can glean from past generations that we can mix with our contemporary, contextualized understandings? Can we come away with a fresh yet faithful recipe for Christian living that our parents and God would be proud of?  We believe we can.

So, if you’re ever in the neighborhood, c’mon up! As my family’s old preacher would say, “It may be crowded, but there is always room for one more.”

Tony Carter
On behalf of the brothers on The Front Porch 

17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Romans 12:1-2

12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (ESV)

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, (ESV)

12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (ESV)