By Hazel Trice Edney
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – A team of African-American preachers has sent a letter to President Barack Obama affirming their “commitment to the Affordable Care Act” even as the President has ordered the website overhauled.
By Hazel Trice Edney
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – A team of African-American preachers has sent a letter to President Barack Obama affirming their “commitment to the Affordable Care Act” even as the President has ordered the website overhauled.
“The Black church” is shorthand for the vast network of racial-ethnic communities of Christian faith, worship, and life born out of and informed by the historic and present day experiences of people of African descent in the United States.
The Black church is a sacred and social movement, representing communities of faith and, at its best, arenas of change. In oppressions affecting Black children, women, and men, Black churches have access to liberative and holistic resources and to reconciling potential, restoring ancestral wisdom and cultivating contemporary insights that uphold the agency of Black humanity. When and where the Black church upholds and models its own virtues of love, justice, freedom, community, equality, dignity, self-worth and more, it bears magnificent witness to a just and humanizing world.
In the last 50 years the African American community has undergone momentous and convoluted change. By the middle of the twentieth century, a largely Southern agrarian population had become predominately urban as Blacks “voted with their feet” against Jim and Jane Crow segregation and repressive white brutality for the “promised land” of the urban and mostly Northern and Western industrial cities.
The Black-led freedom movement of the 1950s and beyond was an intense evocation of powerful and prolonged experiences that for the better part of three hundred years had sought to dismantle the institutional mantle of racism. The scope and magnitude of these militant new protests were of a scale previously unknown and firmly identified with the ethos of the Black faithful — the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Ella Baker, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee among others.
Religion scholar C. Eric Lincoln identified the 1960s as the watershed years when the “Negro Church” died and was reborn in the form of the “Black Church.” Black churches joined spiritual imperatives with Black sociopolitical objectives in intermittent fashion, at times impressively so and other times faltering, as Black clergy and laity — especially women and young people — determined to embrace the clarion call to resistance, liberation, and social justice as part of their spiritual inheritance. In the aged presence of racism Black churches bore witness to the transcendent power of the divine resident in the souls of Black folk and others of the disinherited.
In the years since the Civil Rights, Black Power and Black Consciousness Movements, Black religious and theological scholars have provided Black churches with critical tools of analysis and advocacy in the struggles against discrimination, apartheid, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, mass incarceration, human trafficking and forms of social stigma, and for gender equality, gay equality, environmentalism, health care equity, reproductive freedoms, diverse religiosity, Africa and the Diaspora, immigration, globalization, gun control, living wages, sustainable community, and so much more. This demanding and strategic work has only just begun.
There is a pervasive myth that the United States is comprised of a common citizenry living in a post-racial and inclusive society. In truth, the oppressive legacies of the past are hardly eradicated and never so easily dismissed. Disparity and death, violence and abuse, stigma and structural unemployment, food deserts and educational malfeasance, the War on Drugs and mass incarceration, racial profiling and anti-immigration legislation, voter identification and “stand your ground” vigilantism all function as contemporary forms of hegemonic social control.
Bi-partisan obstructionism and market forces dictate the new racial reality. Race-relations management forged in civic and corporate spaces masquerades as principled public policy. Intersections between race and other socially contested realities — gender, generation, sexuality and class among others — are denied critical nuance, coalescent recognition, and emancipating capacity. Injustice comes in new and myriad forms. The nation’s crisis of confidence in democratic freedoms continues unabated. Racism, America’s original sin, lives on.
The state of affairs in African American churches is as unsettled as those of larger society. Among Black mainline denominations meaning, mission and memberships are in disrepair. Non-denominationalism and non-affiliation are the new church growth sectors. The litmus test for inclusion in the church grows weary and unsteady in the face of a host of contested and expansive values ranging from family, gender and sexuality to culture, ethnicity and social class. Islam, indigenous African religions and other traditions are redefining and shaping what it means to be the Black faithful as never before. The largest reservoir of the Black un-churched is once potential members who finally despaired of finding spiritual, moral and holistic fulfillment in extant Black religious institutions. In point of fact, the Black faith community mirrors the same levels of mistrust and territorialism as the African American community and United States society writ large.
Today Black churches are at a crossroads. They are the fault line between many progressives and traditionalists, women and men, young and old, same and both gender loving, and the haves and have nots, wherever communities of African descent in the United States are to be found. The African American estate awaits the “good news” that leads to the moral, personal, familial, social, economic, political, and cultural transformation of our time. However, Black churches by and large have yet to seriously accept the fact that tackling the root problems of Black America will require a far more organized and intentional structural witness than is currently the case.
Martin Luther King, Jr. reminds us:
Any religion that professes to be concerned with the souls of men (and women) and is not concerned with the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them, and the social conditions that cripple them is a dry-as-dust religion (Stride Toward Freedom, 1958).
Half a century has passed since the epic Birmingham campaign, the murder of Medgar Evers, the March on Washington and the bombing of Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Fifty years later, many African Americans continue to suffer the indignity of social pathologies not of their making. A culture of death, disprivilege, and disparity continues to be visited upon those who are Black, brown, poor, young and female. Policymakers eager to restore the United States to a presumed pristine former glory, legislate libertarian and limited (federal) government philosophies as a means to social and political control, brazenly oblivious to the gritty trauma that marks many of our nation’s neighborhoods and streets.
Black churches must direct their still formidable resources to public policy advocacy and education, to engaging the complex underlying structural and systemic forces that work against community building. The negative distribution of goods and services in Black communities everywhere is one major social policy trend awaiting proactive and concerted response from Black churches. The wholesale shift of economic and health activity away from Black urban and rural centers, with tragic consequences for the poor, is yet another. The “Moral Monday” Movement in North Carolina, the Dream Defenders in Florida, and the Fiftieth Anniversary March on Washington demonstrate the power of people of dedication and faith joined in coalition for insurgent political advocacy. Finally, it is important to identify and address what causes so many Black churches — and Black organizations as a whole — to focus with such passion on their own institutional and entrepreneurial interests, to the neglect and detriment of the wider community.
The work of social transformation and community empowerment requires far more resources than what the institutional Black church alone can hope to accomplish in our day and time. African America has a broad array of organizations and enterprises that have to be called upon to be accountable to one another and the whole. The culpability of us all is an inconvenient truth. The time to empower the entire Black estate is now.
This will not in the least relieve Black churches of their social and spiritual responsibility. Megachurches, storefront churches, and every form of church in between must commit to establishing a more liberative ethos and presence in the wider community. Tragically, for too many churches the recognition that there has been a shift in the political terrain over the last fifty years, that the struggle for freedom principally moved from the steps of the courthouse and city hall and migrated to legislative assemblies, corporate boardrooms, executive suites, and social media platforms never seems to have occurred.
Now as never before a learned, strong, prophetic and resourceful Black church must be joined with the best social and political thought and practice at our community’s disposal. As we move well into the twenty-first century, as the racial lessons of the recent past fade from the collective memory only to be confronted by the specter of a New Jim Crow at home and imperialist impulses abroad, pressing questions remain: How well will Black churches respond to assaults on the human spirit, to the erosion of our freedoms, to our quest for participation in a humanizing world? What spiritual sensibilities will be brought to bear in the everyday affairs of life? What theological and ethical resources will Black America employ in light of our ceaseless struggles? What public policy and civic commitments will we radically engage in spirit and in truth?
Having come this far by faith, with a renewed dedication to prophetic action and critique, Black churches are poised on the edge of a future, still too full of the provincial, but instilled with possibilities for insurgent renewal and change.
by Roslyn M. Brock, NAACP National Board of Directors, and Shavon Arline-Bradley, NAACP Health Programs
Between moments of exuberant worship and quiet prayer, Rev. Timothy Sloan of St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church in Humble, Texas, infuses his lesson of the day with a topic once considered taboo if not completely off limits among black congregations.
The message of awareness rang throughout the walls of the church at a recent service as part of a larger effort to address a challenge that Sloan and a growing number of pastors are aligning with the NAACP to combat – the HIV/AIDS epidemic and its impact on the African-American community.
Combatting HIV/AIDS through the black church
The increased, collaborative effort to destigmatize and address HIV comes at an urgent time for black Americans. More than one million people in the U.S. are living with the disease, and African-Americans suffer from some of the highest rates of HIV and AIDS in the country. African-Americans represent approximately 14 percent of the U.S. population but accounted for almost 46 percent of people living with HIV in 2008, and constituted an estimated 44 percent of new infections in 2009.
The NAACP and its partner, Gilead Sciences, are equipping Sloan and faith leaders across the country with new ways to engage their congregants in conversations about HIV/AIDS, by urging them to be health activists who advocate for health equity, frequent HIV screenings and access to affordable health care.
Sloan’s church now holds a yearly HIV/AIDS Town Hall Meeting that combines the voices of local advocates and organizations to talk about awareness. They also host local trainings for pastors and faith leaders on how to take action to end this epidemic.
Black church: A history of helping
Since the beginning, African-American houses of worship have served as epicenters of their communities and as a loud voice on social justice issues, ranging from poverty to discrimination. The same black church that ushered in the historic victories of the Civil Rights era will stand once again at the forefront of this important social justice issue.
But despite the Center for Disease Control’s alarming findings that the number of new HIV/AIDS infections among blacks is nearly 8 times the rate of whites and double that of Latinos, churches have historically avoided discussion of the disease in order to skirt other taboo topics such as homosexuality and premarital sex.
Pastor Sloan, along with dozens of pastors across the country, understands that to truly stop this crisis, the church must serve as a reliable and audacious partner in the fight to end HIV/AIDS. Joining the fight, the NAACP, another longtime institution in the black community has actively engaged in bringing pastors and health advocates to the front line of this epidemic.
A grassroots method of intervention
Two years ago, the NAACP and our partner in this initiative Gilead Sciences, began a 12-city research tour to cities with a high prevalence of HIV among African-Americans. We met with over 250 faith leaders across denominations to identify best practices and challenges when addressing HIV within the black church. In response, the NAACP developed The Black Church and HIV: The Social Justice Imperative.
As part of the pilot initiative, we produced a Pastoral Brief to assist and encourage faith leaders to engage in HIV discussion and advocacy. These briefs assist pastors in talking about HIV/AIDS in their sermons, connecting their churches with groups that serve people with HIV, promoting safe sex and access to condoms, and organizing church-based HIV screening drives.
Our efforts are taking root. Earlier this summer, the NAACP held its second annual Day of Unity. In nearly 100 cities across the country, faith leaders committed to preach about HIV/AIDS as a social justice issue, educate their parishioners about treatment and prevention, and stress the normalcy of routine testing.
But there’s much work to be done. To double down in our fight against the disease, we at the NAACP and Gilead Sciences just announced our joint Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action to significantly scale up our response to HIV/AIDS.
Black faith leaders unite for change
Leveraging CGI’s model of creating impactful solutions to pressing global challenges by forging partnerships across boundaries, we aim to train nearly 3,000 black faith leaders – whose congregations in 30 U.S. cities constitute roughly two-thirds of the nation’s HIV epidemic – to turn the tide on HIV/AIDS in black America.
This is a social justice issue. Research shows that African-Americans are disproportionately impacted by this disease, not because we are more promiscuous, but because, more than any other racial group, we live in areas with high concentrations of HIV infections. We also know that socio-economic disparities have burdened the black community for generations including inadequate access to care, disproportionate rates of poverty, and limited access to screenings.
NAACP: Taking a powerful stand
We at the NAACP have a responsibility speak up for those who do not have a voice – the undiagnosed – by advocating for increased testing, education, and policies aimed at stopping the rates of new infections and increasing the access to care, especially in communities of color. We must also eradicate the stigma facing HIV-positive people of color, who need compassion and resources the most. But we can’t succeed in this journey alone. The black church must be our partner.
A conversation about HIV/AIDS must begin in the pulpit and reach the pew so it can reverberate to the streets, and underscore the prevalence of this disease. Rev. Sloan is doing his part to break down the barriers to empowerment at his Baptist church in Humble, Texas, and it will take faith leaders like him from every state and every denomination to make a dent in this disease.
Together, we have the power – and the social justice imperative – to take a stand. Let’s exhibit the courage.
by Larry Buford
*Detroit author Minister Mary Edwards’ story, ‘The Buck Stops Here,’ is included in the latest release of Chicken Soup for the Soul, From Lemons to Lemonade.
It’s an account of her breast cancer survival after all other members of her immediate family, and her beloved husband died from some form of the disease. Edwards is a frequent contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, which include Chicken Soup for the African American Soul, and Chicken Soup Book of Miracles. She teaches others how to write for Chicken Soup for the Soul books and get paid.
Edwards who is also a book coach, editor, publisher, and motivation speaker, has authored several other books including her stellar autobiography ‘Born Grown’ which is available on her website www.leavesofgoldconsulting.com and Amazon.com. Her e-mail address is: [email protected]
A dreary and oppressively humid late summer Washington morning would not deter thousands from filling the grounds of the National Mall on the 50th anniversary of the 1963 “March On Washington” Wednesday morning.
Dubbed “Let Freedom Ring,” the event contrasted last Saturday’s “Realize The Dream” march only in the weather conditions, as the tone and content of President Barack Obama‘s closing remarks remained largely the same and focused on a common theme of togetherness.
Attendees flocked in early, with some camping out at the Mall around 7 a.m. Families large and small staked out nooks and tree covered areas for themselves, hoping to block the rain that would later come. Much like last weekend, many traveled far to the commemorative event, and NewsOne spoke with a few attendees who also came 50 yeas ago.
“I was 17 when I was first here,” said Betty Waller Gray of Richmond, Va. “My mother was active in theNAACP and taught me the basics of freedom, justice, and equality. We’re still fighting for that today. We need to allow our older and younger people to join hands and bring about the peace Dr. King wanted.”
Ms. Gray’s statement echoed what many of the distinguished speakers and participants shared during their time at the podium. We were fortunate to have brief chats with some of the notable stars at the event. Retired Detroit Piston great Isiah Thomas told us he was “thrilled and honored” to be amongst the attendees. Veteran actor Forest Whitaker shared a similar thought in passing, saying that he was grateful to be chosen as a speaker.
Media mogul Oprah Winfrey was the first to speak in a series of “prime-time” feature speakers during the event’s home stretch.
From Oprah Winfrey’s speech:
And as we, the people, continue to honor the dream of a man and a movement, a man who in his short life saw suffering and injustice and refused to look the other way, we can be inspired and we, too, can be courageous by continuing to walk in the footsteps in the path that he forged. He is the one who reminded us that we will never walk alone. He was, after all, a drum major for justice.
Congressman John Lewis picked up from where he left off over the weekend, urging listeners to fight for their civil and voting rights and to take charge in the civic process. Former Presidents Jimmy Carterand Bill Clinton both delivered strong words that spoke to the purpose of King’s message and the hopes that all races will one day have equal footing. Martin Luther King III delivered a brief, but fiery speech before yielding to the eldest and only living sibling of Dr. King, Christine King Farris.
Ms. King Farris told the crowd that while she wasn’t sure if she was the oldest of the speakers, she did claim the distinction of knowing Dr. King the best. “I knew him when he was a baby,” said King Farris. Dr. King’s youngest child, Rev. Dr. Bernice King, seemed to channel her father’s energy at times and hammered home the point that the racism of her father’s time still exists today.
President Obama’s remarks were highly anticipated by all, considering his historic rise to the nation’s highest office and his reverence of Dr. King’s work. Speaking on the need for the entire nation to heal longstanding division and break down the walls of communication, his measured but effective tone, coupled with recalling King’s message, left a mark on some judging by the response.
From Obama’s speech:
Yes, there have been examples of success within black America that would have been unimaginable a half century ago. But as has already been noted, black unemployment has remained almost twice as high as white unemployment, Latino unemployment close behind. The gap in wealth between races has not lessened, it’s grown.
And then, if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that during the course of 50 years, there were times when some of us claiming to push for change lost our way.
The president spoke at length of strengthening the middle class so that families can provide the opportunities for themselves and their children not afforded a half century ago. But it was towards the end of his speech where President Obama made clear what he hopes the march of today would achieve.
“That’s the promise of tomorrow” he said with intensity, “that in the face of impossible odds, people who love their country can change it.”
by Rev. Jesse Jackson
Next weekend, we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, best known for Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Dream.”
Fifty years later, the dream challenges us yet. It is alive because it is not static. The dream of equal rights and equal opportunity, of being judged for character, not color, has transformed this nation.
Much progress has been forged; much remains to be done. One way to think about the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. King’s Dream is as a symphony of freedom. The first movement was the movement to end slavery, which required the bloodiest war in American history.
Then came the drive to end segregation, the disfiguring legal apartheid of the South. In that victory, the movement freed not only African Americans but also the South to grow, and opened access to libraries and hotels, trains and restaurants, pools and parks. Rosa Parks could sit wherever she wanted to on that bus.
The third movement was the movement for empowerment, for the right to vote. That movement culminated in the Voting Rights Act, challenging the various taxes and tests and intimidation used to deprive African Americans of the power of the ballot box. This year, the five conservatives on the Supreme Court weakened the act. Conservative governors are pushing to constrict rather than expand the vote. We still have no constitutional right to vote. Surely, that is the next step toward the dream.
The fourth movement of the freedom symphony features the trumpet call for equal opportunity, and the clash over extreme and growing inequality. Here, Lyndon Johnson’s promise to fulfill the movement’s pledge that “we shall overcome;” has been frustrated. African Americans continue to suffer twice the unemployment as whites. Poor people of color, often isolated in ghettos and barrios, have less access to healthful food, good schools, public parks and safe streets. Inequality is the new de facto segregation, with the affluent withdrawing to gated communities and private schools, and the poor huddled in impoverished neighborhoods.
Dr. King knew this final movement was the most difficult. He saw Johnson’s war on poverty being lost in the costly folly of Vietnam. He worried that we might be “integrating into a burning house.” He was murdered while standing with sanitation workers organizing for dignity and a decent wage. When he died, he was organizing a new march on Washington a “Poor People’s Campaign” that would bring the impoverished of all races and regions to a Resurrection City in Washington, D.C., to demand a renewal of the war on poverty.
The fourth movement; the movement for real equality of opportunity; remains unfinished. Its agenda speaks to poor and working people of all races: full employment, a living wage, child nutrition, a good public education from pre-K to affordable college, high-quality health care, affordable housing in vibrant communities, workers empowered to share in the profits and productivity they help to produce.
We have gained freedom without equality. Globalized capital and communications have been used to push workers down rather than lift them up. We continue to squander scarce resources policing the globe. Inequality has grown worse, and the middle class is sinking. The symphony of freedom is unfinished, but its powerful themes still resound and stir its listeners. Dr. King called on each of us to march for justice. He understood the power of people of conscience when they decide to act. As we remember his dream, we are called to action, for there is more work to be done.
By Rev. Dr. Clenard H. Childress, Jr.
The hijacking of the Civil Rights Movement by homosexual activists took a quantum leap with the barring of Donnie McClurkin from the Martin Luther King Concert celebration. Such a strategic strike by the LBGT could not have happened without the compliance of the normal House Negroes of the Democrat Party, who also profit from the plight of African-Americans. This has become typical of Democrat administrations. African-Americans must take complete notice of the fact that the voice of the Black Community was completely disregarded for a few disgruntled homosexual activists. Mayor Vincent Gray, of Washington, DC due to pressure from the Lesbian Bisexual Gay Transgender lobby requested internationally known gospel singer, and Senior Pastor of Perfecting Faith Church, of Freeport, New York, be banned from performing. Mayor Vincent Grey, and undoubtedly the White House, all agreed.
It is a sad day for the church, especially for the Black Church, for let us realize, this move was executed after careful consideration of the possible repercussions. Their assessment? The Black Church will remain complacent, will more than likely abandon their brother, and go away, with little objection. Such assessments can be made due to the Black Church, and most of its members’ ungodly alliance with the Democrat Party, who now dictates to them who can perform at concerts, and who cannot. Please for one minute don’t think that Mayor Gray didn’t receive a call from the oval office affirming the request of the LGBT insisting that Donnie McClurkin not perform. I might also add, we should not think for a second that Barack Obama, who will be speaking at the Lincoln Memorial next Wednesday, could not have intervened on the behalf of Donnie McClurkin, but refused. The president could have mirrored Martin Luther king’s response to the insistence of the gay agenda being in the platform, by Bayard Rustin in 1963, which resulted in Rustin leaving the movement. When Martin L. King spoke at the Lincoln Memorial, he stood strong to his moral convictions; the President doesn’t have the same moral convictions as Martin, and in comparison, they are miles apart, and thus you have the expulsion of Donnie McClurkin from the performance. It is clear to one and all, the homosexual agenda trumps the Black Church in urban communities. Regina Griggs of PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays) made a very valid and crucial observation stating
“Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy cited public ‘animus’ against gays as a reason to strike down part of the Defense of Marriage Act, yet gay rights groups promote hatred against former homosexuals,” said Griggs. “As shown with Donnie McClurkin, ex-gays are the most powerless and discriminated against minority in America today. At the behest of gay activists, the black mayor of a major urban city removed an African-American from a civil rights event despite the protests of local black ministers. Respecting the lives of people like Donnie, who have decided to change, and including them in the conversation, is part of building a tolerant society.”
The Machiavellian tactics of the homosexual activists is clearly seen here. They speak tolerance and acceptance, yet they attack, bully, and punish those with whom they disagree.
We all need to recognize that Donnie McClurkin is the worst nightmare of the Gay agenda. The insistence of the gay agenda to ignore psychiatrists, and even the liberal American Psychiatric Association, who factually state, there is no homosexual or lesbian gene, thus those who are trapped in the lifestyle, is due to a flawed orientation, not genealogy. I have repeatedly said, “you don’t give civil rights to sexual orientation because the orientation might be flawed.” There are thousands of people such as Donnie McClurkin that have been freed from the homosexual lifestyle, and it is directly due to that freedom, he was barred from performing at a Martin L. King Gospel Celebration. Oh the irony! Remember, the request of the Black Church was ignored. Despite numerous calls from Pastors, they were basically told, ‘you don’t have enough clout… your influence is insignificant… and above all, you will vote for us anyway, so why should we listen…?’
Well Church, I am reminded of an awesome sermon and later title of a book, by Martin Luther King, and I must interject its title here by asking this salient question: “Where Do We Go From Here? What will the Black Church do? How will the Black Pastors of Washington, DC respond? I would say: if there is no response, than the lack of one will do far more damage than the offense itself. Then we will we be reminded of another sermon of Martin’s called…
Rev. Dr. Clenard H. Childress, Jr. is the founder of www.BlackGenocide.org – (photo credit) a website designed to reach the Afro-American community with the truth about abortion.
Last week the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, of whom I am an ordained minister, released 6,000 pages of documents relating to the sex abuse of minors by priests and an apparent cover up of such crimes. I have not read the documents and probably never will.
As a priest, I am not only appalled but feel a real sense of betrayal, not only from the perpetrators of these heinous acts, but also from our leaders who participated in these crimes, maybe unwittingly, by not exercising their power to remove these men from active ministry.
Added to the crimes and cover up, we had a church that defended itself from the very victims that they were meant to serve and protect. It is my sense that church leadership turned over its moral authority to the lawyers, thus the litigations began. It is very difficult, on the one hand, to see the victim as an adversary and at the same time to want to minister to them in their pain and suffering. I am in no way attempting to say that church leadership was not doing what they thought was right at the time – but it was wrong.
In addition, we have the “culture of clericalism” and it is precisely that “culture” which attempted to protect the institution at all costs. Loyalty is the virtue most respected. None of us wants the institution, to which we have dedicated our lives, to be scorned in the public arena.
Let’s face it – money is the root of all evil. The real possibility that the archdiocese would become a permanent pauper as lawsuits were flying around certainly had to influence some of the decisions our leaders made. As one priest commented: “Financially, the archdiocese should be blown back to the stone age” for covering up these crimes. That was his opinion.
I, too, feel that these lawsuits provoked damage to the mission and ministry of our church. We have already paid billions of dollars nationwide, and these cases will not go away. I think this is the price we need to pay for our actions. If we are honest and contrite and truly sensitive to the grave harm done by priests we, the people of God, will come out of this a more deeply committed and faith-filled church. Personally, I will not let the acts of criminals who happen to be priests, distract me from what I have been ordained for: to serve God’s People with love and respect.
I continue to pray for church leadership, that having learned a very hard lesson, we move forward in humility. Accompanied by grace, then, will we continue to develop more than a peripheral vision as we face so many challenges in our precious church and in our world?
Hopefully, we all preach the Good News even more authentically in word and deed.
Who’s right, Trayvon’s or George’s Mom?
by Larry Buford, EURweb.com
Recent testimony in the George Zimmerman trial revealed that both the mothers of Trayvon Martin and Zimmerman claim that the voice screaming in the background of the taped 911 call is the voice of their son.
The claim brings to mind the biblical story of King Solomon who – in getting to the truth of two women claiming the same child – wisely ordered to have the child cut in two to satisfy both parties. In doing so he was able to draw the emotion from the heart of the true mother. Here’s the NIV account of 1 Kings 3: 16-28: [_ow two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him.
17 One of them said, “Pardon me, my lord. This woman and I live in the same house, and I had a baby while she was there with me.
18 The third day after my child was born, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one in the house but the two of us.
19 “During the night this woman’s son died because she lay on him.
20 So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I your servant was asleep. She put him by her breast and put her dead son by my breast.
21 The next morning, I got up to nurse my son—and he was dead! But when I looked at him closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t the son I had borne.”
22 The other woman said, “_o! The living one is my son; the dead one is yours.” But the first one insisted, “_o! The dead one is yours; the living one is mine.” And so they argued before the king.
23 The king said, “This one says, ‘My son is alive and your son is dead,’ while that one says, ‘_o! Your son is dead and mine is alive.’”
24 Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king.
25 He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.”
26 The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!” But the other said, “_either I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!”
27 Then the king gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.”
28 When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice.]
The testimony of a mother carries a lot of weight. I wonder what King Solomon would do in this case?
EURweb – The study warns that Christians suffer greater hostility across the world than any other religious group, says The Telegraph.
And it claims politicians have been “blind” to the extent of violence faced by Christians in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
The most common threat to Christians abroad is militant Islam, it says, claiming that oppression in Muslim countries is often ignored because of a fear that criticism will be seen as “racism”.
It warns that converts from Islam face being killed in Saudi Arabia, Mauritania and Iran and risk severe legal penalties in other countries across the Middle East.
The report, by the think tank Civitas, says: “It is generally accepted that many faith-based groups face discrimination or persecution to some degree.