Junteenth

Juneteenth flag

As we celebrate and reflect on Juneteenth (aka Freedom Day and Emancipation Day), I am thankful for all those who risked their relationships, their employment, their reputation, and even their lives to fight for abolition long before it was popular.

I am grateful for preachers, such as Quaker Benjamin Lay, who bucked the status quo to preach the true message of the Bible, that slavery is sin. I am inspired by their action of ex-communicating slave-traders, and slave owners, from their churches. I am saddened by their all-too-frequent disappointment with those churches and self-described Christians who refused to hear and obey the truth.

I am inspired by businessmen similar to Matthias Baldwin who sacrificed popularity and wealth to make a moral and political stand against slavery. Baldwin hired black workers in his locomotive factory and fought for the African American vote as early as 1837 even though it cost him business in the South.

My creative nature stands in awe of Harriet Beecher-Stowe – daughter of Rev. Lyman Beecher – and how she used her extensive Biblical knowledge and deep passion for the oppressed to weave the tale of Uncle Tom’s Cabin into the most provocative and mind-changing story ever produced in America. The 1852 book and subsequent stage play did more to change the hearts and minds of Americans than any other single action or event.

In the same manner, I am stirred by John Sullivan Dwight, who translated the timeless work “O Holy Night” into English in 1858. He added a verse which pricked the conscience of our nation and called us to righteousness:

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is Love and His gospel is Peace;
Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother,
And in his name all oppression shall cease,
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful Chorus raise we;
Let all within us praise his Holy name!

I feel blessed by those involved in our national founding, such as Physician and Statesman Benjamin Rush, who–though they could not persuade the majority at the time–planted the early seeds for abolition which were to grow up into freedom and equality for all.

I am astounded by early African American leaders such as Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver, and Frederick Douglass who leveraged God’s amazing transforming power of grace and forgiveness to create critical positive change not only for the black community but the entire world and all its people. My admiration of them, all they overcame, and all they achieved can not be overstated. They amaze me! I will consider my life successful, if I accomplish just a little of what they did.

Closer to today, I am grateful to have learned from Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. who taught us that love, not hate, is the only thing that will bring lasting change. As I reflect on all these heroes today, one thing in particular fits so perfectly into Pastor King’s worldview. It was not the color of their skin that mattered, it was the content of their character.

May the content of our characters fare as well in our generation.

Happy Juneteenth!

National Prayer Breakfast 2020: Was Trump Acting Christian? Part 2

In my last blog, I addressed some of President Trump’s less-than-Christian remarks at this year’s National Prayer Breakfast. It amazes me how the press, who often disdain everything Christian, quickly judges the worthiness of those who refer to themselves as a believer.

While I agree with the President’s critics that he failed to live up to the high standards called for by Scripture, I also pointed out that all of us fall short of these aspirations. Trump himself acknowledged that he often makes things difficult for believers who support him. The audience laughed with understanding. God is still working on all of us. Thankfully, He doesn’t disown us every time we fail.

Continue reading “National Prayer Breakfast 2020: Was Trump Acting Christian? Part 2”

National Prayer Breakfast 2020: Was Trump Acting Christian? Part 1

When I saw the headlines in my newsfeed last evening, I sighed. President Trump’s remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast were the talk of the airways, and they were not ideal. Less than two days after what was arguably his most presidential speech yet, the president was jumping back in the mud. While the State of the Union Address was controversial, it was missing the petty digs and character assassinations that all too often emerge from Trump’s twitter feeds and off-the-cuff remarks. The Prayer Breakfast seemed to return to business as usual–or so the headlines implied.

Continue reading “National Prayer Breakfast 2020: Was Trump Acting Christian? Part 1”

Finding Peace in a World at War

Recently, there has been much buzz over the President’s State of the Union Address as well as the associated protestations of his detractors. Opinions abound. Numerous comments, in both professional and personal media, sadly reinforce already well-established biases. Often, today’s commentators abandon critical reasoning, and instead, resort to spinning every societal happening into confirmation bias.

Linguistic yoga has reached a new level as polarized pundits witness the same event and then mutilate the facts in such a way as to advance their own pre-determined agendas. These pontificators of cultural righteousness see nothing wrong with their side and everything wrong with the other.

Continue reading “Finding Peace in a World at War”

How the Progressive Left Proves Christianity True

justice-2060093_1920Over the past several years rhetoric against American history, white privilege, gender inequality, Christianity, and more has been championed by secular organizations, college professors, and politicians. The fervor has become increasingly intense. Students violently protest speeches that haven’t even been given yet. Average citizens assault politicians in public restaurants and elevators. Police officers are shot while sitting in their car, and celebrities rant on the nightly news. Continue reading “How the Progressive Left Proves Christianity True”

It Doesn’t Matter What You Think!

supreme-court-building-1209701_1920He said, she said, they said, I think…

WHERE IS OBJECTIVITY?

As the unofficial modern civil war continues in the United States, political professionals, pundits and arm-chair commentators imagine the future in a never-ending march of “if this – then that” discussions that continue 24/7 on television sets, break rooms and social media. It would seem that the days of objectively reporting facts has been replaced by an endless march of conjecture and almost giddy imaginings of personal destruction. Continue reading “It Doesn’t Matter What You Think!”

The First Witness is Always Right… Until – BONUS ARTICLE

Dr. Christine Ford

Can I Get a Witness?

As I watched the trial of the century (albeit not an actual trial) I reflected on Proverbs 18:17; “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” (ESV)

Folk Should Know Better

More disconcerting than the actual testimony was the almost giddy speculations coming from people in the news media. You would think that the years of seasoning – necessary to reach the heights of national and international news – they would know better. Are they really that naïve, or are they pushing a carefully crafted narrative on the American people in order to influence them? As frightening as the naiveté scenario is, the narrative one is even worse.

Continue reading “The First Witness is Always Right… Until – BONUS ARTICLE”

Kavanaugh & Ford: Truthful Fiction?

nerve-cell-2213009_1920Is it possible that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is both lying AND telling the truth? Sound ridiculous? Read on.

While there have been too many theories flying around the past few weeks to keep track, I am surprised by what I haven’t heard. Is it possible that Judge Kavanaugh’s accuser may be honestly lying? Continue reading “Kavanaugh & Ford: Truthful Fiction?”

Lessons from Florence

I40In the aftermath of Florence, emotions are wildly fluid and, at least for the moment, many here in the Carolinas are reflecting on the experience. Like most things in life, perspective is key, and there is no lack of differing ones.

Devastating Losses

Practically everyone in my general geography has lost something. The most devastated have lost loved ones to the tragic effects or consequences of the storm. A one-year-old died when his mother couldn’t hold on after her car was swept up in flood waters. A mother and her infant were killed, and the father hospitalized, when a tree crushed their home. Another man died while trying to convert to generator power. Over 35 human deaths have been attributed to the storm so far.

In addition to human life, the estimated loss of farm animals is currently estimated to be over 3.4 million. That means a lot less chicken, pork and beef for America’s tables. Crops were lost and refrigerated food in stores, restaurants and homes was lost due to power outages.

Many have lost nearly everything as flood waters rose in their homes, cars and businesses. Many churches, including ours, has suffered damage from the torrential winds and rain. Continue reading “Lessons from Florence”

Reconciliation: Is it Really Possible?

hands-2888625_1920Bred for Hate

Born and raised in a perfect storm of loss, hatred, racism, and pain, JP was a poster child for the case against injustice. He had every reason to hate and precious few reasons to trust anyone. His life was on a collision course that would echo repercussions around the world.

During the hot summer of 1930 on a cotton plantation in Mississippi, JP was pushed into this world. He would quickly experience racism, class envy, bootlegging, gambling, frequent fighting and more. The family was rough and tough; but some might argue it was the only way to survive the times and the geography. Continue reading “Reconciliation: Is it Really Possible?”