Who was Muhammad?

From the ‘Islam For Christians’ series:

In the same way that it is not possible to accurately define Christianity without Jesus, it is impossible to accurately define Islam, without Muhammad. He, even moreso than Allah, is the key to understanding Islam, and what it means to be a Muslim.

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About Surah 5:32

A snippet from the ‘Islam For Christians’ series currently being produced by The Repairer’s Fellowship. So often we hear Surah 5:32 offered up as proof that Islam is a religion of peace. But is this usage of the verse correct? Pastor Jermin examines it, in its context, to find out

 

Should Christians Celebrate Kwanzaa?

A 2017 update to Pastor Jermin’s original 2008 blogpost …

So, what exactly is this ‘Holiday’ known as Kwanzaa? This post seeks to uncover/reveal that, and take a look  at it in light of the scriptures?

Why?

1) Because there are Christian churches, that display the symbols of this celebration within their walls, and knowing full well what The Lord has proclaimed as it pertains to idols and other gods, we must be careful, and be clear.

2) I have become over the years, increasingly alarmed by our seeming need, as African Americans, to ‘culturalize’ everything, even bringing that need to, and imposing it upon, ‘The Faith that was delivered to the saints once for all.’ As Jude admonishes, A Faith that MUST be contended for earnestly. It is in this spirit that I write this piece…

Who is its founder? Who invented it?

Maulana Ndabezitha Karenga (born Ronald McKinley Everett on July 14, 1941) is the creator of Kwanzaa.

In the late 1960’s he started and led an organization (a black nationalist cult) known as the ‘United Slaves’. Interestingly, as Kwanzaa caught on, Mr. Karenga was sitting in a California prison for torturing two black women who were members of the United Slaves.

Originally known as Ron N. Everett, he went by (and eventually legally took on)  the name Karenga, meaning “keeper of tradition”, and in the 60’s took upon himself the title “maulana,” which means “master teacher” in Swahili. He was born on a poultry farm in Maryland, the fourteenth child of a Baptist minister.

Mr. Karenga was convicted of two counts of felonious assault and one count of false imprisonment. He was sentenced on Sept. 17, 1971 to serve one to ten years in prison. After being released from prison in 1975, he remade himself as Maulana Ron Karenga, went into academics, and by 1979 was running the Black Studies Department at California State University in Long Beach and converted to Marxism.

The Crime:

On May 9, 1970 he initiated the torture session that led to his imprisonment. The torture session was described in the L.A. Times on May 14, 1971.

“The victims said they were living at Karenga’s home when Karenga accused them of trying to kill him by placing crystals in his food and water and in various areas of his house. When they denied it, allegedly they were beaten with an electrical cord and a hot soldering iron was put in Miss Davis’ mouth and against her face.

Police were told that one of Miss Jones’ toes was placed in a small vise, which then was tightened by the men and one woman. The following day Karenga told the women that ‘Vietnamese torture is nothing compared to what I know.” Miss Tamao put detergent in their mouths; Smith turned a water hose full force on their faces, and Karenga, holding a gun, threatened to shoot both of them. The victims Deborah Jones and Gail Davis were whipped with an electrical cord and beaten with a karate baton after being ordered to remove their clothing.”

Karenga was convicted of two counts of felonious assault and one count of false imprisonment.

More information can be found here:http://www.nathanielturner.com/karenga2.htm 

At Karenga’s trial, the question of his sanity arose. A psychiatrist’s report stated the following: “This man now represents a picture which can be considered both paranoid and schizophrenic with hallucinations and illusions, inappropriate affect, disorganization, and impaired contact with the environment.” The psychiatrist reportedly observed that Karenga talked to his blanket and imaginary persons, and believed he’d been attacked by dive-bombers.

Jones and Brenda Karenga testified that Karenga believed the women were conspiring to poison him, which Davis has attributed to a combination of ongoing police pressure and his own drug abuse.

Karenga denied any involvement in the torture, and argued that the prosecution was political in nature. He was imprisoned at the California Men’s Colony, where he studied and wrote on feminism, Pan-Africanism and other subjects. The US organization fell into disarray during his absence and was disbanded in 1974. After he petitioned several black state officials to support his parole on fair sentencing grounds, it was granted in 1975.

Karenga has declined to discuss the convictions with reporters and does not mention them in biographical materials.[17] During a 2007 appearance at Wabash College he again denied the charges and described himself as a former political prisoner. The convictions nonetheless continue to generate controversy during Kwanzaa celebrations.  – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maulana_Karenga

Origins of Kwanzaa:

What is it, how and why did he put it together?

On December 25th 1965, three months after the founding of the Us (United slaves) organization, Samuel Carr-Damu, one of the original members visited Karenga’s home to present his daughter with a black doll for Christmas. Karenga rejected the gift, stating that Us members should not celebrate Christmas. Since the entire rank-and-file recognized some form of Christianity and were life-long celebrants of Christmas, the potential elimination of the holiday posed a serious problem for the organization, especially those with young children….. Karenga spent much of the following year researching African cultural practices, trying to find a suitable alternative for Christmas 1966….. Excerpted From:

The Black Power Movement: Rethinking the Civil Rights-Black Power Era by Peniel E. Joseph (2006) Pages 342-343 You can read it in more detail here: http://books.google.com/

Note that “ Karenga spent much of the following year researching African cultural practices, trying to find a suitable alternative for Christmas…’

The word “Kwanzaa”

The word “Kwanzaa” itself is man made. It is derived from the swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means first fruits. Karenga’s history has it that the extra “a” was added to represent the seven children that were a part of his organization, (US Organization) as each child wanted to represent a letter of Kwanzaa.

From: ‘Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture’ pg. 108.

The Nguzo Saba or ‘Seven Principles’

The Kwanzaa celebration consists of seven days to celebrate seven principles (the Nguzo Saba), with emphasis on one principle a day. The seventh day culminates in a feast, patterned much like the first-fruits celebrations of ancient Africa. There are activities such as the pouring the libation for ancestors, lighting of candles, raising names of ancestors (also referred to by many as “ancestor worship” – discussed more in detail later), and gift-giving.

http://www.believersweb.org

Not coincidentally, the seven principles of Kwanzaa are the very same seven principles of the Symbionese Liberation Army. In 1974, Patricia Hearst, kidnap victim-cum-SLA revolutionary, posed next to the banner of her alleged captors, a seven-headed cobra. Each snake head stood for one of the SLA’s revolutionary principles: Umoja, Kujichagulia, Ujima, Ujamaa, Nia, Kuumba and Imani — the same seven “principles” of Kwanzaa. For those of you who do not know or remember the SLA or its history:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbionese_Liberation_Army

This is interesting in light of the claim that the seven principles were ‘Developed by Dr. Karenga’ (http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org/7principles.shtml)

 The Kinara

 Kinara

The Kinara is a candle stand used in the celebration of Kwanzaa. There are seven candles in the Kinara one black candle, three red and three green candles. These are the mshumaa saba (the seven candles) and they represent the seven principles. The black candle represents the first principle Umoja (unity) and is placed in the center of the kinara. Looking at the picture it is clear to see that the kinara looks much like another religious symbol, namely The Menorah

The Menorah

temple menorah

YHWH gave instructions to His people when constructing the implements of Worship, among them, the Menorah…

Exodus 25:31 . . . “You shall also make a lampstand of pure gold; the lampstand shall be of hammered work. Its shaft, its branches, its bowls, its ornamental knobs, and flowers shall be of one piece” . . .

Exodus 25:32 . . . “And six branches shall come out of its sides: three branches of the lampstand out of one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side.”

 The Menorah with its seven branches is a perfect picture of the Seven Spirits of YHWH, as shown in the following scripture:

Isaiah 11:2-3: “The Spirit of YHWH shall rest upon him, the Spirit of Chochmah (Wisdom) and Binah (Understanding), the Spirit of Atzah (Counsel) and Gevurah (Might), the Spirit of Da’at (Knowledge) and of the Yirah (Fear) of YHWH.”

 

What is the purpose of Kwanzaa?

Dr. Karenga, 1977: “… it was chosen to give a Black alternative to the existing holiday and give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and history rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society.  

Kwanzaa: origin, concepts, practice – Karenga (Maulana.) 1977 Kawaida Publications, – pg. 21,

Why is this a problem for Christians?

Because Kwanzaa is a RELIGION! Hence it is the Worship of another god…

 “Kwanzaa has definite principles, practices and symbols which are geared to the social and spiritual needs of Afro-America.” – Kwanzaa: origin, concepts, practice – Karenga (Maulana.) 1977 Kawaida Publications, – pg. 14.

The Nguzo Saba are seven principles clearly set apart for the Black American and not for others. It is also an attempt by Dr. Karenga to introduce humanistic principles for improving life without God. Kwanzaa is not just a cultural celebration, but an attempt to establish a way of life with man as the center of worship and reverence.

If anything, many are accepting these principles as SPIRITUAL principles and a guide for their lives. A disturbing fact for the Christian who believes that all spiritual principles begin with the Bible and not with man.

Frequently, spirituality is mentioned and the Nguzo Saba is said to be a standard by which to live for moral guidance and instruction within the community. The Nguzo Saba (seven principles) is given so much emphasis in character development that it is also said in Dr. Karenga’s book, to make one a “new man, woman and child.” (The African American Holiday of Kwanzaa, p44.) Very similar to what is said in the Bible regarding the newness of man:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”  – 2 Cor 5:17 (NIV)

So here we have a celebration that emphasizes a code of ethics (the Nguzo Saba) for moral instruction to bring about a spiritually developed character. Thus far, Kwanzaa has a few things in common with Christianity and other religions. Moral instruction, spirituality and a purpose — becoming a new person!

Karenga Lists The Nguzo Saba as a Religion

Dr. Karenga even recognizes the “religion” of Kwanzaa when in his book, Kawaida Theory, p. 25, he says of the seven principles (The Nguzo Saba) as coming “from African religion” and lists it among other religions such as Buddhism, Christianity, and Judaism in his section on positive functions of religion. In light of that writing, it then becomes difficult to explain his statement that “Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday,” especially when the Nguzo Saba is considered the centerpiece of Kwanzaa.

“The primary conflict that the Christian should have with Kwanzaa is that it is a way of life. It is even being encouraged by many to celebrate it not just during the holiday season, but all year round! Why is that so? Because it is promised to be build character, to change one’s life spiritually. This can be seen on the Melanet’s Kwanzaa Information Center web site under the Goals of Kwanzaa topic. It says: “To develop self and facilitate a positive Black self-esteem by exposing individuals to ‘Kwanzaa’, a culturally desirable pattern of principles, to help them live their lives and to encourage the highest level of positive Black self-esteem and spiritual development. — To establish a culturally oriented ‘WAY OF LIFE.”

There are several dangers that present themselves when the Christian attempts to combine their “religion” of Christianity with that of the “religion” of Kwanzaa. 1) They take upon the assumption that the Bible is not enough to spiritually feed us a a people… 2) That we MUST define ourselves in the context of culture 3) Unity is possible without Christ, by simply uniting with those of the same color, i.e. culture. Our self-worth only comes from knowing Christ as Lord and Savior, so we can’t really do both.”

– Carlotta Murrow, a San Diego computer technician who runs the website – http://christocentric.com/Kwanzaa/ – which is a fantastic and comprehensive website dealing with the history, contradictions, ancestral worship and other problematic issues inherent in this ‘holiday’

A little more background from the Dartmouth Review:

Initially, Kwanzaa proceeded from Karenga’s hostility toward Western religion, which, he wrote in his 1980 book, Kawaida Theory, ‘denies and diminishes human worth, capacity, potential and achievement. In Christian and Jewish mythology, humans are born in sin, cursed with mythical ancestors who’ve sinned and brought the wrath of an angry God on every generation’s head.’ He similarly opposed belief in God and other ‘spooks who threaten us if we don’t worship them and demand we turn over our destiny and daily lives.’

Thus, Karenga explained in his 1977 Kwanzaa: Origin, Concepts, Practice, ‘Kwanzaa is not an imitation, but an alternative, in fact, an oppositional alternative to the spookism, mysticism and non-earth based practices which plague us as a people and encourage our withdrawal from social life rather than our bold confrontation with it.’ The holiday ‘was chosen to give a Black alternative to the existing holiday and give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and history rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society.’

Since then, the holiday has gained mainstream adherents, and Karenga has altered its justification so as not to alienate practicing Christians: ‘Kwanzaa was not created to give people an alternative to their own religion or religious holiday,’ he writes in Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community, and Culture, published in 1997. –J. Lawrence Scholar from the Dartmouth review

So dear reader,

Having significant information at your disposal now, you must ask yourself: Can the celebration, even the acknowledgment of Kwanzaa in the house of God, or by the people of God be justified, except to condemn it?

I daresay not.

God is possessive of the worship and service that belong to Him. It is a sin (as God points out in Exodus 20:4-5) to worship or serve anything other than Him. God is jealous for what belongs to Him; worship and service belong to Him alone, and are to be given to Him alone. As 1 Samuel 5 clearly examples, YHWH does not ‘play well’ with other ‘gods’…

That said, clearly, at its root, Kwanzaa was designed and presented as an alternative to Christianity. This is of course, a violation of the first commandment.

 

Please note that I am anxious to hear/share/discuss your thoughts/opinions, etc, as they relate to this issue, and look forward to hearing from you

Blessings to all,

Pastor CTJ

 

Pastor J is not concerned with Charlottesville, per se…

Why not? Because the issue pre exists, and is much larger than Charlottesville or MAGA hats…

I have been seeing for a long time, a growing tribalism that has permeated this culture in a way that was/is surprising to some, but certainly not unexpected. Personally, I don’t see why this is surprising to anyone; especially to anyone who calls themselves a Christian. The ‘values’ that seem to be in the lead in this culture are: Individualism, Diversity, Pride and Acceptance and all of those things are antithetical to The Gospel. If you do not espouse any and all of these things, declaring yourself to be an ‘ally’ of any and every group and expression, you are an enemy. This thinking transgresses all the lines of division, be they ethnicity, class, language, origin, sexuality or religion. It’s all the same issue.

The problem is, that this is a recipe for anarchy, and this is what we are seeing. Every tribe is lashing out in their various milieus, be it the board room, the class room, the neighborhood, or the street. It’s all the same thing. Every tribe wants to assert its rights, declare the supremacy of their ideology, and values, and give no quarter to the other.

Tribalism is the root issue, and the other things grow out from it as ‘values’. As such, one’s interpretation of each of those so-called ‘values’ will flow out of their given tribe’s definition. So at its root, ‘diversity’ is really division.

This is a divisive, angry selfish culture in America today, and the only cure is The Gospel, the very thing that the culture seeks to silence. We are raising a generation of self-absorbed, self-important bratty beasts who are now attending our Colleges and Universities, and being told that the culture should cater to them. Speech is violence, debate is aggression, and opposing points of view are ‘hatred’ that must be silenced. This to me, should concern us much more than it does.

Personally, I am not afraid or anxious, I am more disappointed than anything else. Why? Because I can’t see how people who claim The Gospel did not see/anticipate this. I am not clairvoyant, so it has to have been obvious to more than just me. Those who did/do, and fail to speak on it, for whatever sinful selfish reason, should be beaten with many stripes.

As one who went to a KKK rally near my college in CT. in 1981, lived through my neighborhood (Crown Heights) blowing up in 1991, stood less than a mile from the WTC and watched planes hit in 2001, losing friends and colleagues in the aftermath, (to mention just a few things), Charlottesville means little as a specific event. It is merely a symptom of the never-ending, heart-rooted issues that exist in all human cultures, and have since Cain and Abel.

We are tribal creatures, and we seek to find ways to a) find belonging and acceptance, and b) believe that there is something special about us.

The answer here is in the hands, hearts, minds and mouths of people like you and I, brethren. We are those with what the Bible calls, ‘beautiful feet’.
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the herald, who proclaims peace, who brings news of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”  – Isaiah 52:7

SDG

There is Rest in Release

From the Repairer’s Fellowship Service Notes from 2011, seems pertinent right now:

One of the reasons that the people of His day missed/couldn’t receive Jesus was that they didn’t know where the Battlefield was, or who the real enemy was.  They were looking at Rome, they were looking at their freedom from Rome as true liberation.

Much like today, people are looking for whatever nonsense is forefront in the media, when the real battlefield is elsewhere.

But we know where the real battlefield is:

Ephesians 6:10-18 – Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; (Eph 6:10-18)

A Jewish colleague of mine asked me this week, how it could be that the people of Israel for the most part stayed together during the Exodus. I explained the concept of the ‘galvanizing them’ or ‘galvanizing other’

Often what unites a people is having a common enemy, a ‘them’. One of the reasons that our country is in such turmoil is that there is no galvanizing ‘them’. The pressure exerted from without, forces the compressed to become stronger, closer, more resilient, and unified. We see this in the natural with diamonds, in the Flesh with wars. We see this played out in our various arenas, (sports, politics, religion, family)

What do we understand? We have a ‘galvanizing them’.

I – Satan

1 Peter 5:6-11 – Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 12: 10-11 – And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (The blood is the substitutionary atonement, which makes us not guilty in the eyes of the Father, the sacrificial love, and word of our testimony is what identifies to one another and to the world)

(see John 13:34-35, Acts 2:42-47, etc)

II – Sin – Romans 7 (whole Chapter)

How do we overcome?

  1. The blood of the Lamb
  2. The word of our testimony
  3. The whole armor of God
  4. Putting the things of God above the things that we prize the most.

But the Bible is full of paradoxes like this:

*lose to gain*

Luke 9:18-27 – And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am? They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again. He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God. And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing; Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day. And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels. But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.

*I live, yet not I *

1st Corinthians 15: 9-10 –  For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  (10)  But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

Galatians 2:19-21 – For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.  (20)  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.  (21)  I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

*The things which we do, which we believe are for the bettering of our lives,, often in actuality, are a waste of time and energy, and are spending our lives…

Luke 12:16-34

*When pain can’t be released it is shared and if it is not shared, it is spread.*

Romans 15:1-2 – We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.

*We are to share (bear one another’s burdens)*

Galatians 6:1-10 –  Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.  (2)  Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.  (3)  For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.  (4)  But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.  (5)  For every man shall bear his own burden.  (6)  Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.  (7)  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  (8)  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.  (9)  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.  (10)  As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

This is after all, the example of Christ

Isaiah 53:4-6 – Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  (5)  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  (6)  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

We have to let go, if we’re going to grow – and we cannot be the body of Christ until we are ready/willing to let go…

Fulfillment in life comes from the letting go, not the grabbing. 

In Closing, this:

Matthew 6:19-34

19 “Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light within you is darkness, how deep is that darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

The Cure for Anxiety

25 “Therefore I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Consider the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? 27 Can any of you add one moment to his life-span by worrying? 28 And why do you worry about clothes? Observe how the wildflowers of the field grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these. 30 If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t he do much more for you—you of little faith? 31 So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. 34 Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Jesus The Christ

Why post about Eddie Long after his death?

A brother asked me this week, the following questions:

“… you have been posting a lot of stuff about Eddie Long. Why and what is the reason? The man is dead and buried now.”

I responded:

Sorry that it took me so long to respond bro. I was not ignoring your comment/query.

Though seemingly a simple question, it is a layered one. As such it requires a tiered response. My attempt follows:

  • We are required to walk in Truth, and there is a paucity of that in the modern ‘church’, especially when it comes to our ‘leaders’. The man may be dead and buried, but his legacy (positive and negative) live on. As such, I am resistant to the idea that because he is dead, we must ignore the carnage that the man left, and focus solely on the good that he did. It does a HUGE disservice to those who have been harmed, and to that which calls itself ‘church’.
  • I am a Pastor, and I am always painfully aware of my shortcomings and failures. It is clear always to me that I am a recipient of a great GRACE. That said, we tend to in the ‘church’, especially in the organizations that employ what is called ‘The Great man Model’, elevate our pastors to near sainthood if not outright deification. That is IDOLATRY plain and simple.
  • The Bible is clear that there is only ONE man who lived His entire life without sin. The rest, even the great ones, achieved despite or in the face of, their sin, and we are told about their sin as a reminder and an encouragement. How dare we discuss people today as though they have no sin?
  • I knew the man. We were a part of the same organization for several years, in fact we for a time, referred to the same man as spiritual father. The man that I knew was humble, self-effacing, and willing to be clear about the pain of his childhood, and the scars that he bore. But it was clear even then, that there was an underlying issue when it came to the question of sexual sin. The truth is that; issues which are not addressed, not resolved, though they may reside below the surface or in a closet, will erupt, or the door will open. When they do, especially in these type or organizational systems that focus on ‘The Great man’ as the engine, measures of deceit or cover up must be employed in order to keep the machine rolling. This involves other people in the sin.
  • For us who are, as the Bible says, Elders, Pastors, we are to be beyond reproach (1Tim 3:2) this does not mean without sin, but it does mean that repetitive, consistent, habitual sin is a disqualifier. The Bishop because of this behavior, and because of the errant doctrines that he was teaching (which we can discuss at another time) was disqualified.

I hope that this was not too long… God Bless you bro.

SDG

Thoughts on recent events II

I am coming to understand that many people’s blind trust in the police narrative of any incident is not totally rooted in unfeeling arrogance, but in a basic primal need to trust. (I mean they MUST have deserved it, right? See, he had a rap sheet! I knew it!)
They view Police Officers as benevolent peace keepers, entrusted with the safety and care, protection and service of the citizenry. (Thankfully, most police officers are exactly that.)

It is a need to trust that is rooted in a (correct) innate sense that order is essential to well-being and the survival of their understanding of community. (Everybody wants to feel/be safe in their homes and communities)

The problem is that this environment has long been disordered, the system long broken, the weights imbalanced to prefer a certain segment, and contain another, and it is only now that the ubiquitous recording devices, internet and social media bring the every day lives of many in our culture live and in living color to their computers, phones and TV’s, that their fragile-as-tissue paper sensibilities are being assaulted…

But this is some people’s every day, and for those people, they are APPALLED and OUTRAGED that there are people who did NOT know… (How could you not know? Seriously, how could you NOT KNOW)
These people have no reason to trust the narrative, due to what they have experienced, so the narrative is almost always suspect, and for them, the peace keepers are actually a militarized force.
It is difficult to reach across the divide of experience, to come to a place of mutual understanding, forbearance and trust, but we must try.
We Must…