Bryan Stevenson’s Monumental Task

 

HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATE, DEATH PENALTY ADVERSARY, BRYAN STEVENSON

Sees healing on the horizon but not before we do the hard work of remembrance and. repentance

Lord, How Come We Here?

Election night, 2018 in Montgomery, Alabama. Sports bars, restaurants and hotels flickered with scrolling results on television’s Fox News. Downtown streets were quiet except for a lounge singer covering 80s hits on a hotel patio.

Confederate statues and the Confederate White House sat just a block away. Gentrified buildings and swank food joints inhabit the spaces under Montgomery’s famous archways and over its tunnels that used to accommodate slave trafficking. But, in the city where Rosa Parks sat down to take a stand, and Martin Luther King, Jr. preached, the lights at Equal Justice Initiative were on.

Working for Progress

That night, Coloradans voted to outlaw slavery—under any circumstance— the first such protection against vestiges of slavery that linger in the Constitution’s 13th Amendment. Other old issues hung in the air, too. Mississippi Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith’s campaign supporters applauded when she said she would be on the front row for a “public hanging.” In a state with a history of more than 650 public hangings, lynchings, according to the Mississippi Civil Rights Project, the statement must have gone over well. They re-elected her that day.

In spite of the 218 times the United States Congress tried to outlaw lynching, it never passed Congress. It wasn’t until late 2018 when Senators Cory Booker (New Jersey), Kamala Harris (California), and Tim Scott (South Carolina) initiated a unanimous vote in the senate to make lynching a federal crime. Another bipartisan bill to overhaul the criminal justice system just creaked through Congress in December 2018 as well.

No wonder the light is on.

It was an act of Congress in 1994 that propelled EJI founder Bryan Stevenson to open the organization in Montgomery, Alabama. Alabama was the only state that failed to provide legal defense for people with death sentences.

Since then the Harvard Law School graduate successfully argued before the United States Supreme Court that it is  unconstitutional to give children 17 years-old and under life without parole—basically a sentence to die in prison. And, in 2016, the court decided it should apply the rule retroactively, giving more than 2000 people who grew up in prison, a chance at review and release.

The organization’s most lauded cases helped spring innocent men, at least 125 of them, from death row. He captured his life story and early work with EJI in the acclaimed 2014 bestseller, Just Mercy, which makes it to the big screen in 2020 starring Michael B. Jordan.

Bigger Picture

Like the mythical Sisyphus, Stevenson finds himself in a punishing, uphill struggle for justice. Because systemic problems such as policing bias and lack of representation result in mass incarceration, disproportionately affecting black and brown people, he has found it necessary to address the myth of racial differences, white supremacy and the enduring effects of enslavement. To do this, he sought funding for and built the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration.

The memorial’s visually arresting and massive iron monuments, suspended from the rafters, “bleed” in the rain. The museum in a small, but powerful U-shaped exhibit, hammers the point home: this isn’t over yet.

“Even in our communities we haven’t wanted to talk about it,” Stevenson said for an exclusive interview with Message. “We felt as if our survival required us to be silent in our coping with this. That’s where our fore parents made the biggest difference. They taught us to stand up, when people said sit down. Speak up when people say be quiet. You have to find the courage to tell our truths.”

Straight Line

From the time one walks into the Legacy museum, Stevenson’s point is easy to access. The museum starts with a short walk down a dark hallway, the end of which confronts the spirit with ghostlike figures whose eyes peer through history and whose voices sing the question on everyone’s mind: “Lord, How Come We Here?”

Stevenson draws a straight line from genocide of Native peoples to our history of enslavement, racial terror, Jim Crow, voter suppression, the “war on drugs” to today’s racial profiling and racially imbalanced mass incarceration. We’re here because we haven’t dealt with the consuming disease and public health threat of racism.

“We gotta talk about the fact that we live in a post-genocide society: that what happened to native people when Europeans came to this continent was a genocide. And we didn’t deal with it as if it was genocide. We said ‘no, those Native people are savages.’ We used this rhetoric, that’s rooted in race, to justify that violence. And that’s why, for me, the great evil of American slavery wasn’t involuntary servitude. It wasn’t forced labor. It was this ideology that we created that black people weren’t like white people. It was this myth, this narrative of racial difference.”

Old South Romanticism

The corrupt narrative makes romanticizing Old South history possible, while ignoring the effects of domestic terror, and the Great Migration of black people away from it. The narrative ignores the trauma and humiliation of “White” and “Colored” iconography that cemented the ideas of racial differences in the psyche.

“And today, we still live in a country [where] this infection, this disorder, this disease continues to manifest itself,” said Stevenson. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re a person of faith, doesn’t matter whether you’re a bishop, minister or elder, a kind person. [It] doesn’t matter if you’re a great student; doesn’t matter if you’re an architect; doesn’t matter if you’re a lawyer or doctor. If you’re black or brown, you go places in this country, and you’re going to have to navigate presumptions of danger and guilt. We unconsciously are doing things all the time to manage these presumptions that we have to overcome, and it’s exhausting.”

Monumental Discrepancy

Observe the 59 markers to the confederacy in Montgomery, two high schools named for Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis, and a holiday for Martin Luther King, Jr., shared with Lee. This is a far cry from the remembrance and attempts at healing, visible across the landscapes in South Africa, Rwanda, and Germany. One cannot be there without being confronted by chilling, shameful results of hatred.

“There are no Adolf Hitler statues in Germany. There are no swastikas. But, in this country, we haven’t talked about slavery. We haven’t talked about lynching. We haven’t talked about segregation. We have confederate symbols everywhere.”

Confession—not punishment, not guilt-mongering—leads to repentance and redemption.

We want people to see these monuments and understand the trauma and terror and the taunting and the menacing that people of color had to go through. And then we want them to tell the truth.

“There’s something that comes after that—that is cleansing, that is emerging. That’s how redemption happens. And we haven’t done that as a society. So yes, we want to talk honestly, directly, about the pain, shame, and the heartache and the brutality of enslavement. We want people to see these monuments and understand the trauma and terror and the taunting and the menacing that people of color had to go through. And then we want them to tell the truth. I really do believe after truth comes redemption, comes reconciliation.”

Old Rugged Cross

Speaking of a “come to Jesus moment,” it is time for the faithful to revisit the “fixation and fascination with the death penalty.” And, though the Bible permitted capital punishment, Stevenson argues, Biblical principles of fairness and humility must also be applied, and in doing so, people of conscience cannot support the death penalty today.

“For me, it’s not about the morality of the death penalty, the propriety of the death penalty. I think, at least in this country, the threshold question is not do people deserve to die for the crimes they’ve committed; I think the threshold question is do we deserve to kill?”

Fact: for every 10 people sentenced to die in the United States, one of them is innocent, Stevenson said. The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty clarified this statistic a few years ago. “As of October 2015, we have executed over 1,414 individuals in this country since 1976. 156 individuals have been exonerated from death row—that is, found to be innocent and released —since 1973. In other words, for every 10 people who have been executed since the death penalty was reinstated in the U.S., one person has been set free.” ( http://www.ncadp.org/pages/innocence )

What Does The Lord Require?

Such a high error rate leading to death would not be tolerated in any other setting. Further, the historical track record of racially motivated policing and prosecutions, and a lack of access to sound representation also creates unfairness. “And,” said Stevenson, “we have a criminal justice system that treats you better if you’re rich and guilty, then if you’re poor and innocent.”

What does the Lord require? Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with your God, (Micah 6:8). Yet, in a system of justice that fails so often, it is arrogance to continue to exact life as a penalty, Stevenson argues.

Of Hymns and Hypocrites

Further, and better, the prophet’s message supports lives of the vulnerable and at-risk populations if the faithful internalized it. That’s what Stevenson thought while listening to strains of the hymn “The Old Rugged Cross,” while sitting across the table from a condemned man. The man was completely shaved and prepared for the electric chair.

Each individual—including those condemned in the system—is worth more than the worst thing he or she has ever done, Stevenson said.

I couldn’t help but think, ‘yeah, where were they when you were three and your mom died? Where were they when you were six and you were being abused? Where were they when you were nine and you were being sexually assaulted? Where were they when you were 13 and you were experimenting with drugs? Where were they when you came back from Vietnam and were traumatized from that injury? I know where they were when you were accused—they were lined up to execute you.

Not only does mercy say, ‘No,” mercy understands that each individual—including those condemned in the system—is worth more than the worst thing he or she has ever done.

Higher Ground

Bryan Stevenson doesn’t look like what he’s been through. Fit and trim, youthful and well-rested just isn’t how one pictures a tireless, overworked CEO and legal advocate. It is not how one imagines a person burdened with the task of saving people from death row, and uplifting humanity. As Rosa Parks once told him, “You’re going to be tired, tired, tired.”

Stevenson grew up in poor, rural Delaware, and attended “colored” schools until Brown v. Board of Education made it possible for him to access public school education. He excelled in his academics and sports, even playing the organ and singing with the church choir. Yet, to Stevenson, his social consciousness—developed partly through hearing the constant struggle of the men and women during testimony time at their African Methodist Episcopal Church—found no outlet in his Harvard Law School experience.

Stevenson turned to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and resigned himself to being a policy wonk, or, yet another unfulfilled dreamer in a dreary law career. It was when he worked as an intern for the Georgia Southern Prisoners Defense Committee that Stevenson met a man condemned to die. Nervous, and fearing he could only disappoint his client with his inexperience, he sat down for what would have been an hour interview. That hour turned into a three-hour life-changing experience.

Vital Visit

Seeing himself in that young black man, Stevenson bonded over the conversation, learning about the case, the man’s family, and his life. When guards burst in to end the session, angry because it had gone on so long, they grabbed his client. They pushed and shoved, chained and shackled, and pinched his flesh with handcuffs, leaving Stevenson stunned at the violence.

“Bryan,” said his client, “don’t worry about this. You just come back.”

“And that young man closed his eyes, just put his head back and started singing: “I’m pressing on, the upward way, new heights I’m gaining every day, still praying as I’m onward bound, and he said, Lord, plant my feet on higher ground. . .”

Stevenson knew then he found his mission, one he says now animates his life and engages his heart, and that is to help condemned people to find higher ground.

“When you are mission-aligned, when you actually get to do the thing that fulfills you and makes you feel like you’re serving the way you’re supposed to serve, you wrestle, but you don’t wrestle with God. You wrestle with the challenges, the obstacles and complexities of what it means to be as effective as you possibly can.”

 Walk with Me

  • Order the Equal Justice Initiative Calendar for 2019 to learn about the history of racial injustice and its impact in the United States.
    https://eji.org/history-racial-injustice-calendar
  • Go to the Equal Justice Initiative website to learn about upcoming events and the work of justice. https://eji.org/
  • Tour the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration
  • https://museumandmemorial.eji.org/
  • Remembrance: bring a marker and memorial to a county near you.
  • Watch for the movie Just Mercy starring Michael B. Jordan

………………………………………………………………………………………………

Carmela Monk Crawford, editor of Message, with David Person the owner of David Person Media, LLC. Since 1986, he has been working as a broadcaster, journalist, documentary director, and media consultant.

 




Latest Issue

BRYAN STEVENSON’S MONUMENTAL TASK


BRYAN STEVENSON BELIEVES IN TRUTH, REDEMPTION, AND RECONCILIATION IN THAT ORDER.


FEATURES

13 Grab Hold of Your God, Your Provider
by Ruthven Philip /
Work this program of faith and financial freedom.

14 Monumental Task
by Carmela Monk Crawford and David Person /
Author of Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson on remembrance and repentence.

17 Racial Facts and Fictions
by Jean Emmanuel Nlo Nlo /
Celebrate the truth that sets us free from myth of colonial Christianity.

20 1619 Redux
by Malcolm Luther /
It’s 2019; are you really free?

22 Sabbath Rest
by Alicia Jones /
When your spirit is weary as the mother of a newborn, a good Sabbath rest is what you need.

28 Your Rights in The Judgement
by Donald L. McPhaull /
The rights you have. The Attorney you may hire.

FAVORITES

4 ELEVATION
by Phillip McGuire Wesley /
MEDIA THAT TAKES YOU HIGHER

5 EDITORIAL
by Carmela Monk Crawford /
I AM A FREIND OF GOD

6 EYE ON THE TIMES
by Edward Woods III /
REOCCURRING LESSONS

8 OPTIMAL HEALTH
by Donna Green Goodman /
IN SEASON

11 RELATIONSHIP Rx
by Willie and Elaine Oliver /
SHE’S SO SLOW…

12 BOUNCE BACK
by Kim Login-Nowlin /
SEX FOR SAVED SINGLES

24 FUTURECAST
by Carlton P. Byrd /
DO THE RIGHT THING!

26 THE EXPERIENCE
by Ellen G. White /
SIX TIMES JESUS CHALLENGED HIS HEARERS “THE SABBATH”

27 THE EXPERIENCE BIBLE STUDY
by Rashad Burden /
REAL REST

30 POWER PLAY
by Vanessa Hanna Verrett /
POOL TOGETHER


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I Am a Friend of God

In 2018 Alabamians voted decisively to change their state Constitution to allow for the display of the Bible’s Ten Commandments in its schools and courthouses. Not since their Constitution was put in place in 1901, has there been this kind of push for something that seems so, unconstitutional.

“Displaying the Ten Commandments on public property, like Christmas Nativity Scenes, is constitutional when it has a secular context only and/or when it is joined in a display of secular patriotic symbols or objects,” says Greg Hamilton, President of the Northwest Religious Liberty Association. “But it is not constitutional as a stand-alone display or symbol on public property.”

The battle, some say, will recommence upon the display of such Biblical content by itself. When that happens, supporters hope the chain reaction of litigation will lead to the nation’s highest court where they hope for a more expansive interpretation of their religious freedom. http://www.governing.com/topics/politics/gov-Alabama-Ten-Commandment-constitutional-amendment.html

What Kind of Follower Are You?

Don’t misunderstand me. I still believe in the Word of God. I still believe in His commandments. In His law, is the way of life (see Proverbs 6:23, and compare with Romans 8:2 and Galatians 3:21). But, with this vote, the damage has already been done.

Dean Young, a long-time supporter of former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy E. Moore, and recalcitrant advocate of the Ten Commandments display, was the single highest donor for the Ten Commandments Amendment. Young contributed $27,000 to continue the fight. He, though, erroneously implicated the conscience on two fronts.

First, he characterized the addition of the Constitutional Amendment as a vote for God, and by implication and conversely, a vote against this amendment as a vote against God.

“Do we want to acknowledge the God that our nation was founded upon? Alabamians will vote. They will reckon on that day with God how they vote on this. That’s how serious this is. Either we stand for God or we won’t.” http://www.governing.com/topics/politics/gov-Alabama-Ten-Commandment-constitutional-amendment.html

Second, Young also mischaracterized the very people who fight to preserve religious freedom.

“The bad guys are coming: Southern Poverty Law Center, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State and the ACLU,” Moore said in a video advertisement released last spring before the vote. “Fake teachers, fake preachers, because they don’t want our children being taught that there is a right and there is a wrong. They don’t want our children being taught that the 10 Commandments were given to us by God, the creator, the same God that’s acknowledged four times in our Declaration of Independence.”

Will our records in heaven reflect our support of this issue? What is the balance required of our consciences, while allowing others who may believe differently to do the same?

Get straight. “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men[.]” Isaiah 29:13.

God’s word is so on point: 1. Follow Him more than just with words. Let your dedication be seen in your life according to His word. 2. Mere humans don’t prescribe what it means to honor God. He does. If you believe in His commandments, follow them. All of them, including the seventh-day Sabbath, the only commandment humans substituted out.

As Democratic Representative Berry Forte told Al.com, “It’s not important to display the Ten Commandments, but to live by them. The devil can display the Ten Commandments.”

Give Caesar what is his, and to God what belongs to Him. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar? The religious teachers sought to define the parameters between church and state in Jesus’ day. Unfortunately, their inquiry was not for information sake, but to set a trap for Jesus. Three of the gospels capture the moment in which Jesus skillfully neutralizes them. His answer still stands. Decide: is this a heart and mind area reserved for God’s direction, or is this an area of life, governed by the laws of the land? Is there a conflict between the two? How will you resolve it? (Acts 5:29)

Are you helping God by using methods in contravention of His will?

The Bible tracks the stories of two people who thought they could help God. Uzzah tried to catch the ark of the covenant as it almost tumbled to the ground. For that, he was summarily killed. Harsh? God allowed no one to touch the ark of the covenant. Judas thought he would advance the kingdom of God by selling out Jesus. Why didn’t the three years of Jesus’ teaching arrest his own ambitions?

Religious freedom will be a central issue in the hearts and consciences of God’s people before the Second Advent. Take your stand now, and always, by being and reaching.


This article is part of our 2019 January/February
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2018 November / December

THE STATE OF CHURCH AND SEX


 


FEATURES

13 Five Fine-Tuning Tips for Your Finances
by Ruthven Philip /
Everyday course corrections and strategies to protect your bottom line.

14 Awkward Bedfellows
by C. Wesley Knight /
Why the Church must get cozy with human sexuality for our own good.

17 Who do men say that I AM?
by Dion and Dilyn Henry /
Fluid gender identity and sexual identity confuse the faithful. Here’s how to respond.

20 What does it mean when god doesn’t intervene?
by Claudia Marion Allen /
A woman from Bethlehem whose story causes us to ask that really hard question.

22 When Church Unfriended me
by Kimberly Bulgin /
Three ways to reconnect a powerless worship experience.

28 The best book you’ve never read
by Donald L. McPhaull /
Give the Bible a second look, a first read!

FAVORITES

4 ELEVATION
by Phillip McGuire Wesley /
Media That Takes You Higher

5 EDITORIAL
by Carmela Monk Crawford /
A CHOICE IN THE MATTER

6 EYE ON THE TIMES
by Carl McRoy /
2018 CONSCIENCE CALENDAR

8 OPTIMAL HEALTH
by Donna Green Goodman /
REVOLUTIONIZE YOUR DIET

11 RELATIONSHIP Rx
by Willie and Elaine Oliver /
IT’S OUR TURN NOW

12 BOUNCE BACK
by Kim Login-Nowlin /
Shattered ministry

24 FUTURECAST
by Carlton P. Byrd /
NO LIMBO! NO PURGATORY!ion

26 THE EXPERIENCE
by Ellen G. White /
“I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS”

27 THE EXPERIENCE BIBLE STUDY
by Rashad Burden /
NEVER ALONE

30 POWER PLAYLIST
by Oral Semple /
FORGIVE THE WAY JESUS DID


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A Choice in the Matter

When comedian Bill Cosby went away for three years media played up the meal for his first night in the Collegeville, Pennsylvania SCI Phoenix. With great interest we learned that the man America once considered its favorite dad was served mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, meatballs and rice for dinner. Make no mistake. One of the richest and celebrated men in the world, didn’t order from a menu. He had no choice.

The Cos taught us so much about family, responsibility, success and achievement. Yet he apparently missed the transcendent value and moral absolute of choice. For that, a stint in a place with no choices, is more than appropriate.

The overarching and underpinning critical value of personal choice, and the ability to determine one’s destiny is a spiritual non-negotiable. God respects our choices. Why shouldn’t we?

As painful as it was to watch and hear, respect for personal choice is why now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s background and experience had to be examined. No family name, prep school access, or stellar performance should cancel out disrespect for personal choice.

This is why a 30 year-old accusation of attempted and unwanted sexual contact was relevant. Any credible account would place him at fatal odds with claims of loyalty and adherence to the moral law. It even goes against the American value of self-determination that cries defiantly “Don’t tread on me!”

This would provide an attack on “a woman’s choice” in more ways than one.

Question authority when you find that your choice, your choices, are curtailed in the name of morality and goodness.

Closer to home, we read, with great disappointment of a loved and trusted church school teacher, who made a devastating choice to start a sexual relationship with his teenaged student. In his case, what appeared as a consensual (albeit ill-advised and adulterous) liaison will be forbidden by law. That’s called statutory rape. The law provides protection for people, who can’t really choose. Whether because of a mental disability, or because of youth, the overmastering influence of a teacher, a priest, or a family friend (as examples), would be too much to resist. We, therefore, deem them unable to give consent. They cannot, by law, make that choice.

While it is not my intent to create a treatise entry here for the concept of consent and choice, I do want to highlight a spiritual dimension we should examine. Bible believers remember that God thought so much of choice, that even in the face of devastation, He made provision for it.

The Eden account shows an Omniscient God creating perfection, harmony, beauty and communion with Him. Yet, this same Omniscient God, left the window open, the back door ajar. Humanity could, and did, walk right through it (Genesis 3:2-6). We’ve had to pay the price ever since.

Since, Jesus died on the cross that is. But, read how Jesus honored choice in His death. “One of you is going to betray Me,” He said while dining with His closest companions. Some were introspective. One, Judas, determined to make his choice anyway, and was left to his own devices (Matthew 26:25).

Then, look at what Jesus did while hanging upon the cross. He, who was at the fulcrum of faith and destiny, in the crosshairs of Satan’s devising, when offered the comfort of a sip of sour wine, small as it was, refused it (Matthew 27:34). His capacity to choose and His ultimate destiny could not be compromised.

Knowing that He endured this torture, with a clear head, to make a way for me to choose Him and choose life makes my heart beat. It sends a life-syncing probe into the richness of His supply where I am filled with His love and security. That is my choice.

Red flags have to go up when people minimize personal consent, or such violations because of one’s record, standing, or religious orientation. We didn’t do it for Cosby. It won’t happen for that church school teacher. When a NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll reported that forty-eight percent of the white evangelical Christians polled thought that Kavanaugh should be confirmed, even if the allegations against him were true, we remembered another interest at play, however. The longstanding desire to overturn Roe v. Wade, and the ability of a woman to choose an abortion, tipped the scale. Kavanaugh would presumably vote to do so. How much were we willing to compromise? Ironically, many would be willing to negate the critical value of personal consent to overturn “choice.” It’s consistent, at least.

We challenge believers to critically examine their positions of morality. Question authority when you find that your choice, your choices, are curtailed in the name of morality and goodness. Seems to me, to choose is Divine, and a place with no choice is hell.


This article is part of our 2018 November/December
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Giving Tuesday – Hope for the Forgotten

Giving Tuesday-Hope For The Forgotten

Giving Tuesday and our Hope For The Forgotten campaign for people who are incarcerated and their families. Together when can share something of lasting value, a message of ultimate mercy and justice. #GivingTuesday #messagemag

Posted by Message Magazine on Tuesday, November 27, 2018




Giving Tuesday: Hope For the Forgotten

You’ve heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but have you ever participated in Giving Tuesday?

What’s Giving Tuesday? Excellent question! In the midst of the holiday season, where so much of the activities in our society centers around material possessions, Giving Tuesday is a day to shift our focus onto how we can help others.

Giving Tuesday is an opportunity to donate towards a specific organization or fund that serves the community. Here at Message, we’re focusing our Giving Tuesday efforts on maxing out the campaign to send subscriptions to 100,000 incarcerated people or their families. This will help us reach the oft forgotten with the light of the gospel.

So far this year, we’ve helped thousands through this fund and have the goal of serving more. Go to www.messagemagazine.com/donate and help us reach our goal! God will bless you for it, and He’ll bless the reader!




2018 September/October Issue

FIGHTING FOR OUR FAMILIES


 


FEATURES

13 Payday Loans and the Fight for Economic Justice
by Ruthven Philip /
Welcome to the cycle of hell where ends don’t meet.

14 Separating Children at the Border: What’s at Stake
by Alva James-Johnson /
They quoted scripture, yet the Bible clearly provides for “people on the move.”

16 Flipping the System
by Patti Thomas Conwell /
Meet Madeline McClenny-Sadler, an advocate for Restorative Justice.

18 Putting Up Guardrails: Keep our kids out of jail
by Patti Thomas Conwell /
Focus on these techniques to hold them safe and close.

20 Five Teachings Your Family Needs for Spiritual Preparedness
by Sonya and Derrick McCollum /
Start here. Start now. Reach your own family for Christ.

22 Got Guilt?
by David Defoe /
It’s been too many years, and you’ve shed too many tears. Time to live free.

28 No Counterfeits in Glory
by Donald L. McPhaull /
How many of us came to be duped by the greatest scheme in history.

FAVORITES

4 ELEVATION
by Phillip McGuire Wesley /
Media That Takes You Higher

5 EDITORIAL
by Carmela Monk Crawford /
When They Come for the Children

6 EYE ON THE TIMES
by Edward Woods, III /
Changing the Narrative

8 OPTIMAL HEALTH
by Donna Green Goodman /
Supplements

11 RELATIONSHIP Rx
by Willie and Elaine Oliver /
He’s Always Late!

12 BOUNCE BACK
by Kim Login-Nowlin /
SWEET RELIEF

24 FUTURECAST
by Carlton P. Byrd /
Jesus’ Promised Coming in Revelation

26 THE EXPERIENCE
by Ellen G. White /
THE KINGDOM IS AT HAND

27 THE EXPERIENCE BIBLE STUDY
by Rashad Burden /
HERE AND NOW

30 POWER PLAYLIST
by Eugene Anthony /
God Will Never Leave You!


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When They Come for the Children

When the Trump Administration enforced a zero-tolerance policy for all undocumented crossings at the United States’ southern border this past spring, we faced a moral crisis. The immigration policy—not law—had the effect of separating parents from their children so that the adults could be detained for prosecution.

Of the approximately 2,500 children seized and placed in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services custody since April 2018, most have been reunited with their families according to The Washington Post fact-checkers. Approximately one quarter of the children, remain in shelters or with foster families at the time of this writing. (Washington Post, August 10, 2018)

Breaching, Not Preaching the Word of God

What made zero-tolerance, the high rate of child detentions, and the heartbreak of the families worse, was the invocation of the Word of God as cover for the humanitarian crisis created. 

“Persons who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution” said United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.”

What would happen if my time with my children got cut short?

We’ve Been Here Before

I’m reminded that this is not the first time that our government has permitted the creation of an orphaned people through involuntary separation. American slave trade permitted that all the time.

Henry “Skip” Gates has investigated hundreds of documents detailing the state of families under the slave trade in America. One such story is told of wealthy Charleston, South Carolina plantation owner and human trader Elias Bell. Bell’s records indicated a penchant for investing in “young negroes”—ages 10, 11, 12. He purchased six of them from the slave ship Hare in 1756.

“If any of the children had parents on board, they never saw them again,” wrote Gates in The African Americans (Gates, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., The African Americans Many Rivers to Cross, Smiley Books, 2013).

Of course, scripture tracks some of its most prominent personalities in similar scenarios. The baby Moses escaped ethnic cleansing in a home-made basket, only to be picked up by Pharaoh’s family, yet providentially nursed by his own mother. Joseph’s brothers sold him into bondage, and he was trafficked into Egypt, never to see his mother again. Young men such as Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego became symbols of conquest in the hands of haughty rulers, away from their homeland, family and childhood religious practices. Samuel, though voluntarily surrendered to the Lord’s service by his mother Hannah, was just a mere tot.

When They Come for Mine

What would happen if my time with my children got cut short? How would any child discern the loving concern of a Heavenly Father in the midst of the chaos and cruelty performed in the name of His righteousness?

Prolific and inspired writer Ellen G. White often examined the role of parents in what she viewed as momentous and sobering times. Daily deposits of parental love, she said, and godly counsel secure children in crisis, even in the absence of their parents.

Joseph learned from his father: “The early impressions made upon his mind garrisoned his heart in the hour of fierce temptations and led him to exclaim, “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (White, Ellen, G. Child Guidance, Southern Publishing Association, 1954, p. 197.)

Moses learned from his mother: “Knowing that her child must soon pass beyond her care, to the guardianship of those who knew not God, she the more earnestly endeavored to link his soul with heaven. She sought to implant in his heart love and loyalty to God. And faithfully was the work accomplished. Those principles of truth that were the burden of his mother’s teaching and the lesson of her life, no after influence could induce Moses to renounce.” (White, Ellen G. Education, 1903)

Our mission, as parents is to prepare our children: “Have you taught your children from their babyhood to keep the commandments of God?…You are to teach them to form characters after the divine similitude, that Christ may reveal Himself to them. He is willing to reveal Himself to children.” (Child Guidance 489.6)

 




2018 July/August Issue

Destined for Healing

Dr. Hadiyah Nicole Green Closes In On Cancer


 


FEATURES

13 God’s Gift: The Hadiyah Nicole Green Story
by Patrice Thomas Conwell
/ Necessity may have invented the cure for cancer.

16 What it Takes to Heal
by Samantha Nelson
/ Discover the ten transformational tips for abuse survivors.

18 Forewarned is ForeArmed
by Ivona Roberts Bernard
/ How this Kansas City group applied evergreen wisdom to today’s sex trade.

20 Uncovered
by Ronnie Vanderhorst
/ How #MeToo touches every man, and what he must do to bring change.

22 Find Jesus in the Sanctuary
by Karen Styer
/ How to understand the timeless symbolism of the Tabernacle.

28 Closer than You Think
by Andrea King
/ When a pimp claimed the services of one of her teenaged members, this pastor stepped up the street ministry.

30 When We Know Better…
by Donald L. McPhaull
/ Who is Revelation’s mysterious woman called Babylon?

FAVORITES

4 ELEVATION
by Phillip McGuire Wesley
/ Media That Takes You Higher

5 EDITORIAL
by Carmela Monk Crawford
/ Not Normal

6 Eye on the times
Church and State Closer Now with Faith-Based Executive Order

8 optimal health
by Donna Green Goodman / Wheat Worries
by Carmela Monk Crawford
/ Going Vegan & Vegetarian

11 RELATIONSHIP Rx
by Willie and Elaine Oliver
/ We Disagree On Everything

12 BOUNCE BACK
by Kim Login-Nowlin
/ Depressing Discovery

24 FUTURECAST
by Carlton Byrd
/ Promised Victory In Revelation

26 The experience
by Ellen G. White
/ Peace Be Unto You

27 The experience BIBLE study
by Rashad Burden
/ It’s Going To Be Alright

29 Power Plays
by Eugene Anthony
/ 5 Secrets Of Joshua’s Leadership Success


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