The Holy Hour

As the 62nd Chaplain of the United States Senate, Barry C. Black embodies the poetic progression of providence. Reared in urban Baltimore during the 50s and 60s, his mother, a domestic worker, once brought home goodies from work. His prize was an old record album of the 57th Senate Chaplain Peter Marshall. Inspired by Marshall’s “melodious sermons” Black memorized them and tried them out on his neighborhood friends, Scottish accent and all. Black never dreamed he would one day stand in that place as one of its longest serving chaplains, the first African American and the first Seventh-day Adventist.

MESSAGE INTERVIEW WITH UNITED STATES SENATE CHAPL AIN, BARRY C. BL ACK

The former Navy Chief of Chaplains now conducts a robust spiritual program for diverse members of the Senate, their staffers and their families. This includes four weekly Bible studies and prayer breakfasts. His central duty, however, that of opening Senate sessions with prayer, is a cornerstone of U.S. history, and one proposed by Benjamin Franklin in 1787:

I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that ‘except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this. . . I therefore beg leave to move— that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business …

Black’s blunt prayers during a government shutdown garnered media notice, and even a 2013 Saturday Night Live spoof. However, the power in his prayers put him in the spotlight, and “Making Your Voice Heard in Heaven” was the title of his address to the 2017 National Prayer Breakfast, and the title of his fourth book (Tyndale). Black’s inspired impressions find their way into his books and sermons he preaches almost every weekend. Though he speaks without notes, he tosses one of his many ever-ready and evergreen three-ring binders full of “unpreached” sermon material into his bag when he leaves his office.

Black’s three earned master’s degrees and two earned doctorate degrees, and extensive grasp on philosophy, literature and the Word of God betray his youthful, “dapper” appearance. In what has to be a most coveted of the historic offices in the Capitol overlooking the National Mall, he insists, he is not Daniel. “I’m Barry.”

MESSAGE: In today’s political climate, with all the tensions we see on the news, do you find it more difficult to relate to people across parties, ideologies, beliefs?

BLACK: I don’t find it difficult. First of all, because my position, as you know, is non-partisan and non-sectarian, so, I don’t have to take sides. Moreover, this not taking sides does not mean I have to put my brain in neutral. I just taught a Bible study to senators at a prayer breakfast where only senators are involved. And, when they ask me about my perspective on a particular issue, I can share in a very transparent way what I think, usually using theological or philosophical principles to make my case. So, I just don’t have to publicize, where I’m coming from in terms of my political position, and I actually enjoy that because it makes it easier to work with a diverse group.

MESSAGE: What’s a good Bible study that you get together and people really get engaged in?

Black: Today we had a Bible study called “Receiving Guidance All the Way Home.” It was basically on the gift of the Holy Spirit. We talked about that fact that Jesus said in John 16:7, It’s better for you that I go away. If I don’t go away, I cannot send to you this amazing gift called the Holy Spirit. He will teach you all things. He will even tell you the future, John 13:16, alright? He will pray for you. Romans 8:26: You don’t know how to pray, or for what to pray, but the Spirit will pray for you. So, this amazing gift that God has given to the body of Christ will testify of Christ, even as Jesus testified of the Father. He said to Phillip in John 14:9 “You have seen Me; you have seen the Father.” The Holy Spirit testifies of Christ. He’s always with us.

This amazing gift, and that’s what we talked about for an hour with our lawmakers. And that’s exciting.

MESSAGE: Is there ever an Adventist—in the generic sense—thing that comes up, such as a mention that these are the last days? That the things going on right now are unprecedented?

Black: I think there are many Protestant denominations who are aware of the Second Coming of Christ, and are anticipating the Second Coming of Christ. “I go to prepare a place for you . . .” [John 14:2, 3]. That’s why even in the Apostles’ Creed it says: “From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.” That’s 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.

Yes, there are people who know that there will be a second coming. Some of them are premillennialist—1000 years will come before His coming; some of them are post-millennialists—the Lord will come, and then the millennium; some are amillennialists.

Basically, they believe Jesus is coming again.

MESSAGE: I guess my question relates more to what is happening. You seem to display an extreme sense of calm right now, considering the news, the brinksmanship and different things like that.

Black: I think [of] the guidance in scripture, Philippians 4:6, 7, “have no anxiety about anything, but pray about everything, with thanksgiving. And the peace of God, that passes understanding, will guard your heart and mind, in Christ Jesus.”

And, I think that understanding, [should be] coupled with living in day-tight compartments—Matthew 6:34 says “Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

So, I don’t borrow from yesterday and pile it on to today. I don’t reach into the future, and pile that on to today. That’s more than I can handle. But, I can get through a day. I can get through a day very easily.

MESSAGE: That said, there are some things going on now that we haven’t seen. There’s a president who talks differently, to put that mildly. There’s probably a sense of camaraderie here that you probably see better than the rest of us. But has there ever been a time where you see something going on, a debate or a conflict, that you said to yourself, ‘I’m going to go back and pray on this?’

Black: That’s just not my style.

I’m fascinated by history. There was a time, 1857, the Supreme Court [in Dred Scott v. Sandford] said I was 3/5 human. There was a time, 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson, when Jim Crow was institutionalized for over half a century. We had two World Wars, and the second, it is estimated that between 60 and 80 million people, mostly civilians, died. We had a civil war where six to seven hundred thousand people lost their lives. Yes, these are challenging times, but hey, God has brought us through much worse than this.

I always think of James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the stanza that describes the African American experience: “Stony the road we trod, bitter the chast’ning rod, felt in the days,” and here it is, “when hope, unborn, had died.”

How do you abort hope? How do you kill hope in the womb? “When hope unborn had died,” that’s what we’ve gone through.

“Yet with a steady beat have not our weary feet, come to the place to which our forebears sighed.”

If someone had told me that I would have lived to see an African American President, let alone have him as a personal friend . . . [He showed me a small framed picture of the President Obama shaking his hand after a State of the Union address]. Here he’s speaking. Here I am, and it is obvious that we are [friends]. If someone would have told me that I would have lunch with Coretta. If someone would have told me that I would offer the prayer when Rosa Parks was lying in honor in the Capitol Rotunda. If someone would tell me—this is just one of seven of the Christmas pictures that I have [he showed me a picture of him and his wife Brenda with President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama]—you can always tell because the first lady has on a different gown.

Dickens may have had it right in the beginning of Tale of Two Cities, this is the best of times, this is the worst of times. But we need to keep things in perspective because God is still on His throne. And that old song, “This Is My Father’s World”, reminds us that “though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.”

MESSAGE: What do you think about the notion that this is a Christian nation? And this very office is set up now to have prayer, and you have Bible studies, and these foundational books, whether the Bible or other religious books? Does that bother you as a Seventh-day Adventist, who is sensitive, as are many other people, to religious liberty?

Black: I believe that many of the framers, would probably, though appreciating the fact that Christianity is the dominant religion, would say that they came to this land looking for religious freedom, which means insuring that people have an opportunity to worship, according to the dictates of their consciences.

The senate chaplaincy, the legislative chaplaincy, was established in 1789, predates the Establishment Cause to the First Amendment, which states that Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a religion or prohibiting the exercise thereof. To state that this is a Christian nation would be a breach of the Establishment Clause, I believe. And so, you know, it does not prohibit people from being Christian. We do not have a “Church of England.” We do not have a state-run church or organization.

You can see in this picture the Dali Lama who is certainly not a Christian, as a guest chaplain. I have had a Hindu priest come in as a guest chaplain. I’ve had Rabbis come in for Torah studies for Jewish staffers. Imams who come in for Ramadan and other Islamic Holy Days. So, I facilitate, and that’s the diversity that I alluded to earlier, for non-Christian staffers, as well as for Christian staffers. I call it cooperating without compromise. I don’t have to compromise who I am in order to make sure the spiritual needs of other folk are met.

So, the very act that the framers desired a spiritual dimension to government, one of the first acts was to establish a chaplaincy in the legislative branch. It does not mean that they did not want a separation of church and state. They didn’t want a separation of God and state, and there’s a distinction.

MESSAGE: Does the Spirit push you to say, something in particular?

Black: I think for a minister, you feed people what you are discovering is good nourishment for yourself. The Apostle Paul said to the church in Corinth, “for I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered to you,” [1 Corinthians 11:23].

When you’re flying and the flight attendants give instructions, and they say in the event of turbulence, the oxygen masks will drop. Put the mask on yourself first before putting it on someone else. So, I put the mask on myself first, and the way I do that is to spend what I call the “Holy Hour.” I spend an hour a day, praying the scriptures.

My theory is that there are three kinds of prayer: lip prayer, head prayer, and heart prayer.

Lip prayer is a prayer you pray by rote: “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep.” That’s a lip prayer. “God is great, God is good. Let us thank Him for our food.” That’s a lip prayer.

Head prayer is when you pray the scriptures, because you give God the courtesy of starting the conversation. So, what I do is, I pray before I open the Bible, and the things that stop and inspire me, I talk to God about for at least an hour every day.

Heart prayer is when out of the dialogue with God from praying the Scriptures, you come up with something you just can’t shake, like a jingle, and you nurse that thing, sometimes. Well, I’ve been working on one for about nine days, now, and you say it, like probably 25, 30, 40 times a day, like a mantra, because it’s inspirational and so describes the desires of your heart.

So, you do that an hour a day, and then the overflow, the results of that, you never run out of material to teach or preach.

MESSAGE: How do you keep your spiritual fervor alive?

Black: John 17:17 says: “sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth”, so that kind of quality exposure to the Word of God, will almost guarantee sanctification. David said in Psalm 119:99, “I have more wisdom than all of my teachers.” That robust devotional life is critical to staying connected to the Vine. The Lord said, “I am the Vine, ye are the branches” John 15:5. You sever the branch from the Vine and there is no flow of life.

Matthew 4:4, “[We] do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God.” I find that it gives you strength through temptation. Again, the 119th Psalm, verse 11, “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against You.” It’s just a wonderful way of staying spiritually fit.

I think it’s also critical to remember that truth is progressive. So, He doesn’t drop a load on us. He said in John 16:12, “I have many things to tell you, but you can’t bear them now.” And so, we have Proverbs 4:18, “the path to justice is a shining light,” and so, that’s the way I roll, as the young people say.

During my holy hour, I preach my sermons to the Lord. There’s nothing that helps you see where the duds are, than to speak them to the Lord in prayer when you’re praying Scriptures.




Wheat: Your Favorite Food That’s Making You Fat

How scientific modifications have turned wheat into a harmful substance.

Hybridization is a process used in an animal or plant breeding that combines different species or varieties. Hence, hybridization differs from genetic modification that uses the DNA of one species to inject into another species.

One famous example comes from the 1950’s when scientists in Brazil thought to breed a new species of bees that would produce more honey in tropical environments. They imported African Honey Bee queens from South Africa. Some of the hybrid bees escaped and established other colonies and grew rapidly. According to National Geographic, the bees produced in great numbers in the Amazon rain forest and led to 1,000 deaths, which is how they developed the name “killer bees”. These killer bees arrived in the US in the 1990’s. Researchers attributed six deaths to the killer bees since their arrival.

Hybridization doesn’t always turn in a bad thing, but when it does, it can become quite dangerous as you can see. This can happen in animals and food. One food to take note of is wheat.

Technologically Advanced Super Wheat

During the Green Revolution in the 1940’s to the 1960’s, wheat went through an aggressive, irradiating and gene mutating technology. The hybridized wheat with multiple chromosomes morphed into wheat that was decreasingly digestible.

There are two dangerous results of the new process of growing wheat. The first problem is the reason for the hybridization process.  They wanted more gluten because it essentially makes cooking and baking easier. However, the increased level of gluten, a protein, decreased its digestibility.

Dr. Mark Hyman, in his book called The Blood Sugar Solution, examined the changes in wheat after hybridization.

“This new modern wheat may look like wheat, but it is different in three important ways that all drive obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia and more. It contains a super starch, amylopectin A, that is super fattening, a form of super gluten that is super inflammatory, and acts like a super drug that is super addictive and makes you crave and eat more.”

The Glut of Gluten

Gluten triggers the over-abundance of the proteins called zonulin, which is responsible for the permeability of tight junctions between cells of the wall of the digestive tract. Too much zonulin production disrupts intestinal barrier function and can lead to a condition called leaky gut. This study was done by Giovanni Barbara and his team at the University of Bologna, Italy.

The second problem with this method of growing wheat is that it is highly sprayed with the dangerous and deadly herbicide Roundup. The active ingredient in this herbicide is glyphosate. According to the US Department of Agriculture, producers treat 99% of durum wheat, 97% of spring wheat, and 61 % of winter wheat with herbicides. Furthermore, if you use bulgur wheat as an alternative, it is made from durum wheat, and therefore is most likely treated with the herbicide as well.

Intestinal Fortitude Found

Many people are intolerant to hybridized wheat, and as a result, they experience mild to moderate gastrointestinal discomfort. However, for at least 1% of the population, it is not just discomfort, but the very serious condition called Celiac disease. People with Celiac disease are not able to tolerate gluten even in small amounts. Certainly, this group of people must be cognizant and diligent about reading labels to determine if a food is safe since so many prepared foods have gluten in various forms.

There are heirloom varieties of wheat that include red fife, farro (emmer), spelt, bulgur and einkorn. All of these varieties, however, are hybridized with the exception of einkorn. It is the only wheat variety that has the normal number of chromosomes – two sets of seven for a total of 14 (increased chromosome number indicates it is hybridized).

Here are six grains* that are gluten free and hybridization free:

1. Amaranth

2. Quinoa

3. Montina

4. Teff

5. Whole grain sorghum

6. Millet

*Oats must be pure and uncontaminated. There is some controversy about whether oats are really gluten free.

For recipes and more articles like this and other eye opening information, go to www.drhelenps.com




2018 May June Issue

The Holy Hour

US Senate Chaplain Barry Black Talks About…


 


FEATURES

8 THE HOLY HOUR
by Carmela Monk Crawford
/ Message Interview with United States Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black

12 A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO THE END
The Need-to-Know-Briefing If You Want to Go

12 Hidden In Plain Sight / by Bryant Taylor

14 Fearless Focus / by Ainsworth Morris

16 The Players / by Pete Palmer

18 Fear of Flying / by Omar Miranda

19 Deliverance and Pickup / by Anita Jenkins

20 40 Years Since Jonestown, and Still Drinking the Kool-Aid? / by Malcolm Luther

22 Putting It All Together, Again / by Wintley Phipps

24 No Ordinary Angel / by Donald McPhaull

25 Lightning Rod in the Controversy / by Roger Larsen

30 Jerusalem: A Prophetic Challenge / by Keith A. Burton

FAVORITES

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

5 EDITORIAL
by Carmela Monk Crawford
/ Inadvertent oversights and the end of time

6 RESOURCES
by Pat Sparks Harris
/ Where the least of these find help

26 FUTURECAST
by Carlton Byrd
/ “Ask, seek and knock”

28 The EXPERIENCE
by Ellen G. White
/ “It is finished”

29 The EXPERIENCE BIBLE study
by Rashad Burden
/ Is it really done?


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Inadvertent Oversights and the End of Time

stood at the check-out line on Easter, or as I prefer to call it: Resurrection Sunday. It was in that Spirit that I noticed the woman behind me in line. She was petite, a senior, and white. Her faded print dress once was rich with hues in blues, greens and purples. Her crocheted turquoise shrug and matching fingerless gloves, let me know she had been somewhere special.

“Did you have a good day today?” I asked her, smiling. “Yes, I went to church this morning. I’m an usher, and usually have to wear black, but today we could wear anything we wanted.”

Her keys were on a tattered “US Army” lanyard around her wrist. My eyes flitted over the items she placed on the conveyor belt—a stalk of broccoli, a couple of lemons and tomatoes, a package of chocolate meal replacement drinks, and a Red Bull.

“That’s my one sin,” she said, pointing to the energy drink.

“Wooo, don’t hurt yourself,” I said jokingly. She laughed with me, and it was time for us to move on. Just then, she put her hand on my shoulder and told the cashier, “My granddaughter here is going to pay for mine.”

My eyes must have glazed over. Did this woman in Huntsville, Alabama just call me her granddaughter? Funny. Wow, I thought. I laughed and walked away.

Missed Opportunities and Shirked Responsibilities

The Spirit pricked my conscience ever so slightly. But, I sadly confess, I was too preoccupied, too selfish, and too disconnected to pay for her. It certainly wasn’t too much for me. I just wasn’t plugged in, and my natural inclination was to keep walking. The fact that I did not recognize the opportunity to extend a little grace, was a substantial mistake. It was not willful, but inadvertent. And, that is what haunts.

Well done?

In an extensive discourse about the end times Jesus tried to explain to His disciples, the signs of the end, in Matthew 24. He discussed the preparation needed to make it through this life  (Matthew 25), in which the “wise virgins” prepared by having enough oil to last the night—the oil being interpreted to mean the Holy Spirit to guide us through to the end.

Then, in His parable of the talents, Jesus taught His people to work until He returns, using whatever means and ability they had. He ended by painting a word picture of the judgment.

To the right, He motioned for His blessed people. “Come with me, because when I was hungry, and poor and was in prison, you fed me, clothed me, and visited Me.”

“Oh?” the blessed must smile in surprise, “we didn’t know that was You, Jesus! That’s just what we do!”

“Because you did that to the least of these, you did it to Me. Enter!”

Their pattern had been ingrained; it was the substance of their characters, and by then, an unnatural tendency in a world so selfishly inclined. (See Matthew 25:34-40 instead of my personal paraphrase.)

But, it is with the same sense of surprise that the wicked, the ones bound for destruction, wonder, “Where were You, Jesus? Certainly, our oversight was inadvertent.”

“I was right there, the person you didn’t help, didn’t feed, didn’t love on, didn’t visit, didn’t care for, the one you cursed, and disrespected. You didn’t help them; thus, you didn’t help Me” (See Matthew 25:41-46 ).

Reflexive and Automatic

We draw closer to that day. We have the witness of God’s Word to remind us, and the prophetic voices behind us. During the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination, we celebrated the life of one who advocated the recognition of personhood for everyone. How much of our lifestyle and collective practice comport with our reflexive and automatic, selfish inclinations?

I think we can find the answers as we examine everything from immigration, taxation, militarization and nationalism, to mass incarceration, and church participation.

We may revisit Memphis and that fateful day when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. took a bullet for the oppressed and disrespected, but this Golden Anniversary must not overshadow the golden opportunity to change.




2018 March / April Issue

DRUG DEVASTATION

Defending Your Family


 


FEATURES

10 Bounce Back
by Kim Logan-Nowlin /
Blinded by trust, Thomas could not imagine impending divorce, but God gives power to bounce back!

12 Forfeiture, and Taxes on Drug Money
by Ruthven Philip /
Contact with friends and family who use can lead to more than a high.

13 Loving Them to Death
by Patti Thomas-Conwell /
Long-held ideas that will kill your loved one struggling with addiction.

13 Intervention for Kids
by Ricardo Whyte /
Why spend bail money when you can invest in a healthy future now?

16 Body Target
by Patricia Humphrey /
Understand how drugs destroy so many parts of our wonderfully-made bodies.

18 Take Your Finger Off the Trigger
by Patti Thomas-Conwell /
Practical ways to block the temptations.

20 Life After Death
by Patti Thomas-Conwell /
Testimonies from the delivered.

22 Deliverer
by James Howard /
“Sorcery” of substance abuse, and the only way out.

28 Ongoing Investigation
by Donald L. McPhaull /
Your case may be up for review now, rather than later.


FAVORITES

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

5 EDITORIAL
by Pat Sparks Harris /
HEAVEN’S HELP FOR ADDICTIONS

6 EYE ON THE TIMES
CURRENT NEWS & VIEWS

8 OPTIMAL HEALTH
by Donna Green Goodman /
THIS OR THAT?

1 RELATIONSHIP Rx
by Willie and Elaine Oliver /
I’M TRANSGENDER. DOES GOD LOVE PEOPLE LIKE ME?

4 FUTURECAST
by Carlton Byrd /
LOVE LETTER #10 ENVIABLE POSITIONING

26 THE EXPERIENCE
by Ellen G. White /
“UNTIL THAT DAY”

28 THE EXPERIENCE BIBLE STUDY
by Rashad Burden /
HOW LOW CAN YOU GO?

29 POWER PLAY
by Troy Brand /
READY FOR YOUR CALL, LORD


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Golden Opportunity and the Golden Anniversary

I missed my chance to be the change I want to see this week. Change, however, is more than chance.

This week saw the death of Winnie Mandela, and the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. There was no shortage of commemoration or memorialization. But, what happened to me on Sunday, shifted my consciousness and course for the rest of the week, and caused me to contemplate the golden opportunity in this Golden Anniversary.

I stood at the check-out line on Sunday, yes Easter, or as I prefer to call it: Resurrection Sunday. While shopping, I noted how far we’ve come since I was a child when Easter was a holy day and the stores were closed, gas stations shuttered, and the roads were clear. Though Sabbath keepers who celebrated the day before, or perhaps attended a sunrise service that morning, we learned to dress appropriately and conduct ourselves with requisite respect for a day recognized as the day Christ rose from the grave.

In was in that Spirit that I noticed the woman behind me in line. She was petite, a senior, and white. Her faded print dress once was rich with hues in blues, greens and purples. Her crocheted turquoise shrug and matching fingerless gloves, let me know she had been somewhere special.

“Did you have a good day today?” I asked her, smiling. “Yes, I went to church this morning. I’m an usher, and usually have to wear black, but today we could wear anything we wanted.”

She was alert and friendly. On her game. I could see why she is an usher.   Fun to talk to. Her keys were on a tattered “US Army” lanyard around her wrist. My eyes flitted over the items she placed on the conveyor belt—a stalk of broccoli, a couple of lemons and tomatoes, the package of chocolate meal replacement drinks and a Red Bull.

“That’s my one sin,” she said, pointing to the energy drink.

“Wooo, don’t hurt yourself,” I said jokingly. She laughed with me, and it was time for us to move on. Just then, she put her hand on my shoulder and told the cashier, “My granddaughter here is going to pay for mine.”

My eyes must have glazed over. Did this woman in Huntsville, Alabama just call me her granddaughter? Funny. Wow, I thought. I laughed and walked away.
Embed from Getty Images

 Missed Opportunities and Shirked Responsibilities

The Spirit pricked my conscience ever so slightly. But, I sadly confess, I was too shocked, too preoccupied, too selfish, and too disconnected to pay for her. It certainly wasn’t too much for me. I just wasn’t plugged in, and my natural inclination was to keep walking. Oh, but while He prodded gently there, in grace, He came back to arrest my sensibilities, full force.

While I didn’t care that she was little, old, or white, and I didn’t care about the $20 it would have cost me, the fact that I did not recognize the opportunity to extend a little grace, was a substantial mistake. It was not willful, but inadvertent.  And, that is what haunts.

Well done? When selfishness becomes our reflex, meditation upon the suffering, sacrifice and resurrection of Christ enables His servants to change.

In an extensive discourse about the end times Jesus tried to explain to His disciples, the signs of the end, in Matthew 24. He discussed the preparation needed to make it through this life to the end (Matthew 25), in which the “wise virgins” prepared by having enough oil to last the night—the oil being interpreted to mean the Holy Spirit to guide us through to the end. Then, in His parable of the talents, Jesus taught His people to work until He return, using whatever means and ability they had. He ended by painting a word picture of the judgment, in which He decides who comes with Him, and who suffers destruction that will last forever.

To the right, He motioned for His blessed people. “Come with me, because when I was hungry, and poor and was in prison, you fed me, clothed me, and visited Me.

“Oh?” the blessed must smile in surprise, “we didn’t know that was You, Jesus! That’s just what we do!”

“Because you did that to the least of these, you did it to Me. Enter!”

Their pattern had been ingrained; it was the substance of their characters, and by then, an unnatural tendency in a world so selfishly inclined. (See Matthew 25:34-40 instead of my personal paraphrase.)

But, it is with the same sense of surprise that the wicked, the ones bound for destruction, wonder, “Where were You, Jesus? Certainly, our oversight was inadvertent.”

“I was right there, the person you didn’t help, didn’t feed, didn’t love on, didn’t visit, didn’t care for, the one you cursed, and disrespected. You didn’t help them; thus, you didn’t help Me” (See Matthew 25:41-46).

Like a scene straight out of “Maury” or “Jerry Springer”—or a “Housewives” or any Tyler Perry film—they get hot, curse, and fight. Church wigs and pocket squares flying, the fire of everlasting destruction licks at their heels.

As the angels usher them through the door on the left, they scream, “Wait! We never even saw You!

Reflexive and Automatic

We draw closer to that day. We have the witness of God’s Word to remind us, and the prophetic voices behind us. In the King celebration we celebrated the life of one whose aims and energies advocated for the basic personhood of everyone. We also learned the results of an autopsy that confirmed that police resorted to shooting another unarmed man, in the back. A few days later, in a different city, another shooting resulted in the death of a mentally ill black man who wielded a plumbing fixture.

This pattern, while not readily acknowledged as such, certainly is reflexive and automatic. How much of our lifestyle and collective practice comport to our reflexive and automatic, selfish inclinations? I think we can find the answers as we examine everything from immigration, taxation, militarization and nationalism, to mass incarceration, and church participation.

We may revisit Memphis and that fateful day when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. took a bullet for the oppressed and disrespected, but this Golden Anniversary must not overshadow the golden opportunity to change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




2018 January / February Issue

ALLIES

Foxhole Friends in the Fight


COVER STORY

MORE THAN A FEW GOOD MEN, THE FIGHT FOR RACIAL JUSTICE AND EQUALITY SEEKS INTERRACIAL ENLISTMENT AND ENGAGEMENT.


FEATURES

12  BOUNCE BACK: UNDER-ESTIMATED
by Kim Logan-Nowlin /
How the Word of God rescued this woman from certain death.

13  DRY BONES TO LIVING FLESH
by Timothy Golden /
Live to inspire. Tribute to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

14  MLK50 CHECKUP
by Malcom Luther /
Fifty years beyond the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., America is in stage four denial.

16  ALLIES
by David Person /
Abolitionists to Allies, what it means to struggle together.

18  FAITH, FAMILY AND FINANCES
by Alva James-Johnson /
Civil rights gains rested on the back of this three-point prescription.

20  CHURCH MUSIC MADNESS
by Patti Thomas Conwell /
Two-time “Choir of the

World” director Jason Max Ferdinand brings sanity back to the service.

22  FINDING GOD IN A CHURCH
by Michael Polite /
Millions of people hate church because they’ve never been taught to be a member.

22  NATIVE TONGUE
by Donald L. McPhaull /
Speaking in tongues, and how God’s


FAVORITES

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

5  EDITORIAL
by Carmela Monk Crawford /
PERSEVERE AND PROSPER

6  EYE ON THE TIMES
• PROTESTANTS WHO STOPPED PROTESTING
• WHICH POLITICAL PARTY HAS THE RELIGIOUS CORNER ON THE MARKET?

8  OPTIMAL HEALTH
by Donna Green Goodman /
RIGHT FROM THE START

11  RELATIONSHIP Rx
by Willie and Elaine Oliver /
TRADE-IN VALUES

24  FUTURECAST
by Carlton Byrd /
LOVE LETTER #9 TO TELL THE TRUTH

26  THE EXPERIENCE
by Ellen G. White /
MY FATHER’S BUSINESS

28  THE EXPERIENCE BIBLE STUDY
by Rashad Burden /
LOST AND FOUND

29  POWER PLAYS
by Samuel Thomas, Jr. /
ELIJAH: FIRE FROM HEAVEN


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Persevere and Prosper

This year marks 120 years since our forerunner, The Gospel Herald was first published, and 84 years since The Message Magazine, by God’s grace, made its providential debut. We remain in awe and humility at the task God has given us.

Two discoveries have stimulated awareness in my own destiny, and I share them with you for analogy sake. First, and with thanks to my friend Alvin Singleton, who like Skip Gates on the PBS series “Finding Your Roots” investigated my people. My paternal ancestors were among free blacks who lived in Philadelphia in the 19th Century. One even fought in the Civil War. I simply hadn’t known my own story before that, but to learn that we were free sets me—perhaps dangerously so—in an unapologetic, unafraid, and unashamed posture.

Second, after reading Freedom Fighters: From Monk to Mazumbo, written by Ira Philip, I learned one of my ancestors was a clergyman and newspaper publisher. While working in Bermuda, his turn-of-the-century paper advocated:

For the cause that needs assistance

For the wrong that needs resistance

For the future in the distance

And all the good that we can do

We also find inspiration in the work of activist and journalist Ida B. Wells Barnett, who was formerly enslaved, but dug her heels in, and her teeth for that matter, when she was unlawfully ejected from a railroad car in 1884. She found no justice in the Tennessee court system. It was because she had a story to tell that she ran the Free Speech and Headlight, later just the Free Speech. Hers became one of the few newspapers to investigate and report on lynching of black people nationwide. Lynching was “mocking our laws and disgracing our Christianity,” she wrote.

“Lynching Our National Crime,” Proceedings of the National Negro Conference, 1909, New York, May 31 and June 1 (New York, 1909), pp. 174-179.

Other black newspapers filled voids in their communities—shining a light on the black experience, black trauma and black triumph. Publishing that fulfills this role now includes the perspective of any observer with social media and a cell phone. And, writes David Love—journalist and contributor to TheGrio.com and CNN, “What is certain is there is a sense of responsibility to the community, advocating for that community and telling their stories from their perspective.” These platforms in an age of racial politics, and metamorphosing publishing, are golden.

We remain in awe and humility at the task God has given us.

Brenda Andrews, owner, editor and publisher of the New Journal and Guide, established in 1900, finds the preserving hand of God still at work in her business. When she went from being an employee and stock-holder to editor and owner after the company’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1992, she knew God as a sustainer and provider. But, why? I asked her. Why would God want to intervene and spare this paper, this platform? Civil rights gains in the 1960s and 70s, found losses in the 1980s, Andrews said. Footholds gained during the 1990s and 2000s, are now again met with rollbacks in civility the protections designed to help us secure footing in the first place. The black press, then, opposes the resulting sense of abject vulnerability.

“The black press was founded to alter that kind of thinking,” Andrews said. It was created to get people of African descent to realize who we were, write our own story about what we can do, rather than leaving that to other people who don’t want us to succeed to tell the story. We can be what God wants us to be. Even though it doesn’t appear to be as pivotal as it was in the days of segregation, we are as important and vital today, and that’s why God has intervened.”

Andrews’ keen assessment could not have fallen on more welcoming ears. We know the interference of the detractor, the troller, and the bigot comes between black people and their God. We believe correcting the narrative—the lie that the race is cursed and destined for poverty or failure, deserving of marginalization, or whether the narrative dismisses God as a tool in the hand in the oppressor—and contradicting those ideas, is a divine mission into which God inserts Himself.

That is the breath-taking freedom, confidence and assurance that makes us dangerous to satanic forces, and all the assurance we need to persevere. As the Lord said, (and no matter what anyone else says): “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11).



This article is part of our January/February 2018 Issue
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Richard Bland talks about Selma

Oral history from Selma given by United Prison Ministry International founder Richard Bland. Never before seen footage and photos from the Selma march in 1965, with images of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King, Ralph Bunche, Roy Wilkins, Ralph Abernathy, Whitney Young, and Rosa Parks.




2017 November / December

How To Take A Stand

Blackout on the NFL Blacklist


COVER STORY

“When we see Colin Kaepernick take a knee in one of the largest venues in the United States, that resonates with us.”


FEATURES

13 RAINY-DAY THINKING
by Ruthven Philip / Simple ways to save money and stay on top.

14 FANTASTIC CHRISTMAS
by Damien Chandler /
One whole hour of Christmas. Not a single minute of Christ.

16 HOLIDAY SPENDING OVERDRIVE
by Paula Goddard / Out of control Christmas spending and the cash-poor aftermath aren’t fooling anyone.

17 WHY PASTORS TOOK A KNEE FOR THE NFL BLACKOUT
by David Person /
It was about time to take a stand for taking a knee.

20 HOW TO TAKE A STAND
by Eric Walsh /
Former public official denounced for sermons found more faith in the fight.

22 DON’T LET THEM HAVE CAKE?
by Timothy Golden /
Doing the right thing, legally and morally.


FAVORITES

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

5  EDITORIAL
by Carmela Monk Crawford /
CONSCIENCE

6  EYE ON THE TIMES
by J. Elaine Nailing /
OPEN FOR DEBATE?

8  OPTIMAL HEALTH
by Donna Green Goodman /
LET’S GO NUTS

11  RELATIONSHIP Rx
by Willie and Elaine Oliver /
SHE LOVES ME, BUT DOESN’T WANT TO MARRY ME

12  BOUNCE BACK
by Kim Login-Nolan /
TWO-HOUR DECISION

24  FUTURECAST
by Carlton Byrd /
LOVE LETTER #8

DON’T TAKE WHAT’S NOT YOURS

26  THE EXPERIENCE
by Ellen G. White /
PUSHED TO THE BRINK

28  THE EXPERIENCE BIBLE STUDY
by Rashad Burden /
LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL

29  POWER THEATER
by Samuel Thomas, Jr. /
ELIJAH: FIRE FROM HEAVEN


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