A Conversation with Malcolm X and Dr. King

“It seems to me,” said Dr. King,

“That one can fight with words of strife and call it civil rights,

Especially when a people must live in fear of the violent white knight.

But Justice cannot be enforced with unified national pride,

Justice is enforced with peaceful national stride.”


“That’s to no affect,” said Malcolm X.,

“The White Man has conditioned us to fear his knight,

We must condition his knight to fear our approach to civil rights.

If it is in word or deed, we will attack with variety.

So while you stride, though I do not oblige,

I will stand with pride, and address our soulful cries.

Unity begins in the mind.

So until the whites are willing to unify,

We stand together.

In a country that needs Black Pride…”


“It seems to me,” said Dr. King,

“That where there is division, there will always be intolerance;

Where there is intolerance, there will always be violence;

Where there is violence, there will be war,

And where there is war, peace cannot be a present force.

So let us not desert our country for our own racial good,

But rather rally together, black and white,

To create a country that speaks to human rights.

For injustice against one people is a battle for all to fight.


“That’s to no affect,” said Malcolm X,

“I speak not for intolerance, violence or war,

And I agree that human rights are a fight worth fighting for.

But here and now there is a voice that should be heard,

The voice of a race that was dumbed liked a caged bird,

Blinded by ignorance,

Maimed by hate.

Paralyzed by the legislation of our racist Southern States.

This voice can no longer remain silent,

This voice can no longer sit,

This voice can no longer walk,

And this voice needs more than a simple boycott.

We must remember that the White Man has made himself our adversary,

So as for me and my house, we will act ‘by any means necessary.’”


“It seems to me,” said Dr. King —


“That’s to no affect,” said Malcolm X

The Day We Chose Barabbas

It has been hard to pull away from watching the news this week.

On January 6, we saw hundreds of domestic terrorists fueled by White Supremacy, and radicalized by the President, launch an attack on the United States Capitol in an attempt to overthrow our democracy. I sat in horror listening to the President’s inciting speech and then an hour later watching the frenzied mob scaling the walls, attacking police, killing one officer and injuring many others.

My Lamentations

I was outraged at the image of the Confederate flag waving inside a building which symbolizes its defeat. I was in disbelief at the images of our elected officials’ ransacked offices, and American insurgents sitting at the rostrum where the Vice President and Speaker of the House preside as the President of the United States delivers the State of the Union address. Finally, and most deplorable, there were the blasphemous images of the noose, the cross, and the banner bearing the name of Jesus. As I took it all in, the opening passage of the book of Lamentations came to mind:

“How deserted lies the city,

once so full of people!

How like a widow is she,

who once was great among the nations!

She who was queen among the provinces

has now become a slave.”

Lamentations 1:1

The Power of Choice

After the flood of emotions washed over me, just like many others who grieve, acceptance settled into my heart that this vile scene is the United States of America.  Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of three evils which plague American society—racism, materialism, and militarism. Time and time again, our so-called Christian nation has preferred to embody these grave sins over and above the teachings of Jesus Christ to love our neighbor. Yes, I started to accept the fact that we chose Barabbas.

Barabbas was the murdering insurrectionist that Pontius Pilate offered alongside Jesus for the mob to decide on. Pilate would allow one man to be released and rejoin society, and the other would be crucified to die an excruciating death. Beyond all logic this Holy Nation chose the one who would murder their sons, rape their daughters, and plunder their land.

The parallels with this scriptural account to ours are too many to list at this time, I will just underscore the one similarity that allowed me to move from disbelief to acceptance at the state of our nation—we are still choosing Barabbas.

Choosing Barabbas

When European colonizers arrived on the shores of this land, they chose Barabbas. They chose Barabbas when they violently stole from the Indigenous people who had been on this land for millennia. They chose Barabbas when they brutally enslaved millions of Black people, ripping them from their families, and callously benefited from the wealth they produced. They chose Barabbas during segregation as they refused to bestow the slightest bit of dignity and honor to those created in the image of God. They chose Barabbas when they created racist housing policies, bias business procedures, unfair educational practices, mass incarceration, and countless other injustice systems and structures. They chose Barabbas in 2016, and they are still choosing Barabbas today.  I have come to terms with that now. I accept this reality about our country.

But make no mistake. My acceptance of the way things are in theses United States, does in no way deter me from standing up, speaking out, and laboring with all of my strength to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, to break every yoke, to welcome the foreigner, to care for the widow, and to feed those who are hungry.

I fight, not because I think that America will one day live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ I fight because God’s Kingdom already does, and His love compels me to do the same!

“And in the days of these kings the God of Heaven will set up a Kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the Kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.”

Daniel 2:44

Hazards on Memory Lane


Most people who know me know my love of historical things. I enjoy flipping through magazines filled with images of old-timey stone cottages, reading classic books by authors such as those by Jules Verne, and watching old shows including the Three Stooges and Sanford and Son. When I have time on my hands, I’ll spend hours perusing various ancestry websites in hopes of adding another branch to my family tree. What brings me even greater delight though, is strolling through the seemingly endless aisles of a vintage shop and seeing history up close.

While miscellaneous trinkets are commonplace in most shops, sometimes you might come across an old gun, or even a grenade. Overall, antique weapons are a rare find, making them extremely valuable. Though at one time it was an unpopular hobby, collecting antique guns has peaked since World War II. One doesn’t need a special permit to lawfully purchase an antique gun, as the odds of anything bad happening are few. Sometimes, still, these antiquated weapons wreak havoc in modern times.

That was the case in a recent news story of a 12-year-old boy from Virginia who died after receiving extensive injuries from a hand grenade. It had been purchased nearly six months before from an antique store in North Carolina. Investigators have continued to look into the details surrounding the accident, and fear that other live grenades were sold from that same store. The tragedy that occurred, a day short of Christmas Eve, parallels history itself.

Where Danger Lurks

Just as people assumed the 76 year-old hand grenade wasn’t lethal, otherwise they wouldn’t have kept it as a souvenir, I wonder if many also assume the past has no real effect over the present — even the uglier parts of history. We say to ourselves along with S.E. Hinton’s Byron, “That was then, this is now.” After all, time heals all wounds—right?

Despite what we might tell ourselves, time alone can’t heal, and we find the present sometimes decides to “fester like a sore—and then run,” as Langston Hughes put it. January 6 is a day Americans are likely to never forget when the Capitol building was overrun by thousands of people. I’ll always remember how I felt as I watched it all unfold on the television screen, only 20 miles away from my home. I was taken aback by the sheer number of people packed on the stairs. What shocked me, along with most of America, was the fact that the police seemed nearly invisible. Later I would hear the often-repeated phrase, “we didn’t see it coming,” in response to the lack of preparation.

Yet there were hints of it coming, just as there were signs that the grenade was in fact live. Speaking of the deadly accident in Virginia, Bob Morhard, an explosives safety consultant said that typically, working grenades feel very heavy, whereas “inert grenades, having been cleared of the explosive material inside, often have a hole to ‘see in the cavity that it’s empty.’”

Clear as Day

While most people wouldn’t know to look for these traits, the warnings of the Capitol siege were much harder to miss. With an already tense political climate made manifest in countless news stories and social media posts, it is hard to fathom how there was any element of surprise. Unsolved issues of the past were simply waiting for the right moment to be made manifest. The result—a devastating turn of events that dumbfounded the entire world.

So, how can we keep ourselves safe from the past? By first facing it. We can’t reflexively put a stamp on it. Instead, we need to examine it closely and have those uncomfortable conversations. James Baldwin once said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” Coming to terms with reality is the crucial step in promoting change. Although we can’t eradicate the events of the past, even if we pretend to, we can empty those “hand grenades” of their powder and save ourselves and future generations to come.

20/20 Vision

We are but a few days into 2021. But the question is, financially, do you have 2020 vision? Contrary to popular belief a person with 20/20 vision does not have perfect sight, but what they do have is visual acuity. Visual acuity means that you see things with sharpness and clarity. It means you can see things at least 20 feet away.

The financial hardships experienced in the year 2020 have left and indelible impression providing greater clarity and sharpness, motivating us towards responsible financial stewardship in the year 2021. If after the year 2020, your financial acuity has remained the same, I suggest you check your prescription!

Now that the financial wreckage or carnage from the year 2020 has been laid bare before us, where do we begin? In this blog we begin with being honest in our reality assessments. According to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System survey in 2019, the median White family wealth was $188,200.00. Conversely, the median Black and Hispanic family wealth was $24,100 or less than 15% of White families. If you’re going to improve financially in 2021 the following two action items are nonelective starting points.


The terms income and wealth are used interchangeably but they actually mean quite different things. A person could be living on a fixed monthly earned social security income of $1,200.00, while dwelling in their home valued at $700,000.00. We consider that person low income. But if that’s all they have and no debt, they could be considered wealthy or have a high net worth.

In order to measure your progress towards your goals this year, the following exercise must be completed. List all you assets like money in the bank, investment accounts, your car, market value of your home, insurance policy, furniture and other assets. Then list your liabilities such as mortgages, car note, credit card balances and student loans. Subtract your liabilities from your assets and determine your net worth. If you don’t know your personal worth you can’t know your personal growth!


It does not matter if you had one last year and didn’t stick to it. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never had one or you have one in your head. Take the time this week to create one for the year 2021. If you already have one, take the time to review and revise. There’s always a way to improve on what you already have working for you. Show your budget some love and have enjoyable spending incorporated along with your priorities.

With your budgeting process remember Rome was not built in a day, but it was built. Therefore, attack your budget goals section by section or area by area and not all at once. Don’t think of your budget as cutting your spending only. It may also reveal areas in which you should earn more income and growth. And for heaven’s sake, don’t make budgeting a hassle when there are apps available to help you better manage your finances in today’s economy. This is another action item for you to complete this week or this month. Don’t fudge it-budget!


Finally, there is a new administration coming to Washington in a few days. While Presidents do not make or break an economy by themselves, they do have an impact. The top three United States Presidents from a stock market return perspective are Calvin Coolidge 1023-1929 with a market performance of 26.1% per year; Bill Clinton 1993-2001 with a market performance of 15.2% per year and Barack Obama 2009-2017 with a market performance of 13.8% per year. This year, as you grow in your finances pay attention to the financial changes ahead. They are coming!


“When Peace Becomes Obnoxious”

A Reflection on the Siege of the U.S. Capitol by Domestic Terrorists

Lord, public shame belongs to us, our kings, our leaders, and our fathers, because we have sinned against you. – Daniel 9:8 (CSB)

On January 6, 2021 Democracy was attacked. While Senators and House Representatives debated the electoral votes from the state of Arizona, domestic terrorists scaled the walls of the U.S. Capitol. Shattering windows and breaking doors, insurrectionists entered the offices of elected officials and even illegally entered the Senate floor. A most egregious act was to see an anarchist standing from the very podium only moments earlier Vice President Mike Pence and Madam Speaker Nancy Pelosi stood.

Framed as a “March for Trump” with self-proclaimed protestors decrying voter fraud and mistrust in the electoral process, the nation could not help but compare the treatment of Black Lives Matter protestors to how police dealt with the anarchists who only yesterday lived to tell of how they illegally broke into a federal building vandalizing the edifice and the private property of elected officials.

America Has Not Changed

This was not a display of liberty. This was not a display of justice. The concern of these terrorists was not national peace nor the integrity of our electoral process. Yesterday’s violence was a result of eight years of a Black president, four years of a Trump presidency, and the election of the country’s first Black and Indian, female Vice President. The anger, vitriol, and ignorance espoused from these terrorists is an outgrowth of the racist, bigoted rhetoric exemplified by the President of these yet to be United States.

This siege of the U.S. Capitol revealed to the world that White nationalism remains the greatest threat to democracy and political progress here in America. It further solidifies that White supremacist terror is not a figment of the American imagination, a memory of the country of old. This mutiny may have been incited by President Trump, but it was fueled by the wounds of a lost Civil War exactly 160 years ago.

As a White nationalist walked the Confederate flag through the halls of the U.S. Capitol it became clear to me that some Americans are still reeling over the loss of the Civil War. White supremacists and the descendants of the confederate leaders of the American South are still grieved over the federal mandate of the emancipation of enslaved Africans. They are still enraged over decades of society’s attempt to embrace and acknowledge the humanity of Blacks, the Indigenous, and other people of color.

“When Peace Becomes Obnoxious”

How American leaders and citizens respond to this moment will either show our courage or our cowardice. Now, is not the time to cry aloud for a peace that longs for the absence of tension. Exactly 8 days before the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and 11 days before his national holiday, I am reminded of a sermon he delivered in Montgomery, AL on March 18, 1956 entitled, “When Peace Becomes Obnoxious.”

Delivered the day before his trial for violating Alabama’s anti-boycott law, King declared, “peace is not merely the absence of…tension, but the presence of justice.” As he continues, his words seem to resound as the courageous reminder we all need to hear: “And even if we didn’t have this tension, we still wouldn’t have positive peace. Yes, it is true that if the Negro accept this place, accepts exploitation, and injustice, there will be peace. But it would be an obnoxious peace. It would be a peace that boiled down to stagnant complacity, deadening passivity. And if peace means this, I don’t want peace.”

I can’t help but agree. For if peace means the objection of a Biden-Harris administration, then I don’t want peace. If peace means the rejection of Senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, then I don’t want peace. If peace means the acceptance of government corruption, then I don’t want peace. If peace means turning a blind eye to White supremacist terror, then I don’t want peace. If peace means four more years of Donald Trump as President of the United States, then I don’t want peace.

True Peace

The peace I long for my country is the peace Jesus speaks of John 14:27 when he says, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful.” The peace of Jesus is a security in Him, His power, His presence, His just kingdom. It is not a peace that seeks to escape or avoid tension. But instead, it is, as Dr. King wrote a “peace [that] is the presence of positive good.”

So, as we reflect upon the events of yesterday some in shock, horror, dismay, and others a numb nonchalance accustom to such violence, my lament for us is that we do not run from these moment. “Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful.” Now is not the time to backdown on the work of justice. Now, more than ever do we need a peace that does not shrink in cowardice, but stands in the face of aggression; stands in the face of racism; stands in the face of anarchy; stands though the heavens fall and remains steadfast to the work of producing “the presence of positive good.”

My Prayer

I close with the final words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s sermon: “Our Father God, who dost overarch our fleeting years with thine eternity and dost undergird our weakness with thy strength, in the midst of the pressures of another day, as we face its vast concerns. Above all else save us from succumbing to the tragic temptation of becoming cynical.”

This is my prayer…in Jesus name,


What 2020 and COVID-19 Taught Us Financially

This is not a notice or warning coming from your local police department or neighborhood watch group. Some of you may surmise that since the community in which you live is gated or filled with educated professionals that this notice is simply not applicable to you. But this kind of bank robbery only requires you to posses a bank account or a credit union account. With 40 million and counting individuals unemployed, stimulus checks being handed out of $1,200.00 or more, and the United States Treasury pouring trillions of dollars into the economy, how do you know your money is safe? Here’s the skinny! Or as some would say, here are some facts!

Financial Institution Coverage

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insures most consumer funds deposited into the bank, while the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) insures most funds deposited into a credit union. In general your deposits are covered up to two hundred and fifty-thousand dollars ($250,000.00). What you should know is that not all banks are FDIC insured or covered dollar for dollar on your account.

Some banks may have FDIC insurance coverage for only a percentage of your money deposited. For example, a bank may have FDIC insurance coverage of only fifty cents on each dollar. Which means that if you have $100,000.00 dollars in your account you will only be insured or covered for up to $50,000.00 dollars of your total balance. Can you afford to lose fifty percent or any amount of your hard earned funds during a pandemic? Or, can you afford to lose fifty percent of your earnings when most Americans have less than three months of emergency savings in their deposit accounts? Bank robbery! Check to see if your bank is FDIC insured dollar for dollar.

Which Accounts are Covered

FDIC insurance covers all types of deposits received at an insured bank, including checking accounts, negotiable order of withdrawal (NOW) accounts, savings accounts, money market deposit accounts (MMDAs), certificates of deposit (CD) and other time deposits, and official items issued by a bank (such as cashier’s checks or money orders). Keep your deposits within these type of accounts.

Which Accounts are Not Covered

FDIC does not insure non deposit investment products, even if they were purchased from an insured bank, including annuities, mutual funds, stocks, bonds, government securities, municipal securities and US Treasury securities. Here is an interesting point: the contents of a safety deposit box are not insured by the FDIC. (Make sure you read the contract you signed with the bank when you rented the safety deposit box in the event that some other type of insurance is provided. Some banks may make a very limited payment if the box or contents are damaged or destroyed, depending on the circumstances.) Go in and speak with your banker immediately!

Check Your Coverage

FDIC and NCUSIF insure accounts under different categories at each financial institution. For example, one category is single ownership of deposit accounts while another is joint ownership deposit accounts. For accounts which are only in your name the sum of all your deposits at a single institution are insured up to $250,000.00. If you and your spouse have a joint checking and savings account at a bank your total coverage for the joint account is $500,000.00. This would also be in addition to the coverage you each have for any single owned accounts at the bank. Check on all your bank accounts to avoid being a victim of the next bank robbery.

Ruthven R. Phillip, Esq., is a tax attorney, Stewardship and Philanthropy Ministry Assistant, and CEO of Give2Getrich, LLC . Give2Get Rich, LLC 2020. All Rights Reserved. Any distribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited.


This article is part of our 2021 January / February Issue
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The Time of Departure

Time truly does fly

Who would have thunk it that when we began to write this column under the caption LifeTalk—with the January/February 2000 issue of Message—we would do so for 21 uninterrupted years? We didn’t!

What started as a conversation over lunch—in the fall of 1999 with Dwain Neilson Esmond at that time the associate editor of Message—has led us to this point. Dozens of columns, three editors—Ron Smith, Washington Johnson, and Carmela Monk Crawford—thousands of interactions with interested, captivating and gratified readers of questions posed, have filled our lives with blessings beyond measure. 

“Then why are you leaving?” Glad you asked. Because we thought it prudent to choose a time of departure while there was still a degree of interest in what we have to say about relationships in general and intimate relationships in particular. We also consider that we have enjoyed the privilege of sharing through this modality in the public square long enough, and the time has come for other voices to be given an opportunity to be heard as they grapple with the weighty concerns of your lives. 

Truth be told, at some level we feel like the Apostle Paul when he expressed his straightforward, sober and sincere sentiments about the reality of his circumstances when he announced in 2 Timothy 4:7; “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” As he writes to Timothy, his younger missionary associate, Paul is in prison in Rome and can read the proverbial handwriting on the wall. While Paul knew his time of departure was just around the corner and looked forward to his heavenly reward as final vindication for his work on earth, we are more in tune—at this juncture—with his declaration of keeping the faith. 

Keeping the faith in writing this column has meant churning out our 500-to-600-word essay on time regardless of circumstances. It has meant sharing with you the unvarnished truth about the questions you posed on specific relationship issues, when it would have been so much easier to tell you what you wanted to hear. Keeping the faith for these many years has meant leading you to the sanctified source of the best relationship skills content ever, the word of God, and the Word—Jesus Christ Himself. 

To be sure, what better advice can anyone give or get about navigating difficult relationships in marriage, parenting, grandparenting, in addition to relationships with siblings and cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents and in-laws, girlfriends and boyfriends, not to mention neighbors and co-workers, than what James 1:19 says: “…Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (NIV). This is the gospel in workclothes right here. If you can practice and hone these incredibly exceptional relational skills with everyone in your circles of relationships, you will be of all humans amazingly delightful and delighted. 

So, we are getting off here, as we pen our last piece for Relationship Rx. We do so with hearts filled with gratitude for the privilege afforded us which has been a superb blessing to our own marriage relationship. For in being honest with you about your relationships, it pushed us to be true with ourselves about ours. By employing the skills and attitudes we implored you to put into practice, we are still standing in our marriage after 36 plus years. For this reason, we are thankful to God for the distinct favor of occupying this time and space, which have been our relationship gym for these 21 years. 

In parting we say God bless you. Remember to be patient, kind and forgiving in all of your relationships every day. And if we don’t ever run into each other anywhere down here, let’s plan to meet on the sea of glass where all of God’s children will wear magnificent robes and mighty good shoes. 


WILLIE OLIVER, Ph.D., C.F.L.E., an ordained minister, pastoral counselor and family sociologist, is director of the Department of Family Ministries for the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church World Headquarters. family.adventist.org; hopetv.org/realfamilytalk oliverw@gc.adventist.org 

ELAINE OLIVER, M.A., L.G.P.C., C.F.L.E., a counseling psychologist and educator, is associate director of the Department of Family Ministries for the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church World Headquarters. family.adventist.org; hopetv.org/realfamilytalk olivere@gc.adventist.org


This article is part of our 2021 January / February Issue
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Tips for Living Your Healthiest Life

Some of the best things to do to manage these times involve making choices that support a healthy immune system and healthier outcomes:

1. Create a regular habit of prayer, meditation and Bible Study.

Science confirms the value of prayer and meditation on the brain and the body. Whether you are on the train, or your car, or in your closet at home, talking to the Creator God is life-changing. And, according to scripture the original Hebrew meaning for meditate means to “moan, growl, utter, muse, mutter, mediate, devise, plot, imagine or speak.” Sounds like a great time in conversation with Jesus, pouring out your soul. What relief! Couple that with study of His word that will lead and guide you into all truth.

2. Stay physically active.

Keep moving. Activity improves circulation which helps blood cells do their jobs to keep you healthy. It also improves excretion of harmful substances. Don’t worry about the cold, just bundle up. You’ll even breathe more deeply as you walk which means your lungs get a better workout too.

3. Get as much sun as you can.

Try to get 15-30 minutes of sunlight every day that you can see it. It’s the best source of Vitamin D which is critical in immune health. And, it’s also good for people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

4. Eat a plant powered diet.

Plant foods, especially garlic, cruciferous vegetables and citrus fruits are full of immune boosting properties. And, the cruciferous foods – kale, collards, cabbage, brussels sprouts are excellent for detox.

5. Talk to a professional.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, find a professional that you can talk to. Therapy works. Here are links for great therapy resources https://blackmentalhealthmatters.carrd.co 

I Once Was Blind…

Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President, NY

Well, if you are looking for inspiration this year as you make choices to improve your health, we are convinced that you will be motivated by Eric Adams’ story. As President of the Brooklyn Borough, he is one very busy person. And, that has been the story of his life. He previously served as a police officer and then in the state senate. He’s very honest about his old lifestyle habits, stating that staff at his favorite fast food places knew exactly what he wanted to order.

One morning in 2016, Eric woke up and could not see the clock. In addition, he’d had a pain in his stomach that would not go away. He went to the doctor and was told that he had an ulcer and was in the final stages of diabetes. His hemoglobin A1c was 17. He was told to turn in his driver’s license, take a slew of medications and prepare to lose some toes, and maybe fingers due to the effect of neuropathy.

Disappointed at the prognosis, he went home and decided to do some research. He had a family history of diabetes, cancer, hypertension and many of his family members were on multiple medications. 

Adams remembers being at a family reunion with his mom when she realized that she had forgotten her diabetes medication. Though he was willing to go get them, his mother asked if anyone had any diabetes meds that she could take. Nearly everyone in the room pulled out a plastic case and showed their pillboxes. They were packing a pharmacy: metformin, sulfonylureas, statins, blood pressure medications and many others. 

Adams determined to discontinue that legacy. So, he opened his computer and instead of typing “managing diabetes” he typed in “reversing diabetes,” and, boy was his life outlook changed. He discovered that diabetes did not have to mean all the things that he had been told. He found out that he would have to make some significant changes. But, if it meant he wouldn’t be blind or lose limbs, he was game. So, he got busy changing his diet and making other healthier choices.

In three weeks, Adams’ vision was totally restored. In three months he no longer had symptoms of diabetes and was off all his medication. And, somewhere along the way, his stomach stopped hurting and the ulcer went away. Four years later, he is still healthy and is on a mission to help as many people as he can. And, he’s convinced that diseases that we suffer from are not in your DNA, but in your Dinner. 

Eric shares his amazing story in his new book Healthy At Last. And, it has some delicious plant powered recipes to help you on your journey. The Power Red Smoothie and Sweet Potato Cornbread are delicious. I’ve partnered with him in a national faith-based health initiative called The Healthy At Last Initiative: Health Promotion for Communities of Faith in the African American Tradition. 

Our editor, Carmela Monk-Crawford and our online content editor Claudia Allen interviewed him on the Message podcast. You will thoroughly enjoy that too. 

Kale Soup

•Small amount of olive oil or coconut oil

1 cup veggie ham, cut into strips OR veggie sausage, sliced

1 yellow onion, sliced

2-3 cloves garlic, chopped

head small, green cabbage, shredded/cut into thin strips

1 small bunch kale, shredded/cut into thin strips

1 large tomato, diced

2 large red potatoes, washed well and diced

2 quarts of water, more if necessary

2 tablespoons McKays Chicken Style Seasoning, 

•Pepper-Like Seasoning, savory, thyme, salt, red pepper flakes to taste

In a large pot, place a small amount of olive or coconut oil. Heat and add veggie meat, stir-frying till brown. Add onions and garlic. Cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add cabbage, kale, tomato and potatoes. Stir-fry till cabbage and greens are limp. Stir in seasonings. Add 1 quart of water, then more to allow for ingredients to float around. Bring to boil, then turn down and let simmer till potatoes are tender. Add more water if necessary. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serves 4-6


Garlic Spinach Pasta

•Olive oil

½ cup your favorite veggie burger

1 onion

1 bell pepper – 1/2 green, 1/2 yellow

4-6 cloves garlic, minced

2-3 cups fresh spinach

2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning

½ cup chopped, fresh basil

1 teaspoon oregano

½ cup non-dairy mozzarella cheese

½ cup green onion, sliced

1 box whole grain spaghetti, boiled and drained

•Non-dairy Parmesan cheese

•Season to taste with McKay’s or other Vegan Chicken Bouillon and Nutritional Yeast Flakes.

Brown veggie burger in a small amount of olive oil. Add onions, bell pepper and garlic and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Add spinach and steam till wilted. Stir in pasta, green onions, basil and seasonings. Adjust to taste. Top with vegan Parmesan Cheese. Serves 6-8.

Day-Starter Smoothies

½ cup pineapple, diced

1 peach, seeded

1 mango, seeded

1 cup strawberries, frozen

2 large kale leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon your favorite grain or seed (flax, almond, oats)

Place all ingredients in blender and process until smooth. If processed slowly, you should not have to add any liquid. Frozen fruit makes it creamier. Yield: About 4 cups


1 banana

1 cup pineapple

1 cup mango

1 avocado

½ – 1 cup shredded kale

1 piece ginger

1 cup coconut milk

You can also make up your own smoothie bags and freeze until ready to use. 

DONNA GREEN GOODMAN, M.P.H., writes from Huntsville, Alabama where she and her husband operate Lifestyle Therapeutix, A Lifestyle For Better Health Center.  www.lifestyletherapeutix.com She is a health educator who has been a college professor, National Ambassador for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure “Circle of Promise” Campaign, and is  author of Somethin’ to Shout About!, (Orion Enterprises, 1999), Cookin’ Up Good Health, (Still Shoutin’, 2008) and executive producer of her own cooking show “Cookin’ Up Good Health!” which aired on HOPETV.  Cook Up Good Health with her on Donna’s YouTube Cooking Channel.

This article is part of our 2021 January / February Issue
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Serve God. Serve Country.


ome of the polemics from the Senate race in the state of Georgia included the, resurrected and misappropriated statement that the Reverend Doctor Raphael Warnock made in a sermon 10 years ago. 

At the crescendo of his sermon, Warnock said “You can’t serve God and the military…” . That statement has been used as the catapult to launch assertions that he is not patriotic and should not be elected to represent the state of Georgia as a Senator. 

He did say those words, but, context still matters. The larger point that he was making in that sermon was that divided loyalty is idolatry. Misplaced priorities displace integrity. When principles and policy conflict, the principle should take precedence.

If his sentiments, 10 years ago were, indeed, antithetical to patriotism, his body of work as a committed community activist and as an advocate for justice, equality, equanimity, health care and a living wage would be non sequiturs. 

Civil Servants in the Bible

The argument is a ruse and a straw man. The Biblical example of Joseph comes to mind first. Clearly disadvantaged by his imprisonment, he providentially rose to the highest ranks of Egyptian government. He served with the same honest discernment in the courts of Pharaoh as he did in Potiphar’s house, or even the home of his own father.

What about Saul and David? Both warriors and kings. Both men whom God selected to serve Him by leading the nation of their birth. Curiously, while serving in defense of their nation, both failed. Both were punished, not because of their military service, but, because of their personal folly. Saul did not recover. David was redeemed.

Then, remember Naaman, the leper. He was a decorated soldier and advisor to his king, prior to his conversion. As he is leaving the prophet Elisha, he asks for an indulgence because he served at the pleasure of his king, who was an idolater. Rather than condemn, excoriate or counsel him to quit his job, Elisha simply says to Him “Go in peace!”

Clearly, in Elisha’s mind, it is possible to serve God and serve patriotically, simultaneously. To be a civil servant, soldier, police officer, fireman or other first responder is not a sin. In fact, performing civic duty is really where the rubber on the wheels of Christian faith meet the roads of practical spirituality. 

We Will All Be Judged for Integrity and Body of Work

Deeds done in the course of civil service, or, a thought passionately expressed during a sermon, are not the only things that God uses to judge a person’s body of work and character. We should similarly seek to balance the body of someone’s work against 30 seconds of rhetoric, detached from its original context. 

Whoever wins the election in Georgia, like the other 99 U. S. Senators, will take a patriotic oath similar to the one that all military people take. It says: 

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

Whatever the bent, heretofore, those who win elections to serve the people of a community make a commitment to protect the interest of their constituents and to serve with the best interest of the least among them in mind. The pivotal question to consider is whether the weight of rhetoric is heavier than the laborie corpus. Does a sentence weigh more than a lifestyle and a lifetime of committed and visible service? Patriotism is found when we act in support of the common good to advance the process of creating a more perfect union. That is a goal in harmony with the will of God.  


At the conclusion of each year we find ourselves engaging in the ritual of making resolutions for the New Year. What kept you from keeping your 2020 resolutions? The pandemic alone is reason enough. But, there are additional reasons why we fail to sustain our resolutions. So let’s consider some of those pitfalls as we plan for 2021.

All Resolutions are not equal

Let’s face it, some resolutions are much more difficult to follow through on than others. Financial resolutions are some of the most difficult to maintain. In other words, the failure rate of people not following through on their financial resolutions are greater than other areas of commitment. But Why? The truth is financial resolutions involve transparency. There is a sense of guilt and shame associated with our financial behavior and therefore we don’t talk about it. Hence the reason why our success rate of financial resolutions is low. In this area of your life be realistic. Financial resolutions are emotional so don’t rush into them.

Resolution Purpose

The fact that the calendar has changed to a new year is not reason enough to make a resolution. Is the month of January really the best time for you to make a resolution in this Covid-19 season? There must be purpose and or benefits driving your resolution! Think about the benefits of having a budget, how it might reduce your stress level, even cause you to become debt free so that you can enjoy vacations. The more practical and pragmatic you can make the benefit outcomes to your goals, the more likely you are to achieve success.

Is it all or nothing?

Resolutions also fail because you have an all or nothing approach. Let’s say you planned to save 10% of your income in 2021 and you achieved your goal in January but were only able to save 5% in February, then what? For some of you it means that you have broken your resolution or failed and now you want to give up. What you need to recognize is that you are actually succeeding! It’s not like you didn’t save any money in February. It’s only that you were not able to reach the 10% bench mark established as the goal. But you are a winner, saving 5%, verses nothing! Too many resolutions are not achieved because of the all or nothing approach. Is that the ”hill you’re going to die on” in 2021?

Where are you?

In making your financial resolutions you need to determine what stage of life you are in. For example, some people think that by age 22 you should have completed your first college degree and any mistakes made up until that point can be attributed to being young and foolish. Then from age 22 through 35 might be the time to get married and raise a family. From age 35 through 55 is when you should earn money and become an entrepreneur. After that, it’s time to focus on retirement. Knowing where you are in life can help guide you in making financial resolutions. It can help determine things like how much you need and what’s the next step for you. Don’t just make financial resolutions without proper context.

As you make financial plans and goals for 2021 I want you to be realistic. Think about the process and progress incrementally. Then think about your resolutions as a covenant verses contract. In a contract, if one side breaches, the entire contract is voided. Whereas, in a covenant, if one party breaches, the entire agreement remains in place. Just because you failed in keeping your commitment in one month or one time don’t give up on the covenant during the year. Keep going!  Your covenant resolution is still in effect. Plan well in 2021.