Enough Divisiveness

I admit, in my lifetime I have not seen this country so divided. I lived through a potion of segregation and saw the end of Jim Crow. I recall when Martin Luther King was assassinated and can remember motorcycle gangs roaring down the streets of Baltimore following the assassination. Yet, somehow this country largely pulled together to stand for right. Petty differences were laid aside in hope of a uniting nation. King, in part, sought to draw people together by reason of a common thread. That thread was that we were, and remain, of the same substance. That substance remains in that we are all human beings made in the image of God. Because of that there is more to bind us than to divide us.

I clearly recall the time this nation was attacked. Our towers in New York were destroyed. The Pentagon was a target and another plane went down in Pennsylvania. All of a sudden there were United States flags everywhere. The people of this land began to stand shoulder-to-shoulder. A return to God began to be the mantra of the hour. We were all United States citizens and there would be no force to break that bond. Unfortunately, this bond of unity would not last. The ugliness of divisiveness would soon rear its ugly head. All of a sudden everyone was to blame except those perpetrating the most horrendous acts.

Now, not long after those tragic events we had an election. The election was legally won and our new President will soon take office. Yet, there are some that see reason to be divisive and call the soon to be Head of State illegitimate. Others have chosen not to attend the presidential inauguration by reason of the false rhetoric of an illegitimate election. These words and actions have only served to divide a nation that is already in the worst state of harmony that I can recall in my lifetime. Well, enough of this divisiveness already!

Frankly, the Church has not acted much better. Perhaps this is why the country is acting so untoward. It is high time the Church began to remove the ridiculous rhetoric of divisiveness and rancor and began to pull together according to the Word of God. There is no room in the House of God for division. There is much room for love. After all, men will know that we are brothers by our love. That love is not merely a purported love for God. No, it is action taken which shows that we love each other. This could mean helping a family in need of help. It may mean lending a shoulder to cry on. That love might also me demonstrated in helping to heal the hurts of the past. No matter how that love is demonstrated it serves not to divide. Instead, true love serves to unite. This is the ministry of those that love; reconciliation.

The example of love demonstrated by the Church is a love that is apt to spill into the world. Even so, the love the Church demonstrates is really a type of love provided by the Godhead. The fact is that God so loved the world that He gave His son. The Son so loved that He gave His life. The Holy Spirit so loves that He dwells in man. Love is a reciprocal matter that has not time to entertain divisiveness. Love is not familiar with rancor. Instead, love seeks to reconcile broken people to those who have been hurt and damaged by the abomination of hate.

King was right. One’s pigmentation is not a matter that should be considered in any instance. Instead, we should look to the heart of man as God does. We live in a strong nation and ought not to be divided by the vitriolic and visceral verbiage of those that choose not love. The divisive nature of some in this country is only causing a divide that could bring about the downfall of this great nation. This is unacceptable and far from Christ-like. Enough of this divisiveness! It is time we broke the bands of this that binds us and remember the part of King’s dream that can and must be more than a dream. He looked forward to the day when we all can join together and not just sing the old Negro spiritual but actually walk in the words – Free at last, free at last. Thank God, almighty, we’re free at last!

The State of the Church

Last evening the President of the United States of America presented his sixth State of the Union address. During the address a number of issues were raised. Some of those issues caused a collective scratching of heads with many across this great land. One such item was that the President touted financial success by reason of policies he has implemented and that the nation’s unemployment levels have steadily gone down over his tenure. Unfortunately the only reason the unemployment levels appear to have fallen is because about ninety-three million people of fallen out of the employment picture and are not looking for work because of the lack of jobs and have exhausted all benefits. This is not to mention the fact that when the President took office the debt was about nine trillion dollars and now stands over eighteen trillion dollars.

There are many other items that can be addressed in the President’s speech however it might be more beneficial to discuss the State of the Church as the Church has had many successes over the past year. For instance the Church is strong and growing. Despite the attacks on fundamental Christianity the Church has not folded. Instead Christianity is beginning to stand its ground in favour of traditional Judeo-Christian values and refusing to relent to the boisterous cry of those that seek only the demise of the one entity that recognizes the one true and living God. Evangelical Christians are digging deeper in the trenches of holiness as it furthers the Great Commission.

Even so there are problems in the Church. And problems are nothing new in the Church particular if one considers the issues Paul addressed concerning the Church at Corinth. This is evident in I Corinthians 3:3 where he states that “ye are yet carnal.” This carnality meant that the church was much like the world at large and that carnality was detrimental to the Church in a number of ways. The same is true with the Church today. There are many that cannot eat the meat of the Gospel as they are still on milk. Among many there has been no growth so that some local bodies have become stagnant. This stagnation has led to frivolous programs called ministries which serve only to create social clubs in these Houses of Worship. These things ought not to be so.

Likewise there has been a pulling away from the historical teaching of Christ in futile efforts to reach those presumed unreachable in traditional terms. Hence music has changed from worship to entertainment wherein in some localities it is becoming increasingly more difficult to determine if the churches are parts of the Church or clubs. This, in part, has caused a double standard with congregants wherein lives outside the local bodies are less godly and more carnal. This is to say that many of these in the Church are Sunday saints and often barely that. As such the State of the Church is weakening because the Great Commission has been changed from going to all the world and teaching the Gospel to bringing the world into the Church by compromising the Gospel.

And there are hosts of other matters in the Church that need to be addressed just as they were addressed by Paul. Schisms in the Church caused unnecessary divides just as they do today. With this the Church needs to lay aside petty differences in order to further the Gospel while using the love of Christ to embrace each other so that the world can see the love we have one for another and be positively affected by it. This love means that there is no fornication it the Church. Lies will become a thing of the past as the truth becomes all the more paramount with the true and living God at the helm. This will result in respect for the people of God as pastors and ministers work tirelessly to hone their prophetic skill thereby pointing men to the foot of the cross.

It is absolutely true that the State of the Church is strong and that many are being brought into the fold. Likewise there are problems that need to be addressed in that strong things, even the church, need to be maintained so that the strengths do not become weaknesses. Let us, then, lay aside the carnality which seeks only to uproot that which is holy and pick up the ways of righteousness which serves to bolster and under gird a strong a prospering Church.

Some of My Story

Here of late there has been much rhetoric against police departments. It has been said in various ways that the police have certain animus against a particular people group and that they seek to find ways to kill those for which they have no love. Often overlooked is the crime in certain areas and that crime is blamed on ideas such as unemployment and lack of education. Well, I dare say that the police are not the enemies of any community and that unemployment and lack of education are not synonymous with crime.

I know; I can already hear some naysayers debunking just the few words that show above. However in order to make my points clear I must discuss some of my story. You see I was born during a time in when Jim Crow was coming to an end. The part of Baltimore wherein I was raised was far from the best place in town and after a short marriage my parents divorced when I was in early elementary school. Yet somehow I did not fall to the pull of crime. I have no children save those from my wife and all of whom were conceived during marital bliss. Still somehow I have not been reduced to the level of a criminal and have never had a negative experience with law enforcement.

The fact of the matter is that if one does not do anything to draw the attention there is a very good chance they will not be stopped by the police. I can say this of a certainty not only personally but also professionally. I can count on one had the number of times I have been stopped by police and, surprisingly, none of those two times was in Baltimore. I was not disrespected and neither did I disrespect the police. After a couple minutes conversation the police learned that I was not a problem child and they went about their way. Moreover I can say that as a police dispatcher in Baltimore and Chesapeake, Virginia that the police are usually so busy handling calls for service that there is simply no time to pick on people merely because of skin colour.

Now, I have not always enjoyed the academic success I have. This lack of college education did not cause me to fall to crime and to raise a voice against law enforcement. Instead when the opportunity arose I found reason to better myself and to work diligently in order to obtain the education needed in order to be a success. Even more I never took a job so that I would not turn to crime nor did I study for years in academia to lift a voice of hate. Instead I worked and continue to work to pull me and mine from what could be dismal failure. This is not to say that I have had an easy life and that I enjoy a life of luxury now. Neither is the case. Yet my background does not lend reason for me to lash out against those who protect not me alone but also all those that have need of protection.

My point is that I am tired of the police bashing that has been going on in this nation. Scripture teaches that we should honour those that deserving of honour. Police officers deserve absolute honour in that they do a job that most do not want to do. They work in the face of sudden danger and death yet they uphold their oaths defending not only the defenseless but also upholding the Constitution. If the powers that be will not call for peace with the police then I will. I will stand with them because they stand for law and order. I will raise the banner of unity because a divided nation will only fall. I will say thank you to those police who work daily to prevent the chaos of an unlawful mob.
It is important to note that I have been on a number of police ride-a-longs. Some were by choice and others job related. I have seen people hurt by the hands of criminals and police work to bring some healing. And while it is true that the police are not social workers and most certainly not members of the clergy they are human beings with a love for fellow man. The era of Jim Crow is over so it is time we came out of the past. The Klu Klux Klan is no longer serving as the enforcement arm of the Democratic Party and if any members are in our police departments they are well hidden. So let us lay down the destructive banner of hate and raise the restorative banner of love in order to bridge a divide created by lies and false narratives.

Love, this is why so many work at an often thankless job in law enforcement. Love is what causes so many to put their lives on the line for the sake of other lives. Love is why Christ became incarnate in order to reconcile broken man with a loving Father. It is this love that can reconcile man with man in order to present a type of the relationship we should enjoy with our Father. With that I urge some to look at some of my story and see that there is truly no reason to bemoan those that work hard to protect us and stand with them that stand daily in harm’s way just to make sure we are not harmed.

This new year let us not allow the broken rhetoric of a few determine the fate of many. Let us bridge the gap and work side-by-side with those that work with us.

Happy New Year!