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10 Steps to Reach Your Goal in 2018

10 Steps to Reach Your Goal in 2018

Rev. Jaron S. Green


Reaching a goal takes a tremendous amount of time and effort.  You deserve to be and to do what you have envisioned for yourself.  But, it’s all too easy to give up on what you truly want to accomplish.  Let me encourage you not to forfeit your inheritance.  Your ancestors have worked too hard for you to quit.  Work on your dreams everyday because no one else will work on it for you.  In order to make that happen, it requires an energy that can be tapped to accomplish your life goals.  As driven as you might be, passion alone will not sustain you throughout the journey to your personal goals.  Passion is an important element in the fuel formula that drives the engine of your success.  Another key element is your ability to prioritize.  You have to focus your eyes, your faith, your heart, and your feet FORWARD!  Passion and priorities yield productivity.  YOUR FUTURE is looking BRIGHT!  To get where you believe God wants you to go and be what you know God wants you to be, there are several steps you need to take that will get you focused.

STEP #1 – DETERMINE YOUR PRESENT POSITION

 

You’ve got to know where you are before you can know where you are going. To do that, ask yourself two questions:  1. Where am I now?  Honestly, assess where you are spiritually, financially, emotionally, relationally, physically, and occupationally?  You may value your privacy–not willing to share all your business with the public.  However, hiding from yourself will not help you move forward.  Open your mail.  Read it.  Then ask yourself,  2. What would I like to change?  In all of those areas you identified, what would you like to be different?  This determination will pave the way to greater persistence to reach your goals.

 

STEP #2 – BE SPECIFIC ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT


You will never reach a vague goal.  Long gone are the days of praying, “Any way you bless me, I’ll be satisfied.”  In order to get to where you want to be, you need to describe exactly what you want.  The more general it is, the less power it has.  But the more specific it is, the more power it has in your life.  Answer specifically – What do you want to be?  What do you want to do?  What do you want to have?  Why do you want it?  You can’t just know the what.   You need to know the why – that’s your motivation.  You don’t need to focus on the how for now because, once you figure out the why, God will show you how.  He will help you solve the problems that stand in the way of your goal.

 

STEP #3 – LOOK FOR GOD’S PROMISE

 

Godly goal-setting starts with a promise of God.  When you set a goal, don’t focus on the problems, focus on the promises.  Find a promise in God’s Word that will take you to your goal.  The size of your God determines the size of your goal.  Don’t look at your limitations; look at the promises of God.  Always look for the peace of God.  There you will see that He’s there to help you and to order your steps toward your achieving your goal.

 

STEP #4 — ASK GOD TO HELP YOU

 

If you aren’t praying for success, what are you praying for?  Failure?  Once you have found your promise in God’s Word, pray and ask God for success.  Your prayers reveal how serious you are about your goals.  If you don’t pray about them, perhaps you really don’t care about them.  Godly goals require Godly help.  The more you depend on God, the more you’ll pray on your journey to achieving your goals.  So determine your present position, decide what you want, find a promise from God to hold onto, claim it, and then ask God for help.

 

STEP #5 — IDENTIFY THE BARRIERS

 

Don’t get blindsided by obstacles.  Always be a step ahead.  Whatever your barrier is, you need to identify it so you can move forward.  It may be a financial problem, relational problem, or an educational problem holding you back. For some people, it’s an emotional barrier.  Many people sabotage their own success because they think they aren’t worthy of it.  Ask yourself, “Why haven’t I reached my goal already?” What are the barriers, obstacles, and roadblocks in your way?

“May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.”

Psalm 20:4

 

STEP #6 — CREATE A STEP-BY-STEP PLAN

 

My absolute favorite goal-tracking tool is keeping a personal journal.  When it comes to organizing my thoughts and plans, I write everything down.  For my largest goals, I have an Excel spreadsheet.  As you make plans to overcome your barriers and achieve your goals, I want you to ask yourself three questions.  1. How do you intend to get there once I know what my goal is?  2. How long will it take?  3. How will you know when you’ve arrived?  Asking these questions will determine your schedule, your deadlines, and your timeline.  This will help you think through a course of action.  It may seem like a lot of work – and you’re right, it will take time.  That’s why 95 percent of Americans have no written goals.  You can either drift through life or you can be directed through life by taking the time to think through where God wants you to be.  Reaching your goal is worth the effort.

 

STEP # 7 — BE PATIENT AND PERSISTENT

 

If you are going to really reach your goals in life, sometimes you have to delay gratification.  Less time on social media or Netflix could do you some good.  Sometimes, you have to do the tough thing instead of the fun thing, the right thing instead of the pleasurable thing.  Remember, nothing great is ever accomplished without sacrifice.  Patience and persistence will translate your dreams into work, and then into reality.  The people who succeed in life are the people who are willing to do what they don’t feel like doing in order to get what they want, and others don’t have.

 

STEP # 8 — ENLIST A TEAM FOR SUPPORT

 

Success is never a one-man job; it takes teamwork.  Spend time with people who are smarter than you.  Don’t try to impress them.  You can’t.  If they are spending their time with you, they are already impressed with what God has placed in you.  They can see it.  Just listen, take note, and heed wise counsel as it comes.  God wired us to walk in partnership.  There are some things in your life that you will never be able to change without the support, prayers, and encouragement of other people.  So, don’t be afraid to ask for help as you strive for your goals.

 

STEP # 9 — YOU MUST PAY THE PRICE

 

Success comes with a price tag.  The only thing free in this world is salvation from God through Jesus Christ – and that one’s free because Jesus paid the price on the cross.  Great goals require great sacrifice.  When you are serious about getting a focused life you need to ask three questions.  1. What will it cost?  2. What am I willing to give? 3. Is it worth it?

 

STEP #10 — ENJOY YOURSELF

 

Own your process.  Trust your process.  And, enjoy yourself.  Everyone’s journey toward their goals is a personal one.  Don’t waste time comparing your journey to another’s, but rather enjoy yourself as each day you get closer and closer to reaching your goal.  

 

Final Word: As a minister, one of my greatest desires is to see each and every person experience victory in your life.  I want you to GROW and MATURE in your faith.  I want you to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  I want you experiencing more and more of the Spirit’s work in your life every day.  I want you to have your prayers answered; to learn and obey God’s Word; to worship deeply and authentically; to have the joy of serving God in ministry; to learn to witness and do it; to fellowship in a community of believers.  I want you to have the joy of the Lord in your heart, the light of the Lord in your eyes, and the song of the Lord on your lips.

I want you to win the prize and be champions in your Christian life!  It’s time to take our Goals, and Our Plans, Get to Work and REACH OUR GOALS together.

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Free Thinking

Free Thinking

Rev. Jaron S. Green

 

One of the greatest works of creative ingenuity is the human form.  We are fearfully and wonderfully made. The human body has 100 trillion cells (that’s 10 to the 14th power) – a number that’s unimaginable to us, and even to politicians in Washington, unless you’re talking about national debt.  The human body has up to 840 MUSCLES.  What’s more, we have 206 BONES in the adult human body, and more than half are in the hands and feet.  I’m no doctor, but I can appreciate the 28 skull bones and 33 vertebrae that help hold our frame together.  The anatomy lesson continues when you consider the 40 different ORGANS in the human body.  I’m just trying to tell you – The human body is a complex and masterful creation – so complex that no man or woman, scientist or inventor can ever duplicate it.  YOU ARE GOD’S WONDER.  Time and technology bring us closer to understanding how the human body works.  However, neither time nor technology can recreate God’s wonder.  I thank God for science, but only GOD is GOD.  Only God could speak out over nothing and create everything.  Only God could say “Let there be light,” and light appears.  Only God could speak life, and life appears.  Only God could create the human brain with the ability to learn, perceive, reason, imagine, and believe.  Your mind is so brilliant that, as you were reading, it made a subconscious attempt to locate all of the bones and muscles that I mentioned earlier.  The mind is a terrible thing to waste.

 

The Bible warns about the wasteful plans of the enemy to steal, kill, destroy… YOU!  The enemy wants to destroy you spiritually by disrupting your everyday connection with God.  Not only that, the enemy wants to physically destroy you – your body, your health, your very earthly existence.  The enemy’s contingency plan for your destruction – in case he can’t outright kill you – is to get you to destroy yourself, MENTALLY.  He wants to make your destruction an inside job by making you an accomplice by analysis.  If you’re convinced to think you’re nothing, you’ll be nothing.  Your actions will lead to you doing and being nothing. If you think you’re a loser, you’ll be a loser.  If you think your opinion never counts, you won’t be speak out or be creative.  If you think no cares, you won’t care.  But if you think someone is watching, you’ll get fresh, comb your hair, buy some fancy fragrances, and dress to impress.  If you think you’re the man, you’ll try to be the man.  If you think you’re gifted, you’ll exercise your gifts and talents.  You’ll look for opportunities to SHINE! – We’ll have to try and sit you down!  If you think you’re a singer, you’ll try to sing – You won’t care what SIMON COWELL says.  For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.

 

That’s why the Bible is clear to tell us exactly WHAT to think ON:  Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”  Can you think of something good and praiseworthy?  Millions of Americans are affected by mental health conditions every year, 43.8 million, to be exact.  Many are suffering from misunderstanding and confusion – the inability to think of something good and praiseworthy.  Truthfully, some folk suffer in a mental battle with their human nature – the flesh, their own logic, their own intelligence, their own mind trying to outwit God, when He’s desperately trying to download a Heavenly mindset into you.  Quite simply, you can’t outwit Him, can’t outgive Him, can’t outlive Him, and can’t live without Him.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus – Philippians 2:5

 

Today, I want to begin to speak to ailments of the mind: distress, depression, desperation, and defeat.  I want to speak PEACE to every stressed mind.  I want to speak JOY to every depressed mind.  I want to speak LIFE to every desperate mind.  I want to speak VICTORY to every defeated mind.  God is going to correct your thinking, the misunderstanding, miseducation, and misinformation in your mind, with the REVELATION of the WORD!  Through Him, the Word, we have confidence, assurance, and strength.  He is our secret weapon waiting behind the closed door.  He is our refuge.  He is our place of sanctuary and safety.  He is our bridge over troubled waters.  He is our way out of no way.  He is our help in times of distress and turmoil and trouble.  And, when He died on the cross to redeem us, His resurrection gave us power to LIVE, really live. That means, we are victorious EVERYDAY in EVERY WAY.

 

What great consolation for your mind!  When family and friends aren’t there as you hoped they would be, Christ consoles you.  When you were so pessimistic that you had almost talked yourself out of a great opportunity, Christ encouraged you.  When you didn’t love yourself, Christ already loved you.  In times of terrible grief and loneliness, Christ has comforted you. His Holy Spirit fellowships with us, speaking to us in a still, small voice – and sometimes very audibly, sometimes moving upon us, sometimes stirring us.  That Spirit lives in us and participates in our daily journey as our everyday life-partner.  If we only knew what we have in Christ.  We do not have someone who is out of touch and unable to sympathize with our weaknesses.  We have someone who sits high but looks low.  We have someone one who has experienced exactly what you’ve experienced, who has been in your shoes, and who has been tempted and tested in every way.  He is ready to help you think through what’s been boggling you.  That means you don’t have to suffer, unless you want to.  You don’t have to be mentally beaten down, unless you want to.  You don’t have to be the one who goes home from a street fight with a black eye, unless you want one!  

 

Jesus Conquered DISTRESS.  In the Garden of Gethsemane, when he prayed and cried in anguish, He was grace under pressure.  He prayed, sweating so, until his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. Jesus conquered distress when he uttered the words – Nevertheless, not my will – but your will be done!  Jesus Conquered DEPRESSION.  Remember when he lost his friend Lazarus, or when his own hand-picked disciple betrayed him.  Remember when another disciple swore and denied him.  Jesus endured heartbreak.  But, the conquering moment happened from the cross, when Jesus said, “forgive them for what they’ve done to me – they don’t have any idea what they’re doing.”  Battle with depression WON!

 

Not only that, but when he was hanging on the cross, bleeding, suffering and slowly dying as an innocent man, Jesus Conquered DESPERATION.  When people stood watching, and the rulers sneered at him; when they said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One,” He was fighting for your mind.  When the soldiers mocked his thirst and offered him vinegar, in desperation, Jesus could have commanded a legion of angels to come to his rescue, but He had you in mind!  Jesus Conquered DEFEAT.  When he who was God became obedient to the point of death, but didn’t stay dead – When he who was the Word of Life was buried, but didn’t stay down – When he who is the Resurrection and the Life rose with ALL POWER in Heaven and in Earth in His hands – When he told Paul to write and tell his people: You are MORE THAN A CONQUEROR because I LOVE YOU! – That’s when Jesus conquered defeat.  That same Jesus Has Given You Power to FREE YOUR MIND, to think freely, to live fearlessly, to be woke, and to awaken, to walk proudly, confidently, and live peaceably and prosperously, because you are fearfully and wonderfully made to do just that.

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3 MORE Ways to Stop Complaining

3 MORE Ways to Stop Complaining

Rev. Jaron S. Green

 

Breaking up is hard to do – even if and when you’ve invested in and tended to an unhealthy, unrelenting partner for years.  Your partner’s name: Complaint.  You’ve felt so attached that your own identity has been tied to it.  You’re known as, The Complainer (and you may not even know it).  However, why would you stay in a relationship that triggers you to be Debbie Downer or Negative Ned?  The truth is, when you are living on autopilot, you simply forget that you have the power to reinvent yourself.  That is, you can change and develop into the version of yourself that you admire and that others enjoy.  When you’re serious about changing your life, breaking an old habit could take 21 days for the old image to begin to dissolve in your brain, and 66 days to establish its replacement.  During the process, it may be hard to resist, but let’s commit to continue the journey to a complaint-free life with 3 more steps.

  1. Take Responsibility For Your Own LIFE

 

There are three kinds of people in life: Accusers, Excusers, and Choosers.  Accusers point the finger at others.  They can usually find someone other than themselves to say, “It’s your fault.” Excusers say, “I’m a product of my environment.  It’s not really my fault.”  Choosers are the people that are really successful in life.  They accept responsibility for their own decisions.  They refuse to be addicted to the pain of their past.  They accept life as it happens, and move forward.

 

In the beginning, when Adam sinned, he accused his wife, Eve, for his shortcoming. Then, he pointed his finger to blame God.  He established what a classic accuser really looks like.  Often times, complaining is just an attempt to blame some other person or some other entity for an obstacle in your path.  Proverbs 19:3 (MSG) says, “People ruin their lives by their own stupidity, so why does God always get blamed?”  Whatever problem you are facing has to be dealt with.  If you have brought the problem on yourself, you need to take responsibility for it.  Legitimate hardships are sometimes par for the course.  You are free to do, to say, and to be whatever you choose in life.  But, stuck isn’t one of your options.  Be an investor in your own progress, and take responsibility for the direction you’re headed in.
 
 
  1. Develop An Attitude Of GRATITUDE

    Some of us are CONTROL FREAKS!  We don’t know how to trust God enough to work out His plan and purpose for us simply because we can’t SEE IT.  We don’t know how we fit into it, or what our specific role is.  But, God is big enough to take the bad stuff in life and work it out for our good without our help.  God has a purpose for you and me – and He fits even the bad things in our lives into that purpose for our good. God’s purpose for my life is greater than my problems – so in everything I can give thanks.

    We should develop an attitude of gratitude because we know that God is in control.  He is more powerful than any problem.  He is more faithful than any failure.  He is more true than any trouble I can find myself in.  My God is preeminent over every predicament.  He is more capable than any condition.  He is constantly working for my good in every circumstance.

 

These facts are the antidote for complaining.  Of course, there are things in life that are not perfect – they are not supposed to be. You are not living in Heaven yet. You are still on earth where things still break and fall apart.  Things get dirty – they wear out – they get holes in them – they get stained – they get ruined, and you have to deal with it.  You can focus on either the negative or the positive – that choice is yours.  Is the cup half empty or half full? It all depends on how you look at it.  You can’t do both!  God is more concerned with your character than He is with your comfort. “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  God is in the process of changing your life.  Develop an attitude of gratitude.

 

  1. Look For God In Every Situation

    God is always active in your life.  He is there in each and every situation. You may not be aware of it.  However, like the Apostle Paul, I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion.  If you want to conquer complaining, look for God’s hand in all of your situations and circumstances.  What you will realize is that our present troubles are small and won’t last very long.  However, they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs the rough times we’ve endured.  Be aware.  God is there.


When we complain about circumstances, we’re really saying, “God isn’t big enough to take care of me.”  Positive people can recognize God’s presence, and trust that God is fitting everything into a pattern.  His purpose is greater than your problem. Take a good long look at your faith in God.  He will never leave you.  He will always take care of you.  So, look for God’s hand in your situation.



There are positive results of a complaint-free life.  When you refuse to complain, you change the atmosphere of the world you live in. You become the breath of fresh air in the room.  You stand out because are different than most people.  Not only do you speak positively, you carry a message of hope. You carry the “Good News” in a world that is filled with bad news.  You carry a message of light in a dark world. Our culture needs some good news. It needs someone to bring them a message of hope.  You can help change the world.  Check your attitude.  Stop complaining.  Be positive in a negative world.

 


 

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

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3 Ways to Stop Complaining

3 Ways to Stop Complaining

Rev. Jaron S. Green

You can live your life being positive in a negative world.  Believe it or not, it isn’t impossible.  There is joy in the journey of life, with all of its hopeful anticipations and hidden surprises. Of course, there are those unexpected and unwelcome moments in life that are easy to complain about.  However, Reverend Paul Jones discovered the secret to overcoming the disappointing moments of life by weighing the good days against the bad. In his popular song, he sang, “When I look around and think things over, all of my good days outweigh my bad days.  I won’t complain.”  

The truth is, complaining kills your joy, not those crazy life moments.  Complaining makes you unhappier about already difficult circumstances.  Not only that, it makes everyone around you unhappy too. Not many people love to spend their time around complainers, most likely because it’s irritatingly contagious.  Therein lies the problem. Once we start to complain, it is hard to stop. Complaining can become a habit – and to tell you the truth – it is a bad habit. We can, literally, find something or someone to complain about all the time.  If it’s raining, we complain about that. If it’s sunny, we complain about that, saying, “Oh no – I’ll probably get sunburned.” Instead, we could find joy in the fact that the ground is being refreshed and watered, or that the flowers will bloom in the warmth of spring and summer.

 

Admittedly, we are somewhat conditioned to complain in our extremely spoiled and litigious society.  Just look at the headlines in newspapers and on television. I would say that most of what is seen is bad news.  We are continuously bombarded in a 24-hour news cycle with what’s wrong with everything. By our own nosey nature, and by our conditioning, we lean in for the next disappointing detail, which then leads to thoughtful or knee-jerk commentary, and if not careful, then to complaint.  This tendency helps develop the habit of complaining, especially when we live in absolutely unbelievable times. However, that is not how the Bible tells us to respond in a negative world.

“Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life”

Philippians 2:14-16

 

JOY KILLS COMPLAINING.  Joy makes you happy in the midst of unhappy situations.  Joy is congenially contagious. Joy either makes everyone around you happy, or it makes everyone just plain uncomfortable being unhappy.  If you want to conquer complaining, there are 3 ways you can start to change your attitude, and let joy replace your habit of complaints.

LET’S CONQUER COMPLAINING

The Bible says “Do everything without complaining and arguing.” How do you do that?

 

  1. Admit There Is A PROBLEM

If you are a constant complainer – you have a problem. Today is the first step in your recovery process.  Recovery is not always pretty. Having counseled folks in addiction recovery, I know it can be painful. Some people are not going to want to be around you, because you’re going to have these strange cravings and ticks.  But let’s be real, if you’re a complainer, you could probably stand to have some new company, not the same audience that enables your habit. A breakthrough never comes in silence. In therapy, you have to listen a little, and talk a little.  As you are processing, a breakthrough occurs. In church, as you worship and pray, a breakthrough occurs. Usually, confession leads the way to breakthrough. It enables you to identify what’s happened, who’s responsible, and how you can begin to turn things around.  One of the most difficult parts of correcting a problem – is to admit that you have one. Take some time and listen to yourself.  If you spend a major amount of your time verbalizing the negative, you have a problem. Admit it.

 

  1. Change your SELF-TALK

People talk to themselves all the time.  Many do not want to admit it. I think to myself all of the time.  I write notes to myself all of the time. The truth is, when I am trying to think around something, I use language.  The language that I use to process around any issue, prayer request, or goal is self-talk. Self-talk is what you are thinking in your mind, the language you say to yourself, and what you choose to meditate on.  In order to conquer complaining, be very careful of your self-talk. Stop having inner pity parties, and change your way of thinking. Align your thinking with God’s thinking about you. He thinks you are special.  He thinks you are so special that He sent His Son to die on the cross for you. You are worthy. Change your way of thinking. Change your self-talk.

 

THERE IS POWER IN A SINGLE GODLY THOUGHT!  One thought leads to another thought leads to another thought.  One song leads to another song. One clap leads to another. Before you know it, you are crying and dancing and praising God.  You just had a whole Praise and Worship session from one thought.

 

  1. Speak POSITIVELY

Not only should you think positive thoughts, you should also speak positive words. Lift people up; don’t tear them down.  Complaining is a habit – it’s a bad habit. Habits are only broken by replacing them with something else. Take out the complaining and replace it with positive speaking.  Seriously, some of us need to refrain from negative and foul language. It would do us well to control ourselves and develop a broader vocabulary, rather than to resort to language that we’d be embarrassed to hear a small child repeat over a microphone in church.  You can conquer complaining by learning to go high, when others go low; by learning how to speak without lowering yourself to anger and frustration. The Bible says we’re going to give an account of every careless word that we speak.

           

When you refuse to complain, you change the atmosphere of the world you live in. You become the breath of fresh air in the room.  You stand out because are different than most people. Not only do you speak positively, you carry a message of hope. You carry the “Good News” in a world that is filled with bad news.  You carry a message of light in a dark world. Our culture needs some good news. It needs someone to bring them a message of hope. You can help change the world. Check your attitude.  Stop complaining. Be positive in a negative world.

If this piece or this blog resonates with you, Consider booking me to speak with your group or organization.  Also, please consider a one-time gift. This space runs on reader support.

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Navigating Racism through Social Justice

Navigating Racism through Social Justice

Rev. Jaron S. Green

 

Have you ever lost your keys?  You’ve taken the time to get up in the morning, shower, brush your teeth, and iron your clothes.  You’ve taken the time to do your hair and even grab a little something to eat. You’ve got Gospel music playing in the background, and even had a little talk with Jesus.  You’ve still got 5 minutes to spare…Winning! You make your way toward the door only to realize that you’re not going anywhere without your KEYS! ALL the right things were done. ALL the right moves were made. But when you looked in the place where you left them, the keys had mysteriously moved.  How frustrating!

Have you ever given your last in church?  Honestly, it’s hard enough trying to make ends meet as it is.  However, you’ve learned the Word of God about tithing and giving.  The Holy Spirit moved you to take a step of faith and obedience. So, you’ve budgeted.  You’ve cut out a few small luxuries. You’re working down to the necessities. ALL the right things are done.  ALL the right moves are made. But when you looked in the place you expected it, the money you needed had mysteriously moved.  How discouraging!

 

Have you ever loved somebody? “Have you ever loved somebody so much it makes you cry?  Have you ever needed something so bad you can’t sleep at night? Have you ever tried to find the words, but they don’t come out right?”  (All of us 90’s R&B and Brandy fans started singing the next line). “Have you ever been in love so bad, you’d do anything to make them understand? Have you ever had someone steal your heart away; you’d give anything to make them feel the same?”  ALL the right things were done. ALL the right moves were made. But when you looked in the place you last felt it, the love you expected had mysteriously disappeared. How heartbreaking!

 

As heartbreaking, discouraging, and frustrating as all of these aforementioned circumstances are, imagine living with racism – daily.  Racism is deteriorating.  It sours attitudes, and leaves eyes welled with tears.  Some of these heavy, pain-filled tears are too brave and reluctant to fall for fear that they might be mistaken for weakness or surrender to historic systemic exclusion and oppression.  To be clear, entitlement, prejudice, and abuse are at the root of racial and social exclusion in society.  No person should be disadvantaged because of biases against racial identity, nor gender, sexuality, age, socioeconomic status, mental health status or social identity.  Any social exclusion that exists based upon such prejudice cries out and longs after equality.  For such cause, the work of racial and social justice appears never ceasing in a battle to bring about social equity and opportunity.  Because social exclusion of this sort exists, individuals and entire communities continue to be blocked from rights, opportunities, and resources.  Given the reality that systems of inequality are interconnected and interdependent, racial and social justice addresses a vast range of areas of concern and need, from the experiential to the structural, from education to employment, from housing to healthcare, and from democratic participation to due process.

 

For well over a decade, I have served the urban community as a faith leader, counselor, and educator.  The urban community, the breeding ground for racial and social justice, suffers with the result of generational iniquities, that is, inequities created by political, social, and economic forces.  Through my experience in serving the church, in schools, and in non-profits – helping people find solutions has been a driving force in my pursuit of racial and social justice.  The more I work, the more work I discover must be done.  It is evident that one must be equipped to meet to the ever-growing challenges of the urban community.  The statistics of urban settings are a grim testament to the need for qualified leaders, ministers, educators, professionals of all kinds, and ground-level volunteers that can affect present conditions, and positively change the trajectory of the future of the community.  However, the work is not limited to urban areas.  Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.  We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.  Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

 

Racial and social justice is more than a neatly-packed philosophy that no person should be disadvantaged because of racial identity, gender, sexuality, age, socioeconomic status, mental health status or social identity.  Racial and social justice is the exhausting dirty work of exposing and extracting the root of entitlement, prejudice, and abuse and its effects in society. It includes educating the misinformed, and engaging in direct corrective action to preserve and create a legacy of hope.

 

No matter how dirty the work or difficult the search, find and use your keys.  The keys to unlocking closed doors work best when you, as Dr. Corliss Brown Thompson teaches, reckon with the idea that social justice is not just about difference but a critique of social structures: who gets to build it, operate it, protect it, look inside it (for those locked out of it), is buried under it, regenerates it, receives benefits from it – by asking when, how, where, why is its function and most importantly – who am I in this structure, with all my multiple identities. It’s not neat or easy.   Such a process requires critical self-awareness, investment, and risk from each of us throughout this journey. It requires that we respectfully listen to each other, especially when the perspectives we encounter are different from our own, and that we leave open the possibility for changes in perspective: our own and those of others.

 

Give your last; your full effort toward real change.  Although you may feel as if you expend all of your time, energy, and treasure – give and give again.  Give to political action committees that represent your interests, and promote candidates who are bright and promising.  Invest in those who align with morals and standards, who are willing to be held accountable to the public they serve, and who have a record of character, that is, a past of delivering on what they promise they will deliver on, and doing what’s right when there seems to be no audience.  Give to churches who are actively pursuing social justice, who are interested and involved in real reconciliation, and who are using their resources to meet needs and distribute knowledge and wealth.  Give to organizations who have a proven track record of producing returns on investments in hard-stricken communities.  Give to young people.  Some child, some youth, could really use your positive and warm influence as a mentor.  That young person can be the change agent a community so desperately needs.


Finally, Love.  Love without restriction.  Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. defined love as an “understanding, redeeming goodwill for all,” an “overflowing positive regard which is purely spontaneous, unmotivated, groundless and creative”…”God operating in the human heart.” Many Christians would recognize and deem this description of love as “Agape.”  Let us practice love so that racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by a spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood; members together of a beloved community.

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Budget Affects Blacks

Special Note: I desperately wanted to attend the recent School Committee meeting and lend my voice to an alarming school budget crisis facing our district.  Unfortunately, I was committed otherwise.  However, there is a perspective yet to be considered, and I feel a responsibility to share it.

 

School Budget Crisis Affects Students of Color

Rev. Jaron S. Green

Recently, after entrusting the Superintendent of Schools and School Committee with formulating a budget to finance an excellent education for the next generation of undeniable thought leaders, inventors, researchers, physicians, financiers, global professionals, and citizens of moral character, the city requested the School Committee to cut the planned budget of $33.3M to $27.4M.  The result would require staffing cuts for the next year, stretching school administrators, teachers, specialists and support staff, already stretched too thin, to new limits.  This city currently has the lowest per-student expenditure in our region, ranks number 314 out of 323 school districts in Massachusetts for teacher compensation (bottom 10%), and cannot retain experienced leaders in our schools due to low salaries.  Our children deserve more.

 

Even more alarming is how a school budget crisis affects students of color and inherently becomes social justice concern.  The familiar platitude, “When White America has a cold, Black America has the flu” holds true in all instances, and by every relevant statistical measure.  Dr. Eddie Glaude, Jr. stated of certain crises, that it’s “more like the symptoms of a national congenital disease than the flu.”  Although there are 23 times more White neighbors than any other other race or ethnicity in our fair city, there exists a community of color, of foreign-born citizens, of folk whose first language isn’t English, and yes, of beautiful Black people.  These families of color from our city have children that attend our schools.  In addition, our school district participates in the Metco program, the nation’s longest running voluntary desegregation busing program.  The Metco program is a state-funded grant program that promotes diversity and educational opportunity for more than 3,300 Boston and Springfield school students, as well as thousands of students in the Metco receiving school districts.  It was created to eliminate racial imbalance in attendance.  Cost:  $19,383,542.  Our city is enriched by 125 additional students of color from urban communities.

 

Historically speaking.  The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was working diligently to challenge segregation laws in public schools in the early 1950s.  A plaintiff named Oliver Brown filed a class-action suit against the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, in 1951, after his daughter, Linda Brown (pictured right, who recently died, March 25, 2018), was denied entrance to Topeka’s all-white elementary schools.  Represented by Thurgood Marshall, Brown’s lawsuit claimed that schools for black children were not equal to the white schools.  In 1954, the US Supreme Court ruled unanimously that racial segregation of children in public schools was unconstitutional. Brown v. Board of Education became one of the cornerstones of the Civil Rights movement, and helped establish by precedent that “separate but equal” education and other services were not, in fact, equal at all.

 

We know from his own writing and witness, W.E.B. DuBois attended integrated schools in Massachusetts in the late 1800s.  He recorded the awful experiences he endured, and how he chose to overcome the challenges he faced.  Massachusetts has historically been considered a leader in school integration.  However, Massachusetts has regressed over the last two decades as its students of color have experienced intensifying school segregation and racial and social justice issues.  Our city isn’t battling public restrooms, transportation, drinking fountains, and restaurant concerns.  Today, social justice in education concerns three questions: whom do we teach, what do we teach, and how do we teach, so says Sharon Stoll, the director of the Center for ETHICS (Ethical Theory and Honor in Competition and Sports) at the University of Idaho.  

 

To be clear, a budget crisis affects Black students differently.  Stretching school administrators, teachers, specialists and support staff is dangerous.  It causes dissent between philosophy and pedagogy.  Good and well-meaning teachers, overworked, underpaid, undervalued, under stress and duress, will act upon inherent and implicit biases.  These teachers, with little to no influence over school budget decisions, or in determining professional development content, or in establishing curriculum at their schools, are charged with educating students at expert levels.  However, when beaten by increased demands and fewer resources to meet said demands, holes in their expertise are revealed.  For example, discipline practices in school affect the quality of educational environment, and the ability of children to achieve academic and social gains.  However, African American families are 2.19 (elementary school) to 3.78 (middle school) times as likely to be referred to the office for problem behavior as their White peers.  Even worse, African American and Latino families are more likely than their White peers to receive expulsion or out of school suspension as consequences for the same or similar problem behavior.  Why?  School officials tend to view the behaviors of White and Asian American students as non-threatening.  Is a city or school district in financial crisis adept to address the companion consequences of such conceivable and imminent disparities?

 

In schools across America, and right here in our city, social justice must seek to promote high achievement among the most disadvantaged.  Practices that affect the educational environment and the ability of children to achieve academic and social gains must be addressed, including financing an excellent education.  All of our children deserve more.  My pursuit is to affect change in how we teach, educate, counsel, train and empower others with like passion for the improvement of the community and minority populations.  As neighbors, we must answer with our educators, whom do we teach, what do we teach, and how do we teach.  In the midst of a school budget crisis, how will we engage in the work of social justice in the community?  How will we explore parent and volunteer engagement, promote achievement, increase motivation, instill work ethic, meet special needs, and manage behavior?  How will we impact measurable change?

 

As financial experts tackle budgetary issues, in addition to lending your voice, parents and concerned neighbors can help cultivate positive relationships within school communities in the district.  Helping an educator feel appreciated and supported can mean the difference between daylight and sunset.  Positive cultures are built intentionally, not mistakenly, or by default.  Better served educators better serve students.  Constructive conversations can help tackle difficult topics, build character, and facilitate awareness on how all issues affect individuals and groups similarly, yet differently.  Have a conversation, and in that conversation, commit to listening.  As our city is committed to being a community open to all, our educators are included, as well as all of our students of color.  The school budget is an education issue, a community issue, a moral issue, and a social justice issue.  But, experience is what students of color will remember and walk away with for eternity.  How will you affect change?

 

“Intelligence plus character–that is the goal of true education” – Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Motivation: How to Get Fired Up Again

Motivation: How to Get Fired Up Again

Rev. Jaron S. Green
 
Why is Trump afraid of emerging economies? Why is he insistent upon forging wars with the countries of the world?  What is the true reason behind his capitalistic cannibalism or his stereotypifying degradation? What is the truth behind any of his actions, period?  Is Trump mentally ill, ignorantly overconfident, innately evil, purely racist, narcissitically greedy – or – Is he motivated by some other extreme yet to be determined?
For years, I have pondered the notion of motivation.  At one point, I planned to center my doctoral research around motivation and high achievement among African American men as a theoretical construct to explain behavior.  Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “It’s all right to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps, but it is cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps.”  African American men, victims of racial discrimination, of economic immobility, of mass incarceration, of emasculation, still find a way to overcome humiliation and oppression in order to do battle in the war on Black men.   
 

Motivation represents the reasons for a person’s actions, desires, and needs.  We need, we desire, therefore we act. African Americans need to feel valued in an environment that continually messages that we are not valued due to our race or ethnicity.  We desire to affect beliefs and attitudes, albeit impossible to know nor legislate the hearts of men. We act in order to dismantle institutional arrangements that denigrate individuals or groups because of phenotypic characteristics, such as skin color.  However, Dr. Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., renowned author, scholar and Princeton professor (Religion and African American studies), noted, “as we continue to fixate on Trump and the circus he commands, please remember that he is only a severe symptom of what is wrong with our democracy.”  Glaude continued, “Much more is required of us than projecting all of the country’s sickness on to this monstrous figure.”  

 

“To whom much is given, much is required.”  In the Bible, the requirement, the mandate, for movement is given.  America is the land of “much” and yet we still remain stagnant.

 

There’s much intelligence in the United States.  According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Forbes, and the National Student Clearinghouse, about 57-59 percent of students seeking a bachelor’s degree completed that degree within 6 years. Women’s graduation rates are higher than men’s (62 percent vs. 56 percent).  Americans have intelligence and the ability to discern the times and extremely complex issues. Why, then, is the moral compass of intelligent people pointed in the wrong direction? Isn’t freedom and it’s pursuit embedded in the very fabric of our society? Why aren’t we motivated to move forward, to protect, and to live indivisibly as required by the God whom we pledge allegiance to?  Perhaps, the endowed rights of some are more inalienable than the rights of others. Perhaps, the Creator whom Thomas Jefferson spoke about in the Declaration of Independence is a different Creator than who is spoken of in the Bible, and different still than that who is preached in pulpits to justice-seeking congregations today.

 

We have had much opportunity.  It’s been 399 years since the first Africans arrived in Jamestown, Virginia as indentured servants – the precursor to two centuries of debasing humans as a source of slave labor.  It’s been 153 years since slavery was abolished in 1865. It’s been 141 years since Reconstruction was deconstructed in 1877, and citizenship, voting rights, political power, and elected offices were snatched from African Americans.  Jim Crow laws segregating races reigned between 1877 and the 1960s. Let’s be honest, a residual Jim Crow mentality exists still today. How much opportunity is required to correct societal wrongs and make strides toward good?  Dr. King said, “We have come a long, long way, but we have a long way to go.”  Perhaps, there isn’t enough expected return or value ascribed to true justice, righteousness, and accountability in America (not merely punishment) to motivate people in power to take direct action in confronting historic and present day atrocities.

 

After hitting a slow period in my independent research and writing, I remember reaching out to my dissertation committee chair to ask for direction.  I was truly seeking motivation because her past comments had been so effective for me. However, she simply stated, “all motivation is intrinsic,” basically signalling that I needed find my own way to get fired up again.

 

It is time to get fired up again.  Motivation is simply the inner desire to do something.  It’s the difference between waking up, putting your feet on the ground to pound the pavement and sitting on the sofa, lazing around the house all day, as you binge watch your favorite Netflix series.  Motivation is the crucial element in setting and attaining goals. According to Psychology Today, research shows you can influence your own levels of motivation.  So, figure out what you want, what you want to see, and what you want to change.  Move beyond your personal limitations and let God speak to you through your imagination.  Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “God himself does not speak prose, but communicates with us by hints, omens, inference and dark resemblances in objects lying all around us.”  

 

Rest, reflect, and rejuvenate.  Power through the pain period. Get fired up again.  Decide what kind of human being you want to be in the world.  Start being who you want to be, and doing what you’ve been called to do.

 

 

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A Chat with DuBois

My personal copy of The Soul of Black Folk (W.E.B. DuBois)
A Chat with DuBois
Rev. Jaron S. Green

 

In reading W.E.B. DuBois’s, Of Our Spiritual Strivings, the first sentence captivated me.  It was in this first chapter of the author’s classic book, The Souls of Black Folk, written in 1903, that this intense mental engagement began for me.  This treasure was written just one year after the birth of my maternal grandmother, Alberta Skinner, who lived just a very few years shy of a century. Of the many conversations we had when I was a child, there are so many more questions that I want to ask her now as an adult.  I would love to hear her summation of the decades of the twentieth century, the 1900s, 1910s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.  She lived through them all.  I would ask her what she knew and thought of author and activist, W.E.B. DuBois, as he was absolutely integral to the advancement of colored people.  As I deliberate on the questions that I would ask of her, I also consider what were the questions, those silent, unasked questions of her time.

For DuBois, his question, “How does it feel to be a problem?” is one that I imagine would have resonated loud and clear with his audience.  His audience then consisted of other African Americans of his time, post-slavery era (DuBois lived from 1868-1963), those educated enough to interpret his genius writings, and those listening, less formally educated but fully experienced in the shade of difference that he referred to.  His audience today is history and truth reflectors; sociologists, educators, and students.  Additionally, his audience today consists of those who may experience feelings of inner division, as if they were torn between two worlds.  For example, the confident underdog, or those refugees seeking to assimilate, or those seeking peace from internal struggles with gender and sexuality might find an unexpected resonance in his articulation of the struggle and double-awareness or double-consciousness of the American Negro experience.
  
DuBois’s positionality informed his work as a civil rights activist and Pan-Africanist.  His early experiences as an African American child in an integrated school began to shape his worldview.  DuBois sought to motivate himself to take on the challenge of racial inequity and rise above the veil, in order to beat his opposition in academics, athleticism, and brute strength.  With words and phrases like ‘cursed, poverty-stricken, weakness, ashamed, lowly tasks, and ignorance’ DuBois described the experiences that shaped his life and perspective.
 
Such descriptions of lived experiences throughout history continue to resonate and describe the present day plight of the African American experience for many.  Even for those who have power, education, fame, or wealth, such powers do not remove the consciousness of the shared Black experience in America.  Through media, the distinct racial differences that exist in our present era are now broadcasted and amplified for the nation and the world to see, and to face “so vast a prejudice.
 
So then, if ever the honor were bestowed to engage with DuBois in conversation, more listening would take place than speaking from these lips.  I would listen as comparisons were made of present to past issues of racial inequity, questions of patriotism, voter rights, culture-borrowing, and lackluster racial reconciliation exercises.  Through his writings, however, I can imagine DuBois simply saying, “I told you so.
 
Truth seekers, reflectors, sociologists, educators, students: Since, I have the honor of conversing with you, I will answer you this. Why do I constantly refer to the past?  History lights the path of destiny. It’s because – History is the fuel that keeps lighting the long path of justice.  So. Here’s that first masterful sentence of DuBois: “Between me and the other world there is ever an unasked question: unasked by some through feelings of delicacy; by others through the difficulty of rightly framing it.”  Truth seekers, reflectors, sociologists, educators, students – humans – How will we advance society?
 
 
 
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Write Your Story

Write Your Story.
Rev. Jaron S. Green
 

Everyday there are thousands of people who put pen to paper, writing the stories you read, writing the script we watch, writing the commercial, scripting the fashion show, scripting the video we entertain ourselves with. The power of their pen entertains us, and controls the way we feel, whether we will be happy, sad, enlightened, frightened, or bored during the course of our day or weekend. If you don’t believe me, just think a few years back to the Writers Strike.  Men and women united in the Writers Guild of America, the East and West divisions, and nearly shut down television – leaving the public to watch re-runs, or poorly written sketches of our favorite shows.  All 12,000 screenwriters and TV writers in the guild were part of the strike which started on November 5, 2007, and concluded on February 12, 2008.  There are thousands more united in the National Writers Union – freelance writers who make money putting pen to paper and recording their thoughts and opinions.  And as the world reads, our opinions are formed based on someone else’s words.

I wouldn’t have a problem with that fact of life – if for a moment I believed that everything they were writing was the TRUTH. There is POWER in words. I learned early not to believe everything I see – but a better lesson is NOT to believe everything you READ… unless it’s the Word of God.
 
Somebody, right now, is writing a story about you. It’s a story based off of interpretations and perspectives.  It’s a story based off of someone else’s experience with somebody like you. It’s a story full of prejudice and bias. But you don’t even realize or have sense enough to recognize that the story is about YOU. Why? Because many haven’t taken time out to READ anybody’s book, article, or blog that didn’t pictures or illustrations.  For example, somebody, right now, is writing that a group of 3rd and 4th graders in urban areas will be the future population of prison inmates in a state penitentiary based solely upon how they score on culturally biased Standardized tests.
 
But my quest is not to stop others from writing. My question is – Why aren’t you writing? Who is writing your story? Who’s telling on you? Who’s making me believe that you are less than what you are? Or who’s standing up and defending your name, reputation and character? Are you writing?

 

We have every tool we need to write the story of our own life. Everyday you live, everyday you breathe, you have a chance to write the story of a lifetime – not only with pen and paper, but with action and deed. With speech and conduct, your life is a story, an example, of what GOD can do when you trust him. Stop using the words everyone else has placed in your head, or placed on you. The world will call you many things. They will call you names… they will call a liar, good for nothing, a failure, a loser, a nobody. But when you write the story of your life, use the WORDS, yes the WORD that God gave you. The Bible says, “In the beginning the Word already existed… The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”

In 2008, my younger brother penned this poem, a spoken word piece, at my request.

Why do I Write?

By Knott Johnson (Terrell Robinson © 2008)

I write for freedom, I write for peace

I write for pleasure, I write for me

I write for anger, I write for grief

I write to release my animosity

I write for what was, I write for what I see

I write in hope of what I expect to be

So, why do I write?

Because I can’t stop writing

I can’t stop, and I won’t stop writing

Even if the ball on my pen began to dribble

And I was ballin!

I won’t stop writing

Even if my pen was unconscious and the ink began to bleed

And I had to perform CPR Just to retrieve,

I won’t stop writing

And if I was sweating in a blizzard and my hands began to burn

So I went and sat next to a fireplace and my brain began to freeze

And reality ceased to make sense

I’m not go-ing to stop write-ing

You see writing is my purpose

My perfectly patterned passion

Even if the price of ink inflated

And the price surpassed four dollars a gallon

Four dollars a gallon…

Have you seen the price of gas these days?

What’s the world coming to?

Now that might stop me from driving

But it will not stop me from writing.

All the pens in the world can cease to exist and I can be lost for words

I’d run and take a feather from the nearest bird

And use the sweat and dirt and blood from my skin

Just so I can write again!

I can’t stop writing

I…I won’t stop writing it’s my calling

 So as I hieroglyphically inscribe my name in that Lamb’s book of life

With pen and paper in the sky

God be ready when I die … So I can Write!

…Now what’s your purpose?!

Terrell Robinson (Knott Johnson), Poet, global finance professional, international traveler.
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Blinding Light

(Watson Mere, copyright 2017)
Blinding Light
Rev. Jaron S. Green

 

It would appear, today, that the light has blinded some who claim enlightenment. A sort of selective, retrograde amnesia may have removed the memory of the long difficult road that most, including ministers, have had to travel in order to be able to celebrate and proclaim their abundant life.  How can the forgiven be so forgetful, the enlightened so blind?  How can White Evangelicals quickly rush to the defense of a scandalous 45th U.S. President, but eerily remain silent at times of explicit injustice.  It’s hypocrisy.  Such blindness is reminiscent of the criticism and opposition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s very physical presence and activism in Birmingham by Alabaman white clergy in 1963. Clergy who should boldly stand on the right side of justice, having themselves received and preached about mercy, perhaps let the memory of their own bitterness of life before Christ be whitewashed by a watered down message of grace.  However, history is the oil in the lamp that keeps lighting the long path of justice. 
Dorothy Day, Activist, Women’s Suffrage Activist, Religious Figure, Editor, Anti-War Activist, Journalist (1897–1980)
 
Dorothy Day, nonviolent social radical, founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, and leader of numerous social justice battles, answered the tug and pull of society’s infirmed. She was being sanctified, completely separated for special use by God. Although her conversion to Catholicism occurred later in life, as a young woman, Day was completely aware of evils, having a keen discernment of human affliction. An insight into such suffering is not common, but a gift, indicative of a divine calling. I believe that God does not show a problem to one who isn’t able to trust Him for a solution.
 

From Dorothy Day’s 1952 book, The Long Loneliness:

“There was a great question in my mind. Why was so much done in remedying social evils instead of avoiding them in the first place? There were day nurseries of children, for instance, but why didn’t fathers get money enough to take care of their families so that mothers would not have to go to work? There were hospitals to take care of the sick and infirm, and of course doctors were doing so much to prevent sickness, but what of occupational diseases, and the diseases, which came from not enough food for the mother and children? What of the disabled workers who received no compensation but only charity for the remainder of their lives? Disabled men, without arms and legs, blind men, consumptive men, exhausted men with all the manhood drained from the by industrialism… Where were the saints to try and change the social order, not just to minister to the slaves but to do away with slavery?”
George Washington Carver, Scientist, Inventor, Chemist, Botanist (c. 1864–1943)
 
Martin Niemöller, Noted theologian and President of the World Council of Churches (1892-1984)
Whose business is it?
 
At times I wonder, are these White Evangelical ministers, the same men and women who have cried so loudly about character in public leadership only to defend a man who has spent his life and presidency reflecting amorality, called by the same God I was?  Few answer the call of God, knowing, partially, and some fully well, that answering will remove comfort, cause endangerment, and cost one’s own reputation and life.
 
The minister, who answers the call, lives the words of George Washington Carver, infamous African-American agricultural scientist, when he said, “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.”  The minister who refuses responsibility, and does not answer the call is one as guilty as he found in Martin Niemoller’s famous quote: “First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”
 
Final Word
 
Helping to solve widely shared problems and effecting transformation is not the work of one, but many. If ever this work is left to one – one man, one woman, one people group – to suffer and bear the burden of the wronged, that one is at the mercy of the suffering society, tainted by fear and not yet angered enough by the iniquity of inequity. The suffering society, however peaceful and comfortable they may appear, unfairly marks that one an outcast, a radical, a troublemaker, of which may be prophetically suitable. The Old Testament prophet, Isaiah, declared and I echo, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come.” Wake up! Take off your blinders. History will teach you.  For, that marked one eventually crosses over from troublemaker to activist, from activist to revered, from revered to legend.  Where will you stand?  How will your name be remembered in annals of history yet to be written?
 
This Little Light of Mine, I’m Gonna Let it Shine
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