Daily Archives: January 18, 2015

Pastors, faith leaders from around country gather in Dallas to promote racial healing

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By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST and the ASSIST News Service

DALLAS, TX – A racially, denominationally, geographically and generationally diverse representation of nearly 100 pastors, civic and faith-Alveda King and James Robisonleaders from across the country gathered for an unprecedented summit on racial reconciliation at The Potter’s House in Dallas on January 15.

Convened by Bishops Harry Jackson and T.D. Jakes and Pastor James Robison, “The Reconciled Church: Healing the Racial Divide” summit focused on Seven Bridges to Peace and included four panel discussions in which the participants shared practical solutions that they have successfully implemented in their respective communities. They also strategized other initiatives that can be scaled for national roll out.

According to a news release from A. Larry Ross Communications, host Bishop Jakes welcomed attendees, saying, “The Church should lead the way; we can’t complain about Congress and community if we don’t communicate with one another. We all love our children; let’s talk about how we can make our country better for subsequent generations.

“We have one brief shining moment to say, ‘not on my watch,'” Jakes continued. “We cannot remain silent on this issue, because our silence is costing lives. I’m praying that we would care enough to do better with the resources and influence that we have.

“We can’t fix the problem today, that’s not even the goal,” Jakes added. “This is a forum for discussion and debate, but we need to focus on what we will work on, including education and the criminal justice system. We can do better regarding civic engagement in our churches.”

Bishop Jackson shared his vision for the summit, to encourage the Church to come together to address the three-fold problem of class, race and poverty. “Church leaders need to go up into the gap and be courageous and catalytic to make a difference,” he said. “We want to leave here with a declaration, a challenge and a prescription for our nation.

“The Church is divided black and white, and not as connected as we should be,” Jackson continued. “The first thing we can do is come together united as the Church. A group like this can shake the foundations of the nation – for God and for good.”

“With all my heart I believe the purpose of this meeting is to bring together the Body of Christ without all of the dissension, strife and division that keeps us apart and from fulfilling the will of God,” James Robison said.

Other key participants included Dr. Bernice King, CEO of The King Center in Atlanta and daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr.; legendary civil rights leader; Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. King, and a civil rights activist and Christian minister; former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young; Dr. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference/CONELA; and Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, among others.

Several participants admonished the Church for not taking action. “Today’s complacency is tomorrow’s complicity,” Rodriguez said. “There is no such thing as a silent Christianity.”

This theme was echoed by Pastor Jack Graham, senior pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano. “There are a lot of good people in our churches who are sinfully silent,” he said. “It is our responsibility to engage them on what matters most.”

The timing of the summit was propitious, occurring on the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, actual birthday, which was referenced by his daughter. Reminding attendees that her father was a pastor and that the Civil Rights movement originated in the Church, she thought it a fitting tribute to his legacy that faith leaders were once again taking the lead in the area of racial reconciliation.

“The Church was one of the institutions (my father) criticized in his letter from the Birmingham jail,” King reflected. “He was deeply disappointed that there was not more engagement by the Church in the issue of segregation in the South at that time. Unfortunately, we have had a stand-off posture since then, and 11 a.m. on Sunday is still the most segregated hour in America.”

“Today we had four ‘Cs’ of Christ, conversation and collaboration that will lead to change,” said African Methodist Episcopal Bishop Vashti McKenzie. “The Body of Christ came together in unprecedented conversation. We must be role models for people who look to us for leadership.”

The day’s events concluded with a worship and communion service at The Potter’s House, which was attended by more than 6,000 individuals.

Bradshaw: The draft

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By Sherry Bradshaw
Special to Inside The Pew

On Friday, 4 out of 5 of our family members saw “American Sniper” on the opening night of the movie. While homeschooling Brewer andSherry Bradshaw, author of The Front Nine: Making Your Shots Count in Life Thomas in middle school, their favorite subject was history. I distinctly remember Brewer being home on Sept. 11, 2001. The day that will be recorded in history as the most vicious and deadly attack on American soil. I vividly recall watching the horror on Brewer’s face as we watched, in utter shock, the “malicious and unthinkable” being played out on the news.

Friday as I watched the movie, sitting right beside Brewer, it brought back the thoughts and emotions I had on September 11. Knowing I had two sons, one of which was 12 at the time, I remember thinking this could mean a mandatory draft in the future and we have two sons! I realized we had never really studied the draft. I didn’t know everything but that day I looked it up.

I will be perfectly honest fear and selfishness welled up in my heart that day. I was overcome with terror and fear and thinking hundreds of thoughts–one of which was selfishly thinking how these attacks could change not only the destiny of America, but the future of our two sons and many others. It was really kind of sick on my part to be relieved that Thomas had Type 1 diabetes knowing from my reading about the history of the draft that he wouldn’t qualify.

Getting back to the movie and the years that we have lived since, I have a whole different perspective on the draft, the military, being a citizen of this country and the freedom and safety I enjoy. This particular movie has done an amazing job of giving an accurate picture of what it must be like to serve on the front lines in our Armed Forces.

The “visual” multiplied my respect and gratitude and overwhelmed me with tears, and a pit in my stomach as this true story unfolded. After the movie, which by the way was packed with every seat filled; there was a hush in the audience. Everyone stood up and silently exited the theater. A hush of reality, sobering realization of real and true heroism like I have never witnessed.

A real and meaningful picture to me — I see very clearly that a civilian who  has never been trained or seen trained or been in combat, especially on enemy soil on the front lines —  make decisions and judgments of how things should be carried out. Simply stated it is ridiculous, absurd and irrational on all levels — to think we could possibly understand many things about soldiers, their lives, their actions, their commitment, their action in the face of fear and their sacrifice.

Underpaid is an understatement. When you compare what we value in America, according to where we spend our money and who we look to as our heroes, we as a nation are missing the mark; we are clueless. Numbers don’t lie, look where we spend our money.

From the beginning of time Scripture records stories of war — the falling and rising of nations. I believe the Bible to be the inherent Word of God that is true and infallible. A deep study of Scripture shows that no nation has survived when turning their backs and thumbing their noses at a Holy God. I could quote several passages from the Old Testament but let me give you just one example found in Jeremiah 18:8-10. “And if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.”

A true and accurate study of American history, includes sinful man, but it also clearly shows that we, as a nation, founded our country on and were guided by biblical principles, in reverence and reference to a Holy God.

Point of post, first, just a small way God has shown me that I can encourage readers of this post to love, respect, pray for and show gratitude to anyone who freely volunteers…to serve and protect the freedom we all enjoy.

Second, to hopefully encourage others to vote for people whose hearts are guided by biblical principles and willing to serve in political offices.

Third, to place a higher value on where we all spend our personal money and time. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” (Matthew 6:21). I want to encourage all of us to take a moment to reassess what is important to us, to God.

Forth, to possibly encourage someone to run for political office–which our media has turned into a battleground. Someone with a passion to uphold the principles on which our country has enjoyed freedom and God’s protection.

I love Dwight D. Eisenhower’s quote that I believe to hold truth, “A people that values privileges above its principles soon loses both.”

In closing, I now feel that one of the greatest things anyone can do is to serve in our military. I believe those who serve do it out of a true love for our country and a sense of call and desire to be a part of something bigger than themselves. It certainly cannot be for the large paycheck nor the fame — very few receive either.

To God be the glory for the few, the brave, the selfless!

Sherry Bradshaw is author of “The Front Nine: Making Your Shots Count in Life” and founder of Back 9 Ministries. Bradshaw, a native of Columbia, S.C., is a former first runner-up in the Miss America pageant. She speaks at corporate events, schools, churches, and community organization events.