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Topic: What is the Churches Mission?

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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Detroit News


Bankole: Detroit pastors as insiders, not agitators
Bankole Thompson, The Detroit News 10:46 p.m. ET April 9, 2017
ministers

A media advisory Mike Duggan’s campaign sent out last week was telling. One hundred ministers, according to the advisory, were endorsing the mayor for a second term.

On April 3, dozens of the ministers stood behind Duggan at a podium to announce their support of his re-election bid before the cameras.

I kept wondering where Detroit would be today if 100 ministers had come out in earlier situations when the city was trying to tackle problems. As the ministers themselves said, they represent thousands of Detroiters.

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The image of that many ministers standing to make a statement about the mayor stuck with me because we’ve rarely seen that multitude of religious leaders publicly declaring support for any particular cause.

Detroit has plenty of issues begging for the attention of these ministers. Abject poverty that has sentenced 60 percent of Detroit children to an uncertain future; high-cost auto insurance that is forcing people to move out of the city; numerous crises in the Detroit Public Schools that compels parents to seek other school districts, and the vexing question of crime: These are all issues that could use the backing of the ministers like what the mayor received. After all, these ministers are stakeholders in this city, and they reminded us of that as they endorsed the mayor.


Unfortunately, there seems to be an imbalance in what the city’s ministers will stand up for, and what they won’t. That is nothing short of a disparity in priorities regarding the future of Detroit. There should be an almost singular mandate on the part of the ministers that the entrenched issues affecting Detroit should not be left to politicians alone to address.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s the ministers’ right to let the world know who they favor in office. But when innocent babies are murdered in this city and only a handful of ministers speak out about it, something is wrong with that picture. It questions whether church leaders are truly concerned about the moral decay in our society. It also raises the question of whether some religious leaders prefer to be insiders — only concerned about their connection to political power and accessing it for personal benefit rather than to serve as agitators demanding change and holding officials accountable.

Every black church or pastor for the most part shows an admiration for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the work he did. The irony is that one of the most stinging critiques ever rendered about the church came from King in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” written April 16, 1963.

In that letter, King challenged the clergy to be concerned not only about preaching personal salvation to their members on Sundays, but also to speak boldly about the socioeconomic challenges cities like Detroit are facing.

“So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an arch-defender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent-and often even vocal-sanction of things as they are,” King wrote. “But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club.”

Challenging today’s pastors to become engaged in the civic life of Detroit is in line with this city’s deep religious tradition. The examples set by such religious leaders as the late Rev. Nicholas Hood Sr. of Plymouth United Church of Christ and the Rev. Frederick G. Sampson II of Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church are worth noting. Both men demonstrated with enormous power the intersection of religion and social change.

It is plausible to say that in Detroit there are very few ministers who speak out on social issues. We know who they are without listing them.

But last Monday we realized that there could be more speaking out and challenging our elected leaders to create a better Detroit, especially for the children that are the future.

bankole@bankolethompson.com
Post Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:06 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

The Role of the Black Church in Creating Change. ... From its emergence in the late 18th century to its present day relevance, the black church has and will always serve as a safe haven for African Americans, a place to worship God together, and a place where we are motivated to rebuild our communities.Oct 8, 2013
The Role of the Black Church in Creating Change | The Village
www.cbcfinc.org/thevillage/2013/10/.../the-role-of-the-black-church-in-creating-change...
Post Sat Apr 15, 2017 6:36 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

The Role of the Black Church in Creating Change
Posted on October 8, 2013 by Nicole Tinson
Historically the black church has been a place for creating individual, systemic, and political change within the black community. From its emergence in the late 18th century to its present day relevance, the black church has and will always serve as a safe haven for African Americans, a place to worship God together, and a place where we are motivated to rebuild our communities. You can guarantee that on Sunday between the hours of 7 a.m. (early morning service) to 4 p.m. (afternoon service) there will be a large population of blacks attending church.

Pastors in the black church wield much influence in our community. They fill us up with wisdom, knowledge, and of the Word of God. Our pastors pray with and for us, provide resources and tools, even visit us when we are sick. Our pastors serve as our “elected” spiritual representatives.

Recently, a friend said, “a pastor may mean a lot to you, but what do you mean to them? Are they helping to feed you with the Spirit or are you helping to feed them Ruth’s Chris?”

Initially I was offended. How dare he sneer at the beloved black pastor who serves as a shepherd in our community, who helps to uplift and heal our community! Despite my first reaction, my friend’s question weighed heavily on me as I went to church the next Sunday. I wondered what do these pastors really stand for? Are they more concerned about fancy cars or helping those who are in need? Are they filled with an abundance of spirit or are they waiting to be filled with an abundance of dollars? This is not an attack on the black church or black pastors, but a moment of revelation. Are we making the best use of our pastors to better our community? That is the question that matters most.

With violence rampant in our community, homelessness and unemployment at an all time high, I question what role the black pastor has in helping to alleviate these issues. I believe it is the civic duty of those who are leaders, especially pastors, to lead the charge within the black community to positively change it. Pastors are leaders 24/7. What a pastor says and does makes a difference not only within the church but beyond the pulpit. So often in our community, we hear what is supposed be done, what we should or should not do, but do not see a comprehensive guide to lead us in the right direction. Is it solely the role of the black church to make a difference? No, but it is the duty of those who lead to work towards tangible solutions and encourage others to do and live better.

As someone who regularly attends church, I make it my business to inform my pastor of what is going on within the community (if he does not already know), and how he can be of service. If we are not meeting our pastors and discussing the issues, how can we hold them accountable? How can we expect them to serve us if they don’t know how we should be served? It is up to those who attend church and those who lead the church to come together and work for what is best for the community, how to move forward, and how to sustain it.

The days of complaining should be over; it is time to stop talking and start walking. Our community is on the line. I request that those of you who attend church, address your pastors and ask them what can we all do to better our community. What is our role?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “the church cannot be silent while mankind faces the threat of nuclear annihilation. If the church is true to her mission, he must call for an end to the arms race.” We cannot continue to just attend church and leave; we need to attend church with a purpose and leave with an anointing and an agenda.
Post Sat Apr 15, 2017 6:38 am 
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