"Imagine instead, though, a media narrative that took seriously the notion that voters chose Trump as a way to protect their "own dominant status"— not as an act of noble rebellion. It might help explain, for instance, the shockingly high approval rating the president still has with evangelical Christians. And yet, that debate is fraught because it points to deep-seated bias and prejudice. "
-Excerpted from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Archbishop Thomas Wenski, leader of the archdiocese of Miami, Fla is a priest of Polish ancestry, who moves easily between the three predominant cultures in Miami, Anglo, Cuban and Haitian. He is equally at home in St. John Bosco Catholic Church in Little Havana and St. Mary's Catholic Church in Little Haiti, being fluent in Spanish and Haitian Creole.
He was taught Spanish by Pedro Pan Cuban orphans who settled in Miami in in the late ‘60s and ‘70s. He spent three years learning and serving in Haiti to better relate to his Haitian parishioners. If you were to ask any Cuban or Haitian immigrant in Miami who he is--the simple reply would be "he is one of us."
He instinctively knows that in order for a "ch__ch" to exist and reach its full potential "ur" must be there. He takes the time and expends the effort to assign equal value and worth to all of his charges, firmly adhering to the principle.
"If you want a person to feel welcome in our Father's house, speak to them in their mother tongue," he says. Think for a moment how much is contained in that simple statement.
I recently attended a 25th year anniversary service at the Living Word Church in Cooper City, Fl. It was a grand occasion. Congratulations to the godparents of the editor of this publication --willing vessels of clay in the hands of the Master Potter--for a job well done. The keynote speaker stressed during his message a desire and goal to reach a billion souls for Christ as soon as possible. He emphasized during his sermon some ways that we can achieve said goal.
Psalm 90:12 warns us, "teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart to know wisdom.”
Judges 11 records the story of Jepthah, a mighty man of valor, who was driven away from his family because he was the son of a different woman, having no part of his father's inheritance. He was later recalled to lead Israel in their fight against the Ammonites, when all hope was lost, and they had nowhere else to turn.
An axiom in South Africa declares, "when the missionaries came, they had the Bible and we had the land. Afterwards, we had the Bible and they possessed the land."
The answer lies in a conversation I had with Joel Ramjohn following the service mentioned above. It is something that bothers him because it is a fundamental moral defect that should have been corrected and placed under the blood upon your conversion to Christ. It should have no place in the liberated Christian mind if one truly understands the basic principle of Christ's sacrifice.
Joe and his wife Tan (names have been changed for security), he from Trindad and she from Jamaica, are minority missionaries in a field that is predominantly Caucasian. Ironically the historical Jesus, a Middle Eastern Sephardic Jew, was nearer in color and physical appearance than the images depicted in the works of Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael.
Ho outlined for me the difficulties he has encountered in fulfilling the mission that God has impressed upon his heart on multiple occasions. Many of the obstacles he has faced have come, not from the devil as expected, but from those people engaged in the same field and their support groups. Joe and Tan spent over 10 years in leadership within the missions organization YWAM and when they approached their base leader about a calling to launch a new organization focusing on unreached people in Central Florida, they were staunchly opposed to their dream, instructed them that it was unadvisable to continue on the path that they had chosen to pursue. They were told that they didn't have they ability to start their own missions organization.
Faced with such a discouraging stance, from someone they considered to be a mentor and spiritual guide, Joe and Tan felt compelled to separate himself from that organization to fulfill, unhindered, God's mandate for his life. He and his wife founded Agape Source, a non-profit missions group.
He talked about walking into the offices of support groups who have the financial capacity to write a check to cover all his expenses, feeling the temperature drop in the room, a distinct change in the atmosphere, and leaving unfulfilled or empty-handed.
He conveyed to me a sense of frustration with the prevailing attitude in the Christian world that somehow a minority is not as capable or effective in the arena of taking the Gospel to all the nations.
“We have yet to earn an equal seat at the table,” he said. Are we still not quite fully redeemed? Has the blood that flows from Calvary's mountain somehow lost some of its power by the time it reaches us?
We are still struggling to arrive at the position where we will be considered “full” brothers, not mere brothers, because of our outward physical characteristics, who are "hewers of wood, "fetchers of water" or “secondary subordinate, servants to our white saviors.”
In view of such an ambitious goal explained above, common sense should tell us that we need to marshal all forces to reap such an abundant harvest. Pragmatism demands that, since the vision is for an appointed time and we need to run with it, we should not be placing stumbling blocks in front of those who want to go. Since there are precious few willing to heed the call, we cannot afford to be careless with those who step up. It is a bad idea and eminently foolish to disdain any investment in the kingdom business.
Any good successful businessman knows that in order to realize a stated objective you maximize all available resources within an optimal time period. Since time and money are of the essence, there must be an attitude of all hands on deck all the time. Personalities should have no bearing on the process--only,"can you move the goal posts from point A to point B in a timely, efficient manner?" The color green should be the only motivating factor.
I refer you to Hyman Roth in the movie “The Godfather,” subtly accusing Michael Corleone of orchestrating the murder of his friend, while about to enter a business transaction with him, "I didn't ask who ordered the hit because it had nothing to do with business."
Business cannot afford to take into account emotions and attitudes lest you hamstrung your endeavor. A business plan is not invalid nor illegitimate because of the makeup of the face who presents it.
Yet the stranglehold of prejudice has such a vise grip on the Christian psyche, so deeply ingrained in our DNA that we are patently unable to acknowledge that all people, including the minority, can be anointed, appointed and empowered to accomplish the call of God.
Indeed it is an affliction and emotional disorder that have plagued the movement from its inception--this stubbornly persistent desire for the human will to supersede the will of God.
I refer you to Peter's interaction with Cornelius in the book of Acts, Paul's confrontation with Peter for his hypocrisy in the book of Galatians and the dust up in Acts 6 between the Hebrews and Hellenists concerning their widows.
It is undeniable that all men are intrinsically endowed by their Creator to advance the kingdom of God.
God is no respecter of persons and He will use any available willing vessel to expand his influence, like Joel and Tanique who are undaunted and undeterred, despite being pressed on every side.
May God bless them, enlarge their territory and influence, and that His hand would ever be with them and upon them to continually guide and direct them. My fervent hope for them is, when the sun finally sets on their day, and they stand before the Judge of the universe on the awesome day of the accounting, they can confidently declare, "Father, I have glorified you on earth, I have finished the work that you gave me to do."
I pray for the day when Christians everywhere can come to the understanding that every man, every tribe,tongue and kindred, every where, are equal partners in the power, sacrifice and final command of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
V. Knowles is a husband, father and prison minister with an interest in penning issues that serve to uplift mankind. He melds his love for Classic literature, The Bible and pop culture - as sordid as it may be - into highly relatable columns of truth, faith and justice. Hence the name: Just Thinking. If he's not buried in a book or penning his next column, you may find him pinned to his sectional watching a good old Country and Western flick.