The black church was founded and established in the environment in which it was meant to function. It was begun with a mission and a purpose. Not just to celebrate itself or indulge in hero worship of her pastor. This is the evolution of the African American church tradition: to do nothing and go nowhere. To load down our churches, building them kin the wrong lace and in the wrong way. Instead of a cramped, run-down building where we sit and do nothing, we'll have a large, modern building where we'll sit and do nothing. The church should be proactive. Moving, growing, adapting. The church should be on a mission and we, all of us, should be explorers. Adrenaline pumping, blood flowing. Excited about what's around the next bend. We should be on a mission. Where No Man Has Gone Before.
We must decide together why God has drawn us to each other. We
must live out that cause and live it like our lives depend upon
it. Who are we called to reach? What are we called to do? How
can we return our community to the dream of God, the perfect
plan for the people he made? This is the mission we must be on.
It isnít a statement, it isnít a slogan, or a program, or a
ministry. It is our mission and God is the powerful gust that
will propel us and drive us as we listen daily to his stirring
with in us. óEric C. Mason
Evangelical Baptist and Methodist preachers traveled throughout the South in the Great Awakening of the late 18th century. They appealed directly to slaves, and numerous people converted. Blacks found opportunities to have active roles in new congregations, especially in the Baptist Church, where slaves were appointed as leaders and preachers (they were excluded from such roles in the Anglican or Episcopal Church). As they listened to readings, slaves developed their own interpretations of the Scriptures and found inspiration in stories of deliverance, such as the Exodus out of Egypt. Nat Turner, a slave and Baptist preacher, was inspired to armed rebellion, in an uprising that killed about 50 white men, women, and children in Virginia. Both free blacks and the more numerous slaves participated in the earliest black Baptist congregations founded near Petersburg, Virginia, Savannah, Georgia and Lexington, Kentucky before 1800. The slaves Peter Durrett and his wife founded the First African Church (now known as First African Baptist Church) in Lexington, Kentucky c. 1790. The church's trustees purchased its first property in 1815. The congregation numbered about 290 by the time of Durrett's death in 1823. In plantation areas, slaves organized underground churches and hidden religious meetings, the "invisible church", where slaves were free to mix evangelical Christianity with African beliefs and African rhythms. They turned Wesleyan Methodist hymns into spirituals. The underground churches provided psychological refuge from the white world. The spirituals gave the church members a secret way to communicate and, in some cases, to plan rebellion. WIKIPEDIA
The black church was founded and established in the environment in which it was meant to function. It was begun with a mission and a purpose. Not just to celebrate itself or indulge in hero worship of her pastor, the black church in America was designed, from its inception, to be effective and purposeful. Not satisfied to send and support, but to emphasize being and doing. To be proactive and aggressive in service. To boldly go.
Our Context: The Love of Jesus Christ
Water. The scriptures are filled with it. We canít live without it. It quenches our thirst and cleanses us. Water has for ages represented life and restoration. For us, water means love. It is the context that we will swim in as we move forward to reach those far from God. They will know us by our Love. We are a people who love one another in deep intimacy with Jesus through our baptism. Love is not just a word, it is the context in which we will do everything. No decision, no activity, no conversation, no sacrifice will be made with out first answering the question of our context. Is this the loving thing to do? Is this the cup of water for the thirsty, the coat in the cold, the warm meal for the hungry, the comfort for the lonely, the healing for the hurt? óEric C. Mason
Actually, "To Boldly Go" is bad grammar. The correct phrasing is, "To Go Boldly," but the improper version is so burned into our collective conscience that it's become part of our cultural lexicon. Hereís the reality of space exploration: the reason we havenít landed a man (or woman, or Hillary Clinton) on Jupiter has less to do with money and more to do with weight. Now, our secretary of state only weighs, a guess, 120 pounds, give or take, but the main problem is how to get her into orbit. The sheer amount of rocket fuel it would take to jettison former President Clintonís wife (or, say, your own) into outer space would make such a long voyage fairly prohibitive. The ship would be out of fuel by the time it made it into orbit over the Earth. Out of gas, and she hasnít even gone anywhere.
One of many things that bugged me about the new Star Trek Junior movie was how wrong they got most all of the science, tossing out real science (or what we call ďpseudoĒ science) for Saturday Morning Cartoon Science. Scooby Doo Science. Thereís this scene (stolen, shot-for-shot, from Top Gun) where Kirk rides his motorcycle past what I assume is a Starfleet shipyard (in Kansas. The actual shipyards are in orbit over San Francisco), where he sees a starship under construction. It was a scene that sent most every Trekker into convulsions, as the guiding principle of starship construction in Star Trek is this: the Starship Enterprise is made of cheese.