Monday, January 17, 2011

One Who Came Before

I studied Martial Arts for a total of 15 years.  There were breaks here and there, but the total amount of years put together is 15 years.  I’ve studied Tae Kwon Do, as my primary discipline, Shotokan Karate, Hapkido, as well as other disciplines.  When I use to compete, I was asked how I am so good.  Majority of the tournaments were held by Karate dojos so I would respond in a term that they would understand.  I would say, “by listening and doing what my sensei says.”  The word “sensei” means one who lived or came before.  When we use sensei, we automatically think it means master of Martial Arts.  Sensei can be a doctor, a professor, a scientist; it can be used in any profession.  It does reference teaching, and it is given the title when it speaks of someone who has experience.  My Martial Arts Instructor is a Grand Master by the amount of years he has studied, trained and taught.  He is much older than me, which means he came before me.  Because of this fact, it would be wise to listen, because he has experienced things I have not.
Is this message about Martial Arts?  No it is not.   However it is about one man who came before me and I wonder if he was alive today, how would he address the men and woman who are in the same ministry.  The man I am referring to is Dr. Martin Luther King.  “In 1954, Martin Luther King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.  Always a strong worker for civil rights for members of his race, King was, by this time, a member of the executive committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the leading organization of its kind in the nation.”  This was an excerpt that I took from a listed biography.  He was always a strong worker for civil rights for members of his race.  Am I about to make this a race thing?  No, but I want to point out the difference between one of the spiritual black leaders of old and compare them to some of the spiritual black leaders now.
I will not go too much into statistics.  I have all ethnic backgrounds who view my blog, who can comment in disagreement if I am saying anything that is in error.  African-Americans are either at the highest or lowest of many important demographics that pertains to our society and it is always in a negative way.  Choose one.  Crime?  They are the highest in the nation.  Graduation rates?  They are the lowest.  Teen pregnancy?  High.  HIV infection?  High.  Home ownership?  Low.  I can go on and on.   The spiritual black leaders who have a voice that can reach many, have financial means, and access to media outlets, what are they doing about it?  Where are their efforts?  What are Eddie Long, Creflo Dollar, Juanita Bynum, and others who may not be as known, but have huge congregations in some of our black communities doing about this?  “Well Minister Notice, you can’t really hold them responsible for the wrong personal decision that people have made.” (in my goofy voice) I beg to differ.  When you become a part of God’s Holy Ministry, you have told God, that I am willing to help those who can’t help themselves.  I am willing to be an advocate for the poor.  I am willing to help change the way people think, so that they do not do the will of the enemy, but the will of God.  So when the only reports are you being investigated because of your financial decisions, or you are being investigated because of inappropriate behaviors, or you are being called out because who you are associated with, then it is because your actions are supporting what is on your heart!!!!!!!!! This will of course result in a disconnect with the people they are preaching too.
The bible says  Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.  But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (Ja 2:17-18)  What works have these spiritual leaders displayed that indicates they have faith in God?  You have those who majority of their sermons is about being rich.  You have those who will make you cringe based on the company they keep.  You have those whose behavior make you shake your head in shame because you cannot believe this was from a spiritual leader.  James explained that through his work, you will see God.  That is the premise of that verse.  Through his work you will see God.  He does not have to “say” he has faith, but his works will prove it.  Jesus said “by their fruits you will know them” (Matt 7:16), meaning their actions.  If I am in error, please let me know!  Blessed is the man whom You instruct, O LORD, And teach out of Your law,” (Ps 94:12)
Let’s take away the verses.  Let’s say for some reason these men and women did not know these verses.  They had a sensei.  They had an example of one who came before them.  Dr. King was known for standing up for those who could not.  He was known for doing the work to make sure that blacks in this country have the same rights as our white brothers and sisters.  What would he be saying now at the condition of the black race in this country?  What would his response be to the spiritual leaders of these communities?  I shared messages about bad pastors, and bad churches.  I used scriptures.  If you do not want to read your bibles, then Google Dr. King and see how the one who came before them did it.  Amen!

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