Good Morning Baltimore

Image from Hello World Media via Flickr

Image from Hello World Media via Flickr

The movie “Hairspray” opens with the song “Good Morning Baltimore”. It’s a happy song about the finer points of the city. But as the movie progresses, the very serious issues of body image discrimination and racial segregation take front stage. In the end, it takes a galvanizing leader and a courageous teenager to open the eyes of the public and bring about reconciliation. 

Currently, there is a great need for reconciliation in Baltimore since there have been protests and riots involving physical violence and destruction of property. All of which are prevalent in the wake of the brutal beating and subsequent death of Freddie Gray. The images I’ve seen on the news and social media have been both disturbing and disappointing. My heart and prayers go out to the community that has been hurt on both sides of the police brutality and injustice issues. 

I know that I’m an outsider looking into the current state of affairs in Baltimore, Maryland. I realize at the end of the day, the people in that city must find a way to bring lasting peace and hope. However, I feel the need to add one more observation to the myriad of blogs, tweets, and posts on this subject. In my opinion, Baltimore needs clear social leadership. 

So far, in this circumstance I’ve noticed each media source has tried to get statements from various leaders. We’ve seen church leaders, city councilmen, gang leaders, student leaders, police leaders, mayors, the governor, national minority leaders, and more. But there doesn’t seem to be one clearly identifiable leader who has the influence to speak on behalf of the masses. 

During the civil rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was that leader. He was the key figure whose leadership gave the plight of minorities a voice. Historically, every major movement that affected change had a leader who courageously represented the weak in the face of the establishment. From Moses to Ghandi to Dr. King, dynamic leaders have played a vital role in the success of freedom movements. That said, I believe Baltimore could benefit from having a leader who unifies all of the splintered pieces of social injustice into a comprehensive and focused agenda. 

I pray that God will raise up a leader who has the integrity to command the listening ear of the public. I’m praying for a leader who will endeavor to do what’s right for right’s sake. This leader must have the complete trust of the people and the selfless disposition to serve the greater good of the city as a whole, without expecting anything in return. 

I’m praying for a leader whose passion for this cause will not flicker out after the news reporters move on to the next hot topic. A leader who is willing to do the hard work of deep, lasting, transformational change is needed to insure future generations can shake off the curse of racism and discrimination in the city. I pray that God causes a leader to emerge who has the miraculous ability to grasp anger, fear, chaos, and rage, wrestle them into submission with divine authority and make peace. 

Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. (‭Matthew‬ ‭5‬:‭9‬ NKJV)

We’re all heroes

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The world is in danger and needs a hero. There is a person or group who wants to rule the world. So someone is on a quest to find the chosen one or an unlikely hero emerges on the scene. The hero is trained, empowered, or equipped to perform a task against all odds to stop the villain from taking over the world. Through some event or battle, the unlikely hero succeeds, saves the world, gets the girl, and lives happily ever after.

Does that sound familiar? Sure it does. We have all watched movies like this. This formula or some variation of it, is used for movies like Star Wars, the Avengers, Superman / Batman, and The Lord of the Rings. Why? Maybe it’s because we root for the underdogs. Maybe it’s because it appeals to our innermost desire to be heroes ourselves. 

God needs heroes and he is looking for average, ordinary people he can empower to do extraordinary things. 

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.” (‭I Corinthians‬ ‭1‬:‭26-31‬ NKJV)

God isn’t looking for the strongest, fastest, smartest, or most popular people to live heroic lives. Through Paul, he tells the church to look around and see not many mighty, noble, wise, or strong are among them. Instead, God has deliberately chosen to make heroes out of the underdogs. 

You see, God doesn’t necessarily need the biggest and best because at any moment, through his Holy Spirit, he can empower the church. God’s people have divine potential to help others in need, mend broken hearts, and transform lives with the Gospel. Ordinary people like you and I are being used by God to bring light to dark places of employment, hope to depressed communities, and security to the weak and disenfranchised. 

So as you go to the theaters to watch your favorite heroes on the big screen, remember, we’re all heroes in God’s eyes.

The World’s Mission

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As Christians, we have a mission to share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, reconciling the world to God. (Matthew 28:19-20, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21). But did you know the world has a mission too? When I speak of the world’s mission, I’m speaking of the system of beliefs, ways of living, motivations and goals of the world we live in apart from Christianity. Take away the Christian values of morality, the values of ethics, the holiness, glory, godliness and righteousness, and what you have in essence is the world’s mission. Basically if you remove the church from the picture, here’s what’s left.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. (‭I John‬ ‭2‬:‭15-16‬ NKJV)

There it is in a nutshell; the world is all about spreading the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. If your flesh can enjoy it, if your eyes can behold it, and if your ego can desire it, the world has it to offer. Our media, entertainment, and social practices all support this system. 
 
Let me clarify something here: The world system and mission is bad, but the world itself is good. When God made the world, he said it is good. The problem isn’t the world. It’s how we interact with the world and how we allow it to influence us.

We should be “in the world” but not “of the world”. That means we should enjoy all that God has provided for us without allowing our lusts to cause us sin. All sin can be grouped into the three categories of the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life. The world we live in will always tempt us with those things. 

Instead, we should seek God’s guidance as we live in this world. He can give us vision to recognize the effects of the world’s influence on our lives. He can give us wisdom to escape the world’s temptations. He can give us power to overcome sin. 

Who Will Protect My Handsome, Brilliant Son?

Thank you Dru for your point of view on this pressing issue. Please read and share.

Dru Ealons

A few of the cherished pictures of my son! A few of the cherished pictures of my son!

With the recent “death by cop” news on South Carolinian Walter Scott, I am reminded of one of my previous blog posts – Black People: Let’s Stop Pointing Fingers. In that post, I focused more about starting a social media campaign to raise awareness. However, today I want to ask the question, who will protect my handsome, brilliant son? This question burns deep within about all black boys/men and girls/women.

I, like lots of mothers and fathers, feel my son is handsome and brilliant! Everywhere I go with my little guy, there are always nonstop compliments that validate his handsomeness and his brilliance, from all ethnicities. But what is painfully clear, the older my son gets the more society will fear him and believe him to be a threat, based solely on the color of his skin. His smooth…

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