Symbols are Important

Several years ago I wrote the following  editorial in favor of changing the Georgia flag.* This letter generated a great deal of hostile response.  I offer it in token of an ongoing struggle for justice.

A few years ago I attended an assembly at the elementary school where my children were attending. At the opening of the assembly everyone stood, placed their right hand over their heart and recited the pledge to the American flag. Then, without missing a beat, I watched and listened as the students pledged their allegiance to the Georgia flag: “I pledge allegiance to the Georgia flag and to the principles for which it stands – wisdom, justice, and moderation.” I watched as scores of young black children saluted and pledged their allegiance to a flag which bares the symbol of their ancestor’s oppression, a flag which is supposed to stand for justice.

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Reflections on the Believers Baptism Consulation

Recently, I was honored to participate in the Believers Baptism Consultation in Kingston, Jamaica (press release and final report). This event was attended by leaders and scholars representing a variety of Christian theological traditions and a representative of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches. My presentation was entitled “Believers Baptism in the Pentecostal Tradition.”

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Growling Bears, Moaning Doves, & the Prince of Peace

All of us growl like bears, and moan sadly like doves. We hope for justice, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far from us” (Isaiah 59:11).

Peace is the fruit of righteousness and justice. When strife erupts into protests and demonstrations the cry for justice is lost among the cacophony of voices competing to be heard, competing for power. When power is the goal of protests, justice will be forfeited because unrestricted power by its very nature suppresses the weak. The ancient prophets of Yahweh lamented the corruption, oppression, and sinfulness of the people of God. The “kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6) had degenerated into “growling bears and moaning doves.” The “growling bears” are locked in combat over territorial rights. The moaning doves lament the absence of peace.

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Advent Devotion – HOPE

The first candle of Advent signifies HOPE. As we light the candle of hope we are reminded of the faith of our ancestral fathers and mothers of the faith – the ancient patriarchs. About 4000 years ago God called Abram from the land of Iraq and said, “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Genesis 12:1-3).

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Reflections of an Ecumenical Pentecostal