“Tell It To The Church,” Is About Transparency

transparency

The Presumption of Truth
Correlates With Transparency.
&
It is
“Tell It To The Church”

which ensures transparency.

As we all recognize, there are different ways to lie . . . . .

√ To make a statement that is factually not true — It does not comport with reality. We do not need many or any examples of that in these final weeks of an election.

√ To misrepresent the details and facts — Technically, it may be true, but it is represented in an inaccurate way. He made that comment, but what was said before or after was purposefully left out because it would fail to support what we are claiming was said. A half-truth is a misrepresentation, though not an entirely untrue statement.

√ To purposefully distort the details and facts — The details and facts of a situation, conversation, or event did happen, but not as stated. It has the sound of truth because many details are included, but not as constructed or stated.[1] Some of the details may even have been omitted — “What they did not tell you was . . . . ”

√ To make nuanced statements — One uses a particular word or phrase, which deceptively makes it true. The purpose and hope of using that word or phrase are to give an impression that is not true. The statement is said in such a way as to imply what is not true. [2]

√ To make a promise, and then not fulfill that promise — Every parent has felt that responsibility. “Dad, you said you were going to take me to . . . on Friday.” [3]

√ To deceive, misdirect, obfuscate — There are ways to deceive, while not outright lying. “Did you break that vase?” Response: “What vase? Was a vase broken?” No one said that they did not break the vase, but they misdirected the questioner. To distract, muddy the waters, or divert attention to something other than what is at issue is to deceive.

Whether it be a blatant misstatement of the facts, distortion, a nuanced statement, misrepresentation, omission of details, obfuscation, diversion, misleading, misdirection, deceiving, or a broken promise, etc . . . . all are included in the meaning of the ninth commandment which is typically stated as — “Thou Shalt Not Lie.” We are called upon to be “truth-tellers” (Ephesians 4:25 and many more!).

“Buy the truth and sell it not.”
— Proverbs 23:23 — 

A Day When Pastoral Failure Is Finally Liberated

All of those sermons about — love, care, concern, and the church being a family — back when the church did not have to deal with Covid and the present social-political upheaval — sure sounded better then than what we see now.

Only two years ago, those sermons were believed to accurately represent what it meant to be a member of the church and/or reflect how the pastor cared for his people.  He was the shepherd with a heart for God’s people.  If anyone cares, it is the pastor! — He’s the under-shepherd who cares for his flock.

That was the expectation which was presumed to be the actual response of the pastor when difficult times came into our lives.  Those expectations were taught as being biblically founded, appropriate, and reasonable by both those who shared leadership and sat in the pews!

However, theological and pastoral liberating “cloaks” now mitigate any pastoral failure!

√  Ministries and pastors are theologically liberated from failure by raising doctrinal banners.

“We believe in the deity of Christ. Many churches no longer believe that. We are standing on the Word and promises of God.”

“We need a revival in America — and in the church today.  Churches are under attack today and our society is in shambles.  Christ is the only hope of America.”

Those kinds of affirmations are enough to dismiss most any and all pastoral or church failures, short of the black and white unacceptable moral failures.

Sadly, I’ve heard it said by those who admit that their pastor is self-centered and cares little for God’s people.

“I know — and we even know personally — how little he cares for God’s people and those in the church.  Yes, it is all about him, not about others.  But, he preaches the Bible.”

There is an acceptable separation between saying and doing.  Apparently, “doing” is not part of what a pastor is saying (non-verbally) or part of what the Bible teaches.  

However, “doing” is actually part of the Bible’s teaching and is part of teaching!

Sometimes it is the “bibliological banner” that is raised above all other truths, doctrines, or practical principles of Scripture. . . .

“We are a church that preaches the unadulterated Word of God without compromise. We believe that the Scriptures are God’s solid rock of wisdom and understanding!”

“We are committed to expository preaching — line by line, precept upon precept.  We don’t vary or equivocate on what the Scriptures teach!”

That will get a hearty “AMEN” and cover many a good reason to question what is actually happening when it comes to the church and/or with God’s people.

 

√  Ministries and pastors are pastorally liberated from failure by calling up the role, position, and/or office of “pastor.”

What was a legitimate biblical admonition — “receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses,” is now . . .

“Examine little to no concerns or issues that arise — Talk to few, if any, about what or why — Quiet or cover all disagreement — Allow no one to speak to those in leadership — Receive not an accusation no matter how many people have left the church — Respond to as little as possible . . . “

At times, pastoral liberation is endorsed by framing what has ( or had not been done) as needing a vote of confidence on either keeping or dismissing the lead pastor. There is a liberating quality to setting up that “either-or” response. 

It is made to seem that any criticism of a pastor is only a push to have him voted out by the congregation.

It is made to seem that any criticism of a pastor is unloving or unkind —  Don’t you realize that pastors are facing “burn-out” in ministry?  Such questioning is harsh and ungracious.

Church leadership “circles the wagons” to protect the pastor from what they think is the intended purpose of criticism — dismissal.  Instead of seeing such criticism as an opportunity to seriously help to correct course, they view criticism as a movement designed to “fire the pastor.”

Again, the options are not either-or: Keep or Fire. . . . Support or Dismiss . . . . or He is a Good or Wicked pastor.

The practical and evaluative options that ought to be considered are far more realistic and expansive than that . . . .

  • Remarkably Selfless
  • Sincerely Caring
  • Inconsistently / Selectively Caring
  • Sporadically Considerate
  • Pastorally Aloof
  • Generally Selfish
  • Repeatedly & Genuinely Self-serving

To bring to light an issue of legitimate concern, or to bring up the failure to serve and love God’s people, is — “You are sowing discord, and/or trying to get the pastor fired!”

There is no middle ground!  Could it be that some are pushing the leadership to do what they are in a position to do and have been elected to do, representing God’s people?  Those leaders are in a position to examine and discuss such concerns, and have a small enough venue to speak boldly and frankly about the pastoral actions and ministry directions!

Seemingly, the application of such biblical passages as . . .

* The Prodigal Son
* The Lost Sheep
* The Ninety and Nine
* The Good Samaritan
* “if you have done it to the least of these”
* “especially those of the household of God”

. . . . do not bear much theological or pastoral weight midst the proffered liberating excuses of pastors when failing to show care, sympathy, concern, or compassion for people.

  ♦  ♦  ♦  ♦  ♦

Yes, “There is no perfect pastor..”  Yes, “There is no perfect church.” HOWEVER, the choices are not “perfect and imperfect.” Again, the choices are not either-or. They are — Excellent-great-good-average-weak-poor-terrible-toxic.”

We live in a day when it is Theologically and Pastorally Liberating to fail in ministry, reaching those who need Christ, and in ministering to God’s people.

No longer does the weight of biblical reasoning and common spiritual sensibility, which naturally flows from any discussion or reference to the love of God, of the incarnation (God moving into our neighborhood), demand a far better response by the church’s leaders, nor does it result in any meaningful consequences midst obvious pastoral failure!

What was once “amen and amen expectations,” when what was theologically and pastorally unacceptable and rightly rebuked, is now allowed to slide through as . . .

  • “oversights”
  • “human error”
  • “ministry mistakes”
  • “It’s Covid.”
  • “It’s a terrible failure, but it’s only a one-off.”
  • “Ministering to God’s people is difficult.”
  • “We all fail and have failed.”

We do live in a day when pastoral failure has been liberated from the most reasonable level of appropriate expectations and consequences.



Sorry, I Don’t Believe It!

Probably like yourself, I have heard comments and assertions that I simply don’t believe. I have no proof that they are wrong, but neither do I have any basis for believing that they are right. But they have been stated with authority or by an authority.

  • The light of one candle can be seen up to five miles away.
  • There are 100 million other galaxies.
  • There is only one bridge across the whole 4,300 miles long Amazon River.
  • The chances of you becoming the President are greater than you winning the lottery. 

I’m not saying that what was asserted isn’t true. Just that I simply don’t believe it.  It will take more than a declaration by “They” — You known . . . . “They say . . . . “.

Here is another one I do not believe. It goes something like this . . . .

In making personal contact with people, if you are under 30 or 40 (“They say,” — part of the millennial generation [2]), a text, email, DM, or phone call/voice mail “works.”

I use the words “personal contact” because I am want to exclude those contacts that do work and work for all of us no matter what generation — i.e., “Will meet you there around 4.”

I am talking about “personal contact” that involves times of life that matter!

  • Loss of job
  • Marital failure
  • Sickness
  • Pandemics
  • Hospital stays
  • Serious accidents
  • A terrible medical report
  • A child / teen crisis
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Funerals
  • Operation day
  • Weddings
  • Graduation events
  • Significant award ceremonies
  • Anniversary milestone celebrations
  • Dedications & christenings

No, I don’t believe that any other contact outside of a real person, a person’s presence, actually “works!”

If we can at all be there, if there is proximity [3], if there is a meaningful relationship, and if your ministry to them matters — then presence matters!

Sending a text, an email, or making a phone call to someone experiencing these life situations, or during a real personal difficulty is inadequate and is not our Lord.

No, I don’t believe that Jesus would have sent a text to Mary & Martha, outside of the fact that He purposed to delay his arrival. He cared too much to do that!

A face-to-face, walk into the room, show up in person visit cannot be replaced by anything else! People want to see care and concern incarnated, like Jesus, to actually “show up in their neighborhood.”

The senior, or lead pastor’s presence means something! AND — no one can replace the presence of 
the pastor.

Try saying this to a pastor — “You don’t need to go, I will. Your presence doesn’t mean anything more than any other deacon or member.” No one believes that, and no one believes that being there “in the flesh” is the same as sending a text message.

Sorry, I don’t believe that a text, email, DM, or anything short of “a caring pastor’s face” works, no matter who you are on “the-other-side-of-caring.”

We are all made the same when it comes to times of need, and presence matters to us who are in God’s image!

♦♦♦♦♦

In closing . . . . 

I saw a sign at the dentist office yesterday . . . . 

“You do not need to brush all your teeth, just the ones you want to keep.”

In the same vein . . . . 

You do not need to be there for all people or all the life situations that matter to them.  

You only need to be there for the people that
you truly care about
and with whom you want a ministry.

 



1. Some can be easily and quickly fact-checked because they are mathematically verifiable — i.e., Cleopatra lived closer in time to the first Moon landing than to the building of the Great Pyramid — Click here for proof.

2. “The millennial generation, sometimes also referred to as generation Y, is generally agreed to include people born in the early 1980s through the early 2000s.”

3. Have you ever said to your children, “You need to eat what’s on your plate; people are starving in the world and would give everything to have what is in front of you.” No, we can’t send the meal to them, but we can help our neighbor.

Is not that what “The Good Samaritan” account teaches — proximity! We can’t help all who have been accosted, abused, or used, but we can help those on our path, those who are proximate!


An Anatomy of the Ordinary, Slightly Extraordinary, and the Extraordinary

Like you, I’ve done a lot of the ordinary when it comes to people, ministry, and in my attempt to share the Gospel. . . . .

  • Ordinary Exercise of Manners: Held the door, Smiled, Please & Thank You
  • Ordinary Acts of Kindness: Let someone go in ahead of me, Made someone aware that they had dropped a dollar or more
  • Ordinary Helpful Actions: Carried boxes on or off a moving van, handed tools to those working on a project

Some may have been slightly more than ordinary . . . .

  • I held the door for someone to go in ahead of me, knowing that there was a limited supply of the item that was on sale.
  • Made someone aware that they had dropped a $20, or even returned a bank envelop with $700 in it, with the person’s name on it
  • Paid for someone’s “coffee & donuts” in line behind me.
  • In the “pulpit,” when would have been easy to “call out sick.”
  • Donated blood — iffy as to which list this should make, but blood is pretty precious!

There have been a number of times where I believe what I did was extraordinary — out of the ordinary and out of the slightly ordinary. I will leave them unstated lest it is misunderstood and/or it takes away from the post. [1]

I have even dreamed about doing the extraordinary, the really extraordinary, if I had the time, opportunity, and primarily the money.

You hear about such extraordinary examples now and again — A $1,000 tip, A Million Dollar donation to a medical center, A house built, Free medical services to third-world citizens, No charge care for children with cancer, et al. Although, some of these examples may only be slightly extraordinary due to the resources that some possess — Mark 12:42.

Although, I am certain that the extraordinary giving of time, talent, skills, $$$ happen far more, by ordinary people, than we realize!

Ministry leaders, lay members, and pastors also have the opportunity to do the ordinary, the slightly extraordinary, and the “extraordinary.” I suggest that it is “the extraordinary” that has the greatest impact on our neighbors, friends, “the household of faith” — Galatians 6:10, and the world around us.

“As we have therefore opportunity, 
let us do good unto all men
especially unto them who are of 
the household of faith.”

The Ordinary:  Whether one is in the pew or in the pulpit, there is the ordinary, the “of course I do/did this-or-that” because that is what people, good people, are given to acts of kindness, manners, and helpfulness. 

  • Send a card to someone who has lost a loved one
  • Attend a funeral
  • Give a shower gift
  • Send a Thank You note
  • Give someone a lift
  • Drive someone to the doctor
  • Visit someone in the hospital
  • Text – DM – VM — Merry Christmas / Happy New Year / Happy Birthday
  • et al.

That’s what we do . . . . and even what those who know not Christ do!

 

The Slightly Extraordinary:  Whether one is in the pew or in the pulpit, there is the “slightly extraordinary,” the “of course I do/did this-or-that” because that is who I am, who Go’s people are. We have received great kindness, love, mercy, and love. Our hearts have been changed, and we now feel for others. Understanding, caring, and compassion now motivate us far more than at any time before in our lives.

  • Paid for a child, who could not afford it, to go to camp
  • Give large swaths of our time, talents, and treasure to outreach
  • Give over and above a tithe
  • Invite someone to sit with you at church, or sit with someone who is “alone” in church
  • Start a conversation with that individual, who many might avoid because they are quiet or socially awkward.
  • Attend a funeral of someone you “know,” but you really don’t personally know, but you know others who know them.
  • Go out of our way to correct a $ error that someone has made commercially or personally
  • Chose not to sit with “the important” or “the comfortable table of friends,” but with the person sitting alone at a table during times of fellowship
  • Offer to come over and help with this-or-that home project on your day off
  • Visit someone at the hospital you “know,” but you don’t personally know
  • Serving, preaching, or teaching when physically afflicted
  • Give a wedding gift (shower gift) to a couple being married even if you barely know them or their family
  • et al.

However, let me make this important point!  The “slightly extraordinary” is actually the “ordinary” when one is in ministry. Of course, you do many if not most of the above, because you are the shepherd, not the sheep. Shepherd act like shepherds, and that is what shepherds do! 

If shepherds act like sheep, then consider this . . . .

Wolves put on sheep clothing to look like the sheep, but in reality, they are not!
Some sheep put on shepherd’s garb to look like a shepherd, but in reality, they are not!

When the sheep do the “slightly extraordinary,” there is a meaningful impact on others. When the shepherds do the “slightly extraordinary,” it is rightfully appreciated, but not lauded as something unusual! Of course, he attended the funeral; in fact, even if he wasn’t officiating, he would have been there! 

When the “ordinary” and “slightly extraordinary” is absent, 
it speaks just about as loud as it can get!

 

The Extraordinary:  Whether one is in the pew or in the pulpit, there is the “extraordinary,” the “Wow — he/she did this-or-that!” There are those who are “extraordinary” in church ministries. There were MANY of the “extraordinary” at Faith Baptist Church in Hamilton, NJ. They went out of their way to help, love, support, visit, drive, give, care, and minister to others inside and outside the church.

Just recently, because of a flight delay, my son and his family would arrive late for a family funeral in Trenton, New Jersey. The family could not pick him up because of the time of the funeral and their arrival at the airport, which was at least an hour away. Karan saw the situation developing on social media, picked them up at the airport, drove them well over an hour to north Jersey for the funeral, and then she drove back home — alone! Oh, did I say that she had snacks, sub sandwiches, and drinks for the whole family — all six of them.

It is just good to do good!
BUT, it shouts when we do the extraordinary!

 

It’s A Wrap: Much more could be said, but let me draw a few conclusions.

 If you are in the pew, the “slightly extraordinary” will speak to others.

 Most do not disparage another for not doing the “extraordinary.” The “extraordinary” is understood as optional and often carries with it a relational element. Those in pews and even in the pulpits typically get a pass if they do not do the “extraordinary.”

 If you want to have a meaningful impact on people, it is really the “extraordinary” that speaks the loudest.

 When pastors do the extraordinary. . . . 

. . . . make a home or hospital visit to a member or friend of the church week after week [2], kindly return the funeral or wedding honorarium, “show up” time and time again at this-or-that church activity-event, drive to a funeral several hours away, et al. . . .

. . . . it has a significant impact on the minds and hearts of others! That is what contributes to an effective ministry!

 When pastors fail at the “ordinary,” and the “slightly extraordinary,” they will lose their influence and their impact with people. It speaks about how much you really care don’t care about people! Don’t be surprised that the result of”minimal ministry” causes people to find a ministry that really has people in the pew and pulpit that do the extraordinary.

 

Disagree? 

I say, “Go ahead and ride that horse that you think is thoroughbred. I say, It’s a nag,” and it won’t get you across the finish line!

 



1. I am not of the belief that sharing some of the extraordinary examples is inherently prideful. In fact, I think some of those extraordinary examples ought to be more known than they are, when shared in an appropriate way

— Thank You, Karan Cleary-Peterla, You are an example of the “extraordinary”   that we were blessed to have as part of our ministry at FBC! [3]

“Appropriate” includes the spirit in which it is shared, the purpose that it is shared, and the time that it is shared (Sharing an act, long after the act, should indicate that there is a better motive and purpose. Too often we share such acts of selfishness at one’s funeral, though perhaps too late.). A clear Bible example is found in Acts 4.

Ministries and churches often share what they have done and/or are doing, with their members and friends — including providing pictures. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with that, and obviously it can be done in a right and wrong way, with a right and wrong spirit!

2. I was reminded about my mother-in-law’s words about how their pastor visited “dad” every week for over a year as he was dying.

3. And many others of which I could write yet another account of the “Extraordinary of FBC!” 

 


I’m tired!

SAD!

There are some real and unfair parts and pieces of being a pastor!  I get that, but I am no longer sympathetic to that headlines and/or storylines — “Why Pastors Are Buring Out!” “The Great Reshuffle” “Should You Be Looking For Another Ministry or Job?” “Is It Time To Retire Early?”

Just had a friend and fellow pastor tell me again how hard it is to be a local church pastor!  In fact, we left a church well over a year ago after a pastor had the non-sensical ignorance to tell the congregation that the lesson he had learned through Covid was that he never realized how tired he was.  Never mind, the people who had lost jobs, were sick, and/or had enough fears already through the mess that was only beginning.

When the “coach” of the team says that he needs to sit on the bench and rest, the team is hardly inspired for the game on the everyday field!

It’s about him!  That’s the real problem.  While fellow leaders and staff commiserate with him and laud his years in ministry — God’s people struggle, with little genuine pastoral concern or care.  Such words from the pulpit are designed to generate sympathy for and praise of his valiant struggle as the shepherd with a heart for the people.  He wouldn’t have chosen this job or be doing this work, had not the Lord called him.  He is sacrificing for others!

Honestly — I am tired — but I’m tired of ministry leaders and pastors bemoaning their calling!  Yes, their calling into one of the greatest joys of life — working with and alongside God’s people, on one of the many fronts of the battle for the Gospel!

Here is what I say in response when I hear such words . . . . .

“You’re tired.”  “It’s hard!” —  Really!
We need to get some Afganhni pastors to write these articles about ministry burnout, exhaustion, resignation, and the like.  Let’s have pastors who don’t know if they or their family will be alive in the morning.  Let’s have pastors from third-world hot spots write about how they lay away at night and don’t know if their daughter is coming home, or has been raped!  Yes, they might have reason to talk like American pastors who are wearied by far — far — far lesser concerns!

These are pastors, who are challenging everyone else to trust the Lord, be understanding, love others where they are, care and love your neighbor, and be more compassionate . . . . and they are tired – stressed out  — worn thin — emotionally threadbare — struggling.

I’m glad Daniel, Joseph, Ruth, Mordecai, Nehemiah, and Paul didn’t say to the troops — “I’m Tired!” “This Is Hard.”  or “I Need A Sabbatical.”

What happened to “Dare to Be A Daniel,”  “There Is Joy In Serving Jesus,” “Battle From Victory, Not To Victory.”?

“If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?”
Jeremiah 12: 5

Needed . . . Islands Of Honesty In A Sea Of Confusion

Let me grab the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes . . .
There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men:”

When men are broadly exhorted about wrong attitudes or actions, they take quick inventory as to whether they fall into that wrong thinking or behavior before they inwardly and outwardly respond.

Example: Say this to a pastor who is unconnected to your situational example and see what is said in response!

” I cannot fathom how this happens, that not one pastor on the staff visited her mother when she was in the hospital for surgery, or then when she was transferred to rehab, still not one visited her mother!”

Two Different Responses: I heard two different responses when I said that to two different pastors as I was challenging them about showing care and concern for God’s people.

1 – “That hits home, Ted.  I need to do better at loving my people. What are some creative ways that show we can be better at showing that we care . . . .”

2 – “Well, the demands placed by people on us as pastors can be unreasonable. I know that I have failed at it at times. . . . .As a pastor, we face . . . . We will fail at that . . . I have and probably will again . . . “

One was a Church of God pastor, and one was Baptist.

The human mind’s ability to process thoughts in milliseconds is astounding.  The bank of failure and guilt is so quickly inventoried that in seconds we can decide to dispute or concur with what is said based on how we have performed in this-or-that role or situation.

I have seen people justify wrong-doing by making outlandish statements as to how they themselves would have responded if it had been them, and not another — “I’d be okay with that.”  I thought (and often said) — “Are you kidding me!  You have to say that because otherwise, you’d have to say you were wrong!”

The inability of men, God’s people, but worse yet, ministry leaders and pastors to say that wrong is wrong, even if it slays me and my heart, defeats any credibility that pastors rely on to move and influence the sheep.

There needs to be an island of reason in the sea of confusion that engulfs our culture and society today!  Unfortunately, today, the confusion is left unabated in many ministries and pulpits. [1]

“There is an evil which I have seen
under the sun,
and it is all too common among Baptist pastors!

The inability to own it, and a lost credibility!

The inability to see, face and admit that we were wrong and/or that we have failed.

The refusal to genuinely apologize and make it right!



1. There are multiple biblical passages which address this problem . . . . .

Psalm 15:1-2 — “He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.”

Proverbs. 28:1 “The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.”

Matthew 7:4-5 — “” Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

Proverbs 21:2 — “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.”

Proverbs 12:15 — “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.”

Proverbs 26:16 — “The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.”

II Corinthians 1:12 — “For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.”

II Corinthians 8:21 — “Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.”

Psalm 51 — David exemplifies the honesty needed after being confronted with the truth about his grievous sin.

When Ministry Leaders & Pastors Lose Touch With People!

Sometimes, ministry leaders and pastors need to get out of their theology books, challenge their ideological vantages, and better understand the world around them!

Much of the divisiveness in our society, culture, politics, and the church is because we are “ignorant” — ignorant about where others are coming from and how different our knowledge and experiences are from each other.

A six-part mini-series began last evening on NBC. As I watched the account, and then the additional hour of general commentary on the event, I was overcome with tears and deep sadness. One of many thoughts plagued my mind and heart . . . . Why was this account, (and sadly many others) never taught to us? After all my years of education from elementary, jr. high, high, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. — in the North — I was unaware of this horrific tragedy!

Link to this 1955 Video

Over the years, there has been a new interest in this story. That renewed interest may have begun with Steve Whitaker. Steve Whitaker was a Master’s student at Florida State University and a primary contributor to that renewed interest through his graduate thesis on Emmet Till in 1962. [2]

[Steve] Whitaker had grown up in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, and knew many of the principals in the case. Whitaker, often under the cover of darkness, would drive his recognizable Volkswagen around the state, interviewing jurors, lawyers, witnesses, and former law enforcement officials.

Occasionally he would return to find threatening notes left on his windshield.

Also under the cover of darkness would Whitaker slip across town in

Tallahassee to the library at Florida A&M University (FAMU). As a white student in the Jim Crow South, Whitaker was not legally allowed on FAMU’s campus. But with the help of a sympathetic librarian, Whitaker would slip in through a back door and sequester himself with the library’s collection of black newspapers. On one memorable night of racial violence in the city,

Whitaker needed a personal escort from the football team just to get off campus alive.

Whitaker defended his 206-page thesis in 1963, and there it sat in the bowels of FSU’s Strozier Library for years. These days it is online and widely heralded as the most important document ever written on the Till case—though still not published, at least until now. In a case woefully in need of primary sources, Whitaker had either found them or talked to them. With a bit of persuasive “lubrication” from Jack Daniels, he talked with all the lawyers. He talked to the sheriffs, the jurors, and the undertakers. His friends and family knew Roy Bryant and J. W. Milam. He got his hands on the trial transcript as well as on the grand jury hearing. Sheriff Strider gave him all of the mail he had received related to the case. William Bradford Huie shared his notes and stories about the interviews regarding the awful confession that ran in Look magazine.” [1]

√  Then in 1988, Stephen J. Whitfield’s book, A Death in the Delta, again sought to bring attention to this tragic and unaddressed injustice.

√  In 2003, the PBS documentary,The Murder of Emmett Till, aired.

√  In 2005, A Wreath for Emmett Till, an extensive poem, was written by Marilyn Nelson.

√  An FBI “cold case” investigation began in 2006, with no meaningful outcome or prosecution of any involved.

√  In 2007, The murder of Emmett Till, by David Aretha, was published — pgs 138-139.

√  In 2010,The Murder of Emmett Till, by David Robson was written.

√  The federal investigation into the murder of Emmett Till ended December 6, 2021.

√  Mamie till-Mobley died in 2003.

“Mamie Till-Mobley, who died in 2003 just as she a i pleted this memoir, has honored us with her full testimony; I focused on my son while I considered this book…. The result is in your hands…. I am experienced, but not cynical, . . . I am hopeful that we all can be better than we are. I’ve been broken hearted, but I still maintain an oversized capacity for love.’ ” [3]

“We cannot afford the luxury of self-pity. Our top priority now is to get on with the building process. My personal peace has come through helping boys and girls reach beyond the ordinary and strive for the extraordinary. We must teach our children to weather the hurricanes of life, pick up the pieces, and rebuild. We must impress upon our children that even when troubles rise to seven-point- one on life’s Richter scale, they must be anchored so deeply that, though they sway, they will not topple.”
— Mamie Till-Mobley November 5, 1989″ — [3] pg viiii

√  Yesterday, January 6, 2022, ABC Series Premiere – Women of the Movement aired.

“His name is Emmett Till. I want people to know that he is a good boy,” says Tony Award winner Adrienne Warren as Mamie Till-Mobley in the first look at Women of the MovementThe ABC limited series is based on the real-life murder of Emmett Till and its effect on the Civil Rights Movement.

Note: “Cinema” carries a tremendous ability to do a lot of heavy lifting, for bad, but also for good. This is one of those “good” examples.  Take the time to watch part 1, and next week, part 2.



Other Details & Links:

1. https://baltimorecitycollege.libguides.com/ld.php?content_id=25819408

2. Steve Whitaker’s Graduate Thesis — download pdf

3. Flyleaf of the cover: “Death of innocence : the story of the hate crime that changed America.”

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/dec/12/details-of-emmett-till-killing-still-a-mystery-as-/?utm_source=GOOGLE&utm_medium=cpc&utm_id=chacka&utm_campaign=TWT+-+DSA&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI-4Sku9af9QIVFKSzCh1VfQrhEAAYASAAEgKrPfD_BwE

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmett_Till

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmett_Till#/media/File:Glendora_Gin_sign.jpg

https://www.loc.gov/collections/civil-rights-history-project/articles-and-essays/murder-of-emmett-till/

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/justice-department-closes-inquiry-murder-emmett-finds-no-proof-accuser-rcna7806

https://www.nbcnews.com/video/death-of-emmett-till-revisited-history-of-the-1955-murder-1194367043799

https://thebiblechapterbychapter.files.wordpress.com/2022/01/stev-whitaker-emmett-till-etd-05272004-140932_flatten.pdf

A Lot of Bad Advice In A Complex, Fallen World

Over the years, a lot of bad-to-terrible counsel has been given by ministries and pastors concerning mental illness, the use of medications, and marriage.  The real world of life and living is far more complex that many counselors and pastors are open to understanding when they speak and respond as theological ideologues.

Perhaps, accounts like this will help move some to be more biblically grounded in reality and develop a heart for those who are in a real struggle with the effects of sin.  The fall has not only affected our relationship with God (spiritually), but it has damaged us socially, psychologically, emotionally, morally, and intellectually.

On Saturday, best-selling Christian author Lysa TerKeurst announced that she and her husband, Art, will be divorcing after nearly three decades of marriage.

TerKeurst, Proverbs 31 Ministries founder and author of several New York Times bestselling books, including It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way and Forgiving What You Can’t Forget, initially intended to divorce Art in 2017 over infidelity and struggles with addiction.

According to The Christian Post, the couple renewed their vows the following year to restore their marriage. However, in her recent post, TerKeurst lamented that her husband “has broken their vows.”

“Over the past several years, I have fought really hard to not just save my marriage, but to survive the devastation of what consistent deception of one spouse does to the other,” she wrote. “It’s brutal and heart crushing to constantly fear the hurtful choices of someone you love. I’ve had to learn the hard way there’s a big difference between mistakes (which we all make) and chosen patterns of behavior that dishonor God and the biblical covenant of marriage.”

As a result, TerKeurst now believes that “the wisest (and hardest) choice I can make is to stop fighting to save my marriage of 29 years and, instead, accept reality.”

“I don’t like this reality, but the truth is, relationship restoration doesn’t always work. I’ve cried and grieved over this and waited years, hoping this wouldn’t be our story. But even when restoration doesn’t work, forgiveness always does,” she asserted.

TerKeurst, a mother of 5 and grandmother of 3, also expressed gratitude to God for the “healing redemption” in her heart through “the power of forgiveness.”

“Bitterness and resentment could be eating me alive. But, miraculously, that’s not where I’m at. With time, prayer, and lots of counseling, my heart is healing,” she continued.

“Sometimes the culmination of all our efforts and the answer to our prayers is that God restores us in relationships,” TerKeurst wrote in closing. “And sometimes He rescues us out of relationships. I don’t understand why circumstances sometimes go the way my story is now going. But I’m standing firm in my faith and trusting God with every step. My family and I treasure your prayers and your compassion.”
[emphasis mine]



https://www.christianheadlines.com/contributors/milton-quintanilla/brutal-and-heartcrushing-christian-author-lysa-terkeurst-annonces-divorce-from-husband-of-29-years.html?utm_source=Pushnami

A LOT Has Changed In Today’s Church Life!

One of our younger extended family members visited over the holidays.  He holds an administrative position at one of the major Christian colleges. As we talked, I began identifying some of the changes in my generation.

A day later, and upon further thought,  I am taken back by the number of changes.

What has changed in the past number of years . . . .

  • church names,
  • an acceptance of a wide variety of prophetic views,
  • pastoral dress,
  • church music,
  • fewer issues of personal separation,
  • greater political involvement,
  • the decreased number of church services,
  • a move to more nationals as missionaries,
  • more pastors coming into ministry later and from a non-biblical educational beginning,
  • basic and shorter doctrinal statements,
  • more mega-churches,
  • a move away from “Sunday School” to small groups
  • fewer individuals who can lead congregational singing,
  • more “elder-lead” church polities,
  • churches that are more Calvinistic & New Calvinism,
  • a wider acceptance and use of different translations,
  • shorter sermons,
  • “church models” replacing denominations,
  • “movies” used as and in illustrations,
  • fewer all church choirs,
  • non-church wedding locations,
  • less use of organ and/or piano as the primary musical support,
  • diminished attention to the Old Testament,
  • more acceptance of the writings of past neo-orthodox / liberal “theologians,”
  • less commitment to the creation account — a “young earth,”
  • a greater “ecumenical.” attitude,
  • the use of video and video clips,
  • a greater acceptance of alcohol and dance,
  • only one service on Sunday,
  • carrying an actual Bible to church,
  • a political blurring of lines with Christian truths & principles
  • projected songs with no musical scores / no hymn books,
  • etc.

“Good-Bad-Or-Inbetween,” — these changes are part of today’s Christian landscape.

Some are surely good, but I would suggest that most have been to the church’s detriment. They have not strengthened a ministry or local church, but weakened its effectiveness, outreach, and/or growth.

The question still remains to be answered . . . .

“Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”