Sunday, April 08, 2007

Holding it Down: Bishop George McKinney

Peace and blessings,

As a sophomore in undergrad, I was fortunate enough to attend an African American Christian Leadership conference. At the conference, I was able to learn from and interact with a host of students, pastors, and prayer warriors that helped give my life more direction while changing my music preferences. Although I heard from many powerul speakers, one in particular continues to stick out in my mind. For those who may not have heard of him,
  • Bishop George McKinney

  • After hearing him deliver a powerful message, I decided to approach him and get some guidance regarding a faith issue I was struggling with. At that time in my life, being in college and being exposed of all the injustices that have occurred and are still occurring against people of African descent, I was having a hard time (and sometimes I still do) trying to understand why and how something like 400 years of slavery could have happened. I refused (and still do) to say that God “allowed” slavery to happen, yet when discussions around slavery would come up in various contexts, I had no idea as to how to approach the issue (and similar issues of injustice) from a Christian-faith perspective. After telling Bishop McKinney these things, he simply replied, “the final chapter has not been written yet.” Initially I thought that he “short-changed” me with that answer as I expected much more. The more I thought about it, however, the more I realized that his reply was more than what I needed. Consequently, as soon as I returned home from the week-long conference and cracked open my bible, the first thing I noticed was a passage (I think in Exodus) that was talking about how God will avenge and restore His people (Children of Israel) who were enslaved for 400 years! At that moment I remembered how Bishop McKinney spoke with so much faith and conviction regarding the power of God through Jesus Christ to change lives and right wrongs.

    Let’s fast forward about three years later while attending graduate school on the east coast. While visiting the school of Divinity’s library, I came across one of his books (see below) called “The New Slave Masters.” In a nutshell, the premise of the book is that just as people of African descent were stripped of their identity and oppressed beyond measure during the years of physical slavery, people today (of all races and walks of life) are in spiritually enslaved to drugs, gangs, materialism, crime, violence, hatred, racism, sexual immorality, and negativity just to name a few.

    I recommend Christians and non-Christians to cop it. It’s not expensive, short, and it’s an easy read. In addition, it doesn’t come off as “preachy.” Do you think there are similarities between "social" issues and "spiritual" issues? Differences? Weigh in and speekonit...

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