Time out for Praying… Faith without Works is Dead!
HOUSTON – This month the state of Texas, all the way from Corpus Christi to the other side of Louisiana experienced something that I have never witnessed in my life. The wrath of Hurricane Harvey left total devastation throughout the region, with as much as 51 inches of flooding. So far it has been indicated as the, wettest tropical cyclone on record in the nation. Thousands of people have been affected by the Category 4 major hurricane, of which many have become displaced, victims of unemployment, injured, mentally and emotionally scared and consequently lives have been lost.
As publisher of African-American News & Issues, I would like to first send my condolences to the families of those who lost their lives, including Houston Police Department, Sergeant Perez and the many others. As it is, our publication has existed for decades as an avenue of highlighting and addressing current and historical realities affecting our communities. However, this torrential storm is one that has leveled the playing field from all economic statuses – from poor folks to well-off folks. Therefore, I have to state that this is really trying times for our community and I truly have some major concerns. With so many members within our communities, who have yet to recover from the fury of Hurricane Katrina, I am truly concerned as to the effects that this current hurricane will have on our people. Will our community get a fair deal out of this? Who will be served first and who will be left out on an island to fend for themselves?
At the present, it has yet to be determined the full extent of services that will be needed for OUR PEOPLE to be made whole again. Hence, we cannot afford to sit idle and wait on the government and other agencies to tend to the needs of OUR PEOPLE, during such a critical time as this. This is why I have a major concern in regards to many of our Black leaders of the church. It is time out for praying and time for work! OUR PEOPLE need action; they need to see some results of the countless nickels and dimes that they have poured into your collection plates, week after week, for decades. So if you think I’m being a bit harsh, I’ll try to put it in a tone you can understand… “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” James 2:17.
Now, many of you Black preachers have ate very well off of OUR PEOPLE. You have driven your nice, big shiny cars off of OUR PEOPLE. You live in lavish and immaculate homes off of OUR PEOPLE. You have flown in your helicopters and travelled the world off of OUR PEOPLE. You have repeatedly come into the community and set the people on fire with the Holy words and then you leave the community, with the money; but you leave the pain and suffering with OUR PEOPLE. Now I do understand that some of you might not understand what I’m talking about, because it doesn’t affect some of y’all, directly. Many of you preachers don’t even live in the neighborhoods where your church is, so you can’t identify and understand all of the problems that OUR PEOPLE are facing. But, it is OUR PEOPLE who have helped to make you who you are; so it’s time for you to get off of it and help them. Right now, OUR PEOPLE need the church to step up and be the church. OUR PEOPLE need you to gird up your leadership and serve them. After all, the Bible does say, “he that is greatest among you shall be your servant” (St. Matthew 23:11). Or doesn’t it???
Now, by no means am I attempting to bash our Black preachers, but I’m simply trying to convey the point that OUR PEOPLE need the church. The church is supposed to empower folk and make them strong and whole, again; just as Christ did when he came. Back when I was growing up, that is what the Black church was all about. In our communities all of the Black businesses, schools, leaders, entertainers, teachers and everybody who was anybody Black, came out of the Black church. Though they had no other place to come out of because they were not allowed to practice their professions and/or render their services elsewhere; the fact remains that the church was the church, then. During those days, the Black church helped OUR PEOPLE. The Black leaders didn’t leave the community with the suffering because they were exiled to only that community and suffered the same perils as the people. The Black church then, had no choice but to help each other, because no one else would. I won’t ask anybody to pardon me for my tone on this particular note, because this is what I grew up witnessing the church do. So, this is the only definition of the church that truly makes sense to me.
Thus, I feel justified in challenging our Black leaders to open up your doors and serve OUR PEOPLE. The Bible says that there is, “nothing new under the sun”. Therefore, if the Black church did it then, it can be done again. If the Black church was able to help the community out with the little pennies they had then, certainly you Black preachers can sacrifice some of your thousands and millions, right now. Right now, OUR PEOPLE need food, clothing, shelter, finances as well as; spiritual, mental and emotional guidance and stability, during this trying time. So, I strongly urge our Black preachers to get off of it and take some of the wealth that you have made off of OUR PEOPLE and help them.
It is times such as these that all of the faith, praying and serving that you have preached about, needs to be manifested within and throughout the community. OUR PEOPLE need the same love and hope from the church that many of you have received from them in service and tithes and offerings. Now is the time to give back to those who have given unto you. If I’m not mistaken, doesn’t somewhere in that book you preach from; it conveys that it’s “more blessed to give than to receive”?
So far, I personally know that two churches in Acres Home have opened up their doors to serve the people, Galilee Missionary Baptist Church, led by Pastor Edwin Davis and The Community of Faith Church under Bishop James Dixon, II. I also hear that Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell has opened up the Power Center to service the community. Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t more Black churches in other areas serving, but we need to hear from you. To my friends at Wheeler Avenue BC, The Church Without Walls, Holman Street BC, Brentwood BC, and these mega churches around town… Where are you? We want to hear from you? Let us know what you are doing out there to help OUR PEOPLE and how you may be a help or of assistance to them during this time. OUR PEOPLE need to know.
To all of our Black leaders who are leading these mega churches under the umbrella of the Southern Baptist Convention, it is time for you to call the good ole’ White folks who actually control the church. If they were able to help you to build your massive churches, then certainly you can call in some favors and let them know your people need help now. Now is the time, to put all of that faith-talk into action-walk. If you don’t really know how to approach them or communicate with them on this level, I’ll give you a few pointers and break it down real simple for you to translate. Like many of them, I’m a business man and like businessmen, I like to see a return on my investments. So just tell the White folks who control you that your people have put into their funds and right now they are in a state, where they need some of their money back. Tell them OUR PEOPLE need to see a return on their investments.
Concluding, I really want to reiterate to our Black preachers that OUR PEOPLE don’t need to hear your prayers, encouraging words and assurance that God is going to make a way right now. God is not going to drop timber and money from heaven when he has already blessed the people to bless His church so that it may be used in acts of benevolent efforts such as this. We MUST Understand occurrences such as: hurricanes, tornadoes and natural disasters are all zoned as, acts of God. So if God causes something to come upon His people, He has already provided within His people the means and the resources to bail them out of whatever life’s circumstances may bring upon them. We cannot preach and tell OUR PEOPLE that angels are going to descend down from Heaven to cut sheetrock and restore mold-infested homes and provide finances for loss work, baby food, replace sentimental memorabilia and accommodate various other physical and unseen restorations, because that’s why He has you in place. So time out for you preaching to them to just have faith, they need to see that you will demonstrate some works too. Because once again… Faith without Works is dead!
By: Roy Douglas Malonson