I’m eighty-seven years old. I’ve lived a long life, and I’m full of gratitude for the opportunities that I’ve had to serve a wise, merciful, almighty God. I’m continually in awe of how far He has brought me, a poor boy from Mississippi with only a third-grade education. I grew up in a sharecropping family in Mississippi and dropped out of school between the third and fifth grade. Yet, by God’s grace, I’ve lectured at world-renowned universities and received honorary doctorates.
My older brother Clyde, who served his country in the Army in World War II, was shot and killed by a deputy marshal soon after returning home. I have been spat upon and brutally beaten by police. Yet, by God’s grace, I’ve worked tirelessly to help build good relations between local police and urban communities. I’ve ministered in country towns, inner cities, and before large crowds. I’ve traveled across Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. I’ve had the privilege of teaching wide-eyed emerging leaders as well as foggy-eyed accomplished pioneers.
For more than sixty-five years, I’ve known the love of a wonderful woman. Together, Vera Mae and I have raised and loved eight children, thirteen grandkids, and eight great-grandkids. We’ve witnessed the miracle of birth, but also experienced the pain of losing our oldest and youngest sons.
At my age, I’m thankful to God for a mind sharp enough to keep studying His Word. I’ve given most of my life to the cause of reconciliation, fighting the battle in the trenches, and working with community development organizations.
Over the years I’ve developed the 3 Rs—relocation, reconciliation, and redistribution—to offer a process to help communities work together to balance some of the inequities of life in America. By God’s grace, much good work has been done; and I’m humbled to have been a part of it.
But as I come closer to the end of my journey, I am aware that community development can only take us so far—because this is a gospel issue. The problem of reconciliation in our country and in our churches is much too big to be wrestled to the ground by plans that begin in the minds of men. This is a God-sized problem. It is one that only the Church, through the power of the Holy Spirit, can heal. It requires the quality of love that only our Savior can provide. And it requires that we make some uncomfortable confessions. G. K. Chesterton said, “It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It is that they can’t see the problem.” I believe this statement can be applied to the lack of reconciliation within the Church today. We’ve not been able to arrive at the solution because we haven’t seen or acknowledged the problem.
The problem is that there is a gaping hole in our gospel. We have preached a gospel that leaves us believing that we can be reconciled to God but not reconciled to our Christian brothers and sisters who don’t look like us—brothers and sisters with whom we are, in fact, one blood.
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Source: Christian Post