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Uriah J. Fields

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WHITE PASTOR DECRIES POVERTY AND INJUSTICE
by Uriah J. Fields   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Monday, May 25, 2015
Posted: Friday, May 08, 2015

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Now is the time for all white pastors to declare a war on poverty
and injustice.
One pastor did, why not you or your pastor?

The author's note: Be sure to read the addendum at the end of this article.

On the first Sunday in May, I worshiped at the white First Baptist Church in Charlottesville, Virginia. (There is a black First Baptist Church in Charlottesville) This is one of the largest churches in Charlottesville. As far as I could determine besides myself there was only one other African American in the congregation.

What impressed me most during the worship service was the content of the sermon delivered by Pastor Don Hicks. The subject: "When God Says 'That's Enough,'" His text: (I King 21:1-16). The text is an account of King Ahab and Jezebel his wife conspiring to have Naborh murdered so they could have his vineyard. Pastor Hicks referenced the current unrest and injustice in Baltimore and other urban cities in America. He decried the poverty and injustice that have many Americans trapped and noted that there are some bad police officers. He challenged members of his congregation to become involved in helping to address poverty and injustice, and in helping the 'least among us.'"

While listening to the sermon my mind went back to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. I helped to lead that  bus boycott that was launched following the arrest of Rosa Parks who had refused to give her seat to a white person. White ministers in Montgomery did not support the bus boycott or black leaders' demand for fair treatment for black bus riders. Those who did speak supported the status quo. Several years later Martin Luther King, Jr., who had been the chief leader of the bus boycott, in his "Letter from Birmingham Jail," criticized white ministers for refusing to support justice for all. I recall that black bus boycott leaders criticized  Billy Graham for not supprting the goals of the bus boycott and for conducting segregated crusades in the South.

The sermon preached by Don Hicks forthrightly addressed poverty and injustice. He challenged members of  First Baptist Church to get involved individually and collecitvely in helping people in povertry and combating injusice in Baltimore, Charlottesville and beyond. His sermon had balance and purpose. It was refreshing for me to hear a pastor deliver a sermon that offered solutions to dealing with poverty and injustice. What a difference it would  make, even today,  if white pastors across America dared to speak out against poverty, racism, and injustice and challenge members of their congregations to get involved and take responsibility for rectifying these conditions. What a difference it would make if white ministers took a stand  against the killing of black boys and men and the incarceration of  black boys and men that account for America being the "world's number one jailer." Many people incarcerated return to communities as felonies and are denied  employment, housing and the right to vote. Personally, I would suggest that felonies, outside and inside prisons, be required to vote as a prerequisite for becoming responsible citizens. Instead, we have a high rate of recidivism, ex-prisoners returning to prison. It is predictable that an ex-prisoner who cannot get a job and may not be able to have a place to live will again be involved in criminal activities.

Ministers, pastors in particular, repersent the moral heart of society and unlike politicians they do  not have the need to put expediency above morality.

Let white pastors across America heed and follow the example of Pastor Hicks and cease picking evils to oppose that exclude bigger evils like poverty, injustice and the incarceration of African American boys and men in numbers that are five times that of white males. Do you hear Jesus saying "O you of little faith?"

Addendum: An Update

{An addition to the Sunday service describe above: in this same church, the Sunday before Memoral Day, I experienced an entire worship service that focused on honoring our soldiers, some of whom paid the ultimate price, having given their lives to protect feedom. As I experienced this Memorial Day eve service I could not help but think of what it would mean if white churches throughout America devoted an entire Sunday service focusing on slavery and its legacy, racism, segregation, disenfranchisement and racial ineqality in America today, including the high rate of incarceration of black boys and men which make America the world's No. one jailer. Will this happen?}

{Perhaps you would want to send this email to your pastor, any pastor. Thank you.}

To read other writings by Uriah J. Fields click on the illuminated website "uriahfields.com" below:

Copyright 2015 by Uriah J. Fields

 

 

 

 

 

Web Site: uriahfields.com


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Reviewed by Edward Phillips 5/18/2015
This is a very compelling sermon, of sorts, coming from a the pulpit of the written word. Pastors and people of all colors and positions in life need to assimilate your words, the circumstances that you describe, and walk in kinder more inclusive shoes. When we do not acknowledge the sins of omission and fail to help those who must live in poverty, what good can come from the reading the Bible, and singing praises on Sundays?
Reviewed by Ronald Hull 5/9/2015
It has been many years since I listened to sermons from white pastors, but I do occasionally hear sermons from televised mega-church pastors who always seem to be preaching prosperity which allows them to grow huge followings of believers in feeling good with prosperity and getting more.

As I recall civil rights from the north, many pastors and churches, churchgoers, were very reluctant to get involved in what was going on in Montgomery and other southern cities and towns. Our leaders were primarily campus ministers who worked with young people to develop programs like the Freedom Riders and a conscience for northern churchgoers. It was all about being ecumenical and doing the right thing with the war on two fronts: Vietnam and black America.

It is a real shame that all that effort to integrate and strike down Jim Crow has fallen back into segregation, especially when it comes to churches.

Ron

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