Rev. Nicholas S. Richards, founder of www.roho.io
On Black Love:
America has broken our hearts, again. This election is a public confirmation of our most private fear; that we are still a divided nation rooted in racism and sexism and white supremacy. We are left now with more questions than answers. We ask ourselves, will America ever be equal? And we also wonder what is God’s role in all of this?
I don’t know when, but God will answer us. God’s answer will be rooted in love. Black love is the most potent response to racism. Love looks like us electing black judges and black state representatives and black mayors and black governors like never before. Love is refusing to give up hope when all around us seems hopeless. There are times that will put in question all the faith we claim, all the songs we sing, all the scripture we read and all the gospel we preach; this is one of those times.
We are engaged in a great love affair for America's soul and heartbreak comes to all of us who love. We are broken but not defeated. Cast down but not destroyed. We have been here before, and with God we will get through this.
Rev. Ghana Cooper, LCSW, D.Min is a practicing social worker specializing in pastors, executive leaders and their families.
On listening to your Spirit:
For as long as change has been apart of life, people have asked questions to better understand the changes around us. But how does one begin to make sense of change when others around us do not believe what we believe?
What we must always remember is that God is in control of it all. We must call on the Spirit that lives inside of us as Christians and listen to God’s direction.
The Biblical scripture tells us to, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10). The answers that we seek when we listen and watch for understanding will be found in the Spirit of God.
We have to ask ourselves, what is my next move within my own personal places of influence? In my household, neighborhood, book club, spin class, classroom, or sorority/fraternity -- what is God asking me to do in those places?
It is our Christian responsibility, individually and collectively, to listen to the Spirit and understand our needed response.
This moment in history is like a shifting wind. While it can be strong and cold at first, but as it continues to blow, it will morph and suddenly it will feel different -- warm and more subdued.
Rev. Andrew Wilkes is the associate pastor of social justice and young adults at the Greater Allen AME Cathedral of New York. A 2016 FPWA Faith and Justice fellow, Rev. Wilkes also teaches public policy at City College in the City of New York.
On community organizing:
The scriptures declare that power of life and death resides in the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). What this means is that our individual and collective conversations are tremendously important. Under a Trump administration, faith communities are uniquely positioned to talk about how to merge the community development and community organizing traditions of black churches, at their best, in order to confront the civic traditions of American political institutions at their worst.
Abundant life, right now, entails not only a flowering faith, but also a church willing to advocate for community-centered commerce beyond racialized capitalism. If black communities refuse to minister to this present age, we will not have to ask for whom the bell tolls. Death itself will say to us: I toll for thee!
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Scriptures of Meditation
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
Proverbs 14: 1
The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.
He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.