Sunday, February 22, 2015

COLORS OF LOVE: Black Roots in the Bible, Part 2

Source: Newsweek III
(Jan. 11, 1988) 46-52
I've always loved studying the bible.  Who wouldn't with the richness and depth of the characters it chronicles.  And you can't beat the story lines.  Everything an avid reader like myself looks for: mystery, intrigue, love, and adventure!  

Still I have to say it sure got a lot more interesting, once I found out there were colored  folks in there!  No, I'm not being politically incorrect, it's really a point of clarity. Someone once said when asked: Where are the black people in the bible? That a better question is:  Where are the white people? you know geographically what part of the world the bible stories come from?   Its roots are smack dab in Africa and the Middle East!  In fact the very first book, Genesis tells us that the Garden of Eden was at the site of four great rivers:  Pishon of Havilah; Gihon of Cush; Hiddekel (Tigris) near Assyria and the Euphrates (Gen. 2:8-14). Generally speaking, the Fertile Crescent.  The countries of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq are situated along this area.

Even considering that the Great Flood changed the topography of the earth and makes it impossible to say for sure where the Garden of Eden is located.  It still gives us an African and Middle East reference point for our bible stories. We can say much about these countries, past and present but for the most  part they have retained their ethnic identities of black and brown people.

Let's cut to the chase.  Here are some recognizable names of Colored people in the Bible.  We can identify them by the origins of their names; birth places, and like today, their ancestry.  If you'd like to do your own research, check out a list of books I recommend at the end of this blog:

  • Queen of Sheba (I Kings 10:1; 2 Chron. 9:1; Matt. 12:42)
  • Zipporah, Moses' Cushite wife (Num. 12:1)
  • Ebed-melech, eunuch that saved Jeremiah's life (Jer. 38:7-13; 39:16)
  • Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-40)
  • Hagar, Sarah's handmaiden (Gen. 16:1, 3)
  • Pharoah Tirharkah (2 Kings 19:9)
  • Asenath, Joseph's Egyptian wife (Gen. 41:45)
  • Simon of Cyrene, carried Jesus' cross (Mark 15:21)
The Bible is multicultural.  A book for all colors.  God's grace knows no color line. We all come from common ancestral parents which makes us brothers and sisters.  Redemption is free to ALL who will accept Jesus as Savior.  Let's practice living together in peace right here on earth for certainly we will be doing so in heaven as ONE NATION OF PEOPLE (Rev. 21:24-27).


Additional Resources:

--Beyond Roots: In Search of Blacks in the Bible, Dwight McKissic
--Beyond Roots II: If Anybody You Who I am, Dwight McKissic
--Are Blacks Inferior To Whites, The Dispelling of an American Myth, Tony Evans and
Dwight McKissic
--The Black Biblical Heritage: 4000 Years of Black Biblical Heritage, John L. Johnson
--Black Presence in the Bible and the Table of Nations, Walter McCray

Monday, February 16, 2015

THE COLORS OF LOVE: Racial Diversity in the Bible, Part I

Unless you've been living under a rock, you cannot deny that America is fiercely divided by race!  Even though we have a bi-racial president and strides have been made; we've yet to learn how to live as a multiracial diverse society!

Years ago we bragged of being Christian and the Melting Pot of the world, but sadly evidence shows the opposite.  Racial violence is on the rise and although disproportionately victimized, even non-whites are drinking the water!  Colorism (prejudice or discrimination based on skin color among people of the same racial group) prevails at many levels.

Bleaching creams are still top money makers in the cosmetic industry while it appears that darker skinned youth prefer lighter skinned youth to bully or demean on social media.  It really depends on what is on trend in popular culture.  One year we're celebrating darker hues in movies, fashion, or music)and the next year light, darn near white icons!  Why can't we celebrate it all?

The Bible may not be a perfect example but one I think Christians can learn from if we truly want to know how to live, work, and minister in our present day climate of racial volitivity.  Why it is not referenced more often as a model is another matter!

It was only in the 1990s that I became aware of any racial diversity at all in the Bible!  All the pictures on my Sunday school card as a child (we didn't have fancy curriculum) showed white Bible characters. Moses and the people of Israel were white.  Joseph and Mary were white.  Jesus and His disciples.  Especially, Jesus because there was a big picture of Him in every church I attended.  White Jesus was even on the fans we got from the funeral home!

What a shocker to learn that the Creator has a penchant for color even when it came to the crown of  it all-mankind (Hebrews 2:7).  People of all colors and ethnicities tell the Bible narrative of God's love and grace for His people.  He presents them in the fullness of their humanity showing the world their True colors--not their Skin color!  People are just People.  They can be magnificent in intelligence, beauty, and leadership and yet flawed and depraved in their selfishness!  

We must learn to see them the way God does through the Color Lens of Love!  

"And hath made of one blood all nations of men
 for to dwell on all the face of the earth,
 and hath determined the times
before appointed,  and the bounds
 of their habitation."
(Acts 17:26)


Until we Meet Again..

Monday, February 9, 2015


In every relationship there are stormy seasons!  Some storms roll in suddenly and blow over just as quickly, while others linger so long that they gradually become part of the climate!  Marriages can certainly be like that and speaking from over forty years experience, there have been many stormy days when I wondered...What was I thinking when I said, "I do!"

But that's not the only time I feel like throwing in the towel!  Trying to get along with individuals whether a spouse, a child, or a sibling, is becoming more and more challenging. I often sit and shake my head ...WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?

We live in a world that is less people-oriented (sensitive to the needs and feelings of others) and more self absorbed! I guess that's why I find myself turning more and more to the LORD, rather than relationship shows to help me through difficult times.  He reminded me of these points:

Good Relationships don't start with Perfect people or matches in personality - They begin with our relationship with God.  How can you or the person you're trying to relate to do so in harmony if they have no concept of what a real relationship looks like? Read Matthew 22:37-40 .  Where does the model of love come from?  It begins with God.  Much of the chaos we experience in our relationships stem from the fact that (a) the person doesn't know God OR (b) they don't love themselves...and how could they if they don't love God!

Good Relationships take work on both parts - Sacrifice is a given if you want good relations.  Burger King love doesn't exist in real life! (Having it your way).  Most of us feel that we're doing most of the sacrificing.  But is that the truth?  This is where we must take an honest look at ourselves and examine the core values in the relationship?  What am I willing to give up to keep these in place?  If they line up with the Word and what the Spirit is confirming in your heart, you must persevere! Galatians 6:9-10 gives a will reap a harvest in due season.  But only you and the Lord can decide if it's worth waiting for the harvest!

 Good Relationships take time to develop and mature - Continual maintenance is required!  Beware of becoming too comfortable in our relationships (Prov. 14:1). Foregoing those things you used to do when you first started to connect!  An old song has a lot of wisdom in it...The same thing it took to get your baby hooked, it's gonna take the same thing to keep her (him)!  We are quick to blame someone else for coming between a once close relationship when the cause of most failure is sheer neglect!  

Good Relationships are built on mutual respect and trust - Each person is responsible for their own integrity, no matter what phase the relationship is in (Prov. 5:21). When is it  okay to betray a confidence?  Just because you're not best or close friends does that give you the right to impugn their character?  Here's a great quote to remember: Trust takes years to build and only seconds to destroy!

Reality used in our current vernacular has very little to do with what is actually Real or True!   We grieve over pseudo acquaintances or frequent social interactions as if they were  intimate bonds for life.  Most of the time they aren't!  So when the other person loses interest or breaks the connection we feel betrayed.

Be realistic~people come into our lives for a reason, often a season of time to serve a purpose that will hopefully make us better.  But if that doesn't turn out to be the case, be willing to let it go and do so without bitterness (Heb. 12:14-15)

Let's see if you've been listening:  A.  It all begins with your relationship with God.  All else pales in comparison.  Study Christ's relationships with the people He engaged and you won't go wrong.  B.  If you are in a relationship worth keeping, work hard nurturing it with integrity and respect.  Take personal responsibility for your part in keeping it intact and on track.  C.  You can't force a relationship that isn't there or has run its course.  And why should you even try?  If you are a Christian you already have the creme de la creme (choicest) of all of them in your Lord and Savior, Jesus. 

Keep Your Heads Up Sisters and the next time someone comes to you whining about their Stormy relationships share these tips with them!

Until Next Time!

Sunday, February 1, 2015


"When I was a child, I talked like a child,
I thought like a child..."(I Cor. 13:11) 
Can you believe it!  We're already in the second month of this brand new year.  A month rife with so many celebrations that it's hard to find another one to rival it.

Let's see, Ground Hog Day is tomorrow....I guess those of us looking out on the several feet of snow that just fell this weekend would like some good news about now!  Then of course President's Day, is a great time for bargain hunters looking for deals at the local mall.  Mardi Gras starts this month as does Black History month and the Chinese New Year.

But for most of us the Biggie is Valentine's Day! I can barely pick up my Sunday newspaper for all the ads!  Everybody's an expert on helping you make that love connection! I'm no Love Guru, but I know someone who is--the apostle, Paul!  He has the perfect Valentine gift to give to your loved ones this year, Put Away Childish Things! In other words, Act Like A Christian, Think Like A Christian!

 When you get a chance read the entire chapter of I Corinthians 13.  Paul has a very exhaustive list of behaviors that ensures a great love relationship.  Needless to say indulging in their opposites is a sure-fire way to ruin one! Let's take a look at the following:

  • IMPATIENCE-  "I want it, and I want it right now!" True Love is Patient and Kind
  • JEALOUSY - "She thinks she's all that, so let's break it!" True Love does not Envy
  • BOASTFUL-  "Mine is bigger and better than yours!" True Love is not Puffed up
  • RUDE- "Get out of my face!" True Love Respects Others
  • SELFISH- "This is mine, hands off!" True Love Shares All Things
  • HOT-TEMPERED - "Let's settle this right now!" True Love is not Easily Provoked
  • UNFORGIVING - "I'll never forget what you did!"  True Love Keeps No Records
  • VINDICTIVE - "You got just what you deserved!"  True Love Does not Rejoice in Evil
Paul goes on to explain that these are the behaviors of the immature!  In I Corinthians 13:11 He says, "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a woman I put away childish things." 

This is the essence of True Love--not the flowers, the candy, negligees, and expensive dinners.  Without unconditional love, kindness and respect what do you have?

(Isn't it time to put the crayons back in the box!)