Tuesday, June 23, 2015

THYME Magazine: Building Bridges

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume IX, Issue XXV

Building Bridges

One of my favorite scenes in the movie: 'Remember the Titans' is the one where Gerry Bertier and Julius Campbell realize that they are indeed brothers. Though they are of different cultures in segregated Virginia, they come together as teammates and develop bonds that are far deeper. The film is one we should perhaps dust off in these difficult days and pause as well at the scene where the team runs at dawn to the battlefields of Gettysburg.Coach Herman Boone speaks:

Anybody know what this place is? This is Gettysburg. This is where they fought the Battle of Gettysburg. Fifty thousand men died right here on this field, fightin' the same fight that we're still fightin' amongst ourselves today.

This green field right here was painted red, bubblin' with the blood of young boys, smoke and hot lead pourin' right through their bodies. Listen to their souls, men:

I killed my brother with malice in my heart. Hatred destroyed my family.'

You listen. And you take a lesson from the dead. If we don't come together, right now, on this hallowed ground, we too will be destroyed -- just like they were. I don't care if you like each other or not. But you will respect each other. And maybe -- I don't know -- maybe we'll learn to play this game like men."

Indeed, upon learning of the death of the Reverend Honorable Clementa C. Pinckney and eight of his congregation, I read his biography on the church website. I grieved a brother. The man and I held dear the same things. He died loving the people of G-d and building the Unseen Kingdom. Reverend Pinckney and his little circle were co-laborers in my most cherished work.

Surely that would be a brief thought, only to be lost in the onslaught of politicized news to come in the days to follow.

But I had made a fatal miscalculation. I underestimated the G-d that Reverend Pinckney and I serve (the present tense in intentional, for I believe he stands in the Presence of our shared Master today). To know the true greatness of a man, look at his pupils! As the members of the congregation who had just lost loved ones at the hands of a depraved gunman stepped forward to extend forgiveness to him, I recognized the hand of the Divine in their lives.

As thousands lined the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, arms and hands joined,to remember and pray; the Divine was at work! Dr. Henry Blackaby tells us to look for G-d at work and join him in that work. That call is clear today.
Special Book Section Continues Tomorrow:

THYME Magazine will continue to present the SPECIAL BOOK SECTION: Pontifus, The Bridge Builder's Tale in Three Parts. Many of the subjects and ideas presented in the book first appeared in THYME. Please do enjoy the weekly presentation of each new chapter. THYME will resume its regular format in the Fall.Until then, enjoy the book and spend some time making a difference in someone's life.


Special Book Section

Five weeks ago we began the serial presentation of "Pontifus, The Bridge Builder's Tale in Three Parts." [1.] This week we present the fifth chapter of the first book: "Dinner Stop at the End of the World" Here [click to read]. This special book section will continue through the Summer. The full publication of THYME will resume in the Fall.

Friday, June 19, 2015

THYME Magazine: Finding Imago Dei

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume IX, Issue XXIV

Finding Imago Dei

Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest." -- Luke 10:2

From the Pastor's Page of Emmanuel AME Church:

The Reverend Honorable Clementa C. Pinckney was born July 30, 1973 the son of Mr. John Pinckney and the late Theopia Stevenson Pinckney of Ridgeland, South Carolina. He was educated in the public schools of Jasper County. He is a magna cum laude graduate of Allen University with a degree in Business Administration. While there, Reverend Pinckney served as freshman class president, student body president, and senior class president. Ebony Magazine recognized Rev. Pinckney as one the "Top College Students in America". During his junior year, he received a Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson Summer Research Fellowship in the fields of public policy and international affairs. He received a graduate fellowship to the University of South Carolina where he earned a Master's degree in public administration. He completed a Master's of Divinity from the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary.

Rev. Pinckney answered the call to preach at the age of thirteen and received his first appointment to pastor at the age of eighteen. He has served the following charges: Young's Chapel-Irmo, The Port Royal Circuit, Mount Horr-Yonges Island, Presiding Elder of the Wateree District and Campbell Chapel, Bluffton. He serves as the pastor of historic Mother Emanuel A.M.E. in Charleston, South Carolina.

Rev. Pinckney was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1996 at the age of twenty-three. In 2000, he was elected to the State Senate at the age of twenty-seven. He is one of the youngest persons and the youngest African-American in South Carolina to be elected to the State Legislature. He represents Jasper, Beaufort, Charleston, Colleton, and Hampton Counties. His committee assignments include Senate Finance, Banking and Insurance, Transportation, Medical Affairs and Corrections and Penology. Washington Post columnist, David Broder, called Rev. Pinckney a "political spirit lifter for suprisingly not becoming cynical about politics."

Rev. Pinckney has served in other capacities in the state to include a college trustee and corporate board member. In May 2010, he delivered the Commencement Address for the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. He and his wife Jennifer have two children - Eliana and Malana.

No doubt, Reverend Pinckney has heard the Master's commendation: "Well done, good and faithful servant," as he stepped into his eternal home, but his life well lived instructs us even in the wake of his death.

My friend Chris Lassiter writes: "Some of my friends use Facebook (and the internet) for pure comedy. Others use it to weigh in on important social issues. If you use it to weigh in on issues, please don't ignore the horrible shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston because the racial implications can be uncomfortable. We've 'gotta' talk."

Indeed Chris, we do. I had decided to take a break from blogging this Summer and simply serialize my book, but your challenge is important. Reverend Pinckney lived the life I look for for my stories. He answered G-d's call at a young age and has already done far more with his short years than I have with mine. I pray for young people I know who have also answered the call... their lives are not that different from that of Reverend Pinckney's, so when I actually got to know something of the man through reading his biography, I was shaken. I know people like him. His death diminishes something I hold dear.

Not only must we pick up the torch of our fallen brother in ministry but we must renew our commitment to see IMAGO DEI, the Image of the Divine, in each person we encounter in our daily lives. In fact, as Reverend Picnkney was being brutally murdered, I was sitting in OUR Pastor's Bible study as we discussed just that... that G-d would have us see His Image in our fellows. We must see and celebrate the Divine Beauty in each person and see them as someone G-d loves extravagantly! Can we love as Christ loves? That would leave no room for our blindness and prejudice.