Stress is a part of life. It is one of the major factors that cause strokes, heart attacks and other illnesses. I have said on many occasions that the cliché “too blessed to be stressed” sounds good, but in reality no matter how blessed we are, we still have stress in our lives.
A few stress factors in our lives are: how our bills will be paid; broken relationships; health problems; troubled marriages and raising children. Now if that is not enough, think about the stress that comes in leadership, in pastoring people, and in serving in a ministry; they all bring challenges. It is important for us to accept the fact that a certain amount of change and crisis is an essential part of life.
We need to be honest with ourselves and with God about our ability to deal with stress. One of the things we can do is identify how we can draw on our faith when dealing with stress. Take the time to see how the hand of God has been evident in your life.
I believe it is important for us to have a frame of reference so we can look back over our lives and see how God has helped us deal with stressful situations. Remember, every day is a gift from God. Use each day to the fullest; learn to live, to laugh and to love, as these virtues will help reduce the stress in your life.
Allow God to speak to you and recognize that His Word is true, for in Romans 8:28 we read, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose.” That is not to say that everything bad that happens in life is good, but something good can come out of it. Trust God and acknowledge that you need him to help you cope when stress becomes overwhelming.
Our faith can carry us through the trying times, and our trust in God can lead us to a richer, fuller life giving us balance and hope. Take a few moments each day and spend quiet time with God, focusing on him and his ability to carry you through. Nothing is greater in life than our faith in God. It puts everything into a spiritual focus. We do not have to be in denial when stress comes our way; we can just trust God.
Whenever you are overwhelmed by a stressful situation, turn to God. Prayer can lighten your load, and know that through the power of prayer, stress can be transformed into joy and peace. Just remember, that when stress comes your way, you are not alone, God is there, and many others are going through some of the same stressful situations you are.
Let me assure you, I am not speaking in theory, and like many others, have had some stressful situations in my life. I can’t even begin to record them, but know that I am grateful to God that under the heavy weight of stress, his amazing grace kept me, when I could not even keep myself. He and he alone was there to help me, and I am a living witness that through faith he can handle whatever stress comes in your life. Don’t let stress handle you; let your faith handle stress. Your life will be enhanced, you will live longer, and God will get the glory.
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy wrote these profound words, “I have come to the conclusion that the most important element of human life is faith.” From faith, and through it, we come to a new understanding of ourselves and the world about us. It puts everything into a spiritual focus…so that love and joy and happiness, along with worry, sorrow and loss, become a part of a large picture, which extends far beyond time and space.
The Rev. Charles W. Quann is the senior pastor of the Bethlehem Baptist Church in Penllyn and Spring House.
For the past several months, I have been preaching a series of sermons from the book sub-titled “Break Free From the Bondage of your Past”: Joyce Meyer, by Richard Young. Also in this series I refer to Bishop T.D. Jakes’ book entitled, “Let It Go.”
In each of these books, the author talks about the need to get rid of excess baggage as well as the importance of forgiving, so that we can be forgiven. I would argue strongly, many of us cannot really enjoy life because we are still carrying yesterday’s hurts, mistakes and past failures. We will never experience the real joy of life until we let go and move forward in our lives. As pastor of the Bethlehem Baptist Church for more than 25 years, I have encountered many people who are stuck in the past. They have become angry, mean-spirited, have little or no self-esteem, and blame everyone else for their troubles.
I do not know how many people have been helped by these sermons, but I can honestly say these books have helped me to let go of some things. I believe in being transparent and vulnerable in sharing my own journey. Nothing is gained by holding on to yesterday. Bishop Jakes writes in his book, “We cannot embrace God’s forgiveness if we are so busy clinging to past wounds, and nursing old grudges; in order to move into the blessings of our future, we must relinquish the pains of the past.”
Richard Young writes, “Who are you helping most when you forgive the person who hurt you? Actually, you are helping yourself more than the other person”. I always looked at forgiving people who hurt me as being really hard. It seemed so unfair for them to receive forgiveness when I had been hurt. I got pain and they got freedom, without having to pay for the pain they caused. I now realize I am helping myself when I choose to forgive.
There is so much truth in what these writers have to say. There is an art to forgiveness, and when you discover that art, you are able to “Break Free From The Bondage of your Past.” Our past experiences may have made us the way we are, but we don’t have to stay that way. There is a plaque on my desk I read daily which says, “Live, Laugh and Love.” You really can’t do that when you are bound or slave to the past. Every day is a good day; let yesterday be the past, for this is the day the Lord has made, and surely we can rejoice and be glad in it. You cannot rejoice being angry, holding a grudge or being resentful. Life will pass you by, and the people you are angry with will enjoy life while you wallow in your pity. Sometimes you must write off the past so you are available for the future. There is a portion of Scripture in James 1:2 that reads, “Count it all joy, when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience”.
I encourage you to approach each new day with trust and confidence in God. Do not worry about your enemy; according to the Word, he will make your enemy your footstool. Learn to live each day to the fullest and trust God completely. One of the blessings that come to mind is the opportunity to reflect upon my life’s journey. In the words of the songwriter, “God has been good to me; all of my good days outweigh my bad days, I won’t complain.” I have had enough setbacks and failures to be dependent on God, and enough blessings to trust in God. There were those who tried to block my blessings, but they only became steps for God to take me to a higher level.
I will use this column in the coming weeks to write this series of sermons I have preached on “Break Free From the Bondage of the Past.” I pray they will be a blessing to you.
Gifted to Serve is the name of one of our ministries at Bethlehem. For a number of years, our congregation has supported Chosen 300 Ministries, led by Brian Jenkins, which provides food to those in need.
Every third Saturday of the month members of our congregation travel into Center City to provide food and sometimes articles of clothing for those in need. This ministry was formerly known as Feeding the Homeless. I am grateful to God the ministry name has been changed to Gifted to Serve because, in my humble view, I believe it brings dignity to those persons we are serving. I would argue strongly that often times the people who need our help the most are stigmatized and made to feel less than human. I know some would argue that by changing the name from Feeding the Homeless to Gifted to Serve we have diminished the number of homeless people in our city. The reality is, with this economy, it does not take long for anyone to be on the receiving end. I strongly believe we as believers have been called to serve. Whatever gifts we have are to be used to serve others.
There is a wonderful story in the Gospel of John, Chapter 13, when Jesus our Lord and Savior broke bread with His disciples for the last time. The story is told that in the upper room, the master rose from supper, took a towel and girded himself. He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet. Peter, who was always impulsive, said, “Master, you should not wash my feet.” The master replied, “If I do not wash your feet you do not have part of me.” Then the master said, “Do you know what I have done to you? If I then, your lord and teacher, wash your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet.”
What a marvelous story of how the master served others. In that room was betrayal and denial. The master does the work of a servant and washed his disciples’ feet. We have become so consumed with ourselves that in many ways we have failed to serve others. One of the greatest blessings in life is to experience the blessings that comes when you put others first.
The Gifted to Serve Ministry at Bethlehem has taken on a whole new meaning. We do not look at those who we serve every month as being homeless, but rather an opportunity to serve our brothers and sisters whom God loves with the same love that he showers on us. When you see people with the eyes of God, you don’t see the way the world sees, but rather you see people made in the image of God. You also recognize that before this life is over, you may need someone to serve you.
Let’s strive to serve God’s people with love and dignity, so they will feel a sense of worth, not with a hand out, but rather a hand up, expressing the love of God.
Let our hands as well as our hearts be extended to those from all walks of life. One of the motivating words in scripture is “hospitality,” embracing others in the manner in which God embraces us. As we meet strangers, always remember they may be strangers to us, but never to God. May that same love he showers upon us be shared with others, and may we recognize it is more blessed to give than to receive. God has blessed us and equipped us to serve others. May He be pleased with the service we render and may we do it to the glory of God.
The Rev. Charles W. Quann is the senior pastor of thr Bethlehem Baptist Church in Penllyn, and Spring House, Pa.
We live in a violent society. Every day we read or hear about acts of violence, and we constantly hear that it is Black on Black crime. I write today about the violent acts we commit to ourselves, like those we see every day in our neighborhoods and in our streets. To make matters worse, we use various excuses to justify ungodly behavior; from economics, education and poor housing conditions, the list continues on and on. Yes, all of these facts can be validated, but that does not condone the killing, maiming or destroying of one another.
Violence is seen throughout our country. The tragedy which took place in a movie theater in Colorado where 12 were killed and dozens were wounded is frightening. I find it appalling that the government cannot come up with some effort to curb guns in the hands of people. Yet, they can enact legislation to hinder people from voting, with voter ID being required in order to vote. Last month right here in our city, on a hot summer evening, teenage boys allegedly gang-raped a 12-year-old girl in the Myers Recreation Center in Kingsessing. Youths were gathered to participate in sports activities and in the darkness of the night, this horrible incident took place. There is no place safe, and this child’s life has been severely damaged. What would possess boys, at that young age, to attack this innocent child? How does the community respond to such violence? Where are the parents and guardians? Were these boys who allegedly committed this crime aware of what they were doing? Why couldn’t one of them act in defense of this young girl, instead of participating? Where were the cries from the neighbors? I also think of the tragedy at Penn State, in the Sandusky case. It appears as though it was a cover-up, no one dared speak out, and so many voices are silent from the college officials to the coaches; even now, the emphasis is on the prestige of the school and the economic fallout; what about the victims?
Life is precious, and in far too many cases, we have lost the meaning of life, because for many, it means nothing. As I previously mentioned, our society as a whole is violent, and far too long the church has been silent. We need to raise our voices against violence. We have to be able to find a way to handle conflicts. The Lord has called us to lift our voices against any and every ungodly act. In the book of Micah, 6:8 we read, “The Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” I maintain that you cannot seek justice, love and mercy and walk humbly with God and not raise your voice against violence. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
The time has come when we as a people of God must truly be the people of God. Speak not just with words, but with action. Let us seek to build a better world for our children and our grandchildren so we can live in a world free of violence. That may be wishful thinking, but certainly there ought to be hope and dreams that we can live without seeing violent crimes committed every day. Let us allow God to speak to our hearts so we can live together as brothers and sisters. Let us seek peace, that our voices are heard loud and clear. The time has come to end this violent destruction.
The Rev. Charles Quann is the pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church.
The one thing missing in the family of God is that we do not have enough radical followers of Christ. I would argue strongly that in many ways, followers have taken on the identification of the world of politics. Some are conservative or moderate and some still remain liberal.
But as a people of God, our lifestyle must be that of being radical for the sake of Christ. We cannot compromise with the mores and standards of our society. We have to be extremists. I know that may seem foreign to some, but the reality is we can be in the world, and not of the world. There needs to be something totally different about us that will set us apart as followers of Christ.
When you read the life of Jesus, he was radical. He did not conform to religious or political standards; he ate with sinners; healed on the Sabbath; spoke out against injustice; and was regarded as a rebel. When he called his followers, many of them were radical; they left their families and professions to follow him.
What our society needs now more than ever are followers who dare to speak about a system that has more regard for the haves than the have-nots or one that punishes the poor and needy while rewarding the wealthy and rich.
Our love for Christ must be radical. Never mind if people call you fanatical, or label you as being out of touch, just be willing to take a stand when you see injustice or ill will to God’s people. Be radical in your worship; yes I know there are those who say, “It doesn’t take all that to praise God,” but when you have been blessed by God there are times when your worship and praise is radical.
I often think of Mary, the sister of Martha, who was radical in her devotion for Jesus. In the Gospel of Luke 10:43, Jesus responds to Martha over the way Mary has chosen to sit at the feet of Jesus. Jesus responds in this matter, “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed — or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Martha was busy doing work and Mary was radical in her worship. Sometimes work becomes more important than our worship. Be a radical worshiper and worker, and do not conform to anyone’s expectations other than for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Be a radical follower in your place of worship and in your community; wherever you are, let people know that you have given your all for the Master. Remember, we have received radical love; a love of Christ that has washed away our sins; a love of Christ that has restored us to the fold. No one can love us like Christ; no one can forgive us like Christ. Don’t worry about being politically correct or allow our degrees, education and sophistication to get in the way. In every aspect of our life let us demonstrate our deep and abiding love for Jesus Christ. The Word says, “To whom much is given, much is required.” Let our passion and love for Christ give us integrity and honesty. Join this radical movement and help change our world.
For the believer Christmas is a significant day in the life of our Christ. It is a day in which our Savior, the babe of Bethlehem, was born in a manger. The Word of God records the Savior’s birth in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. In Luke 2:11, we read these words, “The Savior, yes the Messiah, the Lord has been born today in Bethlehem the City of David”. We have every reason to celebrate, but the tragedy comes out of the fact that there are many who will celebrate Christmas without ever acknowledging Jesus Christ. We live in a consumer-driven generation, and for many, Christmas has become nothing more than bargains and sales. Not too long ago, an effort was put forth not to say “Merry Christmas”; you were instead encouraged to say “Happy holidays. “ Look what happened this Thanksgiving. The retail chain stores were not satisfied with Black Friday, and opened their stores on Thanksgiving Day. Many persons stood in line on Thanksgiving to purchase an item for a percentage off, even though many of those stores had raised their prices, and then applied a percentage off. It would not be surprising to see stores open on Christmas Day, encouraging persons to exchange their gifts early and get a discount.
Many of our churches are closed on Christmas Day, and we know what happens when Christmas falls on a Sunday, las it did last year. Instead of the church setting the standards for the day, we have allowed society to dictate how we should observe this sacred day. Nothing is sacred anymore. Not only is everything available on Sunday, Christmas is even being driven by greed. When is enough, enough? When do people just simply say, we are not going to participate, purchase or shop on these sacred holidays? Why not spend Christmas with your family and give thanks to God that our Savior is with us always? Give simple gifts, and spend less time trying to compete and max out your credit card. Invite someone to your home on Christmas who is lonely; visit a nursing home; spread some joy and enjoy the beauty of the day. Remember to keep Christ in your Christmas celebration, and don’t allow yourself to be consumed by commercialism. Without Christ in Christmas, no matter how many gifts you receive, there will still be voids those gifts cannot fill; only Christ can satisfy a hungered soul. Take this one day and make it meaningful in your spiritual walk, as well as build deeper relationships with your family.
Christmas is about love, that’s what the world needs today. It is even hard to find the mention of Christ in Christmas carols. Yes, we have even taken Christ out of our Christmas music, because we are concerned about being politically correct and socially accepted. I say, let us take our Christmas back, for it is our day. Christ has given us this day; it is his day; and we are his people, and it is a blessed day.
Let me put a disclaimer here, I enjoy Christmas with all of the meaningful festivities – family, food and gifts, but there can be no real Christmas without Christ. I plan to have a blessed Christmas with Christ. As you celebrate your Christmas, may it be blessed.
During this Advent season as we prepare for Christmas, it is time to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We are grateful for the joy of the Lord, for the joy of our Lord is our strength.
This is a wonderful time of year, but for many people, it can also be a very depressing time. Trying to celebrate Christmas when you have lost a loved one can be very difficult, particularly the first Christmas, when all the memories are still fresh.
Yet, the knowledge that “weeping may endure for a night and joy cometh in the morning” gives us reason to hope. There is a countless list of things that can cause one to really miss the joy of this season. The buying and exchanging of gifts can be difficult, as this tough economy has caused so much pain and heartache for so many families.
This season also causes pain for families who have experienced turmoil, divorce or separation. Consequently, we must always be mindful that this is more than simply a gift-giving season or spending time with family, as important as they may be, but rather a time to appreciate and understand the real meaning of Christmas.
The Gospel of Luke, 2:8-11 records these words: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people, For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” These words still ring true and give us reason to celebrate.
There are some things we can do to help us, even as we seek to overcome some of the pain that might prevent us from experiencing the blessings of the season. We can be patient and realistic, knowing that a living Savior is present with us; we can be kind and gentle to ourselves and enjoy the simple blessings of the day; or we can listen to our hearts and acknowledge our limitations.
We might not be able to purchase the gifts we want to purchase, or decorate the house, or even have a large meal, but we can be thankful for another year. Allow the tears to come, but look for the joy in the midst of the pain.
Remember to put Christ in Christmas, and leave doubt and worry out. Work through your pain, and discover the blessings of the Savior. Make Christmas come alive in your heart in spite of any and all problems of life.
Christmas is a wonderful time of the year. Don’t let this Christmas pass and you not experience some joy. Choose to “live, love and laugh.” That is to say, live with Christ in your heart. Love as Christ loves us, and celebrate that love by loving others. “Laugh — the most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”
Make Christmas 2011 one that brings joy no matter what your circumstance. Experience the joy of the season that does not require a lot of money; visit a nursing home; spend some time with a child who is without parental support; donate good clean clothing to someone in need; practice patience and kindness; and forgive someone. The list can go on and on.
Have a blessed Christmas by blessing others.
The Rev. Charles W. Quann is the senior pastor of the Bethlehem Baptist Church in Penllyn, and Spring House, Pa.
On Aug. 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and delivered the “I Have a Dream” speech.
In it, he shared his vision that “all of God’s children, Black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands.”
I would argue strongly that 48 years later, the speech is still a dream, and yes, we have made progress.
Many of us never dreamed that we would have an opportunity to see a president named Barak Obama in the White House; we have also seen many of our predominately white places of higher learning increase their enrollment with minority students; yet the reality is, we are a long way from achieving justice and equal opportunity.
We still have far too many of our brothers and sisters living in poverty; there is a high rate of unemployment; and we are not getting equal treatment in our judicial system. For many, justice and mercy are never extended.
This weekend we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and there will be many services and events marking his birthday.
As I write this article, I am looking forward to going to Washington, D.C., with members of our congregation to visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.
I am going with my family, for I want my youngest grandson at an early age, to know about this committed humanitarian.
I firmly believe that all children, particularly African-American children, should have the opportunity to know our struggle, history and of those persons like Dr. King, who paid the supreme sacrifice for justice and freedom.
Unfortunately, to many it will be just a holiday and we will go back to our normal daily lives in America. Dr. King’s speech was from the heart of God, for in the book of Micah 6:8, the profit writes these words, “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of these, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”
I also find it amazing that as much progress as we have made in our political, social and economic areas of life, we still have not achieved the dream in our religious life. For the church is still the most segregated hour in America. That is true in the Black church as well as in the white church. Yes, the Black church was born out of necessity, but so was everything else that we have achieved. If we really want justice and equality, then it has to begin with the people of God. I pray the time will come when Dr. King’s vision, of all God’s children, Black men and white men, Asians, Hispanics and all minorities, will be able to worship together as one family of God; suburbs and city, citizens and immigrants, walking and serving together, while loving God and serving people.
Perhaps when that happens, violence will cease, wars will end, strife will disappear, racism, classism and sexism will be erased, and we will live out the dream, and life will become so much more fulfilling.
Our children and our children’s children will grow up in a world where they can achieve their full potential and the walls of bigotry will come down. We will then be able to say those amazing words, “Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I’m free at last.”
Rev. Charles Quann is the pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church.
I cannot begin to share with you how wonderful God has been to me. He has richly blessed me. As I reflect over my life, I am truly amazed how far God has brought me. It is out of that spirit of gratitude that I have been inspired to author a book I am entitling, “It’s Not Where You Start, But Where You Finish.” This book is really not about me, but more importantly, about how God has granted me his favor. With the help of my chief of staff, I plan to take the next year and a half to recount my journey from early childhood to the present time, displaying the magnificent power of God.
I am deeply indebted to Robert Bogle, CEO of the Philadelphia Tribune, for allowing me to write this monthly column. In several of my columns I expressed some of the pain in my life as the result of coming from a broken family. I have come to realize more than ever the importance of one putting his faith in God, no matter the family circumstance. It is out of some of those experiences that I have a deeper appreciation for the word of God. Romans 8:28 reads, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” I must admit I have heard this Scripture many times; in fact, I have even preached it. It became clear to me as I trace and track God over my days as a youth that I am not alone, for there are some things that happen in our lives that are far from good. It is amazing how God can take some of those bad things and turn them into blessings. I plan to share in this book the pain of seeing my father beat my mother; he abandoned us, thus leaving my mother, with the help of my grandmother, to raise me and my two sisters.
Now, I look back and see how God has placed persons in my life, like the late John F. White Sr., who became a strong role model in my early teens; and the Rev. Dr. Albert F. Campbell, pastor of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, who believed in me when I did not believe in myself, to license and ordain me at Mt. Carmel under his leadership. I went back to school to finish my education and attended college. It is my fervent prayer that this book will inspire others to understand that “It’s not where you start, but where you finish.”
I am in a wonderful season in my life, with blessings still unfolding, and I owe it all to God. I do not plan to leave out any of the pain and shame of my early years, nor do I plan to leave out any of God’s blessings. I have come to realize, as the songwriter said, “My good days outweigh my bad days, and I will not complain.” I know full well that the same God who has blessed me is able to bless others. There are so many African-American youths who have given up on themselves. They feel life has no value, even at an early age. Perhaps that is why we see so much violence in our communities. Many of them have no hope, dreams or aspirations. One of the greatest tragedies in life is to wake up every day and not have anything to look forward to. This book will show how God can take you out of the valley of despair to the mountain of hope, and turn grief into joy.
Every page of the book will have words that will flow from my heart to your heart. It is God, and he alone, who deserves the glory for all he’s done and for all he will do. Blessings are still unfolding, and I look forward to new blessings each day, for I know that morning by morning new mercies I see. Don’t dwell on your past, look to your future. It may be repetitious, but it is true, “It’s Not Where You Start, But Where You Finish.”
Rev. Charles Quann is the pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church.
As I write this article, I pray you will feel my passion and commitment for social justice. The Black church has always been at the forefront of human rights. Unfortunately, in far too many cases we have become so preoccupied with praise and prosperity, and we have forgotten our commitment to help the least, the lost and the lonely.
Our political system has turned its back on the poor and the underserved, and to make matters worse, far too many African Americans have disconnected themselves from voting. We suffer from amnesia and forget the countless people who lost their lives for the right to vote. When a candidate who aspires to be president speaks negatively about the poor, it should anger us. There is such a thing as righteous anger — Jesus himself became angry at the way people were treated with little or no respect. In fact, it was the religious and political leaders who sought to have Him killed.
We need healing in our land, and we need activist for social justice. We cannot afford not to vote. Our Pennsylvania primary is on Tuesday, April 24, and we need every able person to vote. It is one thing for us to pray for our president, but it is another for us to support and vote for our president. President Barack Obama has suffered insults, accusations and disrespect. The church must speak out and urge members of our congregations and communities to take a stand for what is right and honorable before God.
We just celebrated Black History Month. Do you remember the Black church being the heart of voter registration, civil rights and almost every other humanitarian effort? Take a look at the cuts proposed in our state and in our country. They will have damaging effects upon us as a people. We cannot be silent
There is a portion of scripture that clearly speaks to us about what we must do. Second Chronicles 7:14 reads, “If my people which are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
Prayer is an action word. We pray, we vote, we speak out against injustice, and we ask God to heal our land. The divide in our country is getting wider, between the haves and the have-nots. We hardly hear about the poor, unless it is something negative; we just focus on the middle class and the rich. Let’s not kid ourselves, the middle class is closer to being poor than they are to being rich.
As an African-American pastor, I am grateful to God that I have been blessed to see President Barack Obama in the White House, and I am going to do all I can to help him serve a second term. We have no choice; look at the alternatives. No he is not perfect; only God is, but he does bring to this high office hope, change, a heart for people, and a commitment to build a stronger America and world.
We pride ourselves as being part of the Black church; why not exhibit that pride by seeking a call for social reform of good will for all people, and to be advocates for those who are oppressed? I close with a question: “What would Jesus do?” Would he be silent in the midst of poverty and shame? Would he challenge the political leaders? In fact, would he stand up against religious leaders who care little about justice and equality? I believe with all my heart, when you read the life of Jesus you will find the answer to these questions. Jesus was always on the side of those who were disenfranchised from society.
Let us lift up our voices for justice. In the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., “True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.”
The Rev. Charles W. Quann is the senior pastor of the Bethlehem Baptist Church in Penilyn, and Spring House, Pa.