Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Celebrating Black History Month

As you may know this month, February is Black history Month. My skin pigment crawls with shame looking at the history those before me with similar skin tone made. I am very proud to celebrate Black History Month and think it is a very important thing to reflect on. We celebrate all that the African-American population and their predecessors have and are doing in culture that they were once not allowed to. I generally will write up something special about Martin Luther King Jr. around this time, but I decided to do something different. No, this is not a blog about President Obama either, although it is a great accomplishment that African-Americans have come from not being allowed to drink out of “white” water fountains to now having the most prestigious office in the world, our modern day empire, America. For now I am going to turn my attention to someone who is becoming one of my new hero’s especially in the African-American sector.

In the 70’s when the residual pain of the Jim Crowe Laws was running around oppressing people unjustly there was something brewing in New York. A young man named Erskine Dodson and his wife Phyllis were just introduced to Jesus. After searching around the city for Bible teaching “black” churches they were unsuccessful. The people who led them to Christ were a very nice “white” couple. It was socially unacceptable at that time for an African-American to attend a Caucasian church congregation. After much prayer and discerning the will of God Erskine decided to do something totally irrational by society’s standards. Erskine and Phyllis decided to go to this “white” church. He and his wife only wanted to learn of this living God and Christ they now followed. He was alienated and ostracized by his family, friends, and pastor. His pastor, at the time of a “black” congregation he was attending, actually called him an “uppity negro.” His family told him that he thought he was too good for them because he didn’t want to be with his own people. What a thing to go through. I could never imagine.

Here is where the celebration can begin, a celebration of rich African-American history and the struggle of one man and his wife to seek God’s will in spite of society’s disdain. He and his wife started attending and growing at this new “white” church. They saw his great passion for learning and teaching the Word of God that they paid for him to go to seminary. I attended a meeting last night at the church he is Pastor of. I met him because he was one of my Professors at Bible College. He and his wife have been married since and now share a truly rich story worth celebrating. Following the will of God is not always comfortable, especially in the context that they had to. Now, because of his following Christ, many have come to follow Christ all the more. This story of an oppressed African-American couple should be celebrated. This month especially, there are so many stories of success, courage, perseverance, and pride to celebrate. So here’s to Pastor Dodson and his beautiful story, ministry, heritage, and ultimately, identity in Christ.

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