Saturday, July 24, 2010

A New Call

Greeting all,

The Lord has blessed me to serve as the new pastor of Clarendon Road Church in Brooklyn, NY.  I encourage you to stop in and see all the great things God is doing. We are a church with Deep Roots and New Branches that seeks to Experience God, Empower Believers, and Engage the Community!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Seminary or the Streets

There has been a debate in many circles regarding whether those who are called to Christian ministry should first go seminary or immediately go into full-time ministry. There are valid arguments on both sides that I wish to examine. Those who are proponents of full-time ministry have valid points. If you are called by God into ministry why not immediately "walk in the calling?" They make the point that none of the apostles in the New Testament (except Paul) had any formal theological training and they were used by God to create a revolutionary movement. They also look at the growing churches around the world, which are lead by pastors without seminary degrees. Some of the advocates against seminary argue that most seminaries have lost their way and are "not seminary but cemeteries."

In the other camp there are those who hold to the position that a person should not go into ministry without first entering into higher theological education. They argue that seminary roots and grounds pastors and ministry workers in the foundations of Christian Faith and doctrine. This group points to how easy it is to lead congregants astray if the preacher does not have sound hermeneutics which understands the language and context of the text. At some extremes I've heard seminarians and professors state that they would not listen to pastors who do not hold theological degrees because of all the wrong theology, hermeneutics, and exegesis presented by popular TV and prosperity gospel preachers.

I must respond to these to positions in a typical postmodern fashion. I don't fall into either of these camps. As a full-time seminarian and a full-time practitioner of ministry, I would suggest that every person's journey is unique. I do have a few observations that I would like to brief highlight. First, no one should go to seminary to find God or confirm their belief and walk with God. Seminary is designed to shake you, challenge you and expose you to new traditions and give you tools to do effective ministry. For me if I was not sure of who I was and what I believed about God before seminary, when I encountered my crisis of faith moment (which everyone in seminary has) I could have gone in another direction. So why go to seminary? Seminary helps you wrestle with your faith so when congregants who are struggling in the faith journey come to you with off the wall question, you will not be shaken and be able to authentically walk out fears, misconceptions and issues together without become defensive like you have to protect the Bible or God. Now on the other side I would state that it is the anointing of God that makes the difference (excuse my pentecostal predilections). As I once heard a preacher say just because you have a Ph.D doesn't mean you can Pray Heaven Down, just because you have a M.A. doesn't mean your Mightily Anointed, just because you have a BA doesn't mean you are Born Again. It's the anointing of God that changes lives and fosters effective ministry. Some of the greatest preachers in my tradition (African American) where not educated. Some of the praying mothers in the churches did not have degrees but knew how to meet the Holy.

What am I trying to say? We need to live in healthy balance. I have been blessed to be able to grow by both attending seminary and working in ministry congruently. This may not work for everyone but I have come to appreciate the theoretical of theological study and the practicality of pastoring.

Friday, September 4, 2009

New Diet

My wife Flo and I started a new diet this week. It's an intense diet for 2 weeks. A major part of the diet is this..... NO MEAT!! Lord give us strength. Don't get me wrong I love vegetables and fruit but I was raised in the South and I love my chicken, pork and beef.  

We will see how that works out but we are trying to holistically improve ourselves this fall. We are both going to be in graduate school and seeking God's direction for our lives. We thought that it would also be appropriate to improve our physical bodies as well. Keep us in prayer Labor day is coming up and you know those cook outs will be all over with ribs, burgers, barbecued chicken ....ummmm. Well back to my veggie burger. 

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Why Start a Blog?

In a world that is every increasing to be more technologically advanced with facebook, twitter, and myspace the next logical tool is a blog. It may think I'm not being completely truthful but I'm not starting a blog because everyone else has one....please believe me. Ok, If thats not convincing enough I'll tell you the story.

Here it is, for the first time in my life since I was 13 years old I don't have a job. Wow it looks funny even writing that. You have to explain that ever since I was able to I worked. I have worked all kinds of jobs and up to 3 jobs at the same time. It all started with the original Playstation. I longed and yearned for it soooo bad. No one on my block had it and my parents would not buy it for me. In true old school fashion they said "get a job boy and then talk to be about spending 200 dollars on game." Well I did just that and worked all summer. At the end of the summer, I saved enough to be the first in my neighborhood to have a Playstation. I was the man (until something new came out- Dag on Sega Saturn). Since then I have always had a job until right now. I worked at my former job for 3 years and learned a lot. I went to seminary and earned my MDiv. while I worked. It was tough but rewarding. 

Well now I have my MDiv and am looking on to the future. My job was secure but I felt that I was being lead to step out. I made the decision to go to seminary for one more year and was blessed to be accepted into Princeton Seminary. I begin to look for the right ministry opportunity in the NYC area and thought that I had the right one lined up. As a result of several circumstances, ( that I will blog about later) I felt God positioning me away from what seemed to be a slamdunk ministry position. Now, I find myself for the first time since I was 13 at home throughout the week. So until I start school again or  full time ministry I decided to blog. I thought I love reading other peoples blogs and I have an opinion why not.  So thus the birth of this little discourse on my interest faith, politics and culture. 

Thanks for stopping by!!!!