Sunday, April 18, 2010


Dr. Vashti Murphy McKenzie is a Trustee of the Payne Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, and the International Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia, as well as a Bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME).

Hers are words which ought to give pause and make us reflect on today...

"Wise guys and wise people."

"Who are the wise people and will they please speak up? Why won't the wise guys give it a rest?
Wise guys seem to get the most play in print and broadcast media. Wise guys are the ones who sling words around with unbalanced fierceness instead of using reasoned conviction. Wise guys are those who are more interested in the victory of their opinions rather than the victory of truth. Wise guys are those who consider people of opposing opinion to be an enemy to be annihilated instead of a friend to be convinced or persuaded. Wise guys' ways sell more newspapers and magazine. Wise guys frankly, stir up more interest and response over the airwaves. Wise guys make you want to say something, if you get my drift."

"Wise people tend to blend the right amount of knowledge and experience that appeal to our higher nature. Wise people strive to bring people together rather than drive people apart. They move into the midst of strife bringing peace to disorder. Wise people know the difference between confidence and arrogance while handling the truth as they know and believe it to be with humility in what they do not know."

"Wise people don't sell as well. Wise people don't always get print space or air time. Wise people make you want to say something, if you get my drift."

"In my faith tradition, social justice was a hallmark of the founding and ministry of the African Methodist Episcopal Church 223 years ago. Dr. Dennis Dickerson, historiographer of the AME Church writes in the historical preamble to the mission, vision, purpose and objectives of our vine and fig tree that our "... founders affirmed their humanity in the face of slavery and racism, stands in defense of disadvantaged and oppressed peoples in the 21st century. From the origins in the Free African Society through the involvement of the AME clergy and lay in the Civil War of the 1860's and the Civil Rights movement in the 1960's, the AMEC has preached salvation from sin and bondage. Whether in schools, seminaries, hospitals or social service centers, the AME Church has lived the gospel outside its sanctuaries.""

"Our mission is to minister to the social, spiritual and physical development of all people in a global ministry that seeks out and saves the lost, serves the needy, encouraging economic development, providing training and education, clothing the naked and feeding the hungry among other things."

"But then, this kind of stuff doesn't get much space or play these days."

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Wise guys are those who are more interested in the victory of their opinions rather than the victory of truth."
The Dr's statement appears to be a self inflicted wound. Also would the Dr. enlighten us on the"victory of truth"?

" Wise guys are those who consider people of opposing opinion to be an enemy to be annihilated instead of a friend to be convinced or persuaded."
Looks like another grievous injury for the Dr!

"In my faith tradition, social justice was a hallmark of the founding and ministry of the African Methodist Episcopal Church 223 years ago"
I'd like to know if liberation theology was also part of the African Methodist Episcopal Church 223 years ago? When you reinvent history with a creative flair, anything is possible!

Gerald Britt said...

Seriously, you have got to learn that there are more expressions of Christianity than European based, Calvinist or Wesleyan influenced versions that blindly affirm the American/Republican version of scripture.

You need to get out more.

Here's the deal: nearly every African-American denomination is the result of the predominately white church's rejection of black people as leaders, clergy or members. As a result, black churches, much more and for a much longer period of time have preached a gospel which affirmed the personhood of oppressed people, a God who demanded justice, and who hated oppression and slavery and called on those who followed to reject bigotry, oppression and slavery.

White churches, during that time and as late as 50 years ago, were officially holding on to the vestiges of a segregated system, and, for the most part, only tangentially spoke out against bigotry and oppression. MLK's Letter from a Birmingham Jail was written to white ministers who would not preach against lynching and segregation, but who accused King's demonstrations of 'provoking' violence.

I realize that this makes you uncomfortable to think that black churches seem to have a different understanding beyond personal salvation, but the facts are that an emphasis on personal salvation in churches in America (over against what we now refer to as 'social justice') is a relatively new phenomenon taking place sometime in the late 19th century. Many of the great social movements of our age were originally spearheaded by churches with 'conservative' theology: abolition, child labor laws, etc. and understood that personal conversion without social justice was antithetical to the whole Gospel message.

So Anon 3:03 you are the one who cannot rewrite history to make yourself feel comfortable. You may want to be in denial about how things got the way they are. But its interesting that you are not asking what happened in the mainstream predominately white church that helped to create this phenomenon.

Anonymous said...

Your honor, I have no need to feel uncomfortable. The past is the past. Only by its reincarnation by those such as yourself can you hope to carry out the ultimate goal of your sinister and corrupt teaching. You are the one who condemns those that follow your twisted philosophy for a few crumbs now. Particularly you destine them to an eternity in hell - for what - your political expediency.

Gerald Britt said...

The personal nature of your comment shows your discomfort. It's interesting that we don't want 'the past to be the past' when it comes to George Washington, or the War of 1812, or Pearl Harbor. Only when we discuss the more inglorious aspects of our history, culture and religion, do we not want 'the past' mentioned.

I'm sorry, but the truth and the facts are not expedients. And callous disregard and attempts to wish them away, do not make them any less fact or truth.

I'm sorry its difficult for you to accept.

Anonymous said...

My sorrow is for the sheep who follow the sound of your flute.