Christianity

The Revolutionary Paideia November 2010 Person of the Month: Bishop Paul L. Fortson

Each month, Revolutionary Paideia selects a person who embodies the “unsettling, unnerving, and unhousing” spirit that founded this blog. The choice this month was too simple. When you think about the month of November as a time to reflect on who and what you have to be thankful for, one of the most important people who I have to be thankful for is my pastor, Bishop Paul L. Fortson. This man is the epitome of what a holy and righteous man of  God is and should be. His love for helping hurting people “unsettles, unnerves, and unhouses” us and lets us know that it is not about our own selfish interests, but it’s about a spirit of compassion for loving and giving to others. In a time when we have questions about the salvation and leadership of certain clergymen, Bishop Fortson is one man we don’t have any questions about. His leadership is simply impeccable. At some churches, the preachers don’t have time to talk to you and even pray for you personally. Bishop Fortson always takes time to pray for you and talk to you.

While many saved and unsaved people criticize preachers about always wanting money, Bishop Fortson is not interested in getting your money. He is interested in how to get you into Heaven and into showing you how you can live a victorious and prosperous life in this present world. Soul winning is Bishop’s top priority—not money! This is why the Lord has blessed him so richly and thoroughly.

I very much appreciate Bishop’s prayers and love. Even while I’m about 15 hours away from him, he’s always praying for me. I appreciate that so deeply. Some preachers are “so deep” that you cannot talk to them, but this is not true about Bishop. He’s a person you can talk to like anyone else. He’s going to tell you what the bible says and what God spoke to him about your life, so don’t get mad when he tells you just like it is. When he tells you just like it is, he does it with love. You should appreciate his candor. We have enough preachers today who are not transparent, but we can be thankful that Bishop Paul L. Fortson is one preacher who is not going to hide anything from you.

This man of God has fed the homeless and given them shelter. We need more selfless people like him in the world. We also need more selfless preachers like him.

When it comes to how he teaches and preaches, he is going to tell you what God said without sugarcoating it. He teaches the bible in a way that adds nothing to it and takes nothing from it.

I could really go on and on about this great man of God, but time and space will not allow me. One day, I’m going to write a book about Bishop Fortson so that it will be a blessing to his members and to the world. The world needs to hear about and learn from this great man of God.

I encourage you to visit Bishop Paul L. Fortson and his lovely wife, Evangelist Carolyn C. Fortson, at Paradise Church of God in Christ at 4234 Hendrix Drive in Forest Park, Georgia. You can email me at antoniomdaniels@gmail.com for information about times and days of church services, and/or you can leave a comment on this blog for more information about church services and directions.

Again, it is with great pleasure that I name Bishop Paul L. Fortson as The Revolutionary Paideia November 2010 Person of the Month. Bishop, thank you for your love, service, commitment, leadership, and example. Revolutionary Paideia highly endorses Bishop Paul L. Fortson. God bless Bishop Paul L. Fortson, Evangelist Carolyn C. Fortson, and family!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Even If You Have to Lose Everything Don’t Surrender Your Principle

In the end, we will all be judged by not only what we have said, but also by the deeds that have been done in our bodies. Even though doing the right thing may be costly sometimes, it’s still worth the cost. It’s always worth the cost to defend and maintain your principle. On the Day of Judgment, God will honor those who have withstood the tests of their principle. I just thought that I would encourage somebody today who might be thinking that it’s not worth it to keep defending and maintaining his or her principle, but I want you to know that the Devil wants you to give up on what makes you purposeful, wholesome, and unique. Embrace your difference. Difference is essential!

Although everyone around you might be giving up his or her principle to get temporary gains, don’t give up your principle for these temporary gains. When those temporary gains seem so attractive, remember that they are just that—temporary! If you are a principled person, you will not leave your principle at home. If you are a principled person, you will not let people fool you into relinquishing your principle. Your principle should always guide you to do the right thing, even when other people are telling you that it’s okay to surrender your principle just for one time.

Even when times are going rough, don’t be weary about the conditions you are facing. God will reward you for being principled, and He will bring you out of the difficult circumstances you are experiencing. For those who are principled people, God did not give you anything to lose, but all to gain. Don’t get so caught up into things and moments that you forget about the principle that has enabled you to get to where you are today.

If you have allowed yourself to give up your principle for someone and/or something that you did not give your best thought to, you don’t have to wallow in your own pity—just ask God forgiveness and get your principle back. Stay committed to your principle. You will certainly lose respect in God’s eye when you constantly vacillate on your principle. Be willing to lose everything for your principle to gain it all in the end!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Facebook and the Black Church

In the Black Church, especially in the Church of God in Christ (C.O.G.I.C.), Black Church leaders have to gain a more sophisticated understanding of Facebook. You cannot lead your congregations based on assumptions or limited knowledge about phenomena. Black Church leaders in general have demonstrated little to no real understanding about how Facebook works, what it really is, and the great opportunities and enjoyment that it offers its users. I want everyone to know that I am a strong supporter of Black Church leaders. I am a product of the Black Church and the Black Church has been and is instrumental in helping me to be the person I am today. My pastor is a Black Church leader. I want people to know, therefore, that this article is not in any way a hateful piece directed at the Black Church and Black Church leaders. What this article does is offer a critique of some Black Church leaders that might spur important discourses, which ultimately can ameliorate the state of the Black Church and Black Church leaders on the issues discussed in this piece.

While I don’t think people should put all of their personal information and business on Facebook and other related sites, I do think Facebook can be used as a positive and creative vehicle for expressing how one feels and it allows one to be able to keep his or her personal salvation that has been granted by God. It is better for people to blow off some steam by saying something through a Facebook status than to go out and blow off steam in ways that can be destructive, resulting in some harmful sins. When you spend too much time on Facebook, this is when you might need to be concerned about how it is affecting your personal relationship with God.

However, for those Black Church leaders who say that it is a sin to be on Facebook, you are completely wrong. For those Black Church leaders who say that Facebook is demonic, you are completely wrong. For those Black Church leaders who say that iPods and iPhones are demonic, you are completely wrong too. What Black Church leaders must understand is it is not these things that make people do terrible or sinful things, it is the people who do terrible or sinful things. Don’t blame these things on the sins people commit.

You cannot take one or more Facebook statuses of a person and try to demonize him or her for what he or she says. Therefore, when you go and report what someone has said on his or her statuses to the pastor of the church, you need to provide him or her with more evidence that suggests that this person is really in need of serious prayer. You should not be reporting stuff to your pastor just to attempt to point out some flaws about a person. Would you like your flaws to be reported to your pastor each time your flaws are exposed?

I have noticed that in the Black Church issues like Hip-Hop music and culture, contemporary fashion, attending movie theaters, women wearing pants, homosexuality, masturbation, pornography, and other issues are addressed with little depth, often reduced to a single scripture. We must be more sophisticated than this Black Church leaders!

For those Black Church leaders who don’t know, people can play games on Facebook like Family Feud, Café World, Baking Life, Farmville, and etc. What’s so harmful about that? What so sinful about that? If people are chatting on Facebook, they are chatting with people who they know in some way, especially if they are only accepting people as friends who they really know. What’s so sinful about that?  Why is more scrutiny placed on Facebook’s chatting function than the basic telephone? If it is so sinful to chat on Facebook, then it should be just as sinful to chat on the telephone, right?

I strongly encourage Black Church leaders to get more knowledge about Facebook before making any poor judgments about it. Just because Facebook has so many users, many of those users are Black Church members, should not automatically qualify it as something evil. I know after writing this article many people are going to be angry with me, and some Black Church leaders are going to say, “That boy needs serious prayer and he has some demons in him.” My response is, “You are supposed to be praying for me anyway.” Lol!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Toward A New Christian Approach

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). This version of the image shows the detail of his face. The memorial window is also captioned: “To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Last week on Facebook, I engaged in a prolonged discussion with a young White male student who attends University of Wisconsin-Madison on the subject of Christianity. We had a passionate discussion about the existence of God and the usefulness of the bible. I am a devout and unapologetic Christian and he is an atheist. During our discussion, the guy tried to undermine the usefulness of the bible and the existence of God by selecting random scriptures and making interpretations about those scriptures that were totally out of context. During that discussion, an epiphany that I had when I was at the University of Arkansas in 2004 resurfaced: Do not wear yourself out with trying to convince people who do not believe in God that he is real and that the bible is right. While I have had some pretty sophisticated discourses with atheists in the past at Albany State University, Emory University, University of Oklahoma, University of Texas, University of Toronto, Harvard University, and the University of Arkansas, this discussion with this young first-year student at University of Wisconsin-Madison revealed to me that I was talking to a fool. You should never consume too much of your time arguing with fools because they are more skilled than you are with doing what they do best: engage in foolishness. The purpose of this article is to offer Christians a new approach to responding to non-believers who want to challenge the bible and the existence of God.

Instead of trying to defend the existence of God and what the bible says to non-believers who attempt to undermine both, change the discourse into a discourse that forces them to prove evolution or that there is not a God. As Christians, we often waste a significant amount of our time trying to make people think that God exists and that the bible is right. If people are not willing to hear you out about the existence of God and about your explanation of biblical scriptures, then devote your time and attention to someone else or something else. If people want to go to Hell, please learn to just pray for them, but you have to ultimately be willing to just let them go to Hell. Salvation is a personal choice; therefore, people have to make up in their own minds to get it. Some Christians will get all angry with people who challenge them about the existence of God and problems they have with what scriptures say. Again, I have to let you know that you should not be getting angry over people like this. Just let them go to Hell! Hell was created for a purpose. God already knew that some people were not going to make the decision to love and acknowledge him. Hell was created for those people who elect not to acknowledge, love, and serve God.

When I challenged the University of Wisconsin-Madison atheist student about proving to me that evolution is real and to disprove the existence of God, he started to get all angry and called me “the typical Christian.” I would like to inform this young White man that “the typical Christian” is not like me. The typical Christian is not willing to take the kinds of risks I do, he or she is not willing to break with tradition as I am, and he or she is not willing to have discourses about the topics that I do, so I’m not “the typical Christian.” I would love to see a day when more Christians are more challenging, bigger risk takers, and willing to break with tradition more. Fortunately, I cannot be accurately called “the typical Christian.” If you do not believe me, just read the articles on my blog and you will see that I am not “the typical Christian” and do not want to be.

I want Christians to put more of the burden on non-believers to justify why they believe what they believe. The burden has always been put on the believers to justify why we believe what we believe. It is time for us to change this reality. People think Christians, especially many professors in academia, are simple and unsophisticated thinkers just because we believe in what the bible says and because we believe in the existence of God. It is time for Christians to start to challenge this position. I contend that it is highly unsophisticated to believe in nothing. It does not take much intellectual thought to believe in nothing. For me, it’s simple and unsophisticated to believe in nothing. I am not saying that all atheists do not believe in nothing, but I am saying that some of them do believe in nothing. Christians need to rise up and challenge the belief in nothing that seems to consume so many non-believers.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison