Jackson Precincts

trending towards self-government


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Pastor or priest?

“…you know that those who perform the temple service eat the temple offerings and those who wait upon the altar claim their share of the sacrifice…the LORD gave instructions that those who preach the Gospel should earn their living by the Gospel.”    I Corinthians 9:12-14 New English Bible

Ministers in the New Testament are often referred to as elders, deacons, bishops, or ‘fellow-workers’. Pastors developed into modern professionals. The custom of the Protestant and orthodox churches is to employ a priesthood. However, we have no need for priests since we have a High Priest in a heavenly tabernacle. Professional preachers are installed when they demonstrate a ‘call of God’ and complete a seminary course. The office of priest was transferred from Judaism of the Second Temple. Our preachers have become priests when they really are simply leaders of congregations. The ministry of the president of the congregation has replaced the collective ministry of the church. One guy with an ungodly amount of pressure and responsibility instead of an assembly of distributed godly ministry.

“But you must not be called ‘rabbi’ for you have one Rabbi, and you are all brothers…” Matthew 23:8 New English Bible

Early church practice did not employ priests because leadership was plural. Apostles vetted elders; they were not trained in seminary. Deacons are  expected to be teachers, hospitable, and active. Deacons like elders are expected to be sacred models which is not the same as being a professional. Payment for teachers is encouraged, but caution is given to those seeking to enrich themselves by the ministry of the gospel. The salary of the pastor/teacher is not to establish a priestly guild. Professional leadership permits the gospel to be influenced by political beliefs and wealthy elders. Professional pastors slowly became a priestly guild like the P’rushim or temple class in Jesus’ time. This professional class was the principal adversary of Jesus. The physical church became the shrine of the priest who presided there. The traditions of men replaced the gospel purity. The teaching elder has become the professional priest along with a princely building and salary. The building and the professional salaries are the main budgetary items. In short the means have become the ends. God’s design with Christ as the Head of the church has been replaced by the tradition of men.

Seminaries attempt to do the work of the Master and the Spirit of Truth. Seminaries should not usurp the Master’s plan. Who vets the seminary professors? The rule is that they must be credentialed by another acceptable church authority —-not by Heavenly authority. No mention of seminaries in the Bible. Churches glorify themselves with complicated theology. A functioning church IS the seminary. So who is the Head of our seminaries? Do seminaries acknowledge the Headship of the Master in their organizational charts? Is the Risen Christ listed first in ‘What We Believe’? No, first are beliefs in regards to Holy scripture and next are trinitarian concepts. The core of the gospel is ‘Jesus was raised from the dead by God’. Why diminish the witness of Heaven? Churches have literature, affiliations, programs, budgets etc. that come down from earthly authorities. God glorified the Son. Why don’t we just say so? Christ should be first in all things since that is God’s witness for all earthly and all heavenly powers for all of time. “Jesus is Lord” is the churches’ theology. “Jesus have mercy” is our deliverance and the institution of all Heavenly resources towards the believer. Why can’t we simply state divine facts? All those that follow the Master have the light of life to guide them in a darkening world. (John 8:12)

The vocation of the each believer is mentioned in Eph 4:1-3—- “the prisoner of the Lord beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called with all lowliness and meekness…” In verse 12 the pastoral and teaching ministry of the church is given as the means to prepare the general membership for the collective ministry. The Ephesians 4:12 purpose of teaching is given as ‘the perfecting of the the saints for the work of the ministry’ not so that clergy will perfect their ministry. Is not the ‘nonprofessional call’ just as important as the professional calling? It seems the church teachers have taken up the rabbinic role that our Master performed. However, if a large church effectively prepares the general membership for the collective ministry, many teachers are required. The elders must become teachers and ministers like the pastor. Pastors, today, are administrators more than teachers of teachers. Deacons are rulers instead of models of Christ’s love. Deacons expect to be planners or employers not ‘serving tables’. Hear Philippians 2:15–“Do all things without grumbling or disputing that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world” (NASB). When Jesus is the Head of the church it is a learning and a light-giving church.

The New Testament epistles are addressed to the collective membership rather than to the leaders. However, the Revelation of St. John is addressed “to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass” and the specific prophecies to the Asian churches are addressed to the messenger of each respective assembly. The Risen Master has a special message for the teachers and preachers here and its a powerful warning in each case. Yet His warning and blessing and truth is for every hearer this side of heaven.


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Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us… 2 Cor. v, 20 NASB

The early church was gifted by Jesus with his select ambassadors whom He had schooled Himself during His earthly ministry. We refer to them as disciples when they are students under the physical tutelage of the Master and ambassadors when He gave them authority and sent them out to teach, to cast out demons, to heal all diseases, and to preach. As the Master’s first ambassadors they laid the foundations of the church. In Mat 9:37 the Master notes the need for workers in the harvest and asks them to pray for more workers. Subsequently they are commissioned themselves and in Mat. 10:2 the twelve apostles are set, named and sent after His specific apostolic instructions and prophecy. The ambassadors were to be totally dependent on God and the goodwill of the believers as they carried no funds. The role of the Holy Spirit in public speaking is described. The Master makes reference to the prophetic office of his ambassadors. The ministry will not be peaceful in terms of social or family relations. Friendship of the world is not the aim of the apostle. The multiple roles of healer, teacher, prophet, martyr, and beloved family member. The father-son relationship is often referenced in terms of the gospel students as ‘it is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher and the servant like his master.’ (Matt 10: 25). The Master schooled St. Paul in the various fellowships and in the desert solitudes. St. Paul called himself a servant as often as an apostle and ‘was not worthy to be called an apostle’. In Romans 12 he charges the assembly at Rome to not be worldly, but be ‘transformed by the renewal of your mind’ and to be sober and humble in the assessment of oneself. Near the close of the Roman epistle St Paul refers to his being ‘a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit’. St Paul’s ministry was by no means a peaceful ministry and he wanted the Jews to be jealous of God’s work among the Gentiles. He carried the ‘marks of Christ’ on his mortal body when jealousy lent itself to violence rather than spiritual inquiry.

The prophetic role falls to many ‘ordinary church members’ who give their lives as martyrs and God’s utterances before devilish courts and their soldiers. In the heavenly realms, surely they will win a prophet’s reward for they were God’s messengers. Bible teachers who claim the role of the prophet ended with the apostles have forgotten the martyrs and the current prisoners of Christ. Seemingly ordinary believer’s are His speakers to their own unbelieving families and magistrates. Prisoners are His messengers in the current age. The prisoners of Christ speak by the Holy Spirit to the world’s worst sinners. Prisoners of Christ speak as prophets and examples to the elect of God.

If the church has lost its prophetic voice it is trending lukewarm. The church has lost its saltiness.
FondrenCedarsA


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The Mystical Body of Christ

DadsBirthdaychurch

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than to blood of Abel

Hebrews xii, 22-24 NIV

The Body of Christ is the most mystical theme in Christian cosmology. The Body of Christ is simply too metaphysical and majestic for regular  congregational contemplation. The Christian individual is not atomistic or supreme. The divine corporation is the lofty expression and illumination  of the nature of Christ and the elect. I doubt I have heard more than a couple of sermons in Baptist churches I have attended. The notion of a  Corporate Reality both inside and outside the local congregation must be too illogical for the practical American mind. The powerful symbol is the  unmentioned theme of John’s gospel account of the Last Supper, the foot washing, and the new commandment to love. John xiii, 35 “By this all men  will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another”. The church maintains intersubjectivity and interrelatedness. The interchange within the church is spiritual not sociological.

The church has the immediacy and homespun analogy of the body. The body is for purposes of the Lord. The redeemed body, nonetheless, is sexual and perhaps too problematic for sermonizing. Ever heard a sermon on the “Song of Solomon”? The powerful symbol of the body is very much about ‘family values’ and the sexual nature in its unique theological meaning. One divine role for man and another one for woman. The social character of the Body of Christ is sexual in the sense of being productive and complimentary, but it is not legal. Sex roles are spelled out by St. Paul who also said “in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, male or female, slave or free”. The spiritual and life-giving service is the “mishpat” of Christ. The Church is then life-giving , as new converts attach to the Lord. The family has the father as the head and is a micro-church. The church has Christ as Head. A local church, however, is not the Body of Christ unless Christ is its Head and Authority and those within the congregation are His. Focus on the purposes of Jesus, not those of clergy or other secular or denominational authorities. Do not become slaves of men for we all have been purchased of Christ.

If the universal message of Christ does not shatter the human traditions and our religious non-profit corporations–then we are not versed in the read-lettered words of Jesus. The words of our Lord in regard to congregations speak of unity, authority, sufficiency, universality, and love. We have what we need if we hear the words of Jesus and obey Him. The unity of God with His people is the love story of the Bible. The fiery testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. One must receive the One sent. Christ is the Good Shepherd of His sheep. Christ gives the authority and gifts to build the spiritual unity of His people. The ultimate unity of the Risen Lord with the church is the Revelation and the Parousia. The last day will be a celebration for us.

Christ is not referred to as the Head of the local congregation if you peruse the founding documents of most churches. America has a church that is focused on personal, denominational, or patriotic aims. Our very words display a profound misunderstanding of the government of God. We have the approval of man but not God. Christ is King not preachers. Are we not in rebellion if we reject the way of God? The apostasy has trained expertise who distrust Him. The King anoints leaders His own way. Honor those He has honored with His heavenly Power and wisdom not those who have financial power. Chose men among you full of the Holy Spirit for those are anointed by Christ. Christ through the elders heals, corrects, feeds, washes and anoints the church. Christ is the Ground of all earthly and heavenly power . Give Him the honor that the Father has given Him. Come Lord Jesus.


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Feed my sheep

Our Lord told St. Peter to feed his sheep if he loved him. It is the Messiah’s command to his most promising and zealous disciple. Jesus then told St. Peter that like himself he would suffer death at the hands of evil men and to follow his example. John’s gospel has St. Peter questioning Jesus on St. John’s fate and was told that the fate of others should not concern him since the command to him remained, “Follow me”. St. John closed his gospel with the scene of the disciples getting their Lord’s perspectives on their fellow’s fates. John lived out a complete life into old age.

"Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who stands next to me" says the Lord of hosts/ Zechariah xiii, 7

“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who stands next to me” says the Lord of hosts/ Zechariah xiii, 7

St Peter writes to his fellow elders “Tend the flock of God that is your charge exercising the oversight not by constraint but willingly not for shameful gain but eagerly not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd is manifested you will obtain the unfading crown of glory” I Peter v, 2-4.


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Lumumba continuity

On April 22nd the polity of the capital city will send in the youngest mayor in recent history regardless of who wins. The victor will provide a certain measure of continuity since both the son of the late mayor and the councilman have been a party to city governance. If Chokwe Antar Lumumba wins, he will have another group of advisers and perhaps change a couple department heads. The Yarber municipal government would likely return some former public servants as his institutional knowledge is deeper and more conservative. His campaign contributors have been patricians, former officials and contractors of the state and local governments. The Yarber supporters have a distaste for the radical democratic rhetoric and populism of the Lumumbas. The Lumumbas have introduced a theory of government that marginalizes council, bureaucracy, the middle men, and contractors of the old city functioning. The Lumumba emphasis on right of the people to petition the government through novel forms such as the ‘people’s congress’ in each ward has shaken the normal political class operations in this city. The special mayoral election had three council members in the race though they demurred on questioning this Lumumba tactic of direct democracy which derails the regular ward functioning. The structure of city contracting will be re-tooled to include new business partners and participants if the Lumumba continuity is affirmed by the April 22nd election. I prefer the Lumumba continuity in this city.


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1828 and 2013 revolutionary politics

Neither candidate for Jackson mayor is orthodox or untarnished.  The brother with the African name was born in Detroit in 1947 and the younger candidate was born several decades later in Jackson. The human condition has touched each with compromising situations. This 2013 municipal election is like the 1828 Jackson presidential victory. It was the first time a President had not been a Virginian or Massachusetts yankee. The 1828 election was a revolution of national politics. A more democratic style of governance was born in the political life by this frontiersman, Andrew Jackson, who might have been born at sea instead of the Waxhaws of Carolina. There is a rumor that he was not born on the land. Lumumba, like Andrew Jackson, was criticized for his tendency toward militancy and confrontation. Jackson for his dueling, scorched-earth military policy toward the Indians, and the execution of deserters. Chokwe Lumumba has a past influenced by the Garveyism, labor organizing, and police brutality of post-war Detroit.

Andrew Jackson prevailed over John Q. Adams who got only 43% of the popular vote. Lumumba will probably upset Jonathan Lee, the young moderate. Lee is better mannered perhaps, but not more intellectual or more articulate than his elder. He is a sometime businessman, Chamber of Commerce leader, and Jackson native. His problem is an earlier more suburban style, Republican support, and his recent location back to this side of the river from Rankin County.

In 1828 in Hinds County poll boxes at Jackson proper and at Hezekiah Billingsley’s box heaped the votes for Andrew Jackson like the present St. James Episcopal and Fondren Presbyterian church poll boxes heaped up the Jonathan Lee vote.  In 1828 Josiah Shipp, Fleetwood, and Crossroad poll precincts in this county were kind to John Quincy Adams, but he was bested in these precincts by Jackson. The Baldwin box was only mildly kind to Adams where this western box gave him one out of five votes. The Jackson proper poll box had only two voters to cast for Adams. This precinct would be the first municipal precinct now the Eudora Welty Library box. The Billingsley poll box polled only three Adamites. Billingsley precinct was near the modern-day Ross Barnett Reservoir.

The other Fondren precinct is the Woodland Hills Baptist box which is a combination of the old precincts 15 and 16. We had sixty seven Lumumba votes. Over a thousand folk are on the register for this box in the center of Fondren. Michael Raff, the Mayor’s Cultural department director, was the poll watcher for Harvey at the Woodland Hills box during the Democratic mayoral primary.

The new Freedom Democrat wing of the party might be hatched in Jackson just like the Barbour-Reagan revolution was hatched in the this place over thirty years ago. Bennie Thompson is anointing Chokwe to do in Jackson what Bennie did in Washington. Solidify a progressive and leftist base…in the heart of Mississippi. As of Saturday evening the Fondren area near the Fondren Park had not been canvased for either candidate. Nor had the Midtown streets of Keener, Wesley, Millsaps, and McTyre. West Street behind Millsaps College had seen a few Lumumba campaigners. I heard some Lumumba radio ads being played from the front porches of Midtown and Fondren. Vote for the brother with the African name.


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Lumumba on May 21st.

The municipal election for Jackson Mississippi will be held for the Democratic Party runoff on the 21st. The mayoral runoff will no doubt be decisive. I am naturally allied to the candidacy of Chokwe Lumumba due to his progressive and grassroots approach to politics. I am a Green Party voter which means I like the bottom up philosophy, the distrust of large powerful interests, and emphasis on sustainable economic foundations.Image