Jackson Precincts

trending towards self-government


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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.
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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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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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Feast of St. Joseph the Worker

Today the Roman Catholics celebrate the foster father of our Lord, Joseph the Worker. He was the guardian and protector of the Incarnation and the head of the Holy Family. StJosephsAltarColor


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2013 municipal elections and social development

I was a civil servant in the City of Jackson during the same period as the ascendancy of Margaret Barrett-Simon, the Council member of Ward Seven. Mrs Barrett-Simon has been my ward representative for over twenty five years. Jackson has seen high rates of violence and property crime since the early 1980s and the basic institutions of the city have declined with several high profile cases of public corruption or drug trafficking.

The national government’s anti-communist activities in the hemisphere during the 1980s increased drug trafficking and use in Mississippi as across the South and national border. Jackson is mentioned in the Kerry Report investigation of the Iran-Contra scandal due to its airport activity. The city leaders as well as the state leaders had little oversight or knowledge of illegal activity related to the national security efforts in Latin America, but the influx of drugs affected the health and social life of residents as crime and corruption increased.

In the 1980s I resided in a downtown residential tower and a neighbor was a federal drug enforcement agent. He invited me to visit his apartment and briefly showed me his sophisticated communications gear in his closet. He took a call and spoke in rapid Spanish though he was a Jackson native. Earlier in that decade a prominent Jackson young man who had been an addict was beaten nearly to death in this downtown tower residence. Several prominent families had children who committed suicide or had been treated for various drug addictions as drugs were very easy to obtain in this city. Black neighborhoods suffered greatly without treatment for the addicted. Treatment and rehabilitation were slow to develop.

I was not known to Mrs. Barrett except for a questioning on the illicit drug markets during a municipal election at the Murray Junior High School auditorium in 2000. She had no idea how the proceeds of the illicit drug markets were money laundered in Jackson and had absolutely no knowledge of that type of criminality in her ward. The institutional study of the Police Department by Maples had focused on many institutional failures and was treated with technocratic adjustments and some long range planning by the city leadership. A large local bank, Deposit Guaranty, had been censured for neglecting regulatory safeguards related to money laundering and for mismanagement of some local government accounts. This bank had employed the spouse of the sitting mayor and its bank stock was primarily owned by the Jackson establishment. The bank held large balances for the local and state governments as well as for various political subdivisions of the state.

Since my ward representative’s former spouse was an investment adviser and possibly once very useful in terms of financial networks, I had imagined that contributors to her campaign might be sending her tainted money since the city had so much violence and corruption. I simply asked the candidate and veteran city leader if she might guess how criminal networks laundered money in Jackson given the high crime rates here. She was appalled that I would suspect that she had any knowledge or thoughts on the matter. I thought she might be wise about the crime occurring both high and low in her city, but she was not. Her approach to governing did not include public safety in that manner.

She and the City eventually got Mayor Frank Melton. Mrs. Barrett-Simon, no doubt, later pondered the connection of drugs and corruption in her fair city. We had already experienced the corruption cases of former council members Williams and Armstrong several years previous. Political responsibility for trouble is a learning journey for city leaders and their polity. Mayor Johnson failed to understand the public perceptions of safety and the general civic decline subsequent to his loss to Frank Melton. Ironically, Mayor Melton had served as the Director of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, but had been sacked by Governor Barbour not very far into his state law enforcement career. Mayor Melton preached discipline, strict enforcement, and responsibility to the youth of the city while making many adult errors of judgment himself. Mayor Johnson has some completed civic projects. He has many other ‘half done’ projects both material and social. He has cultivated new political alliances to foster civic goals as partnerships and generally improved his management and political skills.

The natural cycle of drug use has declined somewhat in recent years with marginal improvement in the crime statistics. Social development has been largely dormant as the district’s public schools have involuted and learning has not expanded. The principal institutions and the infrastructure of city are worn and beaten. Many professionals and clergy live outside the city gates with diminishing social attachments, but heavy use of the municipal utilities and infrastructures. Our state and local governments are suffering from low revenues, budget pressures, and lofty expectations. The private schools and the public University have demonstrated some progress. The city’s social progress is slowly emerging with the constraints cited.

Mrs. Barrett generally has good political instincts and is capable. However, she is not much help in social development and public safety. Her sponsorship of civic projects is steady, but her grasp of social reality in the city is wanting.


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Obvious totalitarianism

Political thought is elastic not dualistic. In our constitutional system we have three branches not two and the political parties are not found in our organic law. See http://www.p2012.org/parties/

I wonder if the parties collapsed due to political failure–would civil order fail too? Or would democracy evolved into a more obvious totalitarianism? The elastic nature of democracy would favor more political diversity if that is truly the nature of our current system.