Jackson Precincts

trending towards self-government


2 Comments

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 God’s design with Christ as the Head of the church has been replaced by the tradition of men.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.

Advertisements


Leave a comment

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.


Leave a comment

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.


Leave a comment

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.


7 Comments

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


Leave a comment

Power of the President

Our President being the leader of the free world has amassed great political and military power. The last two presidents have extended the police powers of the Executive beyond recognition. He is no longer a constitutional figure and our republic is a historical notion. The Congress has given up its constitutional power in favor of the “national security interest” which has little to do with security and even less that is truly national. It ceded the war powers to the President long ago and recently the “power of the purse” to the Federal Reserve and the Treasury. The Commission on Presidential Debates is a political operation of the Presidency with the opposition political party in contrast to an independent commission. The many departments of the general government are extensions of presidential power. Our president oversees the global political economy without legal authority and only appears in domestic political arenas during the campaigns.


Leave a comment

Social costs of alcoholism

Nearly a quarter of all Americans engaged in heavy drinking in the last month according to a 2011 SAMSA study. Heavy drinking or a binge is having five or more drinks at one sitting in the last month. Binges are associated with car crashes, injuries, disabilities, and death.

Mississippi collects over $100 million in alcohol taxes. $71 M comes to the Dept. of Revenue from the ABC and $30 M from the “Beer and Wine tax”. Our state’s beer is taxed at a high level compared to other states, but our wine tax is very low. Mississippi should tax the wine drinker like the beer drinker. Hard liquor and the softer alcohols should be taxed equally and should be allocated to the treatment of alcoholism, substance abuse, and mental health. $6 M was allocated to the Dept. of Mental Health in FY2011 from the $71 M collected on the ABC tax. See the Dept of Revenue http://www.dor.ms.gov/docs/stats_AnnualReport2011A.pdf

Medicaid, mental health, hospital, welfare, & rehabilitation services are very large and increasing state expenditures.