Monthly Archive for June, 2001

Letter from Dan Ford to Convention Delegates

Dear Delegate,

Thank you for your willingness to give of your time, your mind, and your heart to serve our Lord and His Church.

We want to bring a matter to your attention-but we want to use a light touch while we do it. Please enjoy a little mystery and perhaps earn a very modest reward.

In your Workbook is a district program being lead by a clergyman. The following quotes are from three of his books published in 1968, 1972, and 1991.

Can you deduce who he is?

What is the title given to the program?

The first three delegates who give us the correct answer to both questions will earn a $50.00 gift certificate from CPH.

So put on your thinking caps, and e-mail us your answers.

Our next letter will give you the names of the three winners, the program, and the leader.

Table Talk editors.

Attached Quotes

1968

Only if the church is able to see itself and describe itself as a source of freedom and power can it communicate with the world and participate in the revolutionary changes that are taking place.

In conclusion, the enemy—cause of powerlessness, poverty and despair—cannot be found in the minority ghettos of our land. What can be found there is only the damage and destruction that the enemy has brought about. The residence of the enemy is the predominantly white, middle and upper income church and community. That is where freedom is most lacking, powerless is most evident, irresponsibility is most devastating, self-determination is least to be found.

In the plainest and simplest of terms, what is already taking place in the black ghetto must also take place in the church and in the white community: REBELLION! Theologically necessitated rebellion against all that imprisons us and keeps from acting as responsible children of God. We must rebel against our fear, rebel against our neurotic needs to oppress. We must rebel against the systems and structures in the church and society that foster, support and perpetuate racism. We must rebel against a racist culture that inculcates prejudice and hatred on every level on every level of consciousness. We must rebel against all that holds us powerless to act in love and justice toward our fellowman.

A special call to rebellion should be issued to the “church dropout.” The rank of civil rights workers, black and white, as well as other groups seeking change in our society are filled with individuals who would like to believe what the church teaches but can no longer tolerate the way the church acts. The rebellion that is so desperately needed within the church cannot take place without these people, whose conscience has led them to disassociate themselves from the church. If these people were once again a part of the church and carried out their rebellion within the church, Christianity in America would never be the same. If the insights of these people, their courage, their honesty and their demand for change came from within the church and not from without, it would be all that was necessary to lead the church in a new direction.

A call to rebellion may sound a bit frightening, but it is precisely what the gospel of Jesus Christ has always been. And our teacher and example in the art of rebelling is none other than our Lord himself. His life and ministry, his teaching and his command direct us to defy and destroy the evil powers that seek to take away our freedom and render us powerless to love effectively and justly. (pages 120-122)

1972

But there is only one Christianity, not two. And the Christian is deceived whose primary identity is not with the oppressed. The gospel of Jesus Christ is, and always has been a means of freedom for enslaved people. Jesus Christ lived and died for the sake of the downtrodden, and the poverty stricken, the suffering, the sick and the dying—all who were and are now the oppressed. (page 24)

The Christian gospel has not changed. It is the same today as it always has been. It is a gospel of liberation for oppressed people. It is good news to the poverty stricken in the ghettos of our land. It is the proclamation of liberty to the captives in our prisons and our reservations. It is sight for the blind, strength for the lame, community for the lonely. It is freedom for the oppressed people of America and the world. And it must be : that is all the gospel there is! There are not one Christianity for those who need freedom and one for those who don’t. There is one gospel of Jesus Christ: it is the gospel of liberation offered to those who identify with the oppressed. (page 25)

The present educational system in our white racial ghetto is another of our white racial problems. It presupposes the validity of segregation; it perpetuates the existence of ghettos; and it enslaves the minds and bodies of children, teaching them to tolerate and adjust to it. It does not free people or create conditions within which humans can thrive. A true educational process will first of all help the ghettos gain their freedom, and must therefore, first work for the collapse of our present ghetto-preserving educational system. (page 89)

1991

History shows that when people are pushed to the bottom, they refuse to stay there. From the time when Moses led the uprising of the Hebrews, through the rebellion of oppressed people all over world in our own day, those who are stripped of dignity and their basic human right will rise in strength, demanding that which God promised to all people. (page 25)

More specifically, the hope for white America, as well as the entire white western world, is that we will be able to relinquish our power and control, and write a positive ending for our fable before it is too late. Not only because we’re afraid of what will happen if we don’t change, but also because it is right, because it is just, and because it is the will of God. (page 25)

The most important means for breaking through our anesthesia are the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion. In Baptism we receive a vision of the whole human family as one, with all the walls that divide us torn down, melted away, gone. (page 143)

Holy Communion has even more power to break through our anesthesia. In the words, “Do this to remember…,” we see Holy Communion as a means of creating new consciousness in people suffering from the anesthesia. We are a forgetful people. Our anesthesia encourages us to forget the wall, forget injustice, forget racism. Holy Communion helps to restore our memory. To remember Jesus is to remember everything for which he died; everything for which he gave his life. The most important thing to remember is that we are a community, a restored community, a community that transcends every wall, every barbed wire fence, every national boundary.

Holy Communion reminds us of the incredibly exciting and joyful reality that those who live beyond our prison walls are our family. Holy Communion reminds us that our purpose in life is to tear down walls that divide us. (page 144)

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