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Archive for April 28th, 2010

Is “The Black Church Dead”, or “Alive and Doing well?”

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On April - 28 - 2010 Comments Off on Is “The Black Church Dead”, or “Alive and Doing well?”

what_we_love_about_black_churchIt’s a controversial topic that won’t go away – an Op-Ed article in the Huffington Post’s February 24th issue, authored by Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., Ph.D., titled, “The Black Church is Dead.”.

Glaude, currently the William S. Tod Professor of Religion and Chair of the Center for African American Studies at Princeton, opened up dialogue in his lead paragraph: “The Black Church, as we’ve known it or imagined it, is dead. Of course, many African Americans still go to church. According to the PEW Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life, 87 percent of African Americans identify with a religious group and 79 percent say that religion is very important in their lives. But the idea of this venerable institution as central to black life and as a repository for the social and moral conscience of the nation has all but disappeared.”

Read the complete article at www.huffingtonpost.com

A new Judson Press book, titled, “In What We Love About the Black Church: Can We Get a Witness?”, scheduled to be released in May, was in sharp contrast to “the death knell sounded by Glaude, focusing on the “vitality, gifts, and strength of the black church, which was pointed out in a press release about the book, distributed by www.BlackNews.com

             Local ministers get in on the dialogue. Essays by:

  • Rev. Harold Bailey, Founder and Executive Director, Probation Challenge, the first court mandated program of its kind in the country where clients are forced to help themselves through the channels of education.
  • Rev. Al Sampson, Pastor of Fernwood United Methodist Church in Chicago. Sampson was only one of three Ministers ordained by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 1966. He was inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Board of Preachers at Morehouse College.

William H. Crouch and Joel C. Gregory identify twelve aspects of the black church that highlight its impact and contributions. What makes this resource particularly unique and compelling is that Crouch and Gregory are white pastors and academics who have discovered the benefits of being in the black church without being of it.

The press release stated: In response to Glaude’s so- called obituary, Crouch, president of Georgetown College, reflected on a recent experience which speaks to the health of the black church:

“Recently a newspaper editor visited our campus to examine our diversity program. When he did his exit interview with me, he said he knew that what made our program so rich is the fact that our African American students are coming from within the black church, where they are being encouraged, prayed for, funded and guided by their pastors. We have more than an 80% retention rate with these black church members. I am stunned by Dr. Glaude’s pronouncement and invite him to visit our campus and see the outgrowth from the black church!”

Gregory, professor of preaching at George W. Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University, confessed to being mystified by Glaude’s conclusion:

“As a white minister who has spoken hundreds of times in black church and conference settings from coast to coast for a dozen years, I see the polar opposite. I do not know any other institution that demonstrates the inherent vitality of the black church. There is no more vital, resilient and energetic institution in America.”

More than two dozen leaders of the African American church contributed to What We Love about the Black Church, including:

* Sheila M. Bailey
* Bryan L. Carter
* Cynthia L. Hale
* Donald Hilliard Jr.
* Major Lewis Jemison
* A. Louis Patterson Jr.
* Melvin V. Wade Sr.
* Ralph Douglas West Sr.
* J. Alfred Smith Sr. (foreword)
* Rhoda McKinney-Jones (afterword)

Their contributions and endorsements recognize the book’s passion for and testimony to both the past and future of the black church, and celebrate its potential to bridge the racial divide and cultural chasm that have segregated the Body of Christ in this country.

What We Love about the Black Church will be available in early May 2010 and can be ordered by calling 800-458-3766 or visiting www.judsonpress.com.
About Judson Press:
Founded in 1824, Judson Press – a publishing ministry of National Ministries, American Baptist Churches USA – produces Christ-centered leadership resources for the transformation of persons, congregations, communities and cultures. Judson has been recognized by Publishers Weekly as one of the leading publishers of resources for the black church.

American Baptist Churches USA is a historic Protestant denomination that includes 1.5 million members in 5,600 congregations in the United States and Puerto Rico. Nearly half of its members are African American.
NOTE: (From the Press Release) Glaude’s obituary for the black church has resulted in an undeniably passionate and vocal response on both sides of the issue. Shortly after it appeared, a panel of African American religious scholars responded with “The Black Church is Dead-Long Live the Black Church” on the Religion Dispatches website. On April 16, The New York Times joined the conversation with Samuel G. Freedman’s “Call and Response on the State of the Black Church.” Crouch, Gregory, and various book contributors will be posting their comments on these sites.

Church is neither brick nor mortar

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On April - 28 - 2010 Comments Off on Church is neither brick nor mortar


“The true Black Church (body of true believers) is yet faithful to those things that have been set-forth by God, and we The Black Church, fear God and will not seek to change them. For the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.”


By Rev. Harold Bailey, Founder and President of Probation Challenge


Church is neither brick nor mortar, nor is God’s Church an organization but rather an organism where He is the head and we are the members. And, in that Christ is a spirit and not flesh nor blood, and in that he who worships God, Christ, Jesus, must worship in Him in Spirit and in Truth, then where is the color, race, denomination, or class of people? The Holy Scriptures state: Where two or three persons (White, Black, Hispanic or others) are gathered together, God promised that He would be in the midst thereof.

I have always spiritually labored under the belief that ‘The Body of True Baptized Believers’ constituted the Body of Christ!

I, however, understand that which is being stated regarding the ’Black Church’ Being Dead and its dilemma. History would have it that we (Blacks) were separated by those who would not allow us to fall to our knees in worship with them – before what was supposed to be ‘our’ God. Thusly, at that time we as ‘colored people’ or other names, sadly departed and started our own mode-of-worship without any support from ‘across town’ from the White people who said we didn’t have the spiritual right to enter into Whites’ houses of worships.

Spiritually, I understand that this action was then the works of the worlds-greatest deceiver – Satan and his fallen angels. Much was done in ignorance and many of those perpetrators have repented, forgiven and on to be with the Lord, while many who were victimized are yet pointing fingers of ridicule.

But, in that Blacks/African Americans over the period of years have come into the knowledge of proven-biblical-truth, shouldn’t there be a turning back to God via the ‘Author’s Written Words’ and those commandments required of White, Black, Hispanics and all others. If you know better should we not do better?

Behold: Old things have passed away and now The Black (True Believers) Church is pressing toward the mark of a ‘higher calling’ which is in Christ Jesus, and where the things of earth now have become strangely dim in the light of His presents and His grace. Remember, the kingdom of God is flesh and blood, not political wimps. Nor is it a new concept of big-I and little you…nor is it obeying those who sit in chief seats in the places of worship.

There is a difference today as opposed to yesterday where our God-loving fore-parents could not read the word but they believed – and God held them accountable for what they understood! God knew this as He does everything, and much was given our fore-parents, and much then was required. As of today, we have learned more about the scriptures, and God is holding our feet to the fire with no place to hide. We can no longer play Church pimps, hustlers, and deceivers who lay-in-wait for the widows. Little now is given toward the orphans and elders who are deprived. Is this disrespect as to the word of God a matter of color or total disrespect of scripture? All things stated are set-forth between the covers of the book that I deem Holy, and have chosen to obey God rather than man….thusly, God’s Church/Words remains faithful. Christ changes not – then why should we? Christ is Yesterday, Today and forever more the same. God changes not! The true Black Church (body of true believers) is yet faithful to those things that have been set-forth by God, and we The Black Church, fear God and will not seek to change them. For the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.

I accepted Christ as my personal Savior at the age of 12-years, and those believing powers have sustained me for more than the promised years – and I have no intentions of allowing every wind of doctrine to separate me from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus.

The power/blood of God then, has never lost its power now.

The scripture said that in the latter days there would be a great falling away from the Church/Body of Believers, is that now? And, if so, there will be a falling away from the truth. Let’s hide the word of God in our hearts now that we – Black, White, Hispanic, Asians or others made not sin against heaven/God. The Church of God Is Not Dead!

Rev. Harold E. Bailey

Founder and President

The Probation Challenge and PCC Internet Broadcast Network

‘The Truth Network’


What Pastors have a problem with

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On April - 28 - 2010 Comments Off on What Pastors have a problem with



The Church must take its faith and base it on initiatives of economic independence and not institutional dependency…”


By Rev. Dr. Al Sampson 


What pastors have a problem with—


I argue that there are four types of churches in our community. The first church is called the “entertainment church,” where we jump up and down with the Holy Ghost on Sunday and our people live with Casper the Ghost on Monday. If your God is as awesome as you say he is on Sunday, then there ought to be some transformation in the community on Monday morning, which bursts forth to a seven-day-a-week church, and not just a Sunday church.  

The second church in our community is called the “containment church,” where all the intelligentsia is locked up in the church, just on Sunday, with no social and economic responsibility to the community on Monday.  

And then the third church is what I call the “prosperity and pain church,” where people ride in and they ride out. They have worship, praise dances; they’re filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. And they move right on out, driving pass the people of poverty with no institution of economic responsibility for Resurrection Reality.  

Then the fourth church is what I called the “Martin Luther King church.” When Martin was alive, he took the church out of the church, into the community. When Martin got assassinated, the church left the community, and went back to church. The struggle now is to take the church out of the church, into the community, which is called the “liberation church community.”  

We (Fernwood United Methodist Church) operate off of the three-plus-one plan: education, economics and evangelism for everybody.

For example, we have a program that helps folk with lights and gas. It’s called the CEDA program. The money gets appropriated from Congress, goes to the state, the state created a Community Economic Development Agency, and our church participates in helping people with lights and gas.  

The bulk of the people who have these utility challenges are seniors. What we found out was there were no African American organizations working on behalf of the needs of seniors. So last year, on May 25, we had a senior resource network conference. We brought out 10 agencies from the state that had an impact on senior benefits. And then we also had folk in the private economy – lawyers to help with the wills, (for example).

We’re the only Black Church in America that has a Department of Agriculture, where we receive soul-food vegetables from farmers down South. And 50, 60 miles from here, they have been growing vegetables for our church community for 30 years out of my 32 years at the church.


From Crucifixion Christianity to Resurrection Reality

Crucifixion Christianity puts a warrant on poor people, sentencing them (through) governmental policies and religious classism, manipulating the poor and not managing poverty. It is crucifixion by asphyxiation.

When you hang poor people on the cross with a sign of dependency – “the poor you shall have with you always” – then responsibility is (neglected). This sign of Crucifixion Christianity leaves a tomb in the economy, rolling a rock of social and economic grave forces — so poor people won’t breathe — in the holes of exploitation. This process breeds cemeteries in our economy, with grave clothes wrapping poor people away from creativity and responsibility. …

Crucifixion Christianity of poor people is an Old Testament Ezekiel 37 (perspective) — scattered bones in the cemetery of poverty, social dependency and societal liability. … This approach reduces the power of responsibility and creativity, and doesn’t produce the power of opportunity and possibility. This is called scattered bones, scattered economy, and calculated poverty. …

The Church must take its faith and base it on initiatives of economic independence and not institutional dependency. The word economics (comes from) a Greek word – ekos — which means the House of God. In Psalm 8 we receive permission to have production and responsibility for the resources on this planet. The government and faith-based organizations must accept wounded poor people from the holes of economic exploitation and social asphyxiation to a New Testament Resurrection Reality. …

If you’re familiar with the (resurrection) story, Peter comes to the tomb (of Jesus) and says I’m going home, because he has a poverty of spirit. Mary stands and talks to the gardener, which is the symbol of production. And she becomes one of the most sacred people in history, because she wants to know what happens when you rise up out of your condition and move to another level. So the first person she meets is a gardener, who is the symbol of production. And she raises a fundamental question: “Where have you borne Him? I want to know where He is. I want to take Him.” Which is responsibility, creativity, a proposition from what we would call Mother Earth – the woman being classified as Mother Earth – she wants to know, how do I find the power to create (and) be responsible with a gardener who is creating and being responsible.

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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