Thursday, October 16, 2008

Lead Pastor Church in south suburban Illinois. This church will be known all over the world one day --in a positive way.
I am the former Executive Director of U.S.Programs/Global Parnerships for . I am currently President/CEO of Global Church Dynamics. I am Pastor, Apologetic, Social Ethicist, Sophisticated Theologian and Thoughtful Homiletician. I am leading an exciting Initiative that focuses on transforming lives with the approach of Power vs. Performance.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Pray for Reverend Wright

I have known Jeremiah A. Wright and his ministry practically all my life. I remember the times he has taken time out of his busy schedule to counsel and give wise direction to me. He is a man of great character and integrity. He is neither a racist or a black nationalist but a man of God that preaches a gospel of liberation. Those 30 second sound bytes are taken out of context and are a sad attempt to smere this man's ministry, which has been strong for nearly 40 years. God's hand is upon him and God will liberate him from this foolishness.

Gov.Richardson Endorses Obama!

Friday, February 29, 2008

U.S. Imprisons One in 100 Adults. Report Finds

Published: February 29, 2008
For the first time in the nation’s history, more than one in 100 American adults are behind bars, according to a new report.
Nationwide, the prison population grew by 25,000 last year, bringing it to almost 1.6 million, after three decades of growth that has seen the prison population nearly triple. Another 723,000 people are in local jails.
The number of American adults is about 230 million, meaning that one in every 99.1 adults is behind bars.
Incarceration rates are even higher for some groups. One in 36 adult Hispanic men is behind bars, based on Justice Department figures for 2006. One in 15 adult black men is, too, as is one in nine black men ages 20 to 34.
The report, from the Pew Center on the States, also found that one in 355 white women ages 35 to 39 is behind bars, compared with one in 100 black women.
The report’s methodology differed from that used by the Justice Department, which calculates the incarceration rate by using the total population rather than the adult population as the denominator. Using the department’s methodology, about one in 130 Americans is behind bars.
The increase in the number of prisoners over the last 18 months, the Pew report says, pushed the national adult incarceration rate to just over one in 100.
“We aren’t really getting the return in public safety from this level of incarceration,” said Susan Urahn, the center’s managing director.
But Paul Cassell, a law professor at the University of Utah and a former federal judge, said the Pew report considered only half of the cost-benefit equation and overlooked the “very tangible benefits: lower crime rates.”
In the past 20 years, according the Federal Bureau of Investigation, rates of violent crimes fell by 25 percent, to 464 per 100,000 people in 2007 from 612.5 in 1987.
“While we certainly want to be smart about who we put into prisons,” Professor Cassell said, “it would be a mistake to think that we can release any significant number of prisoners without increasing crime rates. One out of every 100 adults is behind bars because one out of every 100 adults has committed a serious criminal offense.”
The United States imprisons more people than any other nation in the world. China is second, with 1.5 million people behind bars. The gap is even wider in percentage terms.
Germany imprisons 93 out of every 100,000 people, according to the International Center for Prison Studies at King’s College in London. The comparable number for the United States is roughly eight times that, or 750 out of 100,000.
Ms. Urahn said the nation could not afford the incarceration rate documented in the report.
“We tend to be a country in which incarceration is an easy response to crime,” she said. “Being tough on crime is an easy position to take, particularly if you have the money. And we did have the money in the ’80s and ’90s.”
Now, with fewer resources available, the report said, “prison costs are blowing a hole in state budgets.”
On average, states spend almost 7 percent of their budgets on corrections, trailing only health care, education and transportation.
In 2007, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers, states spent $44 billion in tax dollars on corrections. That is up from $10.6 billion in 1987, a 127 percent increase when adjusted for inflation. With money from bonds and the federal government included, total state spending on corrections last year was $49 billion. By 2011, the Pew report said, states are on track to spend an additional $25 billion.
It cost an average of $23,876 dollars to imprison someone in 2005, the most recent year for which data were available. But state spending varies widely, from $45,000 a year in Rhode Island to $13,000 in Louisiana.
“Getting tough on crime has gotten tough on taxpayers,” said Adam Gelb, the director of the public safety performance project at the Pew center. “They don’t want to spend $23,000 on a prison cell for a minor violation any more than they want a bridge to nowhere.”
The cost of medical care is growing by 10 percent annually, the report said, and will accelerate as the prison population ages.
About one in nine state government employees works in corrections, and some states are finding it hard to fill those jobs. California spent more than $500 million on overtime alone in 2006.
The number of prisoners in California dropped by 4,000 last year, making Texas’ prison system the nation’s largest, at about 172,000. But the Texas Legislature last year approved broad changes to the state’s corrections system, including expansions of drug treatment programs and drug courts and revisions to parole practices.
“Our violent offenders, we lock them up for a very long time — rapists, murderers, child molesters,” said State Senator John Whitmire, Democrat of Houston and the chairman of the Senate’s Criminal Justice Committee. “The problem was that we weren’t smart about nonviolent offenders. The Legislature finally caught up with the public.”
Mr. Whitmire gave an example.
“We have 5,500 D.W.I offenders in prison,” he said, including people caught driving under the influence who had not been in an accident. “They’re in the general population. As serious as drinking and driving is, we should segregate them and give them treatment.”
The Pew report recommended diverting nonviolent offenders away from prison and using punishments short of reincarceration for minor or technical violations of probation or parole. It also urged states to consider earlier release of some prisoners.
Before the recent changes in Texas, Mr. Whitmire said, “we were recycling nonviolent offenders.”

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Prosperity Gospelpreneurs

It's approximately 4:26am, that's right AM. I am up and cannot sleep. I just got through surfing the channels on my cable television. I landed on a very well-known televangelist and purveyor of the gospel of prosperity. I am not a novice by any means to what this teaching is all about, but I continue to remain in awe at the new and creative ideas they contrive to get people's money. It is a gospel that it significantly flawed. On a base level it promises something for something. You pay the price and based on the level of this persons annointing and divine hook up with God, you're blessing is a sure thing. It treats God as if He is a mere mortal who is impressed by your ability to fascinate and inspire Him with your money. Well the God I serve is not short on cash. The Gospel of Jesus Christ can be preached anywhere in the world, it is relevant to everyone. You try preaching this prosperity gospel in the Sudan, Bangladesh, or any third world barrio, it does not work. The broadcast I just watched did not even mention the salvation offered by our Savior Jesus; instead it was more bent on selling me a miracle for hire as well as some tapes/CD's so that the annointing can be brought into my very home. This teaching is so dangerous to the body of Christ, especially to those who are new in the faith. We need to pray for souls of this individuals who are marketing Jesus just to get paid. Period!

Obama versus Clinton

It is my contention that we are witnessing something greatly profound. For the first time in U.S. History we have an African American man and a woman seeking the highest office in the land; the presidency of the United States of America. On the offset a question begins to emerge, can either of them ascend to this pantheon of political elitism? In addition to this a sub-question is ever present, can they overcome the obvious biases and racial prejudice that has so informed this country for hundreds of years. If one is to be truly optimistic in the approach of one's thinking that this is possible, we must continue to walk the edge and color outside of the lines of the status quo. America is indeed in need of a significant change on several fronts. I hope as a social ethicist that both Barack and Hilary have their ears aand their hearts toward the growing dissent of hope in this country.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

NIU Students Resume Classes, Search for Meaning
Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Mon, Feb. 25 2008 08:29 AM ET

Classes at Northern Illinois University resume Monday for the first time since the Feb. 14 shootings that killed five students plus the gunman.
Mourners gather outside the NIU Convocation Center before the start of a memorial service on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2008 for the five students killed on Valentine's Day in Dekalb, Ill.
Church Services Focus on NIU Shooting
Prayers of Hope, Healing Surround Ill. Campus
"This past week, I have seen despair and I have seen hope," NIU President John G. Peters said, according to The Associated Press. "I have seen deep sorrow of the five victims' families, but I have seen your courage and I have seen your strength."
Over the weekend, students returned to campus, where memories of the rampage gripped students more than a fear of violence.
"It's not necessarily that we're scared that there's going to be someone with a gun," said senior Kristen Bortolotti from Elgin, to AP. "It's the memories of what we saw."
Former NIU graduate student Steve Kazmierczak opened fire at Cole Hall, killing five students before taking his own life. Six white crosses bearing the names of the shooting victims were placed around the center of campus days after the tragedy.
"Everybody's going to think about it when they're in a classroom. It's always going to be there in your life," said Quinn Bell, 20, a junior in pre-med, as reported by USA Today. "It makes you think about what's important in life."
More than 12,000 people gathered in the school's Convocation Center on Sunday for a memorial to remember those who lost their lives. A large banner outside the center read, "Forward, together forward." As photos of each victim were projected on screens, a choir sang the hymn, "Take My Hand, Precious Lord."
The five victims are: Daniel Parmenter, 20; Catalina Garcia, 20; Gayle Dubowski, 20; Ryanne Mace, 19; and Julianna Gehant, 32.
"Now they are lost, but still loved," Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Sunday. "Their memory is a blessing — not just because of their spirit and intelligence, their love and their laughter, their curiosity and their friendship. Their memory is a blessing because it compels us all to search for meaning."
A special website has been created for students to help them answer the spiritual questions raised by the tragedy, said Brent Batiste, NIU campus director for Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC).
The NIU administration has called on support from CCC to help provide emotional support to students and staff as they begin classes.
Extra police and security will be on campus along with some 550 volunteer counselors.
Cole Hall will be closed for the rest of the semester.

How Do Churches Reach Out to the Community?

The quick answer: In a manner that best suits the need!
The longer answer: Many churches sense a responsibility to reach out to the world outside their walls, but they respond to this call in different ways. Churches might focus on the spiritual dimension of human need, helping people to develop a relationship with God. They might emphasize people's social and emotional well-being by providing services or advocating for justice. Or they might blend these priorities. We found five basic types of ways that churches integrate sharing faith and meeting social needs.
1. Explicit evangelism is not a part of the church’s outreach mission.
"Evangelism is showing God's love through example. We show our faith in God through our kindness to others."
This type of church is committed to serving the needy and advocating for justice in Christ’s name, but without making an explicit attempt to bring those they serve to Christ. Faith motivates and shapes their outreach, but the focus of their ministry is meeting social needs, not nurturing faith in others. They may sense that they get more spiritual inspiration from those they serve than vice versa.
Often this type of church’s approach to social action is based on a theological understanding that equates evangelism with doing good works. This approach echoes a saying of St. Francis: "Preach the gospel at all times; if necessary, use words." Some may believe that personal conversion is irrelevant to social change. Or they may consider it inappropriate to try to persuade others to change their beliefs. Past negative experiences with insensitive forms of evangelism can also contribute to this attitude. In some cases, their programs may have religious overtones (staff may refer to spirituality or God’s love in a general way) without being specifically Christ-centered.
2. Evangelism is valued and practiced, but not in the context of social ministry.
"Revitalizing the community is a way to accent the reality of the Christian witness. ... It's Jesus, but it's also Jesus and potatoes and greens, and Jesus and a good, decent house."
This type of church has a dual mission focus, with evangelism and social ministry taking place along separate, parallel tracks. Individual programs focus primarily on one or the other, with little overlap in staff. Social ministries normally do not include overt faith sharing with beneficiaries; evangelism ministries do not meet material needs. Some churches have different ministry aims for different contexts: for example, a suburban church may support social ministries in an inner-city neighborhood, while directing evangelism toward its local community.
In some cases, this dualism has practical origins. Economic development or political advocacy often require staff with a specialized set of technical or professional skills. Such ministries may be less likely to draw staff committed to the church's religious tradition. In cases where the social ministry is funded by public dollars, expectations for the "separation of church and state" may limit its religious character. Dualism can also result from the way a church defines "mission." Churches may interpret the Great Commission (to make disciples) and the Great Commandment (to love your neighbor) as distinct mission mandates. Sometimes groups within a congregation support different mission priorities, creating tension between evangelism and social action.
3. Evangelism and social ministry are practiced.
"The church has done evangelism and the church has done social ministry — but not always together. We must get excited about the whole gospel to minister to whole persons."
In this type, evangelism and social action are distinguishable but inseparable, like the two sides of a coin. This type is based on the belief that the physical, spiritual, moral, and relational dimensions of human nature are intertwined. Promoting social and spiritual well-being are equally important, and interdependent, aspects of church mission. Meeting social needs opens doors to sharing faith, and spiritual nurture is believed to enhance the outcomes of social interventions.
Churches in this type encourage faith commitments in the context of social ministries. Service beneficiaries may or may not be required to participate in religious activities, but they are given the opportunity to learn about Christian faith in one way or another. Some social service programs have a built-in spiritual dimension: a soup kitchen meal that begins with a devotional, or a parenting support group that uses a Christian curriculum. Other programs take a less direct, more informal approach. Christian staff and volunteers cultivate personal relationships and look for opportunities to initiate a spiritual dialogue with beneficiaries. They invite beneficiaries to church services or special events where they can hear a religious message.
4. Little conventional social ministry is present.
"Evangelism starts at the core. Once you change a person's life you can also change their social position."
This type of church cares about healing social ills, but they express this caring through evangelism and discipleship. The underlying belief is that social needs are essentially spiritual in nature. Helping people in need thus requires getting at the root of the problem through a process of conversion and discipleship that bears fruit in fundamental life changes. Real social change comes only as people personally experience spiritual and moral change. Therefore the only way to transform society is by reaching one soul at a time with the gospel, promoting spiritual transformation which remolds a person's lifestyle, character, and attitude in an uplifting way.
Churches of this type may provide charitable relief such as food baskets, particularly in conjunction with evangelism, but do not typically engage in ministries of economic development or political advocacy on behalf of the broader community. They may, however, provide social aid such as substance abuse counseling or job training to those who are open to spiritual conversion.
5. No significant social action or evangelism
A final type of church has no active community outreach. They might sponsor an occasional evangelistic or compassionate ministry activity (such as an annual Bring-a-Friend-to-Church day or a Thanksgiving canned food drive), but they are not oriented toward the world outside the walls of the church. Their main focus is internal ministries of worship, fellowship, and discipleship.
The project directors, Ronald J. Sider and Heidi Rolland Unruh, have also written a report on this topic titled Saving Souls, Saving Society: Exploring the Spiritual and Social Dynamics of Church-Based Community Activism
For more information and a full list of reports, please visit this project's index page.

Worship, Websites, ConflictAffect Growth in Congregations
This report was written by C. Kirk Hadaway, Director of Research at the Episcopal Church Center in New York.
A link to view “FACTs on Growth” online is available at:
Full color, printed copies can be ordered at the same web address. Single copies of the 17-page booklet cost $8.50 including postage and handling; discounts are available on multiple copies. For special orders and questions, contact Mary Jane Ross, at Hartford Seminary’s Hartford Institute for Religion Research, (860) 509-9543 or
For Immediate ReleaseHARTFORD, CT (December 11, 2006) – Contemporary worship, geographic location, a website and the absence of conflict are key factors in why some congregations in America are growing, according to the latest national survey of U.S. faith communities.
The survey, sponsored by the Cooperative Congregational Studies Partnership, found that wanting to grow is not enough. Congregations that grow must plan for growth: “Congregations that developed a plan to recruit members in the last year were much more likely to grow than congregations that had not.”
The survey findings are available in a newly released report, “FACTs on Growth.” The data was taken from the Faith Communities Today 2005 (FACT2005) survey of 884 randomly sampled congregations of all faith traditions in the United States. The survey updates results from a survey taken in 2000, and is the latest in CCSP’s series of trend-tracking national surveys of U.S. congregations.
David A. Roozen, Director of the Cooperative Congregational Studies Partnership and Professor of Religion and Society at Hartford Seminary, said that, “If you are at all interested in research on ‘church’ growth, this brief report is must reading. It tests the continuing salience of long ‘taken for granted’ principles of growth (e.g., location, conservative theology) as well as the more recently proposed (e.g., contemporary worship, spiritual practices and purposefulness).”
“Perhaps most importantly, it suggests several newly emergent dynamics to consider (e.g., the potential for growth in downtown areas and within multi racial/ethnic congregations). It is a helpful and important follow-up to the “Pockets of Vitality” analysis of the ground breaking FACT2000 national survey,” Roozen said.
Among the findings in the new FACTs on Growth report:
Congregations that change worship format and style are more likely to grow. More than half the congregations that use contemporary styles of worship have experienced substantial growth since 2000. Frequency is important as well: The more worship services a congregation holds, the more likely it is to have grown.
Congregations located in new suburbs are more likely to experience growth. But surprisingly the second best area for growth is the downtown of metropolitan areas.
Congregations that have experienced major conflict are quite likely to have declined in attendance. The strongest correlate of growth is the absence of serious conflict.
Congregations that have started or maintained a website in the past year are most likely to grow. The effort to have a website indicates that the congregation is outward looking and willing to change by non-traditional means.
While most congregations in America are composed of a single racial/ethnic group, those that are multi-racial are most likely to have experienced strong growth in worship attendance.
More important than theological orientation is the religious character of the congregation and clarity of mission and purpose. Growing churches are clear about why they exist and about what they are to be doing – “purpose-driven growth.”
Congregations that involve children in worship are more likely to experience significant growth. Also, important to growth is the ability of congregations to attract young adults and children with families.
Almost all congregations say they want to grow, but it takes intentionality and action for growth to occur. Congregations that developed a plan to recruit members in the last year were more likely to grow than congregations that had not. Particularly helpful in achieving growth are sponsorship of a program or event to attract non-members or the existence of support groups.
The report was written by C. Kirk Hadaway, Director of Research at the Episcopal Church Center in New York.
A link to view “FACTs on Growth” online is available at:
Full color, printed copies can be ordered at the same web address. Single copies of the 17-page booklet cost $8.50 including postage and handling; discounts are available on multiple copies. For special orders and questions, contact Mary Jane Ross, at Hartford Seminary’s Hartford Institute for Religion Research, (860) 509-9543 or
Faith Communities Today surveys and publications are products of the Cooperative Congregational Studies Partnership, a collaborative, multifaith coalition of American faith communities affiliated with Hartford Seminary’s Hartford Institute for Religion Research. Researchers, consultants and program staff representing 39 denominations and faith groups contributed to the FACT2005 survey.
FACT/CCSP strives to offer research-based resources for congregational development that are useful across faith traditions, believing that all communities of faith encounter common issues and benefit from one another’s experiences. It also informs the public about the contributions of congregations to American society and about the changes affecting and emanating from one of America’s major sources of voluntary association – local congregations. For more information on CCSP, visit
About Hartford Seminary and the Hartford Institute for Religion Research: Hartford Seminary focuses on interfaith relations, congregational studies and faith in practice. The Hartford Institute for Religion Research has a 30-year record of rigorous, policy-relevant research, anticipation of emerging issues and commitment to the creative dissemination of learning. For more on the Seminary and the Institute, visit the websites ( or or contact David Barrett at (860) 509-9519 or
David Roozen, Director of the Hartford Institute for Religion Research at Hartford Seminary, is available for interviews at: or (860) 509-9546.
C. Kirk Hadaway, Director of Research at Episcopal Church Center, New York, can be reached for interviews at: or (212) 922-5331.
My personal theology of preaching is a remembrance on my part, that I am a servant of God called to minister. With that understanding I would say that my personal theology of preaching stems out of stewardship. I believe that as a preacher I am someone that God has entrusted to minister and respond responsibly to those people that belong to Him. He has entrusted them to my care. When I think of a steward in the context of my church, it is a person who is entrusted with the care of the church property. As a preacher I am to be careful with God's property with the Word, always aware of the need to build up with the Word and not injure or tear down with it. Through this I am called to be faithful in every aspect of my life as well as my walk with God. I am called to be faithful in the church, faithful in my time, faithful to my wife, faithful to my family. It is then, that the message that God puts in me can be faithfully received when people can witness a life that is not in contradiction with the message.