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interview with the iconic advocate of love and justice
Cornel West Title
our social dilemma
Taking Justice into our own Hands
January/February 2022
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“I wear every earthly institution like a loose garment. It’s just the earthly vessel that passes away. I got a connection to something that’s grander and greater than me.”
Cornel West Title
Cornel West
“I wear every earthly institution like a loose garment. It’s just the earthly vessel that passes away. I got a connection to something that’s grander and greater than me.”
Cornel West Title

by Gamal Alexander/We’ve become comfortable with maximum noise with minimal effort.

by Carmela Monk Crawford/Message interview with the iconic and ornery advocate of love and justice Cornel West.

  • Bumpy Start; Strong Finish/by Brittany Winkfield/Russell “Buttons” Patterson bounced all the way back.
  • Troublemaker!/by Brittany Winkfield/DeLacy Davis seeks to rewrite the interaction between black men and police.
  • We Show Up for Justice/by Quine Cousins/Why black pastors had to show up for Ahmaud Arbery.

by Omar Miranda/Jesus took our place and paid the full and complete cost for our sin.

by Ivor Myers/Repairing the breach with the forgotten Sabbath.

by Ajibola Bello/Peruse the book of Ruth to find strength in sadness.

Adventist Health Recognizes Lucy Byard
We Show Up for Justice





by Carl and Malachi McRoy/MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN

by Donna Green Goodman/AND JUSTICE FOR ALL

by John and April Nixon/INTIMACY IS GOD’S IDEA




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Cover photo by Andrew Burton ©2016 Getty Images
Vintage Vault
A cold winter ahead
November December 2002 issue of Message magazine

Sometimes we give mental assent to the truth but neglect to act it out in our lives or let it regulate our behavior. We neglect to let it help us generously love and care about each other as members of the family of God and residents on Planet Earth. Also, we neglect to let it regulate our actions and interactions, recognizing that Christians are imitators of Christ and that we are here to develop characters in preparation for eternity. We cannot afford to neglect preparation for winter. We cannot afford to live like those who take no thought for the future, who are unmindful of the seriousness of life that is given to us by our Creator. That is why Paul admonishes us, “Besides this you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now that when we first believed” (Romans 13: 11).

Message, November December 2002, “Of Ants Squirrels, and Us” by Bertram Melbourne, Ph.D.

Phillip McGuire Wesley, jr.
Media That Takes You Higher
I pray that you are totally blessed and the best part of you will shine for the world to see.
cover of Choose to Dream: Lessons on Leadership and Living Your Best Life by Dr. Christopher Thompson
Choose to Dream: Lessons on Leadership and Living Your Best Life
Dr. Christopher Thompson

Dr. Christopher Thompson has delivered a book that will impact how you think about your life and the decisions you make despite circumstances. He states: “You are the sum total of all your choices, experiences, and the favor of God that is on your life.” Dr. Thompson shares lessons from the story of Joseph and other influencers on how we can be our best even after the worst situations. He is about dreaming of new starts. I recommend anyone striving to be a leader or a better version of themselves to read this book today! Find this online: Amazon, eBay, or Barnes & Noble.
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Unless otherwise noted, Bible texts in this issue are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Statements in this issue attributed by an author to other speakers/writers are included for the value of the individual statements only. No endorsement of those speakers’/writers’ other works or statements is intended or implied.

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Three Time-Worn Relational Dynamics That Need to Change


xoneration of Kyle Rittenhouse for the August 2020 killings of John Rosenblum and Anthony Huber, and serious wounding of Gaige Grosskreutz, repulsed our sense of justice. Their tragic conflict occurred in the midst of a Kenosha, Wisconsin protest challenging the police shooting of an unarmed black man. Yet, the deadly meeting of these four evaded neat examination in the social justice reckoning around policing, criminal justice, privilege, and power. Convictions and sentencing, on the other hand, of father and son defendants Gregory and Travis McMichaels, and their neighbor William Bryan, for tracking, cornering, and murdering Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia, and filming it all, gave us hope.

Both outcomes obviously failed in their ability to return precious sons and loved ones to their friends and family. Moreover, whether the “rule” imparted regarding self-defense is clear, or whether any instructive deterrent resulted from these verdicts, remains to be seen. We’re left with a critical opportunity for conversation regarding the values that underpin the relational dynamics of privilege.

eye on the times
Person standing in front of large clock in clock tower
Recognition Event Honors the Life and Legacy of Lucy Byard

Adventist HealthCare leaders unveil scholarships and portrait

a man and woman stand on a stage on either side of a painted portrait of Lucille "Lucy" Byard
Photo provided by Adventist HealthCare
By Corinne Kuypers-Denlinger

ecember 10, 2021 was a momentous day for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Adventist HealthCare (AHC) and distinguished Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), as the life and legacy of Lucille “Lucy” Byard was both recognized and honored. Lucy Byard was a black Seventh-day Adventist member who was turned away by the Washington Sanitarium in 1943 because of the color of her skin. At the December event Adventist HealthCare leaders unveiled a commissioned portrait of Byard, as well as a series of significant scholarships in her name that will benefit nursing students at each of three universities.

Lucy Byard was a devout Adventist woman who by 1943 had developed liver cancer together with cachexia, known also as “wasting disease.” Wishing to be treated in an Adventist hospital, Byard traveled with her husband James from her home in Long Island to Washington Sanitarium in Takoma Park, Maryland—the first of the hospitals that now make up the Adventist HealthCare system.

Black from the Past
Marian Wright Edelman
The Children’s Crusader
By Carl and Malachi McRoy
Marian Wright Edelman smiling with her chin leaning against her clasped hands
Parents with a purpose

arian Wright Edelman was born the youngest of five children on June 6, 1939 in Bennettsville, South Carolina. Her parents, Maggie and Arthur emphasized education, a strong work ethic, and service to others. They used to tell her, “If you see a need, don’t ask why somebody doesn’t do it. See what you can do.” Her dad, a Baptist minister, declared, “God runs a full employment economy… if you just follow the need, you will never lack for something to do or a real purpose in life.”1

Her parents practiced what they preached by starting Wright Home for the Aged, which meant more chores for everyone. Marian, of course, didn’t enjoy chores as a child. Since her dad would give her a break from chores when she was reading, she read a lot. Sadly, Marian’s dad died from a heart attack when she was only 14. His last words to her were, “Don’t let anything get between you and your education.”2

optimal health
The Plant-Based Lifestyle
…and Justice for All
Photo courtesy of VioLife Foods
By donna green goodman

ver the last several years, the social justice movement has received unexpected attention as the inequities in this country surfaced and racism reared its ugly head. Social justice primarily most often refers to “justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society” (Oxford Dictionary). However, “Food Justice” can make a huge difference in health outcomes in our communities.

When I think of food justice, I think of children who live in food deserts, like I did as a child. My mom walked uptown or drove over highways to get healthy food for us. The only store on our street in the projects was one like stores attached to gas stations today, but she did a great job of finding healthy options. And when we moved South, my daddy began to garden for our family.

John and April Nixon
Intimacy is God’s Idea

et’s face it; most of us aren’t comfortable talking about intimacy. It makes us cringe when brought up in religious circles. We largely associate it with the physical act of sex and therefore deem it inappropriate to discuss unless it’s a private conversation between consenting married adults. And we dare not bring up the subject in church! But what if we told you that intimacy is God’s idea, and that He invented it as a way to have a deep and meaningful relationship with us?

Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…” The Hebrew word for knew here is the word yada and has an intimate connotation. Jeremiah uses that word to describe how God feels about him. It signifies a deep and innermost understanding that transcends the shallow knowledge of an acquaintance or even the semi-deep knowledge of a friend. In fact, yada is the same word used in Genesis 4:1 that says, “Now Adam knew (yada) Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain…”

Our Social Dilemma
By Gamal Alexander
Stylized letter "A" - bold
owadays it seems as if “watching” is our favorite pastime. Most prefer to avoid the messiness of actual connection, instead retreating to our various platforms that allow us to just—watch. Rather than venture into the great unknown, we can like a picture, leave a comment or even retweet an idea we agree with. All without meeting anyone new, or worse, having to make small talk with them. That can seem safe on the surface, but those actions require very little engagement, and even less investment. At the end of the day it’s all supposed to be harmless fun, but I suspect that our favorite pastime has the potential to do us harm if we are not careful.

Please don’t misunderstand me. Social media has done a lot of good. It doesn’t just provide a needed distraction from the stressful world in which we live, it can also help us communicate and even connect with each other in a way that was previously impossible. Despite what some naysayers may lead you to believe, social media isn’t all bad! As more than 3 billion people get online every day, social media has provided entertainment, helped us communicate and connect, and even provided a platform for protest and revolution to those who needed it. To some it has provided a source of income. It’s helped start relationships. We even have church on Facebook when we couldn’t meet in our sanctuaries! We’ve lived the benefits of social media.

Cornel West giving a speech
The Prophetic Paideia of Cornel West

Real-Time School of Love and Justice

An dropcap
ambitious, gifted and talented child, Cornel West excelled in school, including as a leader among his peers. He and his older brother won on the track field. West sat first chair in orchestra as violinist. From his birth in Tulsa, Oklahoma to the black Glen Elder neighborhood of Sacramento, California, West’s family and faith formed his independent resolve. At 68, he’s absorbed everything from funk to hip-hop lyrics, musical theater, politics and human rights, literature and the world’s philosophers, to the sacred texts of Scripture, and his overflow is uninhibited.

An acclaimed American intellectual, philosopher, author, speaker, Ivy League graduate, and professor, West’s perspective has saturated the social justice lexicon. From his seminal 1993 Race Matters to his 2014 Black Prophetic Fire, the books in between, spoken word albums, and even acting—in the futuristic, dystopian, “The Matrix” enterprise—one can always recognize his voice. While “Councilor West” didn’t appear in the latest Matrix, his new Masterclass, launched last November, covers philosophy, compassion, and what it means to be human.

Taking Justice into Our Own Hands
Bumpy Start; Strong Finish
By Brittany Winkfield
r dropcap
ussell “Buttons” Patterson, Jr., once made $150,000 a week selling crack cocaine. Later, he instituted a successful drug program at the very HBCU from which he was ejected 40 years prior for smoking marijuana.

Patterson is in the business of redeeming the time and people who need redeeming. His own story of redemption, however, began when he was accidentally released from prison where he could have possibly served a 28-year sentence for armed robbery. The judge knocked the charge down to a misdemeanor and ultimately expunged Patterson’s record.

Patterson went on to finish both his theology degree and a master’s degree in education administration and business from Southwestern Adventist University. His story and passion drive his purpose and mission today because, as he puts it, he’s the “Preacha from hell, with a story to tell.”

DeLacy Davis smiling in tan suit in office
By Brittany Winkfield
d dropcap
eLacy Davis retired as a New Jersey police sergeant after 20 years in the East Orange police department where he commanded the Community Services Unit. He now advocates for youth, and works to prevent police brutality. He also seeks to support and educate those who have experienced trauma caused by law enforcement. He founded Black Cops Against Police Brutality (B-CAP) in 1991, and is the author of Black Cops Against Police Brutality: A Crisis Action Plan.

“We are the advocates and the buffers for the people in our community who aren’t given equal treatment by law enforcement officers,” says Davis. “Our commitment is to ensure that people of color are afforded the rights under the constitution as those in the privileged class.”

Human rights should be afforded to all human beings. Civil rights are supposed to be guaranteed under the constitution, however—Davis reminds—we are aware of the nuances of law. These rights are all too often granted to people with different skin color than ours. Before “Defund the Police” was ever a hashtag, DeLacy was a pioneer in community-oriented policing (COP).

Dead Sea Tale
by Marc Cesar L. Pacilan
t dropcap
he Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea both receive water from the same source, namely the Jordan River, yet they are different.

The Sea of Galilee is rich in marine life, with lots of plants and fish. In fact, it is home to over thirty different types of fish. On the other hand, there is no life at all in the Dead Sea; no fish, vegetation, or sea creatures. Nothing lives in the Dead Sea, hence, the name.

The Sea of Galilee has an outlet; it gets to give. The Dead Sea has no outlet; it gets to keep.

“Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8, NKJV). This Gospel passage reminds us to give as we have received much from the Lord. Our Lord has blessed us with the air we breathe, the food we eat, the good jobs we have, the true friendships we share, and much more. Above all, Jesus Christ gave up Himself on the cross for us. And He continues to bless us as He walks with us through difficult and perplexing times, particularly during this pandemic.

The Lord has given us so much. He blesses us in more ways that we cannot even imagine. We know that our Lord gives freely and unconditionally. As Christians following Christ faithfully, we have a strong calling, which is “to give as our Lord has given.”

Marc Cesar L. Pacilan is a Christian freelance writer from the Phillipines.
ocean sunset view with rocks scattered
Pastor Jamal Bryant leading a group prayer for to nearly 750 pastors, supporters and family of Ahmaud Arbery gathered outside the Glynn County Courthouse
Pastor Jamal Bryant, bottom center, leads a group prayer for to nearly 750 pastors, supporters and family of Ahmaud Arbery gathered outside the Glynn County Courthouse during a Wall of Prayer event, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, File)
We Show Up for Justice
By Quine Cousins
m dropcap
ore than 300+ black pastors from Georgia, and across the country, answered the call to come to Brunswick, Georgia and the Glynn County Courthouse. Our mission to stand in support of and to pray for the family of Ahmuad Arbery put the power of the black church, and the conflict against injustice, on full display in the national press.

Arbery was gunned down by three white men in Brunswick while jogging in their neighborhood. He was unarmed and minding his business. This sounds familiar: unarmed, yet suffering death while performing everyday tasks while black. Also familiar were details of the case that seemed to forecast further inequities in the process and the outcome. For example, though Arbery was killed in February 2020, the video of his murder did not surface until May of that year. Also, though not uncommon, the jury was mostly white, with one African American.

Social Justice according to Zechariah
by Harriet Michael
w dropcap

e hear a lot about social justice these days. The topic is huge and there are myriad things that could be said about it. I am zeroing in on only one.

In the Old Testament book of Zechariah, Chapter 8:4-5, we find these words, “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Once again old men and women will walk Jerusalem’s streets with their canes and will sit together in the city squares. And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls at play” (NLT).

When I studied Zechariah in an inductive Bible class, my study leader quoted a man by the name of Speers whose words she found in her Expository Bible Commentary. This man said, “Too often men measure a city’s significance by its businesses, professions, industry, its buildings, its wealth, its art and culture. Zechariah suggests we measure the significance of our cities by their effect upon two groups easily overlooked—the old and the young.”

man on street sidewalk with cane
Belief System
The Life, Death and Resurrection of Christ
By Omar Miranda

was so embarrassed! I had my action figure in the bag, went to pay for it, and didn’t have any money. I was eight, and was so excited to have the money to buy my exclusive G.I. Joe action figure!

Utter Disappointment

To say that I was disappointed was the understatement of the year. The cashier was so sweet and kindly squeezed my hand, waiting patiently as I just stood there sputtering like an old muffler. The people in line behind me weren’t so kind. As I began to cry softly and turned around, I ran squarely into my father. He picked me up, placed me on the counter, pulled out his wallet and paid for the action figure.

He Paid It All!

I couldn’t believe that he paid for the entire thing! On the way home my dad noticed that I was so upset and told me that I didn’t need to pay him back—as I didn’t have any of my money. Confused, I turned my pants pockets inside out and realized that, to my horror, I had a hole in my pocket! There were other people in line with me, but no one else offered to pay. My father made the only payment that could have been made. He made the full payment that I had tried to do, but was unable to.

Dragonspeak: The Race Crisis in America typography
Part Six text
By Ivor Myers
those who believe in the fight for freedom from oppression will recognize that the God of Heaven is with them in that battle. But they must also recognize that His plans are not like our plans, and His ways are not like our ways.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9, KJV).
It is frustrating to many in this country that the fight for equality has been going on now for hundreds of years. Every battle won only helps to highlight the next battle to be fought. What we want is a society at “rest.” The way to get that rest appears elusive, however, and it is often fraught with violence.

God’s plan to deal with oppression connects closely with the true Sabbath. Martin Luther King, Jr. acknowledged that “[m]orality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless.”

Why the Gospel Matters title
By Debleaire Snell

have never met my biological father. Growing up, however, I didn’t think that was strange. None of the neighborhood kids had their fathers active in their lives, and only one of the grandchildren on my mother’s side had an active father present. I had been to a wedding, but I had no personal point of reference for what marriage was.

The presence of alcohol was common. My first introduction to alcohol was not a result of yielding to peer pressure in the back of the schoolyard. It was given to me by my uncles and older cousins as sort of a rite of passage. My ability to manage the beer was the metric of manhood.

My mom, along with her sisters, would go out on the weekends, and as a result I would spend a lot of time with my grandmother. One weekend while out at the club, Mom met my stepdad, Larry. We don’t use the word, “step,” because in truth, he is my dad because he raised me. And although they met in a nightclub, the pairing was arranged in heaven. Once the relationship matured, they eventually found a place together and we began our journey as a family, though they were not married.

Four individuals smile and pose together for a group photograph taken with their smartphone
You’re family here.
Message is the oldest, black, Christian magazine in North America whose longevity is owing to its critical function of sharing the message of redemption, relationship, and readiness.
Redemption in slab font
We believe that God, recognizing how irretrievably broken our lives and world would be following the influence of the enemy’s lies, sent His Son Jesus in whom we are created anew. He has promised the total righting of everything that is wrong in this world. Seek Him. Reach for Him, and He will in no way cast you aside. He wants you to know Him, and assures that He will be there when you look for Him. No matter who you are, this opportunity is for you.
Relationship in. slab font
We’re here to operate as a set of His hands and feet, to come alongside all who preach, teach, and work with this good news. We fight against the destructive effects sin has had on us, the personal, systemic and perpetual division that plagues this world. In particular, we target and counter the false narrative of who God is. Together we affirm His image found in the black mind and body that has so often borne the brunt of brutality and untruth. Together we seek to align with God’s Kingdom at work in the here and now.
Readiness in a slab font
Finally, we prepare for that day when all of God’s people reunite with Him in person. That preparation includes a complete opening of our minds and hearts to Him, allowing Him to do the work of getting us ready. We’re reading His word with an open mind, seeking the special blessing of the Spirit especially on His Sabbath, and we eagerly watch for His return!
Let’s walk together, fam.
To receive personal Bible studies, pray with someone, talk with a chaplain or find a church, reach the Message Resource line: 1-855-God-Cares (1-855-463-2273).
Beauty for Ashes Life Lessons from the Book of Ruth Title
Beauty for Ashes Life Lessons from the Book of Ruth Title
he story of Ruth never fails to communicate how God’s unconditional love can locate and transform anyone. The book of Ruth demonstrates the power of a collective faith and hope in God, which is exemplary for every believer in our Christian journeys.
1Have faith in God. Be convinced that God can help you out of any situation.
How bad or worse could life be for Naomi? She experienced shame, deep sorrow, hurt, pains, and loss—not once—and more than twice. According to Scripture, she survived her husband and two sons. But her change began the moment she heard that God had visited her people back home. Faith rose in her heart and she said, “I am going back too!”
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The Rest of Your Story with Nick Taliaferro
The Art of Letting Go
Art of letting go

“God made time for you.”

He didn’t need a seventh day for himself. He crafted it, shaped it, and tailored it for you. This is specially made for you and for me. And then God extends it to us. And what do we say to God?

“I don’t want that stupid thing; I don’t have time for it. I didn’t ask for it. Plus, it doesn’t fit in my schedule—it doesn’t work with what I do. Just put it . . .”

It seems we have a lot of reasons why we don’t have time for the time that God made for us. I’ve always wondered about that commandment where God says, “Remember the Sabbath day.” Who needs to remember to take a break? Why do we have to be told that we need to rest? Why is it so hard to accept the gift of Sabbath?

“Now, really, who doesn’t want a day off of work?” [asks] Reverend Kathy Zappa of St Philip’s Cathedral in Atlanta, Georgia, talking about why Sabbath keeping is so difficult of an idea today.

“Why is it so hard for us to accept the Sabbath gift of rest and freedom?”

That’s a great question, followed by some even better answers.

“Well, there’s fear that plays a pretty big part, fear of that emptiness that Frankel talks about. There’s also fear of missing out, or falling behind, or losing your competitive edge. There’s fear of what you might hear or feel if you slow down long enough to pay attention. And there’s fear.”

“Fear of what you may find or not find beneath all of those activities, and all of those masks that you wear.”

Listen Friday evenings,
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—CLAVAL HUNTER, Indianapolis, Indiana
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Memorial Garden Honors COVID-19 Victims
e must have heard the story hundreds of times during the painful months that COVID-19 raged over the world: the tragedy of the pandemic compounded because so many were not able to physically be with or say goodbye to their loved ones who passed away.

In response, the Shiloh Cares Community Outreach and Grief Ministry team of Shiloh SDA Church in Smyrna, Georgia established a memorial garden on the church grounds as a lasting tribute to those who lost family members.

God believes in memorials. The Bible includes several accounts of memorials that God set up because of specific times or situations. Glenn Wallace, a church elder, officiated the installation service and noted how God instructed Joshua to have one man from each of the tribes of Israel take a stone from the Jordan River. They set the stones up at Gilgal as a lasting memorial to remind future generations of the time when the Lord stopped the flowing of the Jordan. Likewise, the Shiloh Memorial Garden reminds the Smyrna community of the church’s care, concern and presence.

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