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Confronting the Racist Corruption of Christianity Title Text
The New York Times Bestselling Author subheading
The Antidote for Our Me-Asma of Self Story
Dragonspeak Series Part 2 “The Good Ship Jesus” story
May/June 2021
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Message Magazine Logo
Confronting the Racist Corruption of Christianity Title Text
The New York Times Bestselling Author subheading
The Antidote for Our Me-Asma of Self Story
Dragonspeak Series Part 2 “The Good Ship Jesus” story
May/June 2021
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And, how your testimony can be the antidote
Dr. Jemar Tisby
And, how your testimony can be the antidote
Dr. Jemar Tisby

by Ruthven Philip/One Bible-based gem addresses debt and wealth.

Jackie Orleheide Smith/This is going to be a serious fight. What we’ll need to neutralize selfishness and pride.

by Dr. Jemar Tisby/The New York Times Bestselling author tells how he confronts racist believers and why he stays in the church with them.

by Keslyn Brade Stennis/Women who rip from the grip of control garments and garment control.

In telling her story, she learned authenticity breaks algorithms.

by Smrita Jain/Work the Word carefully, for yourself.

by Omar Miranda/As taught by my kid.

by Ivor Myers/“The Good Ship Jesus”

A group of people protesting and holding signs
Women looking at herself in the mirror
Baby crying in a suit



by Carmela Monk Crawford/10 PROFILES OF TOXIC RELIGION


by Carl McRoy/DR. EVA B. DYKES




by Carlton P. Byrd/WILL YOU WALK BY FAITH?

by Ellen G. White/MIDNIGHT OIL


Join us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter as we study and explore God’s Word. Start at page 26 and take the challenge in the only global, interactive Bible study in which the Bible reads you!
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“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”

MEN HAVE lost faith—faith in nations, faith in one another, faith in themselves. Why? Because their philosophy of life has broken down. If faith is to be revived—faith in the victory of God—we must have a new view of life. To possess a living faith, we must lose faith in human supremacy. We must believe in the heavenly Father who rules the universe. We must trust Him to be the Omnipotent One.

Message, circa April, 1951 “Morning Meditations: A Golden Verse for The New Day” By Dr. Merlin L. Nef

Phillip McGuire Wesley, jr.
Media That Takes You Higher
Throughout the craze of quarantine and social distancing, artists, writers, and producers have still remained creative! Be encouraged today as we go through a journey of music, good reads, and apps that will help elevate you through these trying and climactic times.
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More Than A Gift: How Classical Piano Became the Soundtrack to the Violent Life I Escaped
Nerva Altino

I’ve known Nerva Altino for over 25 years. I’ve seen him grow and prosper in his musical element for a long time. After releasing recordings and producing major concerts with his brother Robinson, Nerva presents his book, More Than A Gift. After migrating to Queens, his late father taught him how to play the piano at the age of 10. Altino confronts the challenges he faced as a new child in a new culture and language. He talks about the bullying he faced while mastering classical music, uncommon in his community. He also mastered his confidence to serve his local church, teach his passion to others, and to play for heads of state. This book will be a benefit to anyone in their journey to success. Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
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© 2018 by the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists, 9705 Patuxent Woods Drive, Columbia, Maryland, 21046, U.S.A. Address editorial correspondence to MESSAGE MAGAZINE, 9705 Patuxent Woods Drive, Columbia, MD 21046-1565 U.S.A. All subscriptions are prepaid. If you did not order MESSAGE, it is being sent as a gift from a friend. You will not be billed. To subscribe, mail payment to MESSAGE, 1350 North Kings Road Nampa, ID 83687, U.S.A. or call 1-800-456-3991. Subscription price: one year, $19.95 U.S. currency; single copy, $4.00; overseas, add $10.00 per year for postage. Prices subject to change without notice. Periodicals Postage paid at Nampa, Idaho and additional offices. Vol. 87 No. 3 May/June 2021. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to MESSAGE, 1350 North Kings Road Nampa, ID 83687, U.S.A. Printed in the U.S.A.

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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My message
and the Antidote

hether it is dogmatic, or an errant interpretation and internalization of a spiritual practice or norm, toxic “faith” emanates from a variety of sources. Rogue religion, and spurious spirituality, having multiplied through the ages are still virulent today. We can trace the resultant strains of mutated faith back to the ancient text.

Self Dealers.

Annanias and Sapphira (Acts 4:32-5:11) sold some property as part of an early church drive to fund the ministry and support the community of believers. Many believers did the same, bringing all the proceeds to the apostles, church, and community. What a selfless and progressive organization, right? Except for Annanias and Sapphira. When they separately arrived to report to the leaders that they were surrendering all, they concealed the fact that they withheld some; they lied to the community; they lied to the Spirit, and suffered sudden death because of it. People were terrified. So great was the bond among early members then, that the early terminology evinces their offense akin to embezzlement. They held back, when others were giving with abandon. They had every right not to give, not to surrender all the proceeds, not to participate in that way, but they chose, in the moment, to lie about their commitment.

eye on the times
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Moving from 3/5 to 60%
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Resources for Your Consideration

  • State Voting Laws | Brennan Center for Justice
  • State Voting Bills Tracker 2021 | Brennan Center for Justice
  • Voting Laws Roundup: February 2021 | Brennan Center for Justice

ccording to the Associated Press, more than 155 million people voted in the 2020 Presidential Election. This represented an increase of more than 20% participation from the 2016 election, when nearly 129 million people voted. But instead of a celebration for democracy, the 2020 election became a mockery of democracy, with so much of the disdain emanating from the White House.

Black from the Past
Dr. Eva B. Dykes:
Linguist, Professor, Author, Activist
By Carl McRoy

va B. Dykes became the first African American woman to complete the requirements for a PhD in March 21, 1921 after successfully defending her 644-page dissertation. Her specialty was in English, Latin, German and Greek language studies. Her linguistic skills promoted racial progress with works such as, The Negro in English romantic thought; or, A study of sympathy for the oppressed.i Even more, she dedicated her talents to writing for Message magazine for 50 years!ii

Dykes was building a brilliant career teaching at Howard University, in Washington, D.C., when her faith journey led her to move to Huntsville, AL in 1944. There she developed and directed the English Department and founded the world-renowned Aeolians choir of Oakwood University. She held her students to the same high standards of excellence she practiced herself. However, she earned their admiration by encouraging them in practical ways, such as selling Message magazine alongside them to raise educational funds.

optimal health
The Plant-Based Lifestyle
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Photo by Jimmy Dean from Unsplash
Celebrating the Health of Fathers!
Priest. Provider. Protector.
By donna green goodman
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uring the early 2000s I was invited to participate in a Health Fair for Black Men sponsored by Dr. James Bennett of Midtown Urology in Atlanta. He was concerned about their health and wanted us to provide plant-powered food samples as part of the event where he would provide health screenings and information for better health. He announced the fair on black radio and said to expect about 100 or so men. When we drove up and saw close to 1,000, we asked God to bless our little lunch and He did. I was most impressed by the many men who started speaking on our behalf to the crowd about how their bodies were temples and that they needed to stop eating “all that mess” and learn how to prepare and appreciate plant-powered versions.
John and April Nixon
relationship rx
The New Relationship Pandemic
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ccording to Time, “phubbing is…snubbing someone you’re talking to [by] looking at a cell phone.” We have all done it at one time or another. You are at a restaurant with your bae but you find yourselves looking down instead of into each other’s eyes. You come home from work and you unintentionally begin scrolling through your emails. You are sitting at the dinner table and your good friend texts you some interesting news. It has happened to us all, but is it something that is detrimental to our relationships?

How to Pay off
Your Debt
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Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels
By Ruthven R. Phillip

etting out of debt is one of life’s greatest financial achievements. If you’ve ever been in debt and have been set free- glory! But what about having debt that is not or was not because of you or your own making? For example, couples sometimes share debt or end up with joint tax debt obligations usually because one spouse may not have withheld enough taxes from his or her income. So, what to do when the debt is not your fault and your partner, your child, or a friend leaves you hanging? According to expert financial advisers, you could try filing bankruptcy or making a settlement offer to the creditor and hope they find grace and set you free. But of all the financial solutions the experts have ever offered, none seem to include the advice given by Elisha.

In 2 Kings 4:1-7 we find some of the strangest financial advice ever given to someone in debt on how to get out. Not only how to get out of debt but to have enough money to live on for the rest of your life! Let’s examine this get-out-of-debt strategy.

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Article of title
Jesus says, “Be Like Me”
By Jackie Ordelheide Smith
Lady looking at herself through a mirror

rganizers of a successful advertising campaign for ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, hit upon a viral idea a few years ago. You may remember it as the “Ice bucket challenge.” It raised almost $100 million in donations, not because people were suddenly sympathetic toward ALS. Rather, because it focused on social media and “me marketing,” and allowed participants to be the star of the show.

People started posting videos of themselves getting buckets of ice dumped on their heads, and—even though they donated money to the cause—it was all about individuals: “Me,” “My video,” “My likes,” “My nominations,” on “My page,” “My donation,” and so on. Today, “Me marketing” works!

Did He Create the Monster?
The creator of the Facebook “Like” button, Justin Rosenstein, now regrets the psychological effect it’s having on people around the world. Studies show that the more time young adults spend on social media, according to an article by Tom Embury Dennis of The, the more likely they are to become depressed. They’re measuring their self-worth by the superficial posts or “likes/hearts” of their friends and feeling depressed because their lives don’t quite measure up.

Our supercharged, over-indulged, self-absorbed, me-centric culture exists on “My wants,” “My desires,” “My likes,” and “What’s in it for me?” Yet, if I asked for a show of hands of those who like being around narcissistic people, probably none of us would raise our hands.

Toxic Religion typography on ripped paper
the Racist
Corruption of
And, how your testimony can be the antidote
From the Message interview with Jemar Tisby.

cannot properly understand racism and white supremacy, unless we understand its religious dimension, specifically, its Christian dimensions. So in the Color of Compromise, we go all the way back to the colonial era. One of the landmark laws that was passed really sticks out to me was in 1667, in the Virginia Assembly—which was bunch of white, Episcopalian men, so Christians—passed a law that said baptism would not emancipate an enslaved Native American or a person of African descent or mixed race descent.

They’re passing a law about religion based on race.

Fast forward to the Civil War, and there were literally what historians call pro-slavery, theologians. They were using their prodigious intellect in a twisted way to make their theology conform to this ideology of white supremacy, and so there you get things like the “Curse of Ham” that says people of African descent are by nature, in the Bible, sentenced, condemned to lifelong slavery.

Toxic Religion typography on ripped paper
red and blue dresses and a pair of blue denim jeans
Don't like control garments, or garment control? How to live “free.”
By Dr. Kesslyn Brade Stennis

id you notice the list?”

It happened almost 10 years ago. After weeks of scheduling and receiving appointment confirmations, one of the research assistants and I walked into the research site to conduct an interview with a local pastor on the impact of gentrification on the black church. This Bishop and his congregation were a part of our study, and while we learned quite a bit about our primary subject, another relevant matter emerged.

While debriefing in the car after the interview, the research assistant asked, “did you notice the list? There was a list on the back table about what women could and couldn’t wear. Did you see it?”

She had also noticed one of the young adult members of the choir rush to be in the processional line while trying to put on her long, white dress and covering, presumably so that she could be allowed to sing.

I had noticed the list, but had not paid much attention to it or the hurried movements of the young choir member, but the research assistant had. The document, prominent on a crowded back table, listed several scriptures that specifically spoke to the comportment expectations of women which the young choir member seemed to have been trying to adjust to. Interestingly, there was no such list for men.

Controlling Garments
The research assistant and I continued this discussion over lunch. It was during that conversation that this young woman, who did not identify as a Christian, shared her experience of being in an abusive relationship. Her abuser usurped her personal agency in many ways, including dictating what she could and could not wear. Because of her experiences, the list of “Guidelines for Women’s Dress” was quite disturbing and prompted a discussion about dress, morality and sexism within the Christian church.
red and blue dresses and a pair of blue denim jeans
A Message Interview
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acqueline Horbrook, the Founder and CEO of Black Christian Influencers, Inc. engages a fresh method of ministry. Since 2018, her non-profit organization seeks to influence future world changers, “to promote social integrity through online interactions that exemplify the teachings of Christ.” Horbrook’s Masters in Counseling and College Student Development, and a Bachelor’s degree in Business and Marketing have come together into a platform that boasts more than 54K followers on Instagram.

But, she wouldn’t say “boast.” Horbrook has a heart for ministering to those that are striving to create change in their communities, and celebrate even amidst the real downside. It was her own powerful story about battling with and overcoming depression, starting her own business, mothering her daughters, and learning that God empowers that has catapulted her brand.

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an unhappy baby in a suit
A Lifeline for Struggling typography
by Smrita Jain

he week after I was baptized in June 2019, I traveled to India to tell my parents and sisters about my decision to grow as a Christian for the rest of my life. I was holding a small New Testament Bible in my hand, and the pages of the book were becoming moist from my sweat as I was speaking. I was nervous; I could lose them forever. Praise God, nothing changed with them! My parents and my sisters still want to hear my voice every day and want to see my face on What’sApp. They still love me.

I found freedom in idol-free worshiping (which I was looking for since 2006) that clogged my access to the true, living God. Now, I wonder, how to tell them how precious God’s promise—heaven—is? How do I tell them that all the good works they have done in the past, or currently doing, still fall short in front of God? How do I tell them that no matter what, we are all sinners and remain sinners? How do I tell them, we need a Savior—now and forever! How do I tell them no amount of good work will help forgive our sins if we don’t have faith in Him?

boy reading bible
Our World, Tied Together
As Taught By My Kid
The lawyer, the whiner and the spoiler in her helped crystallized key aspects of God for me.
BY Omar Miranda
The Trinity
“But why do we have to listen to what you and Mama say?” whined my three-year old daughter—in the midst of questioning why she couldn’t wear her “Princess” outfit to church. It seemed that I was having more and more philosophic interactions with my daughter.

After explaining my reasons to her, she finally complied. However, as we were on the way to church she hit me with the most serious question to date:

“Daddy, if I have to mind you and Mama, which one of you is stronger?” I almost ran off the road. My wife, turning to me silently (but sternly), mouthed the words, “Answer her!”

Dragonspeak: The Race Crisis in America
Part Two
By Ivor Myers
It was in 1492 that Columbus accidentally happened upon the shores of America in his search for gold. Columbus, a devout Christian, enslaved, brutalized, and forced the conversion of thousands of Indians. In the following years, European settlers would commit one of the greatest travesties in human history.

“From the time Europeans arrived on American shores, the frontier—the edge territory between white man’s civilization and the untamed natural world—became a shared space of vast, clashing differences that led the U.S. government to authorize over 1,500 wars, attacks and raids on Indians, the most of any country in the world against its indigenous people,” according to a article regarding the genocide of Native Americans in the United States. “By the close of the Indian Wars in the late 19th century, fewer than 238,000 indigenous people remained, a sharp decline from the estimated 5 million to 15 million living in North America when Columbus arrived in 1492.”

The formation of the first 13 colonies in America, mainly by Protestants fleeing religious oppression, brought with it religious oppression against Catholics and other minorities, just as they had been persecuted in time past. These colonies denied access to Catholics, Jews and Quakers, passing laws that required imprisonment or death merely for their presence in the colonies.

Future Cast
Will You Walk by Faith?
by DR. carlton p. byrd
ebrews 11 is one of my favorite passages in Scripture. Many call it the “Hall of Faith,” because it describes people who have believed God, trusted Him, and took action in faith. Verse eight counts Abraham as a great man, because he had great faith. He believed in the Lord … and God counted it to him as righteousness.

Now, Abraham didn’t slay any giants like David did. Abraham didn’t write any proverbs like Solomon did. But Abraham believed God.

Abraham didn’t confront any Pharaohs or dispense any laws like Moses did, but Abraham believed God.

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You’re fam 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.
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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.
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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.
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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).
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Midnight Oil
“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.”

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When Enough Isn’t Enough

s it possible to have too much God? What about reading too much of the Bible? Maybe there is such a thing as going to church too much? Surely, there is a point where there is too much prayer? Okay, maybe not, but maybe you’ve felt that you’ve had enough of some of these things. Join us today as we explore when enough isn’t enough.

Sunset Landscape
Read Matthew 25:1-2; Proverbs 9:10; Philippians 2:5
Matthew records three parables that Jesus used to give a jarring teaching on discipleship and judgment. The first is about 10 young women. Initially, the primary description we are given is that five are wise and five are foolish. What does it really mean to be wise? What does it mean to be foolish? Take some time to journal what your answers are and share a picture on social media using #MessageMag.
Mountain sunset landscape
Read Matthew 25:3; 2 Timothy 4:2; 1 Peter 3:15
The Bible gives directions to be ready for an array of situations. For some reason there are five young women in this parable who have lamps but apparently didn’t have any excess oil. They are characterized as foolish for being unprepared. I know there have been many times in my life when I’ve been unprepared, but I wouldn’t call myself foolish because of it. What is so foolish about what the young ladies have done in the parable? Share your opinions with us on social media using #MessageMag.
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Did you catch this?
What’s the Message? Episode 48, “Still Thirsty” with Dr. C. Wesley Knight, and Edsel Cadet
Episode 48, “Still Thirsty” with Dr. C. Wesley Knight, and Edsel Cadet

Knight: There’s really no way that having sex the way God intended is to be compared with doing it outside of God’s will, because good sex is when you are in covenant relationship with a person, and with God who has brought you together so that there is no issue, so that there are high levels of trust. There’s a vulnerability. There is mutual ownership of the spouses, that I can be, literally, naked with you, emotionally, mentally and physically, that—that’s good sex.

Cadet: Sex was designed to remind us of what it means to be in the presence of God. So in the presence of God we experience safety; we experience love; we experience unconditional love and acceptance, which allows us to be vulnerable and it allows us to be, to be our full selves, right? So, I think sometimes we see this in marriages because they haven’t learned that sex was designed to remind people of what it means to be in the presence of God.

The reason why I say that is because sex makes two, one, right? And the community of divinity as we see multiple beings coming together and being one as well. So in our sexual experiences we should be experiencing the same kind of self-love and reciprocity, and safety and security and empathy and celebration that that is experienced within divinity. The challenge is that many Christians, many church members have not experienced what it means to be in the presence of God,

Bless and Be Blessed
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Thanks for reading our May/June 2021 issue!