Something has gone wrong in the field. Sixty years after launching the civil rights movement African Americans seem to have forgotten the struggles that were launched on the fields of social justice and equality. How did this happen? Low voter turnout for political change in economically deprived, educationally disregarded and high crime neighborhoods speak volumes to how far we have disengaged from the struggle. There was a time when the issues of social equality and social justice were the field in which African Americans toiled for fairness. However, something has gone wrong in the field. We were once conscientiously clear and had a sense of pride and a plan that spread throughout our communities and Black college campuses. Our struggle creatively, strategically and intentionally targeted oligarchs and plutocrats that fought to maintain the status quo. In the 1950’s and 60’s we engaged a righteous unified response to racism, poverty and inequities among our people because we understood how essential it was to our future. Something has gone wrong in the field. We have gone from raised fist of protest and African American pride to sagging pants of cultural shame. We have lost the yearning to fight for a seat at the front of the bus to fighting to take backseat anywhere.
In 2015, we have joined ranks with many within the dominant culture where right has become wrong and wrong has become right. Something has gone wrong in the filed. It is difficult to place a finger on when or how this change occurred but it has become apparent. Something has occurred in the world that has slowly and sinfully turned many African Americans against the mindset, mores, precepts and principles of God that fought for our rights in the past. We have embraced a “Cultural Jesus” that is acceptable and accomodating to what is popular and reject the “Historical Jesus” that has been reliable throughout the ages. Something has gone wrong in the field. The struggle has dwindled and police are kiling young black men like target practice without a collective cry from our communities. The government has built twice as many prisons as schools. The economy has collapsed within many African American communities because of political disinvestments and education has not been a priority. Yet, there is not the same struggle or passion to protests social injustices as there once was among African Americans. Something has gone wrong in the field. What happen?
Jesus told a story about a farmer that planted good seed in his field. At night an enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and slipped away before dawn. Over some time the farmhands noticed tares growing among the wheat so they went to the farmer and asked him, “Did you plant good seed? Where did these tares come from?” The farmer said, “Some enemy did this.” The farmhands asked, “Should we weed out the tares?” The farmer said, “No, if you weed the tares, you’ll pull up the wheat, too. Let them grow together until harvest time. Then I’ll instruct the harvesters to pull up the tares and tie them in bundles for the fire, then gather the wheat and put it in the barn.”
The farmer is Jesus. He plants good seeds because that’s all He has. The field is the world and the workers are true Christians. This parable teaches us that those who are at work for the Lord of the Harvest should be able to look at the world and come to the conclusion that something has gone wrong in the field. The enemy has planted seeds of corruption within the struggle that has compromised the integrity of the good seeds. However, as the farmer indicated in the parable, “harvest time is coming.” God will do the separating. What do we do until then?
Watch and Pray
Jesus never said or gave the impression that we do nothing but He always encouraged believers to watch and pray. Why? Early detection is always the best policy and prayer opens up our eyes. My late grandfather used to say, “Watch everybody and watch yourself!” Look for early warning signs of enemy invasion in your own life as well as the people you are around. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus instructed His disciples to watch and pray. They fell asleep. Jesus was attempting to teach the disciples that prayer enhances your performance when the enemy shows up. That’s why Peter performed foolishly when the guards came in the garden and cut the soldiers ear off. Had he been praying when Jesus asked him to pray he would have known how to perform when the enemy showed up.
Rely on the Word
The Word of God is crucial to staying spiritually awake and detecting enemy invasion. When society lines up against God’s Word it is a clear indicator that seeds of corruption have been sown.
Hope in the Harvest
Harvest time is coming! The enemies who plant seeds of corruption will have their day. Father Henry Fehren was quoted in Christianity Today saying, “The fact that evil people prosper is a problem that goes back into the Old Testament. But Jesus said that our Father causes the sun to shine on the bad as well as the good, and his rain to fall on the honest and dishonest alike. The passing ‘rewards’ of evil should not tempt us to abandon good. The evil person is like the man who jumped from the 50th floor without a parachute. When he passed the 30th, someone shouted, ‘How’s it going?’ And the jumper answered, ‘So far so good.’” When evil happens and evil people prosper it is like the jumper who is only at the 30th floor. Their end is inevitable . . . even if it is delayed. As Christians we know what’s going to happen in the end.