Search This Blog

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

FALL BACK TO MOVE FORWARD

In the Garden of Gethsemane amid the shouting and chaos of betrayal and arrest Jesus taught the disciples and us a power lesson.  Sometimes you have to  FALL BACK TO MOVE FORWARD.


Listen well.

If you can’t get the audio on your device, visit the main podcast page at http://revandersongraves.podomatic.com/

---Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Miles Chapel CME Church in Fairfield, Alabama;  executive director of the Substance Abuse Youth Networking Organization (SAYNO);  and director of rural leadership development for the National Institute for Human Development (NIHD).

Subscribe to my personal blog  www.andersontgraves.blogspot.com .

Email atgravestwo2@aol.com
Follow me on twitter @AndersonTGraves  #Awordtothewise 

You can help support this ministry with a donation to Miles Chapel CME Church.

You can help support Rev. Graves’ work by visiting his personal blog and clicking the DONATE button on the right-hand sidebar.

Support by check or money order may be mailed to 
Miles Chapel CME Church
P O Box 132
Fairfield, Al 35064

FEARLESS FAITH

The title of message is FEARLESS FAITH. It was preached for the Homecoming Celebration at Miles Chapel CME Church.

Listen well.



If you can’t get the audio on your device, visit the main podcast page at http://revandersongraves.podomatic.com/

---Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Miles Chapel CME Church in Fairfield, Alabama;  executive director of the Substance Abuse Youth Networking Organization (SAYNO);  and director of rural leadership development for the National Institute for Human Development (NIHD).

Subscribe to my personal blog  www.andersontgraves.blogspot.com .

Email atgravestwo2@aol.com
Follow me on twitter @AndersonTGraves  #Awordtothewise 

You can help support this ministry with a donation to Miles Chapel CME Church.

You can help support Rev. Graves’ work by visiting his personal blog and clicking the DONATE button on the right-hand sidebar.

Support by check or money order may be mailed to 
Miles Chapel CME Church
P O Box 132
Fairfield, Al 35064



JUSTICE FROM PREDATORS

Blogging the Bible.  Genesis 9:1-7


Noah and his family where he Adams and Eves of the post-Flood world.  God even commissioned them with the same blessing and purpose He’d bestowed on the original pair in Eden. 

So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. (Genesis 9:1)

But God went ever farther.  Prior to the Flood people had been just one of many species trying to gather and grow enough vegetation to survive.  An intelligent and spiritually conscious species made in the image of God.  But just one of many.  In fact, if you look at the story of the Fall from a slightly different perspective and consider that scripture called the Edenic serpent
“more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God” (Gen. 3:1),  and factor in the implications that the snake was smarter than the people, well then, even allegorically speaking, though humans were NOT at the top of the food chain. Uniquely made in the image of God, yes.  But not the species to be voted most likely to succeed in the nearly prehistoric landscape.

After the Flood, that changed.  Mankind became an apex predator.

And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea.  They are given into your hand. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. (Genesis 9:2,3)

Mankind became THE apex predator.  The tippy top of the global food chain.

But with great power comes great responsibility.

Look at how sin and crime were addressed before the Flood.  Adam and Eve didn’t judge Cain.  God did.  Lamech wasn’t worried about the community punishing for killing a young man.  He expected the same treatment as Cain.  In the antecedent sins the Flood nobody seemed to do anything about everybody doing the worst possible things they could do. If these instances were typical, then God had been the direct and only administrator of justice.  Post-Flood, the Lord delegated that task.

Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man. (Genesis 9:6)

People must carry out justice among people.  The blessing of dominion over the natural world comes with the responsibility to maintain justice in human society.

And justice isn’t optional.  In verse 5, God requires justice for and from every man.

Genesis 9 declares the death penalty for murder.  The passage doesn’t talk explicitly discuss any other crimes.  Does that mean that it's O.K. to lie, or to steal, or to violate someone's civil rights?  Of course it doesn’t.    The call to justice for the worst crime necessarily assumes righteous adjudication of all “lesser” offenses.  It takes more than executions to create a just community.  But whatever it takes, as the species God placed at the top of the food chain, it is our responsibility to make sure that justice --- actual justice --- is done.

Whether we like it or not.

As Jesus said:  For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more. --- Luke 12: 48


---Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Miles Chapel CME Church in Fairfield, Alabama;  executive director of the Substance Abuse Youth Networking Organization (SAYNO);  and director of rural leadership development for the National Institute for Human Development (NIHD).

Subscribe to my personal blog  www.andersontgraves.blogspot.com .

Email atgravestwo2@aol.com
Follow me on twitter @AndersonTGraves  #Awordtothewise 

You can help support this ministry with a donation to Miles Chapel CME Church.

You can help support Rev. Graves’ work by visiting his personal blog and clicking the DONATE button on the right-hand sidebar.

Support by check or money order may be mailed to 
Miles Chapel CME Church
P O Box 132
Fairfield, Al 35064




Monday, November 14, 2016

DOES THAT MAKE SENSE? THE GREAT FLOOD.

 Blogging Genesis.  Chapters 7 & 8


For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made.” (Genesis 7:4)

The Bible says that a long time ago, God made it rain so much that every man, woman, child, bird, and land-based animal who wasn’t inside Noah’s ark drowned.

Does that make sense?

There are over 7 billon people on this people.  How could one rain storm, even one that lasted almost a month and a half,  drown everybody? Wait. In Noah’s time, humans weren’t a global population.  We were a tiny emerging species, just a few generations old.  The descendants of Adam and Eve were only a few thousand people all concentrated in a small geographical area near Eden and Nod, the city Cain founded.    

The 1931 floods of the Yellow River in China killed at least 145,000 people.  Some estimates put the death toll between 3.7 million and 4 million.  A single series of localized flooding could kill millions of people.  In Noah’s time there were only thousands, maybe tens of thousands.

Does that make sense?

The Bible says that the waters rose so high that the mountains were covered  (Genesis 7:20).  But come on. Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain in the world (above sea level) is 60 million years old and 5 ½ miles high.  That’s 5 ½ miles of water  above normal sea level.  Seriously?

Does that make sense?

Noah and his children passed down the story of the Great Flood.  They described what they saw through stories and song, according to the great human oral tradition.  When Moses compiled Genesis into a single book he wrote what Noah and his family had seen.  From the deck of the Ark, they saw the rain fall.  They saw the waters rise and stretch to every horizon.  They saw trees and hills and mountains disappear so far below the waters that the ark could drift for year without running aground. Nothing beyond the ark moved except fish and water.  From the honest perspective of Noah, The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved on the earth. (Genesis 7:20, 21). 

Fifteen cubits is something like 7 ½ yards or about two stories.  Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the 2016 flooding of the Mississippi River both provided images of people standing in water waving for helicopters to rescue them from the tippy top of the roof of two and three story homes.

Does that make sense?

Oh, and it didn’t just rain.  Genesis 7:11 says that the along with rain so heavy that is seemed that the bottom had dropped out of the sky (the Bible more poetic says that and the windows of heaven were opened) --- along with that ---  on that day all the fountains (foundations) of the great deep were broken up.  Noah and, thousands of years later, Moses could not have known that the solid land on which they lived was actually a series of continent-sized island floating on an ocean of molten rock.  Nobody knew that until 1912 when Alfred Wegener published his theories on continental drift.  It’s not surprising that people thought Noah and Moses were making stuff up.  For 50 years, “modern” scientists that that the whole idea of continents resting on foundations that periodically shift and break apart were ridiculous.  

When the Great Flood started, rain fell, underground springs and geysers erupted, and the massive supercontinent (like Pangea) broke apart causing earthquakes, tidal waves, and volcanic eruptions.  Any poor souls not already sealed inside a giant boat under God’s personal protection were doomed.

Does that make sense?

Massive rains.  Prolonged, catastrophic flooding.  Earthquakes.  Tsunamis.  We have a term for all of that.  We call it “climate change.”  

Maybe the Earth’s magnetic poles reversed.  Maybe a natural cycle of temperature shift reached critical levels.  Something happened that altered the geographical face of the world forever.  Whatever it was so bad that every human who wasn’t prepared, died. 

2012 NPR article on ancient human populations states, “once in our history, the world-wide population of human beings skidded so sharply we were down to roughly a thousand reproductive adults. One study says we hit as low as 40 . . . "breeding pairs" (children not included).”

The Bible says that the actual number was 8. 

So Noah went out [of the ark], and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. (Genesis 8:18)

Does that make some sense now?

Noah and the Flood is a Bible story, but it’s not JUST a story.  It’s a collection of reasonable, logical truths warning us of the dread consequences of ignoring the weather.  

The Great Flood of Genesis is also a promise that God is aware of and ultimately in control of the climate, even when it changes in catastrophic ways.  

Then the Lord said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.
22          “While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Winter and summer,
And day and night
Shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:21-22)

God warns us to prepare for the changes that are coming, and He promised to protect us from the worse of climate change.    Neither fact cancels out the other.  

To treat the Genesis Flood as a fiction with no relevance to us now is to despise on of the earliest promises of grace and to miss one of the greatest  command for stewardship of the planet.

Climatologists warn that our time has already passed the tipping point at which rapid climate change is inevitable.  The rain is coming.  God won’t let us all perish, but we all still need to prepare.  

In Noah’s time, a lot of people died because they treated the Flood as just a story made up by some guy called Noah.  In our time, if we accept the truth of the story, it doesn’t have to be quite so bad.

Does that make sense?

---Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Miles Chapel CME Church in Fairfield, Alabama;  executive director of the Substance Abuse Youth Networking Organization (SAYNO);  and director of rural leadership development for the National Institute for Human Development (NIHD).

Subscribe to my personal blog  www.andersontgraves.blogspot.com .

Email atgravestwo2@aol.com
Follow me on twitter @AndersonTGraves  #Awordtothewise 

You can help support this ministry with a donation to Miles Chapel CME Church.

You can help support Rev. Graves’ work by visiting his personal blog and clicking the DONATE button on the right-hand sidebar.

Support by check or money order may be mailed to 
Miles Chapel CME Church
P O Box 132
Fairfield, Al 35064



THE GREAT FLOOD. DOES THAT MAKE SENSE?

 Blogging Genesis.  Chapters 7 & 8


For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made.” (Genesis 7:4)

The Bible says that a long time ago, God made it rain so much that every man, woman, child, bird, and land-based animal who wasn’t inside Noah’s ark drowned.

Does that make sense?

There are over 7 billon people on this people.  How could one rain storm, even one that lasted almost a month and a half,  drown everybody? Wait. In Noah’s time, humans weren’t a global population.  We were a tiny emerging species, just a few generations old.  The descendants of Adam and Eve were only a few thousand people all concentrated in a small geographical area near Eden and Nod, the city Cain founded.    

The 1931 floods of the Yellow River in China killed at least 145,000 people.  Some estimates put the death toll between 3.7 million and 4 million.  A single series of localized flooding could kill millions of people.  In Noah’s time there were only thousands, maybe tens of thousands.

Does that make sense?

The Bible says that the waters rose so high that the mountains were covered  (Genesis 7:20).  But come on. Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain in the world (above sea level) is 60 million years old and 5 ½ miles high.  That’s 5 ½ miles of water  above normal sea level.  Seriously?

Does that make sense?

Noah and his children passed down the story of the Great Flood.  They described what they saw through stories and song, according to the great human oral tradition.  When Moses compiled Genesis into a single book he wrote what Noah and his family had seen.  From the deck of the Ark, they saw the rain fall.  They saw the waters rise and stretch to every horizon.  They saw trees and hills and mountains disappear so far below the waters that the ark could drift for year without running aground. Nothing beyond the ark moved except fish and water.  From the honest perspective of Noah, The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved on the earth. (Genesis 7:20, 21). 

Fifteen cubits is something like 7 ½ yards or about two stories.  Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the 2016 flooding of the Mississippi River both provided images of people standing in water waving for helicopters to rescue them from the tippy top of the roof of two and three story homes.

Does that make sense?

Oh, and it didn’t just rain.  Genesis 7:11 says that the along with rain so heavy that is seemed that the bottom had dropped out of the sky (the Bible more poetic says that and the windows of heaven were opened) --- along with that ---  on that day all the fountains (foundations) of the great deep were broken up.  Noah and, thousands of years later, Moses could not have known that the solid land on which they lived was actually a series of continent-sized island floating on an ocean of molten rock.  Nobody knew that until 1912 when Alfred Wegener published his theories on continental drift.  It’s not surprising that people thought Noah and Moses were making stuff up.  For 50 years, “modern” scientists that that the whole idea of continents resting on foundations that periodically shift and break apart were ridiculous.  

When the Great Flood started, rain fell, underground springs and geysers erupted, and the massive supercontinent (like Pangea) broke apart causing earthquakes, tidal waves, and volcanic eruptions.  Any poor souls not already sealed inside a giant boat under God’s personal protection were doomed.

Does that make sense?

Massive rains.  Prolonged, catastrophic flooding.  Earthquakes.  Tsunamis.  We have a term for all of that.  We call it “climate change.”  

Maybe the Earth’s magnetic poles reversed.  Maybe a natural cycle of temperature shift reached critical levels.  Something happened that altered the geographical face of the world forever.  Whatever it was so bad that every human who wasn’t prepared, died. 

2012 NPR article on ancient human populations states, “once in our history, the world-wide population of human beings skidded so sharply we were down to roughly a thousand reproductive adults. One study says we hit as low as 40 . . . "breeding pairs" (children not included).”

The Bible says that the actual number was 8. 

So Noah went out [of the ark], and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. (Genesis 8:18)

Does that make some sense now?

Noah and the Flood is a Bible story, but it’s not JUST a story.  It’s a collection of reasonable, logical truths warning us of the dread consequences of ignoring the weather.  

The Great Flood of Genesis is also a promise that God is aware of and ultimately in control of the climate, even when it changes in catastrophic ways.  

Then the Lord said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.
22          “While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Winter and summer,
And day and night
Shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:21-22)

God warns us to prepare for the changes that are coming, and He promised to protect us from the worse of climate change.    Neither fact cancels out the other.  

To treat the Genesis Flood as a fiction with no relevance to us now is to despise on of the earliest promises of grace and to miss one of the greatest  command for stewardship of the planet.

Climatologists warn that our time has already passed the tipping point at which rapid climate change is inevitable.  The rain is coming.  God won’t let us all perish, but we all still need to prepare.  

In Noah’s time, a lot of people died because they treated the Flood as just a story made up by some guy called Noah.  In our time, if we accept the truth of the story, it doesn’t have to be quite so bad.

Does that make sense?

---Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Miles Chapel CME Church in Fairfield, Alabama;  executive director of the Substance Abuse Youth Networking Organization (SAYNO);  and director of rural leadership development for the National Institute for Human Development (NIHD).

Subscribe to my personal blog  www.andersontgraves.blogspot.com .

Email atgravestwo2@aol.com
Follow me on twitter @AndersonTGraves  #Awordtothewise 

You can help support this ministry with a donation to Miles Chapel CME Church.

You can help support Rev. Graves’ work by visiting his personal blog and clicking the DONATE button on the right-hand sidebar.

Support by check or money order may be mailed to 
Miles Chapel CME Church
P O Box 132
Fairfield, Al 35064


THE GREAT FLOOD: DOES THAT MAKE SENSE?

 Blogging Genesis.  Chapters 7 & 8


For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made.” (Genesis 7:4)

The Bible says that a long time ago, God made it rain so much that every man, woman, child, bird, and land-based animal who wasn’t inside Noah’s ark drowned.

Does that make sense?

There are over 7 billon people on this people.  How could one rain storm, even one that lasted almost a month and a half,  drown everybody? Wait. In Noah’s time, humans weren’t a global population.  We were a tiny emerging species, just a few generations old.  The descendants of Adam and Eve were only a few thousand people all concentrated in a small geographical area near Eden and Nod, the city Cain founded.    

The 1931 floods of the Yellow River in China killed at least 145,000 people.  Some estimates put the death toll between 3.7 million and 4 million.  A single series of localized flooding could kill millions of people.  In Noah’s time there were only thousands, maybe tens of thousands.

Does that make sense?

The Bible says that the waters rose so high that the mountains were covered  (Genesis 7:20).  But come on. Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain in the world (above sea level) is 60 million years old and 5 ½ miles high.  That’s 5 ½ miles of water  above normal sea level.  Seriously?

Does that make sense?

Noah and his children passed down the story of the Great Flood.  They described what they saw through stories and song, according to the great human oral tradition.  When Moses compiled Genesis into a single book he wrote what Noah and his family had seen.  From the deck of the Ark, they saw the rain fall.  They saw the waters rise and stretch to every horizon.  They saw trees and hills and mountains disappear so far below the waters that the ark could drift for year without running aground. Nothing beyond the ark moved except fish and water.  From the honest perspective of Noah, The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved on the earth. (Genesis 7:20, 21). 

Fifteen cubits is something like 7 ½ yards or about two stories.  Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the 2016 flooding of the Mississippi River both provided images of people standing in water waving for helicopters to rescue them from the tippy top of the roof of two and three story homes.

Does that make sense?

Oh, and it didn’t just rain.  Genesis 7:11 says that the along with rain so heavy that is seemed that the bottom had dropped out of the sky (the Bible more poetic says that and the windows of heaven were opened) --- along with that ---  on that day all the fountains (foundations) of the great deep were broken up.  Noah and, thousands of years later, Moses could not have known that the solid land on which they lived was actually a series of continent-sized island floating on an ocean of molten rock.  Nobody knew that until 1912 when Alfred Wegener published his theories on continental drift.  It’s not surprising that people thought Noah and Moses were making stuff up.  For 50 years, “modern” scientists that that the whole idea of continents resting on foundations that periodically shift and break apart were ridiculous. 

When the Great Flood started, rain fell, underground springs and geysers erupted, and the massive supercontinent (like Pangea) broke apart causing earthquakes, tidal waves, and volcanic eruptions.  Any poor souls not already sealed inside a giant boat under God’s personal protection were doomed.

Does that make sense?

Massive rains.  Prolonged, catastrophic flooding.  Earthquakes.  Tsunamis.  We have a term for all of that.  We call it “climate change.”  

Maybe the Earth’s magnetic poles reversed.  Maybe a natural cycle of temperature shift reached critical levels.  Something happened that altered the geographical face of the world forever.  Whatever it was so bad that every human who wasn’t prepared, died.

A 2012 NPR article on ancient human populations states, “once in our history, the world-wide population of human beings skidded so sharply we were down to roughly a thousand reproductive adults. One study says we hit as low as 40 . . . "breeding pairs" (children not included).”

The Bible says that the actual number was 8. 

So Noah went out [of the ark], and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. (Genesis 8:18)

Does that make some sense now?

Noah and the Flood is a Bible story, but it’s not JUST a story.  It’s a collection of reasonable, logical truths warning us of the dread consequences of ignoring the weather. 

The Great Flood of Genesis is also a promise that God is aware of and ultimately in control of the climate, even when it changes in catastrophic ways. 

Then the Lord said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.
22          “While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Winter and summer,
And day and night
Shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:21-22)

God warns us to prepare for the changes that are coming, and He promised to protect us from the worse of climate change.    Neither fact cancels out the other. 

To treat the Genesis Flood as a fiction with no relevance to us now is to despise on of the earliest promises of grace and to miss one of the greatest  command for stewardship of the planet.

Climatologists warn that our time has already passed the tipping point at which rapid climate change is inevitable.  The rain is coming.  God won’t let us all perish, but we all still need to prepare. 

In Noah’s time, a lot of people died because they treated the Flood as just a story made up by some guy called Noah.  In our time, if we accept the truth of the story, it doesn’t have to be quite so bad.

Does that make sense?

---Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Miles Chapel CME Church in Fairfield, Alabama;  executive director of the Substance Abuse Youth Networking Organization (SAYNO);  and director of rural leadership development for the National Institute for Human Development (NIHD).

Subscribe to my personal blog  www.andersontgraves.blogspot.com .

Email atgravestwo2@aol.com
Follow me on twitter @AndersonTGraves  #Awordtothewise 

You can help support this ministry with a donation to Miles Chapel CME Church.

You can help support Rev. Graves’ work by visiting his personal blog and clicking the DONATE button on the right-hand sidebar.

Support by check or money order may be mailed to 
Miles Chapel CME Church
P O Box 132
Fairfield, Al 35064



Wednesday, November 9, 2016

TRUMP WON AND I AIN'T EVEN SURPRISED. LET ME TELL YOU WHY.

Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year. (Joshua 5:12)

At 4 A.M., Wednesday, November 9, 2016, I woke up, checked the internet feeds
I’d diligently ignored since I voted on Tuesday, and learned that Donald Trump had been elected president.

I was not surprised.

Oh, I wasn’t happy.  But, I was not surprised.

You see, President Trump is what happens when the people don’t adjust after the manna ceases.

Let me explain.

Through Moses, God freed the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt, and set them on an Exodus from Goshen to the Promised Land of Canaan.  A recently emancipated people who had not controlled their own political destiny for 400+ years (Exodus 12:40,41) began the journey from the state of slavery in Goshen to the state of freedom and political sovereignty in Canaan.  It was a slower process than expected. 
Along the way the people complained of hunger (Exodus 16).  It was a valid complaint. 

They’d left Egypt in haste, without time to pack enough supplies for their march through the wilderness (Exodus 12:11, 31-33), and they couldn’t secure supplies from the surrounding kingdoms so God gave them a support system, a new means of meeting their basic daily needs as they moved from slave to sovereignty.

 
In Exodus 16, God  gave them MANNA.

And the children of Israel ate manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan. (Exodus 16:35)

But that wasn’t all.

And I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn out on your feet. (Deuteronomy 29:5)

For more than 4 decades, Israel benefited from a Divinely ordained system that protected them from hunger, preserved their clothing and equipment, and protected them from the hostile peoples who surrounded them on every side.  

Life in the wilderness was still hard, but under the manna-system the people grew strong.  When Moses died and Joshua assumed command, most of the children of Israel didn’t know anything except the manna-based support system.

(Yes, I’m explaining why Trump’s election wasn’t a surprise.)

When Joshua succeeded Moses as leader, manna was all the living Israelites had ever known.  In 2008, most Americans had lived all or most of their lives after the Civil Rights Movement.  Most of us have only always known the social safety net of welfare, unemployment insurance, federally funded community programs, and civil rights protections for minorities, women, and immigrants.  That package of policies and protections is the manna that has been there every morning to protect and preserve us in the transition from slavery/segregation to sovereignty/ self-determination.

But then something happened. 

Then the manna ceased.

40 years after God proclaimed the Israelite sojourn in the wilderness, a new leader walked them into the sacred space for which they and their ancestor had dreamed.  Joshua marched his people into the Promised Land, and as soon as they just got their first taste of the Promise, God took away their manna.  The system which had protected and preserved them just dissolved. 


The support system was gone, and that wasn't even the worst part.

Remember, in Joshua 5, the Israelites were in the Promised Land, but they didn’t control the land.  They didn’t possess property.  All of the cities, the financial power, the military might, and the cultural controls in Canaan belonged to pagans.  They wouldn’t receive their promised inheritance in the Promised Land the way they’d received manna.  It would just happen because it was supposed to.  In the post-manna system God’s people had to work and fight. 

The Hittites, Hivites, Amorites, Amalekites, and WHatever-ITES didn’t give up their superior strategic positions because the children of a bunch of landless ex-slaves claimed it in the name of their God.  Every foot of land, every stage of taking possession was won through sweat, blood, and effort. Good took that sweat, blood, and effort and miraculously multiplied its effectiveness; but possessing the Promised Land wasn’t walk outside and collect your manna check easy.  They had to fight for it and they had to fight without the manna-based support system.

Wait.  Wait.  Now, follow me on this.

In the book of Joshua, the manna didn’t cease when Israel fought their first battle in Canaan.  The manna didn’t cease when they faced their first great enemy.  The manna ceased when they enjoyed the fruit of the Promise. 

The manna didn’t cease when Donald Trump was elected in 2016.  Nope.  The manna had been gone long before that.

The manna ceased back in November of 2008.  As soon as you got a taste.  As soon as you felt like you’d arrived.  After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness after Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King died (1968), America elected an
African-American president and promptly began dismantling the programs and protections we’d all always known. 

The  last  glass ceiling (Black glass) shattered in 2008, and since then we’ve been standing in the civil rights Promised Land. 

In 2012, God called me to take leave from my work as a public school administrator and do community ministry and research.  The research revealed that we who celebrated in 2008 had made a critical Promised Land error.  We had continued to live like we had manna.  We were collectively waiting for the heavenly bread of economic prosperity and civil justice to just appear one morning. 

It never did.

We forgot that people were already in the Promised when we pulled up.  We forgot that those people were not going to surrender their positions of superiority without a fight. 

We failed to appreciate the seriousness of the battle cry to expel the invaders and make the Promised Land great again.

And that is why I’m not surprised that Donald Trump will be president of the United States.

He is the inevitable result of underestimating the backlash from daring to stand in space which for 400+ years was occupied, fortified, and personalized to fit and protect particular peoples.

The manna ceased.  The paradigm shifted.  But, we didn’t step up out game to
match.  And that’s why the heathen builder of temples to sin and excess beat our brakes off in a national political battle.

Solution
Yeah, that just happened. Now what?  I propose the following 3 actions:
1.  Remember.
God told Joshua, “ Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate
in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:-8)

Remember again the sacred text that empowered and informed the ancestors who came out of slavery and segregation.  The enemy has fought a clever misinformation campaign to make us think of the Bible as the means of oppression and forget that Bible is actually the playbook for liberation.

2.  Repent
In Joshua chapter 24, the children of Israel repeatedly declared their allegiance to God.  Joshua repeatedly questioned their sincerity.  When  they swore that their faith and covenant was sure, Joshua said “O.K.,” and then he said: “ “Now therefore,” he said, “put away the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to the Lord God of Israel” (Joshua 24:23).

At the very moment the people were shouting about loving God and trusting Him alone they had idols hidden among them. Their leader acknowledged their promises but simultaneously called their attention to their sins.  

We have to be honest with ourselves and our circles of influence.  Honest about how wrong we are, honest about how far we’ve drifted from God’s Word, and honest about all the little idols we worship when we finish shouting on Sunday morning.

3.  Revive
In Joshua chapter 7, the Israelites harbored unrepented sin, and so the pagan nation of Ai beat their brakes of in battle.  But they dealt with it and in chapter 8, Israel beat the brakes off Ai and had a comprehensive Bible study.

And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and the cursings, according to all that is written in the Book of the Law. 35 There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, with the women, the little ones, and the strangers who were living among them (Joshua 8:34-355).


Learn to fight according to God’s Word.  Then fight harder.  Learn to organize in alignment with the full witness of Scripture.  Then organize even more effectively.  Learn to start and operate a business in obedience to the Bible and then start a new business or run the office you have better than ever.  The battle doesn’t change, but you and I should. 

Trump won. 

Yes.  You have to acknowledge it.

Say it with me.

“Trump”

 “ Won”

Now, let the redeemed of the Lord say, “So.”

You know why.  You know what you need to do.

Stop acting so surprised.

---Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Miles Chapel CME Church in Fairfield, Alabama;  executive director of the Substance Abuse Youth Networking Organization (SAYNO);  and director of rural leadership development for the National Institute for Human Development (NIHD).

Subscribe to my personal blog  www.andersontgraves.blogspot.com .

Email atgravestwo2@aol.com
Follow me on twitter @AndersonTGraves  #Awordtothewise 

You can help support this ministry with a donation to Miles Chapel CME Church.

You can help support Rev. Graves’ work by visiting his personal blog and clicking the DONATE button on the right-hand sidebar.

Support by check or money order may be mailed to 
Miles Chapel CME Church
P O Box 132
Fairfield, Al 35064