Tag Archives: Ethics

Healing Our Racial Division with the Fiery Passion of Pentecostal Love

As our American friends are in the midst of their 2016 presidential election, politicians are on the campaign trail explaining the reason to be voted as a president. The country is divided in many ways where activists ranging from race, to gender, to class and to religion are all crying out to be heard. When it comes to race, the division is much more sharp and piercing. Both Democratic and Republic politicians are professing to be the glue to unify their nation and mend the divide between Black, White, and Brown people.

Canadians may laugh at the made-for-t.v., political circus and comic show down South. Yet there are challenges of division with racism as deals with Afro-Canadians/Caribbean and First Nations and its offshoot religious racism with Muslims/Syrians/Middle East migrants and residents. It seems that both nations are having a difficult time closing the divide and opening our hearts. Americans are more blatant in their vitriol whereas Canadians are subtler. Either way – both are dehumanizing! I believe the Pentecostal Church could provide a road map for unity and reconciliation where both countries could learn from.

The Pentecostal/Charismatic Church is the fastest growing church in the world and approaching the size of the Roman Catholic Church as the largest Church family. The phenomenal growth and size is not by fluke. It is intentionally based on an open door and outreach position for diverse cultures and nations to embrace the message of Gospel love. Where did this attitude of passion fiery love come from for Pentecostals/Charismatics to reach out to Russians, Brazilians, Filipinos, Nigerians, Chinese etc.?

On April 1906, in a rundown church in Los Angeles, a passionate Black preacher William Seymour with a loyal group of Black Christians who prayed for racial unity and Christian unity. What made this prayer and fervor unique was in the midst of Jim Crow laws that these brave Christians were extending themselves to hug racist White Christians. God rewarded their desires by a phenomenal event where those Black Christians miraculously spoke in a different language never taught to them. This documented event echoed biblical times just after Jesus’ death and resurrection where the Early Church spoke miraculously through God’s Spirit in a different language to share the good news of Jesus to a diverse yet divided crowd in Jerusalem. What happened in Los Angeles 1900 years later known as the Azusa Street Revival had the similar effective power where it drew different races. Many of them experienced this miracle of speaking in a different language (called tongues speaking) and other miracles like healing. But the biggest miracle was the beginning to heal the divide of racism (and sexism) between people and their segregated churches. The reason being the experience was bigger than any race or culture (or gender). This Déjà vu moment was God pouring his love on all people, which humanized and humbled racist and sexist people to see each other with dignity and equality.

Although the Pentecostal Church is a human organization, not perfect and still struggles with racism and sexism like other organizations, but they have learned principles and practices to overcome the sin by God’s love. And the people are their fruit. This compassionate experience plus a compelling story is what our respective countries need to hear – especially our politicians. And quite possibly, they can feel the fire of unity that these men and women felt at Azusa Street. We can only pray in tongues for that miracle to happen.

~ Denley W. McIntosh

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Poor Judgement or Pitiful Junkie

It is easy to look at the Mayor Rob Ford pictures and video of illicit drug activity, and then fill-in-the-blank to complete the story. I’m quite surprised the Media is not considering another possible metanarrative. They are merely submitting answers and saying they are correct as the story. I propose an alternative fill-in-the-blank.

Rob Ford was hanging out with the youths, many from his football team, as a way to bond and connect. This was his usual custom. But as teenagers sometimes do, they can get pretty rowdy when they get together. On this rowdy occasion, his young men had let him down. The youths were engaged in illicit activities while the Mayor was around. Of course, this did not bother the youths, because they saw Rob-Rob as one of the boys and not the “Mayor”. This putted Mayor Ford in a compromising position. At that moment, he had to decide what he would do. He either shutdowns the party and call the police on his youths – losing their respect for him. Or he overlooks it (with a bothering conscience) and goes with the flow for the greater good of his youths. I surmise he went with the latter option, which may explain the shots and video.

 By no means that I am claiming this to be the story for it is speculative, but what makes the Media story more credible than mine? It is the Media’s job to properly frame all possibilities, but instead it has landed on a hypothesis and pontificate it as truth. Clearly this does not meet fair and unbiased reporting as they are upheld to do. If anything we can get from the pictures and video that there was some poor judgement by Mayor Ford. However, we cannot equate poor judgement with being a pitiful junkie.

I think most men will agree with me:  Men tend to be very loyal to their friends and will do everything in their power to handle issues in-house before we invite external help. We have to think from Mayor Ford’s point of view. He was not going to “rat out his boys”. He is too loyal, and he is not going to jeopardize their social standing for them being teenagers. They are his children in some respects.

 One of the funniest things about tests that have fill-in-the-blanks, we tend think what we fill in as answers are unquestionably right. Lo and behold we are surprised when the teacher returns our test with different answers to the story. We are shocked but on a further thought, we hit ourselves saying that makes total sense. (Or we get angry with the teacher for not accepting our story.) I hope Ms. Truth will substantiate the test papers the Media has handed in. The blanks correctly filled in. Otherwise, Principal Justice is waiting for them.

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Pure as Gold – Authentic Leadership

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It has been a packed couple months with Christmas holidays, playoff football and the soap opera drama of American Politics not to say the least. Indeed, American Politics is very entertaining soap I must say. Mud-slinging, undercutting, he-said-she-said, all comes with this amusing package of “Oops” as Governor Rick Perry would say. Who wouldn’t chuckle with the public tit-for-tat? With each dirt – or sin – becoming uncovered and exposed, our urbane darlings of great hope become  the ugly ducklings of great ‘grope’ – as Herman Cain found out and John Stewart mocks about. We stay glued to the tubes as we watch our modern day Alchemists, the Media, determine who is gold and who is not. In other words, who is authentic or who is a joke.

This was quite analogous to what I saw with the royal couple of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Yes, the Alchemist were working very hard to uncover dirt like they found with the other Royals. The Media brought their super power microscopes to find the most miniscule of faux-pas that could be brought up to the light of day. With every failed experiment of scandal, they were left disappointed that the couple were authentic as they appeared. They were gold.

I was part of the herd of onlookers who flocked to the television set to watch the Royal Wedding (for me at least in part). Yet I did not watch it because of the royal display of opulence although it was impressive. Nor did I watch it because of the fairytale narrative of the couple although it was romantic. I watched it for one key reason: I was trying to understand the qualities that drew people to watching the couple especially Prince William. The startling quality that I observed in all the conversations was the theme of Prince William being real – being genuine. Unfortunately, a lot of the American politicians lack.

Prince William displayed authenticity, which was part of his charm. It was the charm of authenticity that created his ardent followers. He was a leader not just by position but by permission as John Maxwell would put it.

Leadership, if we recall, means having influence, which is demonstrated by having followers. Authenticity is a vital component for attaining and maintaining leadership. It gives us the permission to lead others and have followers. When authenticity is missing from the mix of leadership, a politician’s effectiveness to lead from the polls to the post is weakened. Here are three brief reasons for this case:

Authenticity Shows Integrity: The Public can know that their leader means what they say and says what they mean. Thus, they know that their leader will take their words and actions seriously and acknowledge its impact on others. The Haves and Have-nots are equally considered.

Authenticity Builds Trust: The Public can feel confident that their leader is not duplicitous and ‘fake’. Thus, the Public will accept the leader’s vision and trust the leader’s (his/her) motives. They are willing to sacrifice for the common good.

Authenticity Creates Duplication: The Public can mirror their leaders and develop a culture of authenticity. Thus, the Public will build that openness, transparency and integrity among each other. This creates a stronger a society.

Just as important for politicians and royalty, let us as leaders, or aspirers of such, make these points a good reminder of the importance of authenticity. We may not be royal blood, but it does not mean that we cannot have a royal heart. Let us lead with regal authenticity. It is our gold standard. We should settle for nothing less.

~ Denley W. McIntosh

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