“Cadillac is Back”

June 29, 2013

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Recently, I traveled to the Detroit Renaissance Center, the site of the fast approaching 2013 PNBC Annual Meeting.  The “Rencen,” as it’s popularly known, in addition to housing a Marriott Hotel, dinning and shopping, is also the corporate home of General Motors.

While at the center, I stopped at a café’, grabbed a cup of coffee and a free automotive paper that was on a newsstand, and I saw a headline that grabbed my attention.  The headline said “Cadillac is Back.” The story went on to describe how over the past 4-months the Cadillac brand has outsold all other luxury automobiles including Mercedes, Lexus, BMW, Lincoln and Audi.

The article celebrated the genius of Cadillac’s engineers and how the brand has kept true to its roots, but has been updated with cutting-edge technology.  As I pondered the story, and thought about the historic relationship of Cadillacs and African American preachers, God spoke to me and said, just as Cadillac has come back, “The Progressive National Baptist Convention is coming back.” 

What also played into this revelation is the fact that the Renaissance Center sits prominently on the Detroit River and historically and biblically rivers represent restoration, renewal, and revival.  Indeed, Paul and Silas in the 16th Chapter of the book of Acts went down by the riverside because there down by the riverside was a known place of prayer.  Also during the days of slavery, African Americans would steal away and go down by the riverside, to a place of prayer, restoration and revival, and this is exactly what is going to be happening in Detroit, prayer, restoration, and revival.

PNBC President, Dr. Carroll A. Baltimore, Sr. has designated the first hour of each day at our Detroit Annual Session as the “Harold A. Carter, Sr. Hour of Prayer” and restoration, renewal and revival always begins with prayer. The Convention will kick-off on Sunday evening with a Gospel extravaganza including the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, Bishop Marvin Winans and Grammy Winning Gospel Artists Dorinda Clark Cole among others.  The concert venue seats about 2,000 persons and the concert is only $20, so you better get your tickets while they last.

On Monday, our First Ladies will be treated to a special first lady’s spa, and on Monday afternoon we’ll take the Gospel to the streets with our “Silver Lining of Hope” Stop the Gun Violence crusade. 

On Tuesday, the Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr. will preach and we will hold a special discussion of recent challenges to the Voting Rights Act.  We will also hear from a host of inspirational preachers including Dr. Fredrick Haynes, III and Dr. Jeremiah Wright. Each day will be a day of restoration and revival including a host of dynamic classes.

I am excited about our upcoming annual meeting in Detroit and I pray that you are as well. The deadline to make your reservations is July 11, so make them now while you have time.  I look forward to see you in Detroit and remember just like Cadillac, PNBC is coming back!

Peace, Power and Progress, Pastor Kip Banks, Sr.

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“Becoming a Kingdom Man” June 15, 2013

June 15, 2013

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Popular radio evangelist Tony Evans has a best-selling book out entitled “Kingdom Man.” In this book Dr. Evans says that many of the problems that we have in today’s society can be traced back to the home and an absence of Fathers. Consider that:

• 70% of all prisoners come from fatherless homes.
• 80% of all rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes.
• 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.
• 63% of all teen suicides occur in homes where the father was either abusive or absent.
• Virtually every adult social pathology has been linked to either fatherless homes or homes with a father and/or husband who was absent, abusive, or neglectful.

However, in his Dr. Evans says that all of these problems can be addressed if our men would become Kingdom Men. What is a Kingdom Man? Here are some highlights from the book:

• A kingdom man is a preserver of culture and a champion of society to keep out evil and usher in good. Being a kingdom man involves exercising authority and responsibility along with wisdom and compassion. A kingdom man intentionally aligns his life, choices, thoughts, and actions under the lordship of Jesus Christ.

• A kingdom man understands that God never said a godly life would be easy, He just said it would be worth it.

• Any man who blames his wife for the chaos in his home without simultaneously accepting responsibility for addressing it is publicly declaring his lack of biblical manhood.

• Pornography use is one of the greatest indicators that a man has lost touch with his own manhood since he has to piggyback on the intimacy of others.

• If a man is out of alignment with God’s prescription for kingdom manhood, it not only messes him up, but it can also mess up anyone or everyone else who comes into contact with him, especially if they fall under his authority.

• The time you spend with your family as a man should never be a second thought. It should always be your first thought.

On this Father’s Day (June 16), it is my prayer that more of our men will seek to become “Kingdom Men”– men who live their lives in dedication to God and make a difference in their families, the church and world!

Peace and Blessings,
Pastor Kip Banks, Sr.

Addressing the Crisis in the African American Community

May 31, 2013

Crisis in the Village

When it comes to the problems plaguing Black America often critics will say that the problems are rooted in the pathologies of urban Black culture, like crime, violence and out of wedlock births. Others place the blame solely on the door steps of broad socioeconomic factors like racism, poverty and unemployment. However, it is rare that one provides an honest, balanced assessment of what ails Black America, yet this is what Dr. Robert M. Franklin, former President of Atlanta’s Morehouse College, does in his book entitled Crisis in the Village: Restoring Hope in African American Communities.

In this book, Dr. Franklin issues a call to strategic action to reverse the decline of families and children’s well-being, the moral authority of churches, and the moral drift in many schools and colleges. Dr. Franklin’s focus is rightly on the task of “child-making” because the future of Black children is at stake. Quoting statistics by Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, he shares the following about Black children living in the U.S:

• Every five seconds during the school day, a Black public school student is suspended;
• Every forty-six seconds during the school day, a Black high school student drops out;
• Every minute, a Black child is arrested and a Black baby is born to an unmarried mother;.
• Every three minutes, a Black child is born into poverty;
• Every hour, a Black baby dies;
• Every four hours, a Black child or youth under twenty dies from an accident;
• Every five hours, one is a homicide victim;
• Every day, a young Black person under twenty-five des from HIV infection; and
• A Black child or youth under twenty commits suicide.

Unfortunately, Marian Wright Edelman’s timeline portrait of what’s happening with Black children is a vivid reality in our communities. Too many of our young people are dying early and the prospects for their future are bleak. So what must we do to address the problem?

Dr. Franklin says that we must work to reverse the decline of core anchor institutions in the African American community. These institutions are the family, the church and the school. He points out that if these organizations were aligned, healthy and working together, our young people would flourish no matter what the state of the economy or who is in the Mayor’s office or the White House.

In his study, Dr. Franklin says that Black families are suffering from a crisis of commitment. Indeed, Black marriage rates have declined significantly over the last several decades. According to a study done by Morehouse College, 80 percent of all African American children can expect to spend a significant part of their childhood living apart from their fathers. Children do best when both their fathers and mothers are involved in their lives. However, in order to make way for nurturing relationships between a father and his child, there is much to be done between fathers and mothers, men and women. Dr. Franklin says that despite the fact that urban mothers who attend church place a very high value on marriage, there appears to be an “African American faith and family paradox” that involves the coexistence of high rates of church attendance and unusually low rates of marriage. In spite of this, Franklin says that very few Black churches – only three percent — offer formal programs in marriage and parenting. Furthermore, only 5 percent offer programs targeting single-parents and singles and that more should do so.

Not only is there a crisis of commitment but Black churches face a Crisis of Mission. Dr. Franklin says the biggest threat is the “Prosperity Gospel movement.” This is a focus of the church on personal greed, obsessive materialism and unchecked narcissism. This stands counter to the social gospel tradition where the church is concerned about social justice and feeding hungry, and helping the prisoners, the sick and the poor. Franklin says that too many churches today are suffering from an “edifice” complex. They are spending more time building their buildings and local kingdoms when they should spend more time helping the downtrodden and working to ensure the future of our children.

Then finally our schools, according to Franklin, are suffering from a crisis of moral purpose. Franklin says that our schools are failing and that on a regular basis we are “reminded of the culture of violence, drug use, sexual experimentation and moral relativism plaguing many of our schools.” One of the answers to the problem is to foster collaborations with local schools and churches. To ask churches to incorporate educational excellence into their ministries and become centers of educational support. These centers would offer after-school programs, mentoring, tutoring, computer resources, and assistance with standardized tests and college preparation.

Dr. Franklin has issued a strong call for us to restore hope in the African American community by making our families, churches and schools stronger. Let each of us do what we can in our own realms of influence to heed the call.

Peace, Power, and Progress,
Pastor Kip Banks, Sr.

SCANDAL

May 17, 2013

scandal

This past Thursday was the season finale of the popular TV show Scandal. For those who don’t know, Scandal is an American political television series starring African American actress Kerry Washington. Washington plays the role of Olivia Pope, whose character is partially based on former Bush Administration press aide and public relations consultant Judy Smith. Pope works to free the President and other high profile characters from various scandals, and also happens to get caught up in a few scandals of her own.

What amazes me about the show is how immensely popular it is with pastors, ministers, and other persons of faith as judged by their frequent postings in social media — Facebook, Twitter, etc. — about their love for the show.

Why is this show so popular with Pastors and other persons of faith?

I think it’s because as people of faith we are often daily crisis and scandal managers in the lives of our families, churches, and communities. Now these scandals aren’t typically White House level scandals, but they are scandals all the same.

Furthermore, the show is timely, because the Obama Administration has also gotten mired in a series of purported scandals including the attack of the US Consultant in Benghazi, the IRS’s alleged targeting of Right Wing political groups, and the Justice Department’s targeting of reporters.

What’s incredible about these matters is that many of the conservative politicians who are calling for the President’s head on these matters were silent when during the Bush Administration and other conservative administrations progressive groups including the NAACP and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were targeted by the IRS and other government agencies like the FBI because of their policies.

The bottom line, for us as persons of faith is that when it comes to scandals we must look to Jesus because He is the ultimate crisis manager. Indeed, when the woman was caught in adultery he said to her accusers, “Let he who has no sin cast the first stone” (John 8:7). He also didn’t condemn the woman caught in adultery, but he did tell her to “go and sin no more,” (John 8:11) and this is a word for us all.

In the final analysis, Scandal fans know that what the show clearly shows us is that although we may try to hide it, sin is never private, and we all need to get right with God today!

Peace and Blessings,
Pastor Kip Banks, Sr.

Celebrating Dr. Nannie Helen Burroughs

May 3, 2013

There is so much to love about the month of May including plenty of sunshine, flowers, trips to the park, the end of school, graduations and of course Mother’s Day, a time for us to celebrate God’s gift of mothers. We should also love May, because may is the birth-month of Dr. Nannie Helen Burroughs (May 2) and Dr. Burroughs contributed much toward bringing about the recognition of the power and influence of African American women in all aspects of American life.

Indeed, Dr. Burroughs was a prolific writer, educator, orator, businesswoman, and Christian leader. She was a woman who was ahead of her time — the Oprah Winfrey, Condelleza Rice and Michelle Obama of her day.

As background, Dr. Burroughs was born in 1879 in Orange, VA and Burroughs’ mother brought her to Washington, DC to further her education. She graduated in 1896 from DC’s Dunbar high school with honors and wanted to become a science teacher. However, she was denied a teaching job because of the darkness of her skin in a city — that at the time, favored light-skinned teachers.

Burroughs instead took a job in Louisville, Kentucky as a secretary for the National Baptist Convention, and while working with the convention at their annual meeting in 1900, she advocated for the right of women to participate equally in the ministry in a speech entitled, “How the Sisters are Hindered from Helping.” This speech was particularly insightful, because even to this day, 113 years later, African American women still struggle for equality to participate in the leadership of the church. As a result of Dr. Burroughs’ speech, Women’s Day and a woman’s division of the National Baptist Convention were established.

Upon leaving Kentucky, Dr. Burroughs came back to Washington, DC and founded a school for young women that combined qualitative vocational training with traditional Christian values. The school, The National Trade and Professional School for Women and Girls, Inc., opened its doors on October 18, 1909, with Ms. Burroughs as President. The school’s motto was “We specialize in the wholly impossible,” and sought “the highest development of Christian womanhood,” through a curriculum designed to emphasize practical and professional skills. To help finance the school Dr. Burroughs created “The Worker” magazine, a publication which is still in operation today.

Dr. Burroughs also advised President Herbert Hoover and received an honorary Dr. of Laws degree from Shaw University. She passed away on May 20, 1961. However, the school, renamed in her honor, continued on and became a private co-educational Christian elementary school, training children to the glory of God in the tradition of Dr. Burroughs.

Unfortunately, today, Dr. Burroughs’ legacy stands in jeopardy. Due to tough economic times, last year, the school was forced to close. The good news is that the Progressive National Baptist Convention and several churches have stepped-up to the plate and have been working to retire the school’s outstanding debts with the goal of re-opening the school in the future. However, we could also use your help, and if you’d like to make a contribution to help secure the future of the Nannie Helen Burroughs School, then please contact the Progressive National Baptist Convention Headquarters at 202-396-0558.

This month, as we reflect upon our mothers and celebrate the educational efforts of our young people, let us also remember Dr. Nannie Helen Burroughs, a woman upon whose shoulders we all stand!

Peace and Blessings,
Pastor Kip Banks, Sr.

MLK Advocacy Issues

April 4, 2013

Today is the Progressive National Baptist Convention Advocacy Day in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King.  PNBC was created to give a voice and platform to Dr. King and we are deeply grateful for the life and legacy of this twentieth century prophet.  We are praying that the wisdom and words of Martin Luther King will rekindle our faith and that the deep love that Dr. King had for all people will be released in us. 

On this day, we commit to continuing Dr. King’s work to “let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Am. 5:24), and we are asking PNBC members to call fax, Facebook, tweet or email your federal lawmakers and ask for action on the following measures:

Support – Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013:
Introduced by President Obama calling for an increase in the federal minimum wage to $10.00 no less than $9.00 per hour. It is estimated that over 30 million workers would receive a rise and the parents of 17 million children will be affected. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.

Support – S54, the “Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act of 2013” and HR452 as part of package to curb gun violence.

Support – common sense legislation to prevent gun violence and the President’s plan to protect children and communities by reducing gun violence as presented in January 2013. (Source: wh.gov/now-is-the-time)

Support – Voter Registration Modernization/Universal Voter Registration to establish a national mandate for voter registration modernization within each state to: provide federal funds for states to take steps toward voter registration modernization; require permanent voter registration systems so that once voters are registered they will stay on the rolls when they move; and require fail safe procedures so that eligible voters whose names do not appear on the voter rolls or whose information is not up to date can correct the rolls and vote on the same day.” (Source: Brennan Center For Justice)

Support – the inclusion of $80 million for the Second Chance Act program “that are designed to improve outcomes for people returning to communities after incarceration”, as well as cutting recidivism and $6 million for Justice Reinvestment initiative in the President’s Budget. (Source: Reentry Policy Council/Justice Center – The Council of State Governments)

Support – Job Creation that invest in public infrastructure, jobs program, tax credits without forgetting those who are at greatest risk of impoverishment and hardship, including formerly incarcerated persons.

  • Support – S.84 The Paycheck Fairness Act reintroduced in 2013 that would “amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex, and for other purposes.”

    Support – The Affordable Health Care Act
    was signed into law in 2010 by President Obama that has given Americans more freedom, more benefits and more control over their health care choices. (Source: http://www.healthcare.gov)

    Support – Elementary Secondary Education Act (ESEA)
    : Every child deserves a great public school. Formerly known as No Child Left Behind, ESEA is the current incarnation of President Lyndon Johnson’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), whose purpose was to raise achievement and close achievement gaps. “Every child deserves a great public school.” (Source: National Education Association – NEA)

    Support – HR1330, the Student Loan Fairness Act of 2013 that allows individuals to “make 10 years of payments at 10% of their discretionary income, after which the remaining debt would be forgiven; permanently caps the interest rate for all federal student loans at 3.4%; allows those eligible to convert their private loans into federal direct loans; suspends interest rates while borrowers are unemployed; rewards graduates for entering into public service” having an impact on 37 million student loan borrowers.  (Source: Author, US Representative Karen Bass, California)

    Support – Employee Fair Choice Act for Workers Rights HR 1409: To amend the National Labor Relations Act to establish an efficient system to enable employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations; to provide for mandatory injunctions for unfair labor practices during organizing efforts, and for other purposes. (Source: AFL-CIO and the Center For American Progress Action Fund)

    Support – Comprehensive (Compassionate) Immigration Reform that creates a process for undocumented immigrants, or immigrants with expired visas to earn citizenship; keeps families together; enacts the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act; protects worker’s rights; protects refugees and migrant survivors for violence and racial profiling (Source: Interfaith Immigration Coalition)

    Support – eliminating the Senate Judiciary Committee blocking</of qualified judicial nominations to fill vacancies on for example the DC appellate court which has four vacancies out of 11, 16 vacancies on the US Courts of Appeal, 66 vacancies on the US District Court, and 20 plus nominations awaiting Senate action. (Source: http://www.uscourts.gov)

  • Support – Constitutional Amendment to reverse Citizens United the 2010 Supreme Court’s decision that lifted restrictions on corporate influence in elections, warrant a call for a constitutional amendment to reverse it. “Poll after poll has shown that Americans—regardless of political affiliation —want corporations to have less influence in elections, and strongly disagree with the Supreme Court’s precedent-shattering decision to give them more.” (Source: People For the American Way)

 

Peace, Power and Progress!

Rev. Kip Banks, Sr.<

A Certain Sound of the Trumpet

February 28, 2013

One of the most inspiring things that I experienced while at the PNBC Midwinter board meeting in Nassau, Bahamas was the native “Junkanoo” celebration that PNBC members were privileged to participate in as a part of the host committee’s activities. To those unfamiliar with Junknoo, to take part in the celebration is like taking part in an African Village Dance, a church Holy Dance, and a Black College Band marching band all wrapped-up into one! At our meeting, the Junkanno band played the Negro spiritual “I’ll Fly Away,” on the trumpet as others beat drums and dancers proceeded to march around in circles. All who witnessed the phenomenon were caught up in the Spirit and when I reflected upon the experience, it reminded me of what PNBC is all about.

What caught me in particular was that the horns blew the melody with a “certain sound.” It reminded of what Samuel DeWitt Proctor talks about in his book “The Certain Sound of the Trumpet” in talking about African American preaching. It’s a prophetic sound, a distinct sound. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had this sound, Dr. Gardner Taylor has this sound, Dr. Charles Adams has this sound and our current President Dr. Carol A. Baltimore Sr. has this sound too. It’s the sound of a voice crying in the wilderness, a sound calling for an end to poverty, the passage of gun control legislation, the passage of a fair federal budget and for peace in the Middle East.

What also struck me was that while some were blowing trumpets, others were beating drums to keep the horn players in rhythm, and what I realize is that it’s my new job as PNBC’s Interim General Secretary to beat the drum so that our convention stays in step administratively. But it’s not just my job, I need your help in beating the drum too! I need your help in supporting our convention financially and attending our meetings and committing to blowing your prophetic horn until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream!

Peace and Blessings,
Pastor Kip Banks, Sr.

“Jesus and Sequestration”

February 28, 2013

Here it is March 1, and the Congress and the President still have not agreed to a plan to avert “Sequestration,” a self-imposed across the board collection of spending cuts that will begin to take effect today in order to help reduce the federal budget deficit. These spending cuts greatly threaten the economic well-being of our local and national economy, and according to news reports, it appears that a major sticking point to getting a deal is disagreement over getting the wealthy to pay more in taxes and the size of cuts to be made to social service programs. In thinking about his whole drama, my question is, what would Jesus say about Sequestration?

This is an interesting question to ponder and especially during the time of Lent as we review the life of Jesus and seek to walk more closely with him. First of all, it is worth noting that Jesus’ mother and father, Mary and Joseph, found themselves in Bethlehem when Jesus was born because Caesar of Augustus had issued a decree that all of the world should be taxed (Luke 2:1). In other words, this issue with taxes is nothing new. We also note that Jesus wants us to pay our taxes because he said to the Pharisees upon being questioned by them about taxes to Caesar “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:19).

I also believe that Jesus would want the rich to pay their fair share of taxes and this is because when he was asked by the rich ruler what he needed to do to inherit eternal life, Jesus told the man that although he kept the great commandments that there was one more thing that he lacked and that was that he needed to share all that he had with the poor to build his treasure in heaven (Luke 18:17-23).

Finally, I think that Jesus would encourage the Congress to avoid making cuts to programs that protect the poor. I say this because He said in his “End Times” discourse in the 25th Chapter of Matthew that our treatment of the poor – the hungry, the sick, and the imprisoned – is a proxy for how we treat Him. In other words, Jesus is represented by the least of our brothers and sisters. Therefore, let us as Progressive Baptists do all that we can do to help the least of our brothers and sisters and encourage the Congress and the President to do the same. Please call, tweet, facebook, fax, your federal lawmakers today and tell them to back-off of the sequester!

Peace and Blessings,
Pastor Kip Banks, Sr.