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A Case for Michelle (Not That She Needs It)…

Shara Stewart honors First Lady Michelle Obama and reflects upon the importance of her role in her husband’s historic time in office, on this final day of the Obama Presidency, January 20, 2017.

 

Please click the images below to enlarge the slideshow.

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates”

– Proverbs 31:30-31 (NKJV)
 

Michelle Obama is, and will always be, the definitive “Shero” (not a typo… She-Hero) for every little Black girl and every enlightened Black woman. She is the living embodiment of every poem that Maya Angelou has penned, and while everyone sees that Barack continued the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, let us never miss the fact that Michelle Obama has grabbed the baton from Coretta Scott King with a type of grace and poignancy previously unimaginable.

I remember reading an article which indicated that Michelle was somewhat of a reluctant First Lady. I can relate, as I remember being reluctant to take on a certain title of my own (In my case, I had no problem supporting the man and his dream, even when I found that my place in said dMICHELLE wavesream was unclear. But that’s a story for another day). She managed to take my exact fears and show me how to walk right through them. I learned from her. I followed her. I realized, even with my doubts, that I, Shara, could be someone’s Michelle.

And to think, a woman who once wore the same nappy pigtails I did, whose high cheekbones and thick thighs match my own and those of the women in my family, has spent the last eight years planting vegetables on the White House lawn. She did this not because she was paid to, but because she chose to as a hobby. On a slow Sunday morning. Sipping lemonade. My God, my God.

She is the Wife we hope to be, adored, adorned, supported, and completely satisfied by the life she chose and the man she stands behind. She is the Mother we pray God will allow us to be, raising two daughters who are so clearly poised to be queens.

She allowed (YES: allowed) her husband to stand and lead, while knowing that she was just as smart, capable, and competent as he. She shows us the unmistakable beauty and strength in the submission the Bible charges us aspiring Proverbs 31 women to take on. She wears that submission beautifully, knowing that she has chosen to submit to a man who loves her exactly the way that Christ loves the Church.

 

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Michelle has breathed new life into the elegance of intelligence. In my daydreams, I see Barack giving her the rough draft of his official address, and her final edits turn it into the speech he gives to the American people. I listen to his speeches and hear where he chose to use her words. Every time I hear her speak, I am completely convicted and charged to do more, to be more, to study harder, to read one more book; to become who she would want me to be. Her mind is as beautiful as her smile; her mission as powerful as her gait.

She shows us all, but especially us black women and girls, what it looks like to Win. She is undoubtedly herself, and yet, she is all of us.

I thank her. From the bottom of my very very grateful heart. I am nothing but selfish, wishing her four more years as First Lady; not for her sake, or even for the sake of the country, but for my own. I want to watch her just a bit longer. There is more for her to teach me.

Stay “Mo”… stay.


Unless otherwise credited, all photos, Pete Souza for the White House; many thanks.

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History of the Church of God In Christ

THE CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST (COGIC) is a Pentecostal-Holiness Christian denomination founded in 1897 by Bishop Charles Harrison Mason. It is considered to be a member of the great Protestant body of churches, although its origins are from within the Baptist church.

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance – Acts 2:2-4

COGIC is a Church of the Lord Jesus Christ in which the Word of God is preached, ordinances are administered, and the doctrine of sanctification, or holiness, is emphasized as being essential to the salvation of mankind.

Named for 1 Thessalonians 2:14, COGIC emphasizes the importance of the three supernatural extraordinary manifestations which occurred on the Day of Pentecost (the 50th day after the Passover, or Easter) as being necessary to experience all believers in Christ Jesus; the sound from heaven of a mighty wind, the appearance of tongues of fire upon believers, and the power to speak in tongues, in accordance with the scriptures in Acts 2:1-4.

 

HISTORY

COGIC founder Bishop Charles Harrison Mason.

COGIC founder Bishop Charles Harrison Mason.

In 1895, Elder Charles Harrison Mason met Elder C.P. Jones of Jackson, MI; Elder J.E. Jeter of Little Rock, AR; and Elder W.S. Pleasant of Hazelhurst, MI, all of whom became Bishop Mason’s close companions in ministry.

The Baptist preachers conducted a revival in 1896 in Jackson, MI, where large numbers of people were converted, sanctified, and healed by the power of faith. However, the teachings of Elder Mason on the doctrine of sanctification caused his expulsion from the Baptist denomination under the Mississippi State Convention.

In 1897, when he and his group of pioneering, persistent preachers returned to Jackson, Elder Mason was forced to deliver his first message from the steps of the local courthouse. A Mr. John Lee provided the living room of his home the next night, and because of the overwhelming number of attendees, a Mr. Watson subsequently offered the use of an abandoned warehouse. Land was soon bought, upon which Elder Mason established a small church with Elder Mason, Elder Jones, Elder Pleasant, and 60 charter members.

In March of 1907, Elder Mason, Elder Young and Elder Jeter journeyed to Los Angeles, CA, to attend the Azusa Street Revival, led by Minister William J. Seymour. This became a turning point for Elder Mason when he experienced an outpouring of the Holy Spirit:

“The Spirit came upon the saints and upon me…Then I gave up for the Lord to have His way within me. So there came a wave of Glory into me and all of my being was filled with the Glory of the Lord. So when He had gotten me straight on my feet, there came a light which enveloped my entire being above the brightness of the sun. When I opened my mouth to say Glory, a flame touched my tongue which ran down me. My language changed and no word could I speak in my own tongue. Oh! I was filled with the Glory of the Lord. My soul was then satisfied.” – Bishop Charles Harrison Mason

Upon his return to Memphis, Elder Mason began to proclaim of his new Pentecostal experience. However, Elder Mason’s contemporaries, Elder Jeter, Elder Jones and others, regarded his new Holy Spirit experience as a delusion. The General Assembly of the church withdrew the “right hand of fellowship” from Elder C. H. Mason, who then called a conference in Memphis, TN of all ministers who believed in receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost according to the scriptures in Acts 2:1-4. Those who responded to Elder Mason’s urgent call were: E. R. Driver, J. Bowe, R.R. Booker, R. E. Hart, W. Welsh, A. A. Blackwell, E. M. Page, R.H. I. Clark, D. J. Young, James Brewer, Daniel Spearman and J. H. Boone.

 

THE CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST

In 1907, the first Pentecostal General Assembly of the Church of God in Christ was thus organized. Elder C. H. Mason was chosen unanimously as the General Overseer and Chief Apostle of the denomination. He was given complete authority to establish doctrine, organize auxiliaries and appoint overseers.

Under Bishop Mason’s spiritual and apostolic direction, The Church of God In Christ has grown from 10 congregations in 1907 to the largest Pentecostal group in America today, reporting over 5 million members. The National Council of Churches ranks it as the largest Pentecostal denomination and the 4th largest Christian denomination in the U.S.

Internationally, COGIC can be found in more than 60 nations, including Egypt, the Ivory Coast, and Israel. Its global membership is estimated to be between 6-8 million, comprising of more than 15,000 congregations throughout the world.

To read more about The Church Of God In Christ, please CLICK HERE.

The American Journey of Black History Month

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society.

As a Harvard-trained historian, Carter G. Woodson, like W. E. B. Du Bois before him, believed that truth could not be denied, and that reason would prevail over prejudice. His hopes to raise awareness of African American’s contributions to civilization were realized when he and the organization he founded, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), conceived and announced Negro History Week in 1925. The event was first celebrated during a week in February 1926 that encompassed the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The response was overwhelming. Black history clubs sprang up, teachers demanded materials to instruct their pupils, and progressive whites, not simply white scholars and philanthropists, stepped forward to endorse the effort.

By the time of Woodson’s death in 1950, Negro History Week had become a central part of African American life and substantial progress had been made in bringing more Americans to appreciate the celebration. At mid–century, mayors of cities nationwide issued proclamations noting Negro History Week. The Black Awakening of the 1960s dramatically expanded the consciousness of African Americans about the importance of black history, and the Civil Rights movement focused Americans of all color on the subject of the contributions of African Americans to our history and culture.

The celebration was expanded to a month in 1976, the nation’s bicentennial. President Gerald R. Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” That year, fifty years after the first celebration, the association held the first African American History Month. By this time, the entire nation had come to recognize the importance of black history in the drama of the American story.

Since then, each American president has issued African American History Month proclamations. And the association—now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)—continues to promote the study of black history all year.

 (“About African American History Month,” excerpted from an essay by Daryl Michael Scott, Howard University, for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. February 2, 2012; Africanamericanhistory.gov; accessed 2/4/2016. http://www.africanamericanhistorymonth.gov/about.html)


 

DID YOU KNOW?

  • AfricanAmericanHistoryMonth.gov is a collaboration between The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum? Click HERE for more information on African American history, curricula, and events nationwide: http://www.africanamericanhistorymonth.gov/index.html
  • The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) has events nationwide in honor of Black History Month, and promotes education on African American achievement. https://asalh100.org/
  • The Library of Congress has a branch dedicated to law and legislative documents. The Law Library of Congress has compiled guides to commemorative observations, including a comprehensive inventory of the Public Laws, Presidential Proclamations and congressional resolutions related to African American History Month. Click HERE to find out more.
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Black History Month

In this sermon for Black History Month, Bishop Charles E. Blake examines, illustrates, and makes plain the historical and important roles African American’s have played to develop this nation.

 

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Happy Birthday Dr. King

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was a pastor, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. King’s focus was on nonviolence heavily based on Christian beliefs which would lead his orchestration of boycotts and other peaceful methods to demonstrate injustice and appeal for peace.

Born Michael King, his father changed his name in honor of German reformer Martin Luther.

Martin Luther King was seen by some as a radical and a troublemaker, says the Washington Post.  Vincent Harding, one of King’s colleagues, once said, “A dangerous Negro, now a national hero. How shall we work with that?” In 1963 Martin Luther King, Jr. was called the most dangerous Negro in the United States because he posed a threat to the very precious ideals. The truth is that he had considerable faith in America. He believed that when people saw the unfairness of the caste system that had grown up in their country — in a nation founded on the principles of equality before the law, the opportunity to advance in life according to one’s merits, the right to choose the people who govern us — they would understand how truly un-American it was and it would all come to an end, and much of it has.

In the final years of his life, King expanded his focus to include poverty and the Vietnam War, alienating many of his liberal allies with a 1967 speech titled “Beyond Vietnam“.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preached nonviolence, practiced it and led a great movement guided by its principles. We are reminded of his legacy today and pay homage to one of the greatest American heroes of all time. 

Click here for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I have A Dream" speech.
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Black History Month

Every year the theme for Black History Month is announced annually by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) in Washington DC, which also offers “theme kits” for every African American History year. Dr. Carter G. Woodson realized the importance of providing a theme that would focus the attention of the public when he established Negro History week in 1926.

2012’s theme focused on “Black Women in American Culture and History”. This year’s theme:  “At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality” addresses a complex topic of huge importance.

  • 2013 marks the 50th and 150th year anniversaries, respectively, of two parallel events, occurring in 1863 and 1963.
  • In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln’s deeply controversial Emancipation Proclamation was enacted, freeing all slaves in the United States.
  • A full century later, 1963, marked a tipping-point in the civil rights movement: the March on Washington, an event that is remains in living memory of many older Americans today.

 

Download The Meaning and Making of Emancipation, an e-book commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation featuring documents held in the National Archives.