“The elders are gone from the city gate; the young men have stopped their music.” Lamentations 3:14.
“Where’s my Manna?”
I know some of you have been asking that question, and I apologize for my long absence. The Lord has been opening doors for me to bring a message that families, schools, and workplaces are hungry to hear-and that calling has been my priority over the past several months.
And now, in God’s perfect timing, I’m at a point where that calling can begin to merge with Morning Manna. To that end, this today’s manna comes from Lamentations 5:
The elders are gone from the city gate;
the young men have stopped their music.
Joy is gone from our hearts;
our dancing has turned to mourning.
The crown has fallen from our head.
Woe to us, for we have sinned!
(Lamentations 5:14-16, NIV)
Recently, I made this statement to the boys in my mentoring program: “African-American males are on their way to becoming an extinct species.” I asked them to tell me 1) What factors would lead a person to come to such a conclusion and 2) whether they agreed or disagreed with it. The discussion that followed centered around a series of disturbing statistics on murder, incarceration, AIDS, employment and education. I shared with them my belief that based on the current trends, AA males were on a destructive path that would lead to, if not extinction, our extreme marginalization.
As an AA male, this is not cause for rejoicing, tongue clucking, head shaking or finger wagging. As a member of the human race, neither should it be for you.
For the past 3 years as I have met weekly with 60-70 middle and high school young men (predominately AA), my heart has become increasingly burdened with what I hear from them and see in them. I lament the lack of respect for self, others, community and God that results in self-destructive or unfruitful pursuits.
Jeremiah’s Lamentations were in response to the destruction of Jerusalem. In spite of God’s efforts to steer them right, they were insistent on driving off a cliff. They succeeded and it broke Jeremiah’s heart.
As I read his lament over the resulting condition, I see in it a clear call to action for not only the AA community, but for our culture as a whole. In the time of Jeremiah, the elders (not just “old” men, but “respected” men) served an important role as the city gatekeepers:
They dispensed wisdom as mediators of disputes.
They were the filters who judged the worthiness of goods products and ideas that others sought to bring into the city.
They were the policy setters and leadership advisors.
The city gates were a place of power, influence and tremendous responsibility. But who is sitting at the gates of our culture now?
God is forming in my spirit a very compelling vision about calling our culture to revolution – a revolution of respect. I am very concerned about the state and direction of our culture (as a African-American male, I have a vested interest in that community and its men) and I feel that God is telling us it is time to storm the gates and take back control from those who do not have our best interest at heart.
Thomas Jefferson once said, “Every generation needs a revolution.” I believe this to be our revolution. Our communities – families, neighborhoods, schools – have devolved into chaos because respected people are no longer sitting at our gates.
Will you join me by taking your place at the city gate, sharing their wisdom with younger generations and taking a stand against the tidal wave of disrespect that threatens our future?
Please pray for me as I spend time with the Lord receiving the game plan for this revolution.
That’s just a taste of what I’ve been working on for the past several months. If you sense my passion about this and are interested in learning more, I urge you to buy a copy of the book I wrote that has become a textbook for classes I’ve been leading in school systems, churches, and conferences across the country. The book is called dissedRespect and it’s a good summary of the challenges that develop when “the elders are gone from the city gate.”
Again, thank you for your patience with me over the past few months. I appreciate your faithfulness and your encouragement. And I hope you will support me in prayer, as well as join me in this important ministry.
PS… for more information about purchasing dissedRespect, click on either of these links:Print version – http://www.oaktreepub.org/dissedrespect
Ebook version : http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/105973