Mass Incarceration…the New Slavery in America

Leonard Lovett, Ph. D

A few days ago we witnessed Bishop Michael Curry delivering a homily at the  Royal wedding and mentioned slavery as he avidly described the radical nature of love as a potent fire…few of us realized the meaning of this historical moment in time. Truth is not only irritating, it is also liberating once it is inwardly appropriated. Here is Bishop Curry the son of slaves addressing the Royal remnants of the British Empire whose very existence was built by the fortunes accrued by Colonialism and the Slave Trade…with a Black woman (Meghan Markle) the daughter of slave interaction with access to the throne as a possible Queen.

My mentor the late Bishop OT Jones, Jr. wrote a doctoral dissertation titled, “The Meaning of the Moment in the Thought of Soren Kierkegaard” at Temple University School of Religion. Truth is not only universal it is also personal. Truth is not like clouds of cosmic dust (J. Macquarie) According to Kierkegaard “Truth consists not in knowing the truth but in being the truth.” there are two kinds of truth for Kierkegaard…the kind that can be written down on a piece of paper and instantly appropriated, and the kind which calls for a long and perhaps painful process of inward appropriation. (see his Training in Christianity & Concluding Unscientific Postscript). The rendering of a radical Gospel was more than a wedding homily by a Black Bishop from Chicago…it was Kairos (divine time) encountering Chronos (linear time). Even the actors in the drama do not realize the meaning of this historical moment. The players did not need the role, the moment needed the players. The British Empire can never be the same because the blood of the oppressed has entered its lineage as a part of God’s new future. It is non-sensical to argue about the style of Bishop Curry’s message whether it was too long or just right for the moment…it is the content. God has invaded Royalty. The radical Gospel of freedom has confronted the remnant of Empire in a way that Royalty will never be the same. When God confronts us with His radical nature traditions will eventually become secondary. Jesus must be Lord of all or He will not be Lord at all.

We live in a sensate culture (P.Sorokin) where we miss divine moments because we either focus on the wrong thing or trivialize great moments. In a sensate culture one is guided by the emotions and not rationale thinking thereby devaluing what is really significant. For example, we will spend months freaking out over a basketball player making a winning shot with three seconds to play who is paid millions to run up and down a court shooting a ball through a hoop…but will rarely if ever praise an underpaid school teacher who is trying to teach and rescue your out of control kid. That is trivialization. Sports media said very little about a Lebron James investing millions in youth scholarships for kids who may never have a chance…these same people worry whether he will leave Cleveland and go elsewhere. That is trivialization. When NFL owners infringe upon the First Amendment rights of players (ninety percent are Black persons of color) that is trivialization. Freedom carries with it a price.  That is why we must vigorously struggle against any notion that has the scent of tyranny embedded within. The philosopher in me (debating the nature of reality) may be quiet at times when it comes to debating the current state of politics in our nation, etc. The theologian in me (what is the meaning of reality) cannot be silenced. Clare Waight Keller the female designer of the exquisite gown worn by Meghan Markle in a wedding that cost millions may only be known in her profession… her mother Doria Ragland wore her stylish dreadlocks swept back and tucked underneath a modest hat designed by British milliner Stephen Jones was barely noticed. The Gospel of freedom sneaked in during an insert on the program when the preacher Bishop Michael Curry the first African American to preside over the Episcopal Church did something very dangerous. He had the sheer nerve to reference slavery and invoke the name of Dr. Martin Luther King before a Queen who has a Black female Priest in a spiritual advisory capacity to the throne.

I have a few friends in academia who said they could care less about this event and that it had no real meaning for us as a people. I do not negate friendships because of violent disagreements.  I love my friends more because in the midst of the volatility of discourse we may be getting closer to a middle ground for our dialectic. The Girl (woman) in the gown now the new Duchess of Sussex cannot fully remain Meghan, although not without restrictions. I read about the twenty-five things she cannot do…She cannot make any statements having to do with political commentary. There will be controversy. In 1534 Henry V111 created The Act of Supremacy stating that the King “justly and rightfully out to be the supreme head of the Church of England” severed his relationship from Rome resulting in the establishment of the Anglican Church. The revolt was political in nature with religious implications secondary. His fascination with Ann Boleyn became the lightning bolt that eventually severed his marriage to Catherine the widow of his brother. In the meantime, those of us with “eyes of faith” must pray seriously for Meghan after the honeymoon is over. In the meantime, do not trivialize her personhood through the wrong stuff. Remember Joseph in the OT book of Genesis ended up in Egypt by accident…but in God’s providence Joseph’s presence was on time (Kairos)divine time pregnant with meaning!

Follow me on the Agora at www.theagora.net “where truth is spoken and never compromised.”    Dr. Leonard Lovett,  COGIC Ecumenical Officer emeritus

 

 

41 comments

  • James A. Barnes on September 20, 2017 at 10:13 am said:

    Always enjoy your insights Dr. Lovett. You inspired me to pursue my Doctorate back in the 90s. You preached and conducted workshops for the late Bishop C.L. Sexton and the late M.W. Ritter in Brooklyn, NY. Look forward to the new COGIC manual when it is completed. God bless you Dr. Lovett

  • William Jarrett on July 19, 2017 at 10:39 pm said:

    I enjoyed the read! Repentance is the starting point and the Holy Spirit controlling the life of the believer is paramount because He produces the Love of God that sees a preciousness in the object loved and is willing to sacrifice oneself for others. Christ sacrificed His Life for us. Thank you for article.

  • Harry King on June 11, 2017 at 2:08 am said:

    Awesome blog..It’s time for God’s people to repent. 2 Chronicles 7:14 Or suffer death as Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11 concerning church.

  • Dr. Randy Short on March 1, 2017 at 1:50 pm said:

    ###For Immediate Release###

    Church of God-in-Christ (COGIC) presiding Bishop of America’s 5th largest church and oldest Pentecostal denomination Charles Edward Blake, after exhausting his means to evade facing the allegations of pedophilia made by excommunicated Rev. Dr. Earl Carter, Sr., has been summoned to appear in Orlando’s George C. Young Court on Wedesday March 8th, 2017. Blake unfairly dismissed Carter in 2014, and in the bitter fallout that followed the dirty laundry of the presiding bishop was aired by disgruntled parishioners and clergy alike. Carter refusing to quietly go away devoted a You Tube channel to discussing the corruption and sexual foibles and crimes of Blake and other COGIC bishops. Fearful of a real court battle, Blake who is called the “Preacher to the Stars” used his relationship with radio, television, and film stars including Stevie Wonder, Sam Jackson, Denzel Washington, Tom Joyner, Magic Johnson and T.D. Jakes to plant false stories about Carter having been successfully sued in court; thus, eliminating the threat of media exposure. Carter suffered considerable financial hardship as a result of Blake and the COGIC leadership tainting him as “personae non grata”. Unconstitutional attempts were made by Orlando authories to deny Carter’s freedom of speech. However, the Orlando court, upon learning of Carter’s connection to Atty. General Jeff Sessions, rescinded their contempt of court charge against the minister and gave him a trial date to present evidence demonstrating that Blake is a pedophile with a colorful private life–inclusive of homemade gay porn movies and homosexual affair with former Harvard University Dean of the Chapel the Rev. Dr. Peter Gomes. Blake is, in return, is expected to file claims agaisnt Carter for slander, defamation, and libel. Carter seeks to sue for $2,000,000 in damages. The David and Goliath struggle between Bishop Charles Blake and Rev. Dr. Earl Carter trial wll have a fateful effect on the over 10,000,000 COGIC members world-wide, and more allegations of fraud, abuse, rape, and child molestation are likely to issue forth. Dr. Carter, of Orlando Florida, is open and available for phone, skype, and in-studio interviews and can be reached at 407-437-0215.

    • Dr. Leonard Lovett on March 11, 2017 at 2:45 pm said:

      We must be vigilant in standing for justice and opposing the Empire when Caesar is going against the truth. When the price of vegetables and fruits sky rocket we will wish the President would have been more discerning before sending un-documented people back home like cattle and not like the created in God’s image. Scripture clearly admonishes and warns us to treat strangers in the land with compassion and kindness. America is under divine judgment. -Chief Editor, Dr. Leonard Lovett

  • Philip Turner on February 3, 2017 at 7:21 pm said:

    Dr. Lovett: Keep writing and preaching. Just read your “An Open Letter to the President to…make America Honorable Again”. What a prophetic masterpiece, and the message that needed to be delivered at the recent 2017 National Prayer Breakfast! Appreciate your eschatological declaration that “The Lamb will always overcome the lion in history.” The Saints have hope! The 45th POTUS called for the repeal of the Johnson Amendment at the 2017 National Prayer Breakfast. What are your thoughts either negative or positive concerning such repeal?

    • Dr. Leonard Lovett on March 11, 2017 at 2:49 pm said:

      I agree with the wisdom of Proverbs…”the Kings heart is in the hand of the Lord and He turns it whatsoever way he will.” In the meantime we must be vigilant in opposing injustice anywhere before it leapfrogs everywhere.

  • Roger Woody on January 31, 2017 at 10:57 pm said:

    I want to thank you Dr. Lovett for your insight in this ongoing, traditional incline of pride and greed in the church today. So my question to you is, when will the leadership humble themselves, repent, and be delivered to give God the glory?

    • Dr. Leonard Lovett on March 11, 2017 at 3:05 pm said:

      I have no mirror into the future that forecast when will leaders change. However, I strongly recommend that you read and follow the prophetic challenges being set forth by Christena Cleveland, the great granddaughter of the late Evangelist Bishop EE Cleveland. Dr. Cleveland is a Social Psychologist at Duke who guides the Center for Reconciliation. Christina views the current actions of this new administration as the last gasp for white folk who are now in a minority due to shifting demographics by Blacks, Browns and others. According to Jesus we are the only folk on the planet whole in a paradoxical relationship with our Lord…We “win by losing and lose by winning.”

  • Philip Turner on November 21, 2016 at 7:04 pm said:

    Dr. Lovett: Thank-you for your biblical exegetical and hermeneutical insigt pertaining to the current state of affairs in the COGIC. What are your biblical insights of the recent election of the current General Board and officers?

  • Philip Turner on November 21, 2016 at 7:00 pm said:

    Dr. Lovett: many thanks for your insight and scriptural exegesis and hermenuetics on the the current leadership of COGIC. Now that you are utilizing themeans of the internet to bring transparency of discussion regarding COGIC, what are your comments pertaining to the post-election of the General Board and officers of COGIC?

  • Keith jackson on November 9, 2016 at 8:53 pm said:

    Hello Dr. Lovett, thankyou for this truth platform! I pray for you to continually speak and write about the pure truth. Now days it appears previlant that standards in our churches has be lowered to compromise with the world

  • Bishop Gerald Glenn on October 13, 2016 at 9:03 am said:

    Once again Dr.Lovett in a contemporary fashion has spoken in prophetic parlance. He has been called for this time to “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” The great tragedy is that his prophetic utterance may be drowned out by those individuals threatened by his public declaration and his fearless stand for “speaking truth to power.” What would God do in our church if the “king and all the king’s men” heeded these prophetic truths in the fashion of Jehu and do as Jehoshaphat did, “bring the people back to God?”

  • Stephen York on September 14, 2016 at 3:38 pm said:

    Dr. Lovett,

    I am just now becoming acquainted with your work. I am grateful for what I have discovered and read thus far.

    I am currently working on my doctoral dissertation at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School on the influence of the Sanctified Church on James Baldwin’s Life and Thought. (I am aware that you graduated from Crozer when it was still in Chester, PA).

    As a 62-year old, white, third generation Pentecostal reared in the holiness church who preaches in many denominational settings, including COGIC, I am grateful for your intelligent and informative insights.

    I am looking to find your book, CROCKPOT PREACHING.

    With warm regards,

    Stephen York
    Stonington, Maine

  • Rev. Robert E.C. Jones, Jr., M.A., M.Div. on September 5, 2016 at 10:03 pm said:

    Dr. Lovett,
    Thank you for sharing your perspective on the matters of racial reconciliation at the O. T. Jones Leadership Institute, 96th Holy Convocation, Pennsylania Commonwealth Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction this past week. You presented uncanning truths that are all to often overshadowed by our mental disconnects–whether it is because we are uninformed or because we simply choose to ignor realities of the past. You revived our realities. There was a profound appreciation, and indeed, an astute need to help us all recognize that our American history cannot be buried nor forgotten. And, while you did not use these exact words, you made it clear that we can only understand our future by being in touch with our past! A notable point. May God’s grace, mercy, and peace be forever yours.

  • Sherry Sherrod DuPree on July 5, 2016 at 3:49 pm said:

    Greetings Dr. Lovett.

    Thank you for introducing me to your blog…this has made my day…I am going to get a cup of tea and enjoy reading these gems of insight into our church and culture. I am thanking you in advance for interviewing Bishop Mack E. Jonas which includes his testimony from the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles. Grace to you as you continue sharing history of the Pentecostal movement.

    Best Regards,
    Sherry

  • Gregory Ballard on May 13, 2016 at 5:36 pm said:

    This is precisely why you are my Mentor and Friend! A POWERFUL warning & Word from a Prophet In Spirit Of Elijah! Gregory Ballard

  • Kim Fersner on March 25, 2016 at 5:30 am said:

    Dr. Lovett thank you for your thought provoking writings. I enjoy reading as I gain spiritual and natural insite. Love you, always have and will always. Shalom Kim Leatherbury Fersner

  • Lee Perkins on December 15, 2015 at 9:04 am said:

    I believe you are right on target, Dr. Lovett. We need age limitations for pastors, bishops, and supervisors. I believe somewhere in 70-75 range should be mandatory retirement age. Such a requirement would almost force churches and jurisdictions to think about and plan for seriously retirement benefits (pension and insurance), which I believe is the biggest obstacle for many who don’t want to retire. Many of our people do not save or invest for retirement. So, in a sense, they must continue to stay in position in order receive an income.

  • Pastor Michael Mancha on October 20, 2015 at 11:33 am said:

    Dr. Lovett,

    Enjoyed talking and laughing with you as we discussed some of the most critical global and denominational issues of our time at Pastor Logans wonderful Founders Day reception Sunday October 18th.

    May the Lord continue to strengthen you and give you favor as you go where the Lord leads. Thank you for sharing your sanctified, experienced, and informative perspectives. God bless you.

    • Leonard lovett on October 21, 2015 at 1:21 am said:

      Thanks for the encouraging word from you and your wife this past Sunday at the Antioch church festive feast at the home of the renowned Pastor Jonathan and Christine Logan in Peoria, Az. God is up to something in COGIC and you and yours will be an integral,part of the major shift. ” For such a time as this you have come into the Kingdom.” Your training at Claremont and your wife’s D.Min from Fuller can seriously be utilized in the great state of Arizona,
      Shalom,
      Leonard Lovett

  • Novena Robinson on October 13, 2015 at 12:36 am said:

    Dr. Lovett
    It was an honor meeting and a awesome seminar re: The purpose for the church. Once again you have knocked this one right out the park! Well done. I look forward to future readings. I am as well greatly inspired by your Revised book: CLOSE YOUR BACK DOOR as You Widen the Front Door of Your Church.
    Sis. Novena Robinson

    • Leonard lovett on October 21, 2015 at 12:58 am said:

      Hello Novena….thanks for the encouragement. I had a great time at Ephesians in Berkeley. Be steadfast and continue to focus on the purpose of the church. Remember you are at the beginning of the third quarter at Ephesians. Envision a glorious victory at the end of the fourth quarter.
      Shalom
      Leonard Lovett

  • Bishop Phillip H. Porter on October 12, 2015 at 2:15 pm said:

    What a joy it is to call you, ‘Friend’. Seeing that you yet possess “your burning, with your learning”, I’m encouraged that you have not lost your position on ‘The Wall’.
    With malice toward none, Love for All, Truth and wisdom of Scripture must always be spoken. With clarity may you continue to “Blow the Trumpet, in Zion. I do keep you in my fervent prayers.

    • Leonard lovett on October 21, 2015 at 1:01 am said:

      Bishop Porter…Imhave always admired your brilliant mind and a deep sense of integrity .
      Your wisdom is needed to guide us out of this morass. Thanks for the encouragement Keep the fire of God burning in Aurora and Montana
      Shalom

  • Barbara Banford on October 11, 2015 at 11:57 pm said:

    Dr. Lovett,

    Although I have never attended a national convocation the local can be a market place. Must agree at the church becoming the market place.

    Enjoyed your sermon — the ocntent and how it was presented.

    Barbara Banford
    Ephesian COGIC Berkeley CA

    • Leonard lovett on October 21, 2015 at 1:07 am said:

      Hello Barbara …you are the woman with an unwritten book within at the Ephesians Church in Berkeley. What great promise your church has for impacting the community where you reside. Remember God rewards faithfulness.
      Shalom

  • Frankie Loyd on September 27, 2015 at 2:55 am said:

    I’d love to be on the receiving end of your Blog. “Truth” is what I’m after as well, Dr. Lovett… and I thank you for all your input on things concerning the heart of GOD. Not many will STAND… May our LORD bless and keep you always!

    Take care!

    • Leonard lovett on October 21, 2015 at 1:12 am said:

      It is the truth that will free us ultimately. Thanks for the encouragement. You are among the 70,000 plus visitors from North America. Who has visited the The Agora blog. Several million from the global village has visited our blog based on our recorder.
      Shalom,
      Leonard Lovett

    • Leonard lovett on October 21, 2015 at 1:45 am said:

      Frankie Loyd Thanks for the encouragement during these trying times. We are in the developmental stage of the Blog/web. God has surprised us with the massive visitation to the site. I am more excited than ever to speak the truth in love to free the people.
      Pray for us.
      Shalom,
      Leonard Lovett

  • Pastor Nathaniel Goodson on August 3, 2015 at 5:31 pm said:

    Dr Lovett, as always your thoughts provoke feelings and emotions that are at things difficult to explain. I am grateful for your insightful and provocative writing on the purpose of the convocation. I have had some of the same thoughts many times both in my state convocation and at the national level. Thank you for expressing what many Of us did not have the courage to express.

    • Leonard lovett on October 21, 2015 at 1:28 am said:

      Pastor Nathaniel Goodson my son in the Gospel. Thanks for the great fellowship at Prayer Chapel Church in Upper Darby. I was so impressed with your maturity and coming of age as a pastor. Your attempt to build a relational church with a focus on the Millennials is novel for COGIC. Be as faithful in your ministry as your parents Deacon Nathaniel and Ruth Goodson. Thanks for the encouragement.
      Shalom,
      Leonard Lovett

  • romona williams on May 6, 2015 at 9:36 pm said:

    Me and my daughter had a awesome time today at ONE of our favorite eating place. Sitting across from the Dr.Lovett as people walk pass speaking to him with excitement. Well he was just a normal personal to talk with and have a little church.
    Not knowing who the Dr. Lovett was admittedly Dr. Lovett spoken with us like family.I enjoyed eating at our favorite restaurant today with a opportunity to talk about, school,church,race,work,cats raccoons,a skunk,and more. today confirmation from God! Peace and Love and that’s what the is made of.

  • J k Goodson on August 18, 2014 at 2:08 pm said:

    I think you for sharing and proving a voice for these challenging times I pray this nation that continues to allow the crooked face of racism to demean the very existence of humanity preachers leaders and the faith base community must come together and brake the chain of this demonic, that tears and foams at the mouth we must exercise and activate the authority of Jesus Christ There must be ‘ truth’ Dr MARTIN LUTHER KING AFFIRMS.
    PEACE IF POSSIBLE BUT TRUTH AT ANY RATE

    • Leonard lovett on October 21, 2015 at 1:37 am said:

      Pastor Jeffrey Goodson, my son in the Gospel, you do me proud with such a focus and determination. You will go far because of your committed intellect and great spirit. Your presence at The Gathering (Memorial COGIC) my first pastorate, was momentous. I can see young pastor Darren Miller going places with a little mentoring. The Heritage Celebration then second week in October was epic. Chosen Generation will get a hearing in Philadelphia.
      Shalom ,
      Leonard Lovett

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