Agora is the Greek word for marketplace. It appears that in our time voices from the public square have been muted for whatever reason. There is no serious public conversation going on about the church within the church. Freedom is the most cherished commodity we have as a people. If we do not speak now, then when? If we are forbidden to speak, then we have once again been victimized. God forbid that the church as we have come to know it becomes the new plantation. For some time I have thought seriously about the need to provide a forum for open discussion about the church and its mandate and mission. The Summer of 2011 became the seed bed for the launch of the Agora blog. Several tele-conferences were held where we fully expressed concerns about our church and its place in history at this juncture. We mutually decided that we need more dialogue. We decided that we needed an open free dialogue that does not airbrush reality when it comes to delicate issues. From our engagement of several “hot button issues” the need for authentic conversation among our brothers and sisters in the faith must begin.
For a decade I have served the Church of God in Christ as its first Ecumenical Officer. I was appointed by the late Bishop G.E. Patterson in 2004. My functional primary task was to promote unity throughout the Body of Christ. The trek toward true unity has been a bittersweet experience as I come to the end of this saga. I will write an open letter to the church to fully express what I see as the challenges facing us during the decade of the twenty-first century. Leadership supported several international trips which included but was not limited to Switzerland, Brazil and the African continent. I have represented our denomination before the World Council of Churches and the National Council of Churches. I now envision my primary task as apologist for the faith that we must earnestly “contend for at all cost.” We cannot fail our founder and Chief Apostle and the Fathers and Mothers of our faith who gave all to keep alive in our scope of memory the principles of holiness espoused in Hebrews 12: 14.
I deem the Agora title a fitting one to describe the intent of this blog. We will be committed to discussing issues rather than personality. We will attempt to answer all questions within the context of reasonable dialogue. We will publish frequent Op eds from various writers from varied places to engage and challenge us to envision what a Kingdom oriented church should look like. What should leaders look like as they lead God’s people. Again I must ask why are we so silent at a time when we should be speaking, challenging and questioning? Where is the prophetic witness of the church? Have we been morphed into believing that to be prophetic is to predict the future or render some word of knowledge to another person in a staged setting? As we struggle against the Pharaohs of this world who would attempt to keep God’s children under the iron fist of oppression, remember you cannot keep the dawn from breaking. Hopefully, we are prepared to listen to strident voices who are bearers of hope for a new future. To be prophetic is to challenge the status quo in the name of God without fear of repercussion. We will write and reflect from the standpoint of critical loyalty. If we are not free…then no one will be free. The urgency of the moment in history makes our task compelling.
Philippians 1: 17 “ I am put here for the defense of the Gospel”