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Posted on Sat. Jan. 19, 2013 - 12:01 am EDT


Church leaders need MLK treatment

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If I was given the opportunity to do one thing to improve the social, economic, political, educational, judicial, governmental and spiritual environments and structures in Fort Wayne, I would be inspired and motivated by the great God-given embodiment of love and justice and righteousness of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

If you study closely the Old Testament prophets’ message to the children of Israel or the nation of Israel, it was always first a direct repudiation and condemnation of the behavior and lifestyle of the spiritual and governmental leadership of Israel.

The prophets would use such words to define their condition as: a head sick and full of putrefying, decaying sores; lacking soundness and judgment; lacking wisdom and knowledge of God; lacking purpose and direction; hard of hearing and deaf; without sensitivity; full of corruption and deception; habitual liars who cannot discern the truth; unfair and discriminatory; mentally and emotionally sick; without empathy or sympathy; lacking real genuine compassion and love and concern; full of evilness and wickedness; and egotistical and full of pride and vanity.

It was always God’s desire to first address or straighten out leadership, because ordinary people are an assimilation or example of their leadership. People are not stupid and ignorant as some leaders think they are; they can see through their cloak of pretending or wanting to help people and instead see the real true person, who is on an ego trip with a swollen head, with ulterior motives and intentions, seeking self-exaltation and self-gratification.

Leaders have for years taken God-given ordained gifts, talents and skills and used them for their own benefit and self-enhancement. It is a part of human nature and the human spirit to want to be patted on the back, to receive applause, to receive recognition and admiration from other people, to receive acclamation and rewards, to be glorified and lifted up. But that becomes a problem when leaders put that as their No. 1 priority in life.

Today, the situation hasn’t changed since the Old Testament. Leaders are still the problem, and that’s the reason why we have gridlock in Washington between the executive and legislative branch of government.

So this is what I would do if given the opportunity in Fort Wayne to improve the landscape of our environments: A five-day recipe for Fort Wayne.

I would first round up all men and women in this city who call themselves preachers or ministers, no matter if they are white, black, Asian, Latino, or whatever race or ethnicity, and take them to a large gymnasium. Then I would tell them before entering the gym to take off their suits, ministerial garb and robes and dresses and put on a pair of coveralls.

I would tell them they must leave their titles, education, who they think they are and who they want to be, their personal aspirations and goals, all their insecurities and manipulations and controlling domineering schemes and wiles, their egos and pride, all their money and personal materialistic gain, at the door.

Then I would take them into the gym and for the first 24 hours make them listen to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final great profound sermon preached in February 1968 in New York titled “The Drum Major Instinct” over and over and over again until the 24 hours had expired.

I would next put every one on a three-day fast; I would let them drink water but they must stay in the gym.

The first day of the fast would be completely devoted to repenting. No music, no reading the Bible, no talking to one another – just lying flat on your face before God, repenting of your sins.

The second day of the fast would be completely devoted to seeking to be filled with God’s spirit. The cry throughout the gymnasium will be “God fill me up with yourself.” The final day of the fast will be devoted to seeking God’s purpose and calling in your life – God’s plans and strategies and directions not only for your life, but also for your ministry.

On the final and fifth day, in the morning for three hours, we would listen again to Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous sermon, “The Drum Major Instinct.” Then we would have full communion, starting out with washing each other’s feet and sharing the bread and wine.

We would have a full meal and share and communicate with one another, followed by a service that would be devoted to deliverance, healing, worship and a final charge of total complete surrender and commitment to the will and purpose of God in our lives. We will follow the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message of love and servitude.

Finally, we would all leave the gym singing this song:

I’ll say yes, Lord, yes to your will and to your way

I’ll say yes, Lord, yes I will trust you and obey

When the spirit speaks to me, with my whole heart I will agree

And my answer will be, yes, Lord yes!

The Rev. Arsben Dennis Jennings attends Come As You Are Community Church in Fort Wayne. If you are interested in submitting a column (750 words or less), send it to Terri Richardson, The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email Include your name, religious organization and a phone number where you can be reached. For more information, call 461-8304.

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