By Anthony D. Bobo Jr.
Jackson Advocate Guest Writer
We often talk about the “Black community.” This sense of cultural, personhood, and family wrapped in the ideals of a people of dark hue. Unfortunately, when we hear the “Black community” it is tied to negative things that tear down community rather than build community. If we want to change the generations of evil that have thrived in so many communities, we have to start turning around the beliefs, habits, and activities of the family.
Consider the following thoughts: “Single parent families are ideal,” “Prison records are just the way of life,” or ”Because we have not had it in the past we do not deserve it now.” These statements are signs of an unhealthy community. No one should judge those of us in these situations, but we must continue to offer support and to expose others to a different way of life. As we think about the church and its responsibility to minister in communities, we cannot ignore the social and moral ills that create the many challenges.
My mentor and friend Reverend J.C. Watts, Pastor of Grace Bible Church of Charlestown, WV, believes the church must have “the unwavering focus on family and youth development.” The rebuilding of the family (in whatever manner that looks like in our community) is important. Watts further shares that this is a biblical principle, “God always tied the promise to the parent’s seed [children]. He would give “generational” promises, your children’s, children’s, children’s will be blessed. So whether it is Adam, Abraham, or Noah, God told them things would be better through their lineage.” This is not only an Old Testament concept, but we see the gospel of Matthew starts with the generations of Jesus, connecting even the son of God to family.
According to Watts, this unwavering focus on family and youth development “ties the parents to the children.” It prevents us from wasting our time, treasure, and resources on ourselves. Instead, we invest in the children and in their future. We have lost this focus on future investment along with the tie between parents and children. Many people believe that today is all that matters. However, rebuilding the family will strengthen our communities, and we will become the village again – caring for each other as family.
While these concepts and thoughts are not new, they seem to be lost in the chaos of our “Me-Centered” society. As we come to the end of our Black History Month celebration, we not only remember those African Americans who have helped shape us, but we must also commit to the ideals that sustained them. Maya Angelo speaks of the love that will heal our community, “The love of the family, the love of one person can heal. It heals the scars left by a larger society. A massive, powerful society.”
Anthony D. Bobo Jr. is the Senior Associate and Founder of the Joseph Factor Group, an organization dedicated to assist communities, ministries, and other organizations in reaching their full potential through the processes of visioning, strategic planning, and leading edge business practices.
He co-authored the book Commissioned To Love (C2L) with Pastor John P. Perkins (which launched as an Amazon Top 100 Best Seller in the category of Christian Missions). This article is an amplified excerpt from the book. C2L has inspired a movement through engaging and challenging its readers to inter-personally see their own biases so we can live as Christians – starting to listen and understand others to begin the process of healing and reconciliation. Living daily to seek peace, justice, wholeness, and togetherness through the love of Christ.