“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there “is” such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.”
The national Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday prompts almost universal praise for the well-known “I Have A Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. National media outlets play excerpts of Rev. Dr. King masterfully describing the corruption of racial injustice and the potential of racial reconciliation. Dr. King articulated a great dream, but the “I Have A Dream” speech was more than a dream – it was a call to action.
DEVOTED TO SERVICE
Before ascending to the heights of leadership on the international stage, Dr. King was trained in the value of service. Serving the felt needs of people was his top priority. An urgent need that he could not ignore was the racial injustice poisoning the culture in America. He could not stand idly by while discrimination, racism and injustice ran rampant. His devotion to service was not lip service – he made the choice to service with action and devotion.
As an MLK Scholar at Seton Hall University, I was reminded of the great call to action that laid at the feet of my generation. Breaking the cycle of entitlement, it was (and still remains) our responsibility to serve and give of ourselves to the betterment of society. When I think of MLK’s life of service – I must ask: What are we willing to give to serve others? What time, talent, treasure and efforts will we give for the sake of others? As we dream for a better life and society, we can start serving where we are to bring about change.
DEDICATED TO THE CAUSE
Some historians and observers mistakenly limit Dr. King’s influence only to the realm of social justice and racial reconciliation. I would caution you not to make the same error. Dr. King’s cause was greater than seeing racism eradicated. It was extended to the root of the Gospel – love. Unlike the “love” defined by our culture in moments, Dr. King served out of a love defined by the Scriptures – sacrificial giving. His example was in the Savior he preached about. His model was in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross for the sins of humanity. A young preacher and leader would not make such sacrifices on a whim; the surrendering of his life was in exchange for the agape love he longed to see.
Dr. King never claimed to be a perfect, flawless man. Such an arrogant presumption would violate the humanity and brokenness of this influential leader. He recognized his frailties, but did not excuse himself from the hard work of perfecting our union. He was dedicated to the cause of Christ, leading him to unchartered waters and the “fierce urgency of now”. Dr. King demonstrated he would rather face death than live in the man-made world of apathy and despair.
THE TIME IS NOW
The excuses of delay and denial are no longer acceptable. We cannot delay in taking action steps to make a real difference in our communities and neighborhoods. We cannot deny the need to serve others who we know and see need our assistance. In the words of Dr. King: “This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.” Let this vigorous and positive action start in taking a small step to give what you can and when you can. It is my prayer and hope that the words of Dr. King go beyond a dream; it will become a reality for all of us to enjoy.
“A lie consists in speaking a falsehood with the intention of deceiving.” Augustine
In my junior year of high school, I entered into the world of high school musical theatre. The headlining musical for the year was Sweet Charity and my debut role was the character Daddy Johann Sebastian Brubeck. This dark, mysterious and self-described oracular character demanded a performance equal to the captivating script.
Rehearsing lines with my fellow cast mates proved to be an experience I will never forget. I watched in awe how the character came to life in each scene through the music, dance and dialogue with flawless execution. It was quite fascinating how in the course of a play, you can become a whole new character and no one would know who you really are.
Once the play was over, I realized how easy it is to pretend you are someone else. Rehearse the lines, mimic the mannerisms, copy the tone and tenor of the voice and there you have it: a new character, a new identity. But, the new character is not the real you. The inner struggles are covered, the dark secrets remain hidden and the personality you want to show becomes visible upon demand.
We can say we are adapting or adjusting, but let’s be honest – we are lying! We are lying about who we are. We hide the best of ourselves to avoid risking showing the vulnerable sides of our being. As a result, very few if anyone knows who we are and quite often, that’s how we like it. Who really wants to see who we really are? I’ve got too much baggage and junk. What would be their reaction? Will they still love us?
The truth: When you deceive others, you deceive yourself and the unique purpose God created you for. The temptation to present a false self will only lead to moving further and further away from your identity. Rehearsing the lines of someone else’s script for your life requires you to play a fake character. Living out God’s plan for your life requires you to show real character.
Today, let’s make the choice to put the scripts away that put us in a box. This choice will take courage. It will take discipline. It will take sacrifice. But, the sacrifice is much greater than forfeiting your God-given identity – any day. Don’t surrender who you were created to be to become what you think others want you to be.
What lines have you been rehearsing to hide the real you? Whether intentionally or unintentionally, the deception can imprison you to be someone you are not. In this year, let’s collectively make the bold choice to be who we are without false pretenses. Let’s open ourselves up to learn, grow and mature. But, for the sake of yourself, those you love and the God who created you – don’t forfeit your identity.
The Value and Significance of Time
“To waste time is to squander a gift from God.” – John Blanchard
Growing up, one of the most annoying sounds I ever heard was the start of CBS’ “60 Minutes”. I knew my family was watching the program by the quickening “tick-tock” sound that preceded the show. This incessant sound was quite frustrating, never knowing when it would eventually end. Even now, a wall clock loudly ticking will make me want to say, “PLEASE, MAKE IT STOP!”
But one day, the sound of a ticking clock will not reach my ears.
Nowadays, we have electronic devices that give us the convenience of not hearing the second hand and minute hand rotate clockwise. But, when you hear the sound, you realize seconds, minutes, and hours have passed from your life. It can either be frightening (“How much time do I have left?”) or motivating (“What can I do with the timeI have?”).
The John Blanchard quote above resonates with me because time is truly a gift from God. He has graced each of us with the same amountof hours in a day to accomplish our purpose. And if our perspective is established in this truth, we would no longer find time to complain about what is not. Rather, we would prepare ourselves for the now and the possibilities ahead.
Let’s tell the truth – in some form or fashion, we all have squandered time. We might have spent it doing something or going somewhere and we wonder – “Why did I waste my time doing that?” In this New Year, the question is not how you spend your time, but with the time you have, how are you investing it.
Men and women who accomplish great things for God, their community, and for the betterment of society inspire me. Their determination, drive, and discipline are examples of what could be. As the clock ticks, they use their time rather than time using them. They have learned the discipline of managing each hour given and to manage themselves better.
You have 86,400 seconds today. How will you invest the gift of time given to you?
(1) How are you currently investing your time?
(2) What changes could you make this year as compared to 2013 as it regards your time management?
(3) How often to you invest your time with God to say thank you for the gift He’s given you?
(4) How can you show God that you appreciate His gift?
“People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering.”
~ St. Augustine
Welcome to the official first blog entry on RyanFaison.com!
Allow me to introduce myself:
I’m a husband, son, uncle, brother-in-law, nephew, cousin, and friend.
I’m a follower, servant and friend of Jesus Christ.
I’m a preacher, teacher, worship leader, and ministry leader.
I’m a college and seminary graduate.
I’m a black man.
How we define ourselves shows us what we feel is important to us and what we want others to know. What I shared above is only a fraction of who I am. And if you were to look at your own resume or written self-description, you probably would say the same. We are more than meets the eye!
In this blog and through the pages of this website, my simple goal is to humbly help you see you. In the stories, questions and lessons presented, this blog offers an opportunity to see what we look like, similar to a reflection in the mirror. But unlike a physical mirror, this blog serves to capture what you look like on the inside as well as the outside. In the words of St. Augustine, I hope when you pass yourself, you see the wonder in you!
This blog will explore a wide array of reflections from current events to personal reflections through interviews, guest entries and contemplative pieces. Through each blog entry you read or view, I hope you are inspired, challenged and engaged in your own process of growing in character, integrity and reaching God’s given destiny for your life.
Join me on the journey of discovery, awe, and wonder in who God created us to be! I have no doubt that this will be a worthwhile adventure!
Welcome to REFlections!