Thursday, 31 August 2017
Why Ministers and Others Marched on Washington, August 28, 2017
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                   I was ecstatic to see via social media several of my close friends and colleagues participate in the Ministers March for Justice in Washington, DC on August 28, 2017.  I’ve marched for justice for 30 years; however, as result of a scheduling conflict, I was unable to be present.  The agenda spearheaded by the Reverend Al Sharpton and the National Action Network was clear: We’re marching for Voting Rights, Healthcare, Criminal Justice Reform and Economic Justice. It was both refreshing and inspiring to see thousands of people, both clergy and lay, refusing to accept and embrace the status quo, and marching for the rights of those who are victims of wage theft (e.g., working for more than 40 hours per week and not receiving overtime pay), juveniles who can benefit for alternative sentencing instead of being subject to abuse in jail or prison for non-violent drug offenses,  individuals who need health insurance through Obamacare because they have preexisting conditions and people who have a Constructional right to vote even though they have encountered  new legislation (i.e., voter identification laws which impede the process of voting for people of color) from states which are trying to eliminate that right. I and many others throughout our nation stood in solidarity with them as they worked to create a better day, indeed to establish the beloved community, during their lifetime. 

                I’ve come to accept the fact, albeit reluctantly, that many clergy and Christian lay refused to participate in this march or any other march that concerns social, political and economic justice. Unfortunately, they are constrained, in my opinion, to a narrow legalistic morality that only views Christian ethics in relation to the individual (e.g., lying, stealing and killing - see the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17). For those who claim to be Christian and choose to ignore the ethics associated which social issues, I invite you to consider Jesus’ words in Luke 4:18-19: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” For those who admire the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and say “Now is not the time to march for justice,” I invite you to read his book titled Why We Can’t Wait.

                If you are interested in joining the fight for justice as it concerns the aforementioned issues, I invite you to contact the Nation Action Network. I, like many of you, thank God for those who are continuing this fight.

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Posted on 08/31/2017 5:14 PM by The Reverend Jason Richard Curry, Ph.D.
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Friday, 11 August 2017
Got Faith? The Limits of an Outstanding Christian Work-ethic
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“Therefore we conclude, that a person is justified by faith without the deeds of the law (Romans 3:28). “

                Like many of you, I believe in working hard in order to accomplish my goals. There is a difference, as one of my difficult friends pointed out, in “working hard and working smart.” I sincerely hope that I am doing both simultaneously. However, many of us would readily conclude that “hard work” (e.g., working diligently to accomplish certain results) is necessary for success. Many of us wholeheartedly agree with the common expression: “Success is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” Also, some of us are witnesses to the devastating consequences that may be associated with giving someone something of value (e.g., a promotion an expensive car) even though they played no part in earning it. Sometimes the recipients of unmerited gifts have little appreciation for them. I am grateful that I learned the value of a great work inside of and outside of the church. I am grateful that pastors and lay members of the church taught me and demonstrate to me the importance of the Jesus’ saying: “I must work the work of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no person can work (John 9:4).”

                The scriptures teach us, however, that there are limits to an outstanding, Christian work-ethic. In Romans 4, Paul talks about leaders (Abraham and David) who were justified through their faith not through their works. A hard-working Christian might naturally assume that one can earn God’s love; however, God’s love, which is referred to as grace cannot be earned by human beings because it is freely given by God (see Ephesians 1:6, 2:8 and Romans 3:24).  One might assume that when we read our bible, attend worships services and help the poor that we will be able to establish our own righteousness; however, the Apostle Paul teaches us that people are unable to establish their righteousness (see Romans 10:3, Philippians 3:9 and Romans 3:22). As Christians, our righteousness is established through our relationship with God, not through our deeds. We are justified (i.e., our righteousness is established) through our faith in God, not through our works (see Romans 3:28).

                  As follower of Christ, we must continue to exemplify an outstanding work-ethic by engaging in the work of kingdom-building (see Matthew 6:10). The scriptures remind us that “faith without works it dead (James 2:26).” As we work for God in our homes, churches, schools at our places of employment, we must also seek to maintain and even enhance (e.g., make stronger) our faith in God.  In short, we must keep the faith, and thank God for establishing righteousness through it.

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Posted on 08/11/2017 1:22 PM by The Reverend Jason Richard Curry, Ph.D.
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Friday, 11 August 2017
The World is Yours: Ambition, Priorities and Jesus Christ
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“Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours, And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's (1 Corinthians 3:22-23).”

                To be sure, there are at least two “wills” in this world: God’s will (Romans 12:2) and our will. King David reminds us that “the steps of a good person are ordered by God (Psalm 37:23).” Also, Jesus’ first commandment states that we should love “God with all our heart and with all our soul and with our entire mind (Matthew 22:37).” Therefore, it is safe to conclude that, for the Christian, God’s will for our lives should supersede or “come before” our individual will. I am reminded of a popular Christian billboard that I saw hanging above an interstate which  read: “I am second.” It is understood that “God is first.”

                As we follow God’s will for our lives (e.g., feeding those who are hungry), we have the ability to make individual choices and still remain in accord with God’s will. For example, we can choose to wear black socks or green socks to bible study. I don’t think that God cares about the color of our socks as we study God’s word! As we make our individual choices, God provides us with a unique opportunity to ambitious. For example, we may become influential leaders in our churches, schools and families. Our businesses may have customers in the city, the nation and throughout the world. Our talents (e.g., singing, dancing, drawing, speaking and playing sports) may encourage the young and the elderly, the affluent and the impoverished, Americans and people of other countries. Both Jesus and Paul confirm that there is room for the ambition Christian in this world. In 1 Corinthians 3:23, Paul tells the congregants of the churches in Corinth that the “the world…is yours….” However, Paul also says that “you are Christ’s and Christ belongs to God.”

                King David tells us in Psalms 37:3: “Trust in the Lord and do good….” The world needs ambitions Christians who want to influence it for the good. As we strive to influence our families, our fraternities and sororities, our churches, our business partners and customers, our city, our nation and our world, let’s us work diligently to ensure that our will remains in accord with God’s will. The stories we tell, the actions we perform, the tasks we accomplish should always be a reflection of God presence and influence in our lives. Our success, in God’s eyes, hinges upon our ability to maintain our priorities: God is first we are second. The world is indeed ours, but, we are Christ’s and Christ belongs to God.

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Posted on 08/11/2017 1:27 PM by The Reverend Jason Richard Curry, Ph.D.
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Friday, 11 August 2017
National Lobby Day, Bread for the World
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Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s leaders to end hunger at home and abroad.  On June 9, 2015, members of the Fisk University Team from the Tennessee delegation received the opportunity to talk with Congressman and Fiskite John Lewis, who is pictured with Dean Curry , Ms. Brandy Jackson ‘06 and Mr. John Curry

 

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Posted on 08/11/2017 2:24 PM by Dean Jason Richard Curry
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Friday, 11 August 2017
National Lobby Day, Bread for the World
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Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s leaders to end hunger at home and abroad.  On June 9, 2015, members of the Fisk University Team from the Tennessee delegation received the opportunity to talk with Congressman and Fiskite John Lewis, who is pictured with Dean Curry , Ms. Brandy Jackson ‘06 and Mr. John Curry

 

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Posted on 08/11/2017 2:28 PM by Dean Jason Richard Curry
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Friday, 11 August 2017
Ministry through Soles4Souls and Clothes4Souls
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The Fisk Memorial Chapel Assistants have been ardent supporters of Soles4Souls for several years. The sneakers and shoes that were collected throughout the year were distributed to impoverished families throughout the world. Recently, the Chapel has begun to donate clothing items to one of Soles4Souls’ auxiliary services called Clothes4Souls. The shoes and clothing items pictured above were collected by students throughout the entire academic year. Pictured from left to right: Dean Curry, Mr. DeAngelo Webb ’17, Mr. Malik Craft ’17, Mr. Samuel Adeogun ’16, Ms. Zhane Reese ’17, Ms. Julie Grant ’16, Ms. Stephanie Morris ‘17, Mr. Cameron Ramos ’16.

 

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Posted on 08/11/2017 2:52 PM by Dean Jason Richard Curry
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Friday, 11 August 2017
Third Annual African-American Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Service
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Ms. Marvelyn Brown spoke at Fisk University on March 15, 2015. She is pictured (from left to right) with Dean Curry, the Reverend Dr. Sondra Tolbert, Reverend Diana R. Williams and the Reverend  Pam Kellar. Ms. Brown is the author of The Naked Truth: Young, Beautiful and HIV Positive.

Ms. Marvelyn Brown, a 32-year-old native Tennessean, learned she was HIV-positive at age 19. Since then she has moved both live and television audiences around the United States, Bermuda, Canada, Jamaica, Mexico, the Virgin Islands, South Africa, Tanzania and Rwanda with her compelling personal story. Ms. Brown has spoken at hundreds of colleges, universities, churches and conferences worldwide. Her autobiography, The Naked Truth: Young, Beautiful and (HIV) Positive, was published by Amistad/HarperCollins in 2008.

Her humanitarian work earned her a 2007 Emmy Award for Outstanding National PSA. BET’s Rap It Up campaign named Brown one of the 25 "HEROES" in the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In 2009 she won the Do Something Award and in 2010, she was inducted into The Heroes In The Struggle Photo Exhibit by The Magic Johnson Foundation and The Black AIDS Institute.

Ms. Brown has also made a huge impact on television shows and in print media. Some highlights include, appearing on CNN's Black in America, Frontline's ENDGAME, The Oprah Winfrey Show, America’s Next Top Model, America’s Best Dance Crew, and CBS’s The Early Show.  Articles including her story have appeared in Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, Fortune 500, Cosmopolitan, Glamour and ESSENCE magazine. Ms. Brown has also graced the covers A&U, POZ and The Ave. Ms. Brown is currently the CEO and an Independent HIV Consultant for Marvelous Connections, which she founded in 2007. 

 

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Posted on 08/11/2017 3:03 PM by Dean Jason Richard Curry
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Wednesday, 9 August 2017
Meetings to Avoid: Using Spiritual Discernment to Promote Success
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                    I am a proponent of attending meetings. As a university chaplain, I make it a point to attend both formal and informal meetings throughout the day. My formal meetings may include discussions about fundraising in order to make repairs to the Chapel.  My informal meetings may include brief and unscheduled pastoral counseling sessions in a parking lot or on a sidewalk in order to provide advice and encouragement to the faculty, staff or students. However, there are some meetings that I consciously seek to avoid. Over time, I’ve learned that they are often unproductive, unsettling and sometimes ungodly. At one informal meeting, I quickly discovered that the participants were determined to spread personal and negative information about someone for no apparent reason. Unfortunately, I also attended an informal meeting in which a group of people were committed to undermining another person’s professional and personal progress. It seemed as if the people in these meetings were intent on gossiping and engaging in slander. Even though I am an advocate of attending formal and informal meetings, I’ve learned to identify and, if possible, avoid meetings that are hostile to Christ’s message of love.

                King David was a wealthy, wise and powerful king. He truly loved the Lord, and he is credited with writing the book of Psalms. As a leader, he was responsible for attending many formal and informal meetings. He knew that meetings were taking place among his supporters, political detractors and/or enemies. On one occasion David prayed: “Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity (Psalm 64:2).” On another occasion he prayed: “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night (Psalm 1:1-2).” David neither wanted to be discussed by people in meetings who were intent on doing evil nor did he want to participate in these meetings. He was a wise king, and ultimately, he believed that God was and would be responsible for his professional success.

                If possible, try to avoid some informal meetings (e.g., meetings among friends, family and co-workers) in which people are intent on dishonoring themselves, others and God. If you must attend, pray for spiritual strength, guidance and protection while you are in the meetings. Lastly, if possible, try to direct the content of the meetings to subjects that reflect the things of God (e.g., peace and forgiveness) and your love for God. We must remember 1 Peter 1:16: “…Be ye holy; for I am holy.”

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Posted on 08/09/2017 3:47 PM by The Reverend Dr. Jason Richard Curry
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