The Pastor’s Pen: January 12, 2020

One of the most influential writers of the 20th century, Aldous Huxley, famously said, “Experience is not what happens to you; it’s what you do with what happens to you.” Those of us who recall the presidency of John Fitzgerald Kennedy remember one of the most terrifying episodes of 1961. It was the Cuban Missile crisis. At that time, the United States and the Soviet Union were in a contest for global domination. The United States ended World War II by dropping two nuclear bombs over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was not long after that when Joseph Stalin’s Soviet regime perfected the technology to build nuclear weapons as well. The Cuban Missile Crisis was a direct and dangerous confrontation between the United States and Russia. The Russians wanted permission from the U. S. to establish a missile base in Cuba. President Kennedy put forth an ultimatum. He announced that the U. S. would not permit offensive weapons to be delivered to Cuba and demanded that the weapons already in Cuba be dismantled and returned to the Soviet Union or the U. S. would declare war on the Soviets. 

Those of us in school during that time had been practicing how to shelter in place if we were attacked. Most schools had some form of underground space where we would go to find safety in the event of an air raid alarm. For a nail-biting period of time, the world anxiously wondered if this indeed was the beginning of the end. Fortunately, Premier Nikita Khrushchev of the Soviet Union acquiesced. He ordered the ships to turn around, which ended (or circumvented?) the threat of another nuclear holocaust. During this anxious and tense period in our history, the Commander in Chief was known for sober and clear thinking. Using presidential protocol, he consulted his cabinet—composed of some of the finest minds in America—to advise him on the best strategy per the prevailing military intelligence. Contrast this with what we heard last week: President Trump foolishly and single-handedly ordered to kill, by ambush, one of Iran’s top generals. The order was impulsive, unconscionable, poorly thought out, and completely devoid of any strategy to deal with the aftermath of such a deranged and brash decision. Some may feel that those of us who are critics of the president may be too harsh. However, what we witnessed last week clearly affirms why we are so strident about the president. With nuclear weapons readily available to multiple nations, all it will take is the erratic, impulsive decision of one leader to start a nuclear holocaust that could not be reversed. “Tough talk” may appeal to the president’s base, but what the world faces now is not some parlor game. It is the future of the human race. Rather than being enamored with tough talk and blowhard “bullism,” we need to apply the words of President Theodore Roosevelt, “Walk softly and carry a big stick.” Foreign nations around the world know that the United States is not to be trifled with. They are aware of our extraordinary military power, our ability to make war is respected, and since the close of World War II, we have not had to utilize our military might. 

With this in mind, the time has come for people of faith around the world to call on God with the fullest sincerity and ask God to restore our president, not only to sanity, but to a knowledge of God, the God of justice, mercy, and peace.



The Brotherhood of Shiloh Men is excited to announce that Mr. Joe Madison will be our keynote speaker for the 29th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Prayer Breakfast on Saturday, January 18, 2020.

Ticket purchase deadline:

Wednesday, January 15, 2019



February 23, 2020

Dr. Frank Thomas

Professor Preaching the Arts 

 Central Seminary 

Indianapolis, Indiana

UDC Chorale 

under the direction of Professor Richard Odom


January-February Bible Institute

Starting on Thursday, January 16th – 7-8:00 pm

Rev. George Mensah will lead us as we continue with the church theme, Reimaging Shiloh, helping us to learn effective Bible study techniques.  Rev. Mensah will facilitate the January 16, 23 and 30th sessions.  The February 6, 13 and 20th sessions will be conference call-in sessions.  Stay tuned for additional information.

The Pastor’s Pen: January 5, 2020

People of faith around the world are praying for civil rights icon and man of peace, Congressman John Lewis, as he battles stage IV pancreatic cancer. I met Congressman Lewis when I pastored in Nashville, Tennessee. He was the keynote speaker at a banquet supporting the American Baptist College (ABC) of Nashville, his alma mater. We sat on the dais together and throughout the evening he spoke warmly of the many workshops he led at First Baptist Capitol Hill where I then pastored. He spoke also of the lunch counter sit-ins where he led workshops and the difficulty he experienced after conducting the workshops in making sure all involved in the demonstrations maintained a nonviolent posture no matter how hateful and dehumanizing the racist opposition. Congressman Lewis started his speech that evening at ABC by recounting his days as a boy practicing his sermons to the chickens on his farm. That story would become a hallmark account in his book Walking with the Wind. When our local congressman of Tennessee sent me to Washington to attend Nelson Mandela’s address to the U. S. Congress, as I wandered the halls of Capitol Hill, I ran into Congressman Lewis. Even though I was not a voting member of his District, he invited me to his office and treated me with exceptional kindness.

Years later after I relocated to Washington and assumed the pastorate of Shiloh, we invited the Congressman to deliver the commemorative Martin Luther King, Jr. sermon in January 2008. A year later (January 2009), he graciously consented to preach the historic sermon in honor of our celebration of President Barack Obama’s first inauguration. In September 2013, we invited Mr. Lewis to preach our 150th anniversary sermon, which he recalled to a reporter from the New Yorker magazine as one of the most memorable experiences of his long and illustrious career. While sitting behind Congressman Lewis in the pulpit during the anniversary service, I noticed a long scar on the back of his head. I will never forget wondering if the scar was from the beating he received during a protest march on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama (1965). It is one of the many brutalities he suffered for justice. We will always be grateful that he came to Shiloh and shared the amazing indomitable zeal of his ministry. I will always have a deep fondness for Congressman Lewis. He is, and has always been, a man for all seasons. If this illness signals the coming of winter in his life, we will always be grateful for the way he has used every season of his existence to glorify God.

Congressman Lewis plans to continue to serve the people of his 5th Congressional District of Georgia. He is quoted as saying: “I have been in some kind of fight – for freedom, equality, basic human rights – for nearly my entire life…but I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now.” As Mr. Lewis battles this cancer, I ask every member of our congregation to pray for him without ceasing. We will also pray collectively that God will be with him every step of the way as he battles this fight, the fight of his life.