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Unique moments in Black History
Pastor's corner
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In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul writes these words in I Corinthians 16:13-14: “Be watchful, stand in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”
At the request of a fellow Rotarian, I write you in love as Black History Month approaches. It’s celebrated annually in the month of February, helping many people to  understand and others to be understood.
On Jan. 13, two articles published in USA Today illustrated the high cost of terrorism of any type on the human spirit. The first article described the suicide of an American soldier who, like so many brave men and women, are silently paying the high cost of repeated deployments in the ugly face of terrorism. The article, written by Gregg Zoroya, was titled “Soldier’s death reflects the impact of stress in ranks.”
The other article was an opinion piece about the killing of a young black man — just another tragedy in the pattern of historic terrorism against people of color and black men in particular. The column, by DeWayne Wickham, was titled “Post racial era? Go tell victims of police shootings.”
We have only now begun to clinically understand the high cost of stress. Stress kills. Stress, coupled with violence, kills the body and soul.
For years, stress as the result of being the victim of violent acts was common in the lives of blacks (and many whites) in America. At the turn of the century, W.E.B. Dubois wrote these words in “The Souls of Black Folks” about the identity of the American Negro in particular:
“The Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil and gifted with second sight into this American world — a world which yields him no true self of consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world. It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness — an American, a Negro; two souls, two unreconciled strivings, two warring ideals in one dark body, who dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”
Americans are still living with the legacy of the many faces of slavery in America, but due to the tireless efforts of sensitive and courageous men and women of color, a new age is seemingly dawning.
Is the struggle over? No. As all people — those who are black, white, red, yellow and brown — will tell you, it is not. The struggle against the terrorism of the human spirit is not over.
We who are made in God’s image are works in progress. The battles are still being fought. The victory still must be won. Until that final day, when “sheep and goats are separated” (Matthew 25: 31-34), keep on keeping on and “let all that you do be done in love.”

Force is pastor of Hinesville United Methodist Church.
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