I remember first learning about Martin Luther King Jr and the civil rights movement at West Kingston elementary school. I memorized his I Have A Dream speech and would practice my own delivery to my classmates. I was riveted by his conviction and courage. My dad is a preacher and the fact that M.L.K. was also a preacher made him all the more intriguing. Even though I was young and grew up in a town that was predominantly white I remember understanding the significance of M.L.K. and the civil rights movement. I also remember thinking that racism had died and that we had reached the promised land when it comes to racial reconciliation.
Some years later I fell in love with Hip Hop, especially Tupac Shakur. Tupac and others spoke about racism from another perspective and forced me to confront the messiness of our racial history. I began to read and realized that our racial history is often more harsh than what’s recorded in history books or taught in school. We constantly need to be aware of racism, the temptation to explicitly or implicitly hold a belief or practice that distinguishes one race over other races. Over the years I have seen the continued racial divides in our country and how politics seemed to divide people even more. After living and studying theology in Chicago, eventually training as a pastor in Providence and recently planting a church back in our hometown; I have become increasingly passionate about racial reconciliation as a follower of Jesus.
Through the teachings of the Apostle Paul in the New Testament and the 21st century influence of Dr. John Piper and Matt Chandler, I began to see how the issues of racial reconciliation and the sanctity of human life are Gospel issues. These men would preach on these issues in consecutive weeks, year after year. This is a tradition that I want to continue in the early days of Generation Church. My burden and prayer is that the people of South County and the people of God will not look to Fox news, MSNBC, CNN or the present day cultural shifts when it comes to clarity on racial reconciliation or sanctity of human life and beyond. Instead we would all be life long learners who will not only read history books and the news but also look together in the 21st century to sacred Scripture and ultimately the good news (the Gospel) of Jesus to see how God has spoken to the heart of these issues.
These reasons and more are why I’m looking forward to these messages. I feel the great responsibility as a Pastor and new father to engage this generation with the unstoppable grace and truth of Jesus.
I’m excited for you to join us. We will have a time of discussion after morning church.
Pastor Stephen Mook