by Robert Earl Houston
You can utter a simply harmless phrase and if it is interpreted correctly or incorrectly it can have far reaching ramifications. Whether it’s a parent talking to a child or co-worker to co-worker or relative to relative or even two people who have never met each other, a word unfitly spoken is not productive and can have long-term damages in its wake.
It’s akin to trying to grow a small potted plant in a store which, according to the label, has the capacity to grow taller and strong, and then watering it with a poisonous substance. What occurs is not growth – it’s nothing more than death. Whether it comes immediately or next week, the end result is the same – death. Whether it comes this year or five years from now, the end result is the same – death.
Our words can have profound impacts upon the minds of the unlearned and immature, who may not be able to process certain types of speech or have no counterbalance in place to weigh out that which is harmful or a filter to removal painful bacteria before it reaches the cortex of the brain.
I’ve seen it happen when a custodial parent will make a remark about a non-custodial parent for the sheer pleasure of inflicting and sharing unresolved pain of the breakup of a relationship – not to the party that they have issue with, but upon a small child. It’s poison.
I’ve seen it happen with churches when gossip flies around the corridors of the congregation and rather than to filter it out using prayer, it’s allowed to take root and chokes off the vibrancy of that church. It’s poison.
I’ve seen it happen in society when members of one political party say hateful, disrespectful things about the opposition, and then one crazy individual acts upon that hatred and takes drastic measures including the opposition of doing harm to another person. It’s poison.
There is an admonition to “speak well” is found in James 4:11: “Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.”
Don’t poison the tender plants around you, please!
Rev. David L. Boyle Sr. was known for his positive ministry, descriptive sermons, love of education and encouraging spirit, which manifested in daily conversations when he bestowed on everyone the divine title of “Saint.”
“He called me Saint Win,” recalled Rev. Eric Winston, pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church on South Parkway in Memphis. “He would call everybody saint. Even though we weren’t saintly in our actions, he would say to us, ‘That’s where you’re going to be.’ It’s as if he were speaking our future in the midst of our mess.”
Rev. Boyle, a Memphis native and well-known pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Whiteville, Tenn., died on Nov. 5. He was 60.
Winston described his longtime friend as a “Prince of Preachers,” who held several advanced degrees and loved to read. He’d often leave the bookstore with five copies of the same book to pass out to friends so they could discuss it.
In January, Winston and Rev. Boyle traveled to Nigeria to teach seminary students there for two weeks. The two pastors returned with lighter luggage after giving the students in need most of their clothing and shoes.
Rev. Boyle loved playing golf, which he referred to as having “prayer meeting.” “He’d say, ‘Prayer meeting starts at Wedgewood at 10:30.’ We knew what that meant,” Winston recalled. “It was time to play golf.”
Rev. Keith Norman, pastor of First Baptist Church-Broad in Memphis, said Rev. Boyle was a humanitarian and a “teaching pastor,” who felt strongly about voting rights and social justice and encouraged his congregation to better themselves through education. “He was forever optimistic about what people could accomplish,” Norman said.
Norman said Rev. Boyle was an artist when he taught and could draw pictures with his words. But, Norman said, it was his actions while battling cancer at the end of his journey that made the biggest impression.
“All that he had taught and preached, he modeled it at the end,” Norman said.
Rev. Boyle leaves behind his wife, Linda Diane Boyle; daughter, Aronica Boyle Holmes and son, David Boyle Jr. A service was held Saturday at First Baptist-Broad.
The Rev. Amos Polk Williams died Friday, but his legacy in Jackson will be remembered for years to come, said Janice Frailey, secretary at Second Missionary Baptist Church where Williams served as the pastor for 58 years.
“He was the city’s pastor. He was everybody’s pastor in Jackson. People knew him all over the city, all over the state, all over the nation,” Fairley said. “He always brought love and a smile.”
Williams, who was admitted to the hospital last week for pneumonia, was 90. Williams, also known as “A.P.,” retired as the church’s pastor in June.
“His lasting legacy, I believe, is that he loved everybody. He showed love to everyone, and that’s what he wanted to teach our church family,” said Williams’ daughter Annissa Sumner.
This weekend, the church is holding two ceremonies to honor the life of Williams and his service to the church.
The first begins with visitation at noon Friday and a 6 p.m. Victory Celebration Service featuring the Rev. Craig Tatum and the Rev. Dr. Clifton Rhodes Jr. Saturday’s service will begin at 11 a.m. and feature the Rev. Dr. Henry Fuller and the Rev. Dr. Lee A. Earl as the eulogist.
Fairley said Williams will be remembered throughout the community for his everlasting kindness and caring spirit.
After his retirement, Williams enjoyed watching Christian television shows and spending time with his family, Sumner said, adding that he was a big fan of the World Series.
Williams was married for nearly 48 years, Sumner said. His wife, Annie Pearl Williams, preceded him in death in 2000.
He is survived by his five children, Sumner, Amos Williams Jr., Kathy White, E. Darrell Edwards and Aaron Williams.
“He is going to be truly missed. I don’t think Jackson is really going to be the same without him,” Sumner said.
PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) –
It’s a sad day for the members of 4th Street Baptist Church and also for the parishioners of Good Hope Baptist Church in Phenix City.
Their pastor of more than 50 years has gone home as they would say in the Baptist church.
Many tell me Pastor Flakes wasn’t just a pastor–he was also considered a community activist who stood for righteousness both in and out of the pulpit.
Some called him J.H. Flakes, and others knew him as Johnny Flakes. Karl Douglass, a member of 4th Street Baptist Church, says Dr. Flakes wasn’t just his pastor, at one-time he called him neighbor.
”We grew up in the boxwood community with his son Meryle,” Douglass says. “He was not just about being in the church and what’s going on in the four walls, but what’s going on in the community.”
Douglass says Dr. Flakes was engaged in the community.. A pivotal player in starting the Urban League of Columbus civil rights organization and also helped lead “One Columbus,” bridging the racial divide, Douglass says Flakes knew how to deal with opposition .
“I remember when people fire bombed our church and he was very active, not just for our church but other churches as well,” Douglass said.
But, when it was time to change hats on Sunday, Pastor Flakes didn’t just preach sermons; he would often sing.
Arrangements for the body have been made. Dr. J. H. Flakes, Jr. will lie in state at the Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church starting at noon on Thursday, then a brief memorial service on Friday at 8 a.m.
The homegoing service for Dr. Flakes will take place at 4th Street Baptist Church at 11 a.m. on Friday.