A Reluctant Writer

Archive for the ‘Videos’ Category

Putting An Article All Together

Successful freelance writer, Mimi Greenwood Knight, explains how to put an article together after receiving a writing assignment. Mimi has authored magazine articles for national parenting magazines, such as Parents, Working Mother and American Baby.  She has in 49 anthologies, including 29 Chicken Soup for the Soul. She currently writes editorials and advertorials for a regional lifestyle magazine in 160 markets in Texas. She has over 500 articles in print, including national and regional publications.

Advice on Getting Published

Successful freelance writer Mimi Greenwood Knight gives advice on getting published to the Southern Christian Writers Guild. Mimi has authored magazine articles for national parenting magazines, such as Parents, Working Mother and American Baby.  She has in 49 anthologies, including 29 Chicken Soup for the Soul. She currently writes editorials and advertorials for a regional lifestyle magazine in 160 markets in Texas. She has over 500 articles in print, including national and regional publications.


A Call to Action

Christine Collier, author of My New Life Now Curriculum for people seeking freedom from addictions talks about her call to ministry.

Angel Encounters

I recently met with Brigitte Murchison, the author of Living in the Realm…of Miracles and angel Encounters, at Barnes and Nobles to learn about the angelic interventions in her life. In the video she talks about her first experience with angels, why God gives her the experiences, and how angels helped her overcome the most traumatic experience in her life.

A Celebration of Words: Rebecca Gernon

Rebecca Gernon reads from Amy Signs, her joint memoir with her daughter Amy Willman, at the Celebration of Words sponsored by the North Shore Literary Society and hosted by the Mandeville Barnes and Nobles.

An Education in Social Justice Part 5

CCDA Art Gallery

CCDA Art Gallery

Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) offers conference attendees’ opportunity to visit neighborhoods that are being transformed by the principles CCDA is founded upon. Friday morning, I stood in line at the pre-registration desk intent on purchasing a “Go and See” ticket.

“I’d like to buy a ticket to the St. Roch Workshop?”

“Sold out,” she said.

“Is there another ‘Go and See’ workshop available?”

The woman pointed to the display behind her. Every one of the workshop labels had “Sold Out” written across it in bright red. Mental note: If I ever attend another CCDA conference buy a “Go and See” ticket early.

I had found a suitable seat to film from in the Hyatt’s Celestin Ballroom, where the main sessions were held, and made a habit of arriving early lest someone take my seat. I walked into the morning plenary too late. Mary, a college professor of economics, was sitting in my coveted seat.

I sat next to her. “What brought you to the conference?”

“I love the ethnic diversity,” said Mary, “back home each has their own church: white, black, Asian, Hispanic. I like worshiping together.”

“How did you learn about CCDA?”

“I became involved when it was introduced at the college.” Her voice filled with irritation.  “But I found a lot of resistance when I tried to include economics. The CCDA leaders at the college saw business as the evil oppressors.”

I decided against stirring the pot of frustration bubbling in Mary and changed the subject. “How do you define social justice?”

Mary paused to collect her thoughts. “There is a broad definition of what social justice is, so it depends on who you are talking to.”  The plenary session began ending our conversation.

That afternoon I had a meeting with Charles Anderson. Several months ago, he read my book, Finding Faith in the City Care Forgot, and liked it, so he sent me a friend request on Facebook. On a Facebook update, I saw that his art had been accepted for CCDA’s Art Gallery. I sent Charles a message requesting to meet at the conference and talk about his art.

It is common to meet people who relocated to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, a tragedy created by nature, but Charles was unique. A tragedy created by people prompted him to leave New Jersey and make New Orleans his home.

Charles had been an atheist all of his life when he saw a news report about a peace rally in New Orleans. A news clip of Rev. John Raphael, from the New Hope Baptist Church, gave Charles his first glimpse of God and became a turning point in his life. Rev. Raphael said, “We have come to declare that a city which could not be drowned in the waters of a storm will not be drowned in the blood of its citizens.”

Charles paused his story to reflect on that life defining moment. “That is something I had never seen before that was something other worldly. I thought, is that God. In that moment, I knew I was called to something greater. But it was years later before I became a Christian.

He attended church for the first time in his life at New Hope Baptist. Rev. Raphael preached the first sermon Charles had ever heard. At the conclusion of the service, Charles approached Rev. Raphael. “He was excited about me coming to town and encouraged,” said Charles. “He invited me back and often spoke about me in his sermons. That hooked me, this great man, charismatic, smart pastor of a large church really cared about my coming to New Orleans to help. The people were such great people, so nice to me. I felt wanted.”

Charles joined the Baptist church and founded United for Peace. His organization uses art, songs, stories, speeches and silence to create a sense of community.  Every Tuesday they hold a moment of silence on Martin Luther King Boulevard to remember the lives snuffed out in violent acts. Afterwards, they offer support for the mothers of the victims.

Through his participation in community activism, Charles met Kevin Kieschnick, a practitioner of CCDA. Kevin invited Charles to attend CCDA’s Cincinnati Conference. While at the conference Charles met the woman, he would later marry. Their initial attraction to one another was on the subject of being vegetarians. The conversations about diet quickly evolved to discussions about CCDA and Christianity. Her Christian example led Charles to embrace Christianity.

As we walked to the Art Gallery, Charles told me about a youth meeting being held that evening that wasn’t listed in the program book. I recorded the time and place. Then filmed Charles talking about his art. He is the first to speak on the video at the bottom of the page.

Jolly Oatis of 3D Music Group was in the middle of his testimony when I arrived at the youth meeting. He spoke about the duplicity in his life. As a teenager, he attended Bible Studies but did not practice the principles taught. Basketball was his life. He’d rather be on the court shooting hoops than eating. Eventually, the seed planted at the Bible Studies bore fruit. He realized his prowess on the Basketball court, which filled him with pride and made him popular with the ladies, was a major hindrance to the growth of his spiritual walk. He quit Basketball to pursue God and plans to be a Pastor.

I gathered from comments made during the youth meeting that the small group of teenagers were in training to become CCDA leaders in their community. The future leaders introduced themselves by name, age, state and favorite food. One young man said his favorite food is dead animals. Incredulous looks were met with the explanation “any kind of meat”.

After the introductions Jolly clarified any misconceptions about the meaning of 3D. “It doesn’t mean 3 dimensional or 3 dudes. It is a reference to the 3 days Jesus lay in the grave. His brother Jeremy joined him, and they performed How can I Forget, written by the Oatis brothers. The song questions how we can forget all God has done for us.

A question and answer session followed. “Are they on ITunes?” “How did they start rapping together?” “Was it hard to quit sports?” The subject of giving up other activities became a discussion. One gave up acting and soccer. Another quit a band he had played in for five years. The session concluded with wise words from the moderator. “You don’t have to give up your extracurricular activities unless they have become a hindrance in your spiritual growth.”

When the pizza arrived, I departed for the evening plenary sessions. Pastor Robert Burnside spoke about his unconditional love for his community. Since he has been actively serving and praying for his community murders in his neighborhood have stopped, and the crime rate decreased dramatically. He was followed by the entertaining Father Greg Boyle, an American Jesuit priest and founder and Director of Homeboy Industries. Homeboy Industries is the largest gang intervention, rehab and re-entry program in the United States. He counted it a privilege to work with gang members, who taught him how to text. He has learned the meaning of lol: laugh out loud, omg: O My God, and a recent new addition ohn: Oh Hell No, which he uses frequently! lol, omg that’s one I can use tooJ Father Greg took pleasure in the fact that rival gang members who use to shoot bullets at each other now shoot text messages. He spoke eloquently about serving others, and the sadness of burying 193 gang members.

I stayed late for Open Mic Night attended mostly by young people. An hour of dance, rap and poetry later, I returned to my room to download my camera. By 2 am, I had filled up the 32 gig flash drive I planned to give to the event coordinator of CCDA. I should have bought a flash drive with more gigs. Tomorrow, the last day of the conference, had a full schedule of plenary sessions and workshops that lasted until late in the evening.

An Education in Social Justice Part 4

Conference’s usually have keynote speakers. The premier speaker that draws the largest crowd is given prime time. Other speakers are treated like fillers until “THE” main attraction arrives to conclude the day with his or her message and then sends the well fed sheep on their way chewing on a cud of wisdom.

I found CCDA had a more evenhanded approach. All of the speakers were treated with value and relevance.  No one dominated the evening sessions open to the public, and on most nights two people shared the stage. Unlike some conferences dominated by white men donned with expensive suits trailing PHD’s behind them, the evening speakers were a rich mixture of male, female, white, African American, Hispanic and Asian.

Many in the mixture of speakers were laden with degrees as well. Take the dramatic license I took regarding white men as experience not sarcasm. When God needed an Apostle to the Gentiles, he chose the highly educated Saul of Tarsus. The difference in my experience at CCDA is their acknowledgment that you don’t need a college degree to be an effective leader.

Whenever I attend a Christian event, I look for consensus to determine who has God’s message. God establishes what we need to know in the mouth of two or three (2 Corinthians 13:1). When God told Mary she would bear the Messiah, he confirmed it numerous times by various people saying the same thing, e.g. Zacharias and Elisabeth, the shepherds, Simeon and Anna, men bearing gifts for the king of the Jews. God put everything he wanted us to know in the Bible, which contains the witness of sixty-six people from various professions who lived in different generations yet spoke the same message. If the Bible was written by one person, I doubt we could trust its message.

Therefore, when I hear the same message more than one time coming from different people I know it’s important. The message given at the conference by God, the premier keynote speaker, was imparted through the mouth of a female pastor and confirmed the following morning by a male pastor.  Rev. Laura Sumner Truax, senior pastor at LaSalle Street Church, a non-denominational church in downtown Chicago, addressed the importance of the Sabbath. The next morning, Dr. Wayne L. Gordon, the founding Pastor of Lawndale Community Church and Chairman/President of the Christian Community Development Association addressed the importance of the Sabbath.

I have preserved a portion of their message in the video, audio only. It was impossible to obtain a usable copy in the evening session. The video is full of shadowy figures looking for friends and seats, going to the bathroom and other reasons that remain a mystery.  It is possible this theme was repeated by other speakers in session I did not attend. Attending CCDA conference is like going to Disney World you will never see it all. But one thing is certain. God wants us to rest.

An Education in Social Justice Part 2

War-On-DrugsIn my last post, I mentioned an encounter with two very different faces of Christian Community Development Association (CCDA). Those faces were the elder and the younger. Thursday morning I walked through Stage II chatting with the exhibitors. I stopped to talk to a young man seated at an exhibit for Spencer Perkins Ministries. He picked up a brochure and pointed to the many facets of the ministry. I asked David how he became involved in CCDA. “I was born into it,” he replied. I knew Spencer Perkins Center was the ministry of Dr. John Perkins and assumed I was talking to his son. I was talking to his grandson. “Do you experience the kind of racism your grandfather did?” I inquired. His answer surprised me. He acknowledged that there will always be a few racist people, but spoke like the African American fight for civil rights had been won, and it was time to move on. His words were encouraging and gave me hope that my grandchildren would grow up in a nation that treats all of its citizens fair.

I was encouraged until I attended the Friday morning plenary session. The intelligent, charismatic author of The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander, made a valid point about the consequences of severe penalties imposed on drug abusers. She initially rejected the notion that America’s war on drugs is the New Jim Crow, but changed her mind after working with young black men suffering the consequences of merciless laws. The quandary of a young man who had been framed, and was now a felon because he feared a long-term prison sentence if he did not take a plea had a dramatic effect on her. Several months later, a newspaper article confirmed that the young man had told her the truth. The article revealed that a Drug Task Force of a local Police station had abused their powers to target African Americans. They planted drugs and then harassed them into taking plea deals, making them ineligible for public assistance. The experience prompted Alexander to do more research which lead her to the conclusion that America’s war on drugs is a form of Jim Crow.

During her message, she said something that made me question the hope instilled in me by the younger David Perkins. Alexander said, “…all though this drug war may have been born with black folks in mind, they may have been the number one target in this drug war, this drug war has destroyed the lives of people of all colors.” At the conclusion of the morning plenary session Noel Castellanos, the CEO of CCDA said, “I feel burdened.” I also felt burdened. Did white people conspire to start a War on Drug with the sinister intent of oppressing “black folks”?

The statements Alexander made in the video and the one I quoted in the previous paragraph do not negate the fact that the War on Drugs created a problem that needs to be rectified. According to the Bible severe penalties that do not fit the crime “will degrade him [the criminal] to something less than human” (Deuteronomy 25:3, The Message). On that point, I agree with Alexander. The punishment should fit the crime. I also agree that treatment should precede prison sentences.

However, Alexander’s belief that the war on drugs was started to oppress “black folks” and the fight for civil rights has been rolled back to the beginning reflects a strong contrast between the elder and the younger’s view of the world we live in. The younger implied the battle has been won. Our fathers made the world a better place. The elder claimed America is in a color-blind stupor blinding us to the fact we are still living in the days of Jim Crow.

Please view the six minute video before you read the rest of this article.

I stated in my last post about my experience at CCDA that misinformation and assumptions divide us. Several years ago, I was invited to the Pagan’s Ostara picnic by a friend who is a Pagan, so I could write about their beliefs. I asked the same question of everyone I spoke to. “Why are you a Pagan?” Without fail each person began with a story about a bad experience in the Christian church. I could have easily refuted the errors they were taught by well-intentioned Christians, but it would have betrayed their trust. I wasn’t there to proselytize. I concluded the article about the picnic by rebuking my Christian brethren for driving people to other forms of worship with their lack of love and erroneous doctrines. I allowed my Pagan friend to review the article before I released it. We agreed that there was nothing in the article that would be offensive to Pagans.

Someone posted my article to Witchvox (an internet site used by Pagans nationwide to communicate with one another).  Within 48 hours, 4,000 pagans read about my experience at the Ostara picnic. Most left angry comments based on assumptions about me. The Pagans decried my parents for forcing Christianity down my throat. The truth – my choice to be a Christian was independent of my parents and their influence on my life. My mother was indifferent to my conversion to Christianity. I walked to church while my parents slept late on Sunday. My father, who is deceased, was an alcoholic who allowed me to drink to excess as young as ten years old and occasionally watched pornography in the living room. When I converted to Christianity, he said, “I would rather have you back on drugs than in this Jesus stuff.” He forbid me from attending church and physically abused me for attempting to share my faith with him. Assumptions had colored the Pagans perspective of me and my message. The Pagan who knew me understood the purpose of the article. The angry Pagans saw me through the eyes of their own painful experiences, which blinded them to the fact that I concluded the article by rebuking Christians, not Pagans.

I told you the Pagan story so you will understand why I want you to know a little about me before I address the most sensitive subject of racism. I am not a political or civil rights activists. While I vote for and pray for the leaders of my nation, I embrace the Christian concept that this is not my world. True justice and equality can only be found in Jesus, and in the city God is building for his people. The New Jerusalem is scheduled to arrive on planet earth at minimum a thousand years in the future. Until then, we can hold injustice at bay regardless of who controls human governments by asking God to intervene.

I live in a predominately black neighborhood. All of my eldest son’s friends were black. Most still are. My first grandchild, the result of a relationship my daughter-in-law had before she met and married my son, is naturally darker than the rest of the family. Her four-year-old sister has already asked why. My husband grew up in El Paso as a white minority. He was verbally and physically abused by the predominately Hispanic population in his high school for no other reason than he was white. I have been oppressed, marginalized and treated with condescension by both Christian and non-Christian men. I was accused of being racists by a black woman when I failed to return a greeting. I did not hear her greet me. If I had, I would have gladly turned around to flashed a warm smile and taken the time to chat.

Now, let’s return to the contradiction I found at CCDA between the younger and the elder. The younger David did not see the world the way Alexander and the elders who identified with her message did. Was the war on drugs born with the intent of oppressing “black folk” as she asserted in her message? Has America hatched a sinister plot to keep a worse form of Jim Crow Alive? I left the morning plenary session wondering who started the war on drugs, and if it was a conspiracy to continue the oppression of “black folks”.

That evening, while downloading video from my camera, I Googled “War on Drugs” and found a vast amount of information. The subject is too complex for simplistic answers. Briefly, the first laws against drug use were directed at the opium use of Chinese immigrants in the late 1800’s. Nixon was the first president to openly declare a war on drugs when drug use became socially acceptable in the 60s and 70s. According to Frontlines “Thirty Years of America’s Drug War – a Chronology”, during the Nixon era the majority of funding was used for treatment rather than law enforcement. The bulk of the chronology outlines America’s war with Mexican Drug Lords. The Drug Abuse Act of 1986 allocated 97 million to new prisons and more than four times that amount, 400 million, to education and treatment. The bill also introduced mandatory minimum sentencing which produced racial disparities in the prison population.

I do not doubt that laws were abused by racist law enforcement officers to target African Americans. However, I do not believe Alexander’s claim that the War on Drugs was born with “black folks” in mind. A valid point about the detrimental effect of merciless laws can be made without making it a conspiracy against one race.

One of my reasons for rejecting the elder Alexander’s claim comes from my Christian perspective. Jesus left us one commandment. Love one another. According to the Bible love “trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back…”(1 Corinthians 13:3-7, MSG). God believed the best of humanity when he had no reason to and his love brings out the best in us. When we seek to right injustices, we would make quicker progress with less resistance if we adopted David Perkins attitude. He knows freedom from racism will never be 100%, but he doesn’t see race first. All of man’s righteousness is a filthy rag compared to God’s. Sometimes the reason behind injustice is the implementation of human solutions to complex problems, which produce greater problems that were unforeseen.

The younger David said, “The trail blazers did the work and made society a better place.” Yet the elder cried we are in a color blind stupor, nothing has changed, Jim Crow is still alive. Alexander did not come to her conclusion lightly. She had experience, studies and statistics to back up her claims. But the truth is seldom found in experience, human research and statistics. Truth is found in God.

My reason for believing the younger David’s perspective comes from an understanding of God’s ways. It is God’s way to put truth in the mouth of the younger. Jacob’s sons bowed to their younger brother Joseph who taught them love and forgiveness. When God sent Samuel to anoint a new king, Samuel was impressed with the elder sons of Jesse. God chose to lead the nation through the youngest son of Jesse who wasn’t even invited to the anointing party. The truth was in the mouth of a young thirty-year-old carpenter named Jesus, not the elders who diligently served God in the temple.

The sufferings of this world often put elders who resist evil in a precarious place. When the fight has been long, it’s difficult to believe attitudes can change. Shortly after Moses led Israel out of Egypt, they complained about a water shortage and demanded God to prove he was among them. Their true nature came to light that day. If Moses failed to do the impossible, provide water for a million people, they were going to stone him. God proved he was among them when he saved Moses life. He instructed Moses to strike the rock at Horeb and water would come out.

Forty years later, Israel gathered around Moses with the same complaint. They still talk like they did when they complained about a water shortage at Horeb, but they are not the same. This time they didn’t have rocks in their hands to kill Moses. They were not demanding God to prove he was among them. The nation had changed. They were still a quarrelsome people but they did not have murder in their hearts anymore. This time God told Moses to speak to the rock and water would come out. But Moses was still living in the past. He still saw the nation as they were instead of the kinder nation they had become. Instead of speaking to the rock, Moses railed at the people, “You rebels,” and then in anger struck the rock twice.

If Moses had believed in God’s ability to change a nation, he might have seen the change and not been so frustrated by appearances his heart was still at Horeb striking a rock to save his life. God told Moses you didn’t believe in me. You didn’t treat me with holy reverence.  You did not honor me before the people. Therefore, you will die in the wilderness with the rebels who refused to enter the Promised Land because just like you, they didn’t believe I could give them a better world.

I believe the younger David Perkins possesses an accurate view of the world we live in because “The Lord executes righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed” (Psalm 103:6, NKJV). God sees the tears of the oppressed. He hears their cries. If they call upon him to right an injustice, he is able to change a nation. To suggest that God has shut his ear and failed to act on behalf of an oppressed people is to dishonor God. Instead of making accusations about the intentions of a nation based on experience and statistics, we should spend our time speaking to the rock. He will heal the pain of the past and give us life giving water. He will show us what he is doing in our times and teach us how to live in the present.

It is interesting to note that before Alexander spoke, the subject of a Sabbath rest in God’s presence and how it can change your perspective was addressed at the Thursday evening plenary session. Followed the next morning by a Bible Study calling people to repent for breaking the Sabbath as though it were a suggestion and not a command. For it is during times of rest in God’s presence that he speaks the truth to our hearts.

An Education in Social Justice Part 1

Pastor Robert Burnside

Pastor Robert Burnside

There are perks to what I do. My relationship with Pastor Robert Burnside, whose story is in Finding Faith in the City Care Forgot, led to a meeting with Dave Clark, the event coordinator for Christian Community Development Association (CCDA). I had never heard of the organization until a breakfast was sponsored by CCDA to honor the ministers in my book. While chatting with Dave, he invited me to film comments from conference attendees and write about my experience at their national conference held the second week in September at the New Orleans Hyatt Regency.

Before the conference, I explored CCDA’s website, read Let Justice Roll Down by Dr. John Perkins, one of the original founders of CCDA, and read portions of The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. I concluded CCDA and its adherents fell in the liberal spectrum of Christianity. I fall in the middle leaning slightly conservative, as do most of the Christians I fellowship with. However, writing the Faith, Beliefs and Spirituality blog on NOLA.com has opened the door for me to interact with Christians of various beliefs as well as Pagans, Atheist, Jews, and Muslims. Regardless of our beliefs, I’ve learned humanity desires the same things: to be loved, accepted, safe and at peace with one another. The culprits that keep us apart and quarreling are usually misinformation and assumptions. I looked forward to viewing Christianity through a different lens at the conference.

I’d heard the term social justice but knew nothing about its concept. During the breakfast Noel Castellanos, the CEO of CCDA, spoke about the heart of God to help the poor. The churches I’ve attended had benevolence funds, and sent missionaries to impoverished nations but did little (that I was aware of) to raise the standard of living in the poor neighborhoods we avoided driving through. I had even experienced resistance to helping the poor. “You are just enabling them to buy drugs and liquor,” some claimed.

The original three components of CCDA, redistribution, reconciliation and relocation were conceived in the heart of Dr. John Perkins. Redistribution when he was paid for $0.15 cents for a job that should have paid $1.50. (The word “redistribution” led me to believe CCDA embraced socialist concepts, which I later learned to be false.) Reconciliation after his brother was killed during a racial incident with white police officers. The final component, the need for relocation, became apparent when Dr. Perkins converted to Christianity and spoke to prison inmates who were barely more than children. For a more thorough explanation of CCDA’s ministry, I recommend Making Neighborhoods Whole by Wayne Gordon and John Perkins.

My husband dropped me off at the Hyatt. I walked into a crowded foyer. As the long line inched toward the registration desk, I chatted with a man from California. “A number of years ago my wife was transformed at a CCDA conference,” said Benjamin. I typed his cell phone number into my Ipad’s notepad intent on learning about her transformation.

The mass of people in the hotel foyer made the room warm. My parched throat was screaming for water by the time I reached my room. I filled a glass with tap water and opened my Ipad to record some notes. I don’t recall why I hit backspace, but I did, and backspaced right over Benjamin’s cell phone number. Benjamin, if you happen to read this, I really wanted to talk to you and your wife.

Obtaining my conference badge proved a little more difficult than checking into the Hyatt. Fortunately, a supervisor recognized my name and told Fernando from Puerto Rico to make me a badge. The delightful Fernando rejected the first badge. “Your name is off center,” he said. He asked his partner to make me another one. The second one passed his inspection.

On the elevator, I made the acquaintance of David Spickard, President/CEO of Jobs for Life, which helps those struggling with unemployment and underemployment. David was appointed CEO in 2006. Dr. Perkins was on their original board, and the organization has been associated with CCDA for many years. A representative attends the CCDA conference every year for encouragement and inspiration.

I was on the way to Stage II, a designated area for exhibitors and special activities, when I ran into Pastor Burnside, one of CCDA’s Host Team’s Co-Chair and the driving force behind the breakfast. He paused long enough to tell me how excited he was about the conference. Most of the exhibitors in Stage II were still setting up. One gentleman looked up from the book he was reading and flashed a warm smile. I stopped to chat.  Malcom Wall told me about Biblical Theological Seminary (BTS). The school was established in 1971 when a Bible scholar and evangelist prayed for God’s help to teach those who wished to understand the scripture and communicate the hope of the gospel. BTS had been blessed by the ministry of CCDA and the school strives to return that blessings.

I entered Wednesday evening’s plenary session to a jazz rendition of “I’ll Fly Away”. Mid-way through their fifteen minute set a group of people broke out into a second line (an impromptu parade common in New Orleans). The exuberant second liners returned to their seat. I heard Noel Castellanos speak for the second time. He seems to be most comfortable presenting his points with a dry erase board and hand-full of dry erase markers. The message was basically the same one he presented at the breakfast.

Rev. Leroy Barber, CCDA Chair, followed Noel with a masterful job of weaving Isaiah Chapter 61 into an explanation CCDA’s mission. He emphasized that God had convened the convention and each of the attendees had divine appointments. He then pointed out that the Spirit offers divine healing and divine healing is the heart of cultivation – the theme of the New Orleans conference. Finally, if the practitioners allow the Spirit to use them as agents of healing, the people they cultivate will become the planting of the Lord. Not the practitioners, but the plantings of the Lord will rebuild the waste cities.

I am not a practitioner of CCDA. I won’t be relocating or raising up indigenous leaders in poverty stricken neighbors, but I did have a few divine appointments during the conference. Within 48 hours, I encountered two very different faces of CCDA. More about that in my next post. Until then, enjoy the video of my day. I especially enjoyed the Salsa dancing.


Celebration of Words: Christa Allan

Christa Allan reads from her first novel Walking on Broken Glass at the Celebration of Words sponsored by the North Shore Literary Society and hosted by the Mandeville Barnes and Nobles.


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