Take time to learn about black pathfinders this month
By John W. Maurice
Saturday, February 3, 2018
“I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.” (Acts 10:34-35).
What comes to mind when you hear the names of people such as Hank Aaron, Muhammad Ali, Duke Ellington, George Washington Carver or Rosa Parks? How about Thomas David Parham Jr.?
Some of you will remember the accomplishments of these famous African-Americans. Many of their achievements came as they persevered in the face of personal and societal resistance and adversity. Sadly, I will take a gamble to say that there are many reading this article who are oblivious to the significance of these men and women in American history. If you are in that number, I encourage you to Google their names.
February is observed each year as Black History Month. It is a time to remember great black Americans who have made significant contributions to our nation and the world. It is my hope and prayer that there will come a time when people will look at one another and see one another as God sees them — all made in His image — as we travel this journey of life.
The story of the Ethiopian eunuch is found in Acts 8. It is a story about a foreigner, a black man from Africa who happened to be an official in the Ethiopian government (in charge of the queen’s treasury). He was also a person who was seeking to find faith. As he read aloud from a scroll of the Prophet Isaiah, Phillip was led to him by God and explained the gospel to him, as revealed by Isaiah. When the eunuch heard the good news, he believed and was baptized into the Christian faith.
God opens His arms and extends His love to every person. Scripture says that “it is true that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.” (Acts 10:34-35.) I recently spoke to the Mid-Atlantic Christian University students about Martin Luther King Jr. I noted that we live in a society that wants to speak frequently about tolerance, but Jesus did not tell his followers to be tolerant of any one. Instead, Jesus gave his disciples a much greater way — the way of love. Jesus does not tell his followers to be tolerant of one another, he tells them to love one another. Love unseats and overthrows tolerance every time.
Oh, and who is Thomas David Parham Jr.? He was the second black chaplain to serve in the U.S. Navy and the first black officer to be promoted to the rank of captain. He served the nation with distinction. He served God and was a man of peace. I am thankful that I got to meet him and hear his story.
This February, take the time to read about black men and women who paved the way to a better society and world. That’s a great way to observe Black History Month. Just Google it!
Cdr. John W. Maurice, CHC, USN (Retired), is president of Mid-Atlantic Christian University. The opinions expressed in this column belong to the author and may not be those of Mid-Atlantic Christian University.