“Preaching for Exaltation and Change: Starting the New Year 2018 in Ephesians”

“Preaching for Exaltation and Change: Starting the New Year 2018 in Ephesians”

As God continues to lead and shape my preaching and teaching ministry at Jesus Center Community Church, beginning in January 2018, I will begin a new series on Paul’s beloved letter to the Ephesians. Ephesians is a fascinating book full of deep theological insights and practical lessons for the Christian life and biblical discipleship.

The content of Ephesians is rich as  it addresses the important issues of God’s mediating grace in salvation and the practical consequences of the Christian life, the imperative of (Christian) unity and reconciliation, the relationship between Christ’s followers and the social order, instructions on how to live together in love and understanding, instructions concerning the Christian family  and about the relationships between the Christian husband and the Christian wife, etc.

We will walk through this Pauline book verse by verse and chapter by chapter. My estimation is that it will take me three to four months to preach through this book, exegetically and expositorily. 

As a result, I have acquired some additional texts and commentaries on  Ephesians to help me get a better understanding of the Book. 

I covet your prayers before the Lord.



Grace and Peace, 

Pastor  Joseph

How to Save American Christianity!

American Evangelicalism is not the guardian of Christianity and Christian Orthodoxy, and being an Evangelical does not necessarily mean one is a follower of Christ. Christendom transcends the politics and practices of American tribal Christianity.

I distinguish two branches of American Evangelicalism: one is cultural, the other is theological. For example, cultural evangelicalism is an ideological group that interprets the Christian faith through the lens of American patriotism and politics, American exceptionalism and American supremacy, and American  hegemony in the world. Cultural Evangelicalism is quite a political phenomenon which sustains American  Christianity and the American way of life and through the American dream ideology.

 On the other, for many critics, American Evangelicalism is race-oriented and conscious; generally, it is linked to whiteness or White Christianity—whether it is cultural evangelicalism or theological evangelicalism–, which is very problematic for American Christianity and the public witness of Christianity in the American society. A possible solution to the crisis of American  Evangelicalism is to deculturalize, depoliticize, and deracialize the Christian faith in the American culture.

Let me add one more note. Some genuine Christians do not identify themeselves as evangelicals; being outside of the Evangelical spectrum does not make one less a Christian. (It’s like a Christian who embraces Calvinism versus another who subscribes to the tenets of Arminianism. Maybe, that’s not the best example to give.) Honestly, I don’t do well with theological and political labels.

A Nation in Profound Crisis….but, there’s hope…

A Nation in Profound Crisis….but, there’s hope…

In the midst of today’s tragedy and mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, resulting in the death of 26 people, I refuse to believe that we are a hopeless nation and a people without a promising future. Although we continue to experience major crisis at a frequent rate, which has both divided and united us as a people, and that which could potentially lead to a life of pessimism about our future, the Savior-God can still heal this land and restore us if we turn to him in repentance and practice justice.

Nonetheless, before we can pray for national healing and hope for spiritual restoration from the God of all Comfort and Peace, we have to first acknowledge the peck in our own eyes and that we have inflicted suffering and pain upon one another. We are not an innocent people. Collectively, we have turned away from justice and compassion. We refuse to believe we are in crisis, and live in a time of tremendous human insanity and national turmoil. Also, we refuse to believe that we need help from God. We have said to ourselves everything will be okay, and that there’s ongoing human flourishing in our society.

The problem is that we are a sick people who need emergency rescue and divine intervention. We have defiled God’s name and glorious fame in our society whenever we fail to love one another and treat one another with justice, dignity, and love as those who are also created in the Image of God. We have a broken system. We attain success through oppression and exploitation of one another. We must acknowledge our collective sins and wrongdoings, and that indeed, we are a broken people who are in desperate need of the Savior-GOD.

The brutal world we have created could be transformed. The broken society we have made and maintained could be renewed. The broken lives we have crafted and sustained could be redeemed.

We all could be artisans of hope in the midst of despair, and candles of light in the labyinth of human darkness and death. You followers of Christ are the light of the world and must shine in the spheres of darkness and hopelessness. That is what followers of Christ do and the goal of the Christian life.

Finally, the American people were never and are not God’s chosen people, but God is raising up a distinctive people in America and a new race for Himself who will be the Hope and Healing of this nation.

Lamentations 3:22-24:

“22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;

his mercies never come to an end;

23 they are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness.

24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,

“therefore I will hope in him.”

​Brief Writing Updates on Price-Mars:

Brief Writing Updates on Price-Mars:

I have decided to reframe the structure and content of my forthcoming book on Jean Price-Mars as an intellectual biography (Tentatively, I will title it: “Jean Price-Mars: An Intellectual Biography”). My desire is to make it the definite study on Price-Mars in the English language. (The reader should know that this is a different text than the forthcoming book Jean Eddy Saint Paul, Glodel Mezilas, and I edited on Price-Mars, which we have entitled “Between Two Worlds: Price-Mars, Haiti, and Africa”) The implications of this intellectual shift and project are many:

1) I would have to add two new chapters to the book:

a) On the intellectual circles and transnational circuits that influenced the ideas and writings of Price-Mars, following a similar strategy and methodology as I have done for Jacques Roumain in my recently-published book, “Thinking in Public,” and my forthcoming book on Jean-Bertrand Aristide: “Aristide: A Theological and Political Introduction to His Life and Thought.”

b) A new chapter on Price-Mars as a public intellectual in the Haitian public sphere and as a transnational cultural critic of the Black Atlantic culture and thought, which may involve my interactions with his commentaries and critiques (1) on the intellectual life (i.e. politics, literature, Haitian intellectual history, i.e.) of his native land, (2) the role and education of women in the Haitian society, (3) public education system in Haiti, and 4) Key figures (i.e. W. E.B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglass, George Washington Carver, William Wadé Harris (affectionately called “The ‘Black Elijah’ of West Africa”), and James Emman Kwegyir Aggrey) in Black Thought. I will synthesize his ideas in this particular chapter.

2) It will take me another year to complete the book. Sorry folks if you have been patiently waiting for this work to come out. I will ask the publisher to give me another year so that I could produce this ambitious project. 

*** So far, I have completed five chapters: two chapters on the Pan-Africanist vision of Price-Mars, one chapter on Price-Mars’ philosophy of religion, one chapter on Price-Mars’ interpretation of the concept of God in African traditional religion, and another chapter on Price-Mars’ perspectives on African traditional religion, Islam, and Christianity. This one takes the comparative method to examine the subject matter. I’m half way completing two more drafts on Price-Mars’ writings on race, and the Haitian Revolution as a humanistic and global event. 

Say a word of prayer for me to the great Lord to give me both physical and intellectual strength, as well as to confer upon me greater clarity of thought and precision in expression. 

Happy Day!!!

You are my Rest and dwelling Place, O Lord!

Jesus, You’re my Rest!

 You are the reason I have my being, Oh Lord. You are the air that I breathe. You are my Rest and my dwelling Place, my God and my Redeemer. 

On the cross, you paid the price for my sins so you can give me rest. You gave me rest, and your rest is mine. In the midst of the storm, you gave me rest, abundant joy and unspeakable peace.

On the cross, you made me whole. You made me your own, and gave me your own. Now, I rest.

I’ve been meditating on the words of this song (see below) every day because of the significant meaning of Jesus in my life and for all He has done for me.  When I die, please sing this song to King Jesus as a testimony of his life in me and my life in His.

Have you found your rest? Is Christ Your Resting Place?

Matthew 11:28-30:

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”— Jesus

Preaching for Hope and Shalom!

“God is not done with you. He will give you a future”

I feel like preaching this morning 🙂

Even those who are incarcerated to a life sentence behind the mighty prison bars need to hear a message of hope & love from the Almighty God.

The young lady or the single mother who has been/is a victim of physical abuse and rape needs to hear a message of restoration and freedom from the God of Hope who is the Repairer of broken branches and lives. 

The individuals who are victims of racial humiliation and discrimination should set their hope in God their Maker. 

The worker who has been exploited at work needs to know God will give you justice. 

The immigrant who has been abused  and humiliated at the workplace and other public spaces need to hear it loudly that  God is not done with you. He will give you a future.

Who is a Friend of God? To love justice is to love God

” Who is a Friend of God? To love justice is to love God”

At the moment, all I have to say about the problem of race relations and grace within American Evangelicalism is that the American church is very reluctant to embrace fully and live practically the biblical teaching on anthropology and the underlying truth that all people regardless of their race or color are created in the Image of God (To follow up with this debate, see current articles published on Christianity Today on race relations and the problem of justice and grace in American Evangelicalism. It involves the following individuals: Lecrae, John Piper, Ray Chang, Roger Colson, Le Bryan Loritts, Scot McKnight, Carl Ellis Jr., and a host of other individuals.) The current state and attitude of modern American Evangelicalism toward race and justice conversarions is graceless, humiliating, and Christ-dishonoring.

American Evangelicalism as a tribal group in the greater American Christianity is tragically shaped by a set of cultural hermeneutics and is identified itself with the cultural politics of this age that challenge biblical authority and the way of God. Total submission to biblical authority and the life application of biblical ethics and biblical discipleship in human interactions constitute the major crises in modern American Evangelicalism.  The integration of biblical values into the  Evangelical life is a significant lack and failure of Evangelical churches. Another serious pitfall in/of American Evangelicalism is its ardent zeal for and relentless pursuit of cultural fame and capitals, which often compromise  Christian integrity and loyalty.  The cultural alliance is the most threatening antagonist of modern Evangelicalism.

American Evangelicalism  does not interpret life and human dynamics within the paradigm of effective biblical hermeneutics and constructive biblical ethics–as a way of life. This is both a tragedy and a dilemma that have postponed racial unity and reconciliation in our churches and various Evangelical guilds in the American society. When American Evangelicalism reject its cultural identity and the political framework that sustains it and guides its (moral and ethical)  decisions in matters relating to social and political issues such as race relations, social justice and equality, immigration, poverty, abortion, gender relations, political party, etc., then it will find its soul again.  We are not a people of grace. We are not a people who love justice. 

No wonder non-Christian people ridicule the way of American Evangelical Christianity and the practices of American Evangelicalism. Sadly, I have to say that American Evangelicals are the enemy of the Biblical Faith and a stumbling block of the spiritual transformation and cultural progress of Biblical Christianity in the American society. The problem is that we are not a group that loves justice and grace for all people nor have we the willingness or desire to engage in justice conversations for the sake of human flourishing and the common good. 

The Biblical God is a God of justice, grace, and love who makes a clarion call upon his people to model in practical life these virtues in their community, city, and nation. Those who are not friends of justice, grace, and love are not friends of God.

When Academic Writing Keeps Me Up…

Friends: I’m very anxious about life at this moment….very nervous right now–BIGGLY, REALLY BIGGLY!!! 🙂 –for the following FOUR reasons:

1. My acquisitions editor at Fortress Press has asked me to submit the final manuscript to him for the book on Jean Bertrand Aristide (“Aristide: A Theological and Political Introduction to His Life and Thought”). Second request.

2. My acquisitions editor at Lexington Book has emailed me requesting the final manuscript I, Jean Eddy Saint Paul, and Glodel Mezilass are co-editing on Jean Price-Mars (“Beyond Two Worlds:Price-Mars, Haiti, and Africa”). Second Request.

3. My acquisitions editor at the University of West Indies sent a message to me to submit the final manuscript for a book I’m co-editing on Edwidge Danticat (“Approaches to Teaching the Work of Edwidge Danticat”) Second Request.

4. My acquisitions editor at Wipft and Stock Publishers has requested the final manuscript for a personal book I ‘m writing on Jean Price-Mars (“For a Better World and Toward the Common Good: Price-Mars on Religion, Pan-Africanism, Humanism, and the Haitian Revolution”) Third request.

I’m going to run away and leave this country. Why was I thinking to put all these responsibilities upon my shoulder? 




Here’s the good news: Both # 1 and 2 are done. I just have to put a final touch on them. # 3 is half way complete, and # 4 is 3/4 done.

Three Newly Published Articles

I’m pleased to announce the publication of three peer-reviewed articles, as seen below:

  1. Viv Dechoukaj Long Live Uprooting Aristide s Politico theology of Defensive Violence,”  Black Theology, 15:3 (2017):185-208
  2. Beyond Ethnic Blackness: Black Transnational Consciousness (BTC) and the Practice of Black Intertextuality” (English Version),  Vanguard / vol. 1(1) / 2017 /43-68.
  3. Más Allá de la Negrura Étnica: La Conciencia Transnacional Negra y la Práctica de la Intertextualidad Negra (Spanish Version),Vanguardia/ vol. 1(1) / 2017 /44-70

Happy Reading!

Only Jesus

“Jesus se tout bagay for me”

What do people mean when they sing “I’d rather have Jesus more than everything”  (I love how it sounds in Creole: “mwen pito gen Jezi pase tout bagay”)?

Do they mean any of the following ideas:

A) Jesus is more valuable than earthly treasures, fame, and goods.

B) Nothing on this earth is comparable to Jesus.

C)  Jesus owns everything both in the heavens and on the earth and that what he has is also mine; therefore, Jesus is “all” sufficient and more adequate than “everything.”

D) The supremacy of Jesus Christ over “everything,” and that Jesus satisfies all earthly treasures and joys.

E) While one may posess a great deal of wealth and fame  in this world, life in this world without Jesus is not that cool; it is dangerous, hopeless,  and meaningless.