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Strange Fire?
by Linda Hargrove
10/14/04
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A short time ago I saw a seasoned cast iron skillet at the flea market. Its dull sheen had a richness, a deep glow that caught my eye. Being one of those nouveau old-fashioned women of the 21st century re-visiting my roots, I felt compelled to touch it, feel its heft in my hands. When would the pans I slaved over at home reward me with such a sheen?

I was thrown for a major loop when I lifted this flea market pan from yonder years. It was, in comparison to the chunk of metal I was seasoning at home, light as a feather. What was going on? Was my pan authentic? Real cast iron? Some high-tech, mass-production imitation that I fell for in my pursuit of the passion and purity of the days of my fore parents? Only the fire will tell. Real hot fire, the hottest of hot - pure and true.

Similarly when it comes to race matters for the Christian, the Jesus folk, the people of the world will see our real metal when we come together and stay together despite heat of adversity from within or without.

In How Black is the Gospel? Thomas Skinner, former gang member turned preacher, wrote, "In the midst of America's racial crisis, Christianity in its pure and true form alone can make the difference." He wrote those words in 1970. Are we making a difference more than 30 years later? America's racial crises still persist - evidenced in racial profiling and "Christian" hate groups. True Christians must appear so peculiar, so strange, if you will, that the world will see Jesus and be drawn to him (John 17:21-23) because of our fire for Him and His people regardless of the color of their skin.

White brother, would you consistently visit a pre-dominantly black church? Black sister, would you dare be seen regularly with the white Christian women across the hall? How strange is your fire?


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