Black Church News in Virginia

Marriner’s Moments: Making a Difference – Pt. 1

“I have one life and one chance to make it count for something… My faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I am, whenever I can, for as long as I can, with whatever I have to try to make a difference.” Former President Jimmy Carter

Complaining is easy, but deciding to do something to make a difference can be difficult, timely, costly and even overwhelming. In our busy and sometimes chaotic lives, we have a tendency to play ‘Monday morning quarterback.’ We point fingers and talk about what ‘would’ve’, could’ve, should’ve been done, but only a few of us lift a hand to make a difference.

We need only look at the recent (and, for some, painful) Presidential election as a case in point. The United States Elections Project reports that of the 231,556,622 Americans eligible to vote, some 40 percent did not exercise this right and privilege. And, without giving a history lesson on the Electoral College process, it operates on a ‘winner take all premise.” The mismatch numbers between the electoral and popular votes came about when Trump won several large states (e.g., Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin) by very narrow margins, gaining all their electoral votes in the process, even as Clinton claimed other large states ( e.g., California, Illinois and New York) by much wider margins. Trump’s share of the popular vote, in fact, was the seventh smallest winning percentage since 1828.

That said, we can and should make a difference as we look to the future, not just on the political front, but also in our neighborhoods – our backyard – and in our churches. For example, the media reports that since the beginning of the year, more than 250 homicides have occurred in Chicago. This is a daunting reality for any community. It is also a problem that can’t be fixed with a band-aid or by sending in federal troops. Black-on-Black crime and disregard for human life is a systematic problem. It didn’t happen overnight and it won’t be solved overnight. However, if one person would take one other person under his or her wings, talk with individual, spend time with that person, it can change one life.

”Peace and power.

© Dr. Melvin O. Marriner,
Grove Church
March 2017

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