Saturday, November 27, 2010


There is a movement among black Christians to affirm the truths of the insights of the Reformers and offer an alternative to the "prosperity gospel" that is a dominant theme in many African American churches; indeed, this other gospel is a popular strain within evangelical Protestantism in general.

St. Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, understood the necessity to know the culture in order to see how the gospel may address the deepest needs of a people. Hip Hop is a lens through which two generations view the world. Thus, today's ambassadors of Christ must understand, speak, and respond to Hip Hop Culture.

Curt "Voice" Allen is a part of this new Reformation.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Videos About The United Church Of Christ

My communion, the United Church of Christ, has released two new videos about the denomination.

The first video, "Uniquely UCC", offers an invitation to those outside the church to take a look at a church which seeks to offer an extravagant welcome to all.

The second video, "UCC Values", shares our church's understanding of its values and how we seek to live them.

My parish, Ainsworth United Church of Christ, can be seen in both of them. In the first, members of Ainsworth are seen carrying the church's banner at a peace rally (at about 0.55 seconds). In the second, Ainsworth in worship is seen at the beginning (0.05), and church members at the peace rally are seen later (3.06) .

The United Church of Christ seeks to live out the call of Jesus to join him in the ministry of reconciliation of peoples and all creation.

"No matter who you are, or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here."

Here are the recent videos:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day Reflections: What is the More Excellent Way?

Is it not providential that the same day that the United States honors military veterans, the Church remembers Martin of Tours, a military man who laid down his weapons in order to follow the Prince of Peace?

Martin, a fourth century follower of Christ, chose to abandon his military career after he became convinced that there was a more excellent way. He refused to go into battle. He was not a coward, his trust in his God was his security. "Put me in the front of the army, without weapons or armor; but I will not draw sword again. I am become the soldier of Christ."

We live in a nation which is the new empire, the new Rome. While we respect those who sacrifice their security by taking up arms to defend their country, we should respect and honor those who do not believe in the redemptive value of violence, but believe in the redemptive and transformative power of love.

A new proposal would expand the definition of conscientious objector status to soldiers who believe a specific war is immoral. The "Just War" doctrine offers a stringent test that must be met before a nation embarks on warfare. It recognizes the destructive power of violence and permits a defensive war only when specific criteria are met. Recent US armed conflicts have not met the just war criteria. This proposal will allow soldiers the option to obtain conscientious objector status when they believe a specific war does not fulfill just war criteria.

On Veterans' Day let us remember the countless number of veterans for peace. Let us examine the wars we are involved in and seek a better way.

"I'm gonna lay down my sword and shield...I ain't gonna study war no more."

Friday, November 5, 2010

The United Church of Christ: Seeking to be a Church of Extravagant Welcome

Here is the newest video about the United Church of Christ. Members of my church, Ainsworth United Church of Christ, are featured at a rally with the church's banner proclaiming that we are a multi-racial, multi-cultural, open and affirming church.

Uniquely UCC from United Church of Christ on Vimeo.

Here is a video about the United Church of Christ. We seek to be a church of extravagant welcome. My parish, Ainsworth United Church of Christ, is seen in worship as the video opens. Later members of my church can be seen at a peace rally carrying our church's banner.

UCC Values from United Church of Christ on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Recent radio interviews

Here are a few of my recent interviews on KBOO.FM in Portland OR KBOO is an Non-Commercial, Listener-Sponsored, Full-Strength Community Radio for Portland, Oregon, Cascadia & the World!
Please consider contributing to the radio station as a sign of your commitment to independent media.

My interview with Martin Hart-Landsberg, Professor of Economics and Director of the Political Economy Program at Lewis and Clark College took placed on October 11, 2010:

A discussion on the future of Medicare took place on September 27, 2010:

A national call to action to protect the social safety net was broadcast on September, 13, 2010:

A discussion with representatives from the Oregon New Sanctuary Movement was aired on August, 23, 2010:

An interview with Ray McGovern, who was a CIA analyst for 27 years and Coleen Rowley, an FBI whistleblower who was named one of Time Magazine's people of the year in 2002 about the Wikileaks releases took place on August 16, 2010:

Friday, August 6, 2010

Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord Jesus Christ

"O God, who on the holy mount revealed to chosen witnesses your well-beloved Son, wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistening: Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may by faith behold the King in his beauty; who with you, O Father, and you, O Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen." (Book of Common Prayer)

From a sermon on the Transfiguration of the Lord by Anastasius of Sinai:

Upon Mount Tabor, Jesus revealed to his disciples a heavenly mystery. While living among them he had spoken of the kingdom and of his second coming in glory, but to banish from their hearts any possible doubt concerning the kingdom and to confirm their faith in what lay in the future by its prefiguration in the present, he gave them on Mount Tabor a wonderful vision of his glory, a foreshadowing of the kingdom of heaven. It was as if he said to them: “As time goes by you may be in danger of losing your faith. To save you from this I tell you now that some standing here listening to me will not taste death until they have seen the Son of Man coming in the glory of his Father. “Moreover, in order to assure us that Christ could command such power when he wished, the evangelist continues: Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter, James and John, and led them up a high mountain where they were alone. There, before their eyes, he was transfigured. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Then the disciples saw Moses and Elijah appear, and they were talking to Jesus.

These are the divine wonders we celebrate today; this is the saving revelation given us upon the mountain; this is the festival of Christ that has drawn us here. Let us listen, then, to the sacred voice of God so compellingly calling us from on high, from the summit of the mountain, so that with the Lord’s chosen disciples we may penetrate the deep meaning of these holy mysteries, so far beyond our capacity to express. Jesus goes before us to show us the way, both up the mountain and into heaven, and - I speak boldly - it is for us now to follow him with all speed, yearning for the heavenly vision that will give us a share in his radiance, renew our spiritual nature and transform us into his own likeness, making us for ever sharers in his Godhead and raising us to heights as yet undreamed of.

Let us run with confidence and joy to enter into the cloud like Moses and Elijah, or like James and John. Let us be caught up like Peter to behold the divine vision and to be transfigured by that glorious transfiguration. Let us retire from the world, stand aloof from the earth, rise above the body, detach ourselves from creatures and turn to the creator, to whom Peter in ecstasy exclaimed: Lord, it is good for us to be here.

It is indeed good to be here, as you have said, Peter. It is good to be with Jesus and to remain here for ever. What greater happiness or higher honor could we have than to be with God, to be made like him and to live in his light?

Therefore, since each of us possesses God in his heart and is being transformed into his divine image, we also should cry out with joy: It is good for us to be here - here where all things shine with divine radiance, where there is joy and gladness and exultation; where there is nothing in our hearts but peace, serenity and stillness; where God is seen. For here, in our hearts, Christ takes up his abode together with the Father, saying as he enters: Today salvation has come to this house. With Christ, our hearts receive all the wealth of his eternal blessings, and there where they are stored up for us in him, we see reflected as in a mirror both the first fruits and the whole of the world to come.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Eleanor Ruth Pollard Prescod: RIP

On Monday, July 19, 2010, my mother, Eleanor Ruth Prescod, died and joined the church triumphant.

As my mother's caregiver the last six years, I have gained insight in the mercy and care of God. My love for my mother and God has deepened as I learned to joyfully serve another and am comforted by our Lord's embrace of our suffering.

I solicit your prayers for the repose of her soul, and my family and community as we enter into a season of mourning.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Obituary for Eleanor Ruth Pollard Prescod:

Eleanor Ruth Pollard Prescod, 84, of Portland Oregon died on July 19, 2010 at the Marquis Care of Piedmont. At the time of her death she was the Matriarch of the Cobb Family, a large extended family that traces its lineage to former slaves Jane and Joseph Cobb of Nansemond County, Virginia.

Eleanor, affectionately called “Bootsy” by her close friends, was born in New York City to Willie and Eleanor (Banks) Pollard on April 29, 1926. She was the younger sister of Willie (Pollard) Stanford. She was educated in the New York City Public Schools. A member of a family involved in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, she followed her mother(a Cotton Club chorus member) and sister (an actress and model) into the entertainment business as a dancer. She was a member of various dance and band companies and toured the “chitlin' circuit” of the eastern and southern states. Her close friends included Billie Holliday and Lena Horne.

In the 1940's she met Cecil Agustus Prescod, and ignored his romantic overtures. Eventually she agreed to date him, the two fell in love and were married in October 1954. They made their home in Jamaica, New York where they raised their family. They met the challenges of providing for three children with sacrifice and dedication. They enjoyed family outings to the beach and amusement parks, summer vacation trips, barbecues, and holiday gatherings. Eleanor adored her grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Eleanor was known as the stern mother by the children of the block. She could be found sitting on her stoop, watching everything go by. You couldn't get anything past Mrs. Prescod, or “Gran” as she was affectionately known.

Eleanor was a dedicated wife, mother, and concerned citizen. Raised in a family committed to struggling for civil rights, she was active in school, community, and church events.

In 1968 she helped organize a parents' committee in favor of integration, when white citizens picketed her child's and other children school buses in an attempt to prevent the integration of a previously all white public school. This coalition of black and white parents advocated for social justice for their children.

A life long baseball fan, her heart was broken when the Brooklyn Dodgers left the city, and she became a devoted and often disappointed New York Mets fan. She fell in love with the Portland Trailblazers in the early 1990s. She was a ferocious reader, informed citizen about politics, and dedicated advocate for justice.

Her faith in God who sustained people in good and difficult times was central in her life. She was a long time communicant member of St. Albans Congregational Church in St. Albans, New York. At that church she was a member of the Bayanihans Club and a faithful worshiper at the early Sunday morning service.

In 2005, after her beloved husband died, Eleanor moved to join her son in Portland Oregon. In 2008, her family surprised her with a Family Reunion in Portland. The family recalled how her great grandparents, Joseph and Jane Cobb, survived slavery and created a strong and nurturing family, and honored her as the family's matriarch.

In Portland,Eleanor attended Ainsworth United Church of Christ. At that community she met a wonderful group of friends. Eleanor celebrated the church's commitment to spirituality and social justice. She enjoyed Pastor Lynne's sermons, listening to the choir, Adult Sunday morning discussion group (Early Edition), and Ministry With Older Adults' retreats and trips.

Eleanor is survived by her children: Cecil, LaVerne Paniagua,and Denise Slater; son in law, John Bruce. Grandchildren: William H. Turnage III, Emery Lewis Slater, Jr., Nikole Eleanor Prescod, Nathaniel Christopher Bruce; Great grandchildren: Jaylen Michael Lewis, Tai Jarrett Turnage, Isabel Cruz, Tatiana Faith Slater, and Emery Lewis Slater III; her niece Roberta Ricks, great niece Nyia Miller, great great nephews, David Miller, Sean Miller, great great niece, Rachel Simone Miller; a host of cousins, life time friends and new friends she met in Portland.

Eleanor, who cousin reminded her a few days before she died, “we come from a long line of strong stubborn broads”, will be missed and forever loved.

Memorial Services will be held on:

Sunday, July 25, 2010 at 1:30 PM Ainsworth United Church of Christ. 2941 NE Ainsworth. Portland, OR. The Rev. Lynne Smouse Lopez, Pastor.

Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 7:00 PM at Bethany Baptist Church. 157-11 111th Avenue. Jamaica, NY. The Rev. Craig Scott Brown, Pastor.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

My interview with Thomas Chatterton Williams

This spring I interviewed Thomas Chatterton Williams, author of "LOSING MY COOL: How a Father's Love and 15,000 Books Beat Hip-Hop Culture " He offers an important critique of Hip Hop Culture.

My 84 years old mother read the book and recommends it!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

June 24: Nativity of St. John the Baptist

Almighty God, by whose providence your servant John the Baptist Was wonderfully born, and sent to prepare the way of your Son our Savior by preaching repentance: Make us so to follow his teaching and holy life, that we may truly repent according to his preaching; and, following his example, constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for the truth's sake; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. (Book of Common Prayer)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Veni, Sancte Spiritus

A Prayer for Pentecost

Come, thou Holy Spirit come:
and from thy celestial home
send thy light and brilliancy.
Come, thou father of the poor,
come who givest all our store.
What is filthy make thou pure,
what is wounded work its cure,
water what is parched and dry.
Gently bend the stubborn will,
warm to life the heart that's chill,
guide who goeth erringly.
Fill thy faithful who adore,
and confess thee evermore,
with thy sevenfold mystery.
Here thy grace and virtue send,
grant salvation in the end, and in heaven felicity. Amen

- From a 13th century Latin Hymn

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What is God?

For over sixteen years, I have cohosted a weekly talk radio interview programme on a KBOO.FM, a community radio station in Portland, OR. KBOO is one of the oldest community radio stations in the US, and continues to offer an alternative perspective to what is heard on commercial and public radio stations.

Recently, my cohost and I interviewed religious scholar and philosopher Jacob Needleman about his new book, "What Is God?" In the book Needleman traces his evolution from an atheistic Ivy-educated student of philosophy to a Zen Buddhist seeker, and finally to a believer with a newfound respect for the religious texts he once rejected. Jacob Needleman, author of "The American Soul" and "Money and the Meaning of Life," is Professor of Philosophy at San Francisco State University.

The interview can be heard here:

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Christ is Risen: The world below lies desolate
Christ is Risen: The spirits of evil are fallen
Christ is Risen: The angels of God are rejoicing
Christ is Risen: The tombs of the dead are empty
Christ is Risen indeed from the dead,
the first of the sleepers,
Glory and power are his forever and ever
St. Hippolytus (AD 190-236)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

March 28, Palm Sunday

Troparion (Tone 4)
O Christ God, when we were buried with Thee in Baptism, we became deserving of thy Resurrection to immortal life. Wherefore, we praise thee, crying, Hosanna in the highest, blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord.

Friday, March 26, 2010

March 25, Feast of the Annunciation

"Today is the beginning of our salvation,
The revelation of the eternal mystery!
The Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin
As Gabriel announces the coming of Grace.
Together with him let us cry to the Theotokos:
Rejoice, O Full of Grace,
The Lord is with You!"
(Troparian of the Annunciation)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Philippians 3.4b-14 for 5th Sunday in Lent (year C)

Lectionary Discussion Group:Philippians 3.4b-14 for 5th Sunday in Lent (Year C): Cecil Charles Prescod

Heidelberg Catechism.
Question 1. What is thy only comfort in life and death?
Answer: That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my
faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, and
delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation,
and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him.

Within the comfortable and familiar settings of our churches we read the joy filled remarks of a person who has abandoned any signs of privilege and embraced a way of life that led to his abandonment of his community, persecution, and martyrdom. In a culture that honors and celebrates the strong and self confident, we listen to the apostle's words that reminds us that our calling is to follow and embrace the Crucified One. Paul calls us to reject the good life, to turn in the key to security, and walk away.

John Calvin writes: “He says, that those things were gain to him, for ignorance of Christ is the sole reason why we are puffed up with a vain confidence. Hence, where we see a false estimate of one’s own excellence, where we see arrogance, where we see pride, there let us be assured that Christ is not known. On the other hand, so soon as Christ shines forth all those things that formerly dazzled our eyes with a false splendor instantly vanish, or at least are disesteemed. Those things, accordingly, which had been gain to Paul when he was as yet blind, or rather had imposed upon him under an appearance of gain, he acknowledges to have been loss to him, when he has been enlightened. Why loss? Because they were hinderances in the way of his coming to Christ. What is more hurtful than anything that keeps us back from drawing near to Christ? Now he speaks chiefly of his own righteousness, for we are not received by Christ, except as naked and emptied of our own righteousness. Paul, accordingly, acknowledges that nothing was so injurious to him as his own righteousness, inasmuch as he was by means of it shut out from Christ.” ( Commentaries on the Epistle of Paul to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians).

The Pauline call to to place our confidence in Jesus, and Jesus alone, is appropriate during the season of of Lent, because it is a call that requires deep reflection. In a sermon entitled Call to be Odd, the Rev. Belinda Windham proclaims,”The southern wit, Flannery OʼConnor, once quipped, 'You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd.' Through our faith in Jesus Christ we know that we are accepted and loved no matter how odd others may think we are. For surely there has never been a God more odd than ours, who out of love for us
chose to become one of us and to abandon divine power and die for us, conquering death, so that we might never die. And thatʼs the truth.”

So how do we who enjoy the prestige and privileges of our society throw away these as “ dung” and embrace a life of rejection, persecution, and death? How do “we become like him in his death, that if possible 'we” may attain the resurrection from the dead”?

Marius Victorinus, a 4th century African Neo-platonic philosopher, whose conversion at an advanced age made an impression on Augustine, offer this suggestion: “here then are two precepts for the one who is going to live the rest of life walking in the Christian way. First, the one who is still living under divine governance, however well and rightly he has acted in the past, should not think about all the actions he has already done as though he deserved to obtain something by them. Rather he should cast them into oblivion, always seeking the new tasks that remain. Second, he should nonetheless keep living under the divine rule, continually pressing on toward these things and observing the rule of Christ, even to death” (Epistle to the Philippians 3.13-14)

What do you think?