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I watch “The View” whenever possible, and usually enjoy the exchange of opinions between the women who host the show. I like Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar, and I think they are both very funny.
However, a couple of weeks ago, Behar disappointed me when she said, “ It’s one thing to talk to Jesus, it’s another thing when Jesus talks to you. … That’s called mental illness, if I’m not correct.”
Behar was talking about the faith of Vice President Mike Pence, who is an avowed Christian. She and her co-hosts enjoyed a good laugh that morning.
I have learned that Pence didn’t see the humor in Behar’s statement at all. Neither did I, or thousands of other viewers. To me, and millions of other believers, Christianity and “talking to Jesus” — and listening for Him to speak to you — is called faith.
I can’t be angry with Behar because she is ignorant in the faith department. She just doesn’t understand. She is not alone. A lot of people poke fun at things they don’t understand — like somebody else’s faith.
As a believer, I have, for years, found solace in my own faith, while respecting another’s religious beliefs. My faith has helped me through many dark days; it helped me to endure the Jim Crow era I grew up in. It helped me keep my self esteem when I was a maid, and was given broken or cracked dishes and tarnished utensils to use when eating my lunch. My faith (Jesus) told me that I was somebody and that things were going to change for the better for people who look like me. My faith helped me to hold my head high and to keep on believing. And things did change.
My faith helped me escape an abusive marriage; helped me rear two sons as a single mother; helped me when I got this job to endure the racism and put-downs of some of my former co-workers. It helped me to love them in spite of. Jesus walked me through those days, talking to me, telling me how to get through. Later, some of those who mocked me became my very best friends.
Many of you who have read my column over the years might remember that I cared for my invalid mother at home for nearly seven years, after she suffered a debilitating stroke that left her unable to walk, or care for herself. Mom didn’t have insurance, and the family she had served faithfully for nearly 40 years never paid in to her Social Security, nor did they set up a retirement fund for her. In the seven years she was ill, none of her “other” family even came to see her, or even called.
But Mom was a devout Christian. She spoke to Jesus every day through her prayers. In doing so, it helped to ease her pain, and she was able to love them until the day she died. And while it was tough going for a while, Jesus told us both that our Heavenly Father would take care of us. And He did.
I know that Joy would simply “crack up” with laughter, if I told her that one day when I was wondering how I would pay the light bill, or where I would get the money to pay the gentle Jackie, who came every day to care for Mom while I was at work, that Jesus actually spoke to me and said:
“Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6, King James Version.)
I believe with all my heart that on that day when I pondered how I would make it, the Lord spoke to my heart and had me to turn to that particular verse of scripture. As I read it, by faith, I heard the sweet, soft voice of Jesus speaking to me; encouraging me. Does that make me mentally ill? To some nonbelievers like Behar, I guess it does.
Behar has the right to believe as she does. So does everyone who believes in Jesus. Still, I can’t help but wish I could tell Behar that she is living beneath her privilege; that Jesus is real and that He will speak to her, too, if only she believed.
But even if she doesn’t, Jesus still loves her. And so do I.
Featured church Bible teacher
Speaking of faith, the Rev. Dr. Walter T. Richardson will be the featured Bible teacher 8 p.m. every Tuesday at The Church of God Tabernacle (True Holiness) at 1351 NW 67th St. in Liberty City.
Richardson, the older son of Bishop Walter H. Richardson, the long-time pastor of the church, is pastor emeritus at Sweet Home Missionary Baptist in Perrine and is known internationally for his ability to teach the word of God.
A gifted musician, he was licensed to preach at The Church of God, when he was 21. A graduate of the former North Dade High School in Miami Garden’s Bunche Park, Richardson is a graduate of St. Thomas University, where he earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in religion. He has a doctorate in religious counseling from Trinity Theological Seminary.
Before becoming the senior pastor at Sweet Home in 1983, Richardson served as Minister of Music and Education at Second Baptist of Richmond Heights, under the late Rev. John A. Ferguson.
After he retired from Sweet Home, Richardson said he felt the leading of the Lord to return to The Church of God, “to be of help” to his father.
“My wife and I prayed about it for several years until 2017, when we believed it was time to return to our roots,” Richardson said. He and his wife M. Dolores, also a minister, are the parents of two grown children and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Influential rabbi to speak at Temple Israel
Rabbi David Saperstein, who has been designated by Newsweek magazine as the “most influential rabbi in America,” and by the Washington Post as the “quintessential religious lobbyist on Capitol Hill,” will be the guest speaker at Temple Israel of Greater Miami at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Saperstein, director emeritus of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and senior advisor to the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) for Policy and Strategy, will speak on the timely topic of, “Tough choices: Jewish Perspectives on America’s Social Justice Challenge.”
Also an attorney, Saperstein served from 2015-17 as the U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom. In that position, he was the country’s chief diplomat on religious freedom issues.
He has also served as the chair or co-chair of several national interreligious coalition, including the Coalition to Preserve Religious Liberty and has served on boards or executive committees of numerous national organizations, including the NAACP.
He has also taught seminars on Church-State Law and Jewish Law for 35 years at Georgetown University Law Center.
Stop the Violence Extravaganza
Alfred L. Berry , president and CEO of Inner City Youth Enrichment Camp, wants the community to come out to the fifth annual Stop the Violence and Bring the Peace Community Extravaganza, to be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 24 at Olinda Park, 2101 NW 51st St.
Sponsored by Krush Velvet and Company, the event is free and there will be food and drinks and entertainment for everyone.