“Redskins,” by Dr. James R. Wining

Two overwhelming and yes, devastating conditions seem to never leave us even now in the 21st Century. They are prejudice and bigotry. Growing up in the 60’s I witnessed first hand racial and religious prejudice. The war between Blacks and Whites and the war between Catholics and Protestants. Who would think my Kaw Indian cousins and a tiny vision like Acts Ministry would show me the solution to all of us living in love and harmony! Never has this been more important than today. Because we are now living in a Globalized world that has confined us to the space around us.

When I was 10 years old my immediate family regularly went to Newkirk, Oklahoma for Memorial Day for a picnic, socialization and general fun with my mother’s family in Oklahoma. This occurred after a graveside memorial time and prayers. Then, we had a short ride to the park for all the festivities. Sure there were kids just like me but as I grew older I noticed there were many more that didn’t look a bit like me. In fact, they were red! I learned from my father that these kids were Indians just like I had read about in my school books.

I played catch with my dad near the park’s baseball diamond while I watched the other Indian boys play baseball on the diamond. In those days I could pitch the baseball above and below my leg. I guess I was showing off playing catch with my dad but anyway a few of the boys came over and asked if I would like to join their game. By the end of the day playing baseball my Redskin cousins and I were friends. I saw no difference and in fact, was a blood brother with I think the cousin that was always catching.  While my memory maybe a little fusing I do know one thing very clearly after that experience I had no room in my life for racial prejudice or bigotry.

Sometimes though you don’t really grow until you are 60. While I learned the answer about racial prejudice and bigotry in the 60’s I learned about religious prejudice and bigotry in my 60’s. As a pastor of a Pentecostal Church in the Kansas City area I became keenly aware of the needs of communities for the homeless, the families with autistic children, the veterans, the drug addicted, the unwed/homeless mothers, the demitted elderly and others. The Book of James jumped out at me. 

It was hard if not impossible to forge alliances with other churches Catholic or Protestant. Even with the FreeStore “for the needy”  we started in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, churches were more concerned about who they were serving than serving. Some churches demanded that before their donated food or clothing was given out a Bible message had to be delivered and a salvation opportunity had to be given. Other churches and congregations had other demands.

Peace came to me about doing our Lord’s work as a Christian at a small convention in Panama City, Florida when I heard Dr. Paul Collins, (The Founder of Acts Ministry) say “Unity, in Christ, through The Holy Spirit.” Christianity and the work I was about was answered by our Lord’s last prayer in John 17:1-26…that all of them be one. Further, how I was to live as a Christian was without separation by doctrine, denomination or religious structure but rather as a Christian supporting unity in the body and guided by The Holy Spirit “The Comforter.”

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