Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Ism?: Peace and Cultural Change in the Making – Transcript

5 Mar

Welcome to the House that Dignity Built. I’m Dr. Daintee Glover Jones, and I am excited to have a moment to speak with you for our March 5th message of our 2016-17 series called “The Sum of Peace”. For the months of March and April, our speakers will be on one accord by speaking and teaching about the power of policy or cultural change and peace in our land. The title of today’s message is called “Is you is or is you ain’t my ism?: Peace and Cultural Change in the Making” May God add a blessing to this word, and may He use me to encourage, empower, and inspire us towards peace. Amen.
The title of this message is a riff on the title of a song called “Is you is or is you ain’t my baby?” The song has been covered by Nat King Cole, Ida James, Bing Crosby, the Andrews Sisters, and Louis Jordan, to name a few. I first heard it from a Tom and Jerry cartoon while it was performed by Ira “Buck” Woods. The singer explains that his loved one is late for their dates and changes her mind on a whim, but is loved. While my message is not about a person who is in love, it is a message of needed change from negative isms to positive ones.
An ism is a distinctive practice, system, or philosophy that is typically a political ideology or an artistic movement. According to the website, The Phrontistery, there are over 200 isms in use within Western and Eastern culture. One is probably already familiar with common isms such as racism, sexism, capitalism, idealism, and consumerism; however, the list is quite comprehensive with other isms, such as holobaptism, ignorantism, modalism, and kenotism.
Our culture has so many isms, but so little time to move through all of them, so this sermon message focuses upon pacifism, the ism of peace. How does the bible portray links between pacifism and policy change, or cultural change? Which biblical leaders accomplished this feat? King David and Queen Esther show examples of leading policy or cultural changes to restore peace to their environments.
Consider David’s story as a youth fighting against a giant by using presence, practice, professing, precision and promise as he changed the culture within his land. David’s people were in a state of suffering because of their battle against the Philistines. 1 Samuel 17:11 states, “On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified”. David’s strategy was strong because he combined his gifts with God’s strength. God’s presence was upon him because the Holy Spirit entered David when the prophet Samuel first poured holy oil on his head to anoint him as a future king. David had practiced battle before with the power of the Lord upon him when he defeated a lion and a bear which are both giants from the animal kingdom. David professed that the battle belonged to God and that God would grant him victory. While Goliath tried to brainwash David with his consistent fearful messages, David focused with precision as he aimed at a vulnerable spot that Goliath had not covered on his head. The fight was worthwhile to David because the victor was promised great wealth, the king’s daughter in marriage, and a tax exemption for his family (1 Samuel 17:25).
Just as King David looked for a victory that would lead towards peace and a cultural change, so did Queen Esther. Esther wanted to reverse a royal edict that all Jewish people in Susa be killed. Her recipe for cultural change included possible perish, using her presence, acting with precision, engaging in practice, and claiming position. When she learned from Mordecai that their enemy Haman wanted to commit Jewish genocide, she commanded that the Jews would fast with and for her for three days and nights so that she would be bold enough to break a law of approaching her husband without permission that had the punishment of death. She proclaims, “When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16). When she was in the presence of the king, he spared her life regardless of the law she had broken. He had made the law, so he could change it. She practiced precision by not immediately asking for his help. Instead, she invited him to two banquets before she made a request to save her people. She wanted the ease of making a private request, especially since she knew that his previous wife’s removal from the throne happened after she publicly disagreed with Xerxes. Esther used her position as a beloved wife to save an entire nation of people and to change a royal decree concerning their demise.
What isms are in your life? Have you had a moment where you desired peace and a cultural or policy change? Here’s my testimony about racism and how I used prayer and precision to move towards a pacifist outcome. A few weeks ago, I was in a grocery store in Katy, Texas early one morning. I often frequent this store. One morning as I walked the aisle looking for raw sugar, two people were talking. One was an employee that I recognized who was always so helpful and professional towards me. She was talking to a man who I had never seen. I didn’t want to interrupt their conversation, but the man had the aisle almost completely blocked. I said, “Please, excuse me,” and I bent down so that they could still see each other’s faces as they conversed. As I passed through, the man said, “I see that the coons are out early this morning.” It saddened me for a moment that I was called a term that previously I had only heard used on the movie screen, but I decided to pray for God to have mercy on that man rather than speak to him. I reminded myself of the promise of blessings and curses of God’s covenant in Genesis chapter 12:2-3:
“I will make you into a great nation,
And I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
And you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
And whoever curses you I will curse;
And all peoples on earth
Will be blessed through you
I returned to the same store the next morning, and felt that God had heard my prayers that were based upon his word, because not just one, but three people offered me assistance. One of them was another worker that I often saw in the checkout line. That morning, it seemed that they had gone above and beyond their standard customer service. I wondered if Job had felt like this when God gave Him double portion of all that he had lost after suffering, sacrificing, and praying. I saw that the store workers adjusted their customer service procedures to correct the ism that was undesirable.
How did I know what to do? David had done it before me. The giant of racism has a vulnerable spot. Esther had done it before me. She knew that change was necessary for survival. Jesus had done it before me. He taught his people to pray. He noticed their suffering. He died for their sins by offering himself as a sacrifice. He changed the culture, then and now, as he showed what agape love looks like. Today, we still live on the grace that He granted us. As the Prince of Peace, he follows His father, Jehovah Shalom by offering us escape from eternal death. This is the greatest cultural change. This is my ism. Is it yours?
As we come to the end of this message, stay tuned for lecture notes on this coming Tuesday, March 7, at our website I’m Dr. Daintee Glover Jones, and this has been a message from the House that Dignity Built. I bid you peace and protection.
Amen and ashe’.

Dr. Daintee G. Jones

Founder of The House that Dignity Built Ministries

an initiative of The Dignity in Direction Group


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