I have used the fictional story about a black preacher walking into a small town with mainly white citizens to hold a healing crusade many times in the past. (See here.) But today, I want to offer a fictional take-off from that one and write about a white prophet going into an inner city to speak the word of the Lord to its black citizens.
Can you imagine an old white guy driving a red Ford pickup into the middle of a crowd of people at a rally? And honking his horn at the same time? I couldn’t imagine something like that ever happening until it did last Saturday afternoon.
Maybe I should start at the beginning and tell the whole story, okay?
My name is Jalen Simmons. I write a syndicated newspaper column entitled, “Unashamed Angry Black Voice.” The column appears in sixty major newspapers throughout our nation. I also appear on TV as a contributor on inner city happenings.
A week ago, a friend suggested I should attend a black activist rally taking place in West Englewood at Ogden Park. This inner-city area of Chicago is the city’s most dangerous neighborhood where poverty and crime are off the charts and lives matter little to police and politicians.
On that day, I positioned myself in the middle of the crowd, estimated at five thousand black people, to better hear and understand the crowd’s reactions to the fiery speakers. The first three speakers raised their voices against the city of Chicago, its police department and white supremacy for the wrongs done to black people. Each moved the crowd closer and closer to its emotional edge.
But just as the militant keynote speaker, Deshaun Lewis, was being introduced on the platform, new sounds could be heard. A honking horn. An engine being revved up. And people screaming, “Look out! He’ll run us over!”
I looked over my left shoulder and saw a red pickup truck heading straight toward me. I jumped out of the way along with the rest of the crowd. The truck stopped right in front of me.
The driver, a seventyish white male, jumped out of the Ford pickup and into the back of the truck almost in one motion. He held a wireless microphone in his right hand which was connected to a speaker system.
“Listen up,” he said, “I have come here today to speak to you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
A united “No” was shouted by the crowd. Black men stepped forth to remove the so-called white prophet and his truck.
“Do not touch my truck or the hand of the Lord will come upon you and strike you blind for a time,” said the white man.
The crowd laughed until twenty-three men touched the pickup truck and began screaming, “I’m blind. Help me! Help me!” Then, the laughter stopped and fear gripped the crowd.
“Men, keep quiet. Sit down and when I’m done I will lay hands on you and your sight will immediately return.”
The twenty-three men sat down.
The old white man had the attention of the whole crowd. Everyone stood in silence, even those on the speakers platform.
“The Lord has sent me to tell you,” proclaimed the white man, “your problems are not caused by the city of Chicago, its police department or white Americans. Your problems are caused by your sins and your bitterness. You need to first ask the Lord for His forgiveness and then most of you will have to ask forgiveness of white Americans for your hatred toward them, too.
“If you choose to humble yourself before God and men, God will pour out a blessing on West Englewood. Murders will stop. Crime will end. Jobs will open up. You will be able to walk on the sidewalks of your neighborhood without fear once again. West Englewood will be known as a place of light and a refuge for all.
“But if you ignore these words and continue in the direction you’re heading, your streets will be covered with the bodies of your dead sons and daughters. And this will happen soon!”
He paused and looked around at the crowd. His blue eyes looked right into my heart.
“God’s words to you are the same ones Moses said to Israel, ‘I have set before you life and good, death and evil.” Now, you must choose which way you will walk from this day forward.”
The white prophet jumped down onto the ground. He laid hands on and prayed for each blind man. They all received their sight again.
Then, he climbed into his pickup and drove off.
Was he a prophet sent by God?
Twenty-four men have no doubts and I pray all of the crowd will agree with us.
(Continued in Part 10…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)