Rev. Dr. Delesslyn A. Kennebrew, J.D., M.Div. - Visionary Strategist  Faithful Innovator  Inspirational Essayist
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Discipline Me: Do RIGHT. Go STRAIGHT. That's ALL it Takes. - Matthew 7:13-14

Discipline Me: Do Right, Go Straight, That’s All it Takes!

Matthew 7:13-14
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

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BlogFam, I have met a lot of people in my relatively young life, but I can honestly say that I have NEVER met anyone like Missionary Janie Johnson. And I mean NEVER.  At the same time, I will also say, that if you have NEVER met anyone like Missionary Janie Johnson, you do not know what you are missing.  We ALL need someone in our life whose life and lifestyle reminds us of the narrow way.

I met Missionary Johnson when I was a little girl.  At our church, we had a girl’s group called the Sunbeams and she came to teach us a bible lesson one Saturday morning.  I do not remember everything she said, but one thing I do remember is her signature phrase:
“Do RIGHT.  Go STRAIGHT.  That’s ALL it takes.”
“Do RIGHT.  Go STRAIGHT.  That’s ALL it takes.”
“Do RIGHT.  Go STRAIGHT.  That’s ALL it takes.”

Friends, in all the years since that moment, I have never forgotten that phrase – maybe because she had a hand puppet assisting her in teaching us that bible lesson and T.C. said it too.
 “Do RIGHT.  Go STRAIGHT.  That’s ALL it takes.”

This is such a simple phrase; yet it is full of wisdom and if you never got another piece of advice, it is applicable in all of life’s situations.  Now you might say, Delesslyn, I do not know if it applies in ALL of life’s situations.  I feel you.  That phrase might seem a little narrow minded and may not account for the “grey” areas we encounter or create because we really do not want to take a stand.  I feel you.  But let me share something else with you. 
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road
that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Does that work better for you?  To be honest, I think that Missionary Janie Johnson’s phrase modernizes what Jesus says to us in these verses.  The reality that we must come to grips with is that in our efforts to not be offensive or to be politically correct, we are often attempting to broaden a narrow gate, make the crooked look straight, and enervate our faith. 

I am very clear where Missionary Janie Johnson stands.  I have no doubt in my mind that she does her very best to walk on the narrow road.  This might seem old-fashioned and conservative but you never have to wonder about where she stands.  What about the rest of us?

Perhaps, this period of fasting is an opportunity for all of us to re-establish boundaries, cut off certain exits, and quit rolling through stop signs.  Perhaps, this period of fasting is an opportunity for us to focus on what it means for us to enter through the narrow gate, the narrow gate that only a few will find.  Perhaps, this period of fasting is an opportunity for us to practice doing right and going straight and being settled and confident that that is all it takes. 

This is what it really means to be progressive.    We often think of being progressive in terms of being open to unlimited alternative perspectives and opinions.  However, the most radically progressive person in the Bible is Jesus and the wisdom of his social, political, economic, educational, religious philosophies were not in creating options but in offering ONE way, a narrow way through Him. 

As believers, when we take the stand that Jesus is THE way, THE truth and THE life, we are ruling out alternative perspectives and opinions that would violate this truth for us.  Thus, at the core of our faith is the notion that there are no other ways of being.  We might respect other religious traditions but in claiming that Jesus is not an alternative, we are being conservative – and dare I say, old fashioned.  But I suggest to you that this is actually what it means to be radically progressive.  In our efforts to be over-inclusive, we often broaden the narrow way and expand the small gate that Jesus established thousands of years ago.

BlogFam, I want us all to consider that narrow way.  What does it mean for us to resist the broad road that Jesus says will lead to destruction?  How can we begin to think critically about how to apply this narrow construction to our lives?  What conversations can we begin to have that help us to see that Jesus restriction is perhaps the most radically progressive way we can live?  How can we use this time of fasting to practice walking in the narrow way?

My sistas and brothas, Do RIGHT.  Go STRAIGHT.  That’s ALL it takes.  Missionary Johnson has it right.  While I may personally struggle with what it means to incorporate this wisdom in EVERY area of my life, at the end of the day, I know one person who made it clear in the Bible and one missionary who keeps it clear today.  What about you?

Today, I pray that we would focus our fasting on the narrow way.  Today, I pray for the courage for all of us to resist the temptations to broaden what our Lord has restricted.  Today, I pray that we would all be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that in our decision-making process, we would come out on the side of doing right and going straight.  I pray that we would all have an opportunity to be missionaries to our friends, families, co-workers, fellow church members, classmates, and others about the peace we have in doing all it takes to be radically progressive men and women of faith who walk the narrow way of life. 

BlogFam, Do RIGHT.  Go STRAIGHT.  That’s ALL it takes. 

Black History Month – Quote of the Day:
The revolution has always been in the hands of the young.
The young always inherit the revolution.  - Huey Newton

God Loves You and I do too!
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