Posted in Books, Evangelicals, History, tagged African American, autobiography, Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, evangelical, evangelism, Gospel Trailblazer, history, Howard Jones, Howard O. Jones, Jackie Robinson of evangelism, Oberlin, Ohio, Race, racial reconciliation, Racism on November 16, 2010 |
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I learned yesterday that my dear friend Dr. Howard O. Jones passed away on Sunday at age 89. Dr. Jones was the first African American evangelist to join Billy Graham’s ministry team back in the 1950s. In my book, Reconciliation Blues, I talk about some of the hostility and discrimination that he encountered from other Christians because of his race. I helped him write his autobiography, which was published by Moody in 2003.
As I worked with Dr. Jones, I was struck primarily by his passion for God and for preaching the Good News. The gospel seemed to naturally exude from him, no matter what he was doing or discussing. He was a preacher to the core, and he sincerely believed that a relationship with Christ would provide the answer to any problem or trial that we face in this life.
I also was struck by Dr. Jones’ devotion to his beloved wife, Wanda, who had been his partner in ministry for more than 50 years. Together they raised five kids and traveled the world to preach the Word of God. When I first met Dr. Jones back in 1997, Wanda had been battling the effects of Alzheimer’s disease for a few years. I recall accompanying Dr. Jones to the Oberlin, Ohio, nursing home where Wanda was a resident for the last few years of her life. I remember the tender way that he fed her and read to her from his Bible. Though she could no longer speak, her eyes seemed to light up as he spoke to her. When Wanda died in 2001, Dr. Jones was devastated. But he held on to his faith in God, and he would tell Wanda’s story (and pass out copies of her book) wherever he went.
Dr. Jones was a great man of God who loved Christ with all is heart. I’m grateful that I had the chance to know him personally and to help him record his story for posterity. He leaves behind a legacy of faith, courage, and reconciliation that should inspire the church for generations to come.
If you’re interested, you can read my 1998 Christianity Today profile of Dr. Jones. I interviewed him for Decision magazine back in 2002. Also, his autobiography, Gospel Trailblazer, is available through Amazon.
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Posted in Books, Books & Writing, Culture, Pop Culture, Religion, tagged A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Blue Like Jazz, Books, contest, Don Miller, Donald Miller, film, memoirs, movies, UrbanFaith, UrbanFaith.com on October 5, 2009 |
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If you’re a Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz) fan, you’ll want to click on over to UrbanFaith.com and check out our interview with the author about his new book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life. And, if you’re game, you can get a free copy of Miller’s book by leaving a response to this question:
Donald Miller discovered deeper meaning in life by applying the storytelling principles of a good movie to the way he lives. If your life were a movie, which one would it be and why?
Readers have left some very interesting responses to that question already. So, if there’s a particular film or film character that encapsulates your life journey so far, please head over to UrbanFaith.com and leave a brief comment about it. UrbanFaith will randomly select five respondents to receive a free copy of A Million Miles, but the contest expires Oct. 19, so share your responses now.
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Posted in Books, Culture, Diversity, Evangelicals, The Church, Websites, tagged multiculturalism, multiethnic church, Soong-Chan Rah, The Next Evangelicalism, UrbanFaith.com on July 2, 2009 |
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UrbanFaith.com, my other blogging and writing home, has a new interview with Soong-Chan Rah about his book, The Next Evangelicalism, and why he still roots for the Baltimore Orioles. Also be sure to check out Soong-Chan’s new website, www.ProfRah.com.
Have a happy 4th of July weekend, everyone! Peace.
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