Saturday, April 3, 2010

Lenten Series #39: Spending Day in Des Moines

I have been technically on vacation all week. I thought about traveling,
even flying back to Baltimore but instead I decided to stay in Grinnell.
After doing all that traveling to ATL with my students, I did not want
to drive anywhere else. The weather in Grinnell has been great and I
have enjoyed walking around and chillaxin. I was invited to dinner on
Sunday at one of my coworkers home in DesMoines, IA (the state capital
and closet big city to GrinnelI). So decided to treat myself this
weekend and got me a hotel room for the night in DesMoines. I hope to
get to a local church for service in the morning and then dinner in the

On Saturday I stopped into the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological,
and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) ACT-SO competition for high school
students. This competition is held by local branches of the NAACP and
the local winners go to the national ACT-SO competition at the NAACP
National convention (which is held this year in Kansas City). It was
great seeing the artworks, sculptures, science projects, and hearing the
musical renditions offered by the students. I hope that I will be able
to be supportive of this effort by being a mentor and/or judge in the

That's all I have tonight. Hey, don't blame me, I am on vacation!! Lol

Peace, Love, and Prosperity,

Friday, April 2, 2010

Lenten Series #38: Evrybody and Their Titles! Ugghh!

So there has been a topic that I have wanted to address, no, that I must address before this Lenten season is over. There is a phenomenon that has continued since last century that centers on everybody wanting titles. From being called Doctor to Bishop to Apostle to Praiseologist (YES, you read right, they 'exist'!!). People want to be recognized!

sidebar... Some people also change when they get a title in front of their names. For example, there are some who have earned doctorates and let it get to their heads, But to their defense there are many who have non-academically earned doctorates who let those titles get to their head as well (another area where you don’t want me to get started on).

It amazes me how many bishops and apostles we have in my hometown of Baltimore, (just found out that another Baptist minister has been named bishop, don’t get me started on this because I don’t know how one can be Baptist and call yourself bishop!). Furthermore, I get frustrated when we look at all these titles, yet folks are still hungry. We want to wear the glittery robes and sit in the places of prestige, yet people are losing their homes and families are being destroyed. And we have the nerve to laugh at the minister who is out on the streets with the people, calling out the injustices and having prayer vigils because he does not fit the norm of what we consider proper ministry.

Let me make this thing personal… I have grown up being in the center of attention when it comes to recognition. I was senior class president of my high school class. I was actively involved in my community, and everywhere I looked there were recognition of my achievement. I had to learn about humility early on. I don’t know if I shared this story before. There was a time when I was very active as youth leader of our teenage choir at church, the Determined Singers. I was the one initiating plans for events, conferences, responsible for attendance and keeping directory information. I took on a lot of responsibilities. One day my mom (who was also the director of the choir) and I were driving along getting ready for rehearsal. She and I got into a heated argument, and I must have said something along the line of, “I ain’t going to rehearsal and you can do the stuff yourself”. She then responded “God can use someone else to do what he has you doing”. I was still mad, can’t remember if I went to rehearsal or not, but I know that statement has been with me ever since. Why did I share this story? Because I recognize that desire for recognition and have found myself many times seeking such. Ever since then God has been working on my humility. I noticed that one of my fist blogs during this Lenten season centered around with humility. One thing I am learning as I journey through life is that humility is what God seeks after.

So, you don’t have to call me Reverend, just call me Michael/Mike! I know my credentials and don’t need to be reminded of them. Now, I do recognize and respect the tradition from which I have come. I honor my church for given me such at title, and pastors, mentors, and ancestors, who have all paved the way for me to be able to have such. And, I am reminded that with such title comes a stronger and deeper responsibility. So I am proud to be Rev. Michael A. Hunt. I am aware that titles open doors. I am grateful that when I say I am Reverend, people listen. But I also understand when I say I am Reverend, people open up and talk. I have seen to many with the Reverend/Bishop/Dr/Apostles still wanting people to listen but never stop talking in order to listen themselves to the people. With so many titles it can be hard to “regard others as better than yourselves.” In Philippians, Paul reminds us…
"If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited, but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross." Philippians 2:1-8 NRSV

If you are reading this and you are in a position of authority In any facet of life, I urge you to aim for the cross! I must admit, there were many times when I wanted my name to be called; I wanted my work to be recognized. But now I am at a place in my life where I just want to live for God and serve my fellow sisters and brothers. These titles will fade away. People will forget about you. When I get to the gates of heaven, I know my degrees will not matter, nor will the titles I hold. When Jesus asks me, “when did you serve me by serving and loving your neighbor?”

Aiming For The Cross,
-Mike (RevMAH)

P.S. RevMAH is a play on the initials of my name. When I was working at a summer camp in Virginia (MeadowkirkCamp) my coworkers nicknamed me RevMAH (pronounced “RevMawh”). It has grown on me and they continue to call me this to this day. I thought this particular blog entry would be the best time to acknowledge this.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Lenten Series #37: The Ol' Rugged Cross

It was at the top of the hour, as I walked through town earlier today. The Methodist church bells begun to ring! I noticed that the bells were echoing the melody of “The Ol’ Rugged Cross” . You know how you hear a familiar tune and take a minute for you to recognize it, but when you do you begin to sing it and your souls gets happy.  All evening I could not stop singing “so I cherish the ol’ rugged cross!”   The chorus got so deep in my spirit that I begun to wonder, what is it about the cross that I cherish so much? 

Today we celebrated or observed Maundy Thursday, a time when Jesus shared the Passover meal with his disciples, washed their feet, and acknowledged the one who would betray him.  Tomorrow many will gather around the world, acknowledging his death upon the cross, hearing his cries through the agony and the pain.  Why do i cherish that cross? It is a reminder of what Christ did on our behalf. Even when we did not know or recognize our sin, our separation from God Almighty, Christ closed the gap and gave himself for our sake.  I can still hear Jesus saying, “take up your cross and follow me”, but just as the disciples will do tonight, we turn back and say you are on your own!

Oh how I want so much to be like Jesus, but that cup is bitter and that cross is heavy, and well I don’t know if I can.  Yet the songwriter challenges me to cling to the cross? When I think of the word cling, I picture a child holding on to his mom for dear life!  Cling is a tight-hold.  Webster even goes further and say “to have a strong emotional attachment or dependence”.  We normally hold on tight to something that is good/beneficial. Could the cross actually be an emblem of suffering and shame and at the same time, a sign of peace and But I believe The Resurrection is the sign of peace and hope, while the cross is the shame and suffering.  So why would I want to cling to shame and pain? Then I am reminded of Paul’s letter to the Church of Corinth. He said,
 “Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

We are able to carry our cross, the cross that we bear, the insults, hardships, persecutions etc.,  because of the power of Christ (that is seen through his suffering, not just his resurrection). Just as Christ was able to do the same because the power of the Almighty, was dwelling in him. Yet because of his humanity, he felt everything! Every whip, every insult, every nail, every betrayal. He felt it all!

I wonder how many sermons will go forth tomorrow that will actually leave us at the cross. As one of my professors would say, "stay at the cross, deal with the cross!" So often we want to go to resurrection (don’t get me wrong, I am glad He Lives), but it something about staying there with Jesus through the pain and difficulties of the cross.You can shout at the cross, but deal with the anguish of Christ going to the cross on behalf of a world that turned their backs on him. It is Good Friday for us, but surely it wasn't for Christ!

 What is there to cherish?  There must be a deep appreciation for what Christ did at dark Calvary. Maybe tomorrow could be a time of recognizing our sinful nature, which includes the deep institutionalized sins of the Church.  I know this may not get the crowd jumping up and down, but maybe it will move us to a place of true reconciliation with one another and those the church has ostracized, so that we all may partake in the Glorious resurrection as a reconciled people, to God and to one to another.  Is that not the burden the cross places on us?  Is that not why we cherish the ol’ rugged cross? Is that not why we anticipate crown of glory?  Yes it is full of suffering and shame, however; it’s the cross we bear for the sake of Christ and each other.

The Old Rugged Cross (Words & Music: George Ben­nard)
v1. On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.
v2. O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.
 (check this video out... )

Cherish and Cling to the Cross,