Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

Keeping the Faith - You Ain’t No Mule!

ronniemcbrayer300 orangeKENTUCKY (11/10/13) - Clarence Jordan was a Southern gentleman born deep in the farming fields of Talbot County, Georgia. Now, if you have never heard of Talbot County, don’t sweat it. Not many people have; not in recent years, anyway. But if you haven’t heard of Clarence Jordan, that is your tremendous loss.

Growing up in the Deep South, Jordan was witness to bitter racism and acts of injustice against African-Americans that were as numerous as the Georgia cotton bolls. But Clarence, by God’s grace, refused to become a participant. He could not understand how anyone could hate a man simply “because of the color of skin God Almighty gave to him.”

What made the dissonance even more striking for Clarence was that many of the more zealous racists were prominent Christians. They were the very people with whom he attended church. But rather than blaming God and running away from religion because of the hard-heartedness of others, he boldly embraced faith.

After earning a degree in agriculture from the University of Georgia, he completed his doctoral studies at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Then he returned to those same Georgia fields, those same racist communities, and those same friends and neighbors. And once there, he created a countercultural, redemptive community just outside the town of Americus, named Koinonia Farms.

Koinonia is the Greek word for “community.” And Jordan set out to create just that: A farming community where men and women, blacks and whites, rich and poor would live together under the parenthood of God, using love as a substitute for violence, and sharing their possessions with the poor.

This was no utopia, however. Clarence was hated for his beliefs of equality. His fields were sabotaged with salt. His fruit stands were fire bombed. His pecan trees were cut down. The local communities instituted an embargo against his crops. Gun shots were often fired into his home late at night from the street. But through it all, Clarence persevered.

One day a man showed up at Clarence’s house angry that he and the people on his farm wouldn’t fight back. Clarence answered, “You’ve got that wrong. We’ll fight.” And then he looked across the field where a mule was sticking his head out of the barn. Clarence said, “Suppose you walked by the barn and that old mule reached out and bit you in the seat of your britches? Would you bite him back?”

The man was appalled. “Of course I wouldn’t bite him back,” the man said. “I’d get a ‘two by four,’ and hit him in the head!” Clarence, with his Southern-fried wisdom answered, “See, you would fight, but you wouldn’t use that old mule’s tactics, ‘cause you ain’t no mule. You wouldn’t bite or kick him because he would win. You would choose weapons that a mule can't compete with.”

Then Clarence delivered the clincher: “Yes sir, we will fight, but we will choose the weapons. We will fight with humility, grace, justice, and forgiveness. But we're not going to fight with the enemy’s weapons, because if we do, the enemy will whip us.”

Clarence Jordan died in 1969, still reviled by many of his neighbors, so much so that the local coroner wouldn’t even drive to the farm to pronounce the man deceased. But the man was anything but dead. His deeds and words live on. Jordan’s model of life has been followed by courageous Christian witnesses all around the world, and while he is not as well-known, it is not uncommon to hear his name spoken with the likes of Gandhi, King, and Teresa of Calcutta.

His most prominent work, “The Cotton Patch Gospel” is a masterpiece of New Testament interpretation, and Koinonia eventually birthed the organization now known as Habitat for Humanity which has partnered with those in need to shelter more than three million people.

In the end, it appears that Clarence Jordan contended well. His life is a testimony to grace under fire and an example for all fighters to follow. Like him, let us choose our weapons carefully.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.


Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

Faces & Stories: The People of Land Between the Lakes

button coupons
button classifieds

In Other News...

Hopkins County Health Department Food Scores Thru Nov. 19, 2014

HOPKINS COUNTY, Ky. (11/21/14) — The following is your update on local restaurant inspections for the Hopkins County… Read More

Baptist Health Paducah Asks Community to Help 'Stuff the Truck'

PADUCAH, Ky. (11/21/14) — Baptist Health Paducah asks you to bring canned goods and non-perishable food for local food… Read More

Most Read This Week

November 18, 2014 4866

Couple Charged for Concealing Food in Infant Car…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
November 17, 2014 4434

Police Charge Woman for Drug Possession After…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
November 15, 2014 3178

Faces & Stories: Hopkins County Tornado

in Video by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
November 17, 2014 2919

Bremen Woman Ejected From Vehicle During Kentucky…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper S.C. Recke
November 19, 2014 2891

Three Injured in Two-Vehicle Collision on South…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Gwen Smith
November 15, 2014 2846

18-Year-Old Injured When Pickup Strikes Railroad…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Patrolman Falon Graham
November 19, 2014 2632

Two Killed When Vehicle Becomes Airborne, Strikes…

in Local (Owensboro) Top News by Daviess County Sheriff's Office
November 15, 2014 2617

PSC Approves Energy Efficiency Programs for…

in General News For All Sites by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
November 18, 2014 2197

Area Talent to Film Music Video at Merle Travis…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
November 15, 2014 2168

Two Injured in Two-Car Collision at East Center,…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Patrolman Russell Nichols

Stories Trending Today

November 20, 2014 1628

Man on Bicycle Struck by Vehicle on South Main

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Officer Jeff Miller
November 20, 2014 1282

Local Church Prepares for 'Return to Bethlehem'

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
November 20, 2014 1216

Commercial Truck Accident Closes Northbound Lanes…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Chris Rogers
November 20, 2014 1204

Man Accused of Kicking in Resident's Door,…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Patrolman Russell Nichols
November 20, 2014 1199

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Nov. 20, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
November 20, 2014 1006

Christmas Parades Set for Central City and…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
November 20, 2014 960

Muhlenberg County Educator Selected for Induction…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by WKU News
November 20, 2014 834

Tips for One-Income Families

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
November 20, 2014 829

Evansville Man Charged with Forged Prescription…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Patrolman Russell Nichols
November 19, 2014 690

TVA Supports 'Girls in Engineering and…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Joyce Riggs

SurfKY News Group, Inc.
Corporate Office & Studio
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431
270.452.2727 (phone)
  •  270.452.2249 (fax)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social fbsocial twsocial yt
social gpsocial flrsocial rss