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.

button coupons
button classifieds

In Other News...

Hopkins County Sheriff's Reports Released

HOPKINS COUNTY, Ky. (12/18/14) — The Hopkins County Sheriff's Office released the following arrest reports Thursday,… Read More

Hopkins County Testing of Sirens

HOPKINS COUNTY, Ky. (12/18/14) — The Hopkins County Emergency Management will be testing the County Sirens on Thursday,… Read More

Most Read This Week

December 16, 2014 9437

Coal Miner Fatally Injured in Underground Mining…

in Top News For All Sites by Dick Brown
December 14, 2014 8470

Muhlenberg Pays Homage to U.S. Armed Forces

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
December 17, 2014 6325

Elderly Couple Found Shot to Death in Muhlenberg

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
December 17, 2014 6212

Three Men Charged with Burglary

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
December 15, 2014 4799

Hopkins County Woman Charged Second Time in Two…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
December 15, 2014 4288

Woman Leads Police on High-Speed Chase in Stolen…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police
December 15, 2014 3285

Vehicle Careens down 150 Foot Embankment with…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
December 16, 2014 2910

Highway Crews Pre-Treating Roadways for Potential…

in Hopkins News by Keith Todd
December 16, 2014 2894

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Dec. 16, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
December 12, 2014 2804

Governor Beshear Announces Contract for Another…

in Top News For All Sites by Office of the Governor

Stories Trending Today

December 18, 2014 2441

Cat Scratching over Dog Ownership Escalates

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
December 18, 2014 1058

Hopkins County Sheriff's Reports Released

in Hopkins News by Sheila Hopper
December 18, 2014 1043

Madisonville Insurance Executive Elected Vice…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Kristy Quinn
December 18, 2014 990

UK Track and Field Announces Initial Eight…

in General Sports For All Sites by UK Athletics
December 18, 2014 982

DeArmond Looks Back as Retirement Nears

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
December 18, 2014 965

Traffic Shift for New I-69/Pennyrile Pkwy…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Keith Todd
December 18, 2014 885

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Dec. 18, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
December 18, 2014 671

City of Earlington Holiday Schedule

in Hopkins News by Julia A. Sellers
December 18, 2014 661

Kentucky's Jobless Rate Drops to 6 Percent in…

in General News For All Sites by Kim Brannock
December 18, 2014 623

Paducah Police Still Searching for Suspect

in Local (Paducah) Top News by Robin Newberry

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