Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster

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...

Lady Trojans to Play in Titan Christmas Clash

HARRODSBURG, Ky. (12/26/14) — After winning two of three games in the Lady Storm United Mine Workers of America Classic… Read More

Owensboro Men's City Golf Tournament Scheduled

OWENSBORO, Ky. (12/26/14) — The 2015 Owensboro Men's City Golf Tournament has been scheduled. Dates for the 2015 event… Read More

Most Read This Week

December 24, 2014 11913

Christmas Eve Bloody Brawl Erupts on Dulin Street

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis
December 25, 2014 8027

Gift Returns Done Right

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
December 25, 2014 5032

Arrests Made After Dulin Avenue Christmas Eve…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Officer C.P. Haynie
December 19, 2014 3984

Vehicle Fire Causes Traffic Back-Up on Pennyrile

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis
December 23, 2014 3940

Couple's Alleged Dispute over Blanket Leads to…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
December 25, 2014 3499

Crime Stoppers Top Most Wanted - December 25, 2014

in Video by Crime Stoppers
December 23, 2014 3421

Alleged Theft at Walmart Sends Two to Jail

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
December 22, 2014 3388

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Dec. 22, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
December 20, 2014 3216

KET’s Kentucky Life Segment to Feature Old…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
December 23, 2014 2995

Disturbance Results in Vehicle, Foot Pursuit,…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Officer Tyler Russell

Stories Trending Today

December 24, 2014 11913

Christmas Eve Bloody Brawl Erupts on Dulin Street

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis
December 25, 2014 8027

Gift Returns Done Right

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
December 25, 2014 5032

Arrests Made After Dulin Avenue Christmas Eve…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Officer C.P. Haynie
December 25, 2014 3499

Crime Stoppers Top Most Wanted - December 25, 2014

in Video by Crime Stoppers
December 26, 2014 1688

5-Year-Old Boy Kills Buck/Doe

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Randy Adams
December 24, 2014 1242

Winter Superfoods for Optimal Health

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
December 24, 2014 1181

Jobless Rates down in 119 Counties in November…

in General News For All Sites by Kim Brannock
December 25, 2014 1146

How to Create Your Household Budget

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
December 26, 2014 1123

Grab the Best Buys This January

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
December 25, 2014 1032

SurfKY Spotlight: Hudson Service Center

in Video by Gary Gates, SurfKY News

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