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I posted this response to a thread that was unclear. It was a question by someone whose e-mail address doesn't exist. My question, however, is the same only in relation to the celebration of kawanza in the church.

I think what this person is saying is that "a church (somewhere) came together like they did in the "Acts of the Apostles" day and paid the debts of their brothers and sisters. And the question is "where are the children of the Lord?"

I ask the same question, but related to another matter - where are the children of the Lord when worldly celebrations like Kawanza, which has nothing to do with Jesus, are brought into the church?

Most folk will say that the principles are Biblical. If that is the case, then why not just celebrate the Christian principles already set forth? Did Jesus attend Kawanza? I know he attended the Feast of Dedication (Tabernacle and Passover, etc.) but Kawanza? Why do we bring these worldly things into the church? The church - reaching at straws!!!

Is it because of "tolerance"? What did Jesus tolerate in his House?

-- Anonymous, December 26, 2001


Why do we give children candy at church on Valentines Day? Why do so many AME churches celebrate Black History Month? Why do we give children painted eggs at Easter? Why do some churches have cook-outs during the Fourth of July? Many AME churches have Halloween or what many of us call "Hallelujah fests" during the month of October? Why do so many churches give out turkeys to the elderly and needy during Thanksgiving? These are holidays that are a part of mainstream culture. Yet, no one has posted a string that said "why do we give out gifts to each other during Christmas. It is so worldly." So, why is Kwanzaa so worldly? Kwanzaa is no more worldly than any of the other holidays that I have mentioned. Rev. Wiggs, you have a right to your opinion. However, the thing that upsets me most of all is when African Americans get so repulsed over something that is our own. You are not the only person who feels the way you do. Kwanzaa is an African American holiday, based on community-minded and Christian principals. No, Jesus did not attend Kwanzaa because if you know anything about Kwanzaa you would know that it was founded in the 1960s in California. I can say that my mother's church (a non AME church and one of the largest United Churches of Christ in the denomination) has a major, city-wide Kwanzaa celebration during the entire week of Kwanzaa (December 26 - January 1). There is liturgical dance, choral singing, preaching, testifying, Bible Study, art, entrepreneurial training, etc. etc. And yes, the presence of the Lord IS felt by all. So, Jesus is there. Anytime people can be empowered, regardless of their race, then I believe that does the community well, and as a people we certainly need to be empowered, even as we enter the year 2002. Also, as an FYI, the American Bible Society endorses Kwanzaa and offers FREE Kwanzaa materials which are based on Biblical principals. Our church (an AME church) used them last year during our Kwanzaa celebration, and they were extremely informative and the celebration turned out wonderful. To order free materials, ask for Kwanzaa leaflets (one on each principle) #106694, American Bible Society, 1865 Broadway, New York NY 10023; 1-800/32BIBLE their website address is http://www.americanbible.org.

-- Anonymous, December 26, 2001

What I'm going to say might appear to be shameless self-promotion, but that is not my intent. Last year I posted 7 threads, each pertaining to the importance of Kwanzaa from Scripture. Perhaps Joyce, if so inclined you can check with the archives for this BB and review the messages. Many thanks to Augusta's contributions and her helpful resources so that we can achieve community renewal. I had no idea that the American Bible Society provided Kwanzaa materials!! Thanks again. QED

-- Anonymous, December 26, 2001

Whew! Wow! I knew I'd get a heated response from that question.

I don't concur or participate with any of the celebrations that take away the meaning of the one we're to celebrate, Jesus.

I have no problem with kwanza. My problem is where the celebration is held. As a family and friends, and/or a community fellowship, it's fine. But not in the church. Yes, I know the history of kawanza - when, why and by whom it was begun. It began after the Watts riots in California by Dr. Maulana Karenga as a way of reuniting that community.

The principles are scriptually based, unity, faith, etc. - but the celebration is not.

Because we're joint heirs with Christ, why is it we have to have our own celebration in the church and call it kawanza?

Yes, the Bible Society has the materials and to that I say, if you don't stand up for Jesus, you'll fall for anything.

-- Anonymous, December 26, 2001

How is the American Bible Study not standing up for Jesus? Particularly when they give away free Bibles to anyone who asks? I don't understand. Why do you feel that if an organization celebrates Kwanzaa, then they are not standing up for Jesus? Is it not possible to stand up for Jesus yet celebrate a social/cultural holiday? My celebration of Kwanzaa or Black History month or Halloween or Valentines Day does not hamper my standing up for Christ. I am confused. God bless you all.

-- Anonymous, December 26, 2001

Halloween, Kwanza, and/or Valentine's Day are not found in the scripture as days of celebration. Those are man made holidays. You or I can celebrate any one of them should we choose to do so. My problem stems from the fact that they are celebrated in God's house.

The ABS is providing a service and they do a very good job of providing Bibles and other literature to hotels and ministries that need them. My problem is not with the ABS, it's the church that's falling for anything. Perhaps I didn't make myself clear on that.

I'm not saying that African-Americans can't have their own celebration. Celebrate if you like, what I'm saying is kawanza should not be celebrated in the church.

The principles should be taught as a part of daily life with your family. I know I'm old school, but my mama didn't have a kawanza celebration, I learned about unity when I saw her take in her sister and her faimily when they were without, I saw economic stability when my mother went to those white folk house everyday, and I saw faith when she trusted in God that He would provide.

So, if the church has to reach out to kawanza to teach the principles of Jesus Christ wow! it tells me that we've kicked Jesus out of his House and replaced Him with somebody named kawanza.

-- Anonymous, December 26, 2001

I must admit, I do enjoy Valentine's Day, with great passion!! Chocolate candy, red apparel and most of all hugs and kisses :-) QED

-- Anonymous, December 26, 2001

I would like to offer another perspective on Kwansaa. As you know I live in Montana a state that is 98 percent white. And there is very little diversity in our state. I have lived here 10 years, and it has been wonderful to interact with the young people of this state that want to learn about African-American history. For the last three years I have been asked by our local library to do a program about Kwansaa. Last year we had 100 children plus their parents. The head librarian said several of the older children wanted a program on Kwansa, since the library does one on hannukah, and Christmas. THis year I was happy to hear that the children will have a community Martin Luther King celebration. And the keynote speaker will be a Native American speaker. I will be speaking in another town on MLK day. 80 percent of our kids leave the state to find employment, their encounter with African-Americans comes from the positive influences they receive when programs such as these are presented. Let us not forget that Kwansaa is a wonderful opportunity to discuss positive values of the Black community.

-- Anonymous, December 26, 2001

All my family and friends can tell you that my favorite time of the whole year is Christmas. Therefore, since the majority of the Christian Church has designated December 25 to January 6 as CHRISTMAS, and January 6 is actually Christmas Day for the rest of the Christian Church, during this time, I allow nothing to eclipse my celebration of CHRISTMAS.

This is not any indication that the principals or Kwanza are not noble ones. But so are those set forth by Christ. It is also no attempt on my part to put down those who love, enjoy and celebrate Kwanza. But, since Christ is equally accessible to all and adored by all, no matter what our ethnicity, for these twelve days, CHRISTMAS is what I celebrate.

-- Anonymous, December 27, 2001

Sister Alberta sent me a note to say that youth, young adults and 'old school folk' like me, have embraced kwanzaa and are flocking to the church where they celebrate this 'new' African-American holiday. She said folk were happy to celebrate their culture. That's a sad commentary. Poor 'us'. We are (the church) reaching for anything that will bring them in, so we go along to get along.

Is the name Jesus or Christ or God used at all in this kwanza celebration? Is any scripture used to explain the principles? No, certainly not! Then why is it celebrated in God's House where His name is? Jesus replaced with kwanzaa. Kicked out of His house. Here's what the church is saying, "Wait a minute, Jesus, today we've got this celebration going on so, we'll get back with you after that, say around January 7. Right now, though, it's party time, but we'll get back with you after that."

I'm not surprised! I remember reading in His Word where some folk in His house wanted to throw Him off a cliff.

As I said in my earlier response, I am not against kwanzaa. Those who want to embrace it are free to do so at the library (place of learning), community centers, (place of gathering) homes, (place for family and friends)neighborhoods (street gatherings) but, NOT THE CHURCH!

Sister Alberta says we should be recognizing (praising, lifting up) the founder of the celebration - not I - I'm lifting and praising Jesus! What's wrong with our people? We'll fall for anything! If it sounds good or looks good, then it must be good. Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.

Actually, I acknowledge and celebrate Hanukah, The Birth of Christ through to Epiphany, the Lenten season, Passover, and Resurrection Day. The secular holidays are just another day to me. The only one that I really give any credence to is M. L. King, Jr. Day and that's because of his stand for Jesus.

Boy, this thread opened up pandora's box.

Sister Alberta says I shouldn't talk about kwanza because she knows I'm not going to change my mind. Oh! my dear sister, how right you are. I will not bow down to that idol. I follow Christ!

Open our ears, Lord, and help us to listen, open our eyes, Lord, we want to see JESUS!

-- Anonymous, December 27, 2001

Rev. Wiggs, would you say that it is alright for clergy and church members to participate in Kwanzaa observances outside of the church/worship experience, but that those observances should remain outside of the church/worship experience? Or do you think that an observance of Kwanzaa by church members/professed Christians should be frowned upon? And please don't let me put words in your mouth. :)

I find this topic of great interest. Personally, I do not observe Kwanzaa because I think those principles should be observed everyday. I also believe, as you stated, Rev. Wiggs, that if we are indeed following in the footsteps of Jesus, then we're already covering those bases. For the same reason, I tend not to make a big deal out of Valentines Day. Isolating a day when you show love to the world, in my mind, validates hateful or indifferent attitudes that we may experience the other 364 days of the year. It's like a day of absolution for not trying to walk in love all year long. Perhaps I read too much into it. But I do my best to make every day Valentines day. And I do my best to observe the principles of Kwanzaa all year through. And I choose not to follow the pattern set by Dr. Karenga 40 years ago, but the one set by Jesus 2000 years ago, because as the elders often say, newer ain't always better.

Peace and blessings!

-- Anonymous, December 27, 2001

Rev. Wiggs, you answered my question before I could post it! :)

Peace and blessings!

-- Anonymous, December 27, 2001

My church has a 4th of July cookout and a Valentine's day sweetheart banquet. Are these things wrong? No. Do they have anything to do with the Great Commission, which is the reason the church exists? No. Well, maybe if I stretched a bit some might say indirectly, but no.

Churches get involved in many things which are not wrong, they just don't bother the devil very much. I have no problem with that as long as we don't put very much of our treasure into these earthly vessels. Where is the focus of your particular church? Is it promoting racial culture, promoting diversity, feeding the poor, worship, saving souls, teaching the Word? Your answer will probably encompass several of these. But where is the most time, money, and energy spent? Now how much of that is connected with "making disciples" in your own community and around the world?

God has no problem with my taking some of the time, energy, and money He's made me steward of to invest in going to see a football game with the guys. But when those resources are devoted too much to extra cirricular activities, they have become an idol. That line is crossed when I devote so much to these extras that my ability as a warrior to hurt the devil badly is diluted. Many churches have made this mistake.

-- Anonymous, December 27, 2001

Brothers and Sisters, 4th of July and valentine's day celebrations and any other celebration that leaves Jesus out of it is, in my estimation, where we go off the path of righteousness.

4th of July is about 'freedom'. What did Jesus say about that word? Valentine's day is about love. What did Jesus say about that word? So, we spend lots of money on BBQ, and candy. Where is Jesus?

On these days of celebration, do we even bring Him up? Do we use those occasions to teach the principles those days are celebrated for? In other words, those days are used as a day of fellowship and that's okay, until the basic premise is lost - TRUTH. Please let "His truth keep marching on" be our torch bearer.

Those words freedom, love, thanks, unity, should be our daily walk,not just on special days. To me every day is a holiday! I get a gift each day - the gift of life. Thanks be to God!

What doth the Lord require of thee?

-- Anonymous, December 27, 2001

Just wanted to share this with you regarding religion and reality:

Read: Isaiah 58:1-9

I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. — Revelation 3:20

Religion and reality don't mix"—that's what a group believes. These people call themselves "freethinkers" who have chosen "reality over religion." Most of them grew up in churchgoing families but have left their faith.

Like those freethinkers, two students from prominent families became deeply disturbed by religious people who exploited the poor. They too rejected all religion. They sought reality in alleviating the suffering of the masses. But eventually they began to sense that life without God left them empty. Through a series of near-miraculous events, both students came to know Jesus as their Savior and Lord. They continued to work among the poor, but with a new perspective. They found the reality of a living faith in contrast to mere external religion. The Israelites also wondered why God seemed unreal to them. They had gone through the motions of religion but continued to live for themselves (Isaiah 58:2,4). Isaiah told them to repent and become real—to free the oppressed, to share their bread with the hungry, to house the poor, and to clothe the naked. Only then would God be real to them (vv.6-9).

If we truly know Jesus, religion and reality do mix.

When people turn away from God, They think they will be free, But only Christ who died for them Will bring reality.

Unless Christ is the center of interest, life will be out of focus.

The question is: Is Jesus the center of your life? I find it difficult to believe He is, if you wholeheartedly embrace a secular, man-made celebration over His Truth that has stood for more than 2000 years.

Open our ears, Lord and help us to listen, open our eyes, Lord, we want to see Jesus!

-- Anonymous, December 27, 2001

Rev. Joyce: Interesting that you mention Christ's observance of the Feast of the Dedication. If I'm not mistaken this is described in the Gospel according to St. John. We know this today as Hannakuh, yet very few Christians or churches actually incorporate this into the Liturgical Calendar. This is largely due to Protestant churches not recognizing the Apocryphal Books as Canonical literature. How many of us really know or understand the geo-political importance of Judas Maccabees?

What is often neglected is neither the Old Testament of Jesus of the New Testament divorce scared from "popular custom". The marriage at Cana was a festive occassion filled with laughter, dancing, drinking of wine and Jesus was at the center of attention. The most misunderstood book of the Bible, I feel, is the Song of Songs. This beautiful song describes the intimate relations between two young Jewish lovers. Jesus' religious persecutors tried to trip him up when His Disciples plucked corn on the Sabbath to satisfy nutritional needs. Jesus correctly reminded them that their very owned revered King David allowed his soldiers to eat showbread from the Temple, an act considered blasphemous and punishable by death.

My point is in cases such as these (non-exhaustive) the dichotomy between sacred and secular is a non-issue. The House of God should be respected and revered as sacred. This is why the moneychangers were "asked" by Jesus to vacate the premises immediately! Truth be told, many of the current financial activities in our churches merit similar actions. Churches are typically reserved for weddings and funerals. This is interesting because no where in scripture do I find churches (Book of Acts) performing these functions. I know of some churches which serve as polling precincts on election day. Funerals and voting are non-sectarian activities yet church buildings accomodate these "secular" activities. Looks like the dichotomy between sacred and secular is more ambiguous than previously presumed. Anyway, I hope I receive a Valentine Day greeting from you :-) QED

-- Anonymous, December 27, 2001

Rev. Wiggs I shared your thoughts with my daughter who is our Christian Education Superintendent and she agreed with you 100 percent. And said since this was not a Christ centered holiday it would not be celebrated in our church. I want to share the history of the holiday for those who are not familiar with it. First of all Kwanzaa is not an AFRICAN celebration is was started in the united states by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966 as a ritual to welcome the first harvests to the home. This holiday was a response to the commercialism of Christmas. And is an attempt to focus on qualities that create unity among African-American people instead of spending money on Christmas gifts. My research says that "kwanzaa" means first. The holiday is celebrated from Dec. 26th to January 1. And the five common sets of values that are emphasized during the week are: reverence, gathering, recommitment, and celebration. The seven principles (nguzo saba) of Kwanzaa utilize Kiswahli words such as unity (umoja), self-determination (kujichagulia), collective work and responsibility (ujima), cooperative economics (ujamaa), purpose (nia), creativity (kuumba), and faith (imani), there are seven candles that are lit to represent these principles. The symbols of Kwanzaa are crops (mzao) which represent the historical roots of African-Americans in agriculture . The mat (mkeka) lays the foundation for empowerment, the candle holder (kinara) reminds believers in the ancestral origins in one of 55 African countries. Corn (muhindi) signifies children and the hope associated in the younger generation. Gifts (Zawadi) represent the love of parents for the children. The unity cup (kkimbe cha Umoja) is used to pour juice for our ancestors and the seven candles remind us of the principles. Gifts are exhanged. And on Dec.31 participants have a party with food from various African countries. And everyone greets one another with "Habari gani' which means how are you? Personally I think it is a wonderful celebration, it is probably more like our "Thanksgiving" holiday. I know when I lived in New York City, the holiday was great and we even celebrated in Seminary. I do not believe this celebration is a contradiction to Christianity, but an opportunity for African- Americans to focus on our heritage with pride at the end of the year.

-- Anonymous, December 27, 2001

On the newspaper web site I run, we have piece up on Kwanza and its history. This is the second year that we have run the holiday site that contains Kwanza as well as all of the other celebrations of this season. This is the first time I have received negative feedback about Kwanza. I am including the letter I received this year. I can neither attest to its research or its accuracy but merely uplifting it to another facet in the Kwanza discussion. Rev. John

Lynn Woolley

Monday, Dec. 17, 2001

You don't like the current slate of holidays that we celebrate here in America? Then why not create one of your own? That's exactly what Ronald Everett did back in 1966. He named it "Kwanzaa."

Since then, many people have embraced this new holiday. Check out almost any appointment calendar and you'll find it duly noted on Dec. 26 that "Kwanzaa begins." Stroll through your local card and party store and you'll find Kwanzaa items.

You can even look it up in the World Book Encyclopedia, where you'll find a nifty little article that says Kwanzaa was created by "a black cultural leader." And those who celebrate it will often tell you that it's not just for African Americans.

They're not telling you the whole story; in fact, it's doubtful that they even know the origins of Kwanzaa. Few people do, because the voluminous amount of ink expended on Ronald McKinley Everett most often refers to him as Dr. Maulana Karenga and rarely examines his past.

However, the story of Ron Everett, aka Dr. Karenga, has been told - notably in a Dallas Morning News article from Dec. 26, 1996, and in David Horowitz's late publication, Heterodoxy, in the December 1999 issue.

The story behind the holiday and the man who created it is most interesting.

Forget the notion that Kwanzaa is a holiday for all people. Dr. Karenga states that he created it at the height of the black liberation movement as part of a "re-Africanization" process - "a going back to black."

Dr. Karenga, still just "Ron Everett" at the time, was heavily involved in the black power movement. He started an organization called US. The letters have nothing to do with "United States" but mean simply "US," as opposed to "THEM."

He dropped the Everett name, adopted the Swahili one, which means "master teacher," shaved his head, and began wearing traditional African clothing. US members, similarly attired, often clashed with other black militant groups such as the Black Panthers. The fighting was about which group would control the new Afro- American Studies Center at UCLA.

There were incidents involving beatings and shootings, including one in 1969 in which two US members shot and killed two Black Panthers. Dr. Karenga had other run-ins with the law, including charges that he abused women.

In 1971, he was convicted of assaulting female members of US, and he served time in prison. An LA Times snippet describes the torture of the women as involving a hot soldering iron placed in the mouth of one, while the other's toe was mashed in a vice.

Dr. Karenga says that he is the victim; he was quoted in the News: "All the negative charges are in fact disinformation and frame- ups by the FBI and local and national police."

One thing that's interesting to note about the inventor of Kwanzaa: Practically all of his crimes were committed against black people. And yet, today, he is simply known as an academic who created a holiday for cultural unity.

Nine years after Kwanzaa was invented, Dr. Karenga decided to moderate his views and became a Marxist. In 1979, he was hired to run the Black Studies Department at Cal State Long Beach, in all likelihood, the first ex-con to do so.

And so this is Kwanzaa. The militant past of the creator is now ignored in favor of the so-called seven principles of Nguza Saba - principles such as unity, family and self-determination that could have come from Bill Bennett's "Book of Virtues." The word "Kwanzaa" is Swahili, meaning something like "fresh fruits of harvest."

No one remembers the part about "re-Africanization" or the sevenfold path of blackness that Dr. Karenga once espoused. Hardly anyone remembers the shootings, the beatings,the tortures and the prison terms that were once the center of his life. It's just not PC to bring that sort of stuff up now that Kwanzaa is commercialized and making big bucks.

Dr. Karenga does his part to promote the holiday and forget the past. In December, he goes on his annual "Kwanzaa circuit" of speeches and appearances. And he writes.

Remember that little article in the World Book Encyclopedia that legitimized Dr. Karenga as a "black cultural leader"? You guessed it - he wrote the article himself.

Happy Kwanzaa.

-- Anonymous, December 27, 2001

For me, the kwanzaa celebration is not about the principles that it embraces, but the fact that what we're celebrating has already been given to us by Jesus and then one day 35 years ago, a man comes along and begins something and all of a sudden, we jump right on it and it's gospel.

The feast of dedication, which yes, Jesus attended, began when Judas Macabees recaptured Jerusalem from the Syrians, they planned to rededicate the temple after it had been desecrated by the Syrians. The temple had only enough oil for one day, a miracle happened, instead of one day, the lantern burned eight days.

The reason I mention it is because I've been celebrating it for many years. The temple I rededicate is myself, "did you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?" Jewish people call this celebration Hanukah or Chanukah. It's eight days long and there are scriptures and gifts and fun and games and much food.

My point in this discussion is that we don't have to go outside to find something to celebrate. It is written. Take what's written and use it to the glory of God. Celebrate life, love, hope, peace, joy, forgiveness, freedom. It's all in the book and when we as Christians begin following every wind and doctrine...

Rev. Denise, your daughter is a wise woman! Bro. Dickens, much love to you and it's not 2/14.

My question again -- what doth the Lord require of thee? For some further insight into this, please read Micah 6.

Love you all.

-- Anonymous, December 27, 2001

The biggest concern I have with Rev. Wiggs comments is not her feelings about Kwanzaa and her desire for the holiday to NOT be celebrated in the church, but my concern is/are her gross overgeneralizations, particularly when she states that, "Is the name Jesus or Christ or God used at all in this kwanza celebration? Is any scripture used to explain the principles? No, certainly not! Then why is it celebrated in God's House where His name is? Jesus replaced with kwanzaa. Kicked out of His house..." Several of us have stated in our postings that scripture IS used to explain the Seven Principals. I even provided a link to the American Bible Society, which has a wonderfully laid out program that incorporates Kwanzaa INTO the scriptures, not the opposite. Also last year this time, one of our brothers posted daily the principals of kwanzaa and scriptures that connect with each principal. I believe that when Rev. Wiggs states that people only want to party in the church during kwanzaa and people do not connect the Bible with kwanzaa, I feel that she should be more clear and state that at her church or the people she knows do not want to connect the scriptures with kwanzaa and only want to party and drink. I feel that her overgenralizations are absolutely false because there are enough of us who are conducting ourselves totally in contrast with what she is describing. It is obvious that she has a beef with the holiday and does not want to accept the fact that it is possible to successfully merge the secular and sacred and give Jesus the glory. Another thing, I called the American Bible Society last month and ordered my Kwanzaa materials. I asked the operator is their a deadline to order kwanzaa materials and she stated that ABS does not have a deadline because they feel that Kwanzaa can and should be celebrated in the Christian church all year long as opposed to one week out the year. AMEN.

-- Anonymous, December 27, 2001

I cannot pass on commenting on the addition of the "Lynn Woolley" article which bashes Kwanzaa and Dr. Maulena Karenga. Just a piece of FYI: Lynn Woolley is one of the most racist writers in the State of Texas, and her racist propaganda is demonstrated in this Kwanzaa article that has been circulating on the Internet for the past six years. She re-publishes this article every year right before Kwanzaa. As far as the negative statements about Dr. Karenga and the Black Panther party that are written in the Woolley article, I think it is important to tell the OTHER side of the story. Woolley's article neglects to mention the role the FBI's Cointelpro organization played in not only infiltrating African American Civil Rights, Human Rights and Black Nationalist organizations which had a common goal during the 1960s -- to seek the rights of African Americans, but the FBI's Cointelpro organization, with the assistance and endorsement of their head, J. Edgar Hoover, set out to murder and destroy every African American leader and organization that stood up for OUR rights, including Martin Luther King, Malcom X, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, and the Black Panther Party. The US organization Woolley mentions in her article that Dr. Karenga founded was renamed by the FBI/Cointelpro organization the "United Slaves" organization, as a mockery of people of color. And, according to the FBI/Cointelpro Archives, which are now open to the public for research, there are hundreds of pages of research which outline how the FBI used its own members to infiltrate our organizations; these same FBI informants were used to kill members of these organizations, so that it would look like Black Panthers were killing members of SNCC; and that SNCC members were killing members of Karenga's organization "US". For a more accurate "flip side" of the Woolley article, please read Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall's excellent work, The COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI’s Secret Wars Against Dissent in the United States (Boston: South End Press, 1990). See the following link "FBI Political Repression : A snapshot of COINTELPRO", which will give you a taste of the Churchill book: http://www.colorado.edu/EthnicStudies/Churchillarticle.html. You have also got to read the article "Cointelpro: The Untold Story" http://www.derechos.net/paulwolf/cointelpropapers/coinwcar3.htm which is jointly compiled by several scholars, including Noam Chomsky, Kathleen Cleaver. This article was presented to U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson at the World Conference Against Racism, held in Durban, South Africa, September 1, 2001. Racism in Durban, South Africa. God bless you.

-- Anonymous, December 27, 2001

My dear sisters and brothers, With much love, my position on kwanza remains the same. The original kwanza celebration which began 35 years ago, had nothing to do with Jesus or His Word. It began as a means to bring a community (Watts) together after the riots.

Someone (the ABS or whomever) incorporated scriptural references so that the celebration could be brought into the church. I repeat, the original celebration had/has no scriptural references.

Now, that is simply again bringing the secular world into the church (clean it up and they'll accept it.)

As Rev. Denise pointed out to us, funerals and weddings were not held in the temple but at homes where eat, drink and be merry could go on without desecrating God's house.

Actually, sister, I know only one church in my city that has the kwanza celebration. They simply read the principles and have nothing else. The folk in my city and the surrounding city have the week long celebration at the community center, their own center, in the park, at the library, etc. The have African drums and dancing, story telling, gift making and giving and much ethnic food. That is the proper place for the celebration - not the church.

Just because they've added some scripture references does that make it an okay celebration for the church? Are not these scriptural references taught throughout the year? So, we just need to have something called by an African name so we can have a celebration? My African friends never heard of kwanza until they came here. What? Are we just trying to be different?

If that's the case - then most emphatically - I am different, "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." I Peter 2:9

Sisters and brothers, I understand totally the concept of kwanza just like I understand fashion shows, baby contests, give aways and fish fries. It's secular now with religious undertones and it bridges the gap. WOW!

-- Anonymous, December 27, 2001

Brothers and Sisters, This note is to thank each of you for your comments regarding the celebration of kwanzaa. I've certainly been enlightened. Thanks to Rev. John for the article that put another diminsion on the matter.

My hope is that we've had dialogue that helps us to understand what it is we're celebrating and why. One brother asked if I felt that christians should not celebrate it at all. No, that is not the way I feel about kwanzaa. I simply feel that it should not be held in the sanctuary. The church that desires to participate in the kwanza celebration is free to do so, but please have your celebration in the appropriate place, and that place is not the sanctuary.

I believe I made myself clear on my reasons why. Does your church have a fellowship hall or access to one? Since kwanza seems to be a celebration about people getting together to fellowship - have it in the fellowship hall. Someone else brought up the fact that valentine's day, halloween fests, Easter eggs hunts, etc. are held at church and why not kwanza? Halloween should never be celebrated by christians. As for valentine's day - one day only to show love? Show love daily. Easter egg hunts - after the sermon on the Resurrection of our Savior, then we get our children caught in a hunt for an egg. Oh, my!

Yes, I will acknowledge, it's shameful the way we've exploited Jesus. We're grasping at straws (ways/means) to bring in folk and retain them. Kwanzaa is just one of a number of ways and means we're using. When kwanzaa becomes more important than Jesus, that should show us how lost we truly are.

I'm so glad that we as adults can have meaningful dialogue via this medium without getting 'bent out of shape' due to a viewpoint. We all know that everyone has an opinion, but what we seek is the truth and should we be able to get some added insight into a matter via this medium, I'm grateful.

"For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ". II Corinthians 4:5,6

A blessed Epiphany to you all! God Bless.

Rev. J

-- Anonymous, December 28, 2001

For the last three years I have been doing a Kwanzaa celebration at our local library. I just got home from this year's presentation. We have about 8 inches of snow and it is still snowing yet we had about 50 kids turn out for the presentation. Some have come every year. I find talking about Kwanzaa to young white children is an opportunity to discuss the culture of African-Americans in a positive way. All the kids got pictures of the Kinara to color and I went over the principles with them. We talked about pigmentation in the skin, the continent of Africa, slavery and I was bowled over when 3 of the four year olds wanted to discuss self-determination! It is moments such as this that I realize God's plan for salvation can include all things. Even Kwanzaa, for I was afforded the opportunity to discuss faith. There was an interacial child, and some handi-capped children there today. And they loved talking about the principles of Kwanzaa and the Head Librarian said she and her daughter are coming to our church this Sunday. I am so proud of the heritage of my people, and it is a joy to share it with others. I always invite the kids to go to the map and pick a country from Africa and check out a book on that country. They love doing that. Kwanzaa is about love and giving of gifts and I think one of the greatest gifts we can give to others, is knowledge about our culture. That way they will not be mired in negative sterotypes. Kwanzaa provides a positive way for me to share about the African-American culture. P.S I got fifty hugs from the kids.

-- Anonymous, December 28, 2001

Rev. Denise, Thanks for sharing the highlights of your input into the kwanzaa celebration in Bozeman. One of the places where the celebration took place that is so appropriate - the library.

As I've previously stated, for those who want to celebrate kwanzaa, I have not objection to it. However, my objection to it being in the church sanctuary remains the same.

Question. Does this celebration define our culture? Are we, as African-American Christians, saying to others and ourselves that kwanzaa typifies what we believe? Are we saying that these principles established by Dr. Karenga 35 years ago without scripture, now because the ABS has attached scripture it's okay to celebrate it in the church sanctuary because the ABS has endorsed it?

Is the ABS the guiding light of the church? Does the church follow the ABS or Christ?

For some reason, our eyes have dimmed and our ears have become deaf to the truth. We only want to see and hear what we have deemed culturally and, I might add, spiritually apropo. Community and family and church can be bridged through what is already written in the Bible, which will lead us to understand the past and guide us into understanding the present.

When I read in Mark 7:7-9,13 "Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition". v.13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye."

Let him that hath ears to hear, hear what the Spirit says unto the churches.

Love, peace, joy, and hope for a prosperous year in the Lord to all.

Rev. J

-- Anonymous, January 02, 2002

Rev. Wiggs I do not believe Kwanzaa symbolizes everything about the African-American culture. But I find it does provide an opportunity to discuss our rich heritage. To sit with children and adults and discuss the legacy of slavery, in the context of self-determination is powerful. God is calling us to witness for him through love and justice. I use the resources of the American Bible Society, they host free web sites for churches in North America. And provide wonderful resources for clergy and laity. For those that are interested the web page for the American Bible Society is www.forministry.com Rev. Wiggs keep being passionate about your beliefs for you keep us on track! God bless you my sister.

-- Anonymous, January 02, 2002

To those who need or want to celebrate Kwanzaa, God bless them. To those who do not celebrate Kwanzaa, God bless them. To both, make God first in your life. As long as the celebration does not violate the summary of the law: Love God with all your being and your neighbor as yourself, the celebration is not forbidden in scripture. As long as the work of the Lord is not neglected we can celebrate when and what we choose, just don't place that celebration above God. Many of us engage in idol worship in our Christmas celebrations. Easter is far more meaningful to the child of God in my humble opinion.

Blessings to All

Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, January 02, 2002

Pastor Paris,

I'm so glad that you included your comments in this thread.

Thanks for reiterating that we have the gift of free will, therefore, any one of us can choose to celebrate kwanzaa. Eventhough, you stopped short of saying where you thought this celebration should be held, my position is still that the church's sanctuary is not the appropriate place.

You did point out that we've idolized Christmas and Easter, the two holiest days of the Christian Church. To which, I'm sure all of us will agree. It appears that some of our people have taken hold of this celebration as the epitomy of establishing African-Americans as unique because now we have our own cultural celebration. Before we had kwanzaa, in many communities, we celebrated Emancipation Day and/or Juneteenth, but you see at those celebrations, there is not buying or making of gifts to give. You celebrated 'look how far we've come' from 1863 and/or 1865.

In my family, because we have children in both elementary and high school where the kwanzaa holiday and it's principles are being taught, they look to me for guidance because they don't understand 'why' are we celebrating this day?

So, I must admit that I approach it from a different perspective.

Rev. D, what you're doing with the children in your city by helping them to understand the principles along with our history is admirable. If we really wanted to make a difference, that would be a good place to start by sharing the good news to disadvantaged, displaced folk of other races and creeds using the principles.

But, as I see them in my mind's eye, it's probably all about my African attire - but the message is going no where - it's our cultural celebration. Dear God, let that not be the case.

Love you all.

-- Anonymous, January 03, 2002

Who knows the history of Christmas? It is a man-made celebration, grounded in secularism and a pagan past. Yet, most Christians celebrate it annually and in their various churches. There is no mention of this celebration in the Bible either.

I like the idea or recognizing Christ but I doubt that the way we do so in this annual event is fulfilling that goal. I have a feeling this is why Christ's true date of birth is not known to this day...we "good intentioned" would make an idol out of it, secularize it and a lot of people would make a lot of money in the process.

If we use the criteria that Rev. Joyce Wiggs uses to determine what should be celebrated in Bible-following Christian churches then, Christmas should not!

-- Anonymous, October 31, 2002

Your A poopy Head u didnt answer my question and your dumb u probably dont even know the answer to my question!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- Anonymous, November 18, 2002


-- Anonymous, December 03, 2002

Yes, I do believe that the church and some christian persons have become tolarable to a lot of worldly things. Example, accepting Gays in church. What I want to say about kwanza is that I don't agree with it being celebrated in the church, but it should be done in a home like enviroment, or even at school to educate.I feel that it is a good idea to have the celebration in the first month of the year so that we as black people can star the year off with that renewed outlook about ourselves as black people.

-- Anonymous, December 05, 2002

Hello Leslie and Welcome to the AME Today Online Community. THanks for sharing your comments on the topic of Kwanzza!! QED

-- Anonymous, December 07, 2002

Hello all,

I am one who strives to do what is good in God's sight, and a true believer of His Word and the life of Christ.

Several years ago, I found myself confused about the holiday we call Christmas. As a new wife of less than a year, and a soon to be mother, I wondered which principals I would teach my children. With slight encouragement (sarcasm intended)from the future grandparents, I realized not teaching Christmas might be detrimental to my healthy reputation. therefore I decided to teach them about Christmas without the Claus. My intent was to raise my son with the knowledge that the day celebrated the birth of Christ, but since he was in heaven with God, my son would get his birthday gifts. Alas, this did not work.

By the time our second child was expected, my husband and I were getting fed up with the commercialism of Christmas, and the lists of "I wants". We decided to look up the history of each symbol of Christmas and teach our children a more profound meaning of the holiday.

Surprise, Surprise. It seems that Christmas too was a pagan holiday, and only by habit it is not considered holy. When it first came to pass, the true followers of Christ did not honor it, becuase the symbols were pagan, based in witchcraft, and just a holy stamp on a winter pagan festival. ( I will not go into detail, but if you are truly interested, you can look it up, "Saturnalia".) Furhter more, Christ was born, but never in the new testament is his birth celebrated by decorating a tree and giving gifts.

My husband and I were more confused than ever. Even though we have tried to get into Kawanza, it is not an easy thing to do, and can require ritualistic customs that we are just not comfortable with. We are attempting to make up our own traditions to celebrate the season.

In closing, how you celebrate your faith is really between you and God. The church recognizing Kawansa today, is really no different than when Christmas first began. Kawansa just has not become a habit yet.

Thanks for listening, and any comment/debate is welcome.

-- Anonymous, December 09, 2002

I really liked what tracylynn had to say. My mother started me and my siblings studying with Jehovah's Witnesses when I was about 10 yrs old. Although I am not currently studying with them i many of their beliefs are instilled in me. The fact that Christmas is a pagen holiday is true. I am also trying to get into Kawanza but I'm not sure about it, I need more information. As far as what exactly does the holiday entales. I am not yet married but when i get there and start a family I want to have some beliefs to pass on to my children.

-- Anonymous, December 15, 2002

The discussion brings to mind what may have occured in the Nicean and or Chalcedon Councils, which is man making an attempt to explain the religion of Jesus. We all understand "his" religion was quite different from our own. Taking that fact into consideration and trying to stay as humble as possible our answers are in history. Not likeing the good Dr. K to Paul, and notwithstanding their backrounds I believe the answer is quite clear.

-- Anonymous, December 23, 2002

A Question:

Most of the people in the world, who consider themselves Christians and study the Bible, read the King James Version. Based on my studies, in 1611, 47 people selected by King James of England, were given a duty to translate from the Bishop's Bible, which was already in English translation. At this time, there were no Africans in America or in Europe. So I wonder what kind of Bible were Africans reading or what their faith was, before they came in contact with Europeans? We know at that time there was certainly no King James Version, translation or any European translation for the continent of Africa. When slaves arrived to America, Europe and many parts of the Caribbean and South America. They were unable to speak, read, write or understand English. The first book they were allowed to read was the King James Version of the Bible. Slaves would read the Bible whenever possible, not much for the storyline, but what they wanted most was the formation of English words and the language structure itself. Slaves learn to read by using the King James version as a text book. Even slaves who were free did the same. In some cases, sympathetic white slave owners did assist them in reading the Bible. On many occasions many Bible passages were twisted during sermons on Sunday morning and taken out of context to coerce the slaves to become more beholding and docile as supposedly was the will if God. "Obey them that have rule over you." These Bible passage, along with many others were used to support western ideology in favor of slavery. Here we are in 2002 and many African Americans, consider themselves Catholic, Baptist, Mormon, Methodist, Jehovah Witness or Presbyterian. If Africans did not practice any of these denominations in any form, until their arrival in America and other parts of the world and everything they knew came from slaveholders ( names, books, food, clothing, shelter, new faiths and a whole new western culture. How can any black person in America be truly certain or sure, that the Bible they read and study or the religion they practice is the correct one for them in their search for God? There is an old saying in America's courtrooms, that goes like this. "If a witness lies or misleads on one thing, You can totally disregard everything he or she might have said or will say in the future!.

Proverbs 22: 16 Proverbs 22: 22 Revelation 22:18,19

-- Anonymous, December 26, 2002

To me it seems inconsistent for a person to condemn Kwanzaa when they put up a manger scene or hold a Christmas pageant in their church building. There is no Biblical teaching that advocates celebrating the birth of Christ on Christmas. Celebrating any day as a spiritual or religious holiday is a man-made tradition, which Jesus condemned among the Pharisees: "These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" (Mt. 15:8-9).

Where in the New Testament are Christians taught to celebrate any spiritual holidays, other than celebrating "the Lord's Day", Sunday (Rev. 1:10; Acts 20:6-7)? For a short while, some Jewish Christians continued to celebrate the Old Testament feast days that God had commanded of Jews, but New Testament Christians did not come up with man-made holidays to celebrate Jesus' birth, or baptism, or ascension, etc. Why not just abandon all religious holidays and go back to following only what is written in the Word of God, without adding man-made traditions?

If one wishes to celebrate a national holiday, like Kwanzaa or Christmas, and put up a decorated tree or exchange gifts without adding the religious components, then that is within one's prerogative. But if God has not established a religious holiday, why does a person think that he or she can write God's laws for Him?

Grace and peace in the Lord, Jason

-- Anonymous, December 30, 2002


Take it Easy!

The concepts taught during Kawanza are perfectly fine to be taught anywhere. However, prayer should be the main emphasis and empathy the seconday emphasis when explaining the origin of Kawanza and why it is still celebrated today.

Black American adults should also teach the children the who, what, when, where and why's.

The children are our future; you grown folk need to pray and move on.

Take it Easy

-- Anonymous, December 31, 2002


How did you determine that "The concepts taught during Kawanza are perfectly fine to be taught anywhere" (which would include that which is taught during the assembling of Christians as we come together to remember Christ)? Did Jesus or one of the apostles teach that somewhere in the New Testament?

Grace and peace in the Lord.

-- Anonymous, January 07, 2003

I don't believe it can be pointed out ANYWHERE in the bible that Jesus celebrated one race over another. Kawanza is just that. Why is it basically a celebration of Black History month? Why is it that blacks put themselves on a pedastal over other races? Yes, at one time our country was divided & unjustly so. But not so anymore. Except to me it seems that blacks want it so anymore. Why? Jesus said that the only way to father is thru himself. No where is one race or another celebrated over another. To Christ, we are all his. This celebration should not be celebrated within the church. Christ, the Father, & the Holy Spirit are the only things that should be celebrated & worshiped. Besides, the giving to the poor, ie; turkeys on Thanksgiving to the poor or shut-ins does not celebrate one race over another. It's doing as God told us to do - give to the needy in his name. I am sick & tired of one group or another telling me that I have to be "tolerant" in preference to them over others. If I don't celebrate Kawanza, I'm a racist. Now that is a definition of racism! It doesn't matter what race I am & I don't care what race you are. We are all equal to the Lord. Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Christ & the exchange of gifts is a symbolic representation of the gifts given to Christ by the three kings. And no, I don't get the Easter Egg thing. There's no basis in faith for that. At least not Christian faith.

-- Anonymous, October 22, 2003

Well, this last post asks some interesting questions. Here's one opinion: <>P> I don't believe it can be pointed out ANYWHERE in the bible that Jesus celebrated one race over another. Agreed. The Kwanzaa celebration is not biblically based.
Kawanza is just that. The celebration of principles is the root of the celebration. The principles transcend color (unity, cooperative economics, work, faith, creativity, purpose, etc.). None of the principles is race-based, but the application of them in the Black community came at a time when people seemed to have lost hope, and became a reminder of some of their cultural foundations.
Why is it basically a celebration of Black History month? Kwanzaa is a celebration that occurs in the end of the year, covering seven days between Christmas and New Year. The time period overlaps the Saturnalia, and for pretty much the same reasons that the Council of Nicaea chose to establish the reocgnition of the Lord's birthday at that time. It was meant to provide a more relevant celebratory point to an already established holiday time. The church has a similar indistinction at Resurrection Sunday, which is often called Easter in American culture because it coincides with the celebration of Mother Earth and fertility that that name implied (along withthe celeberation of the Feast of Passover, which Christ's death became the ultimate fulfillment of). Black History Month is February, the shortest month of the year.
Why is it that blacks put themselves on a pedastal over other races? First, "blacks" is not a word - perhaps you are referring to Black People, Black Citizens, Black Americans, but I'm sure you didn't mean anything so dehumanizing as a thing described by simply its attribute. If you are referring for the need to celebrate one's accomplishments as manifest in the Black culture expressed in America, then please review the historical context in which it was created. At the time (late 1960s), the contributions of Black Americans to this nation were overlooked or omitted from the history books. Our role in America was consolidated to a few "highlights" -- we were slaves, we were the reason for the Civil War, Harriet Tubman led some people to freedom - and that was nearly it. As a person who may have grown up since that time, perhaps you are now reading history books that show a more balanced or extended depth of the contributions to America's greatness by all its citizens, including Black Citizens. As for putting oneself on a pedestal, if we take away Kwanzaa, should we also eliminate Cinco de Mayo, Go Texan Day, St. Patrick's Day, etc.? The Great Melting Pot is really more like a stew that is enriched by the textures and substances within it, components uniquely identifiable yet each adds flavor to the stock.
Yes, at one time our country was divided & unjustly so. Agreed.
But not so anymore. Some would take exception with this assertion. Look at the major cities in America. At one time, they served huge, integrated communities (at the city level, not at the neighborhood level). These communities were served by public school systems, which may have been segregated. In 1954, the Supreme Court struck down segregation, and the school systems, of necessity, changed de jure. Unfortunately, the solution for those who were not ready to accept this radical social adjustment was to leave the cities. Let me use Baltimore, MD, as an example. It was once served by about 22 high schools. Black students on the west side attended only Douglass (for general education) and Carver (if they went to a technical school for a trade). Black Students on the east side went to Dunbar. The general population attended the rest. After 1954, when it became clear that all schools were open to all people, many of the white citizens of Baltimore began a migration to Baltimore County. By 1980, many of the city schools (and they had built some new ones) were predominantly black. The result of this "white flight" to the county was de facto segregation again in the public schools. The downside of that is that the tax base that undergirds the city is lower than the tax base that undergirds the county, so again a disparity is set up in public education between those that have and those that are less fortunate. Lower tax base means less revenues for books, teacher pay, supplies, modern upgrades to education like computers, etc. So there remains a difference, an inequity.

Except to me it seems that blacks want it so anymore. Why? I cannot answer "why" for how it seems to you, but perhaps we should examine some underlying data and offer a few counter-premises:

Jesus said that the only way to father is thru himself. No where is one race or another celebrated over another. To Christ, we are all his. Agreed on all three points.
This celebration should not be celebrated within the church. Christ, the Father, & the Holy Spirit are the only things that should be celebrated & worshiped.Good point.
Besides, the giving to the poor, ie; turkeys on Thanksgiving to the poor or shut-ins does not celebrate one race over another. It's doing as God told us to do - give to the needy in his name. Agreed.
I am sick & tired of one group or another telling me that I have to be "tolerant" in preference to them over others. Ahhh, the real issue! First, "tolerance" is a Christian principle, e.g., "Love your enemies; pray for them that spitefully use you", or "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am but a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal". So if we are talking about how to relate to Black People, that should be at the Lord's direction on how we relate to all people - to be beacons of love, sources of kindness, representatives of holiness, harbingers of hope, bastions of bounty, and examples of excellence. The Black Community in general does not seek preference: it seeks opportunity.

The liberal press has misrepresented the term "Affirmative Action", for example, as a preference system. There is a difference in three systems of hiring:

If I don't celebrate Kawanza, I'm a racist. Now that is a definition of racism! It is a strawman definition. There are many Black People who don't celebrate Kwanzaa, and some for the reasons you pointed out above (Thou shalt worship the Lord Thy God, and Him only shall thou serve).
It doesn't matter what race I am & I don't care what race you are. We are all equal to the Lord. Agreed.
Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Christ & the exchange of gifts is a symbolic representation of the gifts given to Christ by the three kings. Let's clarify a few things:

Well said. 'Nuff said.

-- Anonymous, October 23, 2003

Just to weigh in on the discussion of whether or Kawanza is appropriate for the Church, let me say that we, in the church do lots of things that are not scriptural, Pastor's Anniversary and Appreciation among them. I never saw where anyone had a birthday party in the Scripture, but we acknowledge and celebrate theose int he church.

This discussion is uptight, celebrating a holiday does not diminish our celebrating Kawanza or other holidays. Christmas and Easter with we treasure had their origins in Pagan celebrations. If we can celebrate and demonstrate how God is central to all that we do a Christians, then I thing He will be pleased. 's

-- Anonymous, October 31, 2003

personally I think that kawanza has nothing to do with the church. Just like halloween and valentines day. No where in the bible does it say to celebrate these holidays. Of course you celebrate christmas because that was the day jesus was born. That is just like bringing halloween into the church. You don't mix the two. That is my opinion.

-- Anonymous, December 01, 2003

I see the lack of tolerance on this discussion board is not a short term issue. I am always disturbed when I see Christians losing their minds over minor issues. Should Kwanzaa be celebrated or does it have a place in the church? What does the Bible say about Kwanzaa? Does it take away from Christ? What's wrong with us? Maybe it's just me but everywhere I am, God is. Wherever I am going, God is already there. God and faith for me is not regimented only by what is written in translated scriptures. Scriptures which have the inspiration of God and the influences of man running through them. But they too, in my opinion also represent God and the importance of trying to discern the presence of God in everything we do and everywhere we go. Does the Bible say use computers? Technically it does not because guess what? They weren't invented but then again neither were books, television, DVD's, etc.

Come on folks, instead of trying to keep people out of the church by saying we cannot celebrate God's intention that his creation (Us) be perfect the (priniciples of Kwanzaa which emphasize justice, forgiveness and mercy (found in the bible by the way Joyce) and thanking him for the fruit of the land let's open the door and show the world that our God is awesome and mighty and in his love we are not afraid but are confident of our salvation and of God's sovereignty.

-- Anonymous, December 01, 2003

The bible doesn't say anything about the 4th of July either, but it never stopped me from enjoying my ribs and potato salad on that day either.

I agree with you brother Gibson. Sometimes we get too uptight on some of these things. True, Kwanza is not a replacement for Christmas. Enjoy it for what it is.

-- Anonymous, December 01, 2003

Mary opines -

"The bible doesn't say anything about the 4th of July either, but it never stopped me from enjoying my ribs and potato salad on that day either."

Since I have been recognized as the resident food connnoisseur (by Elder Rogers) and am pleased to have quality experience in church dinners and luncheons, let me be the first to 2nd that motion about BBQ on July 4th! Now here is another interesting black church idiosyncracy - Why do we we fix macroni and cheese with a "slight" burnt around the edges and potato salad with much mustard? Do folks in the 1st District, namely NY, eat NY-style potato salad or do you indlulge in the southern style like me and my fellow country folks do with great delight :-) ?? Oh, Harold please make sure when I visit your church the kitchen will be open and the Pastor's Aid Committee prepare my fried fish with bones, cornbread, the aforementioned potato salad, collard greens, LA hot sauce and sweet tea. Ahhhh..... now that's the real Southern Comfort (not the intoxicating spirit) QED

-- Anonymous, December 01, 2003

this question is for clifton40@yahoo.com. where in the bible does it say anything about kawanza? Like you said it did

-- Anonymous, December 02, 2003

To Ashley:

Please read what I wrote a little closer:

God's intention that his creation (Us) be perfect the (priniciples of Kwanzaa which emphasize justice, forgiveness and mercy (found in the bible by the way Joyce)

Let me clarify for your edification. The principles of Kwanzaa in many aspects mirror the principles for those who follow Jesus Christ. Those who follow Jesus want to live in a world where peace reigns where justice rules and mercy abounds between God and humankind and in humankind and humankind. In calling for faith, purpose, unity, cooperative economics and even self-determination, Kwanzaa reminds ME of God's calling to every man and woman to have life and to have it more abundantly. Oh for a live of faith in unity with my neighbors as we work together for the purpose of letting every man woman boy and girl come into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ for him or herself.

It would be folly to try to find kwanzaa in the Bible just as it would be folly for you to tell me Jesus said use your cell phone in the bible.

I hope this is clearer for you.

-- Anonymous, December 02, 2003

I read what you said a little bit closer. And You still said that kawanza is found in the bible when you said ("Found i the bible by the way joyce").

-- Anonymous, December 03, 2003


Brother Gibson wrote: "Come on folks, instead of trying to keep people out of the church by saying we cannot celebrate God's intention that his creation (Us) be perfect the (priniciples of Kwanzaa which emphasize justice, forgiveness and mercy (found in the bible by the way Joyce."

Brother Gibson is actually referring to the principles which can be found in the bible. He is not referring to Kwanzaa specifically.

-- Anonymous, December 03, 2003

Why are all of the recent replies in this thread in a semi-cursive font style? Looks nice though. QED

-- Anonymous, December 03, 2003

That would be Mea Culpa. SOmewhere during my treatise I had one too few italics closers, leaving italics as the standard font.

Sorry about that. The downside of not remembering the accepted color choice mechanism.

-- Anonymous, December 03, 2003

This is an interesting discussion on holidays (or holy days) and their origins. I can't help but include the next passage of Scripture in the mix. Paul, I believe, is addressing an issue between Christians who looked down upon other Christians who were eating meat. This meat, purchased in the marketplaces, had previously been sacrificed to idols. Read what Paul says in Romans 14, and his further comments about holidays.
Romans 14

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat.

-- Anonymous, December 16, 2003

I pulled this web site up in search of answers about Kawansa when my children"s chorus program had a song about Kawansa in it. The question came to my mind is this a christain based celebration. From reading all the replys in response to Rev Wiggs question I have come to the conclution that we are letting alot of seclar misgivings into our churches not to mention in our lives because I hope that people don't think they are only CHRISTians at church or in the santuary.

-- Anonymous, December 18, 2003

Kawanza is a sham. It is media generate. Most african-americans scoff at the idea. In fact, when one hears "Kawanza" it's usually coming from a white person in the media.

Kawanza is a disrespectful sham of a "holiday" designed to upstage Christmas, what some disenfranchised people see as a "white" dominated holiday. They're also threatened by the talk of Jewish Hannuka so they try and coopt both holidays (i.e., inventing a candelabra and selecting The Christmas calendar for this harvest festival--exactly what crops are they "harvesting" in the dead of winter?).

At any rate, the vast majority of african-americans are not interested in this racist sham of a "holiday." Incidentally, the 7 principles of Kawanza are the same 7 principles of the radical terrorist organization the "Symbionese Liberation Army" which kidnapped Patty Hearst in 1973.

Kawanza is not a religious holiday. It was started by a militant who admits to hating white people.

Kawanza is a disgrace.

-- Anonymous, December 23, 2003

At first when I read the post from Mr. Lake, I was amused. My my Kwanza sure does raise the ire of people on this board. But in a second reading his ignorance started to anger me. The fact that Kwanza is not a religious holiday is not at issue. But then again maybe it is, after all libations are offered to the creator of all things, ancestors are honored for we are product of their lives good and bad, then I remembered the sermon my pastor preached on Sunday, about the genealogy of Jesus and as they gave the rundown on who's who, my soul got happy because a little bit of everybody was represented. If the Bible recognizes genealogy and it does, perhaps itit just may be okay if I offer thanks for a great great grandfather who preached the word. A great grandfather who buried the dead in his community and built a strong family. A praying great grandmother who never gave up on her children for aunts and uncles, some good some bad who always taught me that with God all things are possible and for a Mother who loved me all the days of her life and a father who still cares about me.

So Mr. Lake, I am a devoted Christian man, and I also celebrate the principles of Kawanza in hopes that it will help my community remember just who we are and whose we are. And what better time to celebrate who we are as we celebrate the birth of the one who makes all things possible.

-- Anonymous, December 23, 2003

Perhaps this question is best served by visiting the kwanzaa website.

http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org At this website we can all learn what the tradition means.

-- Anonymous, December 26, 2003

My .02: I don't think I could ever celebrate anything that was coined by such a man as Ron Karenga. And I don't understand how any other self-respecting person could either.

-- Anonymous, December 29, 2003

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