Editor’s Letter September 2012
Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. – James 2:15-16.
Joy can be real only if people look on their life as a service, and have a definite object in life outside themselves and their personal happiness. – Leo Tolstoy
It was in early December of last year that an email appeared in my inbox one morning from Tyrone Keys. My football IQ is right up there with my Math IQ…which is, to say the least, less than impressive. I do, however, know what the Super Bowl is. I do know who the Chicago Bears are, and believe it or not, I do recall the 1980 MSU and Alabama football game at Memorial Stadium when the underdog Bulldogs upset the #1 Crimson Tide in a real cliffhanger. Bulldog Tyrone Keys was largely responsible for causing Alabama’s fumble on the goal line in the final seconds of the game. I knew right away that Tyrone was someone I would enjoy talking to.
He was back in Jackson a few weeks later, and when we met for coffee, he shared his story with me. Today as head of All Sports Community Service, an organization he started in Tampa to provide education, nurture, and mentorship to challenged youth, Tyrone has impacted the lives of literally thousands of youth who have defied the odds and the stereotypes that characterize so many at-risk kids of our day. Tyrone articulates his own defining moments and has gone to great lengths to seek out and express his appreciation to adults who invested love, hope, and time in him. With that in mind, the alumni of the All Sports Community Foundation return as professionals in successful careers to serve as mentors to the kids who come after them. You are in for a treat as you get to know Tyrone and sense his great heart for others. His story is a lesson on so many levels—discipleship, stewardship, purpose, generosity, and most of all—what the love of Christ looks like in ordinary everyday living.
Two remarkable Jackson ladies, Peggy Wall and Barbara Hamilton, are writing a book about Tyrone. It would be like leaving out the juiciest part of the Tyrone story if I did not let you in on their story, which we are including as “The Story Behind the Story.”
I don’t know about you, but the daily headlines have stirred deep emotions in my heart and soul this summer. I have felt a grief over the “lostness” of our culture in a way I never have before. On the week of the shootings at the theatre in Denver, I commented to Charles on the way to church that I hoped our minister would say something that morning that would in some way address the sick feeling inside of me, and something that would give real substance to the question I knew I would get from some of my friends who think I am quite strange. “How did God let this happen?” I was not disappointed.
Dr. Ligon Duncan hit the topic head on, and so I asked him to write a piece for us on how we, as Christians, interpret life in light of God’s Word. God is never surprised, and if we knew His word better, I suppose we would be less surprised as well when those calamitous events come out of nowhere and we wonder, “Lord, were you sitting on your hands?” Do not miss “A Pastor’s Perspective,” a new section we plan to bring you regularly.
We live in a shallow culture that tries to reduce every significant aspect of life to either a bumper sticker or a platitude. I want more. I hope our “Pastor’s Perspective” is going to give our readers real meat to consider as we attempt to live “in the world” without being jaded by it.
The school bell has heralded a new year, new beginnings, and for some, fresh anxieties with so much “new.” I do not miss that aspect of parenting, although Charles and I are starting to experience a little of that through the grandchildren. At this stage of life, we are glad we have dogs instead of children! Seriously, however, I wish I could have had Dr. John Cox to help me out a hundred years ago. Do not miss his advice especially for “Back-to-School Parents!” I love, love, love this issue. I feel pretty certain you are going to love it, too. Let us know what you think!