Bishop Newton Cole: A True “Genesis Man”

Bishop Newton Cole: My Thoughts…

What does it really mean to be a man?  By examining Genesis 2, and treating Adam as the prototype of masculinity, we can find elements of true manhood.  Specifically, these elements are revealed; Purpose/Work, Moral Responsibility, Family Relationship, Wisdom and Declaration.

Bishop Newton Cole has passed on, but he was a true “Genesis Man”.  He worked all his life to make his way and provide for his family.  No job was beneath him if it was provision for those he loved dearly.  No job was too menial if it propelled his ability to minister.

His purpose was iron clad – he was God’s “Yes Man”.  The word “no” was not his response vocabulary to the Lord.  Bishop Cole was God’s faithful minister.  Nothing was more important than being a “blessing” in the hands of the Lord.  He functioned as ABM leader (Pastoral Care), and Sunday school teacher and bus driver, CPMA leader (Heritage Ministry), VLB leader (Youth Ministry), Evangelist, Pastor and Bishop.

He possessed a wisdom that was evident, and a by-product of living and tabernacle(ing) with God.  He was never content with just dispensing advice, but he would always challenge and teach with a question -like a godly, modern day Socrates.  There was patience in his wisdom. If Bishop Cole wanted to “talk” with you about something, (he never rushed ahead) be sure to know that it was the third thing on the list!

He was playful and youthful even in his wisdom.  I recall being a young lad and I made an appointment to see him in his office to (as tradition dictates) ask for his daughter’s hand in marriage.  I remember thinking, “How can I get this over as fast as I possibly can.”  I was nervous; he had been my pastor longer than I had been alive.  Before I could burst out with my goal, he held up a hand –I’m sure there was a twinkle in his eye– and said “Let’s breathe a word of prayer…”  I tell you, it was the longest prayer I’ve ever experienced in my life.

He was a man of priority.  Family responsibility was paramount.  Being there for his family was a driving force in his life.  Being a father and a husband was his reason for existing as a man.   The week before he passed away I planned to accompany my mother to Jamaica for my Aunt’s funeral.  His condition was uncertain, and up until the day before I was scheduled to leave, I wasn’t sure if could take the trip.  How could I be so far from my wife if he passed during the week I was away?  So, I said to the Lord, if he is okay tonight (the night before I was supposed to leave) I will go.

I’m not sure how much input we have into our own passing, but at the very least, I imagine his prayer was, “Lord, don’t take me until Israel gets back.”

(He died the same day I got back from my trip.)  He not only cared for his family until the end, but his two children stayed faithful active in the Lord and His service, and this is no doubt a clear legacy of his commitment to family.

He was a man of moral responsibility.  He had a sense of right and wrong, and nothing… nothing could move that river.  Integrity and honesty were hallmark pillars in his personal life and worship and ministry.  Bishop Cole was a man of impeccable character.

He was a man of declaration.  He used his words to build up and create.  He was positive.  He told me (and I’m sure many others) that “I could do anything.”  He gave me (and many others) opportunity in ministry and he made the ordinary person feel that he or she were up to any task.

We will miss him.  I will miss him.  The angels are rejoicing -he has increased the property value in heaven.  The only unfortunate fact is that there is one less “Genesis Man”, but we believe that his legacy will inspire many more.

I leave you with the words on the tombstone of my Grandmother Medora Ellis;

 

“God may take our loved ones from us, but never from our hearts.” 

 

Israel

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The Buck Stops Where?

This made front page news…

Toronto Star article, Saturday March 2, 2013

Star Investigation: Black and aboriginal youths over-represented in Ontario jails

  • The proportion of jail admissions is four times higher.  For other boys of other ethnicity there is no such representation
  • “Federally, corrections data by race has for many years provided a look at the result of decades of political indifference and systemic racism in many aspects of Canadian society”
  • The data show similar over-representation in US and Canada, yet US has received far more public and political attention
  • “Young black men face racism, poverty, lack of opportunity, social isolation, and violence in their neighbourhoods, family challenges and unemployment.”
  • “Once men are known to police,  systemic issues stack the deck against already disadvantaged groups, says academics and a library of past research, including the 1995 Report of the Commission on Systemic Racism in the Ontario Criminal Justice System”
  • “At-risk communities receive more police attention, Police detain, leaving release decisions to the courts.  Justices of the peace in Ontario are demanding sureties more often these days.  Making bail is harder when you have no home, are poor, or have no one to be a surety.”

Having read this article, it certainly seems a sad state of affairs when we consider our young men and their futures.  Of course, there may be ways to interpret this article (and what it may mean), but it’s impossible not to recognize that there is a problem.

As I was thinking about what I was reading, the thought came quite clearly to me that dealing with this “systemic” problem at the “courts” stage is way too far down the line.  I’m not saying that things do not need to change.  What I am saying is “The buck stops where?”  The solution to the problem with young men (whatever ethnicity) needs to be address at the home level, with men, mentors and fathers.   By the time a youth is thrown in jail, let’s all agree, that’s a difficult time to affect change in his thinking.  A handcuff makes it challenging to spread your wings.

Our Men’s group recognizes that it’s difficult to find men, but it’s more expedient to make men.  We need to impact boys with positive and spiritual values.  We need to let them move to manhood and maturity on purpose and not by accident.  I remember thinking at times, “I have a wife, kids and mortgage…when did I become a man?”

Our boys need rites of passages.  Young men need ceremonies.  They need some peers, and definitely older men to come around them and speak declarative words of life and purpose and meaning into them.  You must know by now that all men are “on call.”

You should also know that because you are not a father does not mean that you are absolved of responsibility to impact our young men.  If fathers fail, we have a God given and social responsibility to mentor and care and love.  We must fill the gap.  Fathers, we just need to strive to be that “Genesis Man.”

So, let the courts, judges and activists get on a mission to buck the system.   Let us as men, and mentors, and fathers let the buck stop much closer…