How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you don’t listen? Or cryout to you, “Violence!” but you don’t come to the rescue?
When they blow up your buildings and strafe your house with machine guns, you begin to get the feeling that some people really don’t like you.
Clarence Jordan became a Baptist minister with a Ph.D in New Testament Greek. In 1942, Clarence, and his wife, Florence, went to Sumter County, Georgia, because they wanted to live out the teachings of Jesus.
They started a farm, called Koinonia the Greek word for “Community”). Their goal was to bring both blacks and whites together, to share their goods with each other, and to help those poorer than themselves.
In those days of racial segregation, many objected to Koinonia Farm. The Baptists kicked Jordan out of their church. Vandals cut their fences, stole crops from the field, dumped garbage on their property, put sugar in their gas tanks to ruin their truck engines, chopped down nearly 300 pecan trees.
The community boycotted the farm. They refused to sell seed, fertilizer, or fuel to them. They refused to buy their goods – forcing them to wastefully slaughter thousands of chickens that couldn’t be sold.
It got more serious than that. The farm’s roadside store was burned down. Gasoline pumps were punctured. Crosses were burned at night on the lawns of the black residents. Fires were set on the property. The smokehouse was dynamited. Residents were beaten, and even the children were sprayed with gunfire while outplaying.
After that incident, Clarence wrote: “. . . neither property nor lives were ours but God’s. They never had really been ours in any sense of the word. We hadn’t even ‘given them back to Him’ – they were His all along. And if this was the way He wanted to spend His property and His people in order to accomplish His purpose, why should we pitch a tantrum?”
On October 21, 1968, the year before Clarence died, he wrote: “. . . Koinonia stands at the end of an era or perhaps its existence.” Only two families were left.
Clarence and Florence Jordan’s dreams never materialized. Or did they? That last year of his life, a young couple, Millard and Linda Fuller visited the farm and ended up staying. Jordan and Fuller conceived a dream of providing housing for the needy.
You may have heard of their dream. They called it Habitat for Humanity. Its headquarters is not far from the farm at Koinonia . . . in the Clarence Jordan Center.
Jordan put it well when he observed that the Lord doesn’t call us to be successful, but to be faithful. He just let the Lord do what He wanted with His own property.
(copyright by Marty Kaarre)