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Rev. Dr. Johnny Ray Youngblood- The Pastor, Passion and Poetic Expression
Rev. Johnny Ray Youngblood
Rev. Dr. Johnny Ray Youngblood, Brooklyn Pastor of Mt. Pisgah and Pastor Emeritus of St. Paul Community Baptist Church, has many major accomplishments to his credit including the Commemoration of the MAAFA, his intentional ministry to Black Men, the organization of the Brooklyn Congregations Together, and his work with the East Brooklyn Congregations and the Nehemiah Housing Project. However, the focus of this piece is on my behind-the-veil experience reading the expressions written by Rev. Youngblood in his 1999 publication of “I Honor My Father”.
Rev. Youngblood gave readers an intimate look into his humanity as he dealt with a personal, painful, patriarchal plight of what could have been anyone’s life. The essence of his soul was manifested through his word reflections concerning his father, death, anger, internal questions, feelings, the Black Man, love, and his sons.
The Ministry of St. Paul Community Baptist Church
A Healing Exposure
Rev. Youngblood’s expressions in “I Honor My Father” gave us a precious inside view.
“Painfully Present” showed the Child Son, helpless and uncomfortable, not knowing what to say or do.
“Putting A Face On It” and “Anger” revealed the Man Son’s honest anger, focused and raw.
Detailed, direct, and discerning is how I felt about what he saw.
In “Just A Prayer” and “Confessions Of The Bereaved”, the Spiritual Son’s search for meaning was shown. Attempting to tap into his feelings, yet not being sure he wanted to know.
“Every Black Man’s Obituary – Maybe!” revealed the Black Man contemplating the quality of that life unto death. In response to the questions he raised at the end, the following is my answer at best:
Who really mourns the Black Man’s death, rejoices in his birth, and misses him when he’s gone?
Our Black Children, Parents, Women and Communities will really miss him and sincerely mourn; and also genuinely rejoice with love and gratitude when he is born.
“My Sons”, “I Owe My Children”, and “To Laugh With My Boys” revealed the reflective Loving Parent, claiming ownership and being responsible,
receiving and rejoicing in the blessing of a legacy that is rich, promising and full.
In “Sweet Remembrances”, the Sensitive Son recalled memories of old times,
remembering his daddy- cool and dapper, a sport of sorts, likable, mysterious and fine.
Love, Forgiveness and Reconciliation
I too honor and give thanks for Palmon Youngblood, who contributed to the birth of the dynamic visionary Rev. Dr. Johnny Ray Youngblood. Rev. Youngblood learned in time to reconcile, appreciate, enjoy, serve, share of himself and give back. For me, it was too late. I didn’t learn the lesson in time to reconcile, forgive or be forgiven before the grave claimed my father. My dad died without knowing me as a growing child or adult. During his life, I have no recollection of expressing a kind word to him. He died without my knowledge and before I was open to view him from a different perspective. However, I am grateful that Rev. Youngblood used his experiences and growth to teach others that healing can still be experienced on a spiritual level that transcends the grave.
Through Rev. Youngblood's sermons, lectures and the Memorial Service to Deceased Fathers during his pastorate at St. Paul Community Baptist Church while I was a member, I was eventually able to reconcile, be at peace and in communication with my father in spirit.
I encourage everyone to honor your fathers and mothers, be open and seek to forgive, even if you don’t know how or experience resistance. Love, forgiveness and gratitude are the keys to abundance and freedom.
2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:2-3)
12 "And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." (Matthew 6:12, 14-15)