On June 22, 2020, I was interviewed live on The Brian Shepard Show, which was simulcast on Facebook and YouTube.
The show was just over an hour, but Brian was kind enough to give me permission to make and use shorter clips to highlight certain parts of the interview. In this first clip, Brian and I discussed Mindfire and the Jordan of Algoran series.
In the second clip, we discussed COVID-19 and how the lockdown has affected me, my writing, and led to new writing projects.
I had a great time on the show and look forward to talking with Brian on his show in the future. Thanks again, Brian!
You can view the whole interview on YouTube at THIS LINK.
I will be interviewed LIVE on Facebook & YouTube simultaneously on The Brian Shepard Show next Monday night June 22, 2020 at 7:00 pm CST/8:00 pm EST. You'll be able to chat, ask questions and comment!
I'll be posting the links for the sites soon.
Anyone can read this, but I’m primarily addressing this topic to my brothers and sisters in Christ, regardless of what denomination one professes (including no denomination).
This matter has been concerning me for a while and I feel compelled to finally say something. I hope to encourage and not offend. I’ll apologize in advance if the latter happens.
This is a simple point and it’s for everyone (not just white people):
If your church is only comprised of people who are the same ethnicity/race as yourself, do you think it will be the same in Heaven?
Do you believe that souls will be segregated (or that people will be allowed to self-segregate) by what race they were when they were alive on Earth?
According to the Bible, they won’t be.
Romans 10: 11-13 (King James Version)
"For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
Galatians 3: 26-28 (KJV)
"For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."
So, there is no reason for us to be separated when we worship our God and Savior, certainly not by ethnicity or race. I see that as humankind’s personal preferences and biases. Prejudices, if I may be so bold.
In the New Testament, some of Jesus’s disciples had trouble accepting the Gentiles, even Peter. The apostle Paul strongly rebuked Peter for that.
Galatians 2: 11-17 (KJV)
"But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid."
Eventually, the Lord Himself had to educate Peter.
Acts 10: 9-35 (KJV)
"On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, and saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:
Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.
Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate, and called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there.
While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them. Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come?
And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee. Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him. And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends.
And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together. And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me? And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, and said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God. Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee. Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.
Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him."
What I’m saying is, this is not new. As Solomon once said, there is nothing new under the sun. But God has not changed in the last two thousand years. We weren’t supposed to be separated based on race then and we aren’t now. It is a learned behavior. But there’s time to unlearn it and change.
Nearly thirty years ago, when Angel and I were still engaged, I was the only white member of an all-black church. Literally, the only people who would talk to me were almost exclusively the ministers and musicians, since I played electric bass guitar for them. When Angel was away in the Army, I still attended that church, even though it was lonely. It didn’t feel good to get blank or untrusting stares from people who professed to be Christians. I didn’t understand it then, I accepted it because I didn’t know any different.
I know my experience then does not compare to what others go through. But it was a sad taste of it. No one should feel unwelcome in a House of God. If God and Jesus love us regardless of race or anything else, shouldn’t we love everyone?
In John 13: 34-35 (KJV), Jesus said:
"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
I John 4: 20-21 (KJV)
"If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also."
Thanks for reading this.
Here is the brand new book trailer for Jordan's Deliverance (Book 3 in the Jordan of Algoran series).
This will be the final book in the trilogy, set to be published by Ambassador International in Fall 2020.
Parker J. Cole from the Write Stuff podcast participated in the cover reveal event for my Jordan's Deliverance novel.
Jordan's Deliverance is Book 3 in the Jordan of Algoran series. It will be published by Ambassador International during Fall 2020.
This video was slightly edited for brevity.
Racism is on a lot of people’s minds right now. Most of us have either seen or heard about the terribly disturbing video showing the death of Floyd George. And many of us are aware that such injustices happen far too often, particularly to African-American men. There is understandable anguish, anger, and outrage. That outrage has spilled over into violence, with at least thirty cases of arson in Minnesota. The Fire Department reported that their equipment sustained damage from rocks being thrown at Fire Trucks being sent to put out the fires. Protests, both peaceful and violent, have spread to cities throughout the United States. This has led some city governments to impose curfews and other lockdown procedures.
This wasn’t only about Floyd George, though his preventable death should not be minimized. There is fear mixed with this anger: Fear for African-American men and women’s lives. Fear for the loss of good people — sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers — all with hopes, dreams, and limitless potential. There have been abuses of power by those in authority, as the video of Floyd George’s death certainly showed. Such anger and despair also arise from overt cases of racism like the murder of Ahmaud Arbery by a white father and son in Georgia as well as Amy Cooper calling the police on Christian Cooper in New York City’s Central Park. Instances like these don’t always make the news, but they happen across the country every day.
Another element of this is the history of white-on-black racism in the United States. Words cannot do justice to the grief, pain, fear, and resentment this has caused. And while progress has been made towards acknowledging that history and making changes for the better, there is room for improvement. As we have seen in recent years, there are people of all races who hold onto the poison of prejudice.
Before I continue, I need to state that as a white man married to a black woman and the father of three biracial children, I have a unique perspective on this. My in-laws, who I love dearly, are African-American. Many of the people from my church, many of my brothers and sisters in Christ, are African-American. I understand their fears and frustrations.
I won’t claim to have definitive answers; I can only offer my perspective as a Christian husband, father, and writer. These tragedies should not occur. They happen because evil is in the world. Racism and prejudice are most often taught through example. And people can respond to one example of racism with their own racism. It begins in the mind and heart. It leads to malicious thoughts. Those thoughts eventually manifest in some outward display, whether hurtful words, actions or even violence. The atrocity of racism festers in the corners of every ethnicity on the planet and no one is immune. Because it can grow so rapidly, fueled by emotion, it has to be guarded against.
It can seem hard to love others when faced with this kind of problem. There’s been so much pain caused by so many bad things happening to so many people over the years. This can make a person want to withdraw from others or just be around people like themselves. But that kind of thinking is divisive. It creates self-segregation, where people mainly (or only) hang around others from their own ethnic group, whatever that ethnic group is. It is my opinion (based on experience), that if someone is only exposed to their own ethnic group, it leads to ethnocentric behavior and ultimately, some form of racism. Whether it’s in one’s social circles, work environment or even church, this can happen.
Some of this is caused by fear of the unknown. Some of this is caused by a need to be around what one feels comfortable or safe with. And some of it is caused by privilege and feeling one does not have to go outside their comfort zone. Whatever the reasoning, it creates an insulating culture and that is not good.
In contrast, deliberately becoming involved with people from all kinds of diverse backgrounds, ethnicities and cultures is very effective at combating and even preventing racism.
My concern, and the reason for my writing this, is that people are becoming consumed by their emotions due to these terrible circumstances. I share the hope of many that the justice system will prevail and those who have done these wrongs will receive appropriate punishment. However, no matter what happens, my prayer is that people will not let their hearts be infected and darkened by these events. I want to see people show more kindness to one another as human beings, not as this race or that race. We all have hearts and we all bleed red. We can get along and thrive if we keep making the effort to. That's not wishful thinking. I (and others) have lived it, I know it can be done.
Outrage in the face of a travesty is normal, it’s human. We should be upset when someone is treated unfairly. But then what? We have free will. We can make choices. Will we control the anger and turn it around into something positive? Or will we let the anger control us? Only you and I can decide that.
I’ll finish this with a scripture. In Matthew 5: 43-45 (KJV), Jesus said:
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”
Thanks for reading this.
Me and my father, Joe Steadham, in 1989
Today would have been my father(Joseph Edwin Steadham)’s 79th birthday. He passed away from cancer in 1997, five days before his 56th birthday. It really is hard to believe it’s been twenty-three years. I’m named after him: Joseph Allen Steadham.
My father was first and foremost a people person. He loved being around family, friends or even complete strangers. He went to the grocery store almost daily as an excuse to meet and talk to people. Whether at work as the head of the Microbiology Laboratory at Texas Health and Human Services or at the church where he was a Deacon, he treated them like small towns. Everyone was a neighbor, friend or family.
Speaking of work, he was an overachiever. In addition to working for Health and Human Services, he maintained a Pharmacist’s license and worked some evenings and weekends at a pharmacy. It was all to provide for his family, for us.
We were always at the forefront of his thoughts and emotions. He dearly loved his wife, my mother, almost from the moment they met. They were married for thirty-two years. Like any marriage, it wasn’t perfect, but there was no doubt they loved one another.
The doctors gave him six months to live when his cancer returned in 1995. He lived eighteen months longer than that, mostly to spend time with his first grandson, my son Adam. On his final morning, even though he was so weak that he couldn’t move and on incredible amounts of pain medication, he waited for my mother to wake and come see him. He wanted to see her one more time, his final expression of love for her. Then he let go and it was his time.
My father taught me so much, some things directly and some through osmosis. He was a fine example of a husband and father. He taught me the beginnings of cooking; how to drive; basic car maintenance; how to have a savings account; and how to balance a checkbook. He encouraged me to work part-time once I turned sixteen, which allowed me to buy my first electric bass setup (guitar and amp) and save up for a Journalism class field trip to New York City and Boston. I developed a work ethic that I have passed down to my children.
He and I didn’t always see eye to eye, but in the last few years of his life, we formed an incredible bond. We had no unresolved issues at the end. I’ll always be grateful for that.
I do miss him still, but I have comfort. He had the opportunity to know his Savior, Jesus. And my father lives on through me, my sister, and my children.
It’s a bit ironic. As a teenager, I was a “lone wolf” by choice. I would do anything for my close circle of friends and didn’t much care what anyone else thought of me. But once I fell in love with my wife, Angel, and especially after I gave my life to Christ, I blossomed into a people person myself. I don’t think I’ll ever reach the level that he was, but that’s okay. He did what came naturally to him and I’ll do the same.
There are things I wish he could have been a part of: Dad didn’t get to see Adam grow up into a kind, talented, hard-working young adult. He didn’t get to meet my son Jonavinne or my daughter Jeyli. He didn’t see me develop an Information Technology career. He didn't see me co-create a non-profit organization and run the org as its Director for eighteen years (but he did inspire me). He didn’t see me go from (labor of love) comic book creator to published Christian author.
But that’s okay. I accept that everything happened how it was supposed to.
He saw enough. My parents were there when I married Angel and they were present at Adam’s birth. They saw Angel's and my changed lives when we became Christians. As I said before, Dad and I had gotten close. We weren’t just father and son, we had become good friends. I’ll always treasure the time I had with him.
Just now, I told Adam that I was writing this tribute to my father and he said something special enough to repeat.
Adam said “You’ve told me lots of stories about your Dad. I’m gonna tell people stories about you. There’s a lot to tell!”
And thus the torch passes from one generation to the next.
Happy Birthday, Dad. I love you.
About the author
Allen Steadham is a nondenominational Christian, happily interracially married since 1995. Father of two sons and a daughter. He and his wife have been in the same Christian band since 1997. He plays electric bass, she plays strings, they both sing. It's all good.
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