MISHAWAKA, IND. -- This week, we dove into Spiritual Emphasis week. Our speaker, Jonathan Brooks, spoke at Chapel every day and at 8 p.m. Monday-Wednesday. He is the Senior Pastor of the non-denominational Canaan Church of Englewood, Ill. Jonathan has a Bachelor of Architecture from Tuskegee University, Master of Arts in Teaching from National Louis University, and Master of Divinity from Northern Seminary in Christian Community Development. His writing career includes his involvement in authoring two books: “Making Neighborhoods Whole” and “Banned Questions for Christians,” as well articles written on his blog.
An additional way he spreads the Word is through his religious music career; he performed a song of his in Chapel. He has released a CD of the church’s gospel choir and is a member of the hip-hop group known as “Out-World.” He is also working on a solo-career, going by the name “Pastah J.” In this, he aims to reach an audience that he feels may not usually be involved in the church. Additionally, he is an elementary teacher of arts at Daystar School, of inner-city Chicago. Jonathan also evokes his knowledge in higher-level teaching and references the topic of his seminar to be “Urban Planning, Development and the Sustainable City” on his LinkedIn profile.On Monday, he explained that while sin makes a person “dysfunctional,” it does not make a person “bad.” He expressed not to search for perfection, because God still wants all of you. He focused mostly on the idea of a “marker.” This, Jonathan said, is showing Christ wherever you are placed. He then moved into explaining that Matthew 22 says, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's” (Matt. 22:21, English Standard Version). God does not want the money, but all of His children. Jonathan related it back to the original message of being a “marker,” and that God is a “marker” inside of you and through you. Then, on Tuesday morning, Jonathan first apologized for his misogynistic behavior, and he expressed that as a father, he should not have had a reference to a woman’s body being made a certain way. He then apologized, “Your beauty is not defined by your body.” He related this to a song he wrote for his daughters and preformed it during his preaching. He later said, “If you love them and you know it, you will show it.” Jonathan related this to what he feels about internal and external love. He believes there should be both, because when a person loves someone, they want to shout it from the rooftops. So, it should be the same way with God. On Wednesday, Jonathan spoke about the situation in John 5. In this chapter, it tells about Jesus healing a sick and crippled man who could not walk, to walk. The sick man laid by a pool for years that supposedly healed everyone when they went in, waiting for someone to carry him into the magic waves. He feels that people tend to look for their identity in things that will not fulfill them in the way that Jesus would. Jesus told the man to “Sin no more,” which he explains is not sinless, but sin less. To be healed, one must be willing to be healed, and not make themselves a victim of their situation, like the man waiting to be healed. Editor’s note: This is an overview of the first three days of Spiritual Emphasis Week, as experienced by this staff writer. Watch next week for a recap of Thursday and Friday sessions.