- Faith & Family
When Ronald Stimphil, 47, first came to the U.S. from his native country of Haiti in 1985, he went after the “American dream” through educational pursuits — earning a bachelor of arts at the University of Kentucky and then a master of divinity in Pastoral Counseling at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. He has since dedicated his life to teaching mathematics, establishing himself as an instructor for the Georgia Public School System.
Today, married with five children and living in Conyers (GA), he says he is troubled by his adopted country’s sharply-divided and ever-widening economic gap between the rich and the poor.
Now stepping out on faith as one committed to the tenets of Christianity, he has penned his first novel, “Martin’s Dream – Journey onto the Promised Land. His premise is that Dr. King’s hope for racial reconciliation can be achieved if we invoke the basic principles of the Christian faith. The novel is a fresh approach to examining race relations in the U.S.
“As a minister of the word of God, I noticed that the core problem of race issues that we have here in America are not being solved,” he said. “I wanted to write a book that addresses that problem. I believe that white evangelical Christians have actually allowed racism to flourish and have not been taken to task. My hope is that this work of fiction will re-open dialogue on race in America in an honest way.”
The protagonist of the novel is Martin Winfred — a Black high school student who finds himself caught in the paradox between his strong faith and living in a Georgia community where race really matters. The young born-again Christian faces even greater conflict and criticism when he becomes interested in a neighbor and classmate who is white.
“The things that King hoped to achieve are still possible but not by political means,” he said. “It will take the Church coming together. I struggled as I wrote this book, but Dr. King’s dream is what guided and inspired me. He was about reconciliation and I want his legacy to be continued through this book.”
Stimphil says he remains convinced that King’s dream can come true.
“King’s dream is in God’s plan for us,” he said. “However, unless the people of God come together God’s full plan will not be accomplished. My belief as a minister and student of the Bible is that whenever the relationship among people is broken, God intervenes.”
By D. Kevin McNeir