'Read my tears," says gospel preacher
The Rev. Dr. George B. Jackson has found solace in the power of written word for over a decade.
Now pastor of the Citadel of Faith Christian Fellowship in Thomasville, Jackson has been writing articles since 2001. Featured prominently in The Times, Jackson has developed a niche with readers. One of these individuals prompted him to begin considering how he could present his work a different way to reach a new contingent of readers.
"A little old lady cornered me in the grocery store. She said I really used to like your articles. It'd be nice if you wrote some again," Jackson said. "I went home and my wife said, 'Why don't you put all your articles together, and then the people who liked your articles can have them all in one place?"
From this idea was born "Tears of a Clown: Memoirs of a Gospel Preacher," his new book published this year which will be first of seven volumes. While selecting a title for the collection, a passage in 1 Corinthians caught Jackson's attention. "For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing," it says in chapter one. "He used our foolish preaching to save those who believe."
The current project was completed in about six months, and the plan for the remaining six volumes is to release a new edition every six months. Each volume will contain sermons and approximately 20 articles written over the course of the last decade.
Jackson hopes the words will touch the lives of those who do not believe.
"What jumps out at me is the foolishness of preaching," said Jackson. "This craft of mine is foolish to those who don't accept the word, or don't understand or embrace the word. To those of us who embrace the word, it's the power of God."
Jackson derived the name from an Italian tragedy, "Pagliacci," which depicts a clown with a dual personality who hides behind a clown face to entertain the people, but is really a very dark figure. The paradox resonated with Jackson and inspired the title of his collection. He draws parallel between the clown's story and his own as a pastor.
"In preaching, it's very much the same," Jackson said of Pagliacci. "We have to mask our feelings and cover our discrepancies in order to preach to people who don't really know what's going on behind the scenes."
To purchase a copy of the book, visit Amazon.com or Thomasville's United Cornerstone School of Divinity, where Jackson is the co-founder and president.
Staff Writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 888-3575, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Staff Writer Eliot Duke contributed to this article.