Perkins was a contemporary of MLK Jr. and fellow civil rights leader. He has lived in Mississippi for the better part of his 80 years on this earth, and suffered greatly at the hands of his Southern oppressors in the civil rights era. Along with his wife, Vera Mae, and their eight children, they stood firm on the foundation of Jesus Christ and persevered through difficult times, refusing to let hatred toward their white oppressors overtake them.
Perkins is the father of the CCDA and has been a champion for the marginalized and poor in our nation. His own mother needlessly died of malnutrition/starvation after his birth while they lived on a plantation. John said he couldn't imagine responding in another manner to his mother's death than to give himself to loving and serving the poor in the name of Jesus.
In addition to his firm faith in Christ and his courageous leadership with Christian community development in our nation and abroad, he is an engaging communicator who uses humor, honesty and southern charm freely and appropriately. He certainly didn't hold anything back on us!
I recorded countless soundbytes, humorous statements and prophetic words from this man during the week. I look forward to sharing them with you here; however, black and white print cannot capture the joy of sitting in on his preaching.
"We want community action that comes straight from Jesus and his Word."
"We've got to eat the Word and stop livin this hearsay, folklore Christianity. Stop livin' by reality (TV)."
"We can live a courageous life because death has been taken care of."
"[Christians today] don't have build into us what it takes to get hit 'n keep on goin'!"
After a fight one morning, his wife prepared a fabulous meal for him. "What Mama tryin' to do is get right without confession. Confession is just sayin what the other person already knows. So just come out and say it."
"When you walk in the world, your feet gettin' dirty. We need Jesus to wash us."
"We are all racist. We've each turned our racist way."
"Paul was the original Bin Laden and Jesus saved him."