The Norman Transcript


November 24, 2012

Black pastor a new sight at Lutheran church



Robinson’s journey to Ascension Lutheran in Tulsa was long and circuitous.

She was born and raised Catholic in New Orleans, worked in Head Start programs in Chicago and lived for 14 years in Germany where her military husband was stationed.

When she began to lose her sight because of detached retinas, she returned to the United States for medical treatment.

Ten surgeries on one eye were unsuccessful.

Her husband of 25 years left her.

She fell down a flight of stairs and broke her ankle.

Blind and unable to work, she was homeless for a short time.

She called her adult son in Kearney, Neb., and asked if she could stay with him while she got back on her feet.

In 2000, six years after losing her sight, a doctor persuaded her to have surgery on the other eye. She did not expect the surgery to be successful.

When the bandages were removed, she was thrilled to discover that she could see.

She knocked on the door of her son’s house, and when he came to the door, she exclaimed, “Kenneth, you have an earring.”

He blurted out: “Mom, you can see.”

“Everything became brand new for me,” she said.

“It was wonderful.”

She can now read, one of her favorite pastimes, and can drive during daylight hours.

While attending a Pentecostal church in Nebraska, she began seeing a Lutheran counselor and eventually decided to try a Lutheran church.

“The first time I walked into a Lutheran church, I was certain God would strike me dead,” she said.

But she found herself fascinated with every part of the service, every hymn, every reading.

In Lutheranism, she said, she realized the meaning of the biblical term justification: “God’s actions on our behalf in Christ, ... one of the most exhilarating, liberating phrases I’ve every encountered.”

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