How to hear from God

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When The Gospel Becomes a Tool for the Oppressor: Lessons from the Life of Nat Turner

slave

I recently watched the film, “Birth of a Nation” and was struck by one of the themes in the film. The story seeks to tell the story of Nat Turner and the slave revolt that he led in the year 1831.The story is an adaptation of the real account of Nat Turner, a slave, and  a preacher who in retaliation against his unjust treatment snaps and led a rebellion that resulted in the deaths of over 50 white men, women and children. It was a horrible event, one that would eventually spur both sides on the slavery debate to bolster their arguments; the abolitionists pointed to the evils of slavery that would cause such a response, while the southerners reacted by issuing even harsher laws against slaves and fighting against the education and rights of the slaves to engage in church services.

One of the more moving themes in the movie centered around the use of Nat Turner to suppress any agitation or frustration that the slaves had against their master. The movie depicts Nat Turner as a traveling preacher who is called upon by other slave owners to encourage the slaves to submit to the cruelties and obey the commandments of their slave owners. Nat was shocked to see that in some plantations many of the slaves were treated worse than those in his community. He saw many slaves who were, maimed, broken down, both mentally, spiritually and physically. He was told by the slave owners to specifically preach on passages of the bible that focus on service and obedience and submission, neglecting passages that speak about cruelty, the evils of slavery, and the evils of turning a blind eye to such atrocities.  It became difficult for Nat to reconcile his message for obedience and submission when he and those he loved were being brutalized. In the film, Nat’s wife was gang raped, and he ends up being beaten for resisting his master’s increasing attempts to dehumanize his slaves. In one instance Nat’s master allows one of his guests to rape the wife of his fellow slaves. The dissonance between the gospel that Nat read in the Bible and the failure to apply that gospel by his “christian masters”was one of the chief driving forces that caused Nat to snap. Nat Turner saw himself as a biblical prophet whom God would use to inflict his judgement on the slave owners.

Though the movie was an adaptation, it did carry true themes. During those times there was often indiscriminate killing of slaves, raping of women, and brutal violence that was perpetrated by “god fearing” men.

In many places slaves were forbidden to meet and worship, even though one of the justifications for slavery was for the christianization and civilization of the heathen.

In 1834 the Presbyterian Synod of Kentucky wrote:

“Slavery deprives its subjects, in a great measure, of the privileges of the gospel. The law, as it is here, does not prevent free access to the scriptures; but ignorance, the natural result of their condition,does. The Bible is before them. But it is to them a sealed book. Very few of them enjoy the advantages of a regular gospel ministry.” *

Again another account

In 1800, South Carolina declared: “It shall not be lawful for any number of slaves, free Negroes. mulattoes, or mestizos, even in company with white persons, to meet together and assemble for the purpose of mental instruction or religions worship, either before the rising of the sun or after the going down of the same. And all magistrates, sheriffs, militia officers, etc., etc., are hereby vested with power, etc., for dispersing such assemblies.”

WEB Dubois in his work, “The Negro Church” writes the following:

Moreover, the masters clung to the idea that, the chief use of religion among slaves was to make them “obey their masters.” When it was charged that slaves were not allowed to rend the Bible, one naive answer was that it was read to them, especially “those very passages which inculcate the relative duties of masters and  servants.” An intelligent Negro, Lundsford Lane, thus describes the religious instruction of slaves :

There was one hard doctrine to which we as slaves were compelled to listen, which I found difficult to receive. We were often told by the ministers how much we owed to God for bringing us over from the benighted shores of Africa and permitting us to listen to the sound of the gospel. In ignorance of any special revelation that God had made to master, or to his ancestors, that my ancestors should be stolen and enslaved on the soil of America to accomplish their salvation, I was slow to believe all my teachers enjoined on this subject. How surprising, then, this high moral end being accomplished, that no proclamation of emancipation had before this been made ! Many of us were as highly civilized as some of our masters, and as to piety in many instances their superiors…

There was one kind-hearted clergyman whom I used often to hear; he was very popular among the colored people. Rut aft,er he had preached a sermon to us in which he urged from the Bible that it was the will of heaven from all eternity that we should be slaves, and our masters be our owners, many of us left him, considering, like the doubting disciple of old, ‘This is a hard saying ; who can hear it?

What was of note in the film and in history  was the political use of preachers to legitimize and authorize a system of economic oppression, corruption and greed. The Bible contains many passages about slavery, but what was interesting is the selective use of scriptures to validate their message. Just as scripture had mandates for the slave to the slave owner, they also had mandates for the master to the slave.These passages were not emphasized by many. In fact it was the silence on slavery’s appalling aspects that allowed  slavery to be  accepted despite the abolitionist’s best intentions.

A gospel that speaks only to individual sins and not against the systematic sins and fallenness in our earthly kingdoms is an incomplete gospel. Christ did not just come to redeem individuals. He came to redeem humanity. 

A church is not a mature church if it fails to speak out against the atrocities of the  powerful against the “least of these”. 

A church is not a mature church if it fails to act in compassion to serve and minister to the broken citizens and sojourners in its midst. 

I believe the evangelical church has lost much of its influence and its prophetic ability to speak against some of the systemic problems that plague our country. Just as in earlier times many leaders focused on certain issues while ignoring others. It happened in Nat Turner’s day, it happened in the Civil Rights Era and it is happening today.

I have often heard admonition to the poor and needy to remain patient and to hold on such as passages in James 5:7-12

 Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it until it receives the early and the late rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble, brethren, against one another, that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the doors. 10 As an example of suffering and patience, brethren, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Behold, we call those happy who were steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

12 But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath, but let your yes be yes and your no be no, that you may not fall under condemnation.

However how often have you heard Elders teach on the judgement on the perpetrators and on the fallen system found in  versus 1-6.

Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure[a] for the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have killed the righteous man; he does not resist you.

Now we have  a host of issues that are plaguing our nation that the evangelical church ignores often to avoid the charge of being political such as

  • Mass incarceration ( The United States has a higher incarceration rate per capita than any other nation)
  • Immigration problem (What do we do with those who are here illegally. What is a way that we humanely deal with families, how do we deal with deportations)
  • Military industrial complex (War for profit)
  • Racism ( Americas primordial national sin)

However many in the evangelical community have no problem getting political when it comes to these issues:

  • gay marriage
  • abortion

These are complex issues and how a church should get involved is tricky. Rather than speak about policies, I think at the least we should speak about principles and values that undergird the policies that are created. How should we treat our neighbor, not just overseas, but the one on the other side of the tracks. How do we treat people whose faith is different from ours. We live in an age of division, and we need to be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath. The more we are connected to our neighbors the more understanding and nuanced we will be in our beliefs and in our politics.  The church can never lose its focus on Christ’s work on the cross and our call to biblical fidelity and discipleship. However we do need to at least have these discussions.

Our politics should not limit our ability to be truth tellers. The onus of the church is not to come up with the solutions to these issues because some of these issues will only be dealt with when Christ returns. However, morally awakened men are more likely to create godly legislation. The onus of the church is to call foul, those things that are foul and to be the moral voice and conscience of the nation. It should definitely not be the media.  

Now more than ever we need the church to hear the cry of a divided nation and be able to unite us all not into a political party but unto a kingdom. If we our too entrenched in a political side we will not be able to reach those outside our political ghettos.  Our politics is killing us. It is diluting our ability to be salt. It is blinding us. We need to pray for our leaders. Pray for our president.Pray for those who agree with us and for those who disagree.

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The end of gender: Is it possible that there will be no Male or Female in Heaven

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I am going to suggest something that for some could be mind blowing. I want to start off by saying this is speculation, but not empty speculation. I would say I have a small argument based off of some deductions from scripture. I wouldn’t be surprised if I was wrong, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if I was right.

So here’s my thought: There will no longer be man and woman in heaven; at least in the traditional sense.

So the first question anyone will ask is how did you get to this point? That’s a very good question. In one of my more popular posts:

Marriage after Death: Can we be married forever?

I discuss the issue of marriage in heaven, which is closely related to this issue, and in another post

Will there be Candy Apples in Heaven? which is one of my favorites, I discuss  the issue of food in heaven. What they both have in common is they look at what our new bodies will be like.

So this is how I got to the point of assuming that there will be no males and females in heaven.

Lets start out with our primary verse from 1 Corinthians 15:

39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh[c] of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds.

40 There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.”[d] The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord[e] from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear[f] the image of the heavenly Man.

Last I want to go to one of my foundational passages from my last post “Will there be marriage in heaven, found in Matthew 22.

29Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.30At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.

So what these passages both suggest is that the nature of our bodies will change, and that we have to look at our bodies differently. Our new bodies will be not like the first Adam, that was created initially male, and then later created female. It will be like that of the heavenly Man.

Now in the passage in Matthew 22 states something very strong. It states that one of the reasons that there will be no marriage is because we will be like the angels in heaven.

So here’s a question, Do angels have a gender?

When you look at scripture I can’t point to any scripture reference where the angel is a female.There is a passage in the fifth chapter of Zechariah that mentions two woman with wings, but those are probably not angels, but representative of other agencies.  Despite the lack of scripture references there is no definitive statement that angels cannot come in a female form. Angels are shape shifters. They have no set look. When they do appear they are often described as men, and at times with a glow, but how they appear on earth may not always be their true form. Often in scripture angels appear from no where and then vanish. The laws of physics don’t seem to apply to them.  Scripture points to the fact that they can appear in the form of humans, but don’t have human bodies. Hebrews states that they often appear as strangers.  So the big point behind this is that angels when they appear in Scripture just take on the form of a human, they do not have permanent physical  human bodies or reproductive organs. They do not have a set form or set gender.

Our first point then is that if angels have the ability to alternate human forms then that means they could come in theory come in either male or female forms depending on what suited them. Again their bodies are adaptable for the purposes of delivering a message.

So if Christ states we will be like the angels, I think he is referring to the fact that we will either have no gender, or that we will not have the same human elements that would cause us to want to get married.

I will not touch the Nephillim argument, but even if one chooses to use that, it seems to indicate the point that angels were not familiar with sex prior to coming down, and that the angels who did come down and had intercourse, had intercourse with women.

So again that leads us to conclude that either angels are prohibited to have sex, or that they have no sexual organs.

However lets move on. We have much bigger fish to swallow.

So the big issue that we have to examine is this question?

What is the primary reason for God making man male and female?

The answer is reproduction.

When God made the earth scripture stated that he started with a seed, Adam, and from Adam he would create Eve, for the purpose of reproduction. What is the primary organ that determines if one is male or female? Our reproductive organs.

So if there is no longer a need for reproduction, why would our new bodies have sexual organs?

So here’s a question. What was the goal of the mandate to reproduce? In Genesis 1:28 scripture says the following:

28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it

God’s mandate for man was to fill the earth. It wasn’t simply to populate the earth, but for the population of heaven.  Now once the earth is full, or heaven is full, there no longer remains a need to reproduce. So here’s a question. What is the difference between the population at the beginning of earth and the new earth. The first earth had one man. The new earth will be full of humans. There is no need to reproduce. One of the reasons is that there is no death, and if there is no death and we live eternally, the new earth would have to expand exponentially because of all the population growth.

In the parable of the wedding banquet in Luke 14 we find the master telling his servants to invite as many people into the celebration until every seat is full. There will be no empty seats in heaven. God knows the capacity. There will be no new births in heaven. That stage will be over. All the creation of new humans and death of humans will end at the last trumpet.

So again I ask you, If we are getting new bodies, why would God give us reproductive organs if we will not reproduce? So if God does not give us reproductive organs, and we no longer have penis or vagina, then will we be male and female?

Now aside from the sexual organs, will we still have some appearance as a male or female? Who knows. Maybe, maybe not. It is possible to have the appearance of a woman, and not have a women’s sexual organs. Of particular interest is that the angels except for rare occasions seem to wear  clothing. This is of note because there is no evidence that would help us decide if an angel’s figure was that of a female or male. Even when I use the term male, I use it in the sense that when angels appear they come in the male form, but we are not sure of their true form.   There is much that we don’t know because we don’t know what are the hidden elements of our bodies that change, will be replaced or even be done away with. We don’t know what elements of masculinity or femininity will remain or be done away with, or be changed. For instance I’d like to think that there are no bathrooms in heaven.  I don’t think there will be a male, a female and an other bathroom. In fact I hope we don’t even need bathrooms. There are passages that suggest there will be feasting, however I’d like to think that our bodies will not need to create waste, but that every thing we eat would be recycled, or that our eating would be for enjoyment, and not necessarily for fuel. On the other hand if God chooses that we still create waste, then that’s what God wants. I’d have to admit that as a man some of my more peaceful times have been on that porcelain stool, but in Heaven I’m sure that the peace of being with God would eliminate any need for that.

Now here’s an idea I have been floating around, because I know it could kind of bum some of us out that we will potentially be different. Here’s the biggest take away. Our truest identity, or that which makes us, ourselves, is our soul, our memories, and our thoughts. Our bodies obviously make us who we are, but are bodies are going to change, and thank God. My knees are already getting creaky, and my body is not as spry as it used to be, and I’m still under 40 years old. I don’t mind getting an upgrade.

However back to my idea that I’ve been floating around. I think in heaven our bodies will be made for God. There will be a warming pleasure, like being under a warm blanket,or being next to a cool breeze that will create such great joy while we are in the presence of God. Our current bodies cannot withstand his presence. He has to tone it down when he speaks with us. Think of this concept, the earth’s sun has infinitely less glory that that of God. There is a light that is stronger, that is greater, that is more powerful, more warming, more loving, more calming, more brilliant  than anything we have understood or could imagine. We will be made to handle and embrace and contain the glory of God. We will be one with him. It is no longer about male and female. It is about human beings and their God. Our sexual organs are a part of our humanity that we most likely will lose, but that we will in no way miss. Trust me. There will be such great joy, such singing, such music such celebration as never before. The rush that you get when you see a beautiful woman, or man and that desire to be with them, will be replaced with a desire to be with our God. That’s why its called the great marriage feast.

Now again, I could be wrong, but the idea is that God is really efficient and intentional in what he does makes me think that my sexual organs would be a waste of space. We will be eunuchs indeed.  God would not design something that was without use.  I am fascinated when I start to think about the wisdom of God, and the potential that lies ahead of us. We need to understand that though there will be many things that are similar, there are other things that will be different.

So to sum up this conversation, our bodies are a big part of our identity, but one that will change significantly. I’d like to say that we need to shift our conversation and be ready to relinquish our current view of things. I want to close with a scripture that kind of helps put these things into perspective, whether my argument is right or wrong.

29 I mean, brethren, the appointed time has grown very short; from now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, 3and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the form of this world is passing away.

32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; 33 but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman or girl[f] is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.

36 If any one thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed,[g] if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin. 37 But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed,[h] he will do well. 38 So that he who marries his betrothed[i] does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better.

Our world, our conceptions our ideals, our way of life and  our bodies are passing away. Our focus and our devotion in heaven will be on the Lord. The male and female dynamic will fade away. Thats why it says that he who refrains from marriage will do better, because they have the proper focus, it is on God. I think Paul may have understood this concept which adds an extra meaning to this passage here:

26for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slaveg nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

Its something to chew on an meditate on. Feel free to comment. I think it makes for a good discussion.

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5 Qualities in a Good Wife

 

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The Bible says in Proverbs 18:22

He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
And obtains favor from the Lord.

So let me tell yall, that I definitely hit the lottery with my wife. So in my Fire Marshall  Bill voice (Let me tell ya something), this is a free bee, the best place to find a good wife, is in the House of God.

Regardless of whether you find a wife in the House of God, here are 5 qualities in my wife that every man, particularly Christian men should look for.

1. A Love for God

Let me tell you when I was looking for a wife, I needed to find someone who loved God. That is the first commandment that God has for all people. I did not want to marry someone who was apathetic about God. I did not want someone to dampen my zeal for God,  I have enough flaws as it is. I did not want someone who was going to send me to Hell. My wife has a relationship with God. Its why I married her.  I’m telling you if your wife does not love God and you do, you will have some obstacles trying to serve God. For those of you who may not believers, a wife who loves God can eventually get your butt saved, and save your from the biggest mistake you will ever make in your life. My wife loves God. A bonus about a woman who loves God, is even when you screw up, which you will, a woman who loves God will be a little more merciful. Fellas, I have made some bad decisions, and my wife has seen me through because she loved God. You will make mistakes, and you want to know your wife’s got your back.  A wife who loves God  will also point you back to the mercies of God. The bigger thing for me, however is I know I had planned to have kids, and I wanted them to have certain values and I wanted them to avoid Hell. As Christian men we have to live for more than this life, we know there’s a next one and I wanted my wife to help me instruct my children that there is a deeper life that we need to aspire to.

2. My wife loved me for me

Boy this is so big. I don’t think I have seen another woman who can compare to my wife on this point. Fellas, when I met my wife I was a broke grad student, with a bad wardrobe, but a good heart, and some decent looks. Fellas I married up. My wife had a better job then me, she was and is better looking then me, and had all kinds of guys after her. I still don’t know how I got her to marry me. She still doesn’t know. Since I married my wife, I got better jobs, better wardrobe and better looking. That’s what you call favor from God. My wife brought me favor. Men,  you want to know your wife doesn’t love your for your job, for your money, for your position, for your influence, for what you can give her materially. My wife loved me for me, for my goofiness, she loved me for my vision, and the little charisma I had. I told her as God blesses us I would provide her with the material things. Men I live and lived in Southern California, even the Christian woman can be materialistic, You don’t find many woman like my wife.  To add some perspective, I planned to be a missionary and travel the world, so I figured I wouldn’t be balling and needed someone who was willing to ride when God sent me. Men I know you understand that you don’t have problems blessing your wife, having someone who knows her worth and knows its isn’t measured by what I can or can’t afford to buy is a lost value.  I recently took my wife to Tiffany & Co to do some browsing and after checking out the selection my wife decided she just wasn’t that interested. She has her same ring, but wasn’t that interested in upgrading her bling.

3. My wife is my friend and made me a better person.

Fellas your wife has to be your friend or your marriage won’t work. I have shared my biggest struggles with my wife. She knows my darkest secrets and my dreams. My wife wants to talk alot more than I do, but that’s cool. At least I know she is interested in me. She genuinely likes me. She wants me as her companion, and as her confidant. I like going places with my wife, walking with her, watching programs with her. Dancing with her. Going to church with her. I can be myself without putting on any pretense. Some relationships are more like a business relationship, and when you have multiple kids its hard because that time gets limited. However when its just me and my wife I can enjoy her and tap into her mind. My wife also makes me a better person. I am a little more sensitive, though I still need to work on that. My wife makes me think less about me, and more about my family. She also challenges me to be more like Christ, and lets me know when I fall short.

4. My wife is a good mom

I always wanted to have children. My wife wanted children. We love our children. My wife is a great mom. She loves them hard. She loves them a little too much, but that’s okay. My wife preferred to stay home and help raise our children instead of her career. She was willing to sacrifice,  because she loves our children. She cooks for them helps them with their homework, and she loves it. Some women see it as a chore, she can at times but she genuinely loves being with our kids. I like knowing my children are in good hands. Fellas especially young men, these qualities are getting harder to find. My wife also can cook. Fellas this is a big issue. I like knowing my kids and I don’t have to worry about throwing our plates full of nasty food in the trash. I like knowing my wife teaches my children about God. She teaches them morals. My wife is about her family. She’s one of a kind. Single men, if you want a family, make sure your wife is a family woman.

5.  My wife is fine and virtuous 

After a few kids, my wife still looks good. She hardly ages. People ten years younger than us still think we are their age. When you are looking for wife find someone you are attracted to. Someone you don’t mind taking out in public. I’m kidding, but I’m not. Men our sex drive is strong, so its important to find someone who can meet that need. I’m so blessed to have a wife who turns me on . As Christians we don’t have the luxury of testing out our woman before we marry, or having different woman, but you want to be aroused by your wife.  You also prefer your wife not to be flirty with other man, and not to have extensive history if you can avoid it. There’s a lot of temptation out there for woman as well. You want your wife to be strong and avoid those temptations.

To my wife: Babe you are one of a kind. I know I found a diamond with you. You are all I could dream of and I know many men would love to have a wife like you. I still don’t know why you married me, but I’m so glad you did. I pray that God will bless you and increase you and use you for his glory.

To my readers: Men please find someone who possesses these qualities. If you do, you’ll  be better off in the long run. Make sure the one you marry will be down with you through the thick and thin.

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Don’t freak out when the familiar becomes unfamiliar.

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What would Jesus say to people who don’t like to take baths?

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3 Lessons from Dallas, Minnesota, and Baton Rouge Killings

 

protI am genuinely grieving for my country now. In some ways it seems like we have regressed to the 1960’s. The tragedies that have happened this past week have only exposed the rifts that have been percolating beneath the nation’s surface. Here are some lessons that we can learn from this past week.

There has never been a time of greater need for prayer for this country.

If you are a person of faith, now more than ever is a time to pray. Our country is divided, it is full of distrust amongst its citizens, full of anger, and full of violence.  There are some politicians who for political gain are exploiting the divide and in some cases worsening it. The amount of anger is astounding. The one thing that the internet does is allow people to express feelings they at other times would hide or limit to certain circles. It is clear that there is a great deal of antagonism between the diverse groups within this country. It is also clear that the body of Christ needs to provide a template  for how to respond in the midst of such tragedies. I’d love to some inter-church prayer vigils between suburban and urban churches and or mono cultural vs multicultural sites. The devil is busy sowing seeds of discord and we need to counter that through sowing seeds of love and unity. Every believer should be praying that our country would know the Prince of Peace. We should be praying for the families of those who lost loved ones over these sense less killings. We should be praying for our law enforcement officers also.

 1I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

Here, Paul in his letter to Timothy states that we should be praying for our government officials for the well being of our cities. We should be praying that our law enforcement enforce justice, but also for their protection and that they may be agents of integrity so that we may live quiet lives. This phrase “quiet life” is  hinting to a life without war and turmoil. This is not a reality in our inner cities. There is constant death, constant crime, constant fighting in our cities. Our police are on the front lines, fighting against the most vile elements in our society. Most of the the time they do this well, however there are times that they mishandle their role, and with an over zealousness begin to intimidate and cause tension with the people that they were meant to protect.  This happens rarely in many communities, but in others this tension and  conflict probably occurs more times than we’d like to acknowledge. This has to change. So in addition to thanking God for our law enforcement and praying for their protection we should also pray that our law enforcement would eliminate from its midst those individuals who have failed to protect and serve the communities by demonstrating repeated patterns of abuse of power or imitation of the criminal elements they were meant to combat.

Our county needs to do a better job of displaying empathy

I find it discouraging that often when a contentious shooting occurs and people begin to protest, that many turn a deaf ear. It is amazing to see the reactions of people who say that they are tired of hearing people protest the loss of a young life. Is it reasonable to be angry and frustrated when a young member of the community is cut off? Is it reasonable to be outraged when that member appears to have been killed with impunity by someone who is meant to protect them when there were  possibly other ways to deescalate a situation. Is it too much to protest the mishandling of an investigation, or the lack of sensitivity in dealing with the corpse of said victims? I think a large part of America needs a history lesson on the previous relations with the minority population and the law to understand that there have been years of cover ups, unexplained deaths, that do not easily go away. I mean the government had a legal extermination program for our native american brothers and sisters.  Over 100,000 indians died between 1850-1900. Many of them were murdered without being prosecuted. After slavery, many blacks could be rounded up and killed just for looking at a white woman. Most people don’t know of the dark side of history so they often feel that people are making things up. This is not to say that some of the individuals who were killed  recently were outstanding citizens. What this is saying is that we are dealing with over 200 years of summary executions and violations of civil rights, so if  a group wants to protest peacefully, let them protest with out complaining. In fact why don’t you mourn with them. 

15″ Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15

Here is another pet peeve of mine. It is often said that the black community does not condemn black on black violence. This is a myth. Much of the community is horrified and exasperated by the amount of violence that is plaguing the inner cities. There are marches, there are rallies to stop the killings. There is no magic wand to erase the killings, it is a complex process that is beyond the work of mere individuals. However there is a higher expectation for law enforcement. We expect law enforcement to respond better than the criminal elements of society. We should expect them to, and for the most part a large population does. Thank God for those officers. I do think that more can be done to honor those officers who do work hard to protect the communities. At the same time it is perfectly reasonable to protest when  officers fall dreadfully short.

Here’s a question to ponder. Is it possible to appreciate law enforcement and at the same time critique elements that are harmful or detrimental to the community?

We overcome hate with love.

I will close with this passage of scripture from Romans chapter 12.  I find it very appropriate and timely.

 Be sincere in your love for others. Hate everything that is evil and hold tight to everything that is good. 10 Love each other as brothers and sisters and honor others more than you do yourself. 11 Never give up. Eagerly follow the Holy Spirit and serve the Lord. 12 Let your hope make you glad. Be patient in time of trouble and never stop praying. 13 Take care of God’s needy people and welcome strangers into your home.

14 Ask God to bless everyone who mistreats you. Ask him to bless them and not to curse them. 15 When others are happy, be happy with them, and when they are sad, be sad. 16 Be friendly with everyone. Don’t be proud and feel that you are smarter than others. Make friends with ordinary people.[a] 17 Don’t mistreat someone who has mistreated you. But try to earn the respect of others, 18 and do your best to live at peace with everyone.

19 Dear friends, don’t try to get even. Let God take revenge. In the Scriptures the Lord says,

“I am the one to take revenge
    and pay them back.”

20 The Scriptures also say,

“If your enemies are hungry,
    give them something to eat.
And if they are thirsty,
give them something
    to drink.
This will be the same
as piling burning coals
    on their heads.”

21 Don’t let evil defeat you, but defeat evil with good.

AMEN.

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Are you Anorexic?

Anorexia is not just a problem that plagues teenage girls, it could be plaguing you. It doesn’t matter your weight or size, you may have this eating disorder. Listen to the podcast and find out if you are at risk.

 

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7 Things I Love About Stay At Home Moms.

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The modern world with its tendency to classify sociological trends did something interesting. It birthed the title, “stay at home mom”. This describes a sociological shift that occurred in part to industrialization, the rising costs of living, and the potential for greater earnings, where more and more women began entering the workforce. The shift was so great that it needed to distinguish the difference between a “working mom and a stay at home mom”. The biggest myth however when using such descriptors is that a stay at home mom does not “work”.

I want to give a special shot out to the oldest vocation in the world. In fact it is only due to the lack of compensation that it is not the oldest profession in the world.

Let me go way back, back, back, back, in time. Back to the beginning of time. Back to the original command given to man. God himself in Genesis 1:28 states

And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

This great command given to mankind could only be possible given the execution of this role and position; Mom.

The role of all mothers is not merely to usher new life into the world, a great feat on its own, but it is to train, nurture, instruct life enabling human flourishing. It is not just the birthing of the seed, but the tending and gardening of it to see that it realizes all the potential inside.

So here are 7 things I love about my wife and all stay at home moms.

You do it for the love of kids.
When most of the world focuses on compensation, you focus on the love of the kids. This may not apply to all moms, because there are some husbands who due to their overprotectiveness, or insecurity force their wives to stay home.Regardless of the reason, a mom who stays at home is home benefits the kids. Kids need their mothers.Our world is so crazy in that kids spend more time at schools, sleeping, than with their parents. What is even more disappointing is that the stress to place our children in preschool or day care at 3 months old or even younger robs children of that precious time when they are oh so impressionable and need their moms.

Your job is hard
A stay at home mom particularly is a teacher, a chef, a taxidriver, an entertainer, an advocate, counselor, and maid. Your shift lasts much longer than 8-10 hours and you get no overtime. The only raises you see, are the amount of noise and the cost of expenses needed for the job.What can you say, you do it for the love of the kids.

You guys are sooooo important.
In an age where there is so much pressure to get ahead, or to reach the american dream, its nice to know that the time sacrificed to be with the kids is worth not getting there as fast. Even if its a year, or two that you have. That time is invaluable. Time goes so fast. Treasure the time with your kids. Even when you don’t feel like you are making as much a difference, trust me your kids appreciate the fact that they are with their mom.

I know its lonely out there
Its hard being the only adult in the room all day. Its hard not getting to have adult conversations, and knowing your husband is out working potentially with other woman who are made up, and dressed nice. Yet you are not alone. There are plenty of mothers in the same shoes.

Its not about the money, but use it wisely

Its still hard but its easier to be a mom when your husband is making really good money. Not all mom’s are on the same playing field, some have to make it work with less. Super Kudos to those mom’s who can feel the pinch but budget, and use coupons, who save and find resources to make it all work.  Remember you are investing in your kids, but also remember each husband has his own expectations about spending. Please do your best to stay within those lanes. For those moms who are the accountants and manage all the bills, here’s a special shout out. You guys rock! Special shout out to my wife who always finds ways to take care of us without breaking the bank.

Make sure you get your self time
I have a great wife who always is thinking of the kids or for my well being, at the expense of taking care of herself. I have to tell her its okay to go to the gym. The kids will survive. She needs to relieve the stress. I am happy when my wife goes out with her friends and has a ladies night out. I know my wife loves when we are out and the kids are home and we have the time with just us. My biggest concern however for moms who are always giving is that soon you can begin running on fumes. Don’t forget about developing yourself. Never stop growing. Find ways to utilize your strengths, plan for what you want to do when your kids age, and you can go back to work. Be a mentor and help new moms. Read books. Never stop learning. Don’t be afraid to get all dressed up , made up.

You are fulfilling the Great Commission

This is for all those believers who are mothers.Just as God wanted to populate the earth, he also wants to populate heaven. Do you know God counts the empty seats in heaven. Do you know once that last seat is filled, its time to wrap it up. Please disciple your kids. Please pray with them, read the bible with them, and imitate humility, mercy, forgiveness and love not just for them but for God and your husband. You are also their first pastor. Moms you are shepherds. Feed your sheep, not just material food but spiritual food as well. Moms you guys can impact and set a strong foundation for faith for your children while they are young. God honors that, in fact that was always his plan.Remember you are helping to unlock all the potential that is in your child.

 

 

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How Do I Tell My Son He’s Black

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I have two mixed sons. They are beautiful. One is still an infant the older just started school. They are Black and Salvadoran part Cuban. My oldest knows he is black because I have told him. But I haven’t told him. He is still to young to understand the weight of that word, the subliminal meanings, the connotations, the burden, and the blessing of that word. Black.   So how do I tell my son about his blackness?

I have taught him that old song by James brown, I’m black and I’m proud, but that song in a vacuum without context can not reveal the pride and against from which it was composed.

I ask this question in light of being dazed  from reading Between the World and Me. In it the author writes to his own son to prepare him to understand what it means to be black.

So how do I tell my son about his blackness?

This question will always be personal, and yet always collective. My blackness was gifted to me by God, and then customized by my father and mother. Different shades, different stories collided and merged forming one new hue,  a new chapter, a new page to the narrative of being black in America.

My father grew up in the inner city on the West Coast, my mother in the south. They were raised a different era, an era before mine, one where Jim Crow was still in tow, where one could be beaten simply by looking a white man in the eye while walking the street. My uncle told us of a time where they got into a fight in Texas on vacation because one of the white youth called them niggers. Overt racism wasn’t limited to the south. Even on the West Coast blacks weren’t allowed in certain beaches and to go into certain parts of town. Things were worse back then. My parents were alive to witness MLK ‘s assassination, Malcolm X’s assassination. Kennedy’s Assassination. When we watch films like Selma or the Butler those are not just past footage, but memories. Memories of times where nigger, was more prevalent than nigga, when schools had not yet been integrated. My parents witnessed the fruits of the civil rights era, but also became parents during the beginnings of crack and gang eras. Their generation and the generation before has probably seen more change than any before, but they’ve also seen how much has not changed.

How do I tell my son that daddy’s grandma’s grandma was the daughter of a slave? I mean what other race in America has that legacy. When you see images of victims of  police brutality, you see the face of a black man. When you see the victims of inner city gun violence; its a black man.

Thankfully my son was alive to witness the face of a president; a black man.

I have isolated and shielded my son from much of the world. He is still young. His school has a decent number of mixed children,  but is mostly white and white hispanic and hardly any all black. Most of the churches he has been a part of where either multicultural, or mostly white. There’s a story for that, but that’s for a different time.

Soon he will know and discover that for many to be black means people will lower expectations except when it comes to athleticism, or music.

If he gets into a good college people will by default ask whether it was through affirmative action.

If he gets upset, people will assume he has an anger problem.

If he’s walking down the street at night with a hoodie, people will feel more threatened.

If he talks proper they will assume he is trying to be white.

If he can’t dance, they will ask why not?

If he doesn’t get an opportunity that he was qualified for he will always have to wonder if it was because of his lack of talent, or due to his blackness?

He will be a minority in many places, and see things from a different lense.

Fortunately for my sons some of these they will experience, others they will not simply for the fact that they are mixed. In fact the darker or blacker one is, the more intensely they will have to deal with these questions.

Despite all of these stereotypes, like scripture says I am fearfully and wonderfully made. That when God made his blackness, he called it good. In fact Adam was most likely a black man. As most scientists claim the first man and women came from Africa. I will tell my son of the early kings, of the inventors, the Dubois, the Douglasses, the Equiano’s and Whitely’s, the Washingtons and of Simon of Cyrene, of Jethro, and others.

I will tell my son that there’s a beauty in our blackness. A special strength. A special burden. That God has gifted us with a special song for the world to hear. A song for every mountain he brought us over, through every trial he’s seen us through. A special hallelujah from a faith that has been tested in scourgings, lynchings and beatings. That despite the worst intentions to destroy this race, and destroy our faith. Our enemies have failed. This is our legacy. That in the darkest of nights, we stood fast and have held tight to the master’s hand. That even in the shadow of death, our God has always been with us.We have a testimony, and if the last shall be first and the first shall be last, trust me there will be a lot of dark skinned people sitting close to Jesus at that banquet in heaven.

I will tell my son that he will have tribulation for three things; knowing Jesus and being black & latino. Yet to be of good cheer because Christ over came the world.

So how do I tell my son of his blackness? With a grave face and a smile, with a stern voice and a song. Say it loud. I’m black and I’m proud.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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