I 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
This will be the same
as piling burning coals
on their heads.”
21 Don’t let evil defeat you, but defeat evil with good.
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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.
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.
You deserve a castle
fit with golden spears
You deserve a parade
The kids and I would stand and cheer
We’d wait and scream and wave
And then you would appear
ridin on puffy clouds
pure beauty in the mirror
how can such beauty be
Did God outdo himself?
Did he stay up all night
and rack every book on his shelf?
Did he review the sun’s golden rays
did he copy niagara’s mist?
and translate that into bronzen clay
and grant earth this precious gift
you are a wonder of the world
but I kept you for my own
a combination of power, love
intellect hewn from skin to bone
You deserve the world
and diamond crested rings
you desire words and precious time
over abundance of things
So what I have I give to you
I offer these words
to cherish and to lavish you
at dawn and dusk to serve
You deserve my love,
my eyes my mouth and my heart
my attention from the rising moon
and where the suns ascension starts
you deserve a song of praise
sung by heaven’s best
Accept these true and humble words
from your husbands chest.
You’ve made me rich
the envy of men
is daily on display
You deserve this and so much more
Happy Valentines Day
Written by your Husband Vday 2016
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I’m excited about Christmas, not because of the gifts, trees and shopping (which I hate) but because its a time of miracles. One of the first miracles we find in the gospels is the story of Zachariah and Elizabeth. They are the N.T Abraham and Sarah. Its a story of faith, in the midst of the impossible. Check out the podcast.
I was wondering whether I should do a podcast or blog. I haven’t blogged in a while, but I have been sitting on this for a couple of days. I just can’t wrap my mind around this simple fact. Messaging matters. You can say something with good intentions, but if your tone is off, your words are off, or your delivery lacking, your message will be affected. Who knows what Trump’s intentions were, or are, but one thing is clear; it got a lot of people riled up.
So what does that have to do with us as Christians. Maybe my head has been in the sand, which it could be, but I don’t feel I have heard or read enough how we as Christians in America should respond to the Syrian refugee crisis. I haven’t heard a message that counteracts the message of fear and division being preached by certain politicians.
Despite his huge error to mitigate between terrorists and moderate muslims, I think Trump is correct in his evaluation that we need a screening system that works as well as a means to processing and deterring terrorists from entering. That is just common sense. I will not deal with the politics of immigration nor that of military intervention in Syria. I want to skip past that however and focus on two things: In light of recent events how do we react and engage the muslim community that is currently here? and how do we engage the refugees who will eventually arrive?
There is a verse that comes to mind that says the following
14For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view
What should we be compelled to do?
Matthew 25:35-36 tells up partially
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Those who know the parable understand that we as believers are challenged to feed, take in, and care for the weak among us. We are to take them in. But let me go back to the verse in 2 Corinthians about the love of Christ compelling us. The love of Christ compels us to share Christ with the world. The central part of sharing is communicating the gospel of Christ, but we cannot completely divorce the message of the gospel without a tangible display of gospel love. The love of Christ compels me to feed the hungry. Christ’s love compels me to visit the sick, it compels me to shelter the homeless, and to welcome the stranger. Gospel love is communicated when we serve those who may not like us or even believe in our message. Jesus came and gave his life to serve even those who would reject him. Jesus’ death for us while we were yet sinners, and his enemies shows us how love conquers sin; even the sins of fear and hate.
Going back to messaging. We as Christians must say that even when we have doubts, fears and insecurities that the love of Christ compels us to serve and love any refugee but not just the muslim refugees, but our muslim neighbors as well.
In an age where division, racism, and bigotry are increasing at alarming rates, we as the Church should with biblical conviction state our commitment to communicating the truth that is in Christ Jesus. The love of Christ compels me to engage my muslim neighbor, to dialogue, to share; not the Jesus of the Koran, but the risen Christ indwelling his church.
Muslims need Jesus too. When Paul says we regard no one from a worldly point of view, he is hinting that our view of the world and of muslims, atheists, agnostics, buddhists etc should all be colored by the fact that they are people who need Jesus. We must show love and communicate that message in love. It will not always be accepted, sometimes it will be rejected, scorned, mocked and even vilified. Yet our mission still remains. Paul can understand this point clearly because he once was a terrorist who had someone risk their life to share the gospel with him. Where would we be without Ananias? Yet because Ananias was compelled by the love of Christ and dared visit a man who was blinded by zeal and hatred, the ancient world and the world today has been changed.
I pray that we believers in America, Europe, and the rest of the world take advantage of the opportunity to show the Light of the world, to those living under a veil of darkness. Let us not be paralyzed by fear, but with wisdom and boldness let us declare and proclaim the hope, freedom, and rest that is only found in Christ Jesus.