Pleading No Contest~Or Just Not At All

…but he answered him not a word.

 

One of the most valuable lessons I have learned is when not to defend myself.  Normally this is something I find hard not to do.  By nature I am a communicator, a negotiator and a peacemaker.  As liberal as I am towards respecting other people’s opinions, I also have my own views on a wide variety of subject matters.  These attributes equate to my natural desire to be understood.  My preference is that even if someone disagrees with me or is angry with me for something – I would much rather that person have an accurate assessment on what I mean to say or meant to do relative to his/her beef is with me rather than it be for some reason that isn’t true.  But sometimes less is more and there are times that an attempt to bring understanding to a situation would do nothing to remedy the problem.  Sometimes defending one’s self only makes things worse.  Especially if the people I may try to convince may not be in a good place to hear my point of view, or they flat out may not care.

 

Jesus is a wonderful example of a man knowing when not to defend himself.  As he faced his accusers before being sentenced to death by crucifixion, he was asked to defend himself.  This is how the exchange went in Matthew 27:11-14:

 

Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked Him saying, “Are you King of the Jews?  Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.”  And while He was being accused by the chief priest and elders, He answered nothing.  The Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?”  But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.

 

When one really examines the life of Jesus through his exchanges with different people, we find that people are always asking Him questions.  And I have found that depending on the person asking and what his/her motivation was for asking a question determined the way Jesus would respond.  When one of his disciples asked Him to teach them to pray, He gave them what we know now as the Lord’s Prayer. (Luke 11)  If a guy asked to be healed he accommodated that.  (Mark 2:41-42)  Even when John’s disciples asked Jesus why His disciples didn’t fast, Jesus gave them a decent answer. (Matthew 9:14-17)

 

The issue in the scripture reference before Jesus was crucified was that the governor wasn’t 100% sincere when he asked Jesus if He was the King of the Jews.  And the chief priest damn sure didn’t give a hoot as to what Jesus would say to his accusations.  His and his friend’s agenda would have been the same regardless… “Crucify Him!”  Therefore Jesus did not waste the little time and breath he had left in answering the questions or defending himself in the presence of fools.  He illustrated this in Matthew 13:10-11 when he told his disciples that the reason He spoke in parables was because there were certain valuable words that were not for the masses to gain insight into.

 

And so it goes neither should we care to defend ourselves in the presence of people who are not on a hunt for truth nor have our best interest at heart.  Whenever Jesus would get a suspect or tricky question from an individual, he would either give them a smart assed question and answer back, (Matthew 20:23-27 -Luke 20:20-23) point out their true intentions, (Matthew 9 1-6) or simply be silent.  However, if a person was sincere in wanting to know the truth he was more than happy to relay that truth until understanding was achieved.  Proverbs 26:4 says it best, “Answer not a fool in his folly, lest you be like him.”  Sometimes even if you are totally misunderstood, misquoted, or accused of wrong doing.  There is a time to defend what the truth is.  But if the person you are talking to does not want the truth of have your best interest at heart, inside you may want to scream out for justice.  But it takes great inner strength to hold your peace and allow God to fight your battles.

 

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When Mother Nature Becomes A Bitch

Living in the St. Louis Metropolitan area, I remember the flood of 1993.  It was amazing as the water from the mighty Mississippi River came pouring down from the northern states of Iowa and Minnesota.  Talks of crest and leveeys were rampant.  Sandbags and the communities that built them in rapid speed trying to out-race the water were thrilling.  For the most part the results were nothing short of both amazing and tragic.

According to Lee W. Warson Chief, Hydrologic Research Laboratory Office of HydrologyNOAA/National Weather Service, Damages totaled $15 billion, 50 people died, hundreds of levees failed, and thousands of people were evacuated, some for months. The flood was unusual in the magnitude of the crests, the number of record crests, the large area impacted, and the length of the time the flood was an issue.

Looking back, I remember going down to the riverfront during the Fourth of July which normally would hold Fair St. Louis.  There was not much of a fair, but still people came from all over the country to see the wonder of the flood waters as they covered Leonor K Sullivan Blvd where people would normally walk the banks of the front.  The water rushed through at a mighty speed carrying anything in its path with it.  People were talking pictures and sight seeing as if it were a The Grand Canyon.  It was really something.

For the sightseers, while we were hypnotically captivated by the waters, many in Grafton, Earth City, portions of Hazelwood and Alton etc. were washed out of homes and communities.  This was the mother of natural disasters.  I remember feeling and praying for those stranded and homless.  People’s lives were thrown for  a loop.  And most recovered.  The same will have to be said for this season.  And it may be more difficult than ever.  Think of the people in Iowa who were told they didn’t need flood insurance this year. 

Whether it be a tornado in the midwest, hurricane on the East or South Coast, or wild fires on the West, the eyes are still amazed by the wonderment of nature when it takes its course.  This time I was prompted to take pictures to record a small piece of this history.  As you will see, even the pictures of the Gateway Arch looked rather gothic and mysterious on this night.  God bless those who were flooded, and those who fight the waters… feeble as it may seem.

True Messages

    Somehow I got on an email listing from a sister whom I have never met.  She sends these out once a day and sometimes I think they are really some outstanding things written that I can appreciate.  I found a couple here that I will share.  Thanks to sister Francello McCoy.

Good Morning Prayer Partners;
            DON’T BE AFRAID TO STOP
 
    The thoughts and purpose of the (consistently) righteous are honest and reliable, but the counsels and designs of the wicked are treacherous.  Proverbs 12: 5
 
Don’t be ashamed to back off if you get out in the middle of something and find that God is not in it. Just be secure enough to simply say, “I thought this was God, but it’s not, so I am not going to do it anymore. “You can apologize to others if you caused them any trouble or confusion.  But there is no shame in quickly admitting that you were wrong. In Jesus name, Amen
LET GOD LEAD OTHERS

                  Yes, let none who trust and wait hopefully and look for You be put to shame or be disappointed.  Psalm 25:3
 
Our day might seem better if everyone would just do what we tell them to do. But God doesn’t override people’s will, and we are not to do so either…If someone persists in doing something his or her own way today, show your confidence in God by stepping aside. You may learn that you were wrong, or they may learn that you were right….Either way, He will get the glory, if you put your trust in Him.  In Jesus name, Amen. 
With love your sister in Christ,
Francello McCoy-Founder& Ministry Networking
Paradise Retreat-Resort Center
P.O. Box 52242
Saint Louis Mo, 63136
Restoring Broken Women and Families

Balls Up! Punks Down! Testicular Fortitude Awards

Everyone who knows me knows that I am an avid Los Angeles Lakers fan.  Since 1980 I have referred to the team in WE terms not they.  If the Lakers won then “we” won… and if the Lakers lost “we” lost.  Many die hard fans have blind spots and are not able to critically assess their favorite team and its performance.  Yea guys call radio shows and second guess this or that – but I am talking about straight out rebuke when necessary.  I have never been that guy.  Win or lose I tell it like it is.  If the ref’s had a bad night I’ll be the first to say that.  If “we” play a team that’s just better than us then I cop to that too.  And in this case, if “we” all out sucked I’ll say that too.  This was definitely the case as I watched that debacle of a basketball game in Boston Tuesday night.  My Lakers started the game – well Kobe started the game being aggressive and it looked as if it may be a nice 6 which the Celtics were favored to win.  But once the second quarter started – all Celtic-Hell broke loose and soon my beloved purple and gold team were rolling over like Rover and played dead.  I shook my head in disgust as the Celtics “toyed” with the Western Conference Champions and ran a clinic on our asses. 

Thus the Balls Up Punks Down Testicular Fortitude awards.  I mean listen, sometimes its not about Xs and Os.   By game 6 of the Finals, both teams know each others players and plays.  It becomes an issue of executing the game plan – which often comes down to forcing your will over the opponents.  Simply put it’s about NUTS, Balls, who has them and who doesn’t.  Its not about getting your butt kicked in a game cause that happens.  Previously in another blog I talked about the Memorial Day Massacre in 1985.  It was an issue of the Celtics being a hot team where everything they did turned to gold.  But it was not as if the Lakers lacked balls or will.  They fought and came up short – but came back to win the series.  This was not the case on Tuesday night.

Let me be clear – the Celtics deserved to win.  Overall they proved to be the better team.  But what pissed me off more than anything was the fact that our players were so freaggin SOFT.   It started with Pau GaSOFT, who made Kendric Perkins look like Bill Russell defending him in the post.  GaSOFT was so timid he looked as if he panicked every time he touched the ball in the post.  Then there was Vladimir RadmoNOSHOT – who looked more like he was trying to crack the Boston Bricklayers Union for a job this summer.  Sasha VuiSHIT was awful too.  Though he helped LA to a victory in game 3 by, it all feel to the ground in game 4 when Ray Allen waltz past his ass for an easy bucket down the stretch when it counted the most.  That was vintage stereotypical European defense at its worst. 

Back to game 6…  It was sad to see coach Phil Jackson beg his team not to “give it away” at halftime.  But boy did they ever!  The second half was more of the same – and it ended with a 131-92 ghetto project beat down.  Tuesday night the Lakers simply “gave up the booty” – and Boston took it with no vaseline!  They wanted it more – and they earned it.   They went after the Lakers like the Leonidis went after the Persians in “300!”  I think I saw Kevin Garnett scream out SPARTAN!!!!!!!!! 

Gerard Butler as Leonidas in Warner Bros. Pictures' 300

Don’t get me wrong.  I am not throwing my cats under the bus totally.  They deserve credit for winning the toughest division in basketball.  When nobody thought they would make it this far they swept the Denver Nuggets, Beat Utah in 6 games including closing them out in Salt Lake City – one of the toughest places to win at any time.  Then they beat the World Champion Spurs in 5 games.  These were impressive feats and they deserve props for sure.  They had Gasol but no Andrew Bynum who was having a great year in the middle.  The Lakers should and will make some changes to get a bit tougher.  Game 6 does not take away from the great year they had.  But still it was a disgraceful effort.

So congratulations to Paul, Kevin and coach Doc Rivers.  Balls Up for the Celtics – Punks down for the Lakers.

Our second Balls Up award goes to Eldrick Tiger Woods.  This cat comes has knee surgery on tax day in April to remove cartilage from his knee, suffered a double stress fracture of his left tibia while trying to return in reading to the PGA tournament last month, missed The Memorial and shows up at the US Open in Torrey Pines -forces a playoff against Rocco Mediate – Then wins on Monday for his 14th career major after 91 holes on the largest course in US Open history.   “What the…??”  In severe pain this dude does the last 18 holes and out-shoots his opponent – only to have to have ACL surgery a couple days later which will cause him to miss the rest of the year.  I say again… “What the…?”  Talk about a champion!  This was like Jordan when he had the flu in Utah and scored 38 against the Jazz in the Finals while having an IV hooked up to him during half the game.  I hope Tiger waits and rehabs his injuries properly.  Cause when he comes back, he will have such a psychological advantage over the rest of the field – that he will break every record left in the sport of golf and amaze anyone who had any doubts to the contrary.  Balls UP Tiger.  Yourrrrrrrr GREAT!

The pain Tiger Woods felt in his knee during the U.S. Open was caused by a stress fracture he suffered two weeks before the major tournament while rehabilitating from surgery.

Our last Punks Down award goes to New York Mets GM Omar Minaya who fired Willie Randolph in Anaheim earlier this week.  Much speculation has surrounded Willie’s job as manager both this and last season.  After Sunday’s home game the Randolph had a meeting with Minaya that if he were going to fire him, please do it now and not humiliate him by sending he and his crew to the West Coast.  Minaya gave Willie the impression his job was safe.  Then Minaya flew to Anaheim himself under the radar, called Randolph to his hotel suite and pink slipped the dude just before 3:15 am.  This after a victory over the Angels and after the Mets had won 3 of 4.   Every organization has a right to hire and fire as they see fit for the betterment of the organization… still the way business is handled is just as important and reflects the class or lack thereof of an organization.  Clearly Minaya lacked class in the way he handled his first managerial hire.  Word now is that interim manager Jerry Manual is a front office pawn, the team is a mess and Minaya may very well be the next one to get pushed on a sword before Spring Training of next year.  Regardless – Omar Minaya – Punks Down!

300 Pictures Courtesy of Warner Bros. / Celtics Team Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images / Woods Photo courtesy of the NY Post / Omar Minaya Photo by Francis Speckler/

Albums That Helped Shape My Life

Music is wonderful.  I consider myself a scholar in the area.  You have your one hit wonders, as well as the genuises that laste and laste.  I won’t get into the artist as much.  That would take too long.  But some albums are everlating in my heart.  Meaning they will always have significance.  Here are my top ten… subject to change upon memory of albums that have helped shape and make a big difference in my life. (In no particular order)

1. What’s Goin OnMarvin Gaye * Music and lyrics just as relevant today as they have ever been!  An album too honest for the times and still underappreciated fully for the substance it contains. 

What's Going on

2. Thats The Way of the WorldEarth Wind & Fire * A mixture of grooves such as Shining Star and Happy Feelings.  The title track along with Reasons are timeless classics.  This album is music that covers our afro traditional roots along with complicated relational and interpersonal issues.

That's the Way of the World 

3. The Isley BrothersThe Heat Is On * I mean forget Fight The Power – I don’t have to even go there.  But it has the Big Three on side 2: For The Love of You, Sensuality, & Make Me Say It Again Girl!  I used to listen to these over and over again even as a little kid.  Lots of black folk were conceived on that side of the album.

The Heat Is On

4.  JourneyEscape * The first Rock and Roll album I bought.  Journey introduced me to other groups like REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Rush, Genesis, Teg Nuggent, Led Zepplin etc.  Don’t Stop Believing is still being played in bars all over the country.  It may be sappy, but after a couple pops, your singing along too! “Strangers – waiting – Up and down the boulevard – their shadows searching in the niiiiight!”

Escape

5.  Earl KlughHeart String *The first jazz album I bought.  I credit Jeff M. an old friend I used to bus tables with for hipping me to this wonderful guitarist.  We used to smoke the hippie lettuce while sitting in his car jamming this.  I have this CD in my car right now as a matter of fact. 

Heart String

6. Michael Jackson – Off The Wall * I know for a lot of people it’s all about Thriller.  Thats a great album and the sales records prove it.  But without Off The Wall and it’s success at the hands of Quincy Jones, there would be no Thriller.  The record exeutives didn’t think a jazz man could produce a pop album.  Michael said he wouldn’t do the record unless “Q” was the man to produce it.  Well when Mike spoke it was like EF Hutton.  The rest is history!

Michael Jackson Off the Wall

7. Prince1999 * During the height of the competition of who was the King – be it Michael or Prince.  Prince changed the game with this one.  A double album with crazy stuff like D.M.S.R. and Lady Cab Driver.  The bass line on Lady Cab Driver is one of the funkiest of all time.

1999

 8. Stevie WonderSongs In The Key of Life * Still his best and most complete work in my opinion.  Cut for cut this is a musical kaleidescope of rhythms and lyrics.  A must have for any music fan. 

Songs in the Key of Life

9. Teena MarieIt Must Be Magie * Actually my second Teena Marie album.  Irons In The Fire was the first.  But with jams like Yes Indeed, (brilliant piano by Patrice Rushen) 365, Square Biz and Portugese Love… it was a wrap!  A great album from a great artist.  Go ahead Lady T!

It Must Be Magic

10. Fred Hammond and Radical for Christ – The Inner Court * At first I didn’t get the excitement others felt for this former member of the gospel group Commissioned.  His voice sort of irritated me.  But the more I listened, the more I understood this brilliant artist who literally worships God through his music.  Listening to this album is much more of an experience than anything related to normal entertainment.  And when I sing along I find myself worshipping as well.

The Inner Court

 What are your favorites?

Movies That Scared The BeJeezus Out of Me

Friday will be yet another “Friday the 13th.”  I am not superstitious mind you but there are always horror or scary movies released around that time.  I think of the new Mark Walberg movie “The Happening” that will start this weekend.  Looks wierd – and I think I’m game to check it out.  This got me to thinking…

You ever watch a movie and have wierd dreams that remind you of the movie you watched?  This happens to me from time to time.  Generally speaking I try to stay away from violent movies or horror flicks late at night, cause I don’t want those images to be the last thing imprinted upon my spirit.  But thats not a cure all.  Recently I watched Big Momma’s House and the new Chronicles of Narnia and later had dream that Lester (Terrance Howard’s character in ‘House) was trying to shoot me with bows and arrows. (Narnia)  Its amazing how pictures and images will invade and reflect upon our dreams.  With that in mind…  it cause me to think of the movies that scared me the most as I was growing up.  Or in some cases, not that long ago.

The Happening (2008) Poster

1) Jaws – I saw this classic as an 8 year old.  It was July 1975 and we lived in the Normady Owens Projects we called, “The Hole” cause it was literally underground.  We had no air conditioning and the apartment was as hot as the dickens.  Didn’t matter… I was so scared I was deep under the covers sweatin like the devil.  I remember hearing some kids were scared to take a bath.  But I wasn’t that bad.

Jaws (Widescreen Anniversary Collector's Edition)

2) Damien The Omen II – Not only was this Anti-Christ talk and the three 6s in dude’s head scary, but that darn opera chanting made this one all the more scary!  I thought Damion was going to get me!

Omen II

3) Phantasm – In a way I was intrigued by this mad doctor who threw those silver balls with the blades protruding out of them.  But in watching it I bit off more than I could chew.  I had nightmares about dude for days!

Phantasm

 

4) Abbey: (The Black Exorsist) – I was only 7 when I went to see this.  It was a part of a double feature that my sister and I saw along with Cooley High.  My parents dropped us off and picked us up later in the afternoon.  When that girl started gagging and spittin green stuff in the movie – I lost my freaggin mind crying like a lil bee-ach! I was spiritual as I knew it back then and into church.  So I believed fully in the devil.  I wanted to stay out in the hallway till the movie was over but my sister knew she couldn’t leave me.  For once, she actually felt for her lil brother and put her arms around me during the film and told me it was going to be OK and that it was just a movie.  Thanks Darcel!

5) Fallen – Darn straight I was an adult when this one came out.  But boy did it give me the creeps.  The whole touching scene on the street where the evil spirit Azazal goes from one person to the next was off the meat rack son!  The Rolling Stone’s jam they played at the end (Sympathy For The Devil) during the credits is quite haunting.  Here is a small sample:

Please allow me to introduce myself
Im a man of wealth and taste
Ive been around for a long, long year
Stole many a mans soul and faith
And I was round when jesus christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But whats puzzling you
Is the nature of my game
I stuck around st. petersburg
When I saw it was a time for a change
Killed the czar and his ministers
Anastasia screamed in vain
I rode a tank
Held a generals rank
When the blitzkrieg raged
And the bodies stank
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name, oh yeah

Fallen

 

The Garden of Eden, Bird does Hammer!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I saw this recently on 60 minutes… This is the facinating story of a place rarely and barely touched by man.  As a result there are some beautiful new (to man) birds and species.  See nature in perfect harmony and the bird I call the Original MC Hammer!