WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!


WAKE UUUUUUUUUUUPPP!  That was the last line and the defining statement in the Spike Lee film, “School Daze” to sum up the message to the African-Americans students who fought a hateful and ignorant battle between light and dark skinned people.  The message Dap (Lawrence Fishburn) yelled as he stood in the yard of the school was not just to those on the campus for the sake of the movie, but also for the sake of the audience who fight these battles in real life. 

These words resonated with me once again when I saw the portion of the CNN series, “Black In America” when they showed the portion regarding the AIDS virus and it’s effect on the black community.  Don’t take my word for it, read the article yourself.  I will throw out some of the stats mentioned in the piece just to peek your interest:

  • Report: AIDS epidemic in black America as severe as in parts of Africa
  • CDC: About half of the just over 1 million Americans living with HIV or AIDS are black
  • AIDS leading cause of death among black women between ages 25 and 34
  • In Washington, more than 80 percent of HIV cases are among black people (1 in 20 residents)

    Did you see that last statment regarding the nations capital?  How amazingly scary and tragic is that?  Speaking of the nations capital, I don’t hear anything from either presidential hopeful concerning these reports and statistics.  This needs to be put on the forefront and the nation needs to face this head on!

    I have been reading a series of books regarding the Rwandan genocide of 1994 where close to a million Africans were slaughtered for many complicated yet tragic reasons.  This lack of awarness on MY part regarding the AIDS epidemic specifically in the black community is stagering.  I do know this for sure, I have not done my part to contribute to fighting this disease.  But I vow to my community to do something.  I am not exactly sure what I should do specifically.  But I know I am going to find a role where I can fight the genocide like results of this monster killing our people.  My first step is this blog.

    I say again like Dap, “Wake Up!”

    I’m So Thankful

    My friend Gregg “The Happy Guitar” Haynes has a nice jam called, “I’m So Thankful.”  Its one of my top gospel jams.  My favorite version is from a live CD recording I witnessed at Friendly Temple MB Church in St. Louis. Thinking of it while sitting in church recently reminded me once again that in spite of all the challenges we face in this life, I am still and will remain thankful for all that is good and right in the world.  So for this post I thought I would take time to list just a few things I am thankful for.

    * The opportunity to live in the world and enjoy the natural beauty around me.

    * A sound mind which allows me to think straight; or at least want to.

    * The friends and family that I know without a doubt love me, and will challenge heaven and earth on my behalf when I need them to.  Ride or Die!

    * The special friends and family who allow me the opportunity to be there for them when they are in need.  Thank you for allowing ME to bless you.

    * My beautiful children and grandchildren; You are all so special to me – priceless

    * My haters; for keeping me grounded and reflective at all times.  Sometimes your criticisms are right on!

    * My vocation/dreams.  Opportunities to earn money comes and goes – but my purpose is for life and the results are forever.

    * My heros; dead and alive.  And all of the ancestors who watch over me – who speak wisdom.  May my ears continue to be open to hear.

    * My thinking crew!  Those who always challenge my way of thinking and stretch me beyond my paradigm!  They know who they are!

    * My Creator and the Universe of which I have the priviledge to participate.

    New Feature: Books Alive!



    I added a new feature called the Personal Book Club.  Its right under the “About me” section on the right side.  I am on a great roll these days going through a lot of useful material and I enjoy the fruits of learning.  A reader is a leader.   Let me know if there are any books you can suggest. 

    Pictured: Me and Hill Harper of CSI New York (among several other projects) at his book signing for, Letters To a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny.  Hill is a great brother who loves his community!  His latest work is for the young women.  Letters To A Young Sister: DeFINE Your Destiny


    Readers, I came across this commentary on blackamericaweb.com.  Normally I wouldn’t blog a response to an article but this one is so beyond reproach to me in terms of it’s content, that I had to offer a rebuttle.

    Commentary: We Talk About How Ministers’ Kids Tend To Be Wild-What About The Preachers Themselves?

    Date: Thursday, July 17, 2008
    By: Gregory Kane, BlackAmericaWeb.com

    My stars, the words that come out of the mouths of some ministers!

    You’ve all heard or read what Jesse Jackson — you’ll pardon me if I don’t put “reverend” in front of his name — said he’d like to do with two certain parts of Sen. Barack Obama’s anatomy. That may have surprised a lot of black folks. It didn’t surprise me. I’ve been writing for years that the man isn’t worth a tinker’s dam, only to have black folks whip out the Uncle Tom/Sambo card on me.

    But while I expected such language from Jackson — Mumia Abu Jamal claims Jackson called black folks in Philadelphia’s MOVE organization “a bunch of nappy-headed niggers who don’t wash” — my concern isn’t about Jesse. It’s about the man Jesse once worked with.

    I’m starting to wonder if we should re-evaluate Martin Luther King Jr. If there’s any truth to the adage “birds of a feather flock together,” maybe we should. King biographer Taylor Branch wrote in “Pillar of Fire” that FBI wiretaps revealed King saying something about a grieving Jackie Kennedy that was even more revolting than what Jackson said about Obama.

    It was so revolting, in fact, that I can’t repeat it in this column. BlackAmericaWeb.com editors have too much class and dignity for that, so I won’t even bother to so much as let them edit the words out. But what King said about Jackie Kennedy as she knelt praying at President Kennedy’s coffin is on page 250 of the hardcover edition, if you care to have a look.

    There’s more of King’s raunchy language of page 207 of “Pillar of Fire,” in which FBI tapes caught him in the sex act shouting “I’m having sex for God!” (Note: the sex wasn’t with his wife, Coretta.) But King didn’t say “having sex.” He actually dropped the old F-bomb. On the same tape, King is still engaged in a sexual act when he shouts “I’m not a Negro tonight!”

    That line has prompted three questions from me since the first moment I read it.

    1. What was this woman doing to King that made him forsake his race and ethnicity?
    2. Who was she, exactly?
    3. Most important, why can’t I ever find women like this?

    King’s extra-marital affairs have been known for years. I got confirmation of them around 1970 from a guy who should have known: Rev. James Bevel, a former King aide.

    My BlackAmericaWeb.com colleague wrote about Bevel a while back. He was recently convicted of having sex with his own daughters when they were underage. I saw that conviction coming almost 40 years ago.

    Bevel arrived in Baltimore circa 1970 to, he claimed, start a new organization called MAN, an acronym for Making A Nation. It turns out Bevel needed a new organization because his old one, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, had fired him. I didn’t know the reason then, but I sure as heck have some inkling now.

    Free love and nude encounter sessions were part of the MAN agenda. Bevel advocated that every man in MAN was free to have sex with any woman, and vice versa. I had a chance to join Bevel’s “organization.” I was 19, horny as a tomcat and, like any red-blooded heterosexual American male of that era, dying to get laid.

    But not badly enough to join MAN. There were just some things a nice Catholic kid from West Baltimore didn’t do.

    Bevel wasn’t just a basket case when it came to sex. I first saw him in action during a speech he gave in a classroom on the campus of Johns Hopkins University. Some white kid asked a perfectly innocuous question. Bevel grabbed a walking stick he carried, barreled through some desks, shot up to the white kid and grabbed him by the hair.

    “I ought to beat you with this stick, you white boy you!”  Bevel snarled.

    I sat there thinking, “This NUT was an aide to Martin Luther King?”

    Indeed, he was. And, according to most histories of the civil rights movement, he was a very skilled and effective organizer. Jackson at one time showed promise as a leader and activist. King’s record of achievements in the civil rights field is almost without peer. But it’s clear now all three of these men had a side few ever knew.

    There’s a theory that the children of ministers — preachers’ kids or “PK’s” — tend to be a bit on the wild side. But maybe it’s not the PK’s we need to keep an eye on.

    Maybe it’s the preachers.


    Hmmmm… Ok let’s start with my first question.  What is the purpose of this commentary?  Is it to discuss PK’s or MLK’s sex life?  The latter seems to be the case as there is not an attempt to discuss the challenges and behaviors of PKs.  When the writer suggests that we re-evaluate the way we see Dr. King, I wonder what is it that he plans to re-evaluate.  I’ll return to that point shortly.

    First of all it’s general information that Dr. King was not faithful to Coretta during their whole marriage.  I recall when Ralph Abernathy wrote his book back in the day and appeared on the Donahue show to talk about it.  In that book he discussed King’s affairs.  Michael Eric Dyson’s book, “I May Not Get There With You,” was written for the sole purpose of balancing the King legacy in terms of showing King to be fully human including the flaws who accomplished extraordinary things for the nation and black people in particular.  Dyson’s book dealt with how American whites generally want to turn King’s words and work into merely a dream speech – without tackling the meaty issues that he addressed that the nation didn’t want to hear then and do not want to hear now.  In short they want to make him a toothless lion.  For blacks we have tended to deify King to the point of making him like a Jr. God.  Branch, whom the writer references did several well researched scholarly books on the King years.  I would recommend them all.  King’s story is phenomenal.  And Branch touches on a history that is so detailed with facts and stories, it’s a biographical journey.  I blogged about these books recently.

    But back to the writer again… What is he trying to say?  Because King came up short in his marriage vows and said some wild things in bed we need to re-evaluate his contributions?  What the….?  First of all let’s remember that the reason King was illegally wire tapped in the first place was because the head of the FBI J. Edgar Hoover was obsessed with ruining King’s life and bringing down the civil rights movement.  I would suggest the writer do some study on Hoover and all the callous work the FBI did especially during the 50’s and 60s.  Hoover had files on everyone in public life… Dick Gregory, John Lennon etc.  Anyone who represented independent though or had a following Hoover went after.  He even sent notes to King posing as Andrew Young to try to convince King to commit suicide.  Finally, I wonder if the writer knows that though Edgar was a fierce racist and homophobe, he was also a cross dresser himself.  Now with that said I wonder… who the hell makes a judgment on a man or tries to seriously examine words and phrases he says when he is engaged in sexual acts?  Sex involves reality and fantasy and therefore without speaking to King about it, it would be impossible if not silly and illogical to try to critically analyze it.  Second, if the FBI were to record the sexual acts and the words of the writer, would he feel it worthy of public critique?  It’s kind of a losing battle if you ask me.  If he says wild things from the outside it’s easy to ridicule the writer as he did King.  And yet if his language is simple and generic he’s gives the perception of being dull in bed at the very least.  I wonder if the writer really wants to go down that slippery slope. 

    Finally I ask again… what is it to re-evaluate?  The accomplishment King and his supporters made for equal rights?  The fact that he personified the non-violent movement from the American perspective, and was jailed countless times for a people he loved and the justice he sought?  The fact that he is still arguably the best American we have ever produced?  Or the fact that he gave his life for what he believed in by being assassinated by his own government – the same government that tapped his phone, spied on him, sent black men to infiltrate his organizations?  The fact that the writer stands and judges this man with words that lack the reasoning of my soon to be 5th grader and can post it on BlackAmericaWeb is what we really need to re-evaluate.

    Embracing Pride (Part 2) When Enemies Become Friends

    Two sayings come to mind for this post.   “Always remember to keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”  And, “We have no permanent friends and no permanent enemies, only permanent interest.”  The first I heard in a scene from the classic film, “The Godfather.”  The other I heard from talk show host and political activist Tavis Smiley though he may have not originated it.  These are some of the wisest statements ever and yet many of us sleep on its genius.  I definitely have not fully subscribed in the past because when I think of enemies I think of the hurt they have caused me – the betrayal, the lies, etc.  My first instinct when coming across the people who I know have hurt me intentionally – (though sometimes they even smile in my face) is to resist them at all cost.  If I see he/she coming one way, I usually go the other.  I avoided conversation and any type of small talk or contact with the individuals who I knew not to have my best interest at heart.

    However, I am learning now that total isolation from our enemies can do more harm than good in the long run.  My classroom has been within some of my own business dealings.  One of my business ventures requires a lot of networking and since I am new to this particular business that means double for me.  It’s been often said that it’s not about what you know – it’s who you know.  Well that’s not completely true.  In reality it’s who knows you!  I can know the CEO of a company but in order for me to benefit from his/her favor or influence depends on if he/she knows who I am when my name is mentioned.  Fortunately, I have managed to gain quite a few notable contacts within this field that now know and respect my name.  And slowly I am building up credentials that will give me business for several years to come should everything continue on course.  But as in any venture I also have my share of detractors and haters.  (Thank you Rich House for reminding me to embrace my haters!)  One such hater is actually a person I have known for over 10 years.  He has been in the field for over 20 years and I looked to him for guidance, advice and connections.  Admittedly this person started off helping me quite a bit.  But then I noticed a turn in his attitude after he began to notice that I started to take off and create a network for myself which increased my opportunities within the field.  He noticed me at different places and wondered aloud to me, “How did you get turned on to this?  Who did you speak with?  That person didn’t call me.  How much business did you acquire? Etc.”  I could tell in his tone that he was envious at my progress – and I have very strong evidence that he made efforts to take some business away from me that I obtained through a mutual  contact.  From the beginning these revelations hurt quite a bit.  And I felt that a person of his stature should be happy for me – especially because he knew of my career situation and the fact that I was struggling to make ends meet.  Initially I though to avoid this person – or even give him a piece of my mind.  Instead, I kept my approach professional and gave him the appearance of respect.  In the meantime when he ask I don’t give him accurate accounts of my progress – and since he still has the power to give me business occasionally, I give him the impression of gratefulness on my behalf.  For every time I get even an ounce of business from him, I have the opportunity to profit initially and show my skills and abilities to other potential clients.  Its not as if I am not thankful in reality.  It’s that I understand the games being played when ego and greed are involved.  Often to get what we want we may have to stroke or placate someone’s ego a bit for desired results. 

    This lesson came up again as I was reading, “An Ordinary Man,” written by Paul Rusesabagina who was the manager of the Hotel des Mille Collines in Rwanda as portrayed by Don Cheadle in the movie, Hotel Rwanda.”  He spoke of doing business with many of the people he did not consider to be friends – some of whom were out to kill him and the over 1200 refugees he protected in the hotel during the genocide in 1994.  General Augustin Bizimungu was a major player in the vicious murders of 800,000 Rwandans.  He was charged with war crimes and is in a Tanzanian prison.  In the midst of the unrest and extreme violence, Paul maintained a friendship with him that was started mostly by Paul’s services rendered to the general and people of power like him at the hotel.  But it was with a purpose.  Paul explains it himself in his book, “An Ordinary Man.”

    I have been criticized for my friendship with him during the genocide, but I have never apologized for it.  “How could you have stayed close to such a vile man?”  I am asked, and my answer is this: I do not excuse whatever he may have done to promote the genocide, but I never heard him agree with any of the bloodshed when he was in my presence.  I had to stay close to him because he could help me save lives.  I would have stayed close to anyone who could help me do that. 

    He then went further to illustrate yet another important point.  In describing the general in more depth:

    … There is a saying in Rwanda: “Every man has a secret corner in his mind that nobody will ever know.”  And I do not think I know enough about Bizimungu’s secret corner to judge him.  He may have done terrible things in Rwanda before and during the genocide, but I know that he stepped in for me at crucial moments to save lives of innocent people when it was of no conceivable benifit to him.  If I had ended that friendship, I do not think I would be here to write these words today.  There are at least 1,268 people who survived the killing partly because of the instructions of Bizimungu. In my book that counts for something.  (P. 162-163)


    While I am disapointed in this particular person, I am not going to write off his value and humanity.  He is still a child of God in my eyes and each day he lives, like myself he has opportunity for regeneration and growth. If he wants to hurt me for apparently no reason, then there is something inside himself that is lacking.  But I digress.  The main point is that there is no shame to the one to doing business with people who think less of your value.  It is in no way selling out as long inward dignity is preserved.  As the bible says, in life we have to be as wise as serpents and yet gentle as doves.  Many black men for instance had to subject their egos at the door of humility when operating within Jim Crow segregation.  They were called boy, and at other times much worse.  While some men felt inferior I’m sure, still many more understood other people’s ignorance could not define them.  And having the ability to earn a living for family is honorable above all.  As I like to say, this is an inward issue.  Its one thing to cower from within and an even worse practice to betray one’s principles for a dollar; I know many such men who appear to be well off and yet inwardly they are slaves to their position, status and income.  But I submit as well that a man can pick his battles, act strategically, get his money and keep his dignity.  In this case, I am such the man.

    Perhaps one day I may let this person know that I have known for some time that he has not had my best interest at heart.  But for the foreseeable future – I can allow his ego to flounder while it falsely confirms itself as superior in my own financial interest.


    Pictured is Paul Rusesabagina with me and my son Christian during a book signing visit in St. Louis

    Embracing Pride (Part 1)

    Talk about unlearning – this is one for me.  The word pride has always given me several different thoughts and reactions – and yet I could never put them together to come to a conclusion of what they meant and how I should or should not apply them in my life.  Some studying has helped me to adjust some of my thinking.  Let me explain.

    American English is a language that has words which carry many multiple meanings – especially when you mix it with the slangs that become part of the language and culture of communication.   English is not the oldest language in existence.  And many of it’s words derive from root words of other languages such as French, and Greek etc.  Therefore, the process can be complex for non natives when it comes to mastering the words and their meanings.  For instance, when we speak of love it has basically one definition.  And we roll it off our tongues quickly; i.e. “I love you baby” or “I love that song” – {or that car or my pet etc.}  I overheard a conversation once when a man told a woman he loved her, and she responded, “Like you love the old women at your church?”  And yet in the Hebrew language there are several words to describe the different forms of affection and devotion to describe a love for a parent, versus a love for a pet, versus a love for a significant other.  In English, we are left with one word and with that word the speaker and the listener are left with the task of deciphering which clear definition is really intended.  Or as Run DMC said back in the day, “Not bad meaning bad – but bad meaning good!”

    This is the problem with the word pride.  I was taught to shun the word and embrace a singular meaning.  This comes mostly from my teachings reflective of the bible from scriptures such as Proverbs which talks about pride coming before a fall – how God hates pride and so forth.  We are taught to give all the praise and glory to God even when we as people accomplish something good.  I embraced those virtues so even when I’ve accomplished some of my own personal goals or saw some success I’ve earned through discipline and hard work, I have always been careful to reference God and take no personal reward for the accomplishment.

    An example that comes to mind was when some years ago I formed, managed and played on a men’s basketball team and we won the league championship at St. Louis University.  As the buzzer sounded giving us an exciting one point victory, while all of my teammates jumped for joy and congratulated one another, I knelled down and thanked God for allowing us to win.  I was more humbled by the victory than anything else because I had built the team from scratch and I knew what we had been though as a team to get there.  It was very personal to me for reasons I won’t elaborate on now.  The main thing is that I didn’t want to give the appearance to God that I was celebrating or enjoying this too much.  The whole experience was actually very anti-climatic. 

    Because I did not have a complete assessment of the whole picture – I did not enjoy this victory as I should have.  With pride I had one word to reference – and one reference to define it.  There are other similar words we have within our language such as arrogance, but somehow or another they always seem to find connection back to the word pride. 

    There is a 7 book series by various authors which deals with each of the 7 deadly sins.  According to Professor Michael Eric Dyson who penned the book dealing with the sin of Pride in his book by the same name, the words defining this vice were first separated into their respective categories in order to reflect a more definitive understanding of the differing meanings.  But then they were combined later on.  Writes Dyson,

    …Evagrius of Pontus was one of the first Christian thinkers to refer to cardinal sins-there were eight of them in his reckoning -and vainglory and pride snagged the sixth and seventh spots on his list.  It wasn’t until late in the sixth century that Pope Gregory I boasted pride to, well, its pride of place among the sins.  Actually it was superbia, the Latin equivalent of the Greek hubris, that Gregory’s list until the concepts were subsequently combined in pride, which eventually earned the premium nod on most conventional list.  Gregory held that “pride is the root of all evil, of which it is said, as scripture bear witness: ‘Pride is the beginning of all sin.’

    With this revelation and in reading the book completely – I have come to understand that pride in its separate manifestations can mean different things – and are not at all synonymous.  As stated above there is vainglory – which defined in my perception is an arrogant way of perceiving ones self for example.

    As creative beings, we have the power to re-define words and their meanings to fit into our spectrum.  We do this all the time but more so on a social communicative level – like in the 70s we used to say, “That was cold-blooded.”  Cold-blooded had no reference to the reptiles in my science books – but to describe for example: an attractive woman, the style and shine of a vehicle, the fashion in which someone did someone wrong, or an outfit.  We used these interchangeably and most times if you were in on the lingo, you knew which meaning held serve.

    This is the same way for pride.  As Al Pacino said in “The Devil’s Advocate,” Vanity, (or Vainglory) my favorite sin!”  This speaks of the temptation man falls into when his ambition supersedes his core values which will lead to a fall.  Pride can be used as a form of stubbornness when a person will not receive instruction or correction – in claiming that he/she must always be right.  These are the negative sides of pride.  For me the negative form of pride in short is when one exaults himself above another in thought, word, or deed.  This is not an issue of status, but of the heart.  If there is some circumstance, position, amount of money, status, knowledge, etc. that allow one to place himself above another in his heart – that is vainglory or vanity or the bad side of pride.

    But there are also virtuous definitions as well.  One can have pride in being good and excellent at what he/she does.  Pride in this sense is the same as having a standard that says value will not be compromised.  I have participated in sporting events when my wanting to be my best cause me to push myself beyond what I thought I could accomplish in order to claim sporting victories against better skilled athletes.  When I check the spelling and grammar in my writing – or double check the processes of an assignment at the office – my standard of excellence is a source of pride. 

    Another virtue of the proper pride is that it sets limitations when necessary.  We will not be abused mentally or physically by others when we have proper pride.   Proper pride (what I will call dignity)

    In the biblical sense there is a scripture in Romans where it says, “do not think of yourselves more highly than you ought to think.”  By the text I surmise there is a level of high thinking that we should embrace. 

    Though I hate arrogance, (yet another word similar to vainglory) even when I see it in myself, there is nothing wrong and everything right with having a sense of personal excellence.  The will manifest in love of and confidence in self – though not in the degradation of others to justify the love and confidence.  Reality says there is no competition among unique beings.  My struggle – my task is to become as great as I can possibly be by maximizing my own talents and gifts – and then displaying them into the world where rewards will come.  Finally whether one has pride or is vain-glorious is an inward issue.  Sometimes others can see whether we are full of ourselves, but with a bit of quiet reflection we can see for ourselves and must judge for ourselves where we really are.  I want to embrace the good pride of excellence within the humility of love and servant-hood.  I cannot accept credit for gifts that The Creator has given me – but I can enjoy using these gifts in service to others while reaping some personal rewards with an inward satisfaction when my light shines.  When rewards come, I should celebrate and enjoy them, knowing that they were earned.

    Fact Is – Truth Is (Part 2) Absolute Truth – fact or fiction

    In Part 1 of the post concerning truth – I mentioned my background within the Christian faith community.  Some things have changed over the years concerning what is emphasized in Christian teachings – mainly in evangelically influenced circles within the scope of the political climate of the last 12 years.  I sometimes tune in to the local Bott Radio broadcast which feature many of the prominent preachers around the country.  Most of these preachers lean toward conservative principles and preach the bible from that perspective.  Lately I have heard a lot of teaching about absolute truth – and how liberals and Darwin type thinkers reject the absolute truth of God’s word and principles as an excuse to pretty much do and behave as they please.  They stress this absolute truth vigorously and yet in incomplete fashion. As I listened to one program I kept wondering initially what the speaker meant as he touted the surety of absolute truth and how we should embrace it – and yet I didn’t grasp what he meant specifically.  Upon more listening I learn that the absolute truth they refer to are directly related to a few key items.  First that Jesus Christ is the only way one can have salvation and peace with God.  This is influenced by the growing number of competing religions in this country; namely Islam.   This in spite of this nation’s founding principles which Evangelicals regularly tout in terms of the Constitution, The Amendments etc. – not including freedom of religion.  The rest of these absolute truths fit into the scope of the hot button issues most prevalent to evangelicals such as gay and lesbian rights, (or lack thereof) abortion, and now including the overall conservative agenda as it relates to prospective laws and the judges who will enforce these laws.  Some call it biblical worldview – but by that they mean their worldview of what the bible is saying.While I certainly hold to the principles of seeking the absolute truth as stated in the previous post – I am skeptical of someone or some organization flaunting a specific definition and manifestation of said truth to fit their paradigm for the rest of humanity.  This is because as much as I do believe that truth is absolute, I do not believe in absolute truth as it is taught within these circles.  I’ll explain:To preach absolute truth from a theological and religious perspective is easily flawed even by biblical standards.  To prove this I will use a scripture reference: I Corinthians 13:8-10Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.This scripture speaks of the human condition with its flaws and discrepancies.  Let’s look at the continual conflicts within scripture itself.  Notice I didn’t say contradiction – but conflicts or juxtapositions for differing areas in which the same God acted differently than most any theologian can justly explain. 

    I remember being in a Christian men’s meeting – and we were discussing God’s ways and what we know to be His will.  The leader spoke of how some things are just givens that we can know for sure when it comes to what He wants from us.  Like for instance we know God’s will is not for us to kill anyone.   I having the inquisitive mind that I have – being the antagonist for deeper through – I posed a question as to how are we to really know that to be His will in every situation.  I mean after all we know that one of the Ten Commandments talk about not killing or murdering anyone – and yet according to scripture many times God endorsed and even ordered the killings of tens of thousands – many including women, children and animals.  As a matter of fact, King Saul was demoted from his throne in lieu of David because he did not kill everything he was supposed to – and yet David was NOT demoted after he took Uriah’s wife and had the man intentionally killed as a way to cover up her pregnancy.  This is not to say that David didn’t suffer – as he lost the son who was conceived.  But then he had another one named Solomon – who built the temple that David was not allowed to build because of the blood on his hands.

    Notice that Solomon had several hundred wives and concubines – God never said a word to him about it.  Instead he warned him against marrying women who had other gods not associated with the God David taught him about.  In this case the issue in the scripture is not the amount of wives or concubines – it was their religious preference that God called into question.   Many men had multiple wives and according to the scriptures God found these things perfectly acceptable.  When I posed this question about how we now tout God’s will about marriage being one man and one woman – how God ordered hits against the enemies of Israel including children – the answer I was given was that, “That was the old testament.”  I asked for an explanation seeing that the bible says that God is the same yesterday, today and forever – the moral dilemma even for the old testament seems antithetical to anything we know of today.  If David were King of Israel today and the news of he and Bathsheba hit CNN – any preacher, priest or rabbi would be hard pressed to accept his moral failings, or invite him to speak as God’s representative.  As a matter of fact they would seek to have him ousted – and yet not only did God keep him on the throne, there is a scripture that says David was a man after God’s own heart.  We Christians love David because he was quick to repent and he gives us hope within our own moral downfalls – and yet the same Christians wanted to stone Bill Clinton and toss his behind clean out of the White House for the same thing – minus the pregnancy and murder. 

    Speaking of David – the bible says that he and Saul’s son Jonathan shared a love that was deeper than that of a love between a man and a woman.  What is that about?  Did David have a little sugar in his tank too?  Did he and Jonathan practice a little bow and arrow in the wilderness while getting to know one another?  Who knows?  I certainly don’t… and the truth is nobody does.  Republicans love Abraham Lincoln and say that they are “The Party of Lincoln.”  And yet a simple study will find that Lincoln slept with a man nightly.  This is not a commentary regarding an opinion of homosexuality – these are just questions I asked in a bible study class.  I didn’t profess to have the answers – and I didn’t suspect any of the committed Christian men in the meeting could produce them either.  But what was most sad, is that they were so closed minded and fearful of their theology being shot to hell in a hand basket – they would not even discuss the issues.  I felt to grapple with these matters would create stimulating discussion and debate – which stimulate the mind to learn and get a bit closer to what the truth may be in these matters – regardless of whether we actually got the answers as gospel.

    So where does that lead us?  As much as I search for the highest form of truth – I understand and acknowledge as the scripture says – I know in part – I understand in part.  What I know about my Creator is in part.  I have lived 41 1/2 years – I can’t make one tree – one bird etc.  I can’t explain the universe or how the human body and spirit live together.  The world functioned before I showed up and I suspect it will go on without me.  And even what I feel I know now is subject to modification.  

    Even if we were to get the whole truth from our Creator who formed the entire universe – who is to say we could comprehend or understand it?  Puuuulease!  There is not that much intellect in the world – for intellect is limited and some things are caught and not taught.  AND we are created beings – we have creative ability but to brag that we are carriers of the complete and divine understanding on par with an everlasting spiritual greatness we have come to understand as God is tremendously short-sighted, arrogant and plain stupid at best. 

    That’s my take – what’s yours?

    Fact Is – Truth Is (Part 1)

    Growing up in the Christian faith community “confession” was a prevalent teaching among the congregations I associated with.  The faith movement was based highly on words – ala God created the Heavens and Earth with words… Jesus is called The Living Word – There are scriptures that say life and death are in the power of the tongue – and that those of the faith should call things that be not as though they were and so forth.   Today many Christians are very careful about what they say.   They do not want to claim negativity.  I recall seeing people appear to have a cold, and as he/she coughs and sneeze say in the next breath – “I’m not going to claim sickness.  I am perfectly fine.” 

    I can understand the thinking – I do believe the mind is one of the most powerful forces in the universe and the words we say on an ongoing basis make a difference in our state of being.  However, sometimes I think we take it too far.  In other words there is a difference between faith and denial.  One does not have to deny facts to in order to seek out and confess a higher truth.  For there is a difference in facts and truth.  I would define it this way.  Dictionary.com says of a fact in short;

    Fact – Knowledge or information based on real occurrences

    But truth is as I define it for the purposes of this post…

    Truth – the highest form of reality – an ultimate universal treaty

    Truth would not deny a fact but would supersede it.  So for a person was sick or depressed and yet understand that their ultimate state should not be sickness or depression – it would not be best to deny what is evident.  But yet what is evident is not necessarily the last word.  Facts are outside manifestations, but truth is ultimate destination.   So one could admit to the fact that he/she is afflicted with sickness, and yet not deny the ultimate purpose and destination of wellness.  Facts are temporary and yet if to US those facts become truth – then they become one in the same. 

    Ultimately people live by and make decisions based on the truth as they know it – not the facts.  For example, I recall driving my car and running out of gas with money in my pocket before.  Well I knew by intellect or ‘fact’ that the car could indeed run out of gas – and yet the ‘truth’ is I didn’t really believe it or else I would have stopped and added gas to the car before it happened.  As the hand slipped to the left of the ‘E’ I thought I had more and more time.  Well once that happened to me once – it has never happened again.  The potential for walking because a reality to me – especially cause it was like 15 degrees below zero that night. 

    Simple as it may seem we all live by the truth that we know in our hearts – not the facts that we learn.  Or else we all by way of knowledge would live and do everything we know to do.  We wouldn’t abuse our bodies with alcohol and drugs.  We wouldn’t eat the wrong things if we really “knew” that those things were killing us.  Obviously knowledge is not what we lack.  Our personal realization of “truth” is what guides us in the long run. 

    I submit that our task is to recognize and acknowledge the obvious.  We have needs, we are faulty, we have potential to be great and regardless there will be the best and worst of times.  At the same time we should strive to learn that which is true – that which surpasses facts for it is by those principles that we are led most. 

    Part 2 Next…. “Absolute Truth” – fact or fiction

    Self Brain Washing To Freedom

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    Lately I have been experiencing some transition in my life.  Part of that is changing the way I have been thinking all of these years.  By this I mean from thinking through a mostly negative lense concerning my own self worth, my contributions to the universe and the potential for personal satisfaction.  This is no easy task as I have tried to do so in various ways throughout life such as through faith, reading, etc.  I remember watching “The Secret” and being so excited as they spoke of The Law of Attraction.  But these among others never really stuck.  Somehow trials, troubles and circumstances would take me right back to where I was before.  Sometimes I would just assume give up on it all. 

    Well I am back at it again – but this time it seems different.  It seems as if my creator is speaking to my heart personally and that I am learning from within.  And with these words it seems as if information has been coming to me a mile a minute.  I hope that this is as real as it seems to me – real revolution from within. 

    With that said I plan to document some of the things I am learning in this blog.  The purpose is not to preach or teach to anyone – but to pen these things as a reminder for myself.  At the same time if someone can benifit from these personal but not necessarily new revelations then thats great.   Stay tuned….

    Grace & Peace

    Black on the 4th of July


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    As this nation celebrates its 238th birthday I am annually conflicted with the holiday.  For me, its a day off work and in this case paid I may add so its all good.  As a youth it meant fireworks, hotdogs and picnics.  I don’t recall a lot of talk about independence from England with the exception of 1976.  That was the 200th year or Bicentennial.  Otherwise, back then as it is today its about the festivities and in some years as this one a three day weekend.

    As an American of African descent I am not sure how to comprehend this day.  I love my country for sure.  I love it enough to embrace its virtues and criticize its faults.  I am a patriot but not a nationalist.  Also I happened to have recently read Dick Gregory’s book “Callous On My Soul.”  Talk about great Americans… Gregory is one of the greatest Americans we have ever produced.  Anyway, in this book I have learned so much more about both the virtues and vices of this country we call America.  And considering the racism, classicism, poverty, and arrogance we so readily embrace, as a young nation we still have far to go to be as great as we think we are.  In many ways we live in separate Americas.  One for white and one for black, one for rich and one for poor.  One for those who are in and another for those who are out.  And yet when we celebrate these type of holidays we are expected to embrace the meanings in the same fashion.

    I think of September 11th and how that forever changed many in America in terms of how they viewed their own patriotism and vulnerability.  But what about the many people of African descent, Native American as well as poor whites have viewed their patriotism and vulnerability.  For this I reference Gloria Ladson-Billings who argues:

    Over and over people in this country describe the world as pre-September 11 and post-September 11.  Yes, this is a significant date, for now, but it takes history to determine whether or not it will become a teleological fault line.  For me time and chronology can be divided in an infinite number of combinations: Pre-April 4, 1968 (assassination of MLK) and post-April 4, 1968, pre summer of 1963 and post-summer of 1963 (bombing of the little girls in the Birmingham church), pre-summer of 1955 and post-summer of 1955 (murder of Emmett Till).  Each of these events made me feel less safe, less secure, less able to lay claim to any notion of myself as American. 

    This illustrates a voice of Americans rarely heard and mostly ignored.  This makes sense in that in 1776 independence was not meant for people who were not Europeans.  So in essence the freedom they sought was also freedom to hold and sell slaves, freedom to rape and oppress others etc.  And even if one does not believe in reparations certainly a sincere apology may be at the very least useful.  This probably won’t happen in my lifetime – and thus the conundrum.

    As Michael Eric Dyson explains in his book, Pride, “During July 4 celebrations, some blacks spurn the holiday altogether, because the freedom celebrated is segregated by skin color and even class at times.  They resonate with Langston Hughes’ plaintive poem. “Let America Be America Again,” when he says, “America never was America to me/…(There’s never been equality for me, /Nor freedom in this ‘homeland of the free.’)  Other blacks are torn.  One the one hand, they completely resonate with their bitterly disappointed brothers and sisters.  One the other hand, they acknowledge that black blood, sweat, and tears have built this country.  Hence they echo Martin Luther King Jr. when he declared, “I ain’t goin’ nowhere.”  King was responding, perhaps to mean-spirited critics who would dare deny blacks who fought for the nation’s freedom their right to criticize American in love as a gesture of profound patriotism.  Such critics use a pat line that is truly trite: “If you don’t like America, go back to where you came from.”  But as Deborah Mathis says of blacks, “Most of us – 91 percent – were born and have lived only here.” 

    The Seven Deadly Sins

    One thing is for sure… without the diversity that is evident in this nation – America would not be what it is today.  By this I mean in terms of industry, commerce, and culture.  And good bad or indifferent, people of color ARE and will always be a large part of America.  I close with the words of Stevie Wonder who in his song Black Man (written for the 1976 Bicentennial celebration) spoke truth to power when he said:

    Now I know the birthday of a nation
    Is a time when a country celebrates
    But as your hand touches your heart
    Remember we all played a part in America
    To help that banner wave

    Complete Lyrics of Black Man