Fuck the Poor

This could easily be rehabilitated for low to mid-income families.  However, why do that when you can...(see below)

This could easily be rehabilitated for low to mid-income families. However, why do that when you can…(see below).  Photo by Me.

As I live, declares the Lord God, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it.  Ezekiel 16:48-50 (English Standard Version)

When I was coming up, I used to hear people say “It’s a sin to be poor.”  What they usually meant was that the financial and material struggles they contended with was sinful in their scope.  They implied that there was some moral aspect to the poor-related vicissitudes they faced, despite the fact that they were never below the national poverty level.

Fast-forward to today.  Anyone living in the good ol’ US of A could say the same thing.  A recent tidbit of news circulating is that in New York City, developers of high-rises that house mostly the monied, will have a “poor door” for the few with low income who live there.  To me, this smacks of the “Colored” doors seen in the American South during the Jim Crow era (and some parts of the North too).

Not just in NYC, but in other parts of the US we see this “fuck the poor” attitude.  Despite growing numbers of the unemployed and foreclosed, we have representatives in Washington cutting away at long time safety nets for such people.  Today, we see more concern for banks, corporations, fat-cat politicians, and celebrities than We The People (or the 99%).  We have major cities phasing out low-income neighborhoods for higher-income residents; or increasing the property taxes to chase the low income folk out.

Even amongst We The People (me too), we have this “fuck the poor” attitude.  We complain about how our taxes are supporting “welfare queens,” or “lazy” people on unemployment or disability.  We play “blame the victim” with those who lost their houses due to the mortgage mess, or were downsized from a company through no fault of their own.  We say, “had they been more careful” or “they should’ve been saving their money”.  How quickly we forget that a catastrophic illness to us or a family member could wipe out our “wealth” in an instant.

Plus, how many of us are complaining about the fact that our taxes are financing a bloated military that’s dragging the US into bankruptcy while making us pariahs in the world’s eyes?  How many of us are protesting the real “welfare queens,” corporations that are given “personhood” status; the very same corporations that laid off some of us while they still generated a profit?  How about these career representatives in Washington that are making a killing now, and with their future pension?  Have any of us called for scaling down their pay and imposing term limits?

...When you can build THIS instead, and only let the high-income folk in!

…When you can build THIS instead, and only let the high-income folk in!

Today’s Scripture was a reminder to Israel about Sodom’s fall.  Through the prophet Ezekiel, God warned that is wasn’t a homosexual lifestyle-as some thought-that did Sodom in.  It was the inhabitants’ contempt for the poor while they lived in luxury.  Many of the Sodomites were “living large” while their fellows were struggling to survive; which sounds a lot like America at present.  And in the end, that’s why God destroyed Sodom.

Uhh…America?  News flash?  What do you think is happening here?  Our status as a player on the world stage is going downhill.  Our infrastructure’s crumbling.  Despite all the police and security technology, We The People are still getting angry. Plus, our economy’s not as robust as Washington and its puppet media wants you to believe.  I believe God’s getting tired of our “Fuck the poor” mentality in America; and is soon ready to say, “Fuck America” and let this country go bankrupt.  And it will be such a way that not even the wealthy can get away.

We have the means to empower our poor so they can become self-sufficient.  This is being done on a smaller scale in parts of our country (and not reported in mainstream media).  We can give them to power to contribute to the greater good.  We can also crack down on our politicians via the ballet box to make living affordable for the lower-and middle-income crowd.  We can also divest our monies from companies that keep fleecing us via the government, and watch them squirm.  There are a whole lot of ways we can help and empower the poor so they’ll be poor no more…

Or it will be business as usual.

“Fuck the poor?” We could keep at it.  However, we do it at our own peril.  Peace.

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Pandora’s Box

Proclaim this among the nations:
Consecrate for war;
    stir up the mighty men.
Let all the men of war draw near;
    let them come up.
Beat your plowshares into swords,
    and your pruning hooks into spears;
    let the weak say, “I am a warrior.”
Joel 3:9-10 (English Standard Version)

What a week it’s been.  First, we have Israel and Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip engaged in another conflict which first started as a shooting war with lobbing rockets across the border, and has now escalated into an Israeli ground assault into the Gaza Strip.

And next, we have a missile shot from inside the Ukraine down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 as it flew over Kiev, killing all on board.  It’s believed that pro-Russian rebels might be the blame.  Nevertheless, we have people on both sides of the Atlantic looking to have Russia’s hide.

We open the proverbial Pandora’s Box every time we engage in some hostile action and let loose its attendant evils.  In the Middle East, we see the evils of religious bigotry, nationalism, militarism, propaganda, and loss of innocent life on both sides.  In the Ukraine we see finger-pointing, loss of lives, terrorism, nationalism, re-stoking of Cold War flames, and the cry for military action.  However, in both situations, we still fail to realize the ultimate end of these actions: death and destruction.

Even if Israel beats the crap out of Hamas in Gaza, or those responsible for shooting down Flight 17 gets their “just desserts”, it won’t be a peaceful resolution.  All that will happen is that things will quiet down for a minute before more troubles erupt.  Like in the Scripture text above, many are calling for war and are preparing for it-despite it being a Divine call for Israel’s enemies to meet their justice (not applicable to the present crisis).

However, there is hope, the last thing the emerged from Pandora’s Box.  Let’s have working, activist hope that these fools won’t win and drag us into their mess.  Let’s have a activist hope for peace while there’s still time…

…Before the evils overrun us.  Peace!

 

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What I Believe: Masculinity

When David’s time to die drew near, he commanded Solomon his son, saying, “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn  1 Kings 2:1-3 (English Standard Version)

Happy Summer!  As I quickly approach my 52nd Birthday, I realize that there are things I am constantly discovering (or rediscovering) about myself and life.  In 2012, I shared with you my 16 Core Values.  However, I see Number 17′s Value of Masculinity as a “backbone” value that works with the “nucleus” value of Love.  I know many of you may wince or be offended at what I’m about to post, however it is what it is.

As a man,  I embrace the Divine Masculine and celebrate my my masculine spirit without seeking permission, shame or fear.  I am a protector, provider, pro-creator, nurturer, and initiator.  I am the custodian of all things masculine to pass onto my son and other young males.  I am also the builder, the sower, the mentor, and the craftsman of my photography. I am the leader of my home-not the emperor or dictator.  I look to the Divine for strength and guidance.  I strive to lead by example, which is not easy at times.  However, I also lead with love-as God calls us to lead.

I am the Divine Warrior.  I fight for that which is eternal: integrity, love, creativity, spirituality and justice.  I will live-and one day die-with honor. I am not the hyper-masculine male who fights just to fight, or to prove something since a real man doesn’t have to prove a thing.  My manhood is not defined by my possessions, my job, my physical/sexual prowess, or my social circles.  For there are many males who “have it all,” yet have not proved themselves manly.

There are many who find masculinity something to be demonized, which is partially understandable:  We have a hyper-masculine culture of war, gang lifestyles, overemphasis on athleticism, hunger for power and wealth at the expense of others, patriarchal mindset, objectification, and an idolized violence.  And because of this hyper-masculinity, we see these people wanting men to tone down: to be androgynous, metro-sexual, or “soft/sensitive” as not to frighten or “offend” others.  However either extreme does not speak to my masculine spirit; in fact they don’t serve it at all.

I choose to live in Divine integrity as David expressed to Solomon above-that what makes me a man.  When I live as such, all the other positive qualities of masculinity will flow forth.  There, the Divine Masculine embraces me, empowers me, and leads me as I work to be a leader myself.  I do not compromise my other Core Values with Masculinity, as some would think.  No, on the other hand, I strengthen them.

In a society where it seem like there are only “a few good men” left, I embrace the Divine Masculine.  And in turn celebrate my masculinity.

Peace!

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Owww!!!

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
John 8:32 (King James Version)

Welcome to Summer 2014 season folks!   And like any good reader, I started my summer reading with some good books-fiction and non-fiction.  One excellent book in the latter category is titled, Putting Away Childish Things by controversial German theologian Uta Ranke-Heinemann. In 1970, she became the first woman in the world to hold a chair of Catholic theology at the University of Essen. She lost her chair in 1987 after denying the virgin birth.

The book is not for the theologically squeamish.  Childish Things is a hard-hitting critique of such cherished Church doctrines about Jesus, including: the virgin birth, Jesus’ lineage from King David, the empty tomb, and the ascension.  Even someone like me who’s liberal in their beliefs had to breathe in-breathe out when reading.  However, if there’s anyone who wants a clearer look at the life of Jesus and still enjoy him may want to check this book out.

To get an idea of what Ranke-Heinemann’s theology is like, here’s her “Sevenfold Negative Creed:”

  1. The Bible is not the word of God but the word of men.
  2. That God does exist in three persons is imagination of men.
  3. Jesus is man and not God.
  4. Mary is the mother of Jesus and not the mother of God.
  5. God created heaven and earth, hell is a product of human fantasy.
  6. The devil and original sin do not exist.
  7. A bloody redemption at the Cross is a pagan sacrificial slaughtering of a human being, based on a model from the religious Stone Age.

Such above thinking is not new to many Christians-inside and outside of academia.  However, it’s more people on the outside that’s starting to think like this and it’s scaring the pants of the Church.  Ranke-Heinemann’s right up there with John Shelby Spong and John A.T. Robinson.

I know many would read Childish Things and scream, “Heresy!”; or at best ridicule it.  However, if what we have is worth living then it is worth examining-even under the harsh (electron) microscope of history and scripture.  So often, we forget that history can prove (or disprove) many a Biblical tenet.  And we see how scripture can contradict itself as well.  Plus, the book will show the painful mutation of a simple Divine ethic of love of God into a twisted and perverted belief system-a fact many in the Church would rather ignore.

Like the title of this post, I too said, “Owww!!!” when reading this book.  However (if being the case) I’d rather get hurt by the truth, than killed by a lie-no matter how comfortable it is.

Check this book out during the summer.  It will be a (painful) eye-opener.

Peace!

(Above image of Uta Ranke-Heinemann courtesy of vice.com)

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African-American Pastors Call for Discrimination

dangerouschristian:

As an African-American I find this completely shameful! Then again, I’m not surprised.  We African-Americans in the church want all the rights we can get, yet are quick to discriminate against Gays.

Like Marty Klein says so eloquently, how quickly we as Blacks forget the discrimination we faced by White “Christians”.

An excellent read.

Originally posted on Sexual Intelligence:

A coalition of conservative Christian groups has petitioned a federal court to support Michigan’s ban on gay marriage.

No big surprise.

Here’s what should surprise: the coalition includes hundreds of African-American pastors and churches. Gay marriage would “destroy the backbone of our society,” said Flint’s Reverend Stacey Swimp at a local rally of Black ministers.

Uh, no. Here’s what’s destroying heterosexual marriage in the African-American community: Heterosexual African-Americans. They marry at a dramatically lower rate than any other ethnic or racial group in America.

“We love everybody, but we don’t love the [gay] lifestyle,” said Reverend Rex Evans of Ypsilanti. “There’s a small group of people trying to destroy [America’s] foundation, and it’s time to take our nation back.”

Take our nation back from whom? While one-quarter of American children live in a household without their biological father, more than half of Black kids are burdened with such parental behavior…

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Letting Go

What dreams may come, When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give vs pause.  From Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Steal away, steal away, steal away to Jesus!  Steal away, steal away home, I ain’t got long to stay here
From “Steal Away”-American Negro Spiritual

I write this with a heavy heart and mixed emotions.  Early Tuesday morning, my older sister June is made her transition from this Universe into the next.  June was a breast cancer survivor several years ago.  However complications (which need not had to happen) caused the cancer to spread.  Over the months since her arrival in late January, June had steadily gotten worse: from being coherent and conversational, to being unconscious and fighting pain.

As I drove home one night before June’s passing, I played the above Spiritual, “Steal Away.”  Although it hearkened from slavery times and spoke of longed for freedom; the song spoke to me this evening.  And the quote from Hamlet spoke to me as well about when we transition.  We all “ain’t got long to stay here”.  For one day, each and every one of us will have to shuffle off this “mortal coil” and “steal away to Jesus.”  One day, our bodies will get tired of the years-no matter how pleasant they may be.

Please don’t get me wrong: I’m not ready to book up out of here yet.  I too want to be around to enjoy my golden years with my wife, see my son grow into a fine young man, see grand kids, and enjoy my life to the fullest.  However, time and everything else will catch up to me.  Even if I live a long life and have all my faculties with me, I too will have to let go and move on.

For June, she finally stole away to Jesus, and shuffled off her mortal coil.  When I saw her late Tuesday morning before the mortician came to get her, I saw the effect of the pain on her face-it wasn’t pretty.  However, I could also see that she was at peace; that June was home now and never had to deal with the ravages of a monster called cancer.

However for now, I sit and deal with the loss of a sister only 6 years older than me; who passed a year after my Mom.  I still go through the numbness of loss despite the fact I’ve been preparing for it for months.  I realize that despite all we can do as humans, the old spiritual keeps playing in my mind:

“I ain’t got long to stay here…”

Rest easy, June.  You’ve come to the end of your Christian road trip and reached that destination home  We’ll catch up to you one day and see you when we get there.

Grace and Peace.

 

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Time to Go

IMG_20130330_161022Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:16-20 (English Standard Version)

Now that the Easter dinner leftovers are put in the freezer, the dishes washed and put in the breakfront, the church’s decorations are put up, the sales are over, and all the celebration is past; it doesn’t end there.

All that we saw Jesus did and go through was a preparation for his disciples to venture out into the world.  They heard the teachings, saw the miracles, witnessed his ultimate acts of love at the last Passover Seder and at the cross; and then the power of his resurrection-all for them to share with others.  This wasn’t a “Bible totin’-Scripture quotin’” game that many of us pull when we “witness” to others.  No, this is an act of love where the disciples shared all they experienced and learned so that others will become disciples.

The post’s Scripture text-known as the “Great Commission”-was one of the last commands Jesus gives. Many of us think that Jesus calls us to grab our Bibles and beat folk over the head with them. Or, to stand on the street corner and preach until we’re blue in the face. Others think we’re to go around pointing out the “sins” of others with the impression that we have it all sown up. No my friend, it’s more than that.

What did Jesus do? He loved in word deed and thought; demonstrating to us the love of the Father/Mother. Jesus calls us to do the same. He calls us to love, to heal, to liberate, to give our all to others.

Now that all is said and done, it’s time for us to go, go to those who need the love, the mercy, and the grace of God. Go to the “other” and include them into the Kingdom/Queendom of God. Don’t try to drag them into a church; instead go out and reach out to them in love as Jesus did. When they see the love of God in us, they can’t help but to join us and become disciples as well. Then they too will go out to others…

Growing the Kingdom/Queendom of God…

And Jesus will be with us until the end.

Grace and Peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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