“Now What?” (Advent Version)

Scripture reference Luke 1:26-38.

Welcome to Advent 2015; today is the First Sunday of Advent. Advent, the time before Christmastide when we commemorate the waiting for the coming Christ. We sing carols and hymns like “O Come, Emmanuel” during this time.  This is the time where we wait, wait for God’s Christ to come forth into the dark night of our collective soul and burst like the star that shone over Bethlehem on that ancient night.

I also see Advent as another “Now what?” time in our lives.  Even though I’ve used this to describe Good Friday, it can also be used to describe Advent as well.  Let’s go back to the pre-Jesus world; a world that was waiting for him…

We see tonight’s star of the story: Mary, the future mom of Jesus.  Mary was a teenager who lived in Nazareth that was espoused/betrothed to Joseph.  Well, one day Mary had a visitor named Gabriel-one of God’s chief angels.  Now mind you, Mary didn’t offer the angel some iced tea and homemade pound cake; instead Mary had her “Oh shit!” moment when the angel appeared, since when angels appear stuff’s about to go down.  Then after Mary found out that she was going to be carry and give birth to the future Jesus, impregnated without a man’s help, I bet you a good steak dinner in Manhattan Mary really had a “Now what?” moment.  Mary later wound up in the unenviable position of being a single pregnant woman who has to bear the shame of not being married, or at best being impregnated by Joseph.  You knew my girl had her “Now what?” moments while waiting for Jesus-the coming Christ-to be born.

Now, let’s travel forward to our time.  Today there are many who still wait for the birthing of the coming Christ in their realities.  Many of these people are living a “Now what?” moment:

  • I just had to leave my war-torn country with my spouse and children, waiting for safe haven and now there are people who don’t want to give us asylum. Now what?
  • Some crazed gunman opened fire upon an innocent group of people, and I lost loved ones among the victims.  I am waiting for justice.  Now what?
  • Another person killed unjustly at the hands of a cop; and I knew them.  I too am waiting for justice.  Now what?
  • I’m trying to keep a roof over my family’s head, heat and hot water on, and food in the pantry while waiting for financial relief, yet it’s taking forever.  Now what?
  • I’m waiting for peace and working for it.  Now I hear nothing but war on the news.  Now what?
  • Like Mary, I too am a pregnant teenager.  While waiting for my baby’s birth, I face a future of shame, dashed educational and career hopes, and God knows what else.  Now what?

“Now what?” moments happen even while we wait for a desired end.  These moments sadly don’t take a break while we wait.  Even as we wait for the coming Christ to break forth in our lives, we still will have that “Now what?” moment.  This is the time despite the “Now what?” moments, we must learn to wait.  We must learn to wait on the coming Christ into our lives; for that birth to come forth and bring the light of God into our dark world.  For once Christ is born into us, the “Now what?” moments will be answered, since the light of God will shine on them and make them plain to us….

…that what Advent’s all about….


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A Greater Outpouring Or A Greater Awareness?

Ever been to a praise and worship service where you see people crying out for more of the Holy Spirit?  I mean people falling prostrate or stretching their arms out as if they were expecting something to fall from the sky?  You hear these people crying out for more: more Holy Spirit; greater anointing; fresh wind; fresh anointing; etc.   I’ve seen this on retreats, vespers, and Sunday morning devotional moments before the actual service.  We even go as far as asking God to “tabernacle” or “sit with us for awhile” in our worship invocations.  Please understand that I too have been one of those who’ve done the asking, the falling prostrate, and the crying out.

However, as I continue on this road trip called the Christian journey, I wonder if instead of a greater outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we need a greater awareness?  Oh, I see I got your attention; made you put down that third helping of Aunt Toodle’s sweet potato pie!  That’s right, do we need a greater awareness of God’s spirit?  You see my friends, we act as if God is “out there” in the sky; while we’re down here on Earth.  We act as if we have to pull God’s coattails to get His/Her attention and hope He/She will deign to stop by our meetings.  Or we act as if God’s spirit/anointing/power is like gassing up the family car; we fill it at the gas station, however it will run out after so much driving.

I want to focus on having a greater awareness of God’s Spirit/anointing/power.  I believe God is all about us; His/Her presence is closer than our very breath.  This is what the ancient Christian mystics believed and taught.  You see, we need to tune our spiritual antennas to the Divine frequency that’s here.   To me, God’s like the ocean-eternal and all-encompassing; and we need to just be open to this realization.  If we truly learn to tap into the Divine all the time-not just at “meeting time” and live like Jesus lived-totally immersed in the Divine.  To realize that we and the Father/Mother are one-like Jesus.  Oh what a day that will be!  We’ll see healing, anointing, deliverance, enlightenment, and miracles that would knock our socks off.  We will truly live out and bring forth the Kingdom/Queendom of God!

I know we’re coming up to Advent-the time of waiting for the Christ’s coming to Earth.  However, we don’t have to wait for God’s power to “come down” to us here.  God’s power is here and ready to work in and through us…

If only we have a greater awareness.  Peace!



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Thanksgiving 2015

Image by Me

Image by Me

Give thanks to the Lord, because he is good.
    His faithful love continues forever.  I Chronicles 16:34 (NIRV)

Thanksgiving.  The name conjures up many images. Images of a family sitting around a lavish dining room table, giving thanks and then dining heartily.  Thanksgiving conjures up the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.  Conjures up homecoming events at high schools and many play their big games today.  Conjures up the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys vs. their rival of the day (today it’s the Carolina Panthers).  It conjures up memories of coming home for Thanksgiving break from college, as many college students did yesterday.  It also conjures up the start of the Christmas season with Christmas commercials and preparation for “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday”.  It conjures up many images that are in our collective psyche.

However, for many, Thanksgiving conjures up a whole different set of images.  The homeless going to a shelter or church for a free meal and companionship.  It conjures up “marathon” 12-Step meetings with dinner so that the recovering can have the Holiday without being in recovery-compromising situations.  For the soldier overseas, it conjures up the pain of separation from kin and friends whilst thanking the Divine for another day of surviving combat.  For those who lost loved ones, it conjures up memories whilst staring at an empty chair at the table.  For those who are refugees struggling for asylum, it conjures up images of not being included as the “other”.  For those in abusive homes, it conjures up a tense and terrifying day wonder how the abuser will act.  For the lonely sitting in their homes-or wherever-alone, it conjures up their loneliness.  For those struggling with heart-wrenching issues, it conjures up pain since they’re supposed to be “happy” and “thankful”.  For those working in the medical and public safety professions, it conjures up missing the family whilst ensuring that others enjoy their day.  For retail workers with employers working today, it conjures up images of being away family and the attendant guilt while making sure said family is being provided for.

And for descendants of First Nation people here in the Americas, it conjures up images of European subterfuge in the guise of “amity” whilst slowly stealing land and engendering genocide.  For many First Nation-and others-it’s a Day of Mourning.

Welcome to Thanksgiving 2015.  What should be we thankful for?  We’re still reeling from the Paris, Kenya and Nigeria attacks; whilst living in fear of terrorists.  We have a growing Syrian refugee crisis in Europe and here in the US.  We just saw Turkey shoot down a Russian warplane over its airspace (doesn’t help that Turkey’s part of NATO).  We have a presidential candidate in Donald Trump who pushes demagoguery and exposes the ugly underbelly of Right-wing policies: xenophobia, racism, sexism, class-ism, and other ugliness.  We see Islam, Christianity and Judaism in a fight for being “right” whilst dragging the rest of the world-as well as their adherents-down into the mud.  #BlackLivesMatter still doesn’t matter to racist police and supremacists; a struggle for all who cry for justice and equity. And we see the ugly truth behind Thanksgiving through the eyes of First Nation descendants, as the day-and other tidbits of historical propaganda get exposed in the light of truth.

I know I said a lot, however we can’t sugar coat the truth with Thanksgiving sentimentality.  To paraphrase Millie Jackson, “I have to say it.”

I also know that you’re asking, “Well gee…what then should we be thankful for?”  Well Dear Reader, I’m going to answer that for you.  If you have your reasonable portion of health and strength, have a roof over your head, and have something to eat; you still have something to be thankful for. Despite all the crises in our world, we can be thankful the world is still a beautiful place.   Thankful that we still have people who are laboring for peace and justice-in every area of human life.  Thankful we have Christians (and adherents of other beliefs) who still live out the Divine in their daily lives in order to improve humanity’s lot.  The fact that you can read and understand this is something to be thankful for.  Plus, being thankful that We The People have more power than we realize to change our communities, our nations and our world for the better and thus usher in the King/Queendom of God.

There’s still plenty to be thankful for Thanksgiving 2015-despite the challenges.  Let’s work so that we can add more onto the “thankful” column.

A Blessed and Peaceful Thanksgiving.


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America The Violent

Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
Matthew 26:52 (King James Version)

violence is as American as cherry pie
H. Rap Brown

Again, we as a nation mourn another mass shooting; this time at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. Suspected gunman, Chris Harper Mercer killed 10 and wounded seven before he himself was killed by law enforcement.

This is the latest in a cycle of violence that-as Brother Brown put it-“is as American as cherry pie.” For God knows how long, we’ve seen these “angry” individuals with some issue declare their hateful rants to the world and then go inflict their anger and hatred; killing innocent lives that nothing to do with them. As a human being who follows Christ, I am disturbed by this incessant violence upon the innocent-no matter the age, race, sex, or religious beliefs.

In the Scripture text above, Jesus gives us a warning we all need to heed; which basically says that those who live by violence will die by it-be it sword, bullet or bomb.  We need to listen-especially in this ever growing culture of violence that allows these shootings.  We constantly feed into the lie that violence is the answer-especially gun violence.  However, all this violence does is breed more violence like a self-replicating virus which spreads. We’re killing people-and in turn-are killing ourselves.

Violence could quite easily tear apart our society; and as we see, it’s not just in our poor inner-city “hoods”.  The violence is reaching into our “safe” suburban and rural places too.  And with the myriad of ills plaguing America, it could be just too easy for that one act to occur which could quite possibly destroy us as a people as well as a nation.  And it would be a tragedy that a nation that still has so much potential wind up like the crumbling society in the 1979 cult classic, Mad Max.

I know there are many sides to this issue-from gun control to religion to whatever; and we’ve heard these sides time and time again.  However, we have not gotten any closer to real solutions.  This is an issue that needs to be addressed today-not with pithy words from the White House, or some talking (air)head-but by all of us.  For the sooner we face our violent side as a nation and begin to engage it fully, maybe we can have some healing and learn peaceful ways to deal with our myriad issues.

The post’s title is “America The Violent”.  A fair assessment?  Only we can answer that question.

Peace and prayers for Umpqua, and all those affected by gun violence.

(Above Image: Community members at a vigil in Stewart Park to honor the victims of the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., on Thursday.  Credit Gosia Wozniacka/Associated Press [Courtesy The New York Times])




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Think About It

I know it’s a bit over a year before the 2016 Presidential election, however there is a thought I’d like to share with you.

As I watch the various campaigns taking place all across America, I see the various candidates come across as being one with the people. I’ve seen it with Donald Trump and is tapping the White anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim crowd’s “angst.” I see Bernie Sanders and Hilary Clinton tapping into the Liberals’ political agenda. Other candidates are out on the campaign trail doing the same thing. There’s this “we’re all in this together” rhetoric the candidates preach from the stump.

However these days it’s not usually the case. Today’s candidates are masters at working the feelings of their supporters with a sense of false comeraderie. They push those right buttons to get themselves elected into office. Then after getting elected and sworn in, these cats flip the script and leave their voters (the poor and working class ones) out in the cold. Happens time and time again. If anything, these cats have their own agenda which is endorsed by a select (usually rich and powerful) few.

So for you-Dear Reader-as you attend those campaign rallies for the candidate of your choice, please think on this. It might save you some disappointment down the road.


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An Evening’s Thoughts

2015-09-18 20.44.01

The longer I live, the more I see that solitude is not a bad thing. I’m in Brooklyn as I write this among Friday night folks at Brooklyn Bridge Park.

It’s in being alone one can see, think, and be clearer than among the multitudes. One is not carried along with the general opinion of the masses.

I once read about the early (Pre-Constantine ) Church Fathers and Mothers who lived in desert communities away from the villages and cities. How Scripture tells of how Jesus and God’s prophets spent time alone. Try telling that to today’s meeting-driven, time-managing clergy!

When you touch deeply into the Divine and find your place in Him/Her, your relation to the Universe changes. You can be alone, yet not be lonely if that makes sense.

As our world gets more crowded, urban, and hyper connected, being alone will be more critical for the person of faith. It will be important to touch the Divine Center-not just at church worship (which can take away that touching the Center with its “Gospel noise)-but any time.

Peace – from Brooklyn.

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“Game Over,” or “Game Changed?”


The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
Isaiah 40: 3-5 (King James Version)

This post is a continuation of the previous post, “Here We Go Again….”.  And for this post, I found the above Scripture-usually read at Advent-is appropriate.

In regard to the “predictions” regarding September 23, 2015, people are quick to talk about the end of the world.  However, even with a casual glance, I find it’s not the end of our world-humanity and Earth-no.  What I have seen are predictions dealing with politics, religion and economics-things The Powers That Be had a chokehold on for ages.  And if you’ve been awake the last few years, there is a growing number of individuals who are taking back their political, spiritual and economic power and returning it to the grassroots level.

To be honest, I think the real scaredy cats are those in power.  For the first time, We The People are-in small numbers-waking up to the lies that The Powers That Be foisted on us for a long time.  These people created a system to keep us enslaved to debt and dead-end jobs; religion based on “follow the leader, or else”; and mindless entertainment-from reality TV to NFL-to keep us off balance.  Police brutality and a surveillance state to keep people in line. And when we do wake up at times, some “news story” (i.e.: Cecil the Lion or Donald Trump’s antics) to distract us.  Plus, endless wars fought under false flags that kill more innocent than combatant population.

Tonight’s verses are Isaiah’s prophecy that God is going to straighten shit out.  These verses are usually attributed to Jesus, however that has even been questioned.  However, I believe that these coming “end times” are going to usher in a new beginning.  I don’t know how long the change is going to be, or how extensive, yet the change is coming.  And ain’t nothing those in power can do about it!

I believe God’s going to allow We The People, the grassroots, the “99%” to usher in the changes.  It’s not going to be the politician with police and solider, but the man/woman/child on the street with peaceful responses.  It’s not going to be the CEO of the Fortune 500, but the entrepreneur who believes in putting people over profits.  It’s not going to be the pulpit, but the pew.  Not the institutional church, but the organic believers on the outside.  It’s going to be an interesting time for all.

Welcome to the future folks!  Get ready!


(Image: from the June 2015 “Art All Night” in Trenton, NJ.  It was a collection of artists, musicians and art-lovers-all in a positive gathering. BTW, one of my photographs was displayed-and sold-that night!)

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