Ain’t God A Mess?

 

Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it?
Isaiah 43:19a

And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you,
I Thessalonians 3:12 (both New King James Version)

In the wake of the Charleston, South Carolina shootings, we saw prejudice rear its ugly head behind the Confederate flag and the Cross.  As we said “goodbye” to the nine members of Emanuel AME Church; we saw how shooter Dylann Roof was caught alive in North Carolina and transported to jail with a bulletproof vest.  It was not good.

However, this week, we saw the US Supreme Court rule 5-4 that same-sex marriage is a right in all 50 states!  Now, the “red, white, and blue” has turned rainbow!  And as a side note, thanks to same Supreme Court, Obamacare’s here to stay, giving medical coverage to millions of Americans who’d otherwise have none.

Ain’t God a mess?  The very people who tried to use His/Her Name to justify their hatred just got bitch-slapped by God with the Supreme Court ruling! Woo Hoo!  And these people are running around scared out of their socks.  Texas Pastor Says He Will Set Himself On Fire In Protest Over Gay MarriageBlack (conservative) pastors plan to stage “civil disobedience” in light as well.  For “Pastor Fireball,” I’ll bring the marshmallows and weenies.  For the Black pastors, I’ll bring my contempt for a group of handkerchief-headed, boot-licking, brown-nosing fools.  Either way, in the end, they’ll just have to deal with it!

Oh by the way, just in case you did not know?  I support Marriage Equality!

To all my Gays and Lesbians I wish you love, health, happiness and a long life in your marriages.  To the pastors above, get over it!

Peace and Love!

(Image above: Zach Gibson/The New York Times)

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“Nones”, “Dones”, and Everything Else In Between

2014-11-01 18.19.04Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.  But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
John 4: 21-24 (New King James Version)

American Xtianity is in deep shit: be it White, Black, Catholic, or Protestant.  People are growing tired of the institutional Church and are beginning to depart from it. This is not a new phenomenon, yet in recent years people are walking away.  These souls still are believers in Christ, yet have left the institutional part behind.

There are the “Nones:” people without any religious affiliation.  This is the “spiritual but not religious” club.  There are also the “Dones:” people who walked away from church altogether-people who are “done” with church.

Then there’s everything else in-between.  We’re seeing pastors and others in the ministry wrestling with the tenets of faith they were taught to hold fast to.  We’re seeing ministers who do not believe in the God of the Bible.  We’re seeing clergy turning Atheist (which I’ve posted about in a previous post).  Even in my own African-American community, we’re seeing a rise in Atheism among intelligent young-and not so young-people (also previously posted).  This is happening right before our very eyes.  Let’s not forget those who are still in the institutional Church, actively involved in ministry, yet whose hearts are not in it.

These are the people who come to Jesus weary, worn and beat down; looking for that resting place where they can find freedom in him and be part of an organic community of believers.  However, these poor souls are conscripted as slaves in an ecclesiastical organization that’s anti-(FILL IN THE BLANK), on the wrong side of politics, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, behind the times, a hindrance-instead of a help-to the greater community, and fed a diet of “turn or burn” sermons that could scare off God Him/Herself.

Then there’s the crowd who does not believe in God altogether.  Oh, they may believe in Jesus and/or his teachings.  However, as far as the Big Guy/Gal in the sky-ain’t happening.  Thanks to science, personal experience, or just a bad day at the office, these people-from the pulpit to the door-have chucked the existence of God into the trash bin.

Now I know some of you good churchgoing Christians will have something to say.  You’ll say that it’s all hype and the numbers aren’t that much.  You’ll say that such folk need to “toughen their faith” or to just “pray about it.”  Maybe they need to find that church with the right “fit.”  Some of you may go as far as to question the validity of these folk’s faith.  I should know-been there, done that.  And the crazy part is some of you may have the same issues as these folk, yet have not expressed it yet.

However, we cannot ignore this phenomenon.  And I daresay, we ignore it because we are afraid of losing bodies in the church.  Some of us may be genuinely interested in their soul salvation (not a Biblical tenet); however for many of us-especially pastors-it’s an ego thing.  You see, we don’t want to think the possibility that these “Nones,” “Dones,” and others in between could be right.  That maybe, we who are in the Church could be wrong on some accounts, but are not grown up to admit it.  Plus, we don’t see God afflicting these people with some misfortune as “punishment” for leaving the flock; in fact, some of these people do better away from the Church!

That’s all I can say for now as this phenomenon grows.  For those who are Nones, Dones, and others in-between, and even Atheist, please know that you are welcome here, judgement-free.

Peace.

(Above image: St. John’s Lutheran Church, NYC)

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“I Am Going To Die”

The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined.
Isaiah 9:2

in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
I Corinthians 15:52 (Both from the New King James Version)

Back in the winter, I had an interesting dream.  I was being driven around in London at the break of day-before people came out into the streets.  I was talking to those in the vehicle with me, telling them that I was going to die on that particular day.  I was surprisingly calm about it, no hint of fear whatsoever.  In fact, my only “concern”was the welfare of my wife and son after I departed.  Shortly thereafter, I woke up.

Needless to say, the dream stuck with me.  My wife, upon hearing about it, told me that it meant I was going to live for a long time.  Later that day, I accessed a dream interpretation site which said:

To dream of your own death indicates a transitional phase in your life.  You are becoming more enlightened or spiritual.  Alternately, you are trying desperately to escape the demands of your daily life.

First of all, let me say that if it were “Door Number Two,” my dream would have been in the Caribbean with me on a hammock on the beach, waited upon by two tropical lovelies…That’s another story altogether!

However, I believe “Door Number One” might be the case.  Over the last few-if not several-months, I feel my spiritual DNA being re-written.  Teachings I grew up with over the years I’m questioning.  Despite a desire for success and life’s finer things, part of me is not impressed with it.  I find myself detaching from “conventional wisdom.”

I feel like I’m not myself anymore.  It’s as if another person is moving into my space.  It’s as if an old part of me is “dying” while a new part of me is coming into being.  Like the passage in Isaiah, I see the light shining on me in the midst of my “death;” and Paul’s assurance in Corinthians that I am changing into something newer and better before my eyes.

I don’t know what the end product will be.  However, I pray that it will lead me to that place where the Divine is waiting for me.

To be continued…

Peace.

(Note: Image of Paradise Lake in Bushkill, PA taken at dawn, April 18, 2013.  Taken by Me)

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Of Those Who Gave

Buffalo Soldiers Monument, Fort Leavenworth, KS (Image taken April 2011 by Me)

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.
Mark 10:45 (NKJV)

Today is Memorial Day here in the United States, a time where we pause and reflect on those who made the ultimate sacrifice in combat: from the Revolutionary War up to the current Afghan Conflict.

Over the past weekend, many commemorative activities took place all over the nation.  We had the President laying a commemorative wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Fleet Week in New York City, parades, other wreath layings, patriotic social media posts, etc.  It’s also the day of barbeques, beach openings, sales, and a day off for many.

It’s also the day we see the familiar slogan: “All gave some, some gave all” that tells us of the above sacrifices.  However, I like to change it a bit to read, “All gave some, some gave all, yet One gave His all.”

You see, we need to remember that Jesus gave his all for humanity.  The very sins that drove our wars Jesus on the cross: hate; imperialism; racism; genocide; and greed.  In fact, it was Roman soldiers that nailed Jesus to the cross.  Jesus gave his all while on Earth: he fed the masses, he healed the sick, he loved and reached out to the marginalized-he gave his all.  He preached love, peace and the Kingdom/Queendon of God under the eyes of Roman oppression.  In the end, Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice.

While we go about remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for Americans; let’s remember the One who made THE ultimate sacrifice for humankind.  For one day, our statues and cemeteries will return to the dust they came from; and our military anecdotes of bravery and sacrifice will be lost to history.  However, only what Jesus did will last throughout the ages.

Peace!

(Note: Image of the Buffalo Soldiers Monument at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  I took this on April 15, 2011.)

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#ALL Lives Matter

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools  Martin Luther King, Jr

#Black Lives Matter #Charlie Hebdo Cartoonists Lives Matter #Nigerian Lives Matter #White Lives Matter #Muslim Lives Matter #Christian Lives Matter #Jewish Lives Matter #GLBTQ Lives Matter #Young Lives Matter #Old Lives Matter #Poor Lives Matter #Latin Lives Matter #Asian Lives Matter #Female Lives Matter #Male Lives Matter #Alcoholic/Addict Lives Matter #Indigenous Lives Matter #Non-Abrahamic Religionists Lives Matter #Atheist/Agnostic/Freethinking/Humanist/Skeptical Lives Matter #Pagan/Wiccan/Satanist Lives Matter #Artistic Lives Matter #Scientific Lives Matter #Corporate Lives Matter #Alternative Sexual Practitioners Lives Matter #Pro-Choice Lives Matter #Pro-Life Lives Matter #Vegan Lives Matter #Carnivore Lives Matter #Democratic/Republican/Libertarian/Independent/Tea Party Lives Matter #Rich Lives Matter #Celebrity Lives Matter #Obscure Lives Matter #Fundamentalist/”Fundagelical” Lives Matter #Heterosexual/Monogamous Lives Matter #Criminal Lives Matter #Terrorist/(Fill in the blank) Supremacist Lives Matter #Animal and Plant Lives Matter

All this to say…#ALL LIVES MATTER!

Thank you, Dr. King for reminding us of that.  See you when we get there!

Peace!

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Are You the One?

Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples  and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
Matthew 11:2-6 (English Standard Version)

Now that the Christmas season is a wrap with Three Kings Day tomorrow, it’s time for us to get to the nitty-gritty.  Jesus the Christ was born, had his childhood, and has grown up into an adult when he commenced his ministry.  It’s during Jesus’ ministry we find tonight’s text above.

In tonight’s text, we find John the Baptist in prison. If you recall, John was Jesus’ second cousin and ministerial forerunner that baptized Jesus in the Jordan River.  However, as Jesus was doing his ministry, John the Baptist was arrested by Herod the for criticizing Herod’s taking his brother’s wife, Herodias, as his own.  It was during his imprisonment John heard reports about the works Jesus was doing and began to wonder if Jesus was in fact God’s Christ; or if there was to be another.  On the other hand, Jesus sent a very interesting reply: healing the sick, raising the dead, and the poor getting the good news.

There are many in the world today who look upon those who follow the Christ in a similar vein.  With all that’s happening in our age, people look at us in the Boardinghouse of Faith and ask are we the ones that will bring change into the world?  Or should the world look for others?  I ask this question tonight because lots of times I’ve seen people who call themselves followers of the Christ very silent at times.  I seen Black megachurch preachers such as T.D. Jakes and Creflo Dollar noticeably silent regarding the recent police brutality events in Ferguson, MO and Staten Island, NY.  How many Christians for years kept out of the climate change discourse, and have said nothing about our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  And this is not recent: this has happened time and again with antisemitism, slavery, Civil Rights, women’s rights, GLTBQ rights, our Middle East policies, and nuclear weapons.  Save for the brave souls like the Quakers, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Oscar Romero, and a minority of others; the Church has been quiet.

Are we going to finally get down to the nitty-gritty and start healing the sick: sick souls, sick minds, sick politics, and a sick environment? Are we finally going to raise the dead: dead dreams, dead voices crying for justice, emotionally and spiritually dead?  And what about preaching the good news to the poor: not just the economically poor; but the poor in spirit, the poor in hope, the poor in power?  Will the world look at us in the Church and say that we are the ones to come?

Or will the world have to look for another?  Sad to say, sometimes the world had to look for another because we weren’t there for the world.  We don’t have the luxury of being passed as the world looks for another to address its issues.  If we keep staying on the sidelines; not addressing our world’s needs, we may soon find ourselves on the wrong side of history.  One day, the Church itself may find itself irrelevant and an anachronism.  And unlike Jesus above, we’ll have nothing to show.

Tonight’s question: “Are you the one?”  Yes, are we the one?  We better answer “yes” and get to work.  We cannot afford to answer otherwise.

Peace.

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