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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Here We Go Again…


It seems that we never get our fill of,  “The world will end on this date….”. Every now and then, we hear about some prediction of when this will occur. Now it’s “predicted” that by September 23, 2015, many religious people are claiming that it’s “Game Over” for humanity.  All over cyberspace you see “predictions” for that date-from Jewish websites to Christian websites, to even conspiracy theory websites; each proclaiming their take for the day. One of the “signs o’the end” is the blood moon (like in the photo above).

Now be it far from me to burst anyone’s prophetic bubble, however two little Scriptural tidbits come to mind-both quoted by Jesus himself:

An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign
Matthew 12:39(a)

But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.
Matthew 24:36 (Both English Standard Version)

I touched on the top verse during the 12/21/2012 hysteria.  Jesus warns us that all this “sign seeking” is going to lead us astray from doing what he calls us to do.  Sad to say, it’s our nature to seek “signs”-be they blood moons, unusual natural phenomenon, or current events we think correlates with Scripture.  However, many of these signs people refer to in Scripture are figurative and metaphorical signs, not literal signs as many want to believe.

Regarding the second verse, God is not going to give us some “insider trading” notes on when the Son of Man returns.  And if you study your Bible history, the events Jesus was to have foretold happened before the Gospel of Matthew was written (makes you think).  And again, the language of the moon looking like “blood” is figurative.

For the next two weeks we’ll be inundated with all kinds of “prophecies”- from lettered theology types to total whack-jobs who forgot to take their meds-regarding September 23, 2015.  I’ve Googled the date and seen all kinds of stuff that would make a theology student cry (and I’m not far behind either).

I don’t know what will happen in the days and weeks ahead.  However, it’s not time for us to get scared and stupid.  In times like these, we need more love, more faith, more compassion-the things Jesus practiced here on Earth.  I don’t believe that it’s “Game Over” for us as a species.  If something should go down by September 23rd, we could have the mind and spirit to weather it.

However, I have a sneaky suspicion that it’s going to be more of a “game changer”…


(Above Moon image copyrighted).

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We Remember, However Did We Learn?

Camera 360O simple ones, learn prudence;
    O fools, learn sense.
Proverbs 8:5 (English Standard Version)

Today is the 14th Anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks here in America.  At around this time, four hijacked airliners became guided missiles as they struck both of the Twin Towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Alexandria, Virginia; and one intended for the White House but crashed in a Pennsylvania field thanks to the passengers fighting back.  That day alone, over 3000 souls perished with many more from the residual effects in the days after.

All day today, we’re going to be called to remember; to “never forget” that fateful day.  The slogans, “God Bless America,” and “United We Stand” will be slung about as the names of the fallen are read at memorial services.  Many of us will recount what we were doing on that morning.  Social media will have its share of related imagery throughout the day.

Yes, we remember that day; however did we learn anything from it?  No, we didn’t.  We never paused to learn that we-the United States-can’t go bullying about the world and not think there would be repercussions.  We never learned to ask what did we do to precipitate the attacks-especially our actions in the Middle East.  We never learned to ease off on our patronage of Israel despite its apartheid-like actions towards the indigenous Arabs/Muslims.  We never learned about trying to diplomatically mend fences to prevent another attack.  There are those who will say we never learned who really launched the attacks that day. We never learned a thing.

No, we remembered with jingoistic rhetoric that propelled us (along with other nations) into a protracted war in Afghanistan that cost thousands of lives on all sides-especially collateral deaths.  We allowed ourselves to be lied to into another war with Iraq under false flag, which destroyed a sovereign nation’s infrastructure and way of life; and captured its sovereign leader-Saddam Hussein-on its own soil.  We turned our pre-9/11 surplus into a deficit.  We remembered year after year with the same rhetoric which never brought back our 9/11 dead, or restored our nation to its pre-9/11 state.  We created two groups that need to be dismantled: the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration.  We were so busy just “remembering” we allowed our very liberties guaranteed under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to be tossed into the toilet as we traded freedom for “security”.

We’ve become the fools, the simple ones as called out in today’s Scripture text.  We need to learn prudence and sense in regards to September 11, 2001.

Please note, I am not diminishing the day and the events thereof.  Nor am I diminishing the losses either.  One of the victims of that fateful day was in a friend’s wedding party which my wife (then fiancée) and I participated in.  Also, I lost the job I had back then due to the attacks.  So please, I am not doing this.  I want us to not just “remember”; I want us to learn from it so hopefully we as a nation will mature into a better nation and such attacks may be prevented in the future.  Then this day will really have meaning for us.  Plus, I would less of a follower of Christ if I didn’t say anything.

But for now, after today is over, tomorrow will be September 12, 2015.  We’ll go about our business as usual without ever taking time out to learn from that fateful day in 2001.  Then we’ll go through the year until September 11, 2016 where we will do the same things all over again…remembering…

…However, will we ever learn from that day?  Time will tell.


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No Gold Stars For Kim

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed[a] thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Luke 18:9-14 (English Standard Version)

I know some of you anti same-sex marriage fundagelicals are out there doing a happy dance that Rowan County, Kentucky clerk, Kim Davis was released from jail for not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples looking to marry.  I know many of you are behind her standing up for her “Christian convictions” regarding what the Bible says about the subject as well.  Some of you probably feel like poor ol’ Kim is being persecuted for her beliefs.

Although I am part of the Boardinghouse of Faith, Kim ain’t getting any Gold Stars from me.  Kim is nothing more than a whiny X-tian who wants to shove her Bible into matters of civic affairs; instead of keeping the two separate.  She decided to defy the people who pay her-including the taxpayers-and not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. To me, the heifer should have been sacked on the spot; especially since there were underlings willing to do the job.  No, she garnered her “15 minutes of fame” (thanks Andy Warhol) by acting the fool.

Kim reminds me of the parable Jesus preached above.  Kim is like the self-righteous pharisee who compared himself to others and paraded his “goodness” in front of others; the exact thing Kim was doing.  This was the shit Jesus warned about; along with his warnings regarding divorce and remarriage-what Kim did herself.  Kim never took time for any introspection like the publican in the parable; maybe she could have seen things differently.  However, Kim will never be justified-no matter the support she will receive.

No gold stars for Kim Davis, or for anyone else of her ilk.



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