When Darkness Threatens

Can you see the light?

You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:14-16 (New Revised Standard Version)

Darkness is falling over America: the darkness of racism.  Black bodies are under attack by racist Whites who have been given a green light by a nativist, racist and xenophobic president. White police, called to serve and protect all citizens, have a green light to kill even innocent people. As a Black Man, I am alarmed by this demonic trend.

Demonic? Yes. It’s only the Devil him/herself can generate such evil. The darkness that’s falling over this Nation is against everything Jesus God’s Christ taught. What makes this more demonic is that the people perpetrating this hate crimes profess to be “Christian.” Trust me, these perpetrators are not acting in line with Christ.

With the current violent protests occurring, it’s easy to blame the protesters. However, many are tired of the peaceful protests that garnered no results. And to make things worse, the president tacitly endorses deadly force by law enforcement against these protesters.

Yes, it’s dark in America; and I’m afraid it’s getting darker. However, the words of Jesus ring throughout the noise of hate. Jesus calls us in the Boardinghouse-Hold of Faith to be the light of the world. And as one who celebrates the Wild Divine Creative Erotic, these words challenge me. We’re calling to be the Divine light this Nation (and world) needs right now.

How to be light? Glad you asked! Light dispels darkness and illuminates all it touches. We must dispel the darkness of racism, which is based on fear and lies, with the light of love and truth. We must shine the light on police brutality and “Karens” with the power of social media. We must emulate the Christ by speaking truth to power, even if it may cause us to lose friends. We must comfort those who have been victims of racism through tangible support. We must call the Church out on times where it was silent on racism. We also can use our dollars and voting power to effect change. Most important, we must love be our guide.

Me? I will allow the Wild Divine Creative Erotic to shine through me. I will still live this out despite the darkness as I let my light shine. I will stare down this darkness as light.

Yes, darkness is falling over America. However, we can be the light Christ calls us to be. And believe me, we will turn back the forces of darkness with the power of God’s light.

Be light, my Friends. Peace, Love and Light!

In memory of: Ahmad Arbery, Brionna Taylor, George Floyd and others who lost their lives to racism. May their light shine into eternity.

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A New Memorial Day

remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father

1 Thessalonians 1:3 (New King James Version)

Welcome to Memorial Day 2020. A day we set aside to commemorate our fallen military dead.

However, I have a new idea for a new Memorial Day. While we commemorate our fallen military dead, why don’t we commemorate those who are serving right now? Why don’t we commemorate our nurses, doctors, health care facility workers of every kind who treat our COVID-19 cases? Our first responders? Store, restaurant and courier workers who risk their health keeping businesses open to serve us? Teachers remote schooling our students? Our political leaders who buck Washington because they care about their constituents? Scientists and physicians who tell the truth in the face of hearsay? Caregivers at home risking their health for others? Those who work so their families can live? Those struggling due to COVID-19?

We also can honor our fallen COVID-19 dead. Those in our families, our communities, our world who died and left holes in our lives. We can honor to those who currently being treated for COVID-19, living on the knife edge of life and death. Let’s honor them as well.

How can we honor these modern day heroes and heroines? Supporting them in every sense of the word: financially, morally, spirituality and psychologically. Supporting those working on the outside by practicing social distancing and self-protection. By supporting small (local) businesses that risk it all to be open. These are a start…

Let’s also honor our COVID-19 stricken by ensuring a decent quality of care. Let’s be sure that their families are supported financially and emotionally. Let’s also be sure that recovery is complete-physical and emotional; they’ll need all the help they can get.

This year, let’s have a new Memorial Day to also commemorate those who are serving in the heat of COVID-19; not just our military dead. Let’s honor those who are giving more than their all.

Peace!

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A Right Mind

What are you letting into your mind?*

Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are themselves subject to no one else’s scrutiny.
“For who has known the mind of the Lord
    so as to instruct him?”
But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:15-16 (New Revised Standard Version

Good evening. I am interrupting your regularly scheduled COVID-19 broadcasting to bring you an equally important concern that faces us. The concern that faces us is the “dumbing down” of our society.

From ineptitude in the White House to the lack of common sense on the street, we see society getting stupid. If you turn on TV, YouTube, and other visual media you can see supposedly “comedic” videos that are moronic in content and insult intelligence. We trust “celebrity” figures as talking heads on subjects they have no clue about whilst ignoring true experts who have years studying said subjects. We listen to 30-second news bites on a topic that would require extensive reading to get the full picture. We go to big-budget movies with little plot while ignoring a film or play that’s thought-provoking. We trust social media (which is an echo chamber) on serious topics instead of doing due diligence research to learn the truth.

Even in modern X-Tianity we see a dumbing down. We want quick sermons that have a surface value to “bring ’em in” where the preacher does little study. We no longer take the time and effort to study the Scriptures to understand the context of what they say. We scatter pithy preachy platitudes all over social media thinking we’re “witnessing,” which shows a shallow religiosity; rather than engage our fellows as Christ did whilst on Earth. Today’s X-Tianity has been dumbed down to the place that it can even insult the intelligence of a preschooler. And sad to say it’s easy for those of us in the Boardinghouse-hold of Faith to fall prey to this.

Tonight’s Scripture is part of a larger letter the Apostle Paul wrote to the Church at Corinth (which is in modern-day Greece), a church with a boatload of issues. The larger passage which our texts is from speaks of the Wisdom of God, which the follow of Christ should possess. This is not the “conventional wisdom” that we hear bandied about. This is Wisdom given by the Spirit of God to help us understand the Mind of God in our day to day living. This Wisdom helps us to live with spiritual discernment. Whereas, those who don’t have Christ do not have this Wisdom, and sad to say will treat the Spiritual as “foolish” (sounds familiar?).

What caught my eye was the second half of verse 16 above, “But we have the mind of Christ.” This means that we have Divine Wisdom that helps us see the world/life in a wholly different way. We are to view the world through the Divine lens of Christ since we’re His followers. We’re to think the way the Christ thinks. And if you look at today’s world, we need to have the mind of Christ. The world needs us who have the mind of Christ to help it – not to beat it down with the Bible or act as if we’re “high-falutin'” church folk. No, we’re to bring a Christlike perspective to our world and show it there’s a far better way of thinking that will lift us up into a higher way of thinking and living.

Like the church of Corinth, we too must be on the lookout for issues that could dumb down our minds. We too could be caught up in some social media post, listen to some “expert” on TV or the Internet, or listen to some “anointed” preacher that is popular to the masses. Take it from personal experience, it’s easy to get caught up in issues that can distract us down the dumb slope…

But we have the mind of Christ…Let that be our guide. Let us in the Boardinghouse-hold of Faith remember this as we go about our day to day. Yes, we may be called foolish, dumb, not “with it,” or not being “Woke.” However, I rather put my money on having the mind of Christ and living with a higher perspective than living “Woke” and being dumbed down.

Remember that we have the mind of Christ. And it’s this mind that will help us live in a higher and deeper way of thinking. And God knows we need that more than ever.

Peace.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled COVID-19 broadcasting already in progress….

*Image: The late Woodland School in Plainfield, NJ. Now a open lot. Image by Me.

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Creativity and COVID-19

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.
Genesis 1:1‭-‬2 (New Revised Standard Version)

This was taken last week at Budd Lake in New Jersey.

Hello. I hope and pray you all are well and safe out there in the world. Thank God my family and I are well.

I mentioned in a recent post the importance of being Creative during the COVID-19 crisis. How creativity is tied to life, and when we create we live. If you look at oppressive regimes in our world, one of the things they try to control is creativity. And for many, COVID-19 has “oppressed” many a creative sad to say.

However, if you go on social media you’ll see many a creative (including yours truly) still creating. There are countless podcasts on how to keep that creative mojo during COVID-19.

This is good because when we create we reflect the Divine. Today’s Scripture text is a very familiar one. We see God’s creative power in action as He/She creates our Universe. We see God creating everything out of nothing. We also see a wind from God (other versions read Spirit of God) moving over the face of the waters.

This passage alone can be interpreted in countless ways. However, what stood out for me is that how God created in the midst of chaos. How God created ex nihilo gives us a glimpse of the mind of the Divine. Right now, I feel as if I’m creating in the midst of the COVID-19 chaos (I bet you other creatives feel the same way).

To create is to express the Divine. When you read the Bible, you see God’s power over anything that is death-or of no substance: be it directly or through His/Her prophets. We need that creative authority especially now; showing COVID-19 we are not going to let it bring chaos into our lives.

If you are a creative, please keep on creating. Whether you’re home under quarantine, or able to carefully get outside it’s important to keep that creative spirit alive. For in this time of chaos we must demonstrate God’s creative power in us over the chaos of COVID-19.

I hope this inspires you and blesses you. Like the rest of the world, I long to truly reconnect with those I love and “shout the victory over” COVID-19. However at this time, we can still create.

Peace, Love, and Creative Vibes!

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Mother’s Day 2020

My wife, Crystal and our son, Carrington. Carrington was about two weeks old.

Hello and Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers, grandmothers, aunts, godmothers, and anyone who was a mother figure in someone’s life.

Here in the US, we’d be having celebrations throughout the day. My church would have a Mother’s Day breakfast prior to the service. Pastors preaching Mother’s Day-themed sermons. Restaurants would be booked with reservations as families take their matriarch to dinner. Dads and kids would cook dinner so Mom can have the day off. Homes would host get togethers for large families. Some moms would be treated to concerts or plays.

However, today can be a painful day. Many are visiting the graves of mothers who have transitioned from this Universe. Empty places at family tables where Mom or Nana used to sit. Families where Mom is on active duty overseas in harm’s way. Mothers who have lost children and no longer hear their voices. Or those of us who have negative memories of moms that were absent or abusive.

Mother’s Day 2020 is unique in itself. Three months into COVID-19 and mandatory quarantine has muted this day. Mother’s Day sermons preached via livestreaming services. Take out is the order of the day (what we’re doing), if not home cooking. Video streaming greetings replacing face-to-face gatherings. Empty chairs at homes of families of moms who passed from COVID-19. Moms who are healthcare professionals tending to patients with COVID-19. Mothers who lost children to COVID-19. This day is different.

However, we can still celebrate our moms. I have my wife to celebrate. I have my godmother, and sisters who are moms to celebrate. I have friends and loved ones who are moms I can celebrate. And I know you have those special women in your lives who are or were moms in your lives. Despite COVID-19 we can still celebrate Mother’s Day.

Happy Mother’s Day 2020! Celebrate your day all my moms and mom figures out there! God bless and peace.

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When the Pandemic is Over

Rebuilding the wall? Image taken at Six Mile Run Park in Franklin Township, NJ.
April 2, 2020

Tonight’s title is a dream for many of us: when the pandemic COVID-19/coronavirus is over. When the curves are flattened and our infection/death rates plummet. When social distancing and quarantining become a bad memory as we can resume gatherings. We can go back to the office, school and places of worship. We can find at our local restaurants and drink at our local bars. We can go to concerts, sporting events, and the theater. We can restart our economy. We can travel again. Oh, won’t that be a great day when we can get back to normal…

Or will we get back to normal? For many in our world, “normal” will have a new meaning. Reconciliation of a loved one’s COVID-19 related death; loss of a job; financial hardships; or loss of a business are the “new normal” many will face. Even if one’s been blessed to avoid the aforementioned scenarios, the world they’ll engage will change. Changes in how we work, fine, recreate, socialize, fellowship, learn, and travel will impact our lives one way or another.

Even in my personal life, my company is not planning to allow people back in the office anytime soon. Despite Governor Murphy’s (NJ) weighing out reopening schools, many of us parents aren’t so sure it’s a good idea. And despite parks reopening on May 2nd, I’m a little leery; and this is from one who loves to hike.

I originally thought of using the Book of Nehemiah as a text. You know, the cat who engineered the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls that were destroyed by earlier invaders. The Book also dealt religious celebrations and reforms that can drag on. However, Nehemiah can relate to me only so much. My takeaway is that it was a “back to business” story that cannot relate to us and COVID-19. Our story is different.

What will we do when COVID-19 is over? Will we embrace our new normal? Will we put mechanisms in place to ready us for the next pandemic? Will we use what happened to expose the glaring racial, economic, political and social issues that have plagued America? Will we create safety nets for the most vulnerable in our society? Will we in the Boardinghouse-Hold of Faith draw closer to each other and live as a family of God?

When the pandemic is over sounds like a distant dream for many. It will be a great day for us who survived the long night of COVID-19. However, what will happen when the pandemic is over?

Peace.

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What If?

I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

John 15:5-6 (New Revised Standard Version)

I’m about to post something that may offend you, or you may agree with it all along depending on your viewpoint. This post came to me, thanks to staying awake last night, directed to those of us in the Boardinghouse-hold of Faith.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know you can’t hop in your car and drive to your weekly worship service. Thanks to our governors, we’re to shut down any gatherings to inhibit the spread of COVID-19, including church services.

Many in the Boardinghouse-hold of Faith look at the current COVID-19 crisis as a possible sign of the “End Times” heralding the Second Coming of Jesus to redeem His Church to Glory. Many see the traffic on virtual livestream services that God is bringing the saints together and is equipping them to withstand the days ahead…

Or what if it’s the opposite? Gotcha there, didn’t I? And you can thank tonight’s Scripture for generating this post and this question. Please let me explain. And please understand, I am not posting this lightly.

American X-tianity has strayed from the path of Christ. Since the time of the Pilgrims, the American people (the White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant and Make variant) has taken the simple Gospel of love, nationalized it and weaponized it. This mutated strain of Christianity has slaughtered or displaced millions of First Nation people’s that were here for millennia. Enslaved millions of Africans and shanghaied them to the America’s for slavery. Has mistreated women and GLTBQ’s. Abused children. Twisted Scripture to suit its own ends. And today endorses war upon the environment and other nations.

Instead of being a Balm in Gilead to heal the sick and wounded, American X-tianity’s a pox upon the Land making things worse.

What if in light of the above, God is purging the Church? You notice that the longer we stay apart, X-tianity’s influence could begin to weaken? Look at the big time megapreachers being made to look like morons because they have yet to give money to help their communities. Paula White and fellow jacklegs that support Trump, despite his fumbling the COVID-19 ball, are irrelevant. Look at all of these big-time Conservative preachers defying orders to keep their churches closed thinking they’re doing God a favor; yet God ain’t rushing to their aid as they drop dead. And how God is exposing the greed and false faith found among pastors to the world stage.

Maybe in light of the above paragraph, God is taking these “fruitless branches” that never truly abided in Christ, letting them die, and then tossing them into the fire. Maybe God is allowing churches to be shuttered so those who never embraced Christ may drift off; or, to rescue His/Her followers from Un-Christlike environments. Maybe God is letting giving drop through offerings and tithes-nearly bankrupting churches so they would rely on God alone and not on money. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Maybe God is making us stop and see what false doctrine we’ve been peddling to unsuspecting souls; and what ungodly practices we’ve been doing.

What if God is doing some serious housekeeping? What if God is purging out the Church of unsavory people, practices and doctrine? What if God is using this COVID-19 time to purge out the unfruitful so that when things do return to some semblance of “normal” (if not now), we won’t be ready for some “Second Coming,” yet instead be what God needs us to be in the world right now?

What if? Something for us to think about right now. For our future as believers will depend on it…

Before we end up dead and in the fire.

Father/Mother God, help us to examine ourselves to see if we’re bearing fruit for You. And if You are purging your Church, may You find us bearing fruit. Keep us mindful of Who and why we serve. In Your Name, Amen.

Peace.

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