Making The Choice To Be Human

humans

To treat someone humane means to treat someone as you would want to be treated. It means to show others the same sympathy, consideration, and regard you desire for yourself. Any time you fail to show this to another person, in that moment, you are being inhumane. I know what it is like to be treated inhumanely; to have someone look toward you but never actually see you, because they have projected on you an image conjured from ingrained ignorance and misinformation; to have your voice deflected by a belief that it is inherently missing a tone of relevance. These examples may not seem significant however, they identify the underlying darkness which enables one person to mistreat another or for one part of society to abuse another. This includes all forms of injustice rooted in inequality and hate, for example, the enslavement of humans, the general marginalization of humans, and all forms of human exploitation.

I said earlier that I know what it is like to be treated inhumanely, but I also know what it is like to be inhumane. I grew up in a culture where the dehumanization of others has been normalized. I grew up watching the genocide of the indigenous people of North America as entertainment in “Cowboy and Indian” movies. I watched sporting events which debased the humanity of Native Americans like the “Red Skins” and the “Braves”. As a kid, at a Braves game, I would watch “Chief Knock-a-Homer” arrayed in eagle’s feathers and beads do a dance on top of the Braves dugout to summon a home-run. It doesn’t matter if “Chief Knock-a-Homer” was Native American or not, it was unconscionable. As a child I watched “Looney Tune” and “Warner Brothers” cartoons objectify female characters as sex symbols and stigmatize them as helpless nagging dim wits. In these same cartoons, Mexicans were often portrayed as lazy, slow speaking people, often surrounded by flies. These inhumane images, as a form of entertainment, was an attack on my own humanity in the form of desensitization. The destruction of Black humanity has been so prevalent and obvious I don’t think it’s necessary to site an example, but just in case there is an extraordinary chance that someone is scratching their head over this, let’s take the U.S. Government. It should be unnecessary for there to be constitutional amendments and Civil Rights Acts and Voting Rights Acts and Anti-Lynching laws to ensure the obvious, that all men are created equal and should have equal citizenship, but that is not the case. There must be authoritative monitoring and enforcement of individual’s civil rights or people get destroyed. We wouldn’t need big government if the majority of Americans didn’t have such small hearts.

You are not dehumanized until you replicate the cold-hearted acts of the inhumane. The power to be human and remain humane is yours. Preserve your humanity through the wisdom of GOD shared in 2 Peter 1:2-8 (KJV):

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

January has been cited as Human Trafficking Awareness month. Many people aren’t aware of how prevalent and close to us human trafficking is. It is like a raging sewer of human rights violations happening right beneath our feet. February has been cited as Black History month. This observance is necessary because many of the vital contributions Black people have made to the establishment and development of America, at great sacrifice, go unheralded and uncelebrated. These are two of many socially conscious observances that occur throughout the calendar year. Below, I have listed several similar observances recognized in America. Don’t allow yourself to be alienated from these ethnic and social observances which serve to bring us all closer together through the eradication of ignorance and the disruption of ingrained unconscious bias. The more we learn about each other and the events that have shaped this world, the more it is affirmed that the human race is the only race, and all our lives are connected.

 

January

Human Trafficking Awareness Month

February

National Black History Month

March

Greek-American Heritage Month

Irish-American Heritage Month

Women’s History Month

May

Asian Pacific American History Month

Jewish-American Heritage Month

September

National Hispanic Heritage Month

October

German-American Heritage Month

National Italian-American Heritage Month

Polish-American Heritage Month

November

National American Indian Heritage Month

 

Looking Ahead Begins With Looking Back

Sankofa 2

The fact that it will soon be year 2020 has prompted many people to have dialogue surrounding vision. These conversations cover everything from visions of businesses, to family and personal wellness. It is always good to aspire and plan, but without clear vision, you could reach your destination only to find it was not really what the soul needed for fulfillment. Clear vision comes from a clear heart. A clear heart is obtained in the same way as clearing a view for your eyes. It involves removing obstructions which hinder a clear view of the focal point.

When we speak of a vision for our life or business etc., we have to en-vision it because it is not yet physically tangible. Envisioning involves looking inside to view something you desire to see outside. So, your internal make up will determine what you are capable of envisioning for your life. Actually, your internal make up dictates how you perceive everything in life. This is why Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Your heart is your mind’s eye, so clear vision begins with getting your heart right. Life experiences, over time, can leave our hearts cluttered if we don’t process them properly. An unwillingness to deal with the past keeps it present.

Properly compartmentalizing your past is not an easy task, but it has to be done. Compartmentalizing your past keeps experiences contained in a way that gives you control over their influence. When this work is not done, bad experiences from the past can influence your emotions negatively today. Good experiences can hold you captive too long, hindering you from experiencing even greater experiences today. By compartmentalizing your past experiences, they are neatly stored a way for constructive reference if needed. Make sure you choose some healthy containers like: [Out of my control], [the best I could do at the time], [I was wrong, but I have repented], [God will help me with this one in time], [Job well done, ready for what’s next], [Thankful for that accomplishment], [Lesson learned, I’ll handle it differently in the future], [I am not that person anymore]. These are some containers that will allow you to bring closure to past experiences that could be cluttering your heart.

This is not a work you do alone. You need the light of GOD’s spirit, His mercy, and grace, to help you sort through the database of your soul. You also need the support of people with GOD’s love in their heart giving affirmation, encouragement, and counsel.  We did not get here alone; therefore it stands to reason we need help making it through.

This process reminds me of the ancient African practice of “Sankofa”. The word is derived from the language of Ghana, which relates to the process of looking back to the past, in order to bring understanding gained to bear on the present, to ensure positive progress moving forward. This meaning is captured in the symbol of a bird looking back, retrieving an egg from her wings, with her feet facing forward.

Wishing you GOD’s best in the near and distant future!

A Glimpse at Real Marriage

threefold

People live together, have sex, share finances, have monogamous relationships, and even have children together but do not consider themselves to be married. People go to work dutifully at corporations and places of employment for upwards of 40 and 50 years, but do not consider themselves married to their jobs. So being loyal to the work in a relationship doesn’t make you married. What then sets marriage apart from these other relationships? The terms of the covenant. In the first example, people enter relationships all the time with no real expressed covenant. It’s often understood, even if not spoken, that either of them can split or go their separate way at any time they feel the need. In the second example of employment, there is a covenant, but it is based on work and some form of compensation and normally doesn’t require ordination by a higher authority like GOD, clergy, or a justice of the peace.  Also, who has ever heard of someone taking a vacation from their marriage, or clocking out from being a spouse until the next day? We probably all have, but I would question if those relationships qualify as marriage at all.  Another important difference to recognize is that everyone needs to work, but everyone does not need to be married. People should only enter a marriage covenant as a result of desiring to be joined to another, not because they need food or shelter, or some other necessity of life.

old couple

People are often praised and esteemed highly if they have been in marriage for many years. Many years of marriage used to be 20 or more years, but due to the pervasion of selfishness in recent times, this has been reduced to ten or more. The principle of quality over quantity has never had a more necessary application than that of marriage. One of my early mentors once said, “Marriage can be the closest thing you experience to either heaven or hell, while still on earth.” How many people have lived unhappily, unfulfilled, or miserably in a marriage relationship for many years, but stayed because divorce was considered a worse option? I have found that many people considering divorce really need to be considering remarriage, because the divorce has actually already taken place; it just has not been formalized. True marriage involves pursuing an intimate knowing of one another, but there are people who consider themselves to be married but are actually strangers, because they never share their true heart with one another. True marriage involves unity or becoming one, but there are couples who consider themselves to be married and they can’t agree or unite on hardly anything. True marriage involves sharing an expression of love for one another, which means each seeks to joyfully fulfill the other at the expense of self, but there are those who consider themselves to be married yet perform the necessities of marriage life grudgingly and painstakingly, only because they feel they have too.

bible 2

I am speaking here about basic biblical marriage. If you are either unfamiliar with biblical teaching or do not believe the holy bible has authority, then your idea of marriage can be what ever you imagine. On the other hand, if you want your marriage to have the life-giving blessings of The Creator, The Most High, YAHWEH (the self-existent one), then there are some specific criteria that must be part of the covenant. For the body of Christ, the Church, one of the main misunderstandings leading to missing the mark and unfulfillment, is not understanding their own heart and coming to terms with what they really value. A drug addict looking to remain drug free, focuses on not doing drugs. They are still in bondage to drugs because it is still their main focus. A person not wanting to be a sinner, focuses on not committing sin. They are still in bondage to sin because sin remains their main focus. A person looking to remain married, focuses on avoiding problems and disagreements, to avoid divorce. They are not free to journey into the joyful depths of real marriage because they are focused on the minimums to avoid divorce. This is also bondage. The Apostle Paul talks about being a bondservant to Christ. This means every day, he lives his life thinking, “How can I get closer to Christ? How can I know Christ more? How can I please and be more of a blessing to Christ? How can I love Christ more? This form of bondage leads to indescribable freedom!

So, what is the key to entering real marriage? It is the same key to a fulfilling life with GOD.

SURRENDER, as a result of experiencing TRUE LOVE.

To be clear, I am not speaking of true love with your spouse, I am speaking of true love between a person and GOD. I am also not speaking of surrendering to your spouse but surrendering to GOD. There is a certain amount of mutual submission required between married couples to find harmony, but it will not happen joyfully if surrender to GOD does not come first. GOD is love, so you need union with Him before you can love anyone, including yourself. GOD must be your FIRST love. That is my desire for every human, whether you are considering true marriage or not. It is from the spring of love that flows from GOD that we have the hope, strength, desire, and knowledge to fulfill the covenant of the joyful marriage He has ordained. Only GOD is good. If you want to be a good husband or a good wife, and have a good marriage, don’t focus on your spouse, focus on GOD, and His goodness will permeate your life. It is this same spring that feeds a true civilized society. So then, what is true marriage? It is individuals expressing their relationship with GOD through physical and social intimacy, bound by a covenant, which He has authorized.

Consciously Addressing the Unconscious

turning on the light

I recently took a course on “Unconscious Bias “. I was impressed with the many scientific studies performed which validate this mental phenomenon. The key word being “unconscious”. Somethings are truly too close to see. It is why you are better off sometimes getting someone else to proof your writing. I’m sure we have all looked at an email we sent and realized we left out that missing from the sentence (that was intentional “word”). In humility, we must be opened to having our lives proofed by outside entities, like having our positions fact checked by research, or excepting that our view of something can be improved by receiving information from someone that has a different vantage. Realizing that our world view, as well as our view of ourselves, can me distorted unconsciously by misinformation or a lack of information, we have a moral obligation to consciously seek knowledge to be as truthful as we can be. To say that truth is relative is just an excuse to be immoral. Opinions and feelings are relative, but truth is like math concepts, it is universal and can be applied anywhere to find solutions.

In my book, “True Heritage: Recovering from Spiritual Identity Theft”, I look at some of the consequences suffered by society resulting from not knowing or by ignoring the truth from the Creator. To save civilization, GOD has sent Truth and Light to destroy the darkness which has held humanity captive by deception and the intentional oppression of truth. I appeal to your determination to be the best that you can be, for yourself and your loved ones, and for the community abroad, through an invitation to read this book. You will find a viewpoint that is as ancient as time itself, yet as fresh as this mornings dew.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Does Real Freedom Look Like?

Fake Freedom

In the Black Community, there is sometimes teasing about one’s worthiness to carry the Black Card. The meaning has strayed from its true roots in the struggle for Civil Rights.  One of the chants often heard by protesters during Civil Rights rallies was “A PEOPLE…UNITED…WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED!!” To be a proud Black Card carrying American meant that you were identified with the struggle, and no matter what it cost you individually, you were going to stand in solidarity with the persecuted Black race, until they all overcame. The Black folk that broke ranks to avoid persecution or took a bribe to be silenced were considered sell outs, so their Black Cards were revoked. By bribe, I’m not talking about a few hundred dollars, people often had to choose between a job to feed their families and risking their lives or taking a stand against injustices in the community. Nowadays, references of a Black Card are thrown around by the children and grandchildren of those early activist in relation to mere cultural taboos like; if you didn’t watch the NAACP awards, if you are unfamiliar with some trending Black icon, or if you don’t fit into any of the branded stereotypes like having great rhythm, being athletic, or understanding the latest slang terms. Truth is, if the Black Card was still enforced by the old standard, millions would be considered “sell outs” today because the efforts used to break up the solidarity in the Black Community has been enormously successful.

I have done volunteer work at a transition home for men recovering from chronic homelessness and addiction for over a decade. I have also served as Chairman of the organization, and over the time I have worked there, the predominant supporters have been White churches and the White community. Why is that significant…Because over that same period and from its beginning, Black men have made up 99% of the clients receiving service. Where is the support from the Black community? I told a group of black men about the organization once after a round of golf and invited them to come down to the organization to offer some support and encouragement. Their response, to summarize, “they got themselves into that mess and they need to get themselves out.” Also, “if we made it through with hard work, so can they.” The lack of empathy and understanding shown by these men was somewhat disappointing. I say only somewhat because I understand the origin of the disconnect. These men have souls wounded by the shame and disgrace of four centuries of enslavement, followed by decades of systematic oppression. Their wounded souls have not received the proper care or attention because of a lack of self-awareness in the light of truth. The cigars, expensive liquor, and constant posturing is nothing more than the jangling chains of the enslaved proclaiming, “See, I’m a man too!”. Proverbs 3:31 says, “Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways.” I say they are still enslaved because they have a mindset shaped by their oppressor. You are owned by whomever manufactures your treasure. The reason those golfers can’t see the value in those homeless men is because they lack the treasures from which the golfers themselves draw their own value.

One of the signs that you are truly free is that you have learned to see your innate value as a being created in the image of GOD without any relation to the trappings of this present world system. This will also enable you to see the value in others regardless of their social status or current circumstances. You will even find that you have a burden for those who are suffering as a result of not knowing their true value. Christ stated that His main interest was to liberate the captives, and to give sight to the blind, and to mend the broken hearted. These are the world’s castaways. One of my oldest friends is a master mechanic. He owns and operates his own repair shop. Once he saw an old rusted out car in a ladie’s yard and offered to buy it. She sold it to him for a meager price. After he finished restoring this car that the previous owner had pretty much discarded, and which hundreds of people had driven by every day without interest, it was published in a calendar for winning first place in a car show. When he showed the restored car to the former owner, she was so astonished that she actually cried. This is the same response I have seen repeatedly from family members of the graduates that complete the program from the outreach ministry I mentioned earlier. We have to develop the vision to see the potential in every human, based on the power of GOD. When your heart is closed off from the true light of GOD, it is easier to see the value in an old car that’s been neglected, than a human that’s been broken by this world.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s dream was inspired by the word of GOD. We will all be free at last when we learn to see and value one another as one human family. When we learn to stand against oppression and injustice with everyone carrying a human card, then things will really change. The race card will then be much less significant. This will only happen when our minds are renewed by the word of GOD. This is what the scripture means when it says in John 8:36, “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

A Message for American Church Folk

Church Fans

Recently, one of my brother’s in Christ posted a message on Facebook regarding the ongoing segregation witnessed in churches across America. He cited the 1960s quote by Dr. King, “the most segregated hour in this nation is Sunday at 11:00 am.” This whole topic of the church being segregated is due to social engineering, which many are still controlled by. The devil’s way of keeping control of the masses is through keeping them divided. He knows there is power in agreement and unity. His strategy is working. The question is, why is this social engineering controlling people who confess to love and serve Christ. It is because it is reinforced from the pulpits. Many church leaders are presenting an American version of the gospel, one that is politically correct and culturally compliant. Any minister that calls America a Christian nation has not seen nor heard Christ.

Many white Americans have the perspective of America being of Christian origin, a godly country. This view of America has a polarizing effect on all those who have been terrorized and dehumanized by her from the beginning. Many white people have not been able to grasp how looking over America’s destruction of people of color is the same as saying their lives do not matter. If a person were to tell you that someone they understood was guilty of killing many of your relatives in the past and is still killing and hurting them today is really a good person, how would you feel about that person. Every time someone says America just needs to get back to its founding values, that is what people of color face. I had a white brother tell me in a bible study that the “Black Lives Matter” movement should be “All Lives Matter” …he doesn’t get it. I had a white sister tell me that for her, America lost its innocents and Camelot fell, when Kennedy was assassinated…she was unconscious.

Let’s look at some of the issues with my people of color. You were once forbidden to read in America and now that you can, many of you still won’t. Many black people haven’t cultivated the habit of studying. I mention this one because it is the biggest problem in the Black community. Please stop talking about what your pastor said, PLEASE read for yourself what thus saith the spirit of GOD. We have some deep wounds in the Black community that constantly get poked, but we must stop turning to sex, drugs, food, and entertainment to medicate, but instead look to the Comforter, the Holy Spirit of GOD. Lastly, though the culture of white supremacy is formidable, greater is He that is within us than he that is in the world. We must get free from the spirit of the ni–er, and it has nothing to do with your address or bank account, whether you believe yourself to be wealthy or poor. Remember, Joseph was in prison and then a servant in Pharaoh’s house, but GOD used him to deliver Egypt and the children of Israel. If you haven’t read about it, you should go find it in the bible.

What has all this to do with church segregation? People need their minds renewed. You can’t truly see who you are until you can see the GOD in who’s image you were made. You can’t see who I am until you understand who you are. Once you recognize yourself as a child in the family of GOD, you will begin to recognize your kinfolk. It will then be much easier to see yourself in other Hue-mans. This will enable you to love others as you love yourself.

People are in church for too many different reasons. Ministers, if you are serving in church to make people’s lives better, you have missed it. Parishioner, if you are going to church to make your life better, you have missed it. Those that seek GOD must do so because He alone is LIFE.

Empathy: The Power of Greater Vision

 

greater vision

I wrote a piece recently about hoping empathy will rise in this New Year, looks like it is beginning with my own heart. Due to all the exposure of racially motivated violence in the past couple of years, I have heard many white people saying they didn’t realize black people still had it so bad. I have also had many white men say to me that they are just realizing that male white privilege is not just a mythical politically motivated assertion. Initially, my reaction to those having these epiphanies was – C’mon really.

I am beginning to see how when you are immersed in something from birth, it is hard to recognize it as unnatural, foreign, or harmfully infectious. I have advocated for the better treatment of women through writing and through speaking directly to men. I have spoken to women about their immeasurable value, above and beyond physical beauty. However in all that I have come to understand, I know that I have not fully grasped the depth and scope of the mental and physical impact centuries of oppression has had on women. By accepting that fact, hopefully I have increased my ability to hear and understand my sisters unto deeper and more fulfilling relationships.

When you consider that from the founding of America, most of the information propagated in this society from the imagery, writings, entertainment, public policy, education, and so forth has been generated out the oppressive source. Our social environment is so thoroughly contaminated with certain biases and prejudice ideologies that it is almost impossible not to normalize some of it in your psyche. That goes for those who are oppressed, as well as the oppressors. This is true in every instance where America has historically practiced injustice and inequality.

Our moral compass has to align with an influence higher than just the survival instinct, if we are to reach the promise land of liberty and justice for all. Creatures like jackals and snakes know how to survive, but it has been ordained for man to have Life. To “have”, is defined as to hold or maintain as a possession, privilege, or entitlement. Every person is entitled to the freedom and means to realize the potential of their being. Anytime someone purposely hinders another person’s progression in this sacred right it is reprehensible. We have to respect everyone else’s entitlement to live as we do our own. That is why the golden rule is so vital to humanity. The commandment of GOD, to love our neighbor as ourselves, invokes the power of empathy. The power of empathy gives us the ability of greater vision through the use of many lenses. This why hate blinds us but love shows us the way.