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.”

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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 the Pharaoh’ 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.

Parenting for Life

Trinty of the motherland

It is estimated that there are over seven billion people on earth. Of these seven billion, all of them can be potential friends, with the exception of two. The two out of seven billion are your parents. Parents are meant to be parents, not friends. The role of a parent should never be confused with the role of a friend. The first commandment with the promise of a reward does not say, “Honor your friend, that your life may be long.” It says, “Honor your mother and your father that your life may be long.” Parents are ordained of the Creator as the first guardians of your life. In their role as guardians, they will have commandments and guidelines that should be respectfully heeded unto the preservation of your life. I know that there are circumstances where parents are abusive or negligent, and that is an awful perversion of purpose which often calls for others to step in and fulfill the role.

If parents have a GOD complex, it is only because they serve by design as archetypes of the Most High. Parents and their children create a model of the relationship that will be later replicated with the Heavenly Father. When parents speak to their children with definitive and absolute authority, they are rightfully representing GOD in the children’s life. If the children do not learn to submit to this parental authority, they will inevitably rebel against GOD’s authority as well.

Parents, I encourage you to stand uncompromisingly in the place of authority you have been given by GOD, that you may save the lives of your children in the long run. Do not relinquish your authoritative role as parents for a less confrontational role as friend to pacify your child or to try to maintain a “feel good” relationship. Resist the compromising influence that comes from a world that disregards the preeminent authority of the Creator to its own destruction. Mankind has created many unsustainable structures, both socially and physically, due stiff-necked irreverence to the authority of the Creator.

In the most natural sense, a man and a woman must become one before they can become parents. Through the unity of the act of marriage, parents become one and represent one authority; the authority of THE Creator. GOD gave authority to mankind, which consist of families (father-mother-children), to subdue and rule the earth. This is symbolic of the Father, the Holy Spirit, and Yeshua ruling all creation. The physical is an example of the spiritual and the hidden things of GOD can clearly be seen through the things He has made. The perversion and destruction of natural order and other constructs of GOD by the wicked one are meant to hinder our ability to perceive and understand divine principles. The fallen angel, called Lucifer, wants mankind to be alienated from the Truth so that his lies may have power. Yeshua came to earth as Truth and Light to make the way of life clear. Salvation has been brought to the world in the context of a loving family. We see a relationship between an obedient and beloved Son and a faithful, loving Father. Love personified through a family displaying order and harmony in selflessness.

(Pictured called “The Trinity of the Motherland” artist unknown to me)

A Glimpse Through A Hole

Sole Hole

I took a walk for a season in my neighbor’s shoes,

The holes in the bottom nearly gave me the blues,

My socks got wet whenever I walked in the rain,

The constant pebbles inside almost drove me insane,

I became more conscience of the things on the ground,

A necessity for new paths is also what I found,

In my own shoes I could travel with much more ease,

My soles were in great shape I could go where I please,

But now I know why my neighbor travels different ways,

And whenever he’s late I am more compassionate these days.

Revelations from the Eye of the Storm

The Exercise

I had a discussion recently with a white male friend of mine about the different perspectives people can have based on their life experiences. The conversation led to him sharing how he knew he was a beneficiary of white male privilege in America and how that privilege has led to a disconnect sometimes when it comes to him understanding the Black perspective. The next day he sent me a couple of different links to videos of Jane Elliot’s “Brown Eyed/ Blued Eyed” exercises. Some of you may be familiar with the work of Jane Elliot but in case you are not, she is an educator that has done some good work on exposing the racism innate in American culture. Her work began the day after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. She did an exercise with her primary school students, who were all white, to help them understand the struggle Dr. King was involved in, which ultimately cost him his life.

In her exercise, she poses two groups against the other; one group represents people of color (brown-eyed participants) and one group represents white people (blued-eyed participants). Jane Elliot then has the brown-eyed group partner with her as she subjects the blue-eyed group to the reality of American racism as experienced historically by America’s non-white citizens. It was very surprising to see the level of anger and frustration exhibited by the Blue eyed participants as Jane treated them with contempt and disrespect, even though they had been forewarned and knew it was a staged exercise. For me, it had the effect of validating my own experiences in a new way. The experiment showed me how mentally disruptive even small doses of racism could be on its victims in less than 30 minutes, not to mention its potential impact when endured for over 400 plus years. I always knew that Black people were strong, but it was illuminated in a whole new way as I watched people buckle under weights I carried as a child; weights that only got heavier with the increased gravity that comes with age and the responsibilities of life. It reinforced the belief I have that if all men are created equal, then there are external forces creating the large disparities seen throughout American society.

The impetus of racism is the need to justify a system of oppression. Ta-Nehisi Coates in an article from “The Atlantic” quotes David Blight, A Yale Professor, on the subject of The Civil War and Reconstruction. Blight says that at the maturation of Slavery in America it was the largest financial asset in the entire U.S. economy, worth upwards of $3.5 billion, exceeding the profits of all manufacturing and railroads combined. The bible says that the love of money is the root of all evil. This would explain America’s wicked obsession with oppression as a means to profit. See Ava Duvernay’s “13th” production for a well-documented illustration of this point. Racism is perpetuated in America because oppression is still government policy. How can the poor and oppressed gain equality in a society where law and law enforcement favors the rich? Bryan Stevenson is the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative. He is also an American lawyer and Social Justice Activist. Bryan states that in the USA you are treated better if you are wealthy and guilty, than if you are poor and innocent.

If equality in the pursuit of happiness is to become a realization, the epidemic heart disease of greed must be dealt with. Greed is incubated and hatched through selfishness and nourished by fear. Desire infected with greed distorts perception and perverts judgment. The only cure is Love. Love breaks the power of selfishness and eliminates fear. The kind of Love as taught through biblical principles. The love that gives at the expense of self for the benefit of all, contrary to selfishness which takes for the benefit of self without consideration for anyone else. The false dearth created through racism will continue to ravish society, until we all learn to love one another as ourselves. There is but one race, the human race.

[Image is from janeelliott.com]

 

Where Do We Go from Here?

GOP 2016 Trump

When trying to reach a destination, knowing where you are is just as essential as knowing where you are going. For those who were unsure, as well as for those who were disillusioned, it has become very apparent where we are in America; divided. America is so divided that her history is told differently by her native-born people based on their race, gender, or religion. The different accounts of history do not result from just varied opinions but is rather the result of how the American government has chosen to unequally extend rights and privileges to its diverse population. The disparities created by this inequality have subjected the people of America to distinctly different experiences based on their race, gender, and in some cases their religion. This discrimination also accounts for the different levels of patriotism visible in America today. America’s division is directly due to the inequalities created and sustained by government policies that were never intended to provide equal opportunity to all people in their pursuit of happiness. This is where we are in America and it is where we will remain, until all of its people are ready to accept the liberating truth. I say liberating because we will be stuck in this divided state until we acknowledge that we are here and acknowledge that the founders of this country were racist and sexist, and enacted governing policies reflective of that.

When you study American history, you find that after America won its independence, it took almost a century and a half before the basic freedoms of American citizenship were enjoyed by anyone other than white males. These basic freedoms still had to be fought for and gained by native-born Women, Blacks, and Native Americans. The aforementioned demographics were not included in the vision under the Constitution for liberty and justice for all. As such, they were excluded from the rights and privileges protected under the constitution. This exclusion of rights to some groups wasn’t an oversight; it was intentional. Bearing this in mind, we have to be careful when we say we want the Constitution interpreted in the same mind as the generation that drafted it. It is very clear that the men that drafted the Constitution didn’t consider women or people of other races as equals, hence unworthy of the same rights and privileges. When people refer to a point in history where America was considered to be great, it is false if the wealth and strength was not equally available for all to enjoy. The people of this land make up America, for America to be great ALL of its people must be great. When we look at American history from a perspective that takes into account the journey of ALL its citizens, we see there is nothing in the past to return to. If Americans continue to dismiss the inequalities permeated from its origins then we will never mend the divide and neither a house nor a nation divided can stand.

One factor that obscures American history from being seen in true light is the deception of America’s heritage as a Christian nation. If you define Christianity in terms of the teachings of Christ, then America’s historical treatment of people is not in line with Christianity. Were followers of Christ around at the founding of this country?…I am certain there were. Did the presence of these Christians have enough influence on American society for it to be called a Christian nation?… Absolutely not! One of the foundational principles of Christianity is that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. I don’t think I have to make an argument for how un-neighborly America has been to Native Americans or to Blacks or to minority immigrants. The other major tenant of Christianity is that Christians are to love GOD with all their heart, mind, and strength. Christ measures love for GOD in relation to obeying of His commandments…does America or has America ever put all her strength toward keeping GOD’s commandments?…Let us not even go there. The standards of a Christian nation should be set by their GOD not by comparison to how other countries treat their people. It’s time to awake!

Christians should be leading the charge in this country towards peace and unity. Based on our intimate knowledge of the love and teachings of Christ, we should be the best equipped for loving our neighbors as ourselves. We should be best equipped with the humility and compassion involved in putting ourselves in the place of others to understand their condition that we might know better how to relate to them, in order to pray for them and to offer them what they are missing of the life that Christ sacrificed for them to enjoy. Instead, I am seeing so-called soldiers of Christ immersed in secular skirmishes, slinging mud with the republican and democratic parties. Instead of aligning themselves with the Kingdom of GOD, I see Christians aligning themselves with political parties through promoting particular party viewpoints and echoing news articles reporting on all the political rubbish that is common place during election years. Regardless of who gets into the office of President, our foe remains the same. Our battle is against spiritual wickedness working to divide and conquer. Our enemies are not white people or black people or Democrats or Republicans or Muslims or Police. None of those groups are responsible for keeping us divided. The real enemies that keep us divided are the enemies of Love: they are hate, fear, greed, selfishness, lies, deception, despair, envy, unfaithfulness, and idolatry just to name a few. These are issues of the heart that can be present in any man regardless of race, gender, financial status, or party affiliation.

As Christians, we have to be in the battle to free hearts for the Kingdom of GOD. Christ taught,

“What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”

These are the things that corrupt men and corrupt men spread corruption throughout countries.

The only way America will be great is by repenting of its evils. 2 Chronicles 7:14,

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”