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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Word For The Week

There is one verse in the Bible that everybody knows, no matter what they believe about God - John 3:16. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." As well-known as this verse is, it is almost always quoted out of context, completely divorced from the point that Jesus was making when He uttered those words - you must be born again.

Nicodemus, a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin Council, came to Jesus (when nobody was looking) to confess that he believed in Jesus. For His forthright confession Jesus told Nicodemus plainly what He'd taught elsewhere through parables and sayings: you must be born again. Initially, Nicodemus thought that Jesus meant it literally, that a man must be physically born again. Jesus corrected him and let Him know that in order for a man to live in the Spirit he must be born of the Spirit - you must be born again.

The necessity of being born again is a concept that greatly offends postmodern peoples - it's as if they're not good enough as they are. Even some so-called Christians seem to be bothered by assertions that one has to believe in Jesus in order to be on-track with God. How dare anyone say anything about them that is not affirming and comforting, something that excludes anyone! But Jesus said, "Whoever believes in [God's one and only Son] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son." I didn't say it - Jesus said it.

Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies"

Jesus said, "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. "

Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."

Jesus said, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty."

Jesus said, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

One can argue with me all day long, but at the end of the day everybody has to deal with what Jesus said about Himself - no one come to the Father except through Him, you must be born again. Of course, if heaven is not your intended end then you need not concern yourself with Jesus' words - you'll make it to your Final Destination without Him. I didn't say it, Jesus said it: "Whoever believes in [Jesus] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son." You must be born again.

The choice is yours.

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you to become His child,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM :: (0) minds freed

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A Bag Of N&N's

Shamelessly jacked from PARRISH, The Thoughts

February 21, 1965 is a day that lives in infamy for the United States of America and it doesn't even know it.

1965 also marks the debut of the much discussed generation X. GX is so named because we are the children of the Baby Boomers, coming of age just outside the idyllic post WWII period and in the aftermath of the non-violent driven portion of the Civil Rights movement. Keep in mind that The Watts riots were in 1965 and America burned every summer thereafter punctuating in the riots that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Every year around this time (Black History Month) the usual suspects trot out to impersonate Malcolm and Martin and "lead" us somewhere, telling us what we need to do. Then you have those who try to tell THEM what WE think...and what WE need.

What you mean WE kimosabe.

There IS NO WE anymore. 1965 marked the end of WE.

1965 was the beginning of the Negroes and Niggas era.

The N&N era is defined by one segment of Black America shaking their head and their fingers at the other segment of Black America for betraying the race.

The Black Elite (Negroes) has as a voice: Bill Cosby

Ladies and gentlemen, the lower economic and lower middle economic people are [not*] holding their end in this deal. In the neighborhood that most of us grew up in, parenting is not going on. (clapping) In the old days, you couldn’t hooky school because every drawn shade was an eye (laughing). And before your mother got off the bus and to the house, she knew exactly where you had gone, who had gone into the house, and where you got on whatever you had one and where you got it from. Parents don’t know that today.

I’m talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit. Where were you when he was two? (clapping) Where were you when he was twelve? (clapping) Where were you when he was eighteen, and how come you don’t know he had a pistol? (clapping) And where is his father, and why don’t you know where he is? And why doesn’t the father show up to talk to this boy?

The church is only open on Sunday. And you can’t keep asking Jesus to ask doing things for you (clapping). You can’t keep asking that God will find a way. God is tired of you (clapping and laughing). God was there when they won all those cases. 50 in a row. That’s where God was because these people were doing something. And God said, “I’m going to find a way.” I wasn’t there when God said it… I’m making this up (laughter). But it sounds like what God would do (laughter).

We cannot blame white people. White people (clapping) .. white people don’t live over there. They close up the shop early. The Korean ones still don’t know us as well…they stay open 24 hours (laughter).

The Negroes are BELIEVED to be the natural offshoot of the King Faction of the Civil Rights Movement. Many of its spokesmen were in the King Faction and use his name and legacy as irrefutable credibility. They brandish it everytime someone asks them how they got here and who said what they thought mattered. Those at the forefront of the Negroes are almost exclusively male and have this knack for getting in trouble with women they are not married to, an unfortunate legacy of the King Faction. They are the ones who cringe whenever someone in the media pokes fun at the movement, as reference by the calls for Boycotting Barbershop the movie, Boondocks, and suing OutKast.

The Negroes are acknowledged as the voice of Black America. CNN has the primary spokesmen of the Negroes on Speed Dial, FOXNews has them pinned on their dart board. The latest and perhaps largest sighting of Negroes was at the funeral of Coretta Scott King, where they spent SIX HOURS, alternately calling out W to his face and groveling at the feet of their honorary member, Bill Clinton.

Niggas on the other hand have a less defined pedigree. Their first appearance is believed to be at the Watts riots in 1965. Niggas are USUALLY less affluent and less literate(or at least hide their literacy if they have it). They are currently the demonized segment of Black America, being blamed for sagging britches, drugs, violence, births out of wedlock. They seem to find the cameras and microphones of the local news with frightening regularity. They watch lots of television and don't read. Their most recent appearance was in the wake of Hurrican Katrina, although you had to look carefully to differentiate those looking for food from those looking for free. The Nigga movement is mostly made up by those unable to take advantage of the limited advancement opportunities provided by education or gainful employment. As we move to a more knowledge based economy, not knowing is the worst sin you can visit upon a child and the Nigga movement passes on its ignorance like a birthright.

Of course, theses are only two small vocal segments of the Black Diaspora. The rest of us exist somewhere in the middle, jumping from one group to the other or are too busy trying to make ends meet to run with either of those crowds, because, truthfully, being a nigga or a negro is far harder work than it should be.

Had Malcolm lived to truly articulate his evolving ideology, the parallels with Dr. King would have been able to merge and perhaps we would have had the chance to listen to ONE voice and not be stuck with the choice of a hypocritical, pious, self-righteous, and condescending Negro movement and an amoral, short-sighted, and generally clueless Nigga movement. The middle cannot hold, primarily because the middle has no voice. In a culture that insists on screams for attention, a calm reasoned plea for anything falls on deaf ears.

And that, my friends, is the struggle.

And the struggle continues.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 12:22 AM :: (0) minds freed

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Oh Nappy Day

Perception is reality, eh?

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 6:07 PM :: (0) minds freed

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Word For The Week

There are precious few people on the planet who actually like snakes. Snakes are universally reviled and with good reason - they're treacherous and they're often deadly. Snakes are hated in such a way that in our common vernacular one of the worse things that you can call someone is a snake. A snake is someone who has no character, someone who has no scruples, someone who has no problem with smiling in your face and patting you on the back for the sole purpose of finding out where to thrust the knife. Have you ever had to deal with a snake?

The Apostle Paul had been snake-bitten throughout his ministry in Asia Minor. Five times he received 39 lashes. Three times he was beaten with rods, once he was stoned, three times he was shipwrecked, he spent a night and a day in the open sea, and he was constantly on the move. He had been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from his own countrymen and in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and, above all, in danger from false brothers. Paul was well acquainted with snakes.

So Paul must have chuckled the last time that he was shipwrecked - on Malta - when a snake bit him as he was helping to gather firewood. Everyone thought that he was a dead man walking, but what did Paul do? Paul shook it off. Paul didn't sit around and cry about his fate. Paul didn't kvetch about his perpetual misfortune. Paul shook that snake off before the venom could get into his system. That is exactly how we have to face adversity:

Folks hating on you? Shake it off!

Spouse acting a fool? Shake it off!

Kids acting like Chucky? Shake it off!

Boss treating you like Toby? Shake it off!

Politicians lying to your face? Shake it off!

Player haters trying to take your place? Shake it off!

We cannot sit around and complain about what has happened to us - we have to shake that stuff off and move forward with what God has for us to do. If you look at the text, Paul didn't just shake the snake off of him - he shook it into the fire. You see, not only do we have to get past the problem, we have to solve the problem. Paul eliminated the source of his problem - he didn't just sit around and whine about it, he did something about it. There's an old saying that God helps those who help themselves, and there's some truth to that. We have to get past our helplessness and take care of our own responsibilities. We have to shake off adversity and squash whatever problems hinder us so that we can achieve all of our objectives. That is what Paul did on his way to Nero's chopping block, and that is what we have to do in our every-day living.

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who implores you to Shake It Off,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM :: (1) minds freed

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Slow Down

Ed Note: Talib wrote this response on the ListServ and I thought it should be shared on the blog as well. I've made a couple edits to contextualize it for a blog post. And if you haven't seen The Boondocks' MLK episode then click here.


I honestly feel like everybody 'round the globe needs to chill with respect to this cartoon situation. Of course, it's not just about cartoons, it's about a continued perception of Western aggression against Islam. Just like when people rioted after the Rodney King verdict, it wasn't just about Rodney King, it was about a bunch of other stuff before that.

When this cartoon issue first started to blow up, I felt like there was a huge overreaction. Sultan Sindhi got it right with his sentiments in the blog post- diplomacy is a more effective and dare I say Islamic tool. That is the path of peace. But all of a sudden it seems like everyone is gearing up for this "clash of civilizations" and free speech vs. religion and all that when I think that stuff completely misses the point.

Ha, the other day on my lunch I was thinking what the world needs is a big fat blunt so everyone can just chill out and take a step back.

Seeing a bunch of Muslim people riot on TV over this mess is kind of like watching the news and having the most ignorant examples of Black America on display. You know that's not how everybody rolls, but that's who gets the attention.

People have the right to boycott whatever they want to boycott, and/or spend their money as they see fit. Now whether it is effective or not is another question. I think boycotting Danish products really won't solve anything, because there is still no dialogue, no exchanging of views, no mutual understanding. Especially since Danish business don't have anything to do with the newspapers that printed the cartoons. Now what might be effective is if there was an organized push to boycott business that advertised in the newspapers in question regardless of nationality, while at the same time supporting advertisers that had ads in newspapers that sought to bridge the gap, including Danish businesses. Then you're really leveraging your economic power as opposed to making a political statement.

Boycotting has to serve a tangible end that is positively better than the current situation. The Montgomery Bus Boycott was not done to just shut down the bus system, it was done to have the tangible effect of Black folk being able to sit wherever they want and ending the racist system in play. If I'm not mistaken, the boycotts not only ended Jim Crow on the buses, it also led the hiring of Black bus drivers.

Another recent boycott is Al Sharpton's call to boycott The Boondocks because of the MLK episode. Here, I believe, is an example of a misplaced boycott because there is no tangible goal. An apology is not a tangible goal, either from Aaron McGruder or the Danish government. Boycotting just to make a point is like dunking at the end of a blowout game. Sure, it makes you feel like you did something, but the outcome hasn't changed.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 2:25 PM :: (0) minds freed

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Word For The Week

A promise is only as good as the character of the person who makes it, and this week we learned just how fickle political promises can be when 19 Democrats went back on their promise to stand up against rabid right-wing Supreme Court nominees. How can we deal with people whose "No" means "Maybe" and whose "Yes" means "Probably not"? How can we deal with people whose word is null and void? How can we have a substantive relationship with someone whose word we cannot trust?

We can't.

But there is One whose Word stands the test of time, One whose Word is from everlasting to everlasting, One whose word creates objective reality and who breathes the breath of life into human existence. If there is no one else in whom we can place our faith, in whom we can trust, we can always trust Jesus if we submit to his will. Someone once noted that many Americans would like to have Jesus in their life, but only as a consultant - they won't yield to His authority, they won't submit to His lordship, they simply won't trust Him. Far too many Americans have bought into the lie of humanism, that mankind is the measure of all things, and far too many Americans believe that it is all about themselves. America's "rugged individualism" is more aptly called "rampant self-centeredness" - it's all about self - but Jesus came to save all of those who would receive Him, those who would believe on His name. Finding faith in a land where iron-clad contracts and prenuptial agreements are the standard operating procedure is much akin to finding a 40 year-old virgin in Vegas, yet that is exactly what we are called to do.

You see, it is truly difficult to trust people - folk are fickle, fake, and phony - but we can trust Him whose word is true, whose word is truth, who came and died that we might have life and have it more abundantly. We can trust Him because of who He is - the King of kings and the Lord of lords, He who is faithful and true, He who is wonderful, our counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Don't believe me? I don't blame you, but believe Jesus:
If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.
The choice is yours, but I'm here to tell you that once you accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord: neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. In all of these things - and I have had to deal with just about all of these things over the last couple months - nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We are more than conquerers.

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you to overcome the lies of the world,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM :: (0) minds freed

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