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Tolerance is a two way street

4 Apr

It’s a gorgeous Sunday afternoon up here in my corner of the world, the type of day that reminds me why I like living in Maine despite the challenges I face at times as a woman of color. It also happen to be Easter Sunday which as a Christian I do celebrate, yet I don’t need this day alone to honor and celebrate Jesus, its something I do every day upon waking.

I rarely discuss my faith on this blog in part because I am at stage in my faith walk where I don’t see the need to bring it up at every turn. Folks who are friends know my faith, much like they know my politics. My faith guides every area of my life even down to the professional choices I have made in the last 15 years…I am the director of a small non-profit agency that happens to be faith based. Yet the agency I run serves hundreds yearly without regards to one’s religion, I choose to work in the vein of Jesus where I try and do good to others. I am human and I fail sometimes and yet its okay.

That said, in recent years I am discouraged by the fact that we live in a time and space where acceptance of others is highly touted yet when it comes to accepting Christians, it seems acceptance goes out the window. I grew up in a world where faith wise I only knew folks who were Jewish, Christian or Muslim…in other words the big 3. Oh, and I knew a few agnostics/atheists but that pretty much was it when it came to religious and spiritual diversity.

Yet as an adult I count among my friends who practice ATR (African Traditional Religions),Pagans, Wiccans, Buddhists, and so on. Knowing these folks has added a rich diversity to my life and allowed me to think about why I chose the spiritual path that I did, I most certainly can’t say it’s because it was what I was told to do when I was a kid because when I was a kid, I rarely went to church. There was no discussion of faith, that is funny to many who know me because my father is in ordained mister, his mid life crisis entailed going to seminary and choosing an entirely different way of life than what I was raised caused some ripples in our family, initially but we all adjusted. I suppose because I was not raised as a Christian it makes me unusual in that I actively sought out Christianity in my early 20’s instead of how many are raised Christian and actively seek to leave it behind in their adult years. I like to think it gives me an interesting view of the world.

I find myself growing increasingly weary of how due to the actions of some Christians that all are judged to be simple minded idiots who are intolerant. Yes there are intolerant bigoted Christians but such folks exist across the religious spectrum, but it seems Christians and perhaps Muslims (I admit I cannot speak for my Muslim brothers and sisters so correct me if I am wrong) get the bulk of the animosity and judgment. On this Easter Sunday I found myself growing angry as I hopped online briefly and checked into a few of the places I frequent when I am online such as Facebook and Twitter to see a whole lot of negative statements being directed at Christians.

It saddens me because I truly see tolerance as a two way street. Up until a few years ago, I had never heard of Samhain, yet while it’s not a holiday I celebrate it is one I have respect for because I have friends for who Samhain is an important holiday. Yet when folks belittle my faith tradition I admit the very human side of me at times wants to lash out with the same belittling that I deal with on a fairly constant basis. I write this yet not to condemn anyone but to suggest that we all be mindful in our words whether in our face to face interactions or even online. If we seek tolerance for ourselves and our families than I think its important to remember it starts with us. To ask for something we are not willing to give in many cases is not realistic.

Random observations on the C folks

2 Nov

Must be in the air, but since as I wrote in my last post gay marriage is on the ballot up here in Maine. You can imagine what the propoganda is like on both sides.  Last night I fell asleep listening to a commercial where the anti-gay folks were saying if gay marriage becomes a reality here that the society could die out. Since apparently the function of marriage is to have kids…um, that may have been the case in 1950 but more and more heterosexual couples are choosing to either not have kids or are greatly limiting the number of kids they have. Yet we have more and more kids being born whose parents are not married. So, I am sorry but that argument is a tad weak.

Switching gears though, I want to comment on a growing trend I have noticed at least here in my neck of the woods. many of the die-hard fundamentalist style Christians, are frankly crazy. I was just joking with the Spousal Unit that all the “true believers” I have met in my 7 years in Maine, frankly scare me.

A few years ago we were attending a start-up church that was initially non-denominational, the pastor and his wife were young and seemed sane. Well they were until they decided to change up the program and become Pentecostal without telling us, we had to part company over speaking in tongues. Now being that this is a small town, of course you run into these folks and you are only a few degrees of separation from one another. Well the wife of Mister Tongue Speak considers herself a bit of a fashionista and well she befriended a fellow who happens to be gay; well her husband, Pastor Crazy Azz, put his foot down and banned his wife from being friends with the gay fellow. Um….how many layers of crazy is that?

Now if that wasn’t bad enough, I witnessed this weekend being in a space with the two servants of God who are always cordial when I see them but I was chatting with a dear friend who happens to be gay who they know, and you know what that these Christ like followers did? They ignored my buddy, like he wasn’t even there.

I admit this post is a vent about that situation and hope my friends don’t mind me posting but I have a reason. Look, but if you want to be Christ like, well treating folks like shit is not the way to go. I daresay that such behavior most certainly isn’t going to win any souls for Christ seeing as how even I as a Christian with evangelical leanings finds such behavior offensive.  In fact a deep reading of the bible without any background would make a logical connection at least for me that Christ was loving and caring in almost all his interactions with others. There are a few places in the New Testament where Jesus is less than gracious but by and large he sought out folks who were on the edges of society. He treated them with love and respect, he did not resort to petty behavior to condemn them.

So if I were one of these Praise the Lord types…you know the ones. Ask a question and they answer it with Praise the Lord, yada yada. I might work on being a decent person because I cannot see how on judgement day, you can say well Father I carried out your work but I was intentionally mean and hurtful to others, since I only hung out with folks who were just like me.

I am reminded constantly of Paul’s words in Corinthians “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase” I have made a choice in my life to know all kinds of folks and to let the light of Christ shine in me. I rarely talk Jesus and God with folks unless they ask me. The only time in recent years, I made an exception is when one of my dearest friends who is an agnostic was talking suicide. I shared my faith and how its gotten me through and told him I was praying for him. He later thanked me for that discussion when he was feeling better and we have never discussed it again. I never feel the need to tell folks unless we have that type of relationship that I am praying for them. Why should I? Other than to make others feel bad or feel that I am judging them, why should or would I? In the end I think it can do more harm than good and make others avoid me like I avoid Pastor Crazy Azz and others of his ilk.

So I guess I am wondering how and why folks are so off track about how to be Christ like? Seems the Bible is clear instead people are running on their own agendas which I think fuels the anger and hostility. In current day society, there is nothing wrong with difference but I think we need to be mindful and respectful of others.

Note: I recognize that I have many readers who are not Christian, but this post was written from my Christian lens.

Going to church….get me my piece

28 Jun

On Sunday mornings when I get ready for church, the usual things that I think of bringing to church aside from my purse generally include a bible and perhaps a bottle of water. Never would I think that bringing a gun to church would be okay, but hey maybe I am out of the loop. After all I do attend one of those more liberal churches, of course that was not always the case…considering I have spent a lot of time in Baptist and Pentecostal churches I am pretty familiar with how my more strict brothers and sisters in Christ think …then again, I stopped attending those churches back when we are under the Bush regime so maybe things have changed. Ya know…we got that damn darkie in the White House.

Check out this piece….seems Ken Pagano the pastor of one New Bethel Church in KY, just hosted a bring a piece to church day. Oh, I meant bring a gun to church but considering piece is slang for gun, I think it’s more fitting. Call me crazy, but church is supposed to be a peaceful place. I cannot think of anything less peaceful than going into God’s house with guns. In fact considering Jesus himself threw folks out of the temple for selling in the temple (Matt21:12-13), I can’t believe he would be none to pleased with some of the folks these days who call themselves Christians which implicit in that name is the fact they supposedly follow Jesus.

Lately I find myself as I recently wrote growing increasingly weary of so-called Christians. Reading the New Testament there is nothing there that I have read that leads me to believe that Jesus was a man that would be down with bringing guns to churches, while Pagano states not all Christians are pacifists, was not Jesus a man of peace? Heck, in Matthew Ch 26, when Jesus was down to his last hours on  earth….when one his own crew pulled out a sword to strike the servant of those who would betray Jesus, Jesus states “Put your sword, in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matt 26:52). One of Jesus’ own was ready to use a piece and here Jesus was saying nahhhh, lets not do that.

So how does one who claims to love Jesus stray so far from his teachings? Because we as humans decide we are going to do what we want and say the Big guy told us, then again these same people will fight hard against issues such as abortion and gay rights.

As far as Pagano and his crew they believe that because this country was founded at a time when carrying a piece was a good idea that it’s still a good idea now….newsflash times have changed.

I’m sorry but folks of this ilk are just one of many reasons that I feel Christianity is losing its cachet here in the good US of A. Folks are seeking spirituality and peace in these crazy times but guys like Pagano are making it easy to just bypass Christianity and look at other faith traditions . After all, I don’t know about you but the idea of praying and holding hands with a guy strapped to do battle does not leave me with a peaceful feeling and if I need a piece, well Norm’s Guns and Ammo is not too far from me and I won’t even need to hear a sermon. Just go in and buy my piece.

So you don’t say

25 Jun

I have a confession to make, one that I have only really stated to the Spousal Unit but now I am ready to share with the world. Christians scare me and I am a Christian. No, I am serious….while I attend a UCC Congregational Church which at times feels a tad light and fluffy, for the most part it meets my needs for a church home.

The larger issue is that as the director of a faith based organization, I come across a lot of Christians of all manner, some who are low key and some who are so over the top that even I, a person that tipped my toe into the more fundamentalist styles, find myself cringing.

For reasons of privacy and the fact that there are folks in my professional circle that access this blog, I can’t get specific as it would not be proper but I can share that personally I am sick and tired of folks that blindly praise the Lord and want to turn him into a magic genie who meets all needs.

Fact is since the death of my Mom five years ago, my faith has been in flux. During her illness, I never ever thought she would die. Even when a dear friend who was a medical school dropout (she did 2.5 years) told me that the type of cancer my Mom was battling had a low chance for long term survival. Yeah, I read all the stats but at that time I was still living in the land of where Jesus said whatsoever you ask in my name, I will do for you. (John14:13-14)  Clearly that meant Jesus was going to heal my Mom, and that life was going to be all good. Well that did not happen, not by damn far….

So one could say, I had a good case for ditching this Christian gig, right? Well, I did briefly toy with the idea but truthfully her death gave me a reason to study the word on a deeper level and when I did, I realized that in many cases we don’t get what we think we ought to have or need. No, for me I find I have found grace and peace, a quiet presence that seems to hold me tight no matter what. Christians often call it the Holy Spirit and I do think it is the Holy Spirit that Christ promised he would leave us with.

Yet even with the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life, I walk a fine line in that my brain has not been overtaken and that I use common sense which I think is also a God given gift. So many of my brothers and sisters in Christ are holding out for the fantastical supernatural experience, they are so geeked up that they bring others in telling them that Jesus and God will do this and that for them. Some even go so far as to say if you are broke, sick….fill in the blank of whatever afflicts you, that you are suffering because you obviously have a shortage of faith! Really, you don’t say.

So a cold or financial hardship is the result of lack of faith? What about Job, that was a whole book in the Old Testament about a man who had plenty of issues. Even the guys who followed Jesus did not exactly have great lives as a result of their involvement with Jesus. Heck, one could almost deduce that trying to walk the Christian path could bring more woes upon a person, almost like a supernatural battle between good and evil….

At the end of the day, I am no Christian scholar but I can say that selling Christ as the magic cure-all for everything seems to go against everything he stood for especially when the man Jesus Christ seemed to have led a simple life focused on helping others….quick aside, very few of these holly rollers ever seem to spend much time engaging with the type of folks Jesus did.

I leave you with the link to a great song from my youth that reminds me of many folks who I come across. (its Front 242’s Welcome to Paradise)

I will not worry

20 May

A few weeks ago, I took my first yoga class. For years I have been fascinated by the idea of yoga, yet old habits die hard and as a recovering Evangelical Christian, I have been a bit fearful of yoga….looking back my fears were based on ignorance. Fear that my mind would be taken over by impure read um Christian ideology. Truth is my faith is strong and those were silly childish fears but I digress.

No, as someone who gets stressed to the point of anxiety attacks, I realized that with everything going on in my life, that I need an outlet for dealing with stress in a positive manner. A manner that does not result in a need for trips to the ER and a dose of Ativan to calm me down.

So I took that first class, I walked in skeptical but left feeling refreshed. The class I am taking is Ashtanga yoga which is a tad physical but still forces me to focus and not worry. However after the first few classes, I was still too wound up and decided to sign up for a Yoga Nidra class, which has no focus on the physical and is focused strictly on the mental practice of yoga.

Um….why haven’t I done this sooner? Seriously, it was an hour that was so needed. The class is a guided meditation and while it sounds hokey as hell, as of right now it works. As the hour progressed, I focused on my goal which is to not worry. I worry way too much, I wake up at 3 am to worry, go to sleep worrying. Truth is when I am engaged in intimate time with the Spousal Unit, I have a hard time turning my brain off. As you can see, I think way too much. Despite being strong in my faith, my human inclination is not to let go and let God but to pray and worry which really is a bad idea.

During my session as the layers were peeled off mentally, I entered a state where I found myself repeating that I would not worry but my mind started reminding me of my favorite bible passages that speak to not worrying. It was a truly cathartic and relaxing experience. In the midst of what some of my fellow Evangelicals would call an un-Godly experience, I felt God’s presence deeper than I have in a very long time.

Sometimes we all need to let go of the mental baggage we carry and open ourselves up to new experiences, as we might surprise ourselves with the new insight that we glean. As for me, this has been a peaceful week. I still have money woes and other trials going on in my life, but instead of worrying, I instead am choosing to trust that things will work out, that God is in charge and knows what I need.

So if you are a worry wart, I highly recommend taking yoga and specifically yoga nidra if its available to you.

Worshipping the White Way

18 May

Lately I have found myself visiting churches as part of my job, we are a faith based organization that gets a fair amount of support from area churches so from time to time I need to go speak at churches. Generally I do my speaking at the beginning of the service but since it would be in poor taste to put the fix in on a congregation and jet out the door, I stay for services. This is where I found myself yesterday, sitting in a service for one of the local Baptist churches.

I have to be honest, I haven’t been to this many new churches since I was hunting for a new church home when I moved to Maine 7 years ago. However all this church visiting reminded me of the differences in how Blacks and Whites worship in this country. Its been said that Sunday morning is still the most segregated hour in America and I believe that to be quite true.

See, 7 years ago when we moved up here I immediately went out in search of a church home, a process that I thought would be rather easy but instead it took 6 years before I finally found a church that I wanted to hang my hat and stay a while.

Now let me start out by saying I was not raised in a traditional Black church, my Dad is a preacher but did not go into ministry until I was almost 18 so where my brother was raised going to church, I was not. Nope, when I was coming up, my mother who was raised by her agnostic father really didn’t care much for church since the only church she ever attended was Catholic church courtesy of her grandmother and that was rather sporadic.  So there was no regular church attendance in my early days though we did occasionally go from time to time, more a function of my Dad’s southern Baptist roots, I suppose.

However my earliest memories of church were that we would attend a few times a year, we would always go to a Black Baptist or Penetecostal style church, I recall the music being amazing but services being long….very long. Long enough that even my father, a man who spent his 20’s and 30’s searching for God would often mutter when is this going to end. It was no coincidence that after my dad went to seminary and eventually got his own church on the southside of Chicago that he ran the service so that it was exactly one hour. He used to joke, that he needed to get home to catch the Sunday football games or whatever sport was playing. I guess those long services grated on his nerves too. Though lets be honest, a 3 hour church service is just too long. I mean when you start hearing the collective rumblings of folks bellies that’s a sign that church is too long and I won’t even get started on the multiple offerings I witnessed in many Black churches. I’m not trying to be bad but I have never met a Black church that didn’t have a building fund. Even my Granny’s church, after they finally built the new church, they were still taking a collection for the building fund.

Now when I found God or rather came to Christ in my early 20’s. I initially attended a non-demominational mixed race church in Chicago where services were not super long but the word was on point. I eventually joined my father’s church where I stayed a member till I moved to Maine.  Having only been a member of two churches prior to my move to Maine and neither of them predominantly white churches, I quickly learned that white folks and black folks worship in very different ways. Look, this is not a slam…at the end of the day the fact that we all love the Lord is what matters but I gotta say worshipping with my white bothers and sisters in Christ has been a very eye opening experience.

First stop on the looking for a church tour involved a Nazarene church, lovely place but they were hardcore against drinking, gambling, basically any type of sin. Um….Jesus drank wine, don’t care what you say but I read that Jesus turned water to wine if he didn’t want folks drinking why was he turning water to wine? So we crossed that church off the list, besides they weren’t all that warm and fuzzy towards me. Guess its one thing to help those poor unfortunate folks of color in far away lands but having one in your midst is something else.

We went to a few other churches, before we almost joined a local Baptist church. Now we attended that church throughout my pregnancy with girl child, even took the membership class but after a year and a half of attending (I was the only chocolate drop in the joint) we decided against it when we realized again folks lacked warmth and were only grudgingly pleasant towards us.

After the Baptist church, we went to a non-denominational start up that had awesome music but after the pastor started telling folks if they were sick, poor and didn’t speak in tongues, they were not real Christians, we had to let them go. I admit it was hard to let that church go, see they had real music, music that touched your soul. However we didn’t see eye to eye with them and I have a problem with  anyone who blames suffering on a lack of faith, sorry but some of the most spirit filled faithful folks have the hardest lives, look at Job?

In my search for a church home, I noticed that every church we went to the music was lacking and there was that annoying tendency to have the congregation get up and sing along with the choir…..Look, I am used to churches that if they have a choir, the choir sings. In fact the whole sing-along with the choir just annoys me aside from the fact that much of the music leaves me going UGH….I know we aren’t there for the music solely but I love to worship with music that touches my soul. Off key sing-alongs just don’t touch me, sorry….

So we went to a few more churches before we finally found the one that became our church home. Now I admit I am not crazy about the music at my church, at times its lacks a certain amount of soul but I live in Maine and finding a church where my presence was not merely tolerated was important. I am not the only person of color at my church, the pastor and associate pastor at times have gone out of their way to make me feel welcomed and most members seem cool with me. So I have an uneasy truth with the fact that I feel most of the services are Christianity lite IMO but the church has a great children’s program and at least for the moment it meets our needs.

I should mention that we do have a Black church in Portland, in fact its one of the oldest Black churches in America, but due to some issues I have had with folks professionally that attend that church, I refuse to go there on just general principal. Maine is a small place so that’s all I can say.

Which brings me to the point of today’s babble, in 7 years of visiting churches I can honestly say there is a real difference in how Blacks and Whites worship, its neither good nor bad just different. The Spousal Unit had attended Black churches with me and always felt welcomed, heck he became a member of my Pop’s church but I cannot say honestly that my experiences in white churches have been as good as his have been with Black churches.

Funny thing is as Christians, we should hold to Paul’s words from the book of Galatians “ There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for all are one in Christ Jesus. I suspect if we did there might not be so many good god-fearing Christians that use Christianity as a tool to excuse their bigotry. One need only look at the recent presidential election to see folks using religion as a way to excuse the fact they didn’t want a Black guy in charge.

As for me, I will keep worshipping in a way that makes sense to me, and that means treating all folks the right way.

The spirituality of my hair

14 May

There is nothing like a post on Black women and hair to get some attention in the blogosphere. Of course Black women and our hair have a rather deep and unique relationship. Thanks to all those who posted on my last post, as I lamented over what to do about my beloved locks, I must admit I am still unsure but due to a reaction I had a few hours after writing that post, I know I need to think about it.

See, when I first cut my hair and went natural, I was a hair evangelist, much like a newly born again Christian who feels the need to share the goods news of Jesus Christ. I spent the first several years of being a proudly nappy haired Black woman telling other Black women who had not gotten on board with their naps that they must find and embrace naps. Looking back I shudder now to think about how obnoxious I may have been, but again I wanted to share the good news.

It wasn’t until I started my dreads that I stopped being such a zealot about natural hair on Black women. I will be honest and say that I generally think most Black women look much better with their hair worn naturally but I am also at a point where I can admit when a sista has a banging relaxed style. However most sistas I see in real life with relaxed hair generally look ho-hum at best. Of course the key to hair in general is maintaining it well no matter if you have chemically processed hair or not.

No, see my dreads were not a fashion statement. I had wanted dreads ever since I was 17, going so far at 18-19 as to stop combing my hair thinking that they would lock…it didn’t happen, instead I looked a hot mess. So back I went to the relaxer and later wearing my hair short and natural.

It was the death of my beloved mother that made me take the plunge, her death changed me at the deepest core. I am not the person I was prior to her death, in many ways and the Spousal Unit agrees, I am a nicer person. I strive to be deeper and more compassionate. My mother used to tease me that I was a bitch and the truth is I was very much a bitch and I knew that I needed to change. Her death was the catalyst for me growing up and getting in touch with my inner woman who is compassionate and caring, though lately I wonder if I have gone too far with this niceness bit but that’s for another day.

So how does hair fit into this? Well the process and journey of locking requires patience I have learned. In the early days I had a lot of ugly hair days, a lot of days that felt unsure and I will be damned if there was not a connection between the state of my hair and the state of my mind. As my locks started out as unsure babies much like the new me after my mother’s death, eventually they started toddling…sort of like a toddler does and so on.

Somewhere about 2 years ago, my locks reached a state where they started to look good and again looking at my internal state, that is around the time I started to feel steady and stable emotionally in being the new me. Even now the state of uncertainty that I have around my dreads is similar to what I am facing personally…regular readers know that in recent months I have blogged about my financial woes and even my marital issues. As I told the Spousal Unit the other night, the state of my hair seem to be bound to the state of my mind.

I wrote in the comment section of my last post that I feel like cutting off my locks would feel like I am cutting off my antenna, I know that sounds dramatic as hell but honestly that is how I feel. I neither want or need my locks to be perfectly groomed, but much like my financial life is feeling out of control is how I feel my hair looks and feels at the moment.

So while I am still unsure about what I will eventually do, I know that I need to be still and wait to be led as there may be lessons still to be learned on this journey.

Finding peace

31 Mar

Today is a better day, the plumbing problem of yesterday was resolved…it seems that putting the carrot scraps down the garbage disposal was a bad idea. Turns out that the fabulous carrot cake I made Sunday night was worth $150, its going to take the Spousal Unit a while to live that down, since he is the one who clogged the plumbing.

However a comment left by a friend yesterday has reminded me of the need to live in the moment. Its a lesson I struggle with especially as someone prone to panic attacks. The last big attack was a couple of years ago and was pretty costly since it required a trip to the ER.

I generally seek peace in the Bible and through prayer but truthfully I often come up short. In all my years of living,I find it’s a lot easier to be in the moment when my needs are met. I suspect I am not alone, in fact its no wonder poor folks especially in the US tend to kick the bucket too soon. How does one be in the moment and be at peace when you are struggling to get the basics such as food, shelter and utilities and be an upstanding adult and honor your commitments to other creditors?

In recent months, we have heard of folks who are so bogged down with financial pressures that they choose to take not only their lives but the lives of family members. Clearly many of us are grappling with the increasngly turbulent financial landscape, a place where despite working one still may not earn enough to pay their bills…jobs with no benefits, etc.

Yet nothing is ever promised, even the pursuit of education no longer translates into a good steady paycheck though you can be assured that if you took out loans to get that education, you will have that debt hanging over your head…just one more pressure to add to the many that so many of us face.

I wish I had the answers, then if I did, I would probably be selling it. No, I don’t know that there is an answer but I have started a seemingly simple activity that makes me see the value and joy in each day….even the bad ones.

I end my days writing out the 5 things that I am thankful for or that gave me joy in the day. As of late, its included things such as my daughter not having tantrums, the Spousal Unit taking her out to give me a break and so on. Its really the small things at this point that add the joy and make me realize that its not all gloom and doom despite the low numbers in my bank account and the fact that I owe more than I can afford to pay out.

So when the world feels like its going mad, what do you do to find the joy and seek peace in your life?

When it rains, it pours…

30 Mar

To say I am in a foul mood would be an understatement, actually it’s that sense that no matter what I do, getting ahead is always just out of my reach. I make plans, figure I will work those plans and good things will result. Problem is that is rarely the way things work. I seem to live a life were shit is always happening and its not always good.

After planning and reworking the budget it seemed that my getaway was going to happen, that was until the Spousal Unit finished the taxes and it turns out our debt is a few thousand higher than I initially estimated. Once again being self-employed while it has its perks has turned into a financial curse. That pesky self-employment tax is a bitch.

Even the taxes though didn’t steal my joy….no my joy got stolen last night when the plumbing in my kitchen decided to go haywire. Right now the Spousal Unit is dumbing out the water that was in the wash and I can barely use my sink without it overflowing…looks like a possible clog in the line. However we won’t know for sure until the plumber arrives to give us an assessment and I am not looking forward to that.

Yet while I rarely blog about my faith, this is one time I will. Last night when I was praying before bed, like many before me, I cried out for help. I told God that I really don’t know how much more I can take, lately I find myself feeling a lot like Job but wondering when will I emerge from this financial hell that threatens all that I hold dear.

God answers but sometimes its not in the way we want but the answer is revealed…that answer came in Psalm 46 this morning that a friend who is in seminary mentioned on Facebook.

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. I won’t write this psalm out in its entirety but I will say that it gave me sense of peace that I had not previously felt, while I have no concrete answers I will plod away but trust that things will work together.

Hope your Monday is good!

In the name of Jesus

15 Oct

Today is one of those rare days I am going to talk about my faith, its not that I am ashamed of my faith because I am not but generally its just not something I write about here at this blog. However with each passing week of this election season, I find myself getting madder and madder because of all the things I hear about that are being done supposedly “In the name of Jesus”.

Seems that its rather popular to be hateful in the name if Jesus. Yet anyone who has done more than regurgitate half truths spoken to them by some nut-job preacher might realize that hating in the name of Jesus is not biblical at all.

Since the nomination of Sarah Palin as the VP candidate on the Republican ticket, bits and pieces have trickled out about her faith, a faith that supposedly guides her, a faith that had a certain preacher by the name of Muthee praying for her success. A faith that has certain folks likening Sarah to the biblical Esther, problem is that there is a serious disconnect between Mizz Palin’s actions and her faith. Now she might very well have accepted Jesus as her Lord and savior but apparently her knowledge of the man she professes as her savior is lacking.

Lets break out our bibles kids, presumably folks who follow the faith tradition of Sarah and her ilk tend to view the bible literally, which means they feel that all of the bible is God inspired and what it says is what it means. If that is the case then, lets look at what Jesus himself says in Matthew 22:34-39, in this passage Jesus is being questioned by the Pharisees,  an expert in the laws asks Jesus the following question. “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?” Verse 37 onward Jesus replies ” Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” “And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments.

Lets think about that, out of Jesus own mouth we are commanded to love each other, if we are commanded to love each other in the Christian faith then speaking words that inspire hate, might run counter to that commandment. In the book of 1John 4: 7-21, the whole passage there also speaks of love verse 16 says ” God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” I only presented a snippet but feel free to look up the whole passage as it speaks strongly on the issue of love.

No kids,  once again we can see a clear disconnect between Palin and her supporters when we hear words like kill him and off with his head when referencing Barack Obama. Of course then there is the issue of pastors who are praying for Obama’s defeat, now I admit I can’t supply the name of the pastor I saw a few nights ago but in paraphrasing, this guy was real clear that his God was the only God and no one else’s mattered and that if God is good, he will make sure that McCain and Palin win and yeah he appeared to be asking that in Jesus name.

Um, dang… ya’ll some bold folks, but last time I checked claiming Jesus and praying in his name does not ensure good things aka what you want will happen at all. See, I learned that almost 5 years ago when my Mom died. See, it was my will that she live and get well. Turns out that was not the master plan, in fact as Christians we often don’t get what we want because God is not our personal genie we rub to get our way.

Once again looking at scripture in John 16:33 Jesus states “ I have told you these thing, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” I have always read that passage to mean, and excuse my french here but shit happens, buts its all good because Jesus is in charge. Yet that does not mean I am going to get my way. Again looking at our bible if we turn to Isaiah 55: 8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. Seems to me God himself and again this is for the biblical literalist is saying he doesn’t think the way our human minds work.

Yet many of us are so bold and ignorant to presume we know God’s mind, now if you are like me and realize that you need God in your  life, I sure as hell don’t want my savior to be quite like me. I like the idea that he is a smidge smarter than me and he is in charge. Otherwise if he thought like me, maybe I should throw my faith out the window.

No, and this is the biblical interpretation according to Black Girl, but hate in the name of God is not biblical in fact if one feels they are waging a holy war against Barack Obama, they might want to sit the fuck down and make sure its not Satan leading them down that path.

Its one thing to want to win or to see your candidate win, but when it crosses that line where we are praying and riling people to hate, you better heed John’s words and check them spirits you got being broad-casted into your mind because the hate we  are starting to see festering crosses that line and is not Godly.

In closing I will reference Matthew 7: 21-23 ” Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my father in Heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive put demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers! Reading that passage it seems clear to me that Jesus himself is letting folks know don’t use my name for wrong and think its right because I know the deal.

So to all the folks out there who think threats of death are cool because you find Obama’s policies distasteful and feel he is wicked, I say you need to check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Stay tuned tomorrow, Sarah Palin is bringing the hate express to Maine for a morning rally, so I hope to have something insightful to share.