Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Pregnant, Pastoring and Unwed


I was going to blog about something else today but I stumbled on this story about a pregnant female pastor here

Apparently, New York pastor Desiree Allen is unmarried and got pregnant. she decided to come public with her pregnancy and refused to stop preaching.

In a post on her personal website Not Cinderella,  she says

“After the initial shock was joy. Yet, underneath something else was lingering. Anger? No. Disappointment? No. It was pure and utter dread. Not at being pregnant. Not at whether or not I would be a good mother. What had my stomach turning, other than nausea, was me being pregnant AND a pastor. Let’s face it. The church has not had a good track record of accepting unmarried women who got pregnant. If you’ve been in church for any period of time you’ve heard or witnessed the aftermath. Shunning, slut shaming, being sat down from your position, having to go up in front of the church and confess your sin, etc. etc. No one can be na├»ve enough to say this type of stuff doesn’t happen in church. An ugly truth is people in church leadership have sex outside of marriage, affairs, do drugs, drink, so on and so forth. Generally, these are not considered acceptable acts. BUT I have seen many churches turn a blind eye to this behavior, because it can be hidden. Don’t ask. Don’t tell. To be pregnant is a very visible indication of a private act and for some reason provides people with more of a need to respond.”

While I commend her for her choice, as it is her life, I am not entirely comfortable about it. I wonder if this is  the churchy judgmental side of me talking. I have been accused of being judgmental. Usually by people that are in denial about the plain truths in their lives. ( YES, all shade intended :))

I do agree that neither she or her child  should be shunned from the church. The church should operate as a refuge for weak, hungry, homeless,tired. she should be encouraged and supported.  So no, she should not be thrown out of the church BUT she should not be in a leadership position.

Yes, I agree. Unnecessary and somewhat unrealistic expectations are placed on church leaders. We hold them to higher standards that we don't hold ourselves to without realizing that they are human after all and are prone to mistakes.  However, this  sends a dangerous message to the younger generation. With her remaining on the pulpit, it diminishes the seriousness of her mistake. It makes pre -marital sex  and unwanted pregnancies okay. "After all my pastor got pregnant and shes still preaching." There has to be some accountability. I personally feel the younger generation's perception bother's God the most. When a pastor falls it affects the congregation negatively. The foundation of faith for younger Christians not as advanced in their work with God is shifted. They consequently may lose faith in church and then God.

There are consequences for our actions even with God. Yes, there is mercy and grace but God IS also a judge.  The pastor does not owe us an explanation nor the forgiveness of her congregation. It is between herself and God.

Though, I have to be frank.I am not as open minded and non judgmental as I would like to believe. I have side eyed this pastor  in my mind. As if, there haven't been times in my life that I have been a hop skip and jump away from being this pastor, if not for the grace of God.  Jesus, my homeboy is a shame remover. 

Perhaps this will open the dialogue on how sin is treated in the modern church.

Update : I discussed this with a friend after originally posting  and I am still conflicted. On one hand,  if there is grace and she is forgiven, she should be able to go through her process while living her life (which happens to be a pastor.) If I am not required to withdraw from my department in church ( albeit not a leadership position) when I sin privately, why should she?  I do agree that the public nature of an unplanned pregnancy always provokes a response. The leadership  church feel they have to respond because this is a public manifestation of a private sin and needs to be addressed.  I am more bothered by her lack of contrition in her statement and omission of any statements addressing reconciliation with God. It could have been a valuable lesson for a young teen with an unplanned pregnancy. I believe experiences are wasted if they are not shared in the hopes of teaching the less experienced generation and preventing the same mistakes.
Maybe she addresses this privately with God but as a pastor with eyes watching she sounds very much like "I am here. I got my baby and I will not be ashamed." That's all well and good for her.  I don't think the standard step- down -from- position- and- get- shunned is the best  response either. I think I was just looking for her to mention the painful lessons learned, advice or even Godly  encouragement to other women that find herself in her position


Stay fearless folks


Friday, November 11, 2016

The Great Divide


lake, landscape, nature

I have taken a moment before posting about the election results merely because l didnt want to write a hate filled, foul mouthed, expletive filled post.  I am angry, resentful and surprised. I think it's extremely base to interpret the results as half of  america being racist. It's much more complicated. 

Reasonable people, by all standards voted for him. That, I find hard to forgive nor understand. 
I can understand the marginalized entitled white collar worker. Trump's rhetoric pandered to them. I can understand the white college educated male, that is self explanatory. 

I will never understand the college educated white woman, the ones that could be my colleagues.  Never understand the Christian evangelicals  that will vote Republican if a reformed Lucifer  ran on the Republican ticket. I am angry at the Christian leaders that voted for this man and did not fight for the undocumented immigrant, single mother, any non white group in their congregation, even their four year old Muslim neighbor. 



Never have I been so despondent after an election. 



When Bush was elected I was merely annoyed that we would be ignored as a group, as we were. Not the devastation and quite frankly fear I feel now. I reminded myself of Isaiah 41 vs 10  and had to really ask myself if I based the stability of my life on who was president. 


There is such a divide in this election especially among older vs younger christians, that we must not have. There must be unity in the body of Christ. As unpalatable as that man is,  we have to mourn the results pick ourselves up and support the country.



Live fearless as always

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Heart like David






I have realized that the christian walk is not easy, much like any relationship, it takes work and commitment. There are highs and lows. There are some days you feel that you should win christian of the century award,  that the big GOD is extremely proud of you. There are other days when you are sure you are not among heavens best. . I do not think God really ranks us. I thank God for his grace everyday. But the point is the christian walk is prone with mistakes. I made such a a mistake with my prior blog post. Not with the content but with the title "Mediocre White Male." Its a constant struggle being in a christian writer/blogger and writing in all my sassy glory within the tenants of Christianity. Making sure I use writing as a gift and not wield it as a weapon.

Yes, mediocre white male is provocative but it isn't really Christ like language, is it?

Trust me, I  did not reach this conclusion on my own.  I have been listening to from Pastor Dele Osunmakinde of The Baptizing Church. In one of his sermons, he states  it was Gods plan to put David under Saul. Even though Saul would do all in his power to eliminate  David.

However, what I really got out of the teaching was Gods expectation that we respect and honor those He has put in authority ie pastors, priests, deacons, reverends etc even when they clearly fall out of line with God as Saul did. David had numerous chances to kill Saul but that belief was so deeply ingrained in him, he respected the anointing of God in Sauls life.

Politics does not bring out the best in me and there are many times I want to blog with a strong  sense of disapproval about certain christian publications but I chose not to. And to be honest if I hadnt listened to this message, i would have probably written one or two fire brand caustic blogs about my opinion. But I am a child of God * angel face*. I would never indulge in such. :) 

My problem is how to respect those God has put in authority while respectfully  disagreeing with them because pastors, priests, deacons are not perfect. They are flawed human beings just like you and me. I think part of the problem is "disappointment" we feel when those we put on a pedestal let us down. I have learned the hard way that no one is above mistakes and the only one that really should be put on  a pedestal is God. 

I guess the answer is as chessy as it sounds is love. Love covers a multitude of sins and corrects out love. David loved Saul even when Saul was clearly in the wrong. We should show the same type of love to leaders in the christian community, church or otherwise. There should also be unity among Christians and to be honest we don't think like that, or at least I don't. 

I aint going to lie. I am not there yet. I hate any type of perceived injustice and my first reaction is usually to rile against it. But this is not the type of heart that pleases God. The things we perceive as unfair is Gods way of enabling us to grow.  You rarely grow when things are honky dory and fair but we grow during the opposite.

So the next time a certain christian publication endorses the orange one, because no matter what he does his ideals are christian (Really? Some evangelicals would probably vote for the devil if he was under the republican ticket) I will remind myself that I have the heart of David and keep silent 

Sorry I couldn't resist. :)

Till next time folks
Live fearless. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Mediocre White Male

Like half of the county I was watching the orange one debate (if you can call it that) with Hillary Clinton. I’ve realized that I am a little too emotionally involved with this election. It aint that serious. I cant come and die because of election. Its not my father or mother being elected. There is no “Godly candidate” and whatever happens in November. God is still on the throne.


That being said, why do people who insist on voting for Jill Stein, Bernie Sanders use the excuse of Hilary’s partnership with corporate sponsors as a reason not to vote for her. Point out any politician who hasn't benefited from big money and doesn't vote to align with big money interests sometimes. Every male politician from Bush to Obama has done the same thing. How do you think Obama who was all but called ‘the Messiah” during his first election raised  722 million  dollars? Do you think it was middle class voter dollars that got him that much money. Big money is an inherent part of American politics.


Please.




I would have more respect for you if you said " hey, I think the leadership role of any country should be given to a man. I cant vote for Hilary because of this reason." The other insipid reasons annoy the living daylight out of me.  Am I particularly excited about Hilary, considering she is the first female candidate to run for the highest office in the land? No. I am not excited about her like I was excited about Obama being the first black president. Does she inspire hope in me? No. Do I think my life will change drastically as a black woman with Hilary in power? No.


But I question the judgement of anyone that thinks Donald Trump is equal to Hilary Clinton in any way shape or form. This elections brings to center stage,  the inherent subtle sexism with a dollop of white privilege that exist in every work place in this country, from Starbucks to Deloitte, even in medicine too. I have seen nurses practically kiss the hand of male doctors and defer to them while borderline disrespecting female counterparts.


The truth is , a male, especially a white male  just has to show up. He can be mediocre even borderline terrible, but will still be given more of a chance than any woman who surpasses him in all areas of comparison. How can some people say that debate was a draw? Obviously the standards used to judge the orange one are not the same for Hillary. Donald never answers questions directly, his answers always has some connotation of the following words, ISIS, a wall, Muslim, “the Blacks”, Inner city etc . He is expected not to implode and he is given a pass mark. While Hillary is expected to provide a detailed byline for every question that she is  asked.


Please.


Now suddenly we don't need a “politician”  who has played the same games the men have played but has done it better, because you know as a woman she had to be at least 2 times better.  Now we need someone for the people, but not the orange one because he is a ( insert any of the adequate descriptions for trump that end with -ist, racist, sexist, misogynist ). So yall are going to write in Jill Sanders or Bernie Sanders.

Granted,  I don't like to make sweeping generalizations. I understand that everyone has their reasons for voting for a particular candidate especially if the core values align with yours.
The supreme court nomination and the judge's effect on abortion rights is troubling and valid reason for voting republican this election against even your better judgement.


But this is not about big money.


This is sexism in most case.
Plain and simple. * Drops Mike *

Until next time
Live Fearless, folks!



Monday, October 3, 2016

Dating while christian -Dating Dalilah vs Sacred Search

vs 


Relationships are a complicated maelstrom. Christian relationships can be VERY complicated. Christian relationship with someone who is not a 'christian" is a misnomer.

I have  decided to write (not directly, dont worry I wont put future baes on blast)  as a form of therapy and comedy. I am culminating my experiences in a series of blogs that looks at relationships not necessarily only from me but from other women. Hopefully we all learn some much needed wisdom from this exercise, because *throws up hands in surrender* I am truly giving it to God.

From my unofficial analysis, I think there are two main schools of thought about christian dating.  I would classify them broadly into two diametrically opposing ideals, the   "Dating Delilah" school of thought vs "Sacred Search" school of thought. I will try and present an unbaised view of both but to be honest in the past years of my life I have leaned more towards the Sacred Search way of thinking. I think Dating Delilah is what most christian preachers have filled our thoughts and heads with.
I believe in some ways a lot of christian singles have missed out on being intentional about their dating lives because of what we grew up hearing in church especially women. Phrases like "The one God has prepared for you will come to you." and "Just wait on God" sounds  holy but encourages  a more passive role in our dating lives.

Sacred Search was written by Gary Thomas who takes a refreshingly practical view and dare I say slightly cynical view on dating and marriage. He encourages single people to take an active role in searching for a life partner and make a wise choice while doing so. One of the phrases that he used was "walk towards the music." He basically said ( I am paraphrasing) "They are a lot of bitter single women in the church who "blame" God for not keeping his side of the bargain yet are passive in their approach to dating." For every other thing in life, we take steps of faith but in dating we  just "leave" it to God and we are not intentional about it. For example, you want to go to Law school, you study for the required exams and you apply for law school. You don's pray to God expressing your desire to go to law school without taking the necessary steps . Gary Thomas encourages single Christians to have fun with the process of finding a mate which includes  being open to online dating. Sometimes this can be viewed as "going ahead" of God or desperation especially in Nigerian christian circles but I don't think it's a simple as that. I tend to agree with the book. Though if you strongly believe that you will be blessed with your mate simply without having to "search" then I aint gonna knock your hustle. As the bible says, as a man thinketh so is he. I wont knock faith.  Choosing a life long partner an extremely important process that you should make wisely with the help of mentors, pastors, friends ,parents.

Sacred Search is  not a particularly uplifting give you hope type of book. As I said, it stops short of being cynical. After reading it,  I was sure that I didn't want to get married. He writes  about how difficult marriage can be, the types of partnerships in marriage, how to cut people off the list a la "hire fast and fire fast", warning signs in relationships and making a wise decision with the guidance of the holy spirit. He advises the reader to end any relationship with physical violence.

 While I do agree with the ideas of the book, I believe in balance. He delves into this to. We all have different journeys ,some people have had their spouses pointed out to them directly by God especially if God has a specific purpose for the marriage. However, the majority of us have to make a wise decision with guidance from the holy spirit. So in some ways I disagree with him when he writes  that  marriage partners is under the permissive will of God. My translation was, God gives us free will and as long as we make a wise choice under christian standards, God is cool with whoever we marry. I would like to think the big GOD cares a little bit more about such a major decision of our lives, where a bad decision can have devastating consequences that not only affects you but generations after you.
sicne
Dating Delilah was written by Judah Smith. To be perfectly honest, I read the book years ago. I wasn't particularly interested in reading it again so I just found the highlights. You will have to forgive me if some of my interpretations are off. This book is geared  towards a younger crowd. I would say teenagers and people in their early twenties. It focuses more on purity and deals with topics such as sex before marriage, provocative dressing, no dating unbelievers, lustful thoughts and treating each other like brother and sister. I don't know where to begin but let me start with I do agree with and what I like about the book. I do agree with biblical concepts of no sex before marriage, where the bible makes it explicitly clear. There is no need to write an epistle about this. Please as a christian it would be wise to end a relationship with anybody that tries to convince you otherwise. To be frank, it does get a little bit more difficult dating in your 30's because the majority of people you  meet may not have this point of view  and sex before marriage IS  a clear expectation. Some one once said that the "no sex before marriage" standard was for pastors and since we are all "sinners" we cannot reach that standard.

**********Blank Stare************Gerrout here jare !

 Is 2.5 seconds of  questionable pleasure worth an eternity in hell.Okay ..Okay maybe 5 seconds I joke Its not only the concept of hell that scares me, its the total separation from God which is the literal meaning of hell that scares me.  I do agree somewhat with his view about provocative dressing but I have found this is very subjective. The  generally drift is to keep things covered.  Maybe because to me it isn't something I really think about so I tend not to take it too seriously, though to a younger person its extremely important.

To be honest, when I read treating one another as brother and sister I laughed at loud but then I have to remember the context of the book. Judah Smith wrote the book when he was young and it skews towards a younger audience. The general idea is treating the members of the opposite sex as friends and getting to know them. This is much easily done in the context of a youth church, youth outings but becomes more difficult as a single person not plugged into those avenues

His general idea about finding a mate is more inline with the "church christian" perspective we have all heard. Follow the rules above and God will arrange bae for you pronto. While I will never diminish the working power of God, I believe we should also play an active role in finding mates guided by the holy spirit. Get fit, take a class, go further in your career, go online, allow sensible trusted friends to hook you up ( I emphasize sensible friend ), invest in yourself and embrace the process. Get out of your comfort zone. Yes they will be uncomfortable experiences, but uncomfortable experiences usually means growth.

I also find the name of the book "Dating Delilah" slightly misogynistic and offensive. It puts the onus of sexual purity on men and casts women as the villain. The Delilah spirit that wants to tempt the righteous man and derail him.  To be honest, its usually the other way around in the streetz nowadays.  They are other perfectly capable male villains in the bible. You could have "Dating Esau" or "Dating Goliath."Those are equally provocative titles to me.

In comparing both books, in the context of Christianity, "Sacred Search would be a more progressive radical novel while "Dating Delilah" is more of the traditional view. One view is not necessarily better than the other though I have my personal preference. I believe each individual has to make a choice based on their belief system and a balance between both schools of thought. More important is that regardless of what you believe in, make your choices seeking Gods approval.
"Seek first the Kingdom of God and all its righteousness and everything else will follow."


Until next time, live fearless folks!


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Jesus is not a Republican



The presidential debate last night was a fiasco. Hilary was probably thinking how did I get into a debate with this orange cheeto burrito turned reality tv star.

Side note: Its actually ironic the republican party was the party that supported abolition of slavery. How times have changed. * Shakes virtual head*

 Donald Trump or " The Donald" as some call him is entertaining. He has always been brash, blunt, sexist, racist, bully. I would break into peals of laughter when he dealt with one of the contestants on The Apprentice. I also broke into peals of laughter when he first ran for president.  I was laughing at the beginning of the republican presidential debate. As you may have guessed, I have stopped laughing. Now I am petrified. Petrified that the "blacks" will be rounded up and sent to concentration camps to keep "law and order" a la the  Japanese after the Pearl Harbor Attacks.

I genuinely do not understand people that insist on a 3rd party candidate, or insist that they will write in their candidate. People that despise Hilary so much that they don't care if America is handed over to an over bleached Cheeto. I believe this harshness stems from the fact that she is a woman. She hasn't not done anything worse than another fellow male politician. Lied, check done by male counterparts. Cheated, check done by male counterparts. I am not excusing her, but please I don't understand why people put politicians on a moral pedestal they are not worthy off.

To be honest, I understand  how Trumps appeal to his base. He does not sound like a politician and prides himself on not sounding like a politician.  He played that "insider" vs "outsider" card during the debate and I believe it worked for him and his base. Notwithstanding, you cannot allow this man to run one of the most powerful nations on earth. My biggest concern with Trump is not the qualities I expounded upon earlier. My biggest problem is his limited attention span. This man will get bored with running a country. Best case scenario, he leaves the big decisions to "reasonable" trusted advisers and goes of to do whatever entertains him.

 I implore every one who can vote to vote and understand that if you vote for anyone other than Trump or Hilary, you have voted for Trump. If you dont vote then you also may have voted for Trump. PLEASE DONT STAY HOME. ARMAGEDDON IS ON OUR DOOR STEPS.

Now that the PSA is out of the way...I am a big believer in the separation of church and state. I disagree with religious leaders trying to influence the votes of their congregation. or urge them to vote for a certain candidate as  God's candidate.

There is no Godly candidate.

Most politicians in my opinion are morally bankrupt, politics itself is characterized by manipulations and machinations. It is rarely a Godly field. When christian religious leaders recommend a candidate,its usually the Republican party who have cemented themselves as the christian evangelical anti abortion party. Donald Trump is the only candidate where I have seen  a breaking away from the norm of just voting Republican blindly. Some evangelicals cant even stomach Trump. You cannot vote republican and close your eyes to the negative ideals that you are voting for. Would Christ vote for a party that perpetuates elitist systematic racism and favors the rich above the poor. In the same token would he vote for a party that believes that abortion is okay, or does not defend the sanity of marriage.  We have very two flawed political parties. One is not a Godly party vs the other. Both candidates  will say what is necessary to appeal to their base and secure votes.  The pulpit has immeasurable influence and power over the congregations minds and so religious leaders should be cognizant of that. I sometimes feel the Republican Christian leaning ideals are highlighted while the unpopular ideals are down played. As an immigrant, I find it difficult to vote for a party that supports every policy that supports kicking me out of the county.

Notwithstanding, can we have a candidate that is truly anointed  by God, and is Godly. Sure....Yes...
 Maybe....However I want to make the choice of voting by myself with my own God given brain. National politics and church, in my mind is like good and evil.  It makes me uncomfortable when its brought into church which many consider a sanctuary.

Church is not the place for politicking.

Granted, the civil rights movements did stem from the church and it can be a powerful tool if used correctly, ;however, I have not seen it being used correctly in recent times.


Until next time folks
Live Fearless !

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

What I am reading - Gone Girl Phenomenon

I actually have some time in third year to read something besides medical literature, text books. Despite the fact that I am on night float right now, cranky and tired.
* God I Just want to go home and sleep in my bed!!! *
I am committing to blogging at least once a week. Hopefully from a bonafide commitment- phobe this will last. * shrugs shoulders*

Anyway I recently read "Girl on the Train." I saw the trailer and was very intrigued. Although I do roll my eyes on the  new "gone girl genre." It just seems like there are a series of psychological thrillers  with "girl" in the title being released in the past two to three years with close similarities to Gone Girl.

For instance,

Girl on the Train
The Good Girl
Luckiest Girl Alive.

You get my drift.

The hook of the these novels always includes something like this "Hailed as the next Gone Girl, with a breathtaking, mild blowing, gripping, "insert another overly dramatic description here."

Please yall publishers need to stop this;. Stop it. Stop it.

It just sets these other novels for failure because the reader is going into the novel with expectations that sometimes cannot be met. You aint Gillian Flyyn.

Its actually interesting how we all try to duplicate success or be associated with it.

As my fellow Nigerians would say "Please God make me a point of reference. Make me a Gone Girl."

I read two novels in the new "girl" genre. Girl On The Train (GOTT) and The Good girl.


Let me start with the good. I read GOTT a few weeks ago, so its not as fresh in my brain. GOTT is told from the POV of three narrators, Rachel, Anna and Megan around the same time period.  Rachel in my opinion is the more central point of view because the novel starts from her perspective. However it was intriguing to me because she is a troubled woman that is an alcoholic so her narrative perspective cannot be trusted. She lost her job and to hide the fact from her room mate she takes the train everyday at a certain time and then rides it back "after work." Its profoundly sad and cra cra at the same time. The train passes  Megan's  home everyday where Rachel spies on snippets of her seemingly perfect life. Then a murder happens, and Rachel becomes entangled in the investigation.  I really was intrigued by the premise of the novel and that is  why I  over rode (if that's a word) my "cheap skate" gene and bought it.  The whole premise of spying into a seemingly perfect life where nothing is as it seems is very relable to me. I constantly remind myself that Instagram life is not real life, its a seemingly perfect overly rehearsed snap shot that I have to stop comparing my life too. But that's a post for another day. GOTT got me guessing till the very end and I would like to think I am very good at figuring out the "whodunit". I figured it out right before the reveal.  I really enjoyed the extra layer of unreliable narrators because as the reader I could never trust that what I was being told was an accurate narrative. I know other people find this problematic but for me its quite enjoyable. GOOT was a solid novel, not quite Gone Girl but close.  The only con of the novel for me would be the ending felt rushed and although it was a psychological thriller the ending wasnt particularly uplifting. It was borderline depressing.


Now moving on to The Good Girl  



Mia is the black sheep daughter of wealthy Judge Dennett. She meets a guy Colin at a bar and goes home with him, thinking he will be a one night stand as there is a palpable attraction between them. It turns out he was sent to kidnap her by some unsavory characters who plan to demand a ransom from her father.  Colin decides to have a guilty conscience midway in the kidnapping (terrible timing) and takes her to a deserted cabin instead of the designated drop off. The story is told from the pov of Eve (Mias mom), Colin and  Gabe (detective assigned to the case.) The pov alternates between before and after the kidnapping for each character. This could be problematic for some readers but I didn't have a problem with this. However , I kept reading the novel hoping for the "twisty roller coaster" twist that had been promised by the novel description and the the reviewers. By the time I got to 3/4 of the book I didn't care and when the "twist" came I was only mildly surprised.  I also did not particularly relate to any of the characters ; as a result, I was not invested in them. The Good Girl was not as good as  GOOT and Gone Girl outflanks the novel in all areas of comparison. Maybe it was a little bit to slow to warm up for me....actually the novel never warmed up it trudged tepidly to the climax at the end.

Live Fearless Folks, until next time.
On to night float :( *Screams in agony*