Tuesday, May 23, 2017
I have always thought Pride was not subtle.
It was puffed up. It was apparent, very apparent.
Like Jay Z apparent. The man calls himself HOVA for Jehovah for goodness sake!
Or that arrogant rich kid we all went to school with.
Those people are proud.
Certainly not me.
God himself said He would oppose the proud.
Certainly He cannot be talking about me.
So pride wasn't an issue that concerned me.
I did my thing with Jesus and Jesus loves his girl.
Good times, all around. Right?
WRONG! Like President Trump would say.
God recently began to reveal to me the state of my heart. I must say it wasn't pretty nor was it pleasant. It was actually shocking and embarrassing.
First He led me to James 4 vs 10 " Humble yourself before the Lord and he will lift you up. "
Then he led me to passage in II Samuel and I had to get the right interpretation from a mentor. Solomon was a man that did not hold back with building, beautifying the temple of God. the passage talks about a man skilled in making objects for buildings. It essentially was talking about me being or ( my heart) being the temple that God was skillfully repairing and building.
Pride is most times not apparent. Its the subtle type that takes preeminence then congeals in our heart, that is the most dangerous. The one that exalts your intellect or intelligence above seeking God's face. Its essentially acting like you know more than God. Its not a conscious decision. We unconsciously choose our will so often that it becomes a way of life.
Its the subtle type that is most dangerous because you don't even realize you have a problem.
So it becomes stronger and stronger until "self" or "me me me" becomes the "god" of your life But because you are a christian, of course you have to seek Gods face. So you make a decision then ask for God's approval. That arrangement works for us, the one where God is the malleable assistant that does not disrupt our carefully layed out plans.
See pride, how the enemy devises it, is not puffed up and apparent. Its not like the peacock we so liken it with, that would be too obvious. It is more refined and yet more damaging.
It has not been easy accepting the deeply ingrained flaws that are part of me. But God reminded me of Psalm 118 vs 18. Chastisement is for the children of God. So I take the correction and move on.
I think humility is something we all have to practice everyday. That deliberate humbling of ones self has to be exactly what its called ... deliberate. Its an act that acknowledges that you are nothing without God and can do nothing apart from him.It a constant checking of the heart, putting every decision before the holy spirit. Its takes practice because it is not that natural for me.
I strongly believe the un- shared story is the only tragic story. If you die without sharing your story you died without preventing another person from making the same mistakes. Its waste of your pain and suffering, the least you could do is save another person from that.
So that's it folks.
My shared story of how I thought I was the epitome of humble but in God's eyes I was exactly like Jay -Z..... but for the cross.
Thank God for Jesus. : )
Friday, January 13, 2017
*I wrote this on December 20th 2016 and was going to post it before the end of the year. A mixture of procrastination and work prevented me from doing so. *
I don’t do new years resolutions. I don’t see the point of it. I think if you notice a behavior, goal whatever you want to change/achieve etc then make necessary adjustments right there. Though a new year always gives one the opportunity to mentally re assess lives and goals. I personally don’t think God sees time like we do but a new year is a mental shift that sometimes focuses our attention on God.
Most people I know thought this year was a mess, Trump was elected, Brexit happened, Aleppo is still happening and continues to get worse, insert any other anomaly in this space.
Personally, 2016 was a good year for me. A majority of my prayers were not answered, no major life changes happened like getting married, nothing changed really but my mindset.
2015 was most peoples 2016 for me . I got into two car accidents back to back and two cars were totaled. The beginning of the year was one of the most challenging periods in residency. I wasn’t writing much and even when I tried to push through like I do now I just couldn’t muster enough strength to write.
I will always refer to 2015 as the dark ages. *Insert Charle Barkley meme "It was turrible.”
My relationship with God also suffered. Yes, I was praying almost regularly but it was mostly christanese. It was this year I realized I can be insincere even in my personal prayers to God . It was a ticked box for me, a performance more for my conscience. It was pray in the morning, tick. Like we all do, I suppressed any hurt, anger and resentment I felt over some perceived disappointments ( I call them perceived disappointments because I believe there are not really disappointments in your life when you are a Christ refer to Romans 8 vs 28). Towards the end of the year, I had a chastisement from God that re aligned me and made me focus on my underlying issues and back on God. I think sometimes when you have been a Christian for a long time we get caught up in Christianese, we keep up appearances even to God which is extremely foolish as He knows your heart before you even speak.
In the world of “christianesity” certain human emotions are sacrilegious, disappointment, hurt, anger. We are all supposed to keep that smile on our face and not act human because hey God will be our superman and come to our aid. But what if he doesn’t (which isn't possible refer to Psalm 25 vs 3, No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame) or more aptly we perceive he doesn’t. Aren’t these emotions part of a human experience? Are these not the emotions that David felt when he wrote the Psalms? That Elijah felt or even Christ felt? I think the isolation and ignoring those feelings creates an opening for the enemy to wreak havoc. I, for one compartmentalized my life, still went to church, still prayed but my thinking was “Hey God you can do your own thing in heaven while I do my own thing on earth.” Thinking erroneously that God would still bless me in my borderline rebellion.
I have to borrow a popular saying from christianese speak “God cant bless a mess.” Don’t misunderstand me, dwelling on life circumstances and throwing pity parties is not healthy. I believe those feelings are humans, dwell on them for one day, one month how much time it takes but what we do after is more important. Living in despair is not right, soldering through despair by the grace of God is Christianity. Learning from it is not merely existing in life but thriving in life.
That’s when we really live.
I began to tell God sincerely how I felt. When there was no pretense in our relationship. I began to feel the presence of God more strongly in my life. I am not quite there, yesterday during morning prayers I was like God I can’t offer you christianese today, this situation is really bothering me.
So, all in all, the year wasn’t a total disaster with me. Scratch that it was great year for me. The trinity and I fixed our fractured relationship. Work was going great. I realized I am blessed to have the family and friends that I have. I realized that I can actually LIVE my life while waiting on God, that I was important enough to live a good life.
Stay fearless folks.
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
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 naïve 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
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
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
Monday, October 10, 2016
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.
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.
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
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.
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!