An Enlightening Article

“the Nixon administration “had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people…We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black [sic], but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. ” – John Ehrlichman

Reading this Time magazine article made me uncomfortable but discomfort is often a good thing…a God thing; for me, it means I am disrupting my comfortable and familiar views and stretching my awareness.  I may not alter my course or I may have to make a mid-course correction.  I may accelerate my pace…or I may have to do an about face, altogether.  Opening one’s eyes is always good and one can discern truth from propaganda by asking for enlightenment from the Holy Spirit.

Confession:  I now know one meaning, the possible origin, of the term ‘institutionalized.’  I did not know about this history before and my previous post reflects that ignorance.

I strongly recommend this Time magazine article and allowing a little discomfort…

The GOP Can Lead on Criminal Justice Reform—If We Admit Inequality Exists

“the true state of race relations in the country–improving slowly, painfully but surely” – Time Magazine

“What if we are not “falling apart” as a nation? What if we are, in fact, doing what democracies are supposed to do–gradually learning, through experience, how to solve our most vexing problems?”

Please read the entire article:

After Baton Rouge, Minneapolis and Dallas, Signs of Passionate Sanity

2 Commandments

For those not inclined to “Love Jesus” right off the bat (because of current beliefs, views, background, and/or upbringing), “Love God.” In time, you will be introduced to the person of Jesus and you will love His person, and love others through Him, as well.

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There are supposedly just ten commandments in the Bible.

Then, ten more, almost similar.

Plus five that fall in between.

Mosaic Law ends up with 613, in total.

New Testament, not really given as commandments, suggest 1050. A staggering number.

Jesus said we should keep these.

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An Appropriate and Powerful Response

Do you remember how you responded after the shock of 9/11 waned enough for you to stand up and walk again?  If you were like me, you went out and found an American flag and taped it to your car window.  I put a tiny flag on my desk and looked up the rules for the proper displaying of the flag.  I made sure the flag I flew in front of my house never got wet in the rain, was put up at sunrise and came down at sunset.

I was just like most Americans in that there was not much else I could do besides pray for our safety, to show the terrorists that we were not afraid and we would not give in to their threats and their show of hatred toward America.

But that was all I could do.

That was then.  THIS IS NOW.

We have a much more tangible way to respond to the displays of anger, hatred, and evil in the world around us.  And this is what I am going to do:

In response to racial anger and resentment, I will demonstrate to every person I meet, REGARDLESS OF THEIR RACE:

kindness,

patience,

concern,

charity,

and the Grace which I have received from God in abundance.

In response to stories and accusations of bias, injustice, unfair practices, hype, and propaganda, I will remind everyone who will listen, that we are all to blame and the only correct course of action is to STOP.  Stop, turn around, and do the opposite:  I will continue to be an ambassador for Christ and demonstrate 1) Love of God and 2) Love of Everyone.

An appropriate response to this assault on humanity is to show that WE WILL NOT DO LIKEWISE.

The buck stops here.  The hate stops at my door.  The attacks, accusations, lies, and slander stop at my mouth.

I will not spread or return anything but love, kindness, charity, compassion, understanding, and a whole shit-load of patience and forgiveness…so help me God.

(And I mean that, God…You’re going to have to help me.)

All Lives Matter

” Every life taken in anger… is simply because people’s pride and ego are too inflated, their greed and ambitions too important. Regardless of who they are.

” We all need to bow our heads in utter shame, we need to repent, we need to follow the Two Commandments of Jesus.”

It is no longer important who hit whom first.

It is no longer important why.

It is no longer important what has gone before.

Stop.

Stop hurting others.

Stop hating.

Stop killing.

Just Stop It.

Whose Lives Matter?

“It is a love of God and Christ that begins our journey to truly embracing our neighbors and loving them no matter who they are.”

You cannot legislate love. It must be lived and demonstrated.

You cannot force another to be different or to have a change of heart; You must be different, first…and have a change of heart, first. Then, you can show others how it is done.

PLEASE, look at each other and find the good in each other.”

Please.

Shadrach, Meshach, and whatshisname

I’m with them.

They had been thrown into a fiery furnace for not bowing to an image of  Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.  Similarly, I am finding myself in a bit of a ‘warm environment’ which I believe is due to my not giving in to demons and other annoying influences.

Read what they said to Nebuchadnezzar:

our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.  (emphasis, mine)

I serve God, through Jesus, with strength and conviction from the Holy Spirit and in the Name of Jesus, saved by His blood by the Grace of God.  I look to Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the very Father God to protect and save me.  But if He does not, I will not turn from God nor will I stop drawing close to Jesus and neither will I stop turning to the Holy Spirit for guidance and protection.  I will not worship anything else.  Emphasis, MINE.

Are there any questions?

Dealing with Race in America

Keith is truly a man of God and a man of guts and integrity. He pointed out correctly that the problem is one of perceptions and degrees. White people…and while I want to say “MOST white people” I will just say “many white people” are pushing in the correct direction…but there is so much farther to push….so much so that from the black perspective, we’ve hardly moved at all. The black perspective is accurate.

My only defense for white people is that for MANY white people, they’ve made a 180 degree turn from that of their parents and grandparents and, from personal experience, that was not easy. Many many times I heard from my father, “Why can’t you be like the rest of us?”. I am truly sorry that we have not made more progress. I do not know what more can be done in one lifetime than to make a complete about face, push against the tide, and do what I can to convince those around me to consider turning around, too. I ask for forgiveness (from Keith, from my other black friends, and from God) for not having done more or enough to matter.

Please refer to previous posts Generalizations are Generally Wrong and In the Name of the Father.

The light breaks through

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I am going to delve into another sensitive area in this blog post. I grew up hearing from black people that we don’t have the ability to discriminate. This may come as a shock to every other race on the planet. In order to explain this unique perspective on the issue, allow me to define the word discriminate.

First, the dictionary defines discrimination as: “the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.” That definition pretty much says it all. It would appear to be all inclusive. However, living life as an African American I ran across an interesting time and space anomaly. I was told that African Americans cannot discriminate, we really can’t be racists. Yes, you read that right. If you want to understand the heart of so many misunderstandings, you need to understand this concept.

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Learning to pick my battles…

…even if only after the fact.

I’m doing…okay.  I’ve been trying too hard for a while now…encouraging loved ones to leave a toxic boss (efforts wasted); helping my neighbors survive his 2.5 month hospital/rehab stay after what was supposed to be outpatient surgery and encouraging them to make better choices (efforts wasted); writing about fighting evil and being reconciled to God (efforts draw evil to me); water pipes splitting and soaking carpeted floor, sections of floor falling in, door falling off hinges; battling mosquitoes, heat, drought,  …are we having fun, yet?

It’s like single-parenting….you just don’t die from this….well. not yet, anyway

I am emotionally depleted and physically worn out from the heat.  My plants are heat stressed and turning yellow.  My dog has had intestinal issues for days (throughout the house) and is not eating (she just watches as the cat eats her food 8 inches away) and my neighbor insists on throwing chicken bones and pizza scraps in the yard for her to find.  Oh, and my cat apparently has cat-betes and is losing his eyesight.

But, I persevere.   Yesterday, I spent the Fourth watching the flag gently wave in the rippling heat and the Morning Glories slowly unfurl and re-furl…and not much else.

Besides, I am happier and more stable than I was in North Carolina.  I’m physically stronger and on less medication.  And I pick my battles…even if only after the fact.  (“Well, that was a pointless, losing battle.”)

Today’s Lament

I was in a bad place last night.  I had gotten whipped up emotionally in what I was wanting to pass on in my blogs, was frustrated because I struggled to convey clearly what I had received, and then had several interactions with people during the day that went sour.  Driving home last night with the top down on my car, I had to admit to Jesus that He is the only One for whom I don’t have to adjust my personality…the only One who appreciates me just the way I am and Who welcomes what I have to give.  I am too direct, intense, or ‘real’ for everyone else.  My brother is able to accept me but advises me to ‘turn it down’ for everyone else.  I have nearly ruined 2 of his business relationships recently because of my ‘corporate’ voice; I need to learn how to lighten up, joke, and say, “yeeeuuup.” like the locals..

The ‘being whipped up’ and then ‘feeling the down side of that’ dances way too close to bipolar mood swinging.  (Please God, don’t let me take that demon back.  I am doing so well without it.)

In all honesty, if it weren’t for my relationship with Jesus, I would be totally alone.  Please take this the right way but I am often having to adjust my sensibilities for people .  No one wants to hear what I know about anything:  God, talking to Jesus, science, quantum physics, the government, hate, racism, global warming, …even thunderstorm downbursts.  No one around me, family included, knows or even understands what I did when I worked for the government; none of my family and very few of my friends read my writing; people that I have offered paintings to don’t even care to see them and don’t even bother to respond and say “no, thank you,” much less “yes, thank you.”

Why did God give me intelligence, quick thinking, keen insight, and artistic talent if no one wants it?  Is it truly just for Him?  and me?  My paintings are stacked in storage and staged down my hall waiting to be bunched up on my walls.  My writings dry up on my hard drive or are sent out into the internet ether…received by 5 maybe 6 viewers; liked by 2 or 3.  I implore tech support ‘experts’ to help me with Trojans and malware only to discover they know a fraction of what I do about my computer and their software.  Half the time they hang up on me.  Why?

I ‘get’ why I have received the disappointments, neglect, and abuse in my life; I understand the wisdom of God developing ‘wounded healers.’  But what is the purpose of my having knowledge, wisdom, and talents that nobody wants?  God doesn’t need it; He invented it.  I don’t understand.  Somebody help me…what good can I glean from being totally useless to friends and family, irrelevant in conversation, and more than is necessary or wanted by the world?  I am sincere in my query.

And, yes, I realize this is  a demon which I must check at the door.

(BTW, I pulled this photo from a post I wrote over a year ago on my blog, Turning 60.  Most of that blog deals with identifying and getting rid of my life’s demons.  The blog starts with A Little Late Getting Started , goes through Forgiving my Childhood , A Reversal of Fortune, My Addictions, Starting Over , and I Have Exceeded My Welcome (which sounds remarkably like what I have just written.  I guess I have not travelled very far after all.) This picture comes from the one titled, Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit.)