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

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.

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

images

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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America Is Not A Christian Nation

I am re-posting this article because the author(s) make an excellent point:

” We need to show our coworkers, neighbors, relatives, and friends Jesus. If you want the Country to follow God more closely; The solution starts with us carrying out the Great Commission. When we start carrying out the Great Commission more effectively, I believe that is when you will see the changes you desire in the nation. ”

I would suggest changing the title because it leads one to believe that whether or not America is Christian is a significant issue. Besides, how does a nation become a Christian?

There is a great deal of good information and wisdom, here, though. I recommend this be passed along.

Thanks be to God and to God be the Glory.

You Can Not Legislate Love

There is a lot of attention being paid now to where the presidential candidates stand on controversial issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and the rights of trans-gender people (particularly  where public facilities and businesses are concerned.)  I don’t like to get involved with controversial issues but this much I will say:  You can not enact laws that will change a person’s heart.  Laws can be enacted to try to control certain behavior and punish those who violate the laws, but laws do nothing to further the Kingdom of God. That is why Jesus came to earth…to demonstrate particularly to the religious leaders, then and now, that laws are not the way to do it.

The ONLY way to change behavior in others is to change the heart in them and that is done best by changing your own behavior:

1) Set an example. I don’t mean just “Do unto Others, ” I mean to show other people what love looks like.  Let family and friends…even strangers..see you forgiving a rude customer or an enraged driver.  Let them hear you say you forgive your parents for whatever and why.  Let them see you help a homeless person by giving them some water, a raincoat, a smile, and a kind word. You don’t have to draw attention to it; the people around you will see it; and the less fuss you make, the more powerful the impression will be, and the more healing and blessing you will receive.

Some people need to know what love feels like with a hug, a hand shake, a kind word, a warm coat…or smells like by helping a disabled neighbor clean her home…or tastes like by cooking them comfort food.

Have you ever thought of buying a poor person their medication?

2) Find a way to help them.  If someone is being destructive of life (their own or another’s) they are probably either desperate or under the control of a) other people and in fear, b) mental illness, or c) a substance.  That person needs help.  That person may need the phone number of a resource that will offer an alternative.  I have known a few women who have had abortions.  Never once did the woman take this approach willingly or without regret.  Once was a result of incest and rape by her father.  In another case, the girl was just too young to face such a responsibility.  She felt she could not allow her parents to know she was pregnant and thought that abortion was her only recourse.  Had there been someone she could have turned to, to support her (emotionally, financially, with an alternative place to live temporarily) I daresay, she would have carried the baby to full term and blessed a childless couple with a newborn baby.  But someone has to step up and help. Maybe that needs to be you.

3) If the situation is not hurting someone, let it go.  Homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and trans-gender issues are not violations of the Ten Commandments and are not hurting anyone*; let it go.  Lying about a former best friend on Facebook, however, IS a violation of the Ten Commandments:

9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

“Your neighbor” is anyone else: sister, mother, ex-best friend, ex-wife, mother-in-law, total stranger, the leader of the Black Panthers, etc.

4) Love them.  If the situation requires tough love, do it.  If someone you know and love is addicted to a substance or gambling or over-spending, call them on it.  Tell them that you notice it and you love them so you want it to stop.  Do an intervention with friends and family.  Call in professional or government-supported help.  Just do it because you love them.  “Love” is a noun of action.

5) Love yourself.  If you are being abused, put a stop to it.  Leave the bad situation.  Turn to a source for help: a church, a shelter, a distant relative.  If you are abusing yourself, stop and seek help.  There are resources.  Start with calling 211.

6) Pray.  Pray in whatever way feels natural to you.  God has heard it all; He will accept it all.  If you like to pray in a King James way, do so.  If you prefer to have a candid discussion with Jesus while you are driving, do so.  If you would rather write a letter to the Father God and deliver it to a priest to pray over, by all means, do so.  And when you are done, listen, watch, and learn.  The Holy Spirit may ask you a question for you to ponder.  God, the Father,  may tell you that there is something you must do.  Jesus may simply smile His gentle smile and say, “You are Mine.”  And, by all means, if your prayers get answered, share your story with others.  Hearing that someone received an answer to their prayers is the best way to encourage someone else to try it.

Thank you, Jesus.  To You, the Glory.

 

* I am going way out on a limb and opining that trans-gender people are no more likely to molest anyone than your garden variety bully or thug.  Abusers (sex offenders, pedophiles, serial-killers,…) usually disguise themselves as average-looking people.  I will add that homosexuals are ‘guilty’ of loving people of the same sex.  Loving.  They are guilty of loving someone.  The idea may make you uncomfortable  but they are not hurting anyone. I am so glad the argument that homosexuals threatened family values has died a natural death.  Do you know who threatens family values?  Wife beaters, child abusers, fathers who sexually molest their daughters, alcoholic mothers, poverty, mental illness, …

Lord, have Mercy; Christ, have Mercy; Lord, have Mercy.

 

The above image was borrowed from the internet.  See colourbox.com

 

Generalizations are Generally Wrong

I think it is safe to say that, for the most part, generalizations are wrong.  Now, notice I said “for the most part;” that is intentional because whenever I fail to include phrases like “for the most part,” “usually,” “some,” “almost always,” etc., I almost always make a fool of myself.

When people are in a hurry to make a point, they often use generalizations; politicians and others with agendas, do this a lot.  But, usually, what they say is inaccurate, if not flat out wrong, and usually mean-spirited.  For example, if I were to say “all Pit Bulls are mean and dangerous,” I know at least three people who would straighten me out.  I might be better off by saying something like,”all Pit Bulls have the potential to be mean and dangerous, especially if they have been mistreated or trained to be that way,” but I have used 7 words in the first statement and 23 in the second; too many words for a politician or a mother whose child has been mauled by a Pit Bull.

Now, to be fair, some generalizations are true, particularly when they are simply restating the subject or are simplifying the definition: All pine trees are trees; All black cats are cats, All white people are people, All General Motors cars are cars, etc.  (My son could probably argue with that last point but I’ll leave that up to him.)

Sometimes, what you may think is a re-statement of the subject is, in fact, a fallacy  (“a mistaken belief, especially one based on unsound argument,” a definition provided by Google.)  For example, a lot of people think Christians are automatically followers of Jesus; In my essay, “Both, And,” I explain what I mean when I say one can be a Christian and not be a follower of Jesus just as one can follow Jesus but not be a Christian. You can find this essay on my website, A Ward of Jesus.   There are similar misconceptions about Christians being ‘nice’ people, or ‘church people’ being ‘good people;’  I daresay, a large percentage of them are but I have also been told that, “Church people can be some of the meanest people in the world.”  Notice, that observer included the words “can be” rather than ‘always are.’

It is not nice to make untrue generalizations about people; remember, God don’t like ugly. In fact, it is downright dangerous in an eternal sense, because number 9 of the Ten Commandments, says:

9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

I don’t think I need to enlighten you that “your neighbor” means ‘everybody else but you;’  That includes people of your own race, as well as all people of all other races.  Now, before you hit the reply button I want to include what Ask.com says about races:

“Although all races share over 99% of the same genetic material, the classification and division of races is largely subjective, and all races belong to the same species – Homo sapiens. Scientifically, races are defined as a group of people that are separated and grouped together due to the fact that they have common inherited traits that distinguishes them from other groups.

“The notion of race is also divided based on geographic separation, social and cultural differences and distinguished physical differences. Human typologies are commonly differentiated based on the following physical axes:

    • skin color
    • hair texture
    • jaw size
    • facial angle
    • cranial capacity
    • frontal lobe mass
    • brain mass
    • brain surface fissures
    • body lice

“These physical attributes do not necessarily have a strong correlation with genetic variations. As a result, the United Nations has opted to drop the term “race” and replace it with “ethnic groups” instead. According to a 1998 study published in the Scientific American, there are more than 5,000 ethnic groups in the world.”

(body lice?)

That’s a lot of people who are different from each other.  However, they are ALL “your neighbor.”  If you don’t believe me, ask God.

Like I said before, people with agendas like to make generalizations about people who are different from them…politicians, especially, because they are short on time…or short on something.  For example, when he said that,

“When Mexico (meaning the Mexican Government) sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you (pointing to the audience). They’re not sending you (pointing again). They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems to us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.  And some, I assume, are good people!”

…at least Donald qualified that SOME are good people.  That’s what I am suggesting; we should avoid making generalizations by including qualifiers, like “some.”

(I would like to add, Donald, that if those are SOME of your “best words,” dear, I suggest you consider taking a vow of silence.)

Unfortunately, I grew up hearing a lot of non-qualified generalizations…particularly about black people, but also about Jewish people, as well as Asians and Native Americans.  I recall hearing the explanation that”all black people are bad; that’s why God made them black.”  (What?!?)  First of all, I never understood what was meant by “bad.”  Were they bad drivers?  bad spellers?  I don’t think that’s what he meant.  I think he meant they were inherently dishonest, corrupt, and dangerous.    And, he was wrong, incorrect, inaccurate, and, to be fair, probably spoke out of fear.

Before I go any farther, I have never known, personally, a black person who was ‘bad.’  The black people I have known personally, from the time I was a child to the present, and I mean people I have known well…people I worked with for 22 years on a daily basis, for example…have been kind, generous, polite, friendly, helpful, honest, trustworthy, decent, not dangerous…all those descriptions I use when referring to people who are ‘good.’  I met one young black man in the hospital last year whom I would not trust, but I did not know him well, and based on his words and actions, I don’t think anyone would trust him.  Black people I meet on a daily basis down here in Anderson, South Carolina, have been … without exception … gracious, polite, courteous, and welcome information about my writings…and they usually say, “Thank you, ma’am.,” which to me shows good up-bringing.  Those who seem to be unapproachable, also seem to be preoccupied and upset about something, probably unrelated to me.

To lighten the tone a bit, I have been a victim of car-ism; my son warned me that when I bought my little blue wonder car, that I would probably receive rude reactions from people. The non-qualified generalization is that BMW drivers are rude, pushy, and snobbish.  Well, I have taken it as a personal goal to prove the generalization to be a fallacy:  I let other cars pull out in front of me (unless I’m racing), I never cut anyone off (unless I am racing), I wave to other drivers (especially, when I am racing), and I try to not kick up too much dust (in the face of those with whom I am racing.)  BTW, I never race when there are pedestrians around…and, I have yet to be beaten. ;->

Thanks be to God and to God be the Glory.

 

(Credit for the image of the kittens goes to Evers Veterinary Clinic / Kitten Package