Day: April 10, 2013

Have you lost something in your home, maybe even yourself?

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lost valuable

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.

George Washington Carver

How many of you chronically lose or misplace things? You never notice that something is lost until you need it and it’s always in the last place you look. Have you ever noticed the intensity with which you will search for an inanimate object when you need it? Your wallet, your purse, your keys, a document, an address, a phone number, a pair of socks or earrings. When you need it, you need it now and if time is running out, finding that thing is the highest priority in your life at that moment.
Believe it or not, God knows what all of this feels like on a much grander scale. God is searching for something—but not because he can’t remember where he left it. He knows where it is. He’s searching for you. But the only way that He can find you and bring you home is for you to recognize that you need found, that you are lost and need direction.

In Luke 15, Luke gives a series of three parables in response to the criticism of the scribes and Pharisees that Jesus received unbelieving sinners and even ate with them. Evidently, His love and vulnerability attracted lost people from all classes and lifestyles. These were people who had no regard for the Torah or for religious traditions. Jesus had made it clear that He came to save people like this, not self-righteous people (Luke 5:27-32; 14:21-24). Seeing the many needy people around Him who were lost and recognizing the criticism coming from the religious establishment who were also lost, Jesus told three “Parables of Lostness.” He talked about lost sheep who needed a shepherd; about a lost coin that had value and needed to be put into circulation; about lost sons who needed to be in fellowship with the Father.

Today, our focus is on the second of these stories – a lost coin that had value and needed to be put into circulation again.
Title: Lost…At Home

It forces upon us the question, “Do I have something lost at home, something out of spiritual circulation?” Perhaps better, “Is someone lost at home or in my extended family?” Our Lord is not that concerned about a lost coin, but is illustrating the value of lost persons. Is someone lost in your home through inattentiveness and neglect? Is someone lost in your home — a child, perhaps, that you have taken for granted is a Christian, but, as he or she grows up, something makes you realize that he or she is not? You may wake up to realize that these whom you have taken for granted to be safe and sound in your home are not; they are lost. Being lost in this trilogy of parables means being away from safety and in a place of danger; it means being uninformed about a better way to live; it means not serving God for all the wrong reasons. “Lost” is being where you’re not supposed to be. “Lost” does not really know where you belong, or how to get there. “Lost” is having no valid point of reference outside of “self.” “Lost” is waking up one day and realizing that among your most valuable treasures on earth, among your family members, there is one who is lost and out of spiritual circulation.

Dysfunction and neglect are not healthy communities, but finding this out can be the first step to healing. I beseech you to examine your community and homes today to find what is “Lost.”

More Black Men May Be Taking Bar Exams Than Are Behind Bars

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All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion, desire.

Aristotle

The ‘myth’ that more African-American males are in prison than in college isn’t helping anyone who’s working toward a BA.

While running for president in summer 2007, Barack Obama told a crowd at an NAACP forum: “We have more work to do when more young black men languish in prison than attend colleges and universities across America.”

Last December, Charles Barkley, a broadcaster and former NBA player, told Bob Costas: “You know, we’ve got more black men in prison than we do in college, and crime in our neighborhoods is running rampant.”

Barkley and Obama are merely two among many prominent Americans, black and white, who, while arguing for creation of stronger opportunites for African-American males, have promulgated the idea that more black men are behind prison bars than on college campuses.

There’s just one problem in that plea for action: The assertion isn’t true.

New research shows there are now 600,000 more African-American men in colleges than in prison, contradicting a “myth” that some advocates believe is undermining progress in the black community.

These advocates argue that the false statistic feeds the “narrative around affirmative action” that says black men need help to achieve equality.

As the Supreme Court prepares to hear a case on affirmative action that could restrict use of race to determine enrollment at public universities, its time to conquer the myth once and for all, Ivory Toldson, a professor at Howard University School of Education, tells TakePart.

“Really what [young black men] need to get into colleges is college-level classes, guidance services, college fairs, college tours. But stats like that give the impression what they need to go to college is a violence prevention program or a gang abatement program.”

“It’s a line that was marketed very well,” says Toldson, who’s researched the statistic. “It’s what a lot of people think is true intuitively and has gotten repeated over and over. That’s one of the reasons why it persists.”

That statistic originated with a study by the Justice Policy Institute, a criminal-justice reform think tank, which calculated that 791,600 black men were in jail or prison in 2000, and 603,032 were enrolled in colleges or universities. Critics say the JPI study didn’t use accurate data.

“In the past, the numbers still appeared close enough to say, well, you know, maybe there’s something to it, even though you can’t really quantify it right now,” says Toldson. “Right now we’re at a point where they’re not even close.

“We’re at a good point for us to just move past that myth and start thinking about some real problems,” continues Toldson. “Really what [young black men] need to get into colleges is college-level classes, guidance services, college fairs, college tours. But stats like that give the impression what they really need to go to college is a violence prevention program or a gang abatement program.”

One government policy instituted in the 1960s that was designed to place more black men into college is affirmative action, a program that factors race into the university admissions process. But affirmative action might soon be alive only in history.

A Supreme Court ruling is pending in Fisher v. The University of Texas, a case that is being brought by Abigail Fisher, a white student who was denied acceptance by the University of Texas at Austin. Fisher’s lawyers argue that her grades and test scores were higher than those of some students who were admitted, and only the university’s policy of considering race led to her denial, which, according to the lawyers, was unconstitutional.

The college-versus-prison statistic has helped perpetuate the argument for supporting affirmative action, says Janks Morton, a Washington, D.C.-based filmmaker whose first documentary, 2007’s What Black Men Think, confronted persistent myths and fallacies about black men in American society.

“You come up with this thing that black men need a hand up, they need help, they’re not able to achieve on their own, and then that ties into the narrative around affirmative action,” Morton tells TakePart. “If you really look at the data right now, the majority of [black men] are making these strides without this kind of affirmative action narrative.

“It tends to highjack the conversation, and I think it distracts from the accomplishments of young black men.”

Affirmative action, he adds, “might need to be rethought and rescaled back.”

Morton says there’s resistance in the black community to abolishing the prison-versus-college myth because some advocates have a financial stake in it. “It’s a money extracting proposition for organizations that are vested in that kind of advocacy around black male identity.”

Morton says the faulty statistic imperils the progress of the next generation of African-American men.

“We have to think about what the internalization of this negative messaging has done to a generation of young black people,” he says. “There are so many positive achievements of this group right now that we can start to raise the bar of expectation. We can use the model of young black boys who are achieving and elevate that.”

Being stretched by trial and answered prayer

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courtroomI look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

tell me what charges you have against me. ( Job 10:2)

When I read about suffering from the many blogs I visit I get so chocked up about the pain so many of us are suffering through. Writing helps us to deflect our pain and release healing into the atmosphere we so often mistake as just air. When the pilots of my ears and eyes are upon the articles I experience a sensitizing revelation that through others pain I can obtain hope for mine.

O’ tested soul, perhaps the Lord is sending you through this trial to develop your gifts. You have some gifts that would never have been discovered if not for trials. Do you not know that your faith never appears as great in the warm summer weather as it does during a cold winter? Your love is all too often like a firefly, showing very little light except when surrounded by darkness. And hope is like the stars–unseen in the sunshine of prosperity and only discovered during a night of adversity. Afflictions are often the dark settings God uses to mount the jewels of His children’s gifts, causing them to shine even brighter.

Wasn’t it just a short time ago that on your knees you prayed, “Lord, I seem to have no faith. Please show me that I do”? Wasn’t your prayer, even though you may not have realized it at the time, actually asking for trials? For how can you know if you have fAITH, UNTIL YOUR FAITH IS EXERCISED? You can depend on the fact that God often sends trials so our gifts may be certain of their existence. And there is more than just discovering our gifts–we experience real growth in grace as another result of our trials being santified by HIm.

God trains His soildiers not in tents of ease and luxury but by causing them to endure lengthly marches and difficult service. He makes them wade across streams, swim through rivers, climb mountains, and walk many tiring miles with heavy backpacks. Dear son’s and daughters, could this not account for the troubles you are now experiencing? Could this not be the reason He is dealing with you? Being left alone by Satan is not evidence of being blessed. If you are caring for a sick family member, if you are experiencing finacial smoothering, persecution from friends,sheer dispondancy of life give thanks and remember your gifts are being refined and defined for you to give glory to God through them by being an instrument of “Fresh Oil” for His good. The Balm of Gilead is your purpose. Only what you do for Christ will last. Praise God at all times and confuse the enemy always. Your expressions are a tell-tell sign of victory or defeat.