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~Why is Jesus Not loved in the way He depicts Through Scripture?~

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It is erroneous to think that all Orthodox are in reality not sectarians and that all sectarians are in reality not Orthodox. Not every Orthodox in name is so in spirit, and not every sectarian in name is so in spirit, and, especially at the present time, it is possible to meet “Orthodox” who are in fact sectarians at heart: fanatic, unloving, narrow minded, persistent in human precision, not hungering or thirsting after God’s truth, but gorged with their own presumptuous truth, strictly judging others from the summit of this their imaginary truth dogmatically correct from the outside, but lacking origin in the Spirit. And, conversely, it is possible to meet a sectarian who apparently does not understand the meaning of the Orthodox worship of God in Spirit and in Truth, who doesn’t “recognize” this or that expression of ecclesiastical truth, but who in fact conceals within himself much that is truly divine, who is truly filled with love in Christ, truly a brother to his fellow man.

And the existence of such variety in Christian society does not allow a shallow approach to the problem of interfaith relations. Sectarians sin in their failure to understand Orthodoxy, but we Orthodox also do not follow our own Orthodox teachings in not understanding sectarians who are at times surprisingly fervent and pure in their persistent pursuit of the Lord towards a life in Him alone.

The narrow, arrogant, ailing reason of mankind, not transfigured in the Spirit of God, aspires identically to division and seeks a cause for it, whoever this reason might belong to – Orthodox or sectarian.

The love of Christ for us in his dying was as conscious as his suffering was intentional. “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16). If he was intentional in laying down his life, it was for us. It was love. “When Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (John 13:1). Every step on the Calvary road meant, “I love you.”

Therefore, to feel the love of Christ in the laying down of his life, it helps to see how utterly intentional it was. Consider these five ways of seeing Christ’s intentionality in dying for us.

First, look at what Jesus said just after that violent moment when Peter tried to cleave the skull of the servant, but only cut off his ear.

Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” (Matthew 26:52-54)

It is one thing to say that the details of Jesus’ death were predicted in the Old Testament. But it is much more to say that Jesus himself was making his choices precisely to see to it that the Scriptures would be fulfilled.

That is what Jesus said he was doing in Matthew 26:54. “I could escape this misery, but how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” I am not choosing to take the way out that I could take because I know the Scriptures. I know what must take place. It is my choice to fulfill all that is predicted of me in the Word of God.

A second way this intentionality is seen is in the repeated expressions to go to Jerusalem–into the very jaws of the lion.

Taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.” (Mark 10:32-34)

Jesus had one all-controlling goal: to die according the Scriptures. He knew when the time was near and set his face like flint: “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51).

A third way that we see the intentionality of Jesus to suffer for us is in the words he spoke in the mouth of Isaiah the prophet:

I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard;
I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting. (Isaiah 50:6)

I have to work hard in my imagination to keep before me what iron will this required. Humans recoil from suffering. We recoil a hundred times more from suffering that is caused by unjust, ugly, sniveling, low-down, arrogant people. At every moment of pain and indignity, Jesus chose not to do what would have been immediately just. He gave his back to the smiter. He gave his cheek to slapping. He gave his beard to plucking. He offered his face to spitting. And he was doing it for the very ones causing the pain.

A fourth way we see the intentionality of Jesus’ suffering is in the way Peter explains how this was possible. He said, “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23).

The way Jesus handled the injustice of it all was not by saying, “Injustice doesn’t matter,” but by entrusting his cause to “him who judges justly.” God would see that justice is done. That was not Jesus’ calling at Calvary. (Nor is it our highest calling now. “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord, Romans 12:19.)

The fifth and perhaps the clearest statement that Jesus makes about his own intentionality to die is in John 10:17-18:

For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.

Jesus’ point in these words is that he is acting completely voluntarily. He is under no constraint from any mere human. Circumstances have not overtaken him. He is not being swept along in the injustice of the moment. He is in control.

Therefore, when John says, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16), we should feel the intensity of his love for us to the degree that we see his intentionality to suffer and die. I pray that you will feel it profoundly. And may that profound experience of being loved by Christ have this effect on you:

The love of Christ controls us . . . . He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. (2 Corinthians 5:14-15

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~To a real extent you have grown up in a different country than I have~

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All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.

Thomas Jefferson

THE PRESIDENT:  For too long, we’ve been blind to the unique mayhem that gun violence inflicts upon this nation.

Removing the flag from this state’s capitol would not be an act of political correctness; it would not be an insult to the valor of Confederate soldiers.  It would simply be an acknowledgment that the cause for which they fought — the cause of slavery — was wrong, the imposition of Jim Crow after the Civil War, the resistance to civil rights for all people was wrong. It would be one step in an honest accounting of America’s history; a modest but meaningful balm for so many unhealed wounds.  It would be an expression of the amazing changes that have transformed this state and this country for the better, because of the work of so many people of goodwill, people of all races striving to form a more perfect union.  By taking down that flag, we express God’s grace.

But I don’t think God wants us to stop there. For too long, we’ve been blind to the way past injustices continue to shape the present.  Perhaps we see that now.  Perhaps this tragedy causes us to ask some tough questions about how we can permit so many of our children to languish in poverty, or attend dilapidated schools, or grow up without prospects for a job or for a career. Perhaps it causes us to examine what we’re doing to cause some of our children to hate. Perhaps it softens hearts towards those lost young men, tens and tens of thousands caught up in the criminal justice system and leads us to make sure that that system is not infected with bias; that we embrace changes in how we train and equip our police so that the bonds of trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve make us all safer and more secure.

Maybe we now realize the way racial bias can infect us even when we don’t realize it, so that we’re guarding against not just racial slurs, but we’re also guarding against the subtle impulse to call Johnny back for a job interview but not Jamal. So that we search our hearts when we consider laws to make it harder for some of our fellow citizens to vote. By recognizing our common humanity by treating every child as important, regardless of the color of their skin or the station into which they were born, and to do what’s necessary to make opportunity real for every American — by doing that, we express God’s grace.

THE PRESIDENT:  For too long, we’ve been blind to the unique mayhem that gun violence inflicts upon this nation.

Sporadically, our eyes are open:  When eight of our brothers and sisters are cut down in a church basement, 12 in a movie theater, 26 in an elementary school.  But I hope we also see the 30 precious lives cut short by gun violence in this country every single day; the countless more whose lives are forever changed — the survivors crippled, the children traumatized and fearful every day as they walk to school, the husband who will never feel his wife’s warm touch, the entire communities whose grief overflows every time they have to watch what happened to them happen to some other place.

The vast majority of Americans — the majority of gun owners — want to do something about this.  We see that now. And I’m convinced that by acknowledging the pain and loss of others, even as we respect the traditions and ways of life that make up this beloved country — by making the moral choice to change, we express God’s grace.

We don’t earn grace.  We’re all sinners.  We don’t deserve it. But God gives it to us anyway and we choose how to receive it.  It’s our decision how to honor it.

A Letter From Black America

Yes, we fear the police. Here’s why.

Last July 4, my family and I went to Long Island to celebrate the holiday with a friend and her family. After eating some barbecue, a group of us decided to take a walk along the ocean. The mood on the beach that day was festive. Music from a nearby party pulsed through the haze of sizzling meat. Lovers strolled hand in hand. Giggling children chased each other along the boardwalk.

Most of the foot traffic was heading in one direction, but then two teenage girls came toward us, moving stiffly against the flow, both of them looking nervously to their right. “He’s got a gun,” one of them said in a low voice.

I turned my gaze to follow theirs, and was clasping my 4-year-old daughter’s hand when a young man extended his arm and fired off multiple shots along the busy street running parallel to the boardwalk. Snatching my daughter up into my arms, I joined the throng of screaming revelers running away from the gunfire and toward the water.

The shots stopped as quickly as they had started. The man disappeared between some buildings. Chest heaving, hands shaking, I tried to calm my crying daughter, while my husband, friends and I all looked at one another in breathless disbelief. I turned to check on Hunter, a high school intern from Oregon who was staying with my family for a few weeks, but she was on the phone.

“Someone was just shooting on the beach,” she said, between gulps of air, to the person on the line.

Unable to imagine whom she would be calling at that moment, I asked her, somewhat indignantly, if she couldn’t have waited until we got to safety before calling her mom.

“No,” she said. “I am talking to the police.”

My friends and I locked eyes in stunned silence. Between the four adults, we hold six degrees. Three of us are journalists. And not one of us had thought to call the police. We had not even considered it.

We also are all black. And without realizing it, in that moment, each of us had made a set of calculations, an instantaneous weighing of the pros and cons.

As far as we could tell, no one had been hurt. The shooter was long gone, and we had seen the back of him for only a second or two. On the other hand, calling the police posed considerable risks. It carried the very real possibility of inviting disrespect, even physical harm. We had seen witnesses treated like suspects, and knew how quickly black people calling the police for help could wind up cuffed in the back of a squad car. Some of us knew of black professionals who’d had guns drawn on them for no reason.

This was before Michael Brown. Before police killed John Crawford III for carrying a BB gun in a Wal-Mart or shot down 12-year-old Tamir Rice in a Cleveland park. Before Akai Gurley was killed by an officer while walking in a dark staircase and before Eric Garner was choked to death upon suspicion of selling “loosies.” Without yet knowing those names, we all could go down a list of unarmed black people killed by law enforcement.

We feared what could happen if police came rushing into a group of people who, by virtue of our skin color, might be mistaken for suspects.

For those of you reading this who may not be black, or perhaps Latino, this is my chance to tell you that a substantial portion of your fellow citizens in the United States of America have little expectation of being treated fairly by the law or receiving justice. It’s possible this will come as a surprise to you. But to a very real extent, you have grown up in a different country than I have.

 As Khalil Gibran Muhammad, author of The Condemnation of Blackness, puts it, “White people, by and large, do not know what it is like to be occupied by a police force. They don’t understand it because it is not the type of policing they experience. Because they are treated like individuals, they believe that if ‘I am not breaking the law, I will never be abused.’”We are not criminals because we are black. Nor are we somehow the only people in America who don’t want to live in safe neighborhoods. Yet many of us cannot fundamentally trust the people who are charged with keeping us and our communities safe.

***

As protest and revolt swept across the Missouri suburb of Ferguson and demonstrators staged die-ins and blocked highways and boulevards from Oakland to New York with chants of “Black lives matter,” many white Americans seemed shocked by the gaping divide between law enforcement and the black communities they are supposed to serve. It was no surprise to us. For black Americans, policing is “the most enduring aspect of the struggle for civil rights,” says Muhammad, a historian and director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York. “It has always been the mechanism for racial surveillance and control.”

In the South, police once did the dirty work of enforcing the racial caste system. The Ku Klux Klan and law enforcement were often indistinguishable. Black-and-white photographs of the era memorialize the way Southern police sicced German shepherds on civil rights protesters and peeled the skin off black children with the force of water hoses. Lawmen were also involved or implicated in untold numbers of beatings, killings and disappearances of black Southerners who forgot their place.

In the North, police worked to protect white spaces by containing and controlling the rising black population that had been propelled into the industrial belt during the Great Migration. It was not unusual for Northern police to join white mobs as they attacked black homeowners attempting to move into white neighborhoods, or black workers trying to take jobs reserved for white laborers. And yet they strictly enforced vagrancy laws, catch-alls that gave them wide discretion to stop, question and arrest black citizens at will.

Much has changed since then. Much has not.

To a very real extent, you have grown up in a different country than I have.

Last Fourth of July, in a few short minutes as we adults watched the teenager among us talking to the police, we saw Hunter become a little more like us, her faith a little shaken, her place in the world a little less stable. Hunter, who is biracial and lives with her white mother in a heavily white area, had not been exposed to the policing many black Americans face. She was about to be.

n the phone, she could offer only the most generic of suspect descriptions, which apparently made the officer on the other end of the line suspicious. By way of explanation, Hunter told the officer she was just 16. The police called her back: once, twice, then three times, asking her for more information. The interactions began to feel menacing. “I’m not from here,” Hunter said. “I’ve told you everything I know.”

The fourth time the police called, she looked frightened. Her interrogator asked her, “Are you really trying to be helpful, or were you involved in this?” She turned to us, her voice aquiver. “Are they going to come get me?”

“See,” one of us said, trying to lighten the mood. “That’s why we don’t call them.”

We all laughed, but it was hollow.

My friend Carla Murphy and I have talked about that day several times since then. We’ve turned it over in our minds and wondered whether, with the benefit of hindsight, we should have called 911.

Carla wasn’t born in the United States. She came here when she was 9, and back in her native Barbados, she didn’t give police much thought. That changed when she moved into heavily black Jamaica, Queens.

Carla said she constantly saw police, often white, stopping and harassing passersby, almost always black. “You see the cops all the time, but they do not speak to you. You see them talking to each other, but the only time you ever see them interact with someone is if they are jacking them up,” she said. “They are making a choice, and it says they don’t care about you, it tells you they are not here for your people or people who look like you.”

click here to view columbian-exposition….

~Spiritual Warfare On People of Color Or a Systemic Issue?

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635524032122310361-XXX-TamirTimir Rice talked a big game in basketball. He sat in his sixth-grade classroom, humming and slapping his hand to the rhythm in his head. He went sparkly-eyed over a girl at school.

“The minute she walked into the classroom the world stopped for Tamir,” his teacher Carletta Goodwin said. “They both would just gleam at each other. It was like, “Oh boy.”

Goodwin spoke Wednesday at Tamir’s memorial service, 10 days after the 12 year-old died after a police shooting outside Cudell Recreation Center. Tamir waved an airsoft pellet gun made to look like a real weapon, when a bystander called 9-1-1, according to police and surveillance video. Cleveland police sped a cruiser to the pavilion where Tamir stood, and shot him within two seconds.

NYer

Civil rights leaders declared Thursday that the grand jury system is broken when police are investigated for killing civilians — and they promised to push to fix it in a “year of change” in 2015.

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The photo above was taken Tuesday night outside Los Angeles Police Department headquarters by The Times’ Ben Welsh during protests of the grand jury decision not to indict a white police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, an 18-year old black man, in Ferguson, Mo., this summer. The statement written on the sidewalk in chalk — “LAPD killed 1 person per week since 2000. 82% were black or brown” — is pretty striking. Have L.A. police officers really killed one person per week since 2000?

A quick search for that statement led us back to a story in the Huffington Post referencing a report from Los Angeles Youth Justice Coalition. The report says that 589 people were killed by law enforcement in Los Angeles County between Jan. 1, 2000, and Aug. 31, 2014.

Note that these numbers refer to the entire county, which is policed by several agencies, not just the LAPD, which patrols the city of Los Angeles. About 3.9 million of the 10 million residents of L.A. County live in the city of Los Angeles.

So let’s look at each part of that statement. If we look at the county as a whole, as the report that appears to be the source for the chalk statement did, at a rate of one homicide per week since 2000, there should be more than 720 homicides attributed to law enforcement officials. Keep in mind that calling a death a homicide just means the death was caused by the hand of another, it is not a legal judgment of murder.

The Youth Justice Coalition reported 589 killings by police officials in that time period, a number very close to data gathered for the Homicide Report, which relies largely on the L.A. County coroner’s records. The Homicide Report has recorded 590 homicides involving law enforcement officers in all of L.A. County between Jan. 1, 2000, and Aug. 31, 2014, and seven more since that date.

But the chalk writing only mentions the LAPD. So how does the department stack up?

According to Homicide Report data, roughly 38%, or 228, of the county’s officer-involved homicides involved LAPD officers. This works out to about 0.3 killings per week.

So what about the claim of 82% being “black or brown?” It’s hard to know whether this refers to only blacks and Latinos, or to all minorities. Assuming this means black or Latino, 27% of those killed by law enforcement officers in the County were black, while a little over 50% were Latino. So 77% “black or brown” puts us in the same general range of the chalker claim.

If we count only homicides involving LAPD officers, blacks account for 32% and Latinos 49% of all those killed, for a total of 81%.

Blacks make up about 34% of victims of homicides here, a chronically, disproportionately high number in a county and city where less than 10% of residents are black.

So is the claim of “LAPD killed 1 person per week since 2000. 82% were black or brown,” true? The first part is false. The statement seems to mistake all county law enforcement killings for LAPD and then extrapolates to a weekly number that is too high, even countywide. The second statement, however, is close to the overall number for the county, and even closer when we take only LAPD-involved homicides into account.

~When Love Let’s You In~

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Love is a distinguishing mark of Christians and something the Lord commanded us to do (John 13:34-35). Jesus said we should love others as God loves us—selflessly, sacrificially, with understanding and forgiveness. But how can we love others if we’re unsure of His love for us personally?

When we refer to “God’s love,” we’re talking about the unselfish giving of Himself to us, which brings about blessing in our lives–no matter how unlovable we might be. That says something about the Lord’s character. His love is not just an emotion, decision, or action but who He is (1 John 4:8).

How can we know for certain that God loves us?

1. He created the world for us.

One of the reasons I enjoy traveling out west is because I can go into the wilderness where I don’t see anything but what God created. He gave us oceans and beaches, mountains and snow, sunrises and sunsets, full moons and new moons, beautiful plants and animals.

Consider what an awesome sight this world was right after God created it, untainted by man. We tend to forget how majestic His the earth really is, especially when houses, big buildings, cars, and pollution surround us at every turn. Sometimes spending a little time in nature is all we need to remind us of the Lord’s affection.

2. He chose us.

Jesus prayed: “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24). Scripture also teaches that God lovedus before He ever created the earth (Eph. 1:4-5).

3. He died for us.

Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” On the cross, Jesus emptied Himself for our sake, pouring out His love so that we might be saved. He loved us then, and He loves us today—regardless of all our mistakes, sins, or struggles.

4. He cares for us.

God continually watches over us, providing our needs. He protects and guides us, and answers our prayers. The Lord may not always work in the time frame we expect, but if we’re faithful to wait on Him, He will always come through for us according to His will. The best way to learn about God’s deep concern for His children is to spend time reading Scripture and meditating on it through prayerful interaction with Him. If we devote ourselves to the Lord, we will discover that He is always caring toward us.

His Promise

God promises that He will love us unconditionally—and won’t ever leave or forsake us (Heb. 13:5). If God loved us only sometimes but notall the time, that would mean His character, feelings, or attitude is changeable. But our Lord never changes.

Neither is His love contingent upon us. Whether or not we go to church, tithe, witness, pray enough, and never sin, God’s affection is always the same. You can’t do anything to deserve it, and you can’t do anything to keep Him from loving you.

The apostle John tells us that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). This may be a difficult truth for our human minds to grasp. But love is the Lord’s very essence, and He is the source from which all true love flows. There are no restrictions, no limitations, and no exceptions. God’s care for us is absolute and genuine, and through creation, He has unmistakably declared that love (Rom. 1:20).  But in His most powerful proclamation of all, He sent His Son to die for us, so that we could enjoy His loving presence for all eternity.

 

~Hate~

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As I reflect, I think about what a brave soul Dr. King was to transform his fight for “Negro” equality with White America and one that was based on Civil Rights, to a fight that was global in scope and based on Human Rights.

Like others have, I often ask myself what would Dr. King think about today’s America and the world as a whole?  Would he feel as though all of his efforts achieved their end goal?  Would he support the various Occupy and other social movements taking place the world over? The answers I keep coming up with are NO and YES respectively.

Given the continued disparities across every major aspect of life in America for Black Americans, I could not imagine Dr. King would be pleased with our progress.  Yes, we have a Black President and we certainly have achieved great success in many areas of the business, sports, entertainment, the arts and the social world.  However, we do not live in a “Post-racial” society.   As a collective group, the majority of Black Americans have not benefited from the accomplishments of a few.

Statistically, we are breaking records in all the wrong categories of life:

  • We are #1 in Incarceration rates proportionate to the overall American population
  • We are #1 in Healthcare disparities
  • We are #1 in Education disparities
  • We are #1 in HIV/AIDS contraction rates
  • We are #1 in Quality of living disparities
  • We are #1 in Divorce and Households lead by single mothers
  • We are #1 in Sperm donors who happen to be males not being fathers
  • We are #1 in just about any other negative thing you can think of as it relates to simply living

It is not my intention to bring anyone down or paint such a dismal picture of life for the majority of Black Americans, but this is not my subjective truth.  This is the reality of too many of our people. The bottom line, Dr. King’s goals have not been achieved.

We do not live in a “Post-Racial” America and we need to WAKE UP!!!

 

Kemet is the first civilization in the world.  Kemet is the African name of the land we now call Egypt.   This more modern term – Egypt – resulted from Greek and later conquerors of the land applying their own names in their own language.  Kemet means “black land” or “black earth.”  And, Kemet may well be the first complex civilization in the world.  It is certainly the longest civilization to still be located in the same place.  If you define a civilization by its ability to make war, Sumer in Mesopotamia may be older.  But, if you define a civilization by its peace and stability, then Kemet again is the oldest.  And, despite modern political assertions that Egypt is in the Middle East, Kemet is in Africa. 

Egypt (Kemet) bordered by deserts is absolutely the “gift of the Nile.”  But African civilization is the gift of Kemet.  Eminent African scholar Cheik Anta Diop has said that: “Egypt is to Africa as Greece is to Europe.”  In other words, Kemet should be considered the jewel at the heart of African civilization from which much culture, arts, sciences and technologies radiate.  Much the way Western Civilization traces its key origins to ancient Greece; other African civilizations owe a debt to Kemet.

In the past, there has been a spurious controversy over whether or not the ancient people of Kemet were Black people.  This is a racist argument on either side.  The people of ancient Kemet – or Egypt, if you like – were African.  Regardless of our modern preoccupations with race as evidenced by skin color, the people of Kemet were African.  And, just like today, Africans come in many shades (as, by the way, do Europeans).   Any detailed examination of artistic representations show Kemetic peoples skin tones to range from dark Black to light tan and everything in between.  The argument that they were Caucasians is based on the racist mythos that only Europeans could create advanced societies.  It was an ugly idea based on European ethnocentrism.  And it served well to perpetuate relatively modern color-based racism that has evolved since the start of European colonization.  The argument that all ancient Kemetic peoples had to be Black in the modern sense of the word simply reinforces skin color based distinctions that are contemporary and have very little utility to understanding the peoples in themselves.  It is putting our 21st century concepts of race in the way of understanding how the people of Kemet saw race.

We will leave the discourse of Egyptian “Blackness” with some tales that show both the connectedness of Kemet with the rest of ancient Africa, and that race as we know it did not apply. 

 

This poisonous master-class mentality did not die with the abolition of slavery—it continued, in new forms. In particular, each wave of immigrants that came over from Europe had to “fit itself into” the dominant relations of American society—they had to find an “economic niche” (usually toward the bottom rungs of the working class, at least at first) and they had to work out a relation to the dominant political and cultural superstructure of society. In doing so, these white immigrants often tried to distinguish themselves from Black people—and this often exploded into the open antagonism of white mobs rampaging against Black people and even lynching them—yes, in the northern cities as well as the South, as these immigrant communities defined themselves as “full-blooded” white Americans in violent opposition to Black people. This system reinforced the master-class mentality among northern whites with petty, but not insignificant, privileges in jobs and housing. And this became a major double-barreled shotgun for the capitalist ruling class: it blinded these white people and immigrants to their most fundamental interests as members of the proletariat, turning their anger away from the system that actually exploited and oppressed them, and turning it against the most oppressed and exploited people in society. And it gave them an “identity” as white Americans, with a set of expectations and entitlements to go with it—and to defend. A minority of whites opposed this madness, and took up revolutionary or radical or even just decently humane positions; but while very important—and we’ll return to its significance later—this sort of stand was far too uncommon. (A secondary, but important, effect of this master-class mentality among whites of all classes was to partly obscure the class character of the oppression of the masses of Black people—their position and role as viciously exploited proletarians, within the overall working class of the U.S.—and the many and close links between this class exploitation of large numbers of Black people, as part of the proletariat, and thenational oppression of Black people as a people.)

To return again to the period of slavery, it is important to be clear on an essential truth: the slaves fiercely resisted this. In the U.S. alone there were over 200 slave revolts, and the slaves of Haiti stunned the world when they successfully waged a 15-year revolution against first their colonial masters, then the British, and finally Napoleon’s armies. Even with these heroic revolts, it was only with the Civil War that the resistance finally bore fruit in the U.S., and the emancipation of Black people from outright slavery was achieved. Here too the masses of Black people—both runaway slaves and “freedmen”—played a crucial role. When finally allowed to join the Union Army, they died at twice the rate of white soldiers (while being paid lower wages for most of the Civil War)!

~Am I Hateful? Does Hate Fuel Your Giving Or Lack There Of?~

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“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” -Dietrich Bonheoffer

Bonheoffer wasn’t speaking casually with his statement. As a minister during World War II, he faced the choice to speak out against the Nazi regime, or stay silent and save himself. He chose to speak, ultimately being executed for daring to stand for truth. Injustice demands a voice.

That’s why the issue of HATE is not something we can privately hate but publicly tolerate. It is controversial. The issue of  this event being connected to black and white culture has made it seem that only an intolerant hater could be 100% against racism. While I would agree we are intolerant (of sin, of murder—so was Jesus, by the way), we are not haters. On the contrary, we are lovers of Life. We love people who are destroyed by HATE and want to see redemption. Being outspoken on the issue of HATE might be unpopular, but if it’s rooted in prayer, it’s a hope for a nation when we call on the mercy of God to save. The Bible is clear that when we shed innocent blood it pollutes the land, and there are consequences for this. This officer has the right to be supported. He has the right to be innocent until proven guilty, but even as an officer of the law he does not have the right to kill unnecessarily. I pose the question, Is it HATE of a black man that has fueled these supporters of officer Wilson to be so generous with their money while not being generous with compassion to the woman who has lost her son to a senseless and merciless killing of her child. Am I guilty of HATE  for pondering the question of why my GoFundMe site for the empowering of ex-offenders has not been sewed into like that of “Fatcat” the dog, or for the “Athiest” who raised money for a girl caught in a tornado in Oklahoma, not because he cared for her but only to mock God and Christianity, or because Rhianna helped to raise money for a  broken cellphone? Am I a hater? NO!!! I am a man who sits and watches people donating obscene amounts of money for everything except for the empowering of human life. White supremacist support each other, athiest support each other, animal lovers help each other even after their loved one has been torn to shreds by a shark, they still go out and raise money to study why they eat people and how to stop them but they won’t sew into helping people rebuild their lives. These people I am talking about are EX-OFFENDERS!!!. 

http://www.gofundme.com/SupportOfficerWilson

Thank you so much for all of your continued support! We have received a lot of emails through this site within the last 48 hours. We are attempting to respond to each email as quickly as possible. We also want to address all of the inappropriate comments submitted on our page. We will be refunding the donations from those who are not supporting Officer Darren Wilson. We hope all can understand. We will have all communications responded to within the next 24 hours. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Operation welcome home Fatcat

Raised $7,032 of $5,000 Raised by 168 people in 8 days

Stand-up comedian Doug Stanhope has drawn a philosophical line in the sand by proclaiming that, contrary to popular belief, “hate can help.” The outspoken atheist set out to prove his theory by raising over $125,000 for a woman who identified as an atheist on television after a tornado destroyed her home. But beyond a simple act of generosity, Stanhope is now admitting that his fundraiser was at least as much about proving a point as it was charity.

After Oklahoman Rebecca Vitsmun explained to Wolf Blitzer that she didn’t “thank God” for saving her family from a deadly tornado, Stanhope was so impressed with her bravery in confirming her atheism that he created an IndieGogo fundraiser in the name of Atheists United in order to help Vitsmun, her husband and her baby.

Stanhope, who frequently and brazenly attacks religion in his act — after the Sept. 11 attacks, he quipped about George W. Bush’s appeals to religion: “Your god takes Tuesdays off” — recently released a video explaining why he raised the money.

“If you think [her admission] didn’t take balls, you’ve never been to Oklahoma,” said Stanhope, who resides in Arizona. “Saying ‘I’m an atheist’ in Oklahoma is like screaming jihad at airport security.”

He set the goal at $50,000, but $125,760 was ultimately raised in a few months after the support of other atheist celebrities such as Ricky Gervais and Penn Jillette. In exchange for contributions, donors received gifts such as a “Get Out of Hell Free Card” and a “Phone Call From God.”

Although Vitsmun indeed received the funds from the campaign to help rebuild her life, Stanhope was clear that he did not start the campaign entirely in the name of selfless charity.

“I didn’t do it because I felt sympathy because she got all her shit destroyed by a tornado,” he said. “I did it simply to be a prick to her Okie Christian neighbors, hoping they were all eating off their FEMA trucks when someone drove up and presented Rebecca with a giant cardboard check.”

The commission president saw the broken phone as another chance to raise money for under-served students who want to participate in the LAPD’s cadet program. He is auctioning it on EBay, where bids are running at more than $1,200.

Soboroff saw Rihanna at Sunday night’s game and explained his idea to auction the phone. She wrote, “Sorry! I ♥ LAPD. Rihanna,” on the phone.

The commission president says the singer went a step further and pledged $25,000 to help fund police cadets from underprivileged backgrounds and the families of fallen officers.

[T]herefore, as I live,” says the Lord GOD, “I will prepare you for blood, and blood shall pursue you; since you have not hated blood, therefore blood shall pursue you. (Ez. 35:6)

Hate is a noun that could be a verb. Godly hatred of sin has action just as its ungodly counterpart does;  it takes energy and is passion. Hatred for the act of bloodshed is not hatred for people who are victims in this spiritual war. We hate bloodshed, the acts of darkness so we can love people to walk in light. Prayer is one of the primary ways in which we love people. On our own we are powerless. We may convince one person to change a decision or alter a path by the power of persuasion, but no persuasion is greater than that which is fueled by heaven.

We start with prayer, both privately and publicly, both silently and vocally, but then we carry out that revelation into the world. We vote righteously, for those who stand for Life. We volunteer at Teen crisis centers, not only out our desire to do good but out of prophetic revelation of truth. We give our money to various programs and causes, to those who work in the Life movement full time. Our prayers fuel our prophetic voice and we act.

This is why God holds prayer up as the solution for a nation riddled with the bloodshed of the innocent:

So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. (Ez. 22:30)

 

 

We don’t want to be found not standing in the gap. As the law enforcement of our land is being charged guilty with the senseless killings of men of color and mass incarceration is targeting people of all colors and age groups, but predominantly the black race of our land, literally we are allowing our nation to be polluted with bloodshed. God makes no hesitation on our need to speak out against this injustice, first through our prayers:

 

Therefore He said that He would destroy them, Had not Moses His chosen one stood before Him in the breach, to turn away His wrath, lest He destroy them. (Ps. 106:23)

 

Then through our vocal actions:

 

Open your mouth for the speechless,
In the cause of all who are appointed to die. (Proverbs 31:8)

 

Our prayers must be the force that drives our voices on injustice of any kind.  We speak from the place of prayer, but we speak out against the face of evil, against powers and principalities and rulers of darkness (Ephesians 6), on behalf of those for whom Jesus died—especially the those who had no silver spoon or a chance to get an opportunity of equality because of a broken system riddled with HIDDEN AGENDAS and IDEOLOGIES passed down from for fathers fueled with HATE  who never get a voice.


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1950, 1963,2013, What’s It Matter- We Still Hate

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What do the deaths of Sanford, Fla., teenager Trayvon Martin, Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi and former Marine Kenneth Chamberlain have in common? The fact that they are perceived as “the other” by mainstream society, due to the fact that they were not white (Martin and Chamberlain) or straight (Clementi). It is this “otherness” which compels people to dismiss their deaths as acts of racism and homophobia. Racism and other phobias have evolved into the demonization of “the other,” a reflection and byproduct of changing demographics, and the inability of those to adapt to these changes due to either fear or the wish to return to the “good old days.”These are not isolated incidents but a symptom of a new racism that is not perpetuated just by white but also by people of color, as in the case of George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin’s killer who is of Hispanic descent. This new racism stems from the need to identify with the dominant ideal of being American, which in our society still means being heterosexual and white. These perpetrators have internalized the new racism (and homophobia) by seeking to be a member of the dominant society and targeting individuals whom they don’t consider their equals. Examples of this disturbing trend abound in the press and are highly influenced by socio-economic factors such as education and class. In the case of Clementi, it was a young man of Indian descent who felt it was right to harass his white roommate as he felt his alleged homosexuality was his “otherness,” an excuse to victimizing him. In the shooting of Trayvon Martin, it was the same “otherness” which compelled Zimmerman, a man of mixed heritage, to single out and target a young black boy perceived as “the other” assumes he was “up to no good.” Often people choose to believe hate crimes happen are isolated incidents and that they don’t reflect the feelings of the larger society. They prefer to define the criminal(s) as just “bad people” who are not necessarily racist or homophobic. But the reality is different and it reflects a still pervasive racism, or fear of “the other,” by mainstream, white and heterosexual society. These expressions of racism are not limited to actual killings. Every time a person thinks of the other as being less educated, or immigrants, or a from a different ethnicity, styles of dress or any reasons to justify the denomination of someone, this new racism is at work. Something we all should reflect as we see these hate crimes increasing in front of our eyes.

 

 

 

 

Racist polarization, promoted in theatrical fashion by the corporate media, distracts people from the real cause of class and racial division — an economic and social system designed for exploitation and predation by a hereditary elite. If we are feeding on each other, if we perpetually with the passing of each generation fall victim to class and racial warfare, we will never recognize the real criminal class victimizing us all.

 

What’s going on here? What are the figures in the picture of gummy bears thinking? [This guy’s different; why is he a different color? Why is she not the same as us; others seem to feel the same way; should we eat it?] What is the figure in the middle thinking? [Why are they surrounding me? I feel pretty uneasy here; why are they all pink? Where are my friends? Are they going to eat me? I wish I was at home in bed] Have you ever felt this way? Out of place. In the wrong place at the wrong time. In the minority? Surrounded by difference and the unfamiliar? Perhaps the object of derision? Perhaps a victim Today we’re going to be looking at three different things…three “ism’s”. Racism. Sexism. Classism. The reason for this is that, even though compared to our various class of people we may feel, as Americans, that we are pretty much ok regarding these three words…the reason is that these “ism’s” exist in our country, in our province, in our city, in our neighborhoods and, shockingly perhaps, even here…in us. Now we probably think of ourselves as a pretty tolerant people.

 

America prides itself on its diversity. Since the days of Immigrants migrating to America we have valued the fact that we’re a multicultural society. We’re multi-ethnic, multi-language, multi-faith, multi-everything people. There was an ad recently in the newspaper of a middle-eastern country that had encouraged radical fundamentalists to kill a Canadian. An Australian dentist, in response wrote the following to help define what a Canadian is, so they would know one when they found one. A Canadian can be English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian, Jamaican, Romanian or Greek. A Canadian can be Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, from the Islands, Korean, Guinean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, Arab, Pakistani or Afghan. A Canadian may also be a Cree, Metis, Mohawk, Blackfoot, Sioux, or one of the many other tribes known as native Canadians. A Canadian’s religious beliefs range from Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu or none. So, apparently, Canada is a pretty diverse country. Yet in all of its diversity I want to suggest that we are not immune from these three “ism’s”, among others. Let me ask you: What is racism? [The belief that differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.] What is sexism? [Discrimination or devaluation based on a person’s sex, as in restricted job opportunities; esp., such discrimination directed against women]. What is classism? [a biased or discriminatory attitude based on distinctions made between social or economic classes.] So these are biases. Prejudices. Boxes that we put people in. Decisions that we make about people before we know them…based on what they wear, what kind of money they have, or based on the color of their skin and based on being male or female. So…so what? Isn’t that just part of life? Isn’t it best just to accept this stuff and get on with the difficult business of living? And if these kind of attitudes show up in the church…well…what do you expect?…the church is made up of people just like everybody else…nobody’s perfect, right? Hmm. I wonder. Well…the church belongs to God, right? What does God have to say about all this? First, let’s look at a passage from James that pretty much hits the nail on the head regarding social equality. James 1:1 My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 2 Suppose someone comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor person in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the one wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the one who is poor, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. James, the brother of Jesus, is addressing a problem that was both a common practice in general and something that was going on in the early church in Jerusalem. And it’s something that happens today. The first thing James does is identify the problem: Favoritism. And then he explains what he means. An interesting little tidbit of information…this verse, or the issue that this verse addresses, is part of the reason CATM exists. You see, back before Church at the Mission emerged out of a merger between Alamo Community Church and Battle Street Mission’s Church on the Street at Lincoln Ave, and before Church on the Street existed, we had a problem. A great many youth and older folks who were coming to the mission on Battle Street became Christians. That wasn’t the problem. The problem was, we didn’t see ourselves as a church. So when people became Christians we would send them off to churches around the city. They would go, and they would feel extremely out of place. Extremely uncomfortable, kind of like our friends here. Maybe it was due to their clothing. Maybe it was due to the formality they found. Maybe it was their aroma. Whatever the reason, they would go to these churches and then they would come back to us, by the dozens, and say to us: “We are comfortable at the mission. We don’t fit anywhere else”. So we would go with them and try to coach them through connecting with a local congregation. They would come back to us by the dozen and tell us: “The mission is where we learned about Jesus. This is where we accepted Christ. This is where we are being discipled. This is where we are accepted for being who we are. This is where we were baptized. So…you…be…our…church”. We heard that about a hundred times and then we started to wonder: “Do you think God is saying something to us?” So, because our friends who were coming to Jesus were not welcomed and not made to feel accepted or comfortable at other churches, we started Church on the Street, which eventually merged with Alamo Community Church and became “us” today. That’s a little history for you. It’s important to know where we came from. So…back to James. The first thing James does is identify the problem: Favoritism. And then he explains what he means. James 1:1 My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favouritism. 2 Suppose someone comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor person in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the one wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the one who is poor, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Notice here the way James sets this up. He’s observing a distinction between the way believers and non-believers act. The distinction, and why it matters, is based in Jesus. Those without a connection to Jesus, those who do not know Jesus as Lord, may act in an opposite manner as it suites them. But for us…for those who recognize the beauty and glory and majesty and Lordship of Jesus, there is a different standard. That standard is rooted in God’s attitude, most notably expressed in Romans 2:11 “For God does not show favouritism”. That seems pretty clear. James talks here about the way a person presents. Do we have nice jewellery? Fine clothes? Things that I want, that I have? “Hmm, you’re one of us…Oooo…please, please sit here and enjoy the best seat in the house. Let me tuck in your bib”. Why might that approach be less than desirable to God for His people? [Superficial preference; it’s about our comfort with familiarity over being welcoming to others] Or, “Do your clothes need a wash? Are they worn? Do you mind standing, it seems we’re short of chairs. Or better yet, sit on the floor by my feet and I’ll toss you some bread”. What’s going on there? [Superficial preference; viewing people’s worth through their clothing, status] Unspoken Scripture on PPT: “1 Sam 16:7b The LORD does not look at the things human beings look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” Now we might think that we’re just accustomed to feeling comfortable with people who dress like us, who have what we have. We might be inclined to say: “It’s only natural”. But James, in his rather blunt way, says: “No. That’s not it. Don’t be deceived. “Have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” Ouch. So what I consider “natural” social difference, “normal” distinctions, perhaps I would even like to frame it as a type of positive ‘discrimination’, James is saying; God is saying: These are evil thoughts. Thoughts that are not of God. Social class distinctions are counter to the Kingdom of God. They separate us when God is about unity. They divide along superficial lines when God’s intention is to unite all people in Jesus. James goes on: 5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. James hits on a profound truth that’s been true for a very long time. Wealth…where we live and how much padding is in our bank account…insulates us from suffering but also from each other. And the privileges of wealth tend to hide from people their neediness. If we’re not aware of physical hunger, we may not be able to identify spiritual hunger. If we’re not tuned into the neediness in the depths of our stomachs we may have a great deal of difficulty tuning into the neediness in the depths of our souls. Of course it’s natural to want to be safe. To have enough. To have what is necessary to live. To avoid suffering at all costs. There’s a built in problem here though. I sometimes hear people responding in shock to the experience of suffering, when it happens to them. When a loved one dies or a child develops diabetes or we find ourselves less-able that we use to be in some fashion. We can quickly question God. Where were You when my child died, God? Where were you when my brother died? When that child was abducted? When I was suffering and going through hell? And I have to ask something…why wasn’t I asking that same question when a hundred other children were suffering? When someone else’s brother or sister or mother or father was dying? Why wasn’t I upset enough to question God then…Why did it take my own suffering to make me wonder, to make me ask my questions? Wealth insulates you from my suffering, if you’re wealthy. My wealth prevents me from entering your pain…enough to really care for you, enough to be enraged at the injustice of life. Enough to be close to the suffering of others, in part so that when I suffer personally…when my child is in hospital or my brother is dying…I have a connected perspective. Suffering is not new to me, because I have dared to be close to others who are suffering. The Bible’s condemnation of classism is nothing more or less than a rejection of the notion of people separating themselves along lines that DO NOT matter. God’s intention is that the church be a place where all people come as equals under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. There are other lines that DO NOT matter. There are other ways that people distinguish themselves from each other which are counter-Kingdom. Paul talks about some of these lines. Galatians 3:26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. TNIV An American couple adopted a son from Korea and named him Eric. Several years went by. Eric was now five years old. The family was having lunch in a restaurant, and Eric made conversation with a boy at the next table. The boy asked Eric, “Why don’t you look like your mom?” Eric replied, “Cause she’s a girl.” This passage of Scripture from Galatians is about what family Christians belong to, and what Christians look like. We look like our father. Galatians 3:26 says, “In Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.” Briefly, Paul’s main concern as he wrote to the Galatians was the fact that there were some within the ranks of the Galatian church who said that the ritual of circumcision had to happen before a person received Christ. They were locked into the notion of fulfilling this requirement of the Old Testament law. If you didn’t agree, you were second-class at best. This of course was a serious threat to the gospel. Paul counters this argument effectively in many ways earlier on in the letter to the Galatians, but here…here he gets at the heart of the matter. Differences between people that used to matter…racial differences– being a Jew or a Gentile (a non-Jew)…does it matter any more in Christ? No! Are there differences? Of course! Do they matter enough to separate us? Of course not! Class differences-Paul uses the biggest class difference of his day and a terrible, unavoidable reality of his day-Paul use the biggest class difference he could think of to illustrate his point– If you were a slave or a free person…does it elevate or diminish you in God’s Kingdom, in the church of Jesus Christ? Of course not! And what about gender differences? Are there differences between the sexes? Of course! Do they matter so that those differences should impact our communal life together? Of course not. But why? Why don’t obvious differences make any difference to God? V.26 “In Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith…” We have “clothed ourselves with Christ”. And this most important thing that we have in common…we are children of God through faith in Jesus Christ alone…this similarity dwarfs and actually eradicates any other difference. And this does not just apply to salvation. Some would say that Christ unites us across racial lines and class lines and gender lines for salvation only, but that for things like leadership in the church and elsewhere, those lines still have relevance. The only problem with that is Paul is not separating salvation and function in his statement. Slaves in the church were precise equals with free-people. A slave was as likely to be an elder in a church as someone who was not a slave. People of different classes were to be precise equals with each other. A poor person was just as likely as someone wealthy to be a deacon or elder. And men were to be precise equals with women. That’s why we have examples in the Scriptures of women who were in key leadership roles like Priscilla, Dorcas…and one of them – Junias sometimes translated Julia – was, as Paul said in Romans 16: “Outstanding among the apostles”. A female apostle!?! Hmm! That’s why in a society in which women were not counted as full members of a Jewish congregation and were discouraged from studying the law, Jesus taught women along side men. Christ is the One who breaks down barriers and blurs distinctions. There are no such lines of discrimination in Christ. The reason the Word of God speaks out against racism and classism and sexism is those things are all AGAINST LOVE. And it is love to which we are called…to live lives of love among one another and in our community and more profoundly toward God. And as profound as love for God can be and should be, God truly, truly cares about how we treat one another. And God has made it very, very clear that we are to treat one another as equals, as fellow children of God. We talk about these things because we believe in the value of understanding the Word of God and one another. We believe in regularly challenging our attitudes to make sure they line up with the Word of God. So when the world comes to the door of this mission…when every tribe and every tongue shows up here at CATM, we can welcome one and all with open arms. When leaders in the church emerge from every grouping, we can celebrate our unity in Christ in the midst of our racial and ethnic and economic diversity. When you see pastors standing before you, male or female…you have the liberty to celebrate that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Amen? Amen!!!