Friday, October 31, 2008

Old School Friday #37..... "WE'RE A WINNER" Obama Fight Song

Curtis Mayfield, member of The Impressions and successful solo artist, is known for pioneering social consciousness into R&B music. Many of his compositions or recordings with The Impressions are noted for their social awareness and became anthems of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.

For a:
CONTEMPORARY GOSPEL REMIX (My Name is Victory) by Jonathan Nelson

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


"The more you watch, the more you see," states an African proverb.

As the presidential candidates present their closing arguments, perhaps more can be learned not by what has been heard, but by what has been seen. Along with the conclusion of the presidential campaign, Domestic Violence Awareness Month also winds down.

Nearly 1,400 women a year or 4 per day die in the United States due to domestic violence. Yet, President Bush's FY 2009 budget proposed a $120 million cut from the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), elimination of the balance of the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Fund, and only $122.6 million for the Family Violence Prevention Services Act (FVPSA)- $52.4 million less than the level for which it was authorized.

John McCain, who voted against the landmark 1994 VAWA, calling it "ineffective and ill-conceived," appears to have no current policy or statement regarding Domestic Violence. Barack Obama, however, has a clear policy: Ending Violence Against Women and Children .
This policy aims to make Domestic Violence a White House Priority, reduce Domestic Violence, support victims' economic security, strengthen criminal laws, and increase funding of the VAWA.

Since Senator Obama has been in the U.S. Senate, he cosponsored and helped reauthorize VAWA and introduced legislation to provide $25 million for prevention and victim support and has been a longtime supporter of domestic violence shelters.

In addition, Senator Joe Biden has been a champion in the fight against domestic violence and sponsored the original 1994 VAWA legislation. Biden has also promised, if an Obama administration is elected, to create a full-time White House staff advisory position with the responsibility to coordinate a focused Domestic Violence effort and report on violence against women.

Obama states:
"So often, victims of domestic abuse suffer in silence - they don't know where to turn, and they often have no one to turn to. And so it's easy to think that one of these victims could be somebody you love - a mother, a daughter, or a sister... I want you to know that you're not alone in this struggle - that there are people listening and fighting with you to bring this issue out of the darkness of isolation and into the light of justice. I want you to know that I'll continue to be one of those people."

He who has a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor. Proverbs 22:9

for complete story

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Dirty Work

One of the more famous quotes of Carter G. Woodson, the "Father of Black History," and major contributor to the understanding of the link between proper education and true freedom states:

When you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his "proper place" and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told.

I believe that the application of this truth can be extended to much of the nonsense we see taking place in the current presidential campaign. Woodson, in his original context was talking about blacks carrying out the desires of their oppressors without being forced or told, being conditioned to conform by years of exploitation.

The absence of direct participation or conspiracy in the despicable acts of rage and hate that are being reported does not indicate innocence. The inflammatory rhetoric of McCain/Palin always results in predictable responses. "He's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country." Response: "kill him!" When Palin blamed Katie Couric and her questions for her poor interview performance, the Palin supporters responded by shouting a racial slur at an African-American media person. While there are numerous other examples, the point is that when there are minds that are not right to begin with or minds that are conditioned to respond to certain negative stimuli, the dirty work will be carried out without direct instruction.

The dangerous and reckless Ashley Todd stunt, which relied on a tried and tested formula of a white woman claiming assault by a black male, is the dirty work designed to engender support for the McCain candidacy and fan the flames of rage in order to create doubt in or aversion to the Obama candidacy. It was the natural extension of robo-calls, terrorist by exaggerated association accusations, cultural difference fears, and not so subtle racial insinuations.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow.

Galatians 6:7

Friday, October 24, 2008

Honor and Respect

What a blessing to us are those who paved the way, making rough places smooth for us to walk. Their wisdom, knowledge, and experience are invaluable. Their foundational contributions and position as forerunners deserve appreciation and respect. We also owe it to them to be a part of the continuing legacy of sacrifice for others.

I am reminded of your genuine faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother, and then in your mother; and now, I am sure lives in you also.

2 Timothy 1:5

Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress

1 Timothy 4:13-15

Piggy-backing from Sagacious Rambling and ABC News:

Old School Friday..."The Man With The Voice of an Angel"

Back Down Memory Lane took me to Eddie Holman, dubbed by Smokey Robinson as "The Man With The Voice of an Angel." Eddie was molded by the Philly soul scene, singing with The Delfonics and The Stylistics. This solo recording in 1970 was a remake of Ruby and the Romantics' originally "Hey There Lonely Boy."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Next Generation

Protect and Not Neglect: Their Minds, Their Bodies, Their Spirits

I have written to you who are mature in the struggle because you know the way. I have written to you who are young because you are strong.

1 John 2:14b

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Realistic Expectations

If we have to wait until ideological purity is achieved, we'll be waiting for God ot. I don't know about you, but I ain't got the time.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.

Mark 6:11

Sometimes we waste time trying to change the opinion of others instead of the condition of ourselves. God is about reversing the usual order of things and sometimes says rather, "I'm going to empower and liberate YOU."

Redressing our grievances and making sure that justice is administered will depend upon us and not others. May we faithfully accept and use all of the mercies and privileges which God has extended toward us through the suffering and sacrifice of others.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Nonconformists or Opportunists?

Colin Powell, in his endorsement, called Sen. Obama a "transformational figure." This term brought to mind Martin Luther King Jr.'s sermon The Transformed Nonconformist, based on Romans 12:2 "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds." King depicted conformism as a tyrant that held people prisoner against acting against prevailing mores by fear of being ostracized. There are consequences for walking to the beat of a different drummer, yet Colin Powell has become the symbol of a growing list of those who have crossed party lines to endorse Sen. Obama over John McCain. Will this momentum turn into an avalanche? Does this striking shift by Republican politicians, publications, and adherents represent true transformation, a renewing of the mind and attitudes or is it a "Jumping of the Ship" in order to save oneself?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Give Yourself To The Movement

Make it an Intergenerational (Old/New School) Collabo/Combo Weekend. Give yourself to the movement, Worship, and get some R&R

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

You Shall Know Them By Their Fruits

Every Sunday morning before and after worship, scores of children trickle into my office to greet and hug me. For a long time, I thought that I possessed some type of "It" factor which made me popular with children and young folk, until an observant and spiritually wise First Lady deflated what is the bane of many preachers - my ego. She said to me "These children are hungry." They had been walking out with goodies on my desk and which I keep around. I did notice that I had to replenish quite frequently.

A growing number of those coming into the church are women. This is no surprise, however the overwhelming number are those who are unmarried, have children, and are living at or below the poverty line. There are disturbing trends in child poverty and extreme child poverty. One in three black children are poor and one in six is in extreme poverty. Poverty increased to reach 3.8 million black children and extreme poverty increased to reach 1.8 million in 2006. At my church, we have instituted several programs which provide food in addition to other program goals. We also provide food and childcare to children whose mothers come to ministry meetings and other church-related functions. None of the food has gone to waste. In addition, our mentoring sessions reveal growing incidences of stress-related illnesses and many other traumatic consequences experienced by women who are trying to navigate poverty.

In the chapter 21 of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus caused a tree that produced marvelous foliage but lacked fruit to wither because it was useless. Likewise any institution, including the church, governmental administration, leader, or organization - regardless of ornamentation - that does not satisfy the hunger of the times (physical or spiritual), is useless and will eventually fade into insignificance. The question that needs to be asked, particularly of our presidential candidates in this perilous economy, is what have you done to satisfy the hunger of children and their mothers?

Please look at the scorecard that reveals the voting records of the presidential candidates in order to see who is working for children and who isn't. Obama has worked for children 85% versus McCain, who is one of the worst advocates in the entire congress.

In addition, we need politicians whose policy priorities include closing the gender gap by supporting increased funding in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) fund, family planning, child care and head start, nutrition programs, unemployment compensation benefits which because of out-dated eligibility rules disproportionately disqualify women, paid sick leave legislation, and restoration of rights to challenge pay discrimination.

"You shall know them by their fruits."

Monday, October 13, 2008

All Are Guilty

The most impressive statement, in my opinion, made by Democratic Presidential Nominee Obama today to an electric crowd was the straight talk concerning the difficulties that we will continue to face in the future even after he is elected. "We are going to have to prioritize, make choices, and learn to live without things we don't need." He went on to say that we ALL are guilty (from Wall Street to Main Street - I add even Backstreet) of living beyond our means. Indeed the country has been permeated with a culture of greed and conspicuous consumption/materialism - the Church and the hood not excluded. This statement also exposed the double standard hidden in the ideology of personal responsibility. It is hypocritical to accuse Backstreet (or Blackstreet) and excuse other Streets of behavior that is not decent.
The future will depend upon responsible behavior of us all if we are overcome the deep hole that we are in.

Obama also unveiled a new economic plan. See Fumbling Toward Divinity for a full transcript. The items that I feel are helpful to Backstreet as well as Main Street include a) 90 day foreclosure moratorium, b) the Fed and Treasury to establish a mechanism whereby they can lend to State and Municipal Government, c)elimination of taxes on unemployment compensation, and d) funding for new jobs in infrastructure and alternative energy such as solar or wind. All of these will be beneficial to Backstreet in addition to Main St. even though the benefits may arrive indirectly. It is at the least, a step in the right direction.

In The Nasty Now and Now

The Obama campaign called me late last night and offered an invitation to attend his large rally which comes through our city today. I had not planned to go because of the expected large crowds but could not turn down the offer of VIP seating. We have heard much stump talk regarding Wall Street and Main Street but I am concerned as well about those who live on the Backstreets whose issues are too often deferred to the sweet by and by instead of being provided solutions for the nasty now and now. In this presidential campaign, Who speaks for Backstreet America? Is it taboo or even risky for the two mainstream candidates to even bring up Backstreet's issues?