Saturday, December 12, 2009

THIS IS NOT A TIGER MOMENT!



My marriage is fine. Besides, I'm not a celeb or a playa. However, for the past month and a half (or longer),Civic and Parish duties have continued to consume more and more of what little available time I had. As usual, the tasks without deadlines get pushed into the 'low priority' bin.

So in this formal announcement of my furlough I am stating the obvious...but I SHALL RETURN!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Approaching Dawn: OSF Songs that Inspire



When you listen to this 1975 hit by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes it appears that nothing has changed in 35 years. In many ways that is true as we look around and see all that is wrong in society.

However, there is also much work that is being done under the radar including a rising tide in advocacy and social change. Many of the participants include both male and female feminists, youth from the Joshua or Hip Hop generation, churches and non-religious community organizations.

Don't Sleep Through the Revolution!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fruitful Despite Forbidden: OSF Sade



Despite a supreme court decision (Loving v. Virginia) in 1967 and a bi-racial President of the United States in 2009, only 77% of Americans approve of black/white interracial marriage even today. Blogs BlackgirlinMaine and Nordette grapple with this issue and the nonsense in Louisiana.

Lead singer Sade Adu, according to Wipikedia, was born to parents Bisi Adu, a Nigerian lecturer in economics of Yoruba background, and Anne Hayes, an English nurse who met in London and moved to Nigeria.

After the marriage ran into difficulties, 4 month-old Sade along with her older brother Banji returned to England with their mother Anne Hayes to live with her parents. Growing up in England, Sade was influenced by soul artists like Curtis Mayfield, Donny Hathaway, and Marvin Gaye.

Interracial relationships continue to produce superb fruit despite human interdiction and prohibition.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I'm Tired Now but Y'all Go 'Head On: OSF Songs I Detest but Know All the Words

Sometimes too much of a good thing either makes you sick to the stomach or just too tired to take it anymore. I ain't tryin' to slow anyone else's roll, but for my own sanity, these are a couple of songs that I initially enjoyed but really don't want to hear for a few more decades:

I Gotcha:



Don't Worry:

Friday, October 9, 2009

Old School Friday: Freshman Year High School



The lyrics say it all:"I needed someone to understand my ups and downs; You were better to me than I was to myself; I want to stop and thank you....How Sweet it is to be loved..."

Otherwise, I never could have made it. Grace and Mercy.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Grown Children


Last week featured grown folk behaving badly and adults gone wild. From Serena Williams’ temper tantrum and tirade at the U.S. Open tournament to Kanye West’s disgusting and ill-timed protest of an MTV VMA award winner and from Republican U.S. Representative Joe Wilson's disrespectful outburst during President Barack Obama’s speech at a joint congressional session to the hissyfit thrown by conservative pundits, politicians and parents who jumped up and down to prevent the President’s speech to school children from being shown in class and labeling it as a “scheme to indoctrinate our youth into the president's socialist cult,” the cuttin' up rolled on seemingly out of control.

However, while grown people acting childish - impetulant, irrational, impatient and self-preoccupied – is ugly and sad, the growing presence of children who, because of the current economic crisis are forced to prematurely bear the weight of grown-up pressures is even more shameful, disgusting and disgraceful. It is also a subject that goes almost unnoticed.

Only 20 percent of teens are able to get jobs leaving over 1.5 million unemployed and 12 million young people without food. There are 14.1 million children or one in five, who are poor and living in poverty in the richest nation on earth according to The Economic Policy Institute. In 2009 a quarter of all children in this country will be living in poverty and by 2010 the child poverty rate will be 26.6%. This would represent an increase of 10.4 percentage points from 2000 to 2010. The EPI terms it – truly a lost decade.

Nearly 800,000 homeless youth are in schools attempting the nearly impossible feat of learning while simultaneously sharing in their parents' physical and mental anguish concerning how they will eat, handle illness, buy daily necessities, and pay for utilities, rent or mortgages.

I used to fret over what was termed "the first generation of African American children who grew up outside of the black church." But to also have to grow up in the hopelessness and despair of the 21st century's economic crisis and never experiencing access to the jobs and material resources of previous generations is exponentially worse. It means that the normal stage of innocence and children's future have been stolen by having to shoulder poverty, unemployment, crime, drugs, violence, HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancy and other effects of inequality and economic disaster.

Growing up too late is a pity, but growing up too soon is a tragedy.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

When Profit-Motive Meets Poverty




Contemporary portraits of poverty are usually painted with wide brushstrokes of individual responsibility, educational failure, moral deficiencies and even race or cultural factors. Always in the shadows but seldom mentioned in poverty discussions is the role or impact of corporate policy and the business decisions which often exacerbate the plight of the poor and vulnerable.

The Kroger Co., with annual revenues of $76 billion and a history of closing grocery stores in low income or “less desirable” neighborhoods that don’t fit its high-end image, has announced that it will conclude the lease on its Toledo, Ohio store at 559 E. Manhattan on October 10, 2009. Yet new stores are planned or under construction for two suburban stores including an 80,000 sf. store in Waterville scheduled to open in 2010.

Terry Glazer, Chief Executive Officer of United North Development Corporation, who has been actively involved with the issue feels that the needs of the community and the effects on the neighborhood Kroger leaves behind are not something that has been sufficiently considered. “They are grossing two hundred thousand dollars a week and a million per month, making a profit and the building owners have given them favorable lease rates and offered to help with expansion. Kroger is abandoning the older neighborhoods and leaving behind a loyal customer base, many of whom don’t have transportation to get to other supermarkets.”

Read entire essay @ The Sojourner's Truth

Thursday, September 3, 2009

1st Things 1st, Cuddling: Old School Friday

Several Isley ballads come swiftly to mind i.e. Voyage to Atlantis, For The Love of You,etc. but they remind me more of "baby-making" music. What about "fore-time"?

I chose to go with this Luther selection because cuddling, like the experience of being smitten, captivated, enamored and in love - heightens the pleasure of such things. 1st things 1st.ROMANCE!!!



The music of Angela Bofill, the Latina Diva, born to a Cuban father and a Puerto Rican mother also for me, sets a great mood and atmosphere:




Learn more about the Old School Friday Meme here:

Friday, August 21, 2009

Caught Up: Old School Friday Prom Songs

I thought I had expert knowledge, but had no idea of what life was about during my prom days. Being "caught up" but not "caught out there" is nostalgic. It is also an act of grace. Thank God.

You Got Me Goin' In Circles:



Can I?

Original Version



Later Version

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Walking On Turbulent Waters: FemCees Flipping Pain



The "most beautiful music (and artistic expression)comes from pain and struggle."

Black women have a life span that exceeds that of black men by seven years. The reason, I believe, is that they process pain and struggle far more effectively than black men. The men often internalize anger, pain and struggle which becomes destructive as it devolves into health problems. Women, by and large, are able to survive longer because they are able to creatively channel or redirect the negativity into other areas including artistic expression where they have their own unique voice.

The artistic contribution to hip hop by women and of hip hop feminism has long been downplayed, ignored or outright denied. This theme is wonderfully articulated in my personal favorite works such as Home Girls Make Some Noise: Hip Hop Feminism Anthology edited by Gwen Pough, Elaine Richardson, Aisha Durham and Rachel Raimist and Pough's Check It While I Wreck It.

A welcome addition to the literary works of the aforementioned pioneers is Say My Name, a new documentary by Mamamess, directed by Nirit Peled which has been six years in the making.

The documentary promo states:
In a hip hop and R’n’B world dominated by men and noted for misogyny, the unstoppable female lyricists of Say My Name speak candidly about class, race, and gender in pursuing their passions as female MCs. This worldwide documentary takes viewers on vibrant tour of urban culture and musical movement: from hip hop’s
birthplace in the Bronx, to grime on London’s Eastside.


The personal stories of 18 artists, FemCees and Lady DeeJays such as Remy Ma, Rah Digga,Jean Grae, Erykah Badu, Estelle and newcomers Chocolate Thai, Invincible and Miz Korona reveal women balancing their professional dreams with the stark realities of urban poverty, racism, sexism, and motherhood.

The common themes connecting the new work to previously mentioned literary works is women speaking for women and women turning adversity into art.

Gangsta rap is just a part of hip hop, and a dying part at that. It is also the portion owned and distributed entirely by white corporate interests.

Thankfully, there is a new generation with a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them and that operates in a different context.

Included in this "post hip hop" generation are male and female voices whose messages empower rather than denigrate or exploit women.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Old School Friday: Turning Point

What cha' Gonna Do For Me by Chaka Khan was released in 1981, year of my baby's birth causing me to look at life entirely different than I ever had. Can't forget the song, the year, the new birth.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Overlooked not Unheard:OSF First Date Songs










One of its greatest and most talented singer/songwriters is seldom mentioned in conversations concerning the historic heyday of Motown Music. Brenda Holloway, whom soulpatrol.com describes as:
taking some time out, at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, during the late 60's to remind Black women that regardless of whatever is happening in the streets, whatever laws are going to be changed, it is in fact the Black Woman (and NOT the government), who is going to set the Black man free.


One reason for her underexposure may be because she commuted between Los Angeles (her place of birth and residence). It eventually became burdensome, yet she did avoid the hard partying of some of her company colleagues. She retired from music at age 22 and eventually wed a minister after lax promotion by Motown and disdain for the party life. You can find her discography at Soully Oldies.

I remember slow dancing to this sultry and sexy Brenda Holloway cut mingled with pain and anguish at a 1960s party as a young teen. One of my first.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Next? Or Not!



I have been getting spiritually re-energized at the 15th annual Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry. The theme this week is not only appropriate and insightful, but also timely: Charting a Course for the Next Generation.

Also timely is a new report which shows that human reproductive health is rapidly spiraling downward in correlation with a 30% increase in the number of chemicals approved for commercial use since 1979.

For women, this has resulted in increased fertility problems, miscarriages, preterm births, birth defects and children with learning and behavioral disorders. For men, there is an increase in male genital defects and declining sperm counts.

Exposure to these chemicals are believed to come through consumer products such as contaminated food, household products and cosmetics, or those used for industrial activities such as metals, pesticides, plasticizers, and other substances. When exposure is combined with inadequate health care and poor nutrition the consequences are devastating particularly minorities who are affected disproportionately.

This contemporary generation of youth has, like our urban areas and inner cities, also been abandoned. Many youth grow or grew up feeling hungry, hated, abandoned, unloved as well as un-parented and uneducated while bearing a constant barrage of put-downs and condemnation of their culture by the generations that preceded them.

While yells or shrieks of rebuke and disdain concerning our youth have been loud and constant, African American cries for environmental justice, which is directly related to youth issues, have yet to reach the legal or legislative decibel level needed to address its tragic consequences.

Who will fight this silent killer and toxic destroyer of our future? Who will give voice to the ecological or economic justice concerns of our young, the poor and people of color? The African American pulpit? Our traditional Civil Rights organizations?

They will if they are to remain viable and relevant 21st century institutions. If not, the rocks or brownfields will cry out!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Ask Me! The Diva of Divas: Old School Friday

Real beauty NEVER FADES.Nowhere is this more in evidence among female entertainers than in Nancy Wilson aka "Sweet Nancy, The Baby" and the "Fancy Miss Nancy."

Born in 1937, she has blessed us with seventy-plus magnificent albums, and received three Grammy Awards to date. Although she prefers the title of song stylist, she excels artistically as a singer of blues, jazz, cabaret and pop. She has also been described as a "consummate actress" and "the complete entertainer."

There are two things about Nancy that are striking to me. Her unfading inner beauty matches her remarkable physical attractiveness. But additionally, her internal and external elegance, grace, and symmetry remain as fine and lovely today as when she began her career many years ago.


Friday, July 3, 2009

Bad Choices: OSF Going On Your Own

The desire for independence and the casting off of restraints or constraints can end up with promise (as in Abraham's looking for a better country) or disappointment as in the case of the prodigal who had to return home.

Philippé Wynne (born in Detroit and raised in Cincinnati)began his singing career as a gospel singer. He switched to R&B, singing with Bootsy Collins's Pacesetters in 1968 and with James Brown's J.B.'s shortly thereafter. Wynne then starred as the lead singer in the popular R&B group The Spinners, joining them in the early 1970's replacing his cousin, G.C. Cameron.

After a number of top-selling albums and singles with the Spinners, Wynne then launched a solo career, but it was not nearly as successful. He then garnered a measure of success again as he joined George Clinton's Parliament-Funkadelic around 1979. He performed with them on several recordings, and was a featured vocalist on the Funkadelic single "(Not Just) Knee Deep", as well as continuing his solo career which produced the album Wynne Jammin' in 1980, though he never regained the super stardom he had enjoyed with the Spinners.

This song by The Spinners epitomizes bad choices that not only artists make, but all of us make in life:

How Could I Let You Get Away, When I Knew I'd Need Somebody Soon?


With Gene Dunlap:(One of my all-time faves!)
Something Inside My Head


The Solo:
Can't It Wait Til Tomorrow?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Dust It Off!



There is a scene in the Color Purple movie when Sophia lands a devastating punch after being slapped and called a big fat heifer by her estranged husband Harpo's new belle. The band members immediately pack up their instruments, close up their cases and state "Time to go," recognizing the need to leave before all hell breaks loose.

William Shakespeare, in Julius Caesar, Act IV, Scene 3 puts the thought like this:

There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.


It is part of the wisdom of life to know when to catch the flowing tide and not to waste hope and effort on what cannot - at least at the time - be done. There is a time to hold onto and a time to let go; a time to work for reconciliation and a time to shake the dust off one's feet.

When the timing of the tide of opportunity comes very, very early in a new context or relationship it often catches many people off guard and leaves them in a state of perplexity.

Although many were aware of the conflict and controversy at Riverside Church in Manhattan, the sudden resignation of Senior Pastor, Rev. Brad Braxton, PhD. after a mere nine months in the pulpit leaves many in the religious community in a state of stunning amazement.

Dr. Braxton, like his predecessors, continued Riverside's long and storied fight for social justice but found himself in a fierce and relentless battle with a portion of the congregation and the public over his compensation which exceeded $600,000 a year, including a $250,000 salary and a housing allowance. Braxton was exceptionally credentialed and experts on American churches indicated this pay package was well above average among pastors nationwide, but within the range of packages for senior pastors in New York and similar major churches in other big cities.So while the controversy appears to be over pastoral compensation the real argument, and which lies unspoken and beneath the surface is the issue of Black Leadership.

Dr. James Forbes, the previous pastor was also African American but internal fighting for this progressive, pacifist, and iconic 2,700 member well-to-do church built by John D. Rockefeller, has been going on for over a decade. The racial mix has gone from 60/40% white to 60/40% black as an older white generation becomes younger and African American as well as less politicized. These racial and generational changes are bound to spark intense conflict.

The Perils of Black Leadership are legion but the following small sample may provide an indication of the need to evaluate whether to cut ties and move on, shake the dust off of our feet and go in a different direction:

1. The struggle or gap between the leader's vision, leadership or persona and the expectations of the congregants.

Leaders, Pastors in particular, will always be challenged directly or indirectly to live up or down to the congregation's perception of what a pastor should be, look like, and attempt to accomplish. A lot of people prefer leaders that they can shape and mold instead of those who are able to reshape the congregation and congregants. Sometimes this challenge arises out of a struggle to control the leader to maximize one's own personal agenda and is played out by sniping, misreading or mis-characterization of the leader's motives, maligning of his/her family, or other types of subtle and not-so-subtle abuse or control mechanisms.

The leader has to decide to what extent his/her leadership will be determined by these expectations and what level of respect or disrespect he/she can live with. It may be time to shake dust.

2. Trying to minister with the constraint of worry about ordinary personal financial needs being met.


These needs can vary greatly, especially living in a large urban center with a high cost of living. When the institution is not willing or unable to compensate on a level with comparable peers for a given locale and the leader's attention is divided between shepherding and one's own survival, it may be time to shake dust.

3. Trying to make a drastic change of course while the institution itself is changing

A wise man once said "It's unwise to move with a small majority." It's impossible to effectively fight external battles while consuming energy and resources on simultaneous internal wars. Without a mandate, it may be time to shake the dust.

4. The institution of slavery systematically taught slaves and whites that no slave was capable of leading whites or another slave. Therefore black leaders are often rejected by their own as well as majority persons.


Therefore one must know that A leader isn't always the one at the head of the table. A leader is always thinking ahead of any situation. The leader is the one that makes the most sense in crucial situations. Look for leadership where it is most in evidence, not in positions of authority. Anthony Samad


Just Dust it Off!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Same Beat: OSF Dancing Thru Depressions and Recessions

Same Beat by Fred Wesley



We cannot allow ourselves to be defined by "good times" or "bad times." We cannot allow hard times to cover up the calm times, or cause us to forsake the best times yet to come.
Anthony Samad

Youtube video: Max1xxx

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Public Sins of Omission



Statistics do not lie and facts are their own evidence. The over-representation of African Americans and women in negative or dysfunctional categories and their under-representation in areas of wealth and well-being are the visible representation of behind the scenes discrimination in the labor market.

The NFL's Rooney Rule which required all teams to interview at least one minority candidate when seeking to fill its head coaching positions has been expanded to include front office and football operations positions.

The Rooney Rule goes directly at the myth of colorblindness in hiring practices which is used to disguise the legacy and preference for white applicants by mandating that African Americans be included in the pool of people being considered for a job. The omission of blacks and women from the interview process makes visible the hidden agenda and intent of those who favor the status quo.

While the rule is not perfect, it has enjoyed a measure of success in the NFL and is a direct attack upon the problem of lack of opportunity and access provided to blacks in the labor market.

The next step?

Expand the Rule or a modified version to other employment areas where African Americans are scarce such as college football coaching and administration, government, university faculty and other positions as well as in the private sector.

Only by assertive positive endorsement will the behind-closed-door sins of passing on jobs to whites without serious consideration of minority candidates continue.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

All in the Family:OSF



Family by Hubert Laws with Debra Laws on vocals:

One of my favorites, Hubert Laws, Jr. was born in Houston. Many of his siblings also entered the music industry, including saxophonist Ronnie Laws and vocalists Eloise, Debra, and Johnnie Laws. According to Wikipedia, he began playing flute in high school after volunteering to substitute for the school orchestra's regular flutist. He became adept at jazz improvisation by playing in the Houston-area jazz group the Swingsters, which eventually evolved into the Modern Jazz Sextet, the Night Hawks, and the Crusaders. At age 15, was a member of the early Jazz Crusaders while in Texas (1954-1960), and he also played classical music during those years.

This is our home and this is our country. Beneath its soil lie the bones of our fathers; for it some of them fought, bled and died. Here we were born and here we will stay.

Paul Robeson


Youtube video by: Jazzyman 63

Friday, June 5, 2009

Evolution and Revolution: OSF In the Mood

I am in the mood for revising the landscape of my home and creating an urban garden. But I feel even more inspired to take on some new personal challenges and spread out into new spiritual and intellectual areas.
Evolution of self prepares one for revolution of the world.
Anthony Samad

Flowers by The Emotions


Youtube video by max1xxx

Friday, May 22, 2009

To The Preacher's Wife: OSF Dedications

Clergy families and those who serve others professionally live in "glass houses" in that a lot of their day to day activities are for the benefit of others rather than themselves. But who heals the healer? Who gives to the giver? Or who helps the helper? It is impossible to avoid dysfunction or self-destruction without a strong, but loving and understanding spouse. It is also essential to regularly get out of the spotlight and to enjoy private, "mates-only" intimate moments. Everyone needs to know that they are appreciated.

The words from this Marvin Gaye piece are a tribute to the indispensable person at the side of Revvy Rev.


How sweet it is to be loved by you
How sweet it is to be loved by you

I needed the shelter of someone's arms and there you were
I needed someone to understand my ups and downs
and there you were
With sweet love and devotion
deeply touching my emotion
I want to stop and thank you baby
I just want to stop and thank you baby

How sweet it is to be loved by you
How sweet it is to be loved by you

I close my eyes at night,
wondering where would I be without you in my life
Everything I did was just a bore,
everywhere I went it seems I'd been there before
But you brightened up for me all of my days
With a love so sweet in so many ways
I want to stop and thank you baby
I want to stop and thank you baby

How sweet it is to be loved by you
How sweet it is to be loved by you

You were better to me than I've been to myself
For me, there's you and there ain't nobody else
I want to stop and thank you baby
I just want to stop and thank you baby

Friday, May 15, 2009

Impossible Tasks: OSF Greatest of All Time

Coming up with an all-time top ten greatest hit list may be less formidable, but to limit the selection to one song is not possible. What criteria would one use?

I picked two selections which epitomized the greatest movement in history - the Civil Rights/Black Power movement. These songs and the movement were significant in changing our collective mindset, provided a positive sense of self, and improved black images. This collective psyche has since been transcended by middle-class privilege and a culture of violence and misogyny.

The Impressions:



James Brown:

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Beguiled, Gulled, Choused



African Americans, although a mere 13 percent of the population, constitute half of the country’s 2 million prisoners. Also, a tenth of all black men between 20 and 35 years of age are in jail or prison. It is no surprise then, that the public face of crime and one that is placarded by "Get Tough on Crime" proponents is colored black or brown.

However, what is conspicuously missing in public policy and public perception is the dramatic increase, influence, and prevalence of white-collar or institutional crimes. Often shielded from public view and detection by an intricate web of inter-related associations, these gross offenses devastate the lives not of one or two, but entire communities, regions, industries, and segments of the population.

Who speaks for the victims?

U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur (D) Ohio, in yesterday's Congressional hearing peels back layers of the inter-connections between the players and bed-fellows in the sub-prime mortgage mess which wreaked havoc on local communities.

As Representative Kaptur questions AIG Chair and CEO Edward Libby, her premise seems to be that the largest sub-prime lenders such a Goldman Sachs, Wachovia, HSBC, and others made risky predatory loans because AIG as insurer, provided them with a safety net - an arrangement which essentially assumed the risk for lenders with the tax payers ending up paying for the losses. Rep. Kaptur seems to portray this as an elaborate scheme where the local communities and homeowners lose and get lost in the shuffle, while the financial institutions pocket the funds and return to business as usual as if nothing happened.

The stability of of society is dependent on citizens being able to trust financial institutions and their leaders. When the public is hoodwinked or bamboozled, this trust is undermined.

Whenever a crime has been committed reconciliation between the offender and victim should take place. Reconciliation cannot take place without repentance, restitution, and restoration in order that the victims be made whole.



Marcy Kaptur's interview is at 1:44.04 to 1:50.34

Also, See Glass City Jungle the inspiration for this blog post and Politico for related story

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Besprinkled Bestowal



Back in April I received the Noblesse Oblige Award and received it again in early May. To receive this recognition not only once, but twice is humbling. But I think the greatest honor is not in the gift, but in the giver.

It truly is an honor to be accounted worthy of recognition from two of the most esteemed bloggers in the sphere, Sojourner's Place and The Old Black Church. I am extremely grateful.

SjP also touted me for the Splash Award. This award given to alluring, amusing, bewitching, impressive and inspiring blogs. She says of this blog:
All I got to say is that if and when I ever get to Toledo, I'm going to make it a point to visit Revy Rev's church. I'm going to make sure I get there early so that I can have a seat on the aisle. I have no doubt that his posts and comments are mirror images of his sermons and that Sunday may be the very first time that old SjP here gets the spirit - holy dance and all.


That's high praise. Well, come on Sister and get your shout on! I appreciate that very much, but Sis, you and Sis. Annie both - bless me more!

Having forwarded the Noblesse Oblige Award back in April, I will now pass on the Splash Award. I am to select up to 9 blogs I find alluring, amusing, bewitching, impressive, and inspring to me. The rest of the rules are:

1. Put the logo on your blog post.
2. Nominate up to 9 blogs which allure, amuse, bewitch, impress or inspire you.
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have been splashed by commenting on their blog.
5. Remember to link to the person from whom your received your Splash award.

My selections for each of the categories are:

Alluring:

Pjazzy of Traces of a Stream the philosophizing sociologist who presents a sharp insight gleaned from working on the frontlines of the struggle.

Amusing:

Blackgirlinmaine,a geographical pioneer, presents a very unique perspective from that experience and draws you back to her blog for daily visits with her honest, open, witty insight and humor.

Bewitching:

My bro over at A Choice of Weapons (ACOW) is deep and always on point (except thinking the Lakers are better than the Celtics! LOL) He is also very passionate, fiery, and does not mince words. I have a great deal of respect for this blogger.

Impressive:

Although currently on hiatus, Kim at Vanity Dark is a rare, special talent that brings a creativity and artistry to her blog that is uniquely her own. Kim will be known by all of us some day. My prediction is that she will be famous. She may already be.

The Old Black Church is close to my heart, not because of its religious content, but because of its homey, southern, loving, warm and caring spirit and intellect. I don't know how Sis. Annie keeps coming up with all of these topics. She has a wealth of wisdom which is sincerely applied to the moral issues of our day. It is impressive as well as inspiring as her blogs spills over into a couple of Splash categories.

Inspiring:

Sister GP at A Southern Thang, is one that I keep going back to because she is very deserving. She perseveres, and exemplifies in her person what it means to succeed not because of, but "in spite of." So I pass on to her a double portion. It is well deserved.

Also, Verite Parlant at Whose Shoes are These Anyway? is one I consider blogger extraordinaire and creme de la creme. She is not only talented but tireless; not just insightful but incisive, getting straight to the heart of the matter. VP is not broad alone, but attains depth in all of her analysis. Stop by once and you will be a fan forever.

Take a plunge as you visit these Splash alluring, amusing, bewitching, impressive and inspiring Award recipients.

Friday, May 8, 2009

My All-Time Fave, Bar None: OSF Soul Train

I don't know what it is (not really true), but no single entertainer grips my attention like Jody Watley, who began her career on Soul Train at age 14 and became one of the most popular dancers in the show's history. Still going strong as both a performer and entrepreneur, she was influenced by the legendary Diana Ross, and recognized an innovative and influential trendsetter.

This performance, while not from a Soul Train appearance, typifies what I see:

Friday, May 1, 2009

Undisputed Truth from Mama 'Nem: OSF Family Reunion

On the reading list for our youth at my church is a favorite of mine: Mama Used To Say: Wit and Wisdom from the Heart and Soul. By Hannibal B. Johnson.

An abundant supply of words of wisdom are sure to be found at any inter-generational gathering. Old folks are not shy in passing these pearls along. You will remember some of them:

"Feed your enemies with a long-handled spoon." "Words are like toothpaste – once you get them out, there’s no putting them back in." Or, "You can always find an empty seat on a bus going in the wrong direction," "An eye for an eye leaves everybody blind."

Some of those which I passed on to my daughters were: "Don’t get your honey where you make your money." "Finance before romance." "Success doesn’t come to you. You go to it." "The only way to have peace in a relationship is to know how to butter your own bread." "Love whom you will, marry whom you must, but in God only – put your trust." "Too soon we get old; too late we get smart."

Here is another pearl of wisdom which came to us even in much of our Old School music:


The Undisputed Truth



But while the old folks were passing out wisdom, young folk were more interested in
groovin' and finger poppin' with the likes of Johnny Taylor's Disco Lady:

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Holy Common Sense



As a pastor of a small church (translated one that can ill-afford to have folk stay home in great numbers), I have been truly concerned about how the emerging swine flu epidemic may affect us as well as other churches or places of mass assembly.

The revelation and liberation that comes out of the praise and adoration of true worship and public devotion is an experience that I look forward to on Sunday and one that I need after fighting "principalities and powers" all week long.

However, with the current swine flu problems, it is a good idea to modify the traditional holy ways that we greet and fellowship with the saints, replacing them with contemporary common sense.

A large portion if not a majority of the Old Testament law and regulations when originally given, had to do with implications for personal and public health. So please incorporate the CDC recommendations for swine flu in your worship practices.

Please see Swine Flu, Hygiene, and Holy Communion for several other helpful links.

Get your shout on, but remember that those who stand in God's holy place need not only a pure heart but also CLEAN HANDS. Wash and Wash Often!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Storm is Passing Over, Hallelujah!



America has imprisoned more people per capita than anyone else in the world, nearly 2 million persons of which African Americans constitute half despite representing a mere 12 percent of the general population. With a tenth of all black men between 20 and 35 years of age in jail or prison, you are liable to find at least one imprisoned black person in almost every family or extended family circle. Why are so many African Americans in prison?

A case can be made that the answer has something to do with a failed and misguided War on Drugs begun in 1970 under President Richard Nixon that has failed to make any reduction in the percentage of Americans addicted to illegal drugs even after thirty-nine million arrests and a cost of over a trillion dollars. The battle has however, produced a pronounced stamp upon the shape and definition of the criminal justice system and upon African American family life as blacks are 12% of the total population as noted above, 12% of drug users and drug sellers but over-represented at 34% of those arrested for drug offenses and 45% in state prison.

Racial bias in sentencing along with disparate law enforcement practices that has placed its focus and concentrated resources on drug arrests in low-income minority communities while limiting arrests and attention in other neighborhoods certainly is has played a major factor in the over-incarceration of blacks.

This failed strategy may have occurred because the media poster child for drug sellers and substance abusers is the young, urban, black male crime and thug figure operating in the ‘hood while the drug problems of numerous high-profile white movie stars and celebrities are depicted as medical or health issues.

As crime and violence previously confined to the inner cities escalated in rural, suburban, on and off- campus college housing and other previously insulated areas as a result of the decline of crack and the rising demand for prescription drugs and methamphetamines, the epidemic drug problem became more visible and the need for serious attention much more apparent.

While law enforcement practices and courts colored the penal system black and brown, a Nixon/Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush White House, politicians, and the press applied additional coats of color by feeding public fear of crime with racist get-tough punitive pronouncements and an emphasis upon the supply of illicit drugs rather than by curbing the demand or appetite for drugs utilizing rehabilitation methods and prevention as recommended by expert drug policy scholars. The Obama White House, in a dramatic policy shift has indicated that it will push for more treatment rather than incarceration and offer first-time nonviolent offenders a chance to serve their sentences in drug rehab rather than in prison.

The good news for the African American community is that the disparate racial dynamics of the penal system which has been skewed by a failed War on Drugs is changing.

The Sentencing Project's The Changing Racial Dynamics of the War on Drugs in its April 2009 report makes the astonishing announcement that for the first time in over 25 years more whites are going to jail for drugs and that blacks are being incarcerated at a slower rate. The number of African Americans in state prisons for a drug offense declined by 31,000 persons or 21.6% from 1999-2005 while the number of whites incarcerated for drugs increased by 42.6% or an additional 21,000.

The stark, cold present reality is that there are still nearly 1 million African Americans in this 21st century slavery and social control system called prison who are basically excluded from ever becoming productive employees, good husbands and fathers, or contributing members of society.

However, "behind every dark cloud lies a silver lining." Therefore a more positive and productive insight views the trend in declining incarcerations as an occasion to say goodbye to the fading night of thug life and culture of failure and to begin to celebrate a new dawning of liberation and the re-establishment of a culture of achievement and other historically prevalent core values which Africans brought to this land but which we have allowed to slip away such as education, identity, self-determination, inter-dependency and spirituality.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Christianity As We Know It



Dr. Renita Weems, in a prophetic discerning of the times at her blog Something Within, has pointed out a few trends that cause us to either reevaluate our theology or be prepared to see Christianity (as we know it)become an afterthought or footnote in history.

Dr. Weems, notes that Vermont, Iowa, Massachusetts, Connecticut all provide full marriage equality to same-sex couples. New York is considering legislation while the City Council in the District of Columbia just voted to recognize valid same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions even though same-sex couples cannot get married in D.C. It now appears as if in the not too distant future same-sex marriage will be universally accepted in the U.S. as it is doubtful that this rushing tide of momentum can be stopped.

I can also report from the front lines of ministry and community service that defeat in the theological fight for sexual abstinence in teens has pretty much been conceded as adolescent reproductive health remains a pressing social, health and economic issue. The strategy in the fight to reduce teen pregnancy has shifted to contraception and prevention of sexually transmitted disease.

Meanwhile, according to a Pew Forum poll the percentage of people who say they are unaffiliated with any particular faith has doubled in recent years, to 16 percent and the number of people willing to describe themselves as atheist or agnostic has increased about fourfold from 1990 to 2009, from 1 million to about 3.6 million.

The question I think that these trends present is Has Christianity become irrelevant for our day?

My take is that maybe we have misread or misinterpreted the scriptures evidenced by the disparity in our placing great theological emphasis upon one or two issues that comparatively receive very little biblical attention while we gloss over the weightier matters such as love and justice which occur repeatedly throughout the entire bible.

It may be a good thing for a misinformed Christianity to die if it is to be reborn with primary scriptural emphasis of justice, described as the establishment or restoration of fair, equitable, and harmonious relationships in society. This is an ethic which holds that everyone has the same inalienable right as anyone else to life, liberty and wholeness as well as freedom from exploitation, oppression, and victimization.

The other ethic that is foundational to the bible and which Jesus counted as the greatest of all God's commandments and the epitome of all the law and the prophets is love. These principles are missing from public policies and our day to day dealings with one another, the lack thereby producing an inauthentic Christian ethic.

Any confining of Christianity to a narrow legalism, slogan, mantra, law, rule, or 'ism including racism, sexism, classism, homophobism, exlusionism rather than the much larger principles of love, justice, or mercy in its application is indicative of a small god, diminutive faith, and petite mind and as such needs to be replaced by something much larger and more authentic.

related posts:God's Politics

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Good Lookin' out



Last week I received the Noblesse Oblige Award from the most awesome blogger in the sphere, Sojourner's Place. I am extremely grateful and the award is right on time. It provides some much needed assistance as my mind has been running on fumes the past month or so.That was good lookin' Sis.!

This award is presented to:
1/ The Blogger that manifests exemplary attitude, respecting the nuances that pervades amongst different cultures and beliefs.
2/ The Blog contents inspire; strives to encourage and offers solutions.
3/ There is a clear purpose at the Blog; one that fosters a better understanding on Social, Political, Economic, the Arts, Culture and Sciences and Beliefs.
4/ The Blog is refreshing and creative.
5/ The Blogger promotes friendship and positive thinking.

I am passing the Noblesse Obliged Award to:

Pjazzy of Traces of a Stream the philosophizing sociologist who presents a sharp insight gleaned from working on the frontlines of the struggle.

Blackgirlinmaine,a geographical pioneer, presents a very unique perspective from that experience and draws you back to her blog for daily visits with her honest, open, witty insight and humor.

Kim at Vanity Dark is a rare, special talent that brings a creativity and artistry to her blog that is uniquely her own. Kim will be known by all of us some day. My prediction is that she will be famous.

Sister GP at A Southern Thang, is one that I keep going back to because she is very deserving. She perseveres, and exemplifies in her person what it means to succeed not because of, but "in spite of." So I pass on to her a double portion. It is well deserved.

Instructions for passing this award along can be found at here.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Then and Now: If My Mama Only Knew

For obvious reasons I am going to be liberal in my take on this theme (not that I couldn't otherwise.) Anyways, back in the day, I would 'jack moms for her car when she went to sleep, fantasize about my worth, and pass off the car as my own "ride" in order to impress my friends, especially the young ladies. "Keeping up with the Joneses" fever can easily affect all of us and is not to be merely confined to adolescence. However, since that time, I have evolved and learned to Be Thankful for What I Have.






YouTube Video by max1xxx

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Civil Justice Gap



The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees all Americans a right to counsel in criminal cases. However this basic right is not extended to those persons who need representation in civil cases, even those in which the basic needs of food, shelter, health, safety, or child custody are at stake.

According to Tort Deform, between 80% of low-income persons and 40-60% of middle-income persons cannot afford legal representation and many face civic legal crises such as eviction or custody cases at a serious disadvantage in spite of the merits of their case. As a result, those without adequate counsel receive less favorable (and often devastating) outcomes dramatically more often than those with counsel, regularly losing cases that they should be winning.

The Legal Services Corp. (LSC)the single largest provider of civil legal aid for the poor in the nation through its affiliated Legal Aid offices and who is facing funding shortages and laying off staff, has to turn away roughly 50% of those in need of legal representation.

New legislation, called The Civil Access to Justice Act of 2009, will increase funding to that which will provide the minimum level of access to legal aid in every county for the Congressionally-established LSC. Adjusted for inflation, this level would be $750 million in 2009 dollars in order to be at the minimum access standard when it was authorized in 1981. Funding has been slashed since 1995 and is currently at a woefully inadequate $390 million.

The bill also lifts many of the restrictions currently placed on legal tools that LSC-funded attorneys can use to represent their clients including the prohibition on collecting attorney fees and the ability to bring class actions grounded in existing law.

Thanks to senators Tom Harkin, D-Iowa; Edward Kennedy and John Kerry, both D-Mass.; Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.; Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin, both D-Md.; Dick Durbin D-Ill.; Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.; Claire McCaskill, D-Mo; and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore who introduced the bill.

At a time when the poor and vulnerable are fighting to keep their jobs, homes, and provide basic necessities, it is crucial for the government to close the justice gap by providing the right to counsel in important civil matters. This proposed reauthorization and budget increase from $390 million to the minimum level of $750 million will do a lot to ensure that justice is accessible to all.




Also See:Civil Access to Justice

Friday, March 27, 2009

Pressing Towards the Mark: OSF For Grey Days

When things have not gone particularly well, the church says Press On Towards the Mark. Eddie Kendricks repeats the same pearl of wisdom in a slightly different linguistic approach.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I Already Know: OSF Baby, Baby, Baby

I ain't even got to research this one. "Baby" is an old school term of endearment that unlike other generational language, has lasted and is still a part of current usage. After a week off, I will continue my Motown emphasis on each week's theme. Here are three favorite old-school "baby" songs:

The Supremes: Baby, Baby Where Did Our Love Go?


The Four Tops: Baby I Need Your Lovin'


Smokey Robinson and The Miracles: Ooh Baby, Baby

Monday, March 16, 2009

A New Agenda



The shockwaves from the recent economic crisis have been so far reaching that even some of the most stable and largest African American churches have not been immune from severe and catastrophic damage.

The historic 140 year old Metropolitan Baptist Church of Washington, D.C. led by the venerable Dr. H. Beecher Hicks one of Ebony Magazine's 15 greatest preachers in America, recipient of a Doctor of Ministry from Colgate Rochester Divinity School, MBA from George Washington University and Post Doctoral Fellowship at Harvard University finds itself homeless after selling its church in Washington and finding financing for it's partially completed new $30 million campus dried up.

Foreclosures and delinquencies for church mortgages, which historically are one of the most safe and solid loans made by lenders, while not at the level of the private home epidemic, are dramatically increasing. Tight credit has affected lending to churches of all types and sizes, however the devastation is more dramatic when the debt and the church are both mega-sized.

Many of the largest African American churches, like Metropolitan, are providing tremendous ministry and service to the community, but I think that their financial difficulties get our attention and the crisis brings along several lessons that will benefit us for the future.

Most importantly I think that it is a reminder for us to be careful to not continue to get caught up in the bigger is better mentality and bling of prosperity and materialism that the recent black church experience paralleled and shared with that of the secular society.

The failures and difficulties also reawaken us to the value of the ministry of the small church. Small churches, which are more numerous, are able to provide a more intimate, caring, family or more personalized fellowship while also having the flexibility to get things done quickly without peeling through layers of bureaucracy or lengthy debate.

Larger churches have an advantage in the size and scope of ministry that they can provide but small churches can perform quality ministry as well except in fewer areas.


Mega churches have a larger pool to choose from when selecting staff and has more money to obtain trained ministers and administrators. However, a small church which is knowledgeable and creative in obtaining funding can also select quality trained staff but on a smaller scale.

Perhaps the biggest difference, according to Richard H. Bliese, is that small churches can go places and risk ministries that larger churches find undesirable or impossible. They can more easily speak out and become active on controversial issues while the strength of larger churches is in the adeptness to tap into technologies, cultural norms, and trends.

Dr. Renita Weems in a 2005 Ebony article aptly points out that it was in the small churches in small Southern towns and cities like Montgomery and Selma, Alabama that the majestic civil rights battles played out.

It could be that the black church is being reconfigured to once again provide a context to bring social issues that "address the consciousness, realities, and urgencies of contemporary 21st century life" to its agenda. That would then be a rediscovery of a new agenda and its true mission.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

From Paralysis to Protest



There ought to be a place in life where a line in the sand is drawn, where retreat refuses to continue, where inaction is no longer an option, and where enough becomes enough! According to reports there were 2,330,483 properties with foreclosure filings nationwide in 2008. Five percent of the total is in Ohio, of which my resident county posted the top rate in the state where 1 in 30 housing units are in foreclosure. This amounts to losing an estimated 3% per year of the housing stock to the foreclosure process. According to the Center for Responsible Lending, there are an astronomical 6,600 new foreclosures a day nationally; one every 13 seconds.

The economic downturn has also affected the suburban and other areas that have been previously shielded from the foreclosure crisis but has been particularly hard on the African American community that has lost from $73 billion to $93 billion in wealth nationally.

What is tragically unjust is that this flood of foreclosures is occurring while the corporate world and Wall Street are experiencing the highest executive pay and the largest bailouts in history. Corporate CEOs make 344 times the average worker, and the wealthiest 10% of Americans own more than two-thirds of the nation’s wealth. In the last 35 years, the richest 1% of Americans experienced a 62% drop in their federal income tax rate while their incomes increased over 80%. The riches of a few continue to mask the economic dangers faced by the middle , working, and marginalized classes who as the real victims, struggle to buy food, pay fuel and heating costs, maintain health care, and try to remain in their homes while being portrayed as irresponsible perpetrators of self-inflicted suffering.

Banks and financial institutions, on the other hand, and who can be gluttonous as well as miserly but certainly cannot be manipulated or hoodwinked by a financially unsophisticated consumer public, point blame at those who supposedly attempted to “buy more house than they can afford.” Yet banks and mortgage companies have access to tools and information technology such as credit reports, debt ratio calculations, and other methods of credit evaluation.

The truth is, that many consumers took money from a deregulated mortgage lending industry that wanted to lend money to them and assumed mortgages at high rates of interest or adjustable rates that started low but reset later at substantially higher rates and that could balloon by 29-50% which was buried in the fine print. The mortgage brokers and loan originators raked in enormous fees and lined their pockets from these predatory and subprime transactions.

Many of the borrowers were two income households who played by the rules and found themselves in foreclosure only after being laid off because of the recession and weakened economy, the loss of jobs that moved overseas, and high energy costs. Overall, the number of unemployed persons increased by 851,000 to 12.5 million in February alone, and the unemployment rate rose to 8.1 percent, although at 13.4% for blacks and 33% for black teens. Over the past 12 months, the number of unemployed persons has increased by about 5.0 million,and the unemployment rate has risen by 3.3 percentage points.

In addition, the number of those jobless for 27 weeks or more increased by 270,000 to 2.9 million in February. Over the past 12 months,the number of long-term unemployed was up by 1.6 million.

One wonders whether in a crisis of this magnitude and amidst trillion dollar bailouts for the greedy, if families who truly need relief can get rescued?
Rabbi Hillel stated “Every morning we wake up the scales are equally balanced between good and evil. What we do during the day will determine where the scales fall."

Many of those experiencing job loss or foreclosure are paralyzed by the fear and the hopelessness of not knowing where to turn. However, Doing nothing is not an option. It is a day for challenging the power structure that holds people down instead of lifting them up and that holds them back instead of helping them out. "We can no longer be silent or passive while being oriented toward our private wants instead of public needs."

With 8 to 9 million additional foreclosures projected over the next four years, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D.Ohio) suggests that we fight to take back our homes. We can do this by using the courts. If facing foreclosure, you should get legal help to fight for your property and demand that brokers establish the paperwork that proves clear ownership. Many brokers are not able to do this as many of the mortgages were bundled together and sold to foreign investors. Legal and other help or assistance is available through Ms. Kaptur’s office at 419-259-7500, local Fair Housing Centers, legal aid offices, or United Way 211.

President Obama's economic plan will help an estimated 1 in 9 homeowners stay in their homes. 1.6 million additional homes can be saved under the “Helping Families Save Their Homes in Bankruptcy Act of 2009” legislation that has passed the House and is now in the Senate (S.B.61). This bill could require bankruptcy judges to lower the interest rate to as low as 2 percent, reduce mortgage payments to no more than 31% of income or lower the principal owed on the loan. Send an electronic letter to the legislators telling them to "help the people who are hurting rather than the bankers who are threatening them and stop foreclosures without tax dollars by lifting the ban on Judicial Modifications."

Tell them also to introduce legislation and oversight that puts a moratorium on foreclosures while legislation is pending. In addition, advise our leaders to end the abusive lending practices that produced the foreclosure crisis in the first place and to start to focus again on strengthening homeownership, rather than allowing an unsupervised financial services industry to become rich through speculation and predatory lending.

If we are going to emerge from the current economic tsunami the first task will be to repair the damage to the housing market and the lives of working, middle-class, and marginalized citizens. We have already seen that assistance will not come if we continue to sit silently by watching the havoc wreaked on our lives by an uncaring and unchallenged power structure. It will take action to accomplish this and nothing less.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Masking the Pain: OSF Affairs of the Heart

So much of our outward life is a masking of an inner turmoil. Do these Old School selections represent "two sides of the same coin?"

We Party Hearty:Jeffrey Osborne LTD



This Time the Heart is Mine: Luther

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Fashion Me A View: The Top 25



There are many, many writers that have influenced, not necessarily my writing style, but certainly my cultural template or the lens that shapes my perceptions of life and the world around me. Those that have probably had the most effect and which are taken from the various genres of popular fiction,religion, scholarship, social justice, and even children's books, include but are not limited to the following 25:

1. Benjamin E. Mays
2. Derrick Bell
3. Taylor Branch
4. Gwendolyn Pough
5. Elaine Richardson
6. Joan Morgan
7. Alice Walker
8. Maya Angelou
9. Nikki Giovanni
10. James Cone
11. Toni Cade Bambara
12. James Baldwin
13. Jim Wallis
14. Peter Gomes
15. Michael Eric Dyson
16. Samuel D. Proctor
17. Ralph Ellison
18. Zora Neale Hurston
19. Lorraine Hansberry
20. Langston Hughes
21. Virginia Hamilton
22. Angela Davis
23. Howard Thurman
24. Linda Hollies
25. Charisse Carney-Nunes

Ms. Lady Deborah tagged me and I will return the favor to:

Pearl
Pop Art Diva
ProfPC

Friday, February 27, 2009

Branded Black Owned: OSF The Sophomore Year

Everything about the music of Motown - it's sound, the style and fashion of its artists, it's simple sophistication, it's market and cultural dominance, and perhaps most of all the model of black economic independence, entrepreneurship, and self-determination exhibited by founder Berry Gordy - captivated my attention and put its stamp upon me.

To this day, I still have quite an affection for the Motor City. Back in the day, a young player was caught up and just trying to learn to play and play right. These are some of the sounds still indelibly embedded upon his mind.

Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell


The Temptations


Martha & The Vandellas

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Welcomed Court Support



Despite a powerful gun lobby and a society that glorifies violence while disrespecting and insulting women and girls, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 7-2 ruling, upheld the federal ban on gun possession by convicted misdemeanor domestic violence abusers. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, speaking for the majority, cited arguments provided by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, writing that "firearms and domestic strife are a potentially deadly combination nationwide."


Intimate partner and domestic violence homicide is the leading cause of death for African American women ages 15 to 45. Also, black youth are over represented as victims of teen dating violence according to the Institute on Domestic Violence in The African American Community. On average, more than three people are killed by intimate partners every day and account for up to one-half of all homicides of females. Every year between 1,000 and 1,600 women die at the hands of their male partners, and 14 percent of all police officer deaths occurred during a response to domestic violence calls.

Battered black women who reported that they could rely on others for emotional and practical support were less likely to be re-abused, showed less psychological distress, and less likely to attempt suicide.

This court decision is very much welcomed and represents a major step in providing a safe and free environment for those who live under the nightmarish double oppression of gun violence and domestic abuse.

Link: Full Story

Monday, February 23, 2009

Excuse Me, We Need To Talk

Have you ever been in a situation where the air of controversy was so thick and odorous that it threatened to choke the life out of you, yet someone else close to the situation seemed to be totally impervious and unaware? You’ve tried to ignore it, wishfully thinking that things would change or eventually the situation would resolve itself, but instead of getting better things got worse. The warning signs were misinterpreted. The hints were not picked up. The subtle suggestions went unnoticed.

In such cases, there comes a time that, in order to prevent the situation from becoming irrevocable or disastrous, the pain of blunt, direct, straight-talk must be endured.

This flawed system of advantage for some and disadvantage for others will continue to grow more toxic if we do not acknowledge its existence. The process of change most surely will be painful, but one thing is absolutely certain – we can not afford to not have intelligent, honest, thoughtful, rational and ongoing dialog on the subject of racism.

Then again, will it really make any difference ... especially if no one's listening?




This video is from MSNBCs Hardball, broadcast Feb. 19, 2009.

Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.
Matthew 13:16,17

Friday, February 20, 2009

Joy Comes In The Morning: OSF The Jacksons

Together Again was written by Janet in remembrance of friends that had died from HIV/AIDS, however the message applies to a variety of life situations that involve separation. The thought of being reunited brings joy as this song, originally a ballad, was changed to a dance song and thus is presented in three different video contexts.

Michael and Janet:


The Remix:


The Official:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Life is Grand



Believer over at Miscellaneous Matters passed the Life Is Grand award to me and I am most appreciative. Through her blogging, she constantly projects the nobleness of life and allows readers to witness the true source behind her life and work, that of God through Jesus Christ.
It is readily apparent that this is God's work and true ministry. That is what excites me about Believer's blog.

The rules require me to list 5 reasons why life is grand and pass this on to 5 other bloggers. I always try to be obedient and so Life is grand because:

1. Past failure does not disqualify me from God's blessings.
2. The evil against me which others attempted, God meant for good.
3. I have a patient, loyal, and devoted wife.
4. I have two loving daughters who challenge me and make me stay on my game.
5. Every day is a day of Thanksgiving and when I count my blessings, I quickly run out of fingers and toes.

I pass this award on to the following:

1. Staci who is climbing high mountains and still having fun.
2. UnderOver "the U" the Techie AfraGeek who brings a unique experience to the blogosphere.
3. Kym who is on her own wilderness journey to the promised land of license and ordination in the Baptist Church.
4.Geneva, thespian, journalist, artist, and all things African and Womanist.
5.April, for whom Jesus is the Center of her Joy!

Life is sufficient unto life if it is lived and felt directly and deeply enough.
Richard Wright