Archive | May, 2011

Who Is The Man, Barack Obama (book excerpt 3)

30 May

This is an excerpt from Barack Obama’s book “Dreams From My Father”.  I felt that his book was very revealing in terms of his way of relating to his family, his friends, his environment and his world view.  He has an interesting way of looking at things which may help us to understand his reasoning as our president today.  Read and enjoy!

                              ***************************************

I had gone for several interviews with Punahou’s admissions officer the previous summer.  She was a brisk, efficient-looking woman who didn’t seem fazed that my feet barely reached the floor as she grilled me on my career goals. After the interview, the woman had sent Gramps and me on a tour of the campus, a complex that spread over several acres of lush green fields and shady trees, old masonry schoolhouses  and modern structures of glass and steel.  There were tennis courts, swimming pools, and photography studios.  At one point, we fell behind the guide, and Gramps grabbed me by the arm.

“Hell, Bar,” he whispered, “this isn’t a school.  This is heaven.  You might just get me to go back to school with you.”

With my admission notice had come a thick packet of information that Toot set aside to pour over one Saturday afternoon.  “Welcome to the Punahou family,” the letter announced.  A locker had been assigned to me; I was enrolled in a meal plan unless a box was checked; there was a list of things to buy–a uniform for physical education, scissors, a ruler, number two pencils, a calculator (optional).  Gramps spent the evening reading the entire school catalog, a thick book that listed my expected progression through the next seven years–the college prep courses, the extracurricular activities, the traditions of well-rounded excellence.  With each new item, Gramps grew more and more animated; several times he got up, with his thumb saving his place, and headed toward the room where Toot was reading, his voice full of amazement: “Madelyn, get a load of this!” 

So it was with a great rush of excitement that Gramps accompanied me on my first day of school.  He had insisted that we arrive early, and Castle Hall, the building for the fifth and sixth graders, was not yet opened.  A handful of children had arrived, busy catching up on the summer’s news.  We sat beside a slender Chinese boy who had a large dental retainer strapped around his neck. 

“Hi there,” Gramps said to the boy. This here’s Barry.  I’m Barry’s grandfather.  You can call me Gramps.”  He shook hands with the boy, whose name was Frederick.  “Barry’s new.”

“Me too,”  Frederick said, and the two of them launched into a lively conversation.  I sat, embarrassed, until the doors finally opened and we went up the stairs to our classroom.  At the door, Gramps slapped both of us on the back.

“Don’t do anything I would do,” he said with a grin.

“Your grandfather’s funny,” Frederick said as we watched Gramps introduce himself to Miss Hefty, our homeroom teacher.

“Yeah, He is.”

We sat at a table with four other children, and Miss Hefty, an energetic middle-aged woman with short gray hair, took attendance.  When she read my full name, I heard titters break across the room.  Frederick leaned over to me.

“I thought your name was Barry.”

“Would you prefer if we called you Barry?”  Miss Hefty asked.

“Barack is such a beautiful name.  Your grandfather tells me your father is Kenyan.  I used to live in Kenya, you know.  Teaching children just your age.  It’s such a magnificent country.  Do you know what tribe your father is from?”

Her question brought on more giggles, and I remained speechless for a moment.  When I finally said “Luo,” a sandy-haired boy behind me repeated the word in a loud hoot, like the sound of a monkey.  The children could no longer contain themselves, and it took a stern reprimand from Miss Hefty before the class would settle down and we could mercifully move on to the next person on the list.

I spent the rest of the day in a daze.  A redheaded girl asked to touch my hair and seemed hurt when I refused.  A ruddy-faced boy asked me if my father ate people.  When I got home, Gramps was in the middle of preparing dinner.

“So how was it?  Isn’t it terrific that Miss Hefty use to live in Kenya?  Makes the first day a little easier, I’ll bet.”

I went into my room and closed the door.

The novelty of having me in the class quickly wore off for the other kids, although my sense that I didn’t belong continued to grow.  The clothes that Gramps and I had chosen for me were too old-fashioned; the Indonesian sandals that had served me so well in Djakarta were dowdy.  Most of my classmates had been together since kindergarten; they lived in the same neighborhoods , in split-level homes with swimming pool; their fathers coached the same Little League teams; their mothers sponsored the bake sales.  Nobody played soccer or badminton or chess, and I had no idea how to throw a football in a spiral or balance on a skateboard.

A ten-year old’s nightmare.  Still, in my discomfort that first month, I was no worse off than the other children who were relegated to the category of misfits–the girls who were too tall or too shy, the boy who was mildly hyperactive, the kids whose asthma excused them from PE.

There was one other child in my class, though, who reminded me of a different sort of pain. Her name was Coretta, and before my arrival she had been the only black person in our grade.  She was plump and dark and didn’t seem to have many friends.  From the first day, we avoided each other but watched from a distance, as if direct contact would only remind us more keenly of our isolation.

Finally, during recess one hot, cloudless day, we found ourselves occupying the same corner of the playground.  I don’t remember what we said to each other, but I remember that suddenly she was chasing me around the jungle gyms and swings.  She was laughing brightly, and I teased her and dodged this way and that, until she finally caught me and we fell to the ground breathless.  When I looked up, I saw a group of children, faceless before the glare of the sun, pointing  down at us.

“Coretta has a boyfriend!”  Coretta has a boyfriend!”

The chants grew louder as a few more kids circled us.

“She’s not my g-girlfriend,” I stammered.  I looked to Coretta for some assistance, but she just stood there looking down at the ground.

“Coretta’s got a boyfriend!” Why don’t you kiss her, mister boyfriend?”

“I’m not her boyfriend!”  I shouted.  I ran up to Coretta and gave her a slight shove; she staggered back and looked up at me, but still said nothing.  “Leave me alone!” I shouted again.  And suddenly Coretta was running, faster and faster, until she disappeared from sight.  Appreciative laughs rose around me.  Then the bell rang, and the teachers appeared to round us back into class.

For the rest of the afternoon, I was haunted by the look on Coretta’s face just before she had started to run: her disappointment, and the accusation.  I wanted to explain to her somehow that it had been nothing personal; I’d just never had a girlfriend before and saw no particular need to have one now.  But I didn’t even know if that was true.  I knew only that it was too late for explanations, that somehow I’d been tested and found wanting; and whenever I snuck a glance at Coretta’s desk, I would see her with her head bent over her work, appearing as if nothing had happened, pulled into herself and asking no favors.

Barack Obama, Dreams from my father.

University of Washington Gospel Choir – Prayer of Jabez

29 May

 University of Washington Gospel Choir video prayer of jabez

This Is Only For The PhDs Of Music

27 May
Coltrane and wife Alice, 1962

Image via Wikipedia

Oh how I loved learning music!  I remember when I was in CCSF and was taking music courses.  I took beginning piano and had a blast learning how to read music.  Then I noticed that they offered a course in jazz piano.  I had the nerve to try to take that course concurrently with my beginning piano course.  When I got in the class, I realized that we were  expected to know the basics of playing music on the piano.  I thought well I’m kinda smart, and maybe I could hang in there since I was learning the basics. Had no idea of how this course was going to go, but I saw a little white girl in the class and felt, “well I know I can outdo her, after all jazz belongs to us”.   HA!  After the first couple of classes I found out that all the students already knew everything about chord progressions and a musical fifth and inversions and all that stuff that I wouldn’t get to learn until the third semester of my piano course!  Plus, I watched the little white girl practice stuff that sounded far above my juvenile rendetion of Twinkle twinkle little star.  That little white girl made me drop that jazz piano class after about 3 sessions.  I wasn’t in their league.

John Coltrane’s Central Park West

But, since I was working at SFPL, I had access to the jazz collection.  We didn’t listen to much jazz at my house because my mom wasn’t a big jazz person.  She did have a Cannonball Adderly album and one by Gábor Szabó.  From time to time she would play the Adderly album.  I have no idea how she acquired the Szabó album cause she never played it.  She also had an old Grover Washington album, and a couple of others I can’t recall.  I think she may not have been into Coltrane and Miles.

But I decided it was time for me to listen to the jazz greats.  So I borrowed those albums of Coltrane, Monk and Davis from the library and started trying to listen.  I was probably about 23 or so.  Being a girl steeped in Funk music, I simply could not relate to any of these jazz musicians everyone raved about.  They were all faaaar above my range.  But even as I lifted the needle off of that last album and sadly slid them all back into their jackets, to be returned to the library, I did wonder why some white kids could relate but I couldn’t–to my own music.   But I knew that I would one day reach that level of understanding.  Those giants were the PhDs of music and I was a little girl still in the elementary schoolyard of music.

AfroBlue John Coltrane

This video shows more of the genius

But about 10 years later, I decided to try John Coltrane and Miles Davis again.  I bought a couple of CDs from Amoeba, and went home to study.  I put on “My Favorite Things” and learned to love it.  Learned how to listen to it, how to appreciate its beauty–how to hear the genius in the notes Coltrane played.  I learned how to hear the passion and the pain and the joy!  Then I listened to “Equinox” and man oh man!  That piece is gorgeous!  Then there was Naima and Central Park West.  My 1st husband and I would just vibe off of it.  “Did you hear what he just did?  Wait, replay that!”  I had reached that level!  I would never be able to personally play the music, but I sure could hear it!  And it really was mine and it was me and I was beautiful to me!

Do any of you know what I mean?

Who Is The Man, Barack Obama (book excerpt p2)

26 May
Cover of "Dreams from My Father: A Story ...

Cover via Amazon

From Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama.

“The first thing to remember is how to protect yourself.”

Lolo and I faced off in the backyard.  A day earlier,  I had shown up at the house with an egg-sized lump on the side of my head.  Lolo had looked up from washing his motorcycle and asked me what had happened, and I told him about my tussle with an older boy who lived down the road.  The boy had run off with my friend’s soccer ball, I said, in the middle of our game.  When I chased after him, the boy picked up a rock.  It wasn’t fair, I said, my voice choking with aggrievement.  He had cheated.

Lolo had parted my hair with his fingers and silently examined the wound.  “It’s not bleeding,” he said finally, before returning to his chrome.

I thought that had ended the matter.  But when he came home from work the next day, he had with him two pairs of boxing gloves.  They smelled of new leather, the larger pair black, the smaller pair red, the laces tied together and thrown over his shoulder.

He now finished tying the laces on my gloves and stepped back to examine his handiwork.  My hands dangled at my sides like bulbs at the ends of thin stalks.  He shook his head and raised the gloves to cover my face.

“There.   Keep your hands up.”  He adjusted my elbows, then crouched into a stance and started to bob.  “You want to keep moving, but always stay low–don’t give them a target.   How does that feel?”  I nodded, copying his movements as best I could.  After a few minutes, he stopped and held his palm up in front of my nose.

“Okay,” he said.  “Let’s see your swing.”

This I could do.  I took a step back, wound up, and delivered my best shot.  His hand barely wobbled.

“Not bad,” Lolo said.  He nodded to himself, his expression unchanged.  “Not bad at all.  Agh, but look where your hands are now.  What did I tell you?  Get them up….”

I raised my arms, throwing soft jabs at Lolo’s palm, glancing up at him every so often and realizing how familiar his face had become after our two years together, as familiar as the earth on which we stood.  It had taken me less than six months to learn Indonesia’s language, its customs, and its legends.  I had survived chicken pox, measles, and the sting of my teachers’ bamboo switches.  The children of farmers, servants, and low-level bureaucrats had become my best friends, and together we ran the streets morning and night, hustling odd jobs, catching crickets, battling swift kites with razor-sharp lines–the loser watched his kite soar off with the wind, and knew that somewhere other children had formed a long wobbly train, their heads toward the sky, waiting for their prize to land.  With Lolo, I learned how to eat small green chili peppers raw with dinner (plenty of rice), and, away from the dinner table, I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy).  Like many Indonesians, Lolo followed a brand of Islam that could make room for the remnants of more ancient animist and Hindu faiths.  He explained that a man took on the powers of whatever he ate:  One day soon, he promised, he would bring home a piece of tiger meat for us to share.

That’s how things were, one long adventure, the bounty of a young boy’s life.  In letters to my grandparents, I would faithfully record many of these events, confident that more civilizing packages of chocolate and peanut butter would surely follow.  But not everything made its way into my letters; some things I found too difficult to explain.  I didn’t tell Toot and Gramps about the face of the man who had come to our door one day with a gaping hole where his nose should have been: the whistling sound he made as he asked my mother for food.  Nor did I mention the time that one of my friends told me in the middle of recess that his baby brother had died the night before of an evil spirit brought in by the wind–the terror that danced in my friends’ eyes for the briefest of moments before he let out a strange laugh and punched my arm and broke off into a breathless run.

*****************************************************************

The world was violent, I was learning, unpredictable and often cruel.  My grandparents knew nothing about such a world, I decided; there was no point in disturbing them with questions they couldn’t answer.  Sometimes, when my mother came home from work, I would tell her the things I had seen or heard, and she would stroke my forehead, listening intently, trying her best to explain what she could.  I always appreciated the attention–her voice, the touch of her hand, defined all that was secure.  But her knowledge of floods and exorcisms and cockfights left much to be desired.  Everything was as new to her as it was to me, and I would leave such conversations feeling that my questions had only given her unnecessary cause for concern.

So it was to Lolo that I turned for guidance and instruction.  He didn’t talk much, but he was easy to be with.  With his family and friends he introduced me as his son, but he never pressed things beyond matter-of-fact advice or pretended that our relationship was more than it was.  I appreciated this distance; it implied a manly trust.  And his knowledge of the world seemed inexhaustible.  Not just how to change a flat tire or open in chess.  He knew more elusive things, ways of managing the emotions I felt, ways to explain fate’s constant mysteries.

Like how to deal with beggars.  They seemed to be everywhere, a gallery of ills–men, women, children, in tattered clothing matted with dirt, some without arms, others without feet, victims of scurvy or polio of leprosy walking on their hands or rolling down the crowded sidewalks in jerry-built carts, their legs twisted behind them like contortionists’.  At first, I watched my mother give over her money to anyone who stopped at our door or stretched out an arm as we passed on the streets.  Later, when it became clear that the tide of pain was endless, she gave more selectively, learning to calibrate the levels of misery.  Lolo thought her moral calculations endearing but silly, and whenever he caught me following her example with the few coins in my possession, he would raise his eyebrows and take me aside.

“How much money do you have?” he would ask.

I’d empty my pocket.  “Thirty rupiah.”

“How many beggars are there on the street?”

I tried to imagine the number that had come by the house in the last week.  “You see?”  he said, once it was clear I’d lost count.  “Better to save your money and make sure you don’t end up on the street yourself.”

pt 2

Who Is The Man, Barack Obama

23 May
Dreams from My Father

Image via Wikipedia

I have been wondering just that for a while now.  Because he’s something of an enigma to me.  I don’t understand him.  I mean no disrespect but he certainly doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve.  There’s an air of unknowableness about the man.  Something that’s being held close to his chest. 

I no longer watch him on TV.  And if he comes on and I wasn’t expecting him to, I’ll turn the channel, because there’s something that is raw and open, yet closed and to the chest about this man.  Of course I could be imagining things. 

So a while back, I found his book “Dreams From My Father” at the thrift shop for $1.29.  The cost they felt the book was worth, I guess.  So I bought it and shelved it at home.  It’s been on my shelf for about 4 months or so, when I decide that maybe, just maybe, I can learn something about this man.  Maybe he was more open 15 years ago when he actually wrote this book.   So I’ll be doing a series of excerpts–pieces that I thought were profound and illuminating about his world view and how it was shaped.  Of course I understand that he could be embellishing–it is a memoir after all.

***************************************************

“You don’t understand,” the cousin had told her gently.

“Understand what?”

“The circumstances of Lolo’s return. He hadn’t planned on coming back from Hawaii so early,  you know.  During the purge, all students studying abroad had been summoned without explanation, their passports revoked.  When Lolo stepped off the plane, he had no idea of what might happen next.  We couldn’t see him; the army officials took him away and questioned him.  They told him that he had just been conscripted and would be going to the jungles of New Guinea for a year.  And he was one  of the lucky ones.  Students studying in Eastern Bloc countries did much worse.  Many of them are still in jail.  Or vanished.

“You shouldn’t be too hard on Lolo,” the cousin repeated.   “Such times are best forgotten.”

My mother had left the cousin’s house in a daze.  Outside, the sun was high, the air full of dust, but instead of taking a taxi home, she began to walk without direction.  She found herself in a wealthy neighborhood where the diplomats and generals lived in sprawling houses with tall wrought-iron gates.  She saw a woman in bare feet and a tattered shawl wandering through an open gate and up the driveway, where a group of men were washing a fleet of Mercedes-Benzes and Land Rovers.  One of the men shouted at the woman to leave, but the woman stood where she was, a bony arm stretched out before her, her face shrouded in shadow.  Another man finally dug in his pocket and threw out a handful of coins.  The woman ran after the coins with terrible speed, checking the road suspiciously as she gathered them into her bosom.

Power:   The word fixed in my mother’s mind like a curse.  In America, it had generally remained hidden from view until you dug beneath the surface of things;  until you visited an Indian reservation or spoke to a black person whose trust you had earned.  But here power was undisguised, indiscriminate, naked, and always fresh in the memory.  Power had taken Lolo and yanked him back into line just when he thought he’d escaped, making him feel its weight, letting him know that his life wasn’t his own.  That’s how things were; you couldn’t change it, you could just live by the rules, so simple once you learned them.  And so Lolo had made his peace with power, learned the wisdom of forgetting; just as his brother-in-law had done, making millions as a high official in the national oil company; just as another brother had tried to do, only he miscalculated and was now reduced to stealing pieces of silverware whenever he came for a visit, selling them later for loose cigarettes.

She remembered what Lolo had told her once when her questioning had finally touched a nerve.  “Guilt is a luxury only foreigners can afford,” he had said.  “Like saying whatever pops into your head.”  She didn’t know what it was like to lose everything, to wake up and feel her belly eating itself.  She didn’t know how crowded and treacherous the path to security could be.  Without absolute concentration, one could easily slip, tumble backward.

He was right, of course.  She was a foreigner, middle-class and white and protected by her heredity whether she wanted protection or not.  She could always leave if things got too messy.  That possibility negated anything she might say to Lolo; it was the unbreachable barrier between them.  She looked out the window now and saw that Lolo and I had moved on, the grass flattened where the two of us ad been.  The sight made her shudder slightly, and she rose to her feet filled with a sudden panic.

Power was taking her son.

Part 1

Becoming Chaz – The Spirit of Deception

22 May
Chaz Bono at the 2010 GLAAD Media Awards, Apri...

Image via Wikipedia

Chastity Bono who now goes by the name of Chaz Bono has been telling his story these past few days.  He appeared on the Oprah show recently and will have a show on Oprah’s network as well.

Chaz’ story is so compelling because he said that from the time he was little, he utterly hated being a girl child.  He said that when he started growing breasts, he felt that his body had betrayed him.  He absolutely destested having breasts.   Well Chaz Bono finally has gone through with breast removal surgery after suffering in self hatred all his adult life.  He felt that he has always been a man, trapped in a woman’s body and have suffered because of it.

So while talking with Oprah about his life, he shared with her that he went through stages.  First he thought that he was a lesbian, and lived as one for a while.  Then he realized that he was a “man” trapped in a woman’s body, and that’s why he finally went ahead and had his breasts surgically removed, so as to complete his quest to become a man.  Oprah asked him the next logical question–would he go through with genital reassignment surgery, “down there” and make the whole thing complete?

And the way he answered her blew my mind completely.  What Chaz said was he had no plans for getting that surgery done, that he now feels like a man, even without the penis (paraphrase).  Whaaat?  That makes no sense whatsoever, I have to say it!  I mean absolutely no disrespect, but some people are simply deceived by satan, and IMHO Chaz Bono is one of them.

I know that some will vehemently disagree with me, but sometimes people are simply confused!  We humans are moved to action by the thoughts that we have. Thoughts are from the spirit realm.  Our thoughts are concrete–real.  We act on our thoughts and create the reality in the world.  As we know, some thoughts are good and some aren’t.  And thoughts that tell a woman that she should hate herself for being a woman – actually hate her breasts – which are a profound part of the beauty of a woman, well, those thoughts may be the deception of satan.

People will do numerous strange and even wicked things–to others and to themselves.  When they do we ALWAYS ask “what were they thinking?”  We want to understand their thought processes to try to find the reasoning behind their actions.  But there are some folks in our communities that we don’t ask for fear of offending them. It’s not PC to dare question them.  Unfortunately, we then let them fall by the wayside.

Now it may be that a man can be “trapped in a woman’s body” or vice versa.  That may be – I don’t know.  But what about if that person who claims to be a man trapped is only interested in the removal of the breasts but not the acquiring of a penis, which is so profoundly male?  And that person who now is a “man” says he is OK with himself, happy and satisfied.  Doesn’t every man on earth want a penis?  I’m just asking.

For this reason, I can’t believe that Chaz Bono was really a man trapped in a woman’s body!  It makes not one iota of sense.  I just have to say it - respectfully of course.  Chaz Bono could not have been a man trapped in a woman’s body if he’s not even interested in having a penis!  And if Chaz’ desire to be a man was not based in the physical body, then I have to say it’s in the mind—which brings me back to deceiving spirits.

What Chaz Bono looks like to me is a very deceived, very confused and deeply self absorbed person.  He probably is the victim of the fame of both his parents which was thrust upon him when he was just a toddler.

Of course, I could be wrong.

Harold Camping–Deceiver, False Prophet

21 May
Rubik's Cube variants from 2×2×2 all the way t...
Image via Wikipedia

It’s May 22, 2011 in New Zealand and the World Still Stands.

I’m thinking Why does this man have to be from Oakland?  We got enough issues over here as it is!   :?

According to Wikipedia, Camping gained notoriety due to his incorrect prediction that the Rapture would take place on May 21, 2011 at 6 p.m. local time everywhere[30][31][32] and his prediction that the end of the world would take place five months later on October 21, 2011.[33] Followers of Camping claimed that around 200 million people (approximately 3% of the world’s population) would be raptured.[34] Camping believes that people not saved will simply cease to exist (annihilationism), rather than spend eternity in Hell as some others who predict the Rapture say. Those who were “unsaved” and died prior to May 21 would not be affected by the Rapture or the end of the world[citation needed].

But in Matthew 24:36 the Bible tells us:

36But of that [exact] day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (Amplified)

It’s not for us to try and predict when the end of the world is coming.  It is for us to live our lives for Christ, and busy ourselves in his service, helping other–the widows, the incarcerated, the homeless, and the orphans.  Which is to say that we should be helping those who are in need all around us.  It is fruitless to spend one’s time trying to know the things that only God knows, and has not revealed.  Even when Peter asked Jesus about the fate of John,  Jesus spoke thusly, letting Peter know that it’s not even for us to know what will be our fellow man’s fate.

 21When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, Lord, what about this man? 22Jesus said to him, If I want him to stay (survive, live) until I come, what is that to you? [What concern is it of yours?] You follow Me 23So word went out among the brethren that this disciple was not going to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not going to die, but, If I want him to stay (survive, live) till I come, what is that to you? John 21:23

Our elder gentleman Harold Camping has tried to figure out God before, and failed.  Back in Sept of 1994.   Personally, after having failed using mathematics, I would think that he’d give it a rest.  Shamefully, he tries again.  Some folks don’t understand that God ways are above our ways.  God isn’t a grand version of a Rubic’s Cube or a master’s game of chess!  God isn’t to be figured out as though God is some major puzzle or computer bug that merely needs more brain power to unlock!   What we know of  God  is only what God has revealed to us, in Jesus Christ, in the Word and in the revelations of the prophets.   What God tells us is not for us to know, we should just accept as unknowable unless and until God reveals them.

Yet “pastor” Camping probably figured that he got his calculations wrong the first time and may have been tweeking them all this time until he came to his new conclusions.  Either that or he’s an elderly media whore.  Harsh, I know, but think of all the harm he’s done to those who are babes in Christ.  Think of the harm he’s done to those tottering agnostics.  Think of the harm he’s done to those atheists who want to believe but just can’t!  Unfortunately just because one is an elder, does not make him mature in Christ.  Instead of being a great man of faith, he’s a elderly child in the things of God.  To reach the age of 90 and still be on the level of trying to make himself equal with God shows a tragic lack of maturity.

So now the haters of God are having a field day–”rapture” parties, celebrations and such.  They are reveling in what they perceive as a hit on God and on His followers.  They are furiously mocking the Lord online.  This pastor’s failure to predict the end is proof that there is no God for them, and that we Christians are utter fools.  But I worry about those who are young in the things of God.  I’m praying for them, hoping that  they aren’t wavering because of this fiasco.  I get the feeling, though,  that some are falling by the wayside in humiliation.  So has our elder Harold Camping served anyone but himself in all of this?

Unfortunately there are many wolves in sheeps clothing and sometimes they are harmless looking 90 year olds who claim to be proclaiming the Word of God.  It appears that Mr Camping is a bible interpreter.  That may not seem as bad as someone who burns bibles, or qurans, but think about the damage that can come from  misinterpreting the Bible.  All kinds of evil was justified in this world based on misinterpreting the Bible.  I’m sure that Mr. Camping believed his interpretations, as he spent his life developing his doctrine.  The truth is that sometimes, these folks don’t even know that they DON’T know–they are completely deceived, and they unwittingly take any who foolishly follow them down the wide road of deception.

Deception is a very dangerous thing.  We should all pray to God that we don’t fall into it.  That’s why we have to be willing to do our own wrestling with God.  We have to individually seek after Him with all that is in us, and not rely on what any man tells us about Him.

1BELOVED, DO not put faith in every spirit, but prove (test) the spirits to discover whether they proceed from God; for many false prophets have gone forth into the world. 1 John 4:1

Life Funks

19 May
young Long-eared owl (Asio otus), surroundings...

Image via Wikipedia

Hey y’all!!  I hope you all are doing well.  I personally have been in a bit of a weird place in terms of writing and researching and feeding this blog.  What’s interesting is that I really wasn’t expecting this to happen to ME!  I have a million topics that I want to discuss, rail on about, question, laugh at, etc.  But even though I have  all of this WRITING in me, (and about 50 unwritten posts that will be the bomb just as soon as I think of what to write) I just didn’t have the desire to write much.

Maybe it’s because the days are getting longer and I’m a night person.  It’s taking longer to get dark, and the sun is rising too soon!  I’m kinda not used to that, I suppose.   Maybe I lost my nighttime mojo in all of this daylight!  There’s nothing like the special kind of 2am quiet and melancholy sweetness of all alone-ness to get one’s thoughts flowing about all the Stuff that’s going on in our little world.

But the times are a-wasting away.  I may have felt all weird and stuff about how the sun’s rising has affected my blogging, but I feel even weirder NOT blogging, and expressing my thoughts and getting my sister-girl writing groove on.  I miss the regular interaction with all of you good people!  So it’s time to open the window curtains of my mind, let the sun shine on my brain and enjoy this light-brightness and use it to get back to work doing my thing!

At What Cost Unnatural White Beauty, Black Woman?

10 May

DO YOU COVET THIS LONG STRAIGHT HAIR, BLACK WOMAN?

Here at my blog, I do my best to promote black women learning to embrace their natural black beauty.  I promote the gorgeousness of OUR African beauty!  That means our natural skin tones–including dark skin.  That means our natural coily, kinky, nappy–whatever you want to call it–the NATURAL beauty of our hair in all the unlimited curl and kink patterns.

It is so sad, so very sad that some of us are utterly unable to see just how God has gifted us with this completely unique, soft fluffy cloud of gorgeous kinks and curls and spirals, and tight zig zags, and curly kinks, and nappy twists that is OUR beautiful God gifted hair!!!  It’s so sad that some of us can’t understand preciousness that is this beauty of ours!

Beautiful, natural, long and healthy

Sister Mwedzi–If You dont know, ask somebody!
Extremely long, beautiful nappy hair

I recently received an email of a terrible traumatic experience of one of our own beautiful sisters, Isabella.  She’s originally from Holland and was lured to America to seek her fame and fortune as a model.  She’s got the look for it, being a beautiful black young woman, but she decided one terrible, fateful day to get a perm in a beauty salon in Chicago, not knowing the devastation that was waiting…

Thanks be to the Lord for the blogosphere!  I praise God for this space all the time, because we as black women have been able to reconnect with who and what we truly are in terms of OUR natural beauty!  We’ve been able to learn about our own hair from each other and those blogger pioneers who experimented on themselves, relearning how to care for their natural hair.  Then they blessed us and created the blogs where we are able to go and learn how to care for our own hair.  I thank them all because they have helped us to reconnect to the truth of ourselves, which we have been so alienated from for so very long.

I also am greatly encouraged when my 29 year old son and his naturally beautiful fiance went to a club recently and he was able to come back and tell me that he saw at least 10 sisters rocking  their beautiful natural hair!  Young black natural women are encouraging others to give up the “creamy crack”!  Hallelujah!  This is the quiet revolution that only we are talking about.  Thank God, that we are slowly but surely turning away from the madness!  NO ONE on earth should have to endure such a devastation as what Isabella has endured!

Dealing With Issues of Pride–I’m Trying!

9 May

 

jay wasted

PRIDE

Oftentimes we talk of having pride in ourselves and not feeling negative about who we are as black people.  But what we actually are talking about  is having proper self-esteem.  Pride on the other hand, is a negative emotion.  A prideful person actually lacks  self-esteem and over compensates with pridefulness.   

Now who would want the burden of pridefulness?  Are we able to discern whether we may have any issues of pride?  And if so would we admit them to ourselves?   An overbearing prideful person is an underdeveloped person.  Pridefulness  doesn’t allow one to develop proper relationships because the victim is so busy exalting himself  at others’ expense.  The prideful one ends up isolating herself, which can further diminishes her self esteem. 

Here’s a list of attitudes of pride–from the aggressive personality to the timid personality.  Yes, even a timid person can be prideful.   Nancy Leigh DeMoss has created a nice long list of the attitudes of pridefulness and I was compelled to check myself.  Yes I got a few issues to deal with, but I’d rather know the truth and work to correct those issues than to continue on blindly living a lie and diminishing the quality of my life!    How about you?

 

By Nancy Leigh DeMoss

1.  Do you look down on those who are less educated, less affluent, less refined, or less successful than yourself?

2.  Do you think of yourself as more spiritual than your mate, others in your church?

3.  Do you have a judgmental spirit toward those who don’t make the same lifestyle choices you do . . . dress standards, how you school your kids, entertainment standards, etc.?

4.  Are you quick to find fault with others and to verbalize those thoughts to others? Do you have a sharp, critical tongue?

5.  Do you frequently correct or criticize your mate, your pastor, or other people in positions of leadership (teachers, youth director, etc.)?

6.  Do you give undue time, attention, and effort to your physical appearance—hair, make-up, clothing, weight, body shape, avoiding appearance of aging?

7.  Are you proud of the schedule you keep, how disciplined you are, how much you are able to accomplish?

8.  Are you driven to receive approval, praise, or acceptance from others?

9.  Are you argumentative?

10.  Do you generally think your way is the right way, the only way, or the best way?

11.  Do you have a touchy, sensitive spirit? Easily offended? Get your feelings hurt easily?

12.  Are you guilty of pretense? Trying to leave a better impression of yourself than is really true? (Would the people at church be shocked if they knew what you  were like at home?)

13.  Do you have a hard time admitting when you are wrong?

14.  Do you have a hard time confessing your sin to God or others? (not just in generalities but specifics)

15.  Do you have a hard time sharing your real spiritual needs/struggles with others?

16.  Do you have a hard time praying aloud with others?

17.  Are you excessively shy?

18.  Do you have a hard time reaching out and being friendly to people you don’t know at church?

19.  Do you resent being asked or expected to serve your family, your parents, or others?

20.  Do you become defensive when you are criticized or corrected?

21.  Are you a perfectionist? Do you get irked or impatient with people who aren’t?

22.  Do you tend to be controlling—of your mate, your children, friends, those in your workplace?

23.  Do you frequently interrupt people when they are speaking?

24.  Does your husband feel intimidated by your “spirituality”?

25.  Does your husband feel like he can never measure up to your expectations of what it means to be a good husband, spiritual leader, etc.?

26.  Do you often complain—about the weather, your health, your circumstances, your job, your church?

27.  Do you talk about yourself too much?

28.  Are you more concerned about your problems, needs, burdens than about others’ concerns?

29.  Do you worry about what others think of you? Too concerned about your reputation or your family’s reputation?

30.  Do you neglect to express gratitude for “little things”? To God? To others?

31.  Do you neglect prayer and intake of the Word?

32.  Do you get hurt if your accomplishments/or acts of service are not recognized or rewarded?

33.  Do you get hurt if your feelings or opinions are not considered when your mate or your boss is making a decision or if you are not informed when a change or decision is made?

34.  Do you react to rules? Do you have a hard time being told what to do?

35.  Are you self-conscious because of your lack of education or natural beauty, or your socio-economic status?

36.  Do you avoid participating in certain events, for fear of being embarrassed or looking foolish?

37.  Do you avoid being around certain people because you feel inferior compared to them/don’t feel you measure up?

38.  Are you uncomfortable inviting people to your home because you don’t think it’s nice enough or you can’t afford to do lavish entertaining?

39.  Is it hard for you to let others know when you need help (practical or spiritual)?

40.  When is the last time you said these words to a family member, friend, or co-worker: “I was wrong; would you please forgive me?” (If it’s been more than a month, mark it down!)

41.  Are you sitting here thinking how many of these questions apply to someone you know? Feeling pretty good that none of these things really apply to you?

© Revive Our Hearts. Used with permission. www.ReviveOurHearts.com Info@ReviveOurHearts.com