Category Archives: Living

2017 CHRISTMAS FOR THE DISINHERITED – Story 1

This is the time of the year when we hear of giving, listening to happy and/or inspirational Christmas songs and music, attending Christmas performances, watching Christmas movies, and when many spend a LOT of money on themselves, as well as a little on others. This is the time of the year when there are many “Drive-By” sharing of food and Christmas gifts with those who are less fortunate.

Drive-by sharing is when churches and others think about those who are disadvantaged and want to do something special, and many will drive-by again annually and do more for those hurting economically by lack of employment, underemployment, illness, racism, or by apathy. I heard of this term from some of the church groups and ministries who decided that helping during Christmas was okay, but many people hurt the other days of the year and need help year around in order for them to hurt less. Thus, the rise of what is called “relational ministries,” developed by Dr. John Perkins of Christian Community Development Association, InterVarsity, World Impact, Youth for Christ, Young Life, many Grace-named churches, and some other churches and organizations where their members become intimately connected with those they are helping. Some even move into the neighborhoods needing full-time help until they and/or the neighborhood can become self-sustaining. However, those in perpetual disenfranchisement and disinherited from the American Dream still stay in a black hole of poverty and despair if they are not adopted by outsiders; shown how to develop self-sustaining enterprises to stay where they are; and/or obtain education and/or training to equip them to move to better neighborhoods. And, for them, Christmas time is often painful, especially if they are not the chosen ones to receive adoption by a church, ministry, business group, or community organization.

Based on my personal observations and involvement for over 60 years in working with those hurting in our society, I have found some stories that need to be shared, as well as some observations those hurting have told me. I will share just one story to help others understand the plight of the underclass citizens who are so tremendously challenged that generations before them were so challenged that generations after them will also be similarly challenged—unless the 80% of those doing well make deliberate attempts to stop the cycle of poverty, punishment, pity, and poor choices that the other 20% of our country get released from this black hole of feeling disenfranchised. The good news is that the government will even give tax breaks to the 80% for doing good for others, unless taxpayers are happy to give that extra money to the government!

The stores I will share are true stories—the names are changed to protect their privacy: Mary has always been a hard-worker…her mother and father were hard-workers. However, her father had a fatal heart-attack after working on the same job for over 30 years. He and his wife never finished elementary schools because their parents needed them to help them as agricultural workers. Mary’s father eventually learned how to improve his writing and reading, learned enough on his own to make good friends. One of those friends took over his own father’s manufacturing plant and was in need of a janitor. Although a low-paying job for Mary’s father, there were benefits for Mary’s father and the family of seven. After some years, the manufacturing plant had decided to move overseas and since Mary’s father had not furthered his education to learn some of the automation equipment, he was released and given his pension that would last him until he died.

The job for Mary’s father made him feel important. They had purchased the house that they had been rented for years and had made significant improvements as the family grew. Mary’s father was one of the few men in their neighborhood who rose early in the morning, went to work, came home, paid the bills, was involved in church and community events, and stayed away from the lure of other women and drugs prevalent in such communities. After drawing his pension for one month, Mary’s father died, leaving just enough insurance for a nice funeral. However, there was no money to keep up the truck payments, the car for his wife, their furniture loans, the credit card debts, or for the loans for remodeling their house. Mary had wanted to go to college, but had a learning challenge so was happy cleaning homes with her mother.

The sudden death of Mary’s dad soon left the family in dire circumstances. Every year, a church group helped some, but it was not enough to keep everything the father had acquired. Three of Mary’s brothers saw no value in becoming a janitor or doing manual work and had chosen a life of crime, all winding up in prison. Mary’s sisters all had children, but for one reason or another, found themselves without a permanent man in the home, struggling just to make ends meet for them. Most of their children did not do well in school, felt stressed from being in poverty, but played games daily, hoping that would take them through school in order to get a scholarship to college, or to play professionally.

Mary wanted to do more since her mother’s health had been declining. The truck and car were repossessed. Mary’s older car kept stopping until it finally died, needing thousands in repairs, including a new engine. Mary had discovered that she was pretty good in art and had been given an opportunity to get training as a graphic artist while cleaning houses. However, she lived in an area where there was not public transportation and had difficulty getting to classes and then to her cleaning assignments. When she was injured in a hit-and-run, she was now suffering from her injuries, as well as from the family history of weight gain and diabetes. While recuperating at home, Mary’s mom had four heart attacks and died three times. Mary did her best for her mom and tried to catch rides to her training, but now cleaning houses was out of the question. Unable to find anyone to help repair the car with a new engine, a “friendly” car dealer put Mary and her mom in a new car. With the insurance, they only had to pay out a little over $600 a month. Although the payments took half of her mother’s Social Security, Mary and her mother had some pride again. With a new car in the driveway, neighbors smiled and waved again. When they were in this new car, others smiled at them as they went to the store, hospital and doctor’s visitors, and Mary could get to class. All those waving and smiling people did not know that Mary and her mother had almost cut out eating, and cut back on keeping the house in good repair.

A member of a near-by church would call on Mary and her mother almost weekly to check on them. This member discovered their lack—no phone, inability to stay current on utility bills, and little food to eat. Although the church helped some and was able to get others to help some, there were no resources to ensure that the two of them could be able to eat well-balanced meals daily. Since the television filled much of their free time, Mary and her mother watched other hurting families from Hurricane Harvey get help to get their homes rebuilt; got help to get reliable transportation (without payments of $600 monthly for the next 72 months!); get new furniture for Christmas; and get all kinds of food and gifts from churches, community leaders, businesses, and even some politicians. Mary and her mother was happy for them, and tried to console themselves with their crackers and jello—their dinner for the evening. Their curtains are kept drawn 24/7; they don’t feel safe leaving their home in the evening, with drug dealers next door; they don’t know quite how to ask for help because they have a house and a car. There is no Christmas tree; no presents; but Mary and her mom are thankful for the canned goods that a “drive-by” group donate monthly…they are on a waiting list for food from the local food bank. They just wished they had some fresh vegetables, some fruit, and some meat every now and then.

The television shows and news stories continues to show the prosperity of others, and how many are getting back on their feet after fires have consumed their homes, or floods have forced them to move into another home—full of new and donated items. They see and hear how others had help from their insurance, their savings, from family members, and from many others. Mary and her mother smile outside, watching the good fortune of others, and the wonderful Christmas movies, but on the inside, they are dying because every day they struggle to survive. However, having a nice-sized color tv set and a new car outside that they hope they can keep gives them some comfort as they look forward to going to a cold bed on a relatively empty stomach. Mary walks slow and her mother pushes herself along in her wheelchair.

This is just one of the many stories that I have become acquainted with, wondering how do we get the other 80% who may be enjoying their color television (paid for!), their car(s) (paying smaller payments and far less interest!), their jobs, their savings, and their ability to access resources to find ways to help the other 20% that need help to make better choices, enjoy life a little more, and not continue to suffer in the black hole of feeling disenfranchised, hoping that perhaps their family will be adopted by others who will show them how better to enjoy their part of the American Dream.

NEXT TIME: Go to the back door; the front porch is dangerous!

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Poverty is More than a Mind Thing!

While doing research on building my business recently, I came across something that may help the masses of people, especially those of the African American experience who have been dumbed down, discouraged, depressed, despondent, and disappointed in trying to fulfill their potential. This is a short phrase from a business family, but mighty powerful:

“If you want to go fast, go alone… if you want to go far, go together” (Joel & Julie Landi of The Performance Group)

I was raised by a very determined woman. She had a husband, but sometimes things just don’t work out, and a woman has to do what a woman has to do.

Not many people around gave me much of a chance. I was smaller than many boys around me; had a speech impediment (stuttered and stammered); was made fun of; developed a very low self-esteem (whatever that is!); and began growing into a very angry young man on the inside while I tried to smile on the outside.  There is quite a story behind why I smile so often now, and have dedicated my life to help others.

By the time I was 11, my mother had become one of those very dedicated Christians. She was the daughter of a church planter and minister, but negative circumstances had affected her desire to be really serious about becoming a committed Christian. Coupled with her own personal powerhouse of determination to succeed, she constantly brought sunshine into what I thought was a strong poverty life. One day, she grew weary of my negative and “Woe is me!” attitude.  I had made the word “can’t” my daily diet.  I used to smile as a baby and young child, but over time, hurts from family members, school acquaintances, and being laughed at by others had crushed me—my smile left and I was a depressed sight.  I had said “I can’t” once too often that day.  My mom glared at me with those sharp black eyes surrounded by her long black hair sat atop a very diminutive body.  “That’s it!” she cried.  I had heard her sharp tongue much of my life, but this was different.  It was as if God himself was thundering at me.

“The word ‘can’t’ will no longer be used in this house!” she continued.  “You CAN read better!  You CAN speak better.  You CAN do better!” she thundered.  “I don’t ever want you to use the word ‘can’t again.  Do you hear me!”  Her thundering voice was so strong I was sure the entire neighborhood heard from our basement living conditions.  “Beginning today, you WILL smile!  Beginning today, you WILL believe in yourself!  Beginning today, you WILL read to me out loud and speak better!”

My mom spoke with such force, I was convinced that she and God must have become very connected!  My eyes opened wide; fear gripped my soul.  However, that day was a turning point in my life of thinking we would always be in poverty.  Of course, my mom NEVER considered us poor, even when we had to share an outhouse with the local pimps, prostitutes, drunks and others in a place where we used to live. She often worked two jobs, and even found time to take me to work in the agricultural fields wherever we lived.  We were seldom broke.  She would wash twice or more times a week to keep my few clothes cleaned and pressed.  And, we seldom missed a meal.  But, I would look at others and what they had, and often despised what my mom worked hard to provide for the two of us.

That very day of the thundering, my mom began me reading out loud to her.  Every morning she would check to see if I was smiling.  If not, I had to quickly put on a smile!  I went to church with her, became active in local and church youth programs, and slowly began to grow beyond my mind of poverty-thinking.

My speaking gradually improved.  I began to dream again.  Against odds, I finished college with several degrees, and was blessed to have had a wife who has stayed with me since 1965.  We have five grown children successful in their own right, 14 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.  I am NOT rich—yet, but I have had the experience of working and learning from over 19 different industries!  This experience has helped me to become a consultant to politicians, ministers, business people, and to community organizations, helping others to dream, and find their niche in life.  Now, I wake up every morning with a smile on my face and looking forward to helping someone else, or making a positive difference in some organization or community.

This entire journey of mine could not have been as successful as it has been if I would have had to walk my journey alone.  Preachers, pastors, teachers, street people, business people, family members, and associates have helped me come this far in life—by being willing to go on the journey together—with others.

 

Tamina, Texas is just one example!

Some people could not find the story that I was referring to as an example of how wealthy communities refuse to help their historic, poor communities.  Thus, here is the website: https://communityimpact.com/houston/the-woodlands/news/2015/12/09/tamina-community-faces-challenges-as-area-expands/

(picture from world hunger dot org)

A Statement Concerning Race and Violence in the United States by the Lott Carey Global Christian Missional Community

While the following was not written by me, I want to share it and get your response:

The notion of race is among the most destructive ideas in history. It prevents living harmoniously and sustainably. Rather than contributing to our capacities to generate ideas, create beauty, analyze problems, and produce solutions, the contemptible notion of race, having no science to support this approach to differentiating human beings, constructs barriers that separate and segregate people. It hinders us from engaging in relationships that strengthen and sustain. The construct of race is manipulative and malevolent.

Human beings are created in the image of God. This gift grants us amazing capabilities for creativity and community. We achieve our highest possibilities when we support and share with one another. Communities of collaboration and compassion enable us to live fully and productively. Working together, we help each other to become more of what God made us to be. Tragically, however, we frequently fail to live as we are intended. We regularly retreat behind boundaries of race – a product of human imagination gone horribly wrong. Our notions of race can cause us to sin before God and to injure one another.

Racial injustice has plagued people in the United States from its beginning. Exploitation, manipulation, and oppression have been inflicted upon so-called racial minorities on this continent from the time of its earliest European migration. Displacements and massacres of Indigenous Nations, the enslavement and murders of Africans, and the dislocation and internment of Asian Americans are horrific examples of racial injustice enabled by religion, government, and customs established to privilege people of European heritage.

Violence has characterized racial injustice in the United States. Physical, psychological, and sexual violence have been used to terrorize and dehumanize people of color. The conscious or unconscious perception of racial supremacy by people of European heritage is accompanied by the privilege affiliated with this erroneous assumption. Erroneous beliefs of racial supremacy and white privilege are advanced through economic, political, educational, religious, and media systems to project these worldviews as normative. This toxic mixture of wrong beliefs and manipulative power has contributed to increasing occurrences of violence against people of color, particularly African-American males, by law enforcement. These hideous abuses and fatalities, with rare accountability, are repulsive to and destabilizing of civilized society. How can people support institutions that threaten, abuse, and murder them?

The Lott Carey global Christian missional community calls for an immediate end to violence against people of color by law enforcement. Further, Lott Carey calls for accountability from law enforcement, the criminal justice system, US communities, and communities of color.

Concerning Law Enforcement

The privilege of wearing a uniform and carrying a weapon imposes the duty on police officers to use good judgement. Officers who fail to exercise judgement that seeks to defuse potentially volatile circumstances, but who, instead, react violently toward unarmed citizens of color must be held accountable. Police departments, law enforcement fraternities, governmental oversight structures, and the communities they serve must ensure that the law enforcement personnel who serve them receive appropriate cultural training to counteract pervasive racial prejudices in this country. Further, these entities must ensure that policing personnel receive the skills training necessary to ensure that they can function effectively in high stress situations. This training will help officers avoid erroneous decision-making that may cause danger and even death to members of the public at large and especially those within the minority community.

Concerning the Criminal Justice System

Data shows that people of color are arrested, prosecuted, and sentenced at a much higher rate than white people in the United States. Incarceration disadvantages convicted persons when pursuing employment opportunities, limits civil engagement like voting, destabilizes families, and contributes to financial fragility and poverty. United States criminal justice systems must remove the profitability of incarceration, and we must provide sufficient financial resources to invest in quality education, job creation, and community viability which will benefit the whole of society rather than enriching a few through criminalizing people of color.

Concerning the Impact of Racial Injustice

Throughout the history of the United States, racial injustice, blatant or subtle, has helped to create environments in communities of color where crime, drugs and violence flourish. Guns are not manufactured in communities of color. Drugs are not grown in communities of color. Communities of color do not redirect economic development and community investment funds away from their neighborhoods. Corporate and government entities collude to limit investment in schools, neighborhoods, and public amenities which leave vacuums that become filled with destructive activities and enterprises. Fiscal and governmental leaders must fairly restructure their approaches to investing in communities that are most vulnerable. These investments will create income, generate wealth, and contribute to safe, stable, and strong communities, cities, counties, and commonwealths.

Concerning Communities of Color

Communities of color, though traumatized by centuries of racial injustice and various forms of violence used to oppress them, cannot use bigotry and inequity as excuses for failing to create strength among themselves. They must organize to promote engaged citizenship, community strength, societal uplift, and neighborhood vitality. They must exercise good judgement in spending their money with businesses that will reinvest in their interests. They must cast their votes for people who will be accountable for responsible governance in relationship to their needs. They must teach young men how to defuse rather than incite potentially volatile situations when engaged by a police officer with a badge and a weapon and who is clothed with government authority. An ill-treated citizen cannot win a confrontation with law enforcement in the moment. We must train young people to use discernment, discretion, discipline, and documentation so that they can live long enough to win in court or through arbitration. Racial injustice is unfair and injurious, but people of color have survived and thrived despite slavery, segregation, and oppression. They can and they must do so in the 21st century.

The Lott Carey global Christian missional community is committed to making peace and ensuring justice. We oppose violence based upon race, gender, religion, nationality, and vulnerability. We support life – nurturing, flourishing, thriving, and affirming life. We are committed to life because we are committed disciples of Our Lord Jesus Christ who was crucified but raised to life eternal. We work for and long for the day when all people will know the love, hope, and joy that is offered from God and in the power of the Holy Spirit. We call upon people of faith and people for life to join us in this journey to end violence and ensure the well-being of all the human family.

Authored by the Discernment Team of the Conversation on Race and Violence:

Dr. Alyn E. Waller
Pastor, Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
President, Lott Carey

Dr. Gina M. Stewart
Pastor, Christ Missionary Baptist Church, Memphis, Tennessee
Second Vice President, Lott Carey

Justice Cynthia A. Baldwin (ret.)
Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Associate Justice Cheri Beasley
Supreme Court of North Carolina

Dr. Arlee Griffin, Jr.
Pastor, Berean Baptist Church, Brooklyn, New York and Raleigh, North Carolina

Dr. Anthony L. Trufant
Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Brooklyn, New York

Dr. David Emmanuel Goatley
Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Lott Carey, Landover, Maryland

Lott Carey is a global Christian missional community organized in 1897 to help churches extend the Christian witness throughout the world. Through prayer partnership, financial support, and technical assistance, we come alongside indigenous communities engaged in ministries of evangelism, compassion, empowerment, and advocacy. Together, we are touching lives with transforming love.

 

UNEXPECTED DEATH

Death is sometimes welcomed, especially if an individual is tired of the pain, the long-suffering, and looking for relief.  Death is also sometimes welcomed by the family care-giver who has not gotten much rest, due to caring for a loved one.

When death came to my mother earlier last month, I was glad that she was out of pain.  Last Thanksgiving (2014), she had confided to my wife and I that she was tired, and since the decision to live or die was in her hands, she was ready to go.  As long as I have been in the world, and before I was in the world, my mother has been suffering from one affliction or another.

My mom overheard the doctor tell her father  that she would not live long, due to the challenges to her health.  Mom was about eight years old.  When her father emerged from the meeting with the doctor, he tried to hide his teary eyes.  However, mom smiled and told him, “I overheard what the doctor said.”  Her father almost burst out in very audible sobs when mom stopped him.  She said, “Since I am going to die young, I am going to outwork everyone I can every day.  And, when I get to Heaven, I am going to tell God to help you in your ministry!”  Her dad was a farmer, and a young developing minister.  He had been a somewhat hard-drinking man due to family issues and challenging racism in Texas and Oklahoma; mom had told him about hearing the voice of God when she was five.  She was told to tell His (God’s) people to get right.  When her dad came in from a hard day of working, and a hard night of drinking, she told him what God had said.  After crying and asking God for forgiveness, this man took his family to church, and was soon on his way to becoming a minister.

The family had moved to California during “The Grapes of Wrath” episodes in the late 1920’s, which saw many poor farmers, and those looking for a better way of life, working their way from the Southwest to the Golden State of California.  It was here, the father heard the sad news from the doctor.  Mom learned how to outwork everyone as a farm laborer in California.  When her father became a labor contractor, she served as his bookkeeper.  However, her father kept wondering when she would die. Other doctors said that she wouldn’t live past 18.  When she passed that death sentence and married and had a son (me!), she was told that she would die by the time she was 30.  Later, other doctors said she wouldn’t see 40.  By this time, mom told the doctors to stop telling her when she was going to die as they were not God!

As long as I can remember, Death always seemed to be lurking around mom.  Sometimes, one eye would not work; then, it was an ear that couldn’t hear.  When it was very cold, arthritis stiffen her up, forcing her to sometimes work in the fields or do hair with only one hand working.  Sometimes, she had to take to the bed, especially when she became paralyzed on one side.  But, she still managed to outwork most people.  She felt like if she was going to have an appointment with death, Death would find her working so hard that Death would just have to take a seat, and wait a little longer!

Thanks to mom’s spiritual growth, and connection with God and seriously godly people, mom’s vision came back into that eye.  Later, her ear popped open.  Then, she worked so hard, or prayed so hard, or believed so intently that arthritis even had to take a seat and admire her fast-moving, working self, sometimes holding down two jobs.  When my step-father came on the scene, he worked hard so mom could be free to help people that she felt God wanted her to help.  This included a lot of abused women and children, young people who didn’t have loving family relationships, and others who felt like they had been served the raw side of life.  Even in loving and reaching out to others, mom would put her disabilities on hold, feeling like since she had been blessed to outlive some of her doctors, there was a joy as she gave her life helping others.  Once, she gave a beautiful home with a huge yard to a family of 13 who could not afford a house.  Books could be written by people she fed, housed, clothed, prayed for, loved on, and turned their lives around.  I am one of those people, but that story will wait for another day.

I had planned to go and visit my mom this past Thanksgiving.  With me in Texas, recovering from some of my own health challenges, and her in Northern California, I wasn’t able to visit mom often, but we talked a lot by phone.  When so many people she loved came to her 90th birthday two years ago, she was overjoyed at what each had accomplished, whether they had become backup singers in Hollywood, opened a business, raised their children alone, become famous in their own right, or just had managed to survive without giving up hope.  Congratulatory letters came from local, state, and national politicians from both sides of the aisle.  Even a mayor of her city came to honor her.

Last year, mom had my wife and I help her plan her transition to Heaven, and not keep Death waiting any longer.  Since we thought we had a few more years, we didn’t complete everything.  I would see her the following Thanksgiving, and we would be able to put everything in place.  Alas, while I was making plans, my son, her most recent, and longest, care-giver, sent word to others (since my phone was on vibrate) that my mom had just passed away.

I should have known something was up when my wife solemnly walked down the hallway and told me to turn off the television.  I was paying more attention to my work on the computer than on the television, so I protested that I wasn’t really watching television.  Then, she raised her voice a little and told me to please turn off the television.  After I had complied, she looked me in the eye and said, “Your mom just died!”

I can’t explain the feeling I had when I heard those words on a Sunday evening.  There was so much to do.  As the oldest child, much of the burden would fall on me.  However, one of my sisters, an attorney, was very resourceful.  Plus, my son, mom’s care-giver, was very helpful.  And, then there were my grown children, and others, who jumped in and made sure the planning, and homegoing arrangements were carried out with professional excellence.  I think I was pretty numb during the preparations before I arrived where mom stayed, while carrying out my duties with the funeral home and the insurance companies, and so many other details that must be done when someone in a family dies.  In fact, as I write this, I am still pretty numb.

Death.  Death became a pleasant friend at last for my mom.  For the first time in her life, she would not have any more pain.  At such a thought, I somewhat thanked Death, but I still wanted to visit my alive mother just one more time.  There were so many things I wanted to discuss with her about her family, more about her history, and just hug her just one more time.  I had no idea last Thanksgiving as she asked me to feed her from my plate with the one fork that this would be the last thing I would do for mom.  Death.  Death is often not welcomed when one is robust and things are going great.  Death is really not welcomed when family members and friends hadn’t finished their planned time with their loved one.

Death will come to us all.  Regardless of race, religion, no religion, gender, or whatever one may believe about life ending here, or life extended into a different dimension, Death will visit all of us.  The only questions that remains is: Will you be ready to meet Death?  Will you have all of your affairs in order?  Will you go with Death quietly, or will you go with Death screaming and clutching on to what you have?  If you are reading this, you have a chance to prepare to meet Death, so stay ready, as Death is always checking the appointment book!

 

 

 

 

 

THE POWER OF PROPAGANDA

THE POWER OF PROPAGANDA

There is a lot of propaganda against anyone who dares call themselves a Christian.  This propaganda has been growing since before there were “Christians,” a name given to those in the first century who acted a lot like a person that had hung on the cross because propagandists were tired of Him doing good for the masses of people while often making religious and political people look bad.

Now what is propaganda?  It depends on one’s definition.  However, the most accepted understanding comes from the dictionaries. The definition I will share comes from Dictionary.com and says:

noun

1.information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.

2.the deliberate spreading of such information, rumors, etc.

3.the particular doctrines or principles propagated by an organization or movement. (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/propaganda)

Many evil, negative, selfish, and self-aggrandizing people don’t like, or sometimes, downright, hate Christians.  As I observe the propaganda coming out from the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender) organization, I see that they have become caught up in propaganda to help them get what they wanted—and, it is working.

If a person, especially a Christian, don’t agree with the lifestyle of a gay person, or call what they do sinful, or unnatural, or don’t agree with their pushiness to MAKE someone serve them, rent to them, accept them as another form of “natural” gender, they get hit with labels like “bigot,” “hatemonger,” “homophobic,” “mean-spirited,” “unChristian,” or some other word to try to show those who agree with them that that person or group is not kind, or whatever, and needs to be punished.

Unfortunately, this group wants to speak out and demonstrate for their “rights,” but don’t want Christians and other non-believers in their way of life to say anything they would consider negative against their lifestyle.  The politicians and others are so afraid of being “called out,” demonstrated against, sued, or considered an unkind person that they are caving in, and gradually giving the LGBT just about whatever they want.  Of course, many within the LGBT have been fighting for their form of justice for over 50 years.  And, they are using mostly civil rights laws developed to create a level educational and economic field for African Americans.  However, when one puts up the statistics of the massive horrors done to African slaves and African Americans against the few horrors done to any within the LGBT movement, the results are a slap in the face of many African Americans who have not bought into the LGBT movement.

Many Christians and Christian groups support most, if not all, of the agenda of the LGBT movement out of respect.  Some say everyone should “tolerate” this group, and all who consider themselves as another gender, or a gender desiring the affections of their own gender.  These Christians hide behind a few verses in their interpretation of the Christian Bible, do not see the necessity of including the ancient teachings of what they call the “Old Testament,” and usually do not see their understanding of what they call “God” as really being unchangeable—the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Such is the power of how people and groups use propaganda, to embellish their own agenda by putting down the agenda of others.   And, let’s face it: we ALL have an agenda!  Some are fighting for the right to respect the long-standing history of what a marriage is.  Others feel like a marriage is whatever they call it to be in this brave, new world.  Many Christians don’t even want to get involved in the conversation because some of them may be “closet” gays and lesbians; are sleeping around, and quietly having sex with single or married men and/or women, and even having sex with boys, and/or girls; have divorced one or more times to enjoy the kind of sex that they think they need and deserve; or hide away and enjoy personal sex by themselves with books, tapes, movies, or just with their mind.  Thus, they don’t dare speak out lest someone find out about their past, or discover what they are currently into that might be considered “improper” sexual thoughts or actions by Christians and others with higher moral standards.

An ancient Native American saying, paraphrased here, is DON’T JUDGE OR CRITICIZE ANOTHER WARRIOR UNTIL YOU HAVE WALKED IN HIS MOCCASINS!  Whether one is involved in the LGBT movement, has a child or relative that is gay, has gay tendencies, or just don’t think being gay is normal, slinging propaganda mud will never bring lasting peace.  What will bring a measure of understanding between the so-called gays, and the so-called straights is just learning to accept each other the best we can, enjoy what each brings to the table, stop trying to shove each other’s beliefs down the throat of each other, and respect each other for the right to believe/act the way they desire without having to pass a bunch of new laws, or go to war against each other.  In other words, if someone doesn’t want to rent or sell you something because it really goes against their long-standing beliefs, move on to someone who will.  If someone doesn’t want to bake you a cake, give you a job, or whatever it is you think you deserve, look around and find someone who will.  And, if no one will give you the product or service you need to be happy, consider creating a new opportunity or industry.

At one time American women weren’t given an opportunity to share their skills beyond the bedroom and the kitchen; now they control over 59% of the economy.  If they continue to learn, earn, develop, and marry into rich and powerful families, they may one day control ALL of America when their husbands die!  At one time, there was not ONE African American playing in the NBA, NFL, MLB, so they developed their own leagues and perfected their skill; now there is not ONE professional NBA, NFL, MLB without at least ONE African American on their team roster.  At one time, there was not ONE African American quarterback in the NFL; now there are several.  Of course, marching, educating, and passing laws didn’t hurt!  At one time there was not ONE Hispanic American in the unions building highways, freeways, skyscrapers, and new homes; now in some states, they almost control the labor of construction, janitorial, maid service, yard service, and even in some restaurants that are NOT Hispanic!

Educating, understanding, and sharing resources without fighting could be a better wave of the future for lasting peace among various groups, instead of using the broad brush of propaganda to coerce people to follow the dictates of another.  However, will we be reasonable and listen to each other, or will we continue to get what we each want even if it means tearing the country apart, and allowing a dictator to take over and tell ALL OF US what we are to believe or face the chopping block?

Been Thinking About the Past, Present, and Future

It seems as I grow older, I have more light to see my failures of the past.  Of course, my failures have revealed my connection to other humans!

Aging is kind of nice…except for the loss of hair, loss of teeth, pains in strange places, loss of strength, and having to get up a LOT in the night when I really need my sleep. And, when I get back into bed, my mind jumps from one thing to another—almost like some of my writings!

As I have aged, and connected with many sins, I have looked at my past, first with some regrets, then with some remorse, and then I learned how to repent, ask for forgiveness (I am sure I still owe more apologies!), and learn from how to learn from my past to make better decisions in the present, and look forward to a better future from learning from my past.

Here is something you can print out and put on your coffee/tea/water, or whatever, container:

Your gateway to the past that can prepare you for your future could me: The more you know—the more you grow!  So, whether you have made a lot of mistakes (sins!) like me, or whether you have ALWAYS done everything right, and never hurt anyone, there is something in your past that can help you learn how to have a more successful present, and a very happier future!