Thursday, September 28, 2017

I am a Miracle...I could have died a few weeks ago



Since 1990 I have been on Medication for a medical diagnosis. Last year I learned that the medication I was taking for this diagnosis was creating two other problematic medical diagnosis; renal failure and diabetes insipidous. In July of this year I began the transition off of this medication and onto another one. After 6 weeks on this new medication I was suffering unbearable GI issues from chronic heartburn, re-flux, stomach upset and vomiting. That medicine was stopped abruptly and I was placed on another medication. This medication caused high blood pressure and extreme lethargy. My brain was unable to process anything and I began to have memory lapses. At that point they increased one of my medicines to counter the side effects and all that one did was cause me to be hungover. Those were stopped and I was placed on another one. We thought this one would work because I had been on it before but what I did not realize was when I was sick earlier this year it was actually being caused by the medicine. What's so serious about this is this medication can cause what is known as Stephen Johnson's Syndrome. You can die from this.

When taking the medicine i had a mild anaphylactic shock. My cheeks swelled causing me to bite the inside of my mouth. I developed a chronic cough, had body aches like the flood and had a rash break out. We stopped this immediately. Because I was on this twice God made me realize that I am a miracle.

Both times I was on this medicine I could have died yet I am still here. So much happens to us in the world and rarely do we realize what God has brought us through. The reality for me is that God literally sustained me against a medicine trying to kill me.

If you doubt the love of God take a moment to evaluate why you are still here. Romans 8:37 - 39 is my favorite verse because it tells us what can separate us from the love of God.


Romans 8:37-39New International Version (NIV)

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If you are reading this give God thanks for waking you up. God bless.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Uncovering my Privilege........A necessary pain




Last week I posted a submission titled Silenced. I have since deleted it because I just realized how steeped in white privilege it is. I would call that post a glorified whine.

"Oh, how dare they silence me."

"Who do they think they are?"

"I am just speaking for God."

"Whine, whine, whine."

I am sorry. When you grow up in a world not having to worry about people watching you when you shop, or people mispronouncing your name, or getting any job your want or into the school of your choice you become blind to the blatant racism and inequality against your friends of color.

I am also sorry to my boss. He is a man of color with relative success in the working world but I am sure that doesn't exclude him from the rampant racism that still exists in America.

It just hit me today, that for him to tell me that people were bothered by my post, "The Silence is Deafening," calling it political he had to be told that.

It tells me that the complainers are so comfortable in their white privilege they did not even consider how their words were felt by him. How does it make him feel that his feelings were dismissed as they complained? How does he now work with these people with the idea that they may think they are better than him simply because of the color of their skin.

I don't know if you read this, but I am sorry. Sorry for my ignorance, for my selfish sensitivity and my blindness to your pain and anguish. And I appreciate you too. 


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Strange Fruit



My favorite summer show is So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD). It is in its 14th season and the talent never disappoints and the choreographers always find a way to make you uncomfortable about serious issues. Last night was one of those moments.

Travis Wall took the famous song Strange Fruit, originally written and sung by Billy Holiday, back when lynchings of black people was a common occurrence. He used this song by Nina Simone and choreographed a dance that was captivating, harrowing, disturbing and much needed for our times.

You can watch it here within the article.

I continue to hear White American Christians down play the acts of the KKK and Nazis in Charlottesville. Yet these groups have started spreading threats through posters in Durham, NC.



White Supremacy and Nazism is a sin. This hate is perpetuated on the belief that the White race is superior to all races. If when people say that #ALLLIVESMATTER we should also be condemning White Supremacy from the same mouth.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The History of White America

I do not want to reinvent the will so I want to share a link to a sermon, delivered by Brian McLaren at the 25th Aniversary of CBF General Assembly. In his message he gives a good history of White discovery and settlement of America and how far back Christian hate spans the history of the earth. When you have time to watch it in its entirety, please do.





After watching this please click on the following Link for Bryan McLaren's observations of the events in Charlottesville, VA on August 12, as he participated in the march against the White Supremacist and Nazi's. Here is an excerpt:


On the other Anti-Racism Protestors: Along with Congregate C’ville, there were other groups protesting the message of white supremacy and Naziism. I was deeply impressed with the Black Lives Matter participants. They went into the middle of the fray and stood strong and resilient against vicious attacks, insults, spitting, pepper spray, tear gas, and hurled objects. It’s deeply disgusting to see BLM be vilified on Fox News and other conservative outlets after watching them comport themselves with courage in the face of vile hatred this weekend.
There were several anti-fascism groups whose exact affiliations were not easy to ascertain. I was moved by one young woman from one of these groups at the scene of the killing. She stood on a milk crate and shouted (this is a paraphrase): “People, this is hard. This is heartbreaking – to see our neighbors lying in the street, severely injured. But we must realize what’s at stake when Nazis and white supremacists want to take control of our country. We must not be intimidated, but be more committed than ever to stand against them.” There was no call to violence or revenge; only a call to resilient resistance.
I was also deeply impressed by UVA students I met. The group of young men and women that stood up to the torch-carrying marchers on Friday night had amazing courage. Their fellow students, their parents, and all of us, should be proud of these young leaders.
Not all of the groups shared a commitment to nonviolent resistance in the tradition of Dr. King. I saw a few groups of protestors who, like the Nazis and white supremacists, came with hand-made shields and helmets, and I heard reports that some of these groups used pepper spray on the white supremacists, who were also using pepper spray, sticks, and fists on them.
To read it in its entirety click here.


Monday, August 14, 2017

The Silence is Deafening




"You are not walking on the lake like Peter
but on another sea, for this world is a sea;
Trials its waves, temptations its storms,
and men devouring each other as fishes do.
Don't be afraid, step out stoutly lest you sink.When the gale blows and the waves rise, and your weakness makes you fear you will be lost, cry out, 'Lord, I am sinking,' and he who bade you walk will not let you perish.
-Augustine of Hippo 354-430


Crickets.......................

I hear nothing in the liturgy at church of the events in Charlottesville, VA

Crickets......................

I hear a mention of hate in the prayer but a proclamation of not knowing where it comes from.

Crickets......................

The sermon we learn how Paul denies himself and all his qualifications so that Christ is lifted up. This would be a great way to say that White Supremacy boasts of their inherent(?) privilege and demand them to deny themselves and let Christ be lifted up. But no, I didn't hear that either.

The problem with having a theological education, where I studied the bible intensively, and being called by God as a minsiter is that I am picky and I am a cynic. I know I am called to the pastorate, but when you're a woman and you preach the word God has given you people don't really want to hear it. So for now, I will use my blog as a way to get the Lords word out.



"The hate that was on display in Charlottesville this weekend comes from the foundation of our country. The belief that White Man is superior to people of color and those of the opposite gender. As a beneficiary of white privilege, my silence makes me complicit.  I cannot be silent."



This is the email I sent my pastor yesterday in response to the silence I heard in the service.

After further prayer and reading of the scriptures, I know that this hate while still evident in White Supremacy began long before its presence in our world but it is all rooted in the same thing. See God and Jesus represent the truth and evil one does not like the truth. We see it in the very beginning. Let us look at Cain and Abel. In Genesis 4 we read the following:


Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.” Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.

When it comes to God's teaching the teaching is really simple, that may be why we struggle with God's truth. God told Cain the truth, that if you do what is right you will be accepted. He was trying to help Cain, love him and protect him. But we know, instead of allowing God's truth to change him he became angry and resentful which led to the murder of his brother Abel.

Galatians 6: 7 says, "Do not be deceived, God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows."

If we sow anger we will reap killings, murder and death. In John 10:10 Jesus tells us that the thief (enemy) comes to steal, kill, and destroy but Jesus has come that we might have life and have it more abundantly.

There is no mistaking the similarities between Cain, the Pharisees, Hitler and the Nazi regime, White ancestors of America and White Supremacy. All of these, including those of us who identify with the white race have chosen to become angry at God's truth. We have harbored anger towards those of a different races, religions, nationalities, etc. And it has ended in killings, in murders, and in death. Because American history records White Christians complicity in the oppression, enslavement, and killing of blacks, Jews and women we must now repent of our sins. We must now embrace the new kingdom that God is bringing here on earth and in America.

What does God's kingdom look like on earth? I want to start with a portion of the Declaration of Independence and the US Consitution and use scripture to support the utmost ideal we should all be striving for in our country.

Declaration of Independence (a portion)

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

US Constitution

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.


Article XIV (Amendment 14 - Rights Guaranteed: Privileges and Immunities of Citizenship, Due Process, and Equal Protection)

1: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

When we read the Declaration of Independence there is a declaration of equality. Meaning one is not superior to another. There is also a declaration that one's Creator has created them to have an innate right to live, to have freedom and to know happiness. If white men in America continue to declare supremacy over everyone else then everyone else is being denied equality, life, liberty, and happiness.

At the beginning of our Constitution it states that we are establishing our country on the basis of Justice, freedom from war and a promotion of the general welfare; ie. that everyone has a right to live life fully without fear from others.

These documents alone demand that all Americans denounce White Supremacy, KKK, Alt-Right and Neo Nazi's that act and behave in opposition to the founding fathers original intent for the basis of our country. Now while I am fully aware that white men wrote this document, that many of them owned slaves and they believed that these rights for them only, many of us will agree that the omission of white in these writings was a divine directive of God. (More on that later). These documents and people through out our history as a country have been instrumental in abolishing slavery, ending segregation, giving the right to vote and own property to women, guarantee voting rights to the Black community and to guarantee equal access to higher education (Affirmative Action). I think it is no accident that our own foundational documents are being used to silence the oppressors and usher in God's new kingdom. Remeber, Galatians says, God can not be mocked.

Back to my question stated earlier. What does God's kingdom look like? We know it includes Jews and Gentiles, Samaritans, Greeks, Romans and Eunics. If we can step back and resist the temptation to read scripture literally we see a pattern here. Jesus's truth is for ALL. In scripture, we find the idea of equality in Galatians. Paul says: There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Jesus also speaks to what truth is, "For I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the father but by me", John 14:6. The truth is that Jesus loves everyone. We are all the same in his eye, children created in the image of God, his father.

While White Supremacy has carried the banner of Christ as the basis for their belief we have to call out their bigotry, their blasphemy, and their heresy in light of what Christ says.

While America is definitely at a crossroads the church is at a dividing point. To ALL my white brothers and sisters in Christ. We are at a point where we must make a decision. Either we will ignore the truth and perpetuate our false belief of superiority or we will denounce all hate, all that contradicts Jesus teaching and all that comes from the devil. 

I want to leave you with another verse and a thought. Ephesians 6:10 - 12


Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.


When Christians remain silent to the obvious work of the devil we are complicit and we reject the truth of our Savior. Make no mistake, the hate that was on display in Charlottesville this weekend, at the hands of White Supremacist is of the devil. May we turn our eyes to Jesus, may we repent of our complicity and may we always preach the truth in the face of lies and hate.


Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King, Jr.

1 John 4:20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.


In Memoriam











Monday, June 19, 2017

Follow My Lead

On June 18, 2017 I had the priviledge of preaching at Heritage Baptist Church in Wake Forest, NC. This is the church that ordained me on May 15, 2011. Below please find the message I brought.


I want to read a letter to you from God.

            “Good morning my children. It’s good to have this time to talk with you. I know it has been many thousands of years since I have written but I felt given the circumstances of our world a letter was needed. I am writing to you from a place of concern and discouragement. When I look at the world I see violence every way. At the root of this violence is a deep seated hate people have for one another. This hate manifests in many ways; ISIS, gangs, and white supremacy, or alt right as some may call it. When I look upon this world I created I see a lack of civility, divisiveness and disrespect everywhere. If I get specific to the problem in America I have to say the individualism has become a barrier to the spread of the Gospel. Individualism can breed selfishness and greed. When these two dominate we see racial inequality, groups treated as 2nd class citizens. We see hunger, poverty and people not being educated. In a nutshell we are quick to hold people accountable to the law rather than extend grace to them. We are quicker to judge rather than forgive. More people hate others rather than loving one’s neighbor. People exclude rather than include. You ignore one another rather than engage. You hold on to more things than you share with others. You are quick to reject someone, for whatever reaction rather than accept them as one created in my image. And lastly but not least, you walk away from others too quickly rather than welcome them into your life, home and church. My prayer for you dear children is that you learn to live by grace rather than by the law.
            So how you do this? I know reading the bible in its entirety can be a daunting task so I want to take this time to highlight what I call the attributes of me, your creator.

First, I want to remind you that I am your Mother. In Genesis 1 I made mankind in my image, male and female, I made them in my image. Regardless of ones gender all bear my image. As a mother, I will comfort my people as a mother comforts her child. Just as a mother would never forget her nursing child I will never forget you my children. I am also like a mother eagle who hovers over her young to protect them as they grow. And just as a housekeeper will search for a lost coin I will search the ends of the earth to find all my children. I am also like a midwife. Just as a midwife cares for the child she delivered I will care for you. And like a mother bear will release her furry when she is robbed of her cubs, so shall I release my fury until my children are found. Lastly, I am like a mother hen who desires to have all her chicks under her wings. As your mother I will never stop looking for all my children.
             I am your Father.  My own son, Jesus, knew this and taught you how to pray with this knowledge. As your Father and Creator of the universe I care for each one of you. I am also Jehovah-M’Kaddesh. Meaning I am “the God who sanctifies.” I am separate from all that is evil and require that the people who follow me be cleansed from all evil. I am good. I am the embodiment of what is good, and is kind, benevolent, and full of good will toward all creation. I am love also. My love is so great that I gave My only Son to bring you into fellowship with Him. My love not only encompasses the world, but embraces each of you personally and intimately. I am Jehovah-jireh. I am “the God who provides.” I am Jehovah-shalom. I am “the God of peace.” You are meant to know the fullness of my perfect peace, my “shalom.”  I am also just. I am righteous and holy, fair and equitable in all things. You can trust me to always do what is right. I am Jehovah-rophe. I am the “God who heals.” I alone provide the remedy for mankind’s brokenness through my son, Jesus Christ. The Gospel is the physical, moral, and spiritual remedy for all people. I am merciful. My merciful compassion is infinite and inexhaustible. I am faithful. Out of my faithfulness I will honor my covenants and fulfill my promises. I am full of grace. Grace is my good pleasure that moves me to grant merit where it is undeserved and to forgive debt that cannot be repaid. Lastly, I am your Comforter. My son called the Holy Spirit the “Comforter,” and the apostle Paul wrote that the Lord is “the God of all comfort.” —2 Corinthians 1:3,4
.           My son, is like me, for he is me. He lived in humble service by washing the feet of his disciples. He also lived a holy life. He lived a life of righteousness by doing what was right. Just as my son is pure, you who place hope in him will be purified. Jesus is love because he laid down his life that we might have eternal life. Through my son’s death you have been forgiven and so should you forgive others. In the same way my son has shown you compassion please show compassion to others. By considering himself not equal to me, Jesus humbled himself. He assumed to the role of servant and I need you to do the same. Consider yourselves less than and let me move through you to transform the lives of people you encounter.
            So why do I remind you of who I am? I do so to show you how I want you to live with others. In the same way I care for you I need you to care for others. Like a mother, I need to care for and protect those who are abused, mistreated, hunger and fight to stay alive. I need you, like a mother bear, to be angry at injustice in our world and seek justice for those who have been wrongly treated or convicted. As the body of Christ I need you to have a passion to seek out my children who are lost and bring them back into the fold as mother hen works to gather her babies. Just as I am there as a midwife when a child comes into this world I need to be there for these children throughout their lives. Ensure they are cared for physically, mentally and spiritually. Like a Father, be good to all you meet. Love not only those who do good to you but love also your enemies. Provide for those who lack so they will not be in need. Promote peace with what you say and how you treat others. Act justly by being fair and equitable in all your dealings. Bust most importantly, do the work of my son and bringing healing to all. This world is broken and in need of healing.
            Lastly, let me share with you about one of my children. You know him as Paul, but he wasn’t born Paul. His original name was Saul. When he was Saul he was an enemy to my people, you might say he was a terrorist to the growing Christian Community. But I knew what he could become, and like a mother and a father I could not leave him to his own devices. I had to rid him of the evil that consumes him. And you know what? He became one of the biggest voices for the cause of Christ. Lest you forget. You know the gospel because of his missionary work to the gentiles. It took time for Paul to grow into who I called him to be but in the end he got it. Please hear these words from Paul.

Philippians 2:1 - 8 

Imitating Christ’s Humility

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any            comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and   compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
                5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
                6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,
            did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
                7 rather, he made himself nothing
            by taking the very nature[
b] of a servant,
             being made in human likeness.
                8 And being found in appearance as a man,
            he humbled himself
             by becoming obedient to death—
            even death on a cross!


I stated in the beginning of my letter that America’s Individualism is a barrier to the gospel going out. If we look closely at the words of Paul he encourages us to embrace humility, obedience and servanthood. You live in a time now where if you are to fully live out the Gospel you will live contrary to the ways of the world. I know what this can bring. It can bring difficulty, suffering and persecution, but please remember that I am with you always, even unto the end of the age. Dear children, I pray you will imprint these words upon your heart and go out into this world to change the direction it is going. Live so that others know the love of God and the peace that passes all understanding. I love you my children. Love, your Creator God.”


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Why I marched again.

Unlike three years ago I give you the words of a Raleigh, NC pastor as to why I marched again this weekend and on January 21.


 
not just life that agrees with us,

not just life that aligns on every issue,





 

To read the post in its entirety please click here.