Black, White, Brown and Gold

golden ruleIn view of the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri it is quite obvious that we have some serious racial problems in America! However, the problems are not just about race, they are also about economics, respect for authority, personal responsibility, and government abuse!

Let me first express my sympathy and condolences to the family and friends of Michael Brown. Losing a loved-one so suddenly in such a tragic manner is beyond my personal comprehension and experience. My prayers and thoughts are ever with that mother and father, along with the rest of the family. Having said that, let me get to the gist of my thoughts for this post.

First, I want to speak to my people; the Black people in America! No matter what has happened in the past, we’ve got to give up the victim mentality! Although White America must rightfully bear some to the blame, everything that goes awry in the Black community is not “the White man’s” fault! I understand the frustration when blatant injustices occur, but how does looting and burning our own neighborhoods fix the problem? It’s amazing to me that whenever something like this happens, people take advantage of it and use it as an excuse to loot, rob and steal! One really has nothing to do with the other! Burning a store and stealing a 60-inch television set has nothing to do with what happened to Michael Brown!

If we want “other” people to respect us, we must respect ourselves! We get all up in arms whenever a White person or the police kill a Black person! We rally and protest for justice but too often we are strangely quiet and dis-interested in the untold numbers of Blacks who are killed by other Blacks on a daily basis in our communities! What is it? Is a Black life only considered a loss and valuable when it is taken by a White person or by the police? Seriously! We have ran the Klu Klux Klan out of business! A couple of generations ago, a Black mother’s greatest fear was that of her son being killed by the Klan. Today her greatest fear is that her son will be killed by other Black men! We’ve got to draw the line and say: “Enough is enough!” The biggest problem in the Black community is not White folks! The biggest problem in the Black community is Black folks! We must respect ourselves! If we don’t want White people using the n-word in reference to us, then we must stop using it to refer to ourselves! It doesn’t matter what the color of the mouth that speaks it; it’s still a degrading, dehumanizing and disrespectful word! We must learn to protect and respect our women and children! We’ve got to change our values to that which is positive and productive instead of that which is negative and destructive. We can’t really blame other folks too much for looking at us with suspicion if we are routinely engaged in suspicious activity! In other words, it’s unrealistic to expect not to be treated like a thug if you routinely act, dress and talk like one! Our young ladies (and some of the old ones too!) need to understand that if you want to be treated like a lady, then you must act and dress like a lady! It doesn’t make sense to get upset when a man doesn’t respect you when you don’t respect yourself! You don’t have to “show everything” to get a (real) man! If all you got going for you is just a nice body, then sooner or later you won’t have much going for you at all! Parents, we’ve misplaced our values also! Too many of us are too concerned about our children looking good when they go to school instead of them getting an education when they get there! We routinely spend hundreds of dollars for a pair of sneakers, but see no value in investing in computers and educational software! We don’t show up for parent conferences, but yet we want to raise “unholy hell” at the suspension hearings!

But if we don’t respect ourselves, who will? Therefore, we should refuse to tolerate or financially support any rapper,and any other recording artist that produces material that degrades our women and children or any other aspect of our culture! They say they are just “keeping it real” by singing about what’s happening in the streets, but the narrative can be changed! Instead of rapping about what is and thereby perpetuating the status quo, why not rap about “what could be” or “what should be” and inspire others to make positive change? I can almost promise you that if we (the Black community and the buying public) would stop buying their music, the lyrics would change! After all, no matter how they tell us they are just keeping it real, it’s really all about the paper. (Cheese, cheddar, benjamins, money, or whatever the current lingo is)! If the negative, degrading and abusive music being produced today wasn’t selling, they wouldn’t be producing it!

Now, a word to my White brothers and sisters who might read this: Much of the rationale and reasoning of Black people in America might be perplexing to you, but some of the frustration experienced in the Black community is because of “White privilege.” You might not want to admit it, but you enjoy certain privileges and opportunities in America simply because you are White! For you, a BMW is a German luxury car, but for many Black people it is not a luxury at all, it is a “Black-Man-Working” a decent job! You are not routinely subjected to police suspicion simply because you drive a nice car. Therefore, you cannot understand what it’s like to be discriminated against because of the color of your skin because it doesn’t routinely happen to you! And although you may not contribute to the situation personally, you still reap the benefits from those who have gone on before you who did! Historically, there was much done to destroy the psyche of the Black man in America! Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that many White people in America didn’t think that Black people were even (whole) people! (If I remember my American History correctly, I think a Black man was considered three-fifths of a person!)

And now a word about Michael Brown. As of this post, no one knows what really happened on that fateful day in August when Mike Brown was killed. But the environment that produced the situation is well-known! Some say that he was shot by the police officer while he had his hands raised in surrender. If that was the case, there is really no excuse for the officer’s actions. Some have suggested that there was a physical confrontation in which Mr. Brown tried to take the officer’s gun. If that was the case, the officer was merely defending himself because he, no doubt feared for his own life. Perhaps the whole situation could have been avoided if Mr. Brown and his companion were walking on the side of the street instead of in the middle of it. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that walking in the middle of the street is a capital offense worthy of death, I’m just simply commenting on the fact that in many communities I know of today, young people routinely walk down the middle of the street in defiance, daring cars to hit them! That blatant disregard for authority and disrespect for others is often the fodder for such unfortunate confrontations!

Speaking of respect and regard for others, let me now deal with my last color. We’ve talked about Black (people), White (people) and the tragedy with (Michael) Brown, now let me introduce a possible solution with the color; Gold! The color Gold is for the “Golden Rule!” “Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you!” If we all ascribed to the Gold, we would have a better world! Gold is the answer to the issues between the Black and the White! Adhering to the Gold could have quite possibly prevented the unfortunate incident that happened with Mr. Brown! If we would all seek to live by the Gold, many of our societal issues would be resolved! Of course, I am not so naive to think that everyone would do this, but if enough of us did, it would make a world of a difference! And even if no one else does it, if you do it, it would make a tremendous difference in your world!

No matter what the outcome of the Michael Brown case, all of us; Black and White should let what happened cause us to examine ourselves! It really doesn’t take much to fix the blame, but what we really need is to dedicate ourselves to fix the problem! Some claim that they know what to do! They say it is as simple as black and white! I don’t know about that, but I am sure there are some intriguing possibilities for a greater and better community if enough of us would seriously consider the Gold!

 

 

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The Walmart Church

Walmart ChurchThere is a growing church in America today, the name of which, most people have never heard of; it is the Walmart Church! Now, you will not see the name “The Walmart Church” on the marquee outside, but there are locations all around!

What is “The Walmart Church?” It is the church of convenience! The Walmart stores specialize in making shopping convenient for their customers, with many locations having retail and groceries under the same roof. Convenience is a big thing with the Walmart Church, with services at different times for the convenience of its attenders.

The Walmart Church is also the church of discount prices! At the Walmart Church, God’s approval and blessings are offered at a great discount! One can lay claim to Christianity with little or no cost to one’s previous lifestyle. At the Walmart Church, one can be a “Christian” and yet be spared the embarrassment of being fundamentally different from one’s “non-Christian” neighbors. All one has to do to remain a member in good standing is consistently donate an offering and attend a mass meeting on Sunday.

Now of course, I am being sarcastic and there really is no such thing as “The Walmart Church!” But I wonder, is that really the state of the church in many places in America. When many people consider becoming a part of a church today, they actually go “church-shopping!” They visit congregation after congregation, looking for the one that fits their list of specific characteristics: The preacher must be a dynamic and engaging speaker. The music ministry must be lively and entertaining and it would be a plus if there is a drama and fine arts ministry! And of course, there must be a Teen, Youth, or Children’s Ministry to engage the kids while the adults go to the big church to “get their praise on!”

But whatever happened to the idea of being a part of a church because one felt led of God to be there? Whatever happened to the idea of the church being a place to nurturing relationships and fostering spiritual growth? Whatever happened to the idea of finding a church where one was led of God to join so that one might express and utilize their own spiritual gifts in ministerial service?

The church, as Jesus formed it, was not designed to serve its membership. Its membership was designed to be an extension of the ministry of her Lord in serving others! In other words, the real question today that one should be asking is not what this church can do for me and my family, but rather how can my family and I help this church fulfill the Great Commission that the Lord has given!

Well, I don’t know about you! Keep looking for “The Walmart Church” if you want to! As for me, I am looking and I am working to transform the church where I serve into a place where people feel led of God to be a part of! A place where we don’t just “have church” and be entertained, but a place where people are taught, inspired, and challenged to be all that God has called them to be!