The Light of Fellowship

Here is a something that I wrote back in 2010 as an article in my church’s newsletter, that serves as an example of how important fellowship is to living out God’s will for each one of us:  

Many times we hear the word “fellowship” during many of our church services and programs. But, what does the term truly represent in the Christian community and how are we supposed to really fellowship amongst each other. What does God really want from us when we fellowship with one another? The word fellowship means companionship from a denotative point of view. What the does the word mean from a Christian’s perspective? I John 1:6-7 reads,” 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth, 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” So we must be in fellowship with each other to get closer to God’s truth which is living in the light because God is the light. When we as brothers and sisters in Christ realize the truth then we must seek that truth together through fellowship and prayer with each other, then the blood that Jesus shed for our sins can truly transfigure us.

            We see God showing us the strength of fellowship in the world news every day, particularly in the case of the Chilean miners who were trapped in a mine for over 2 months in complete darkness. We heard of different accounts of various things or fears that the miners had to endure; however one miner’s role stuck out to me the most. He was one of the older miners and the one who was the sickliest, dealing with various health issues like diabetes, but his role as the group’s spiritual leader help build their bond and was their calm in the midst of involuntary exile. Without his heart-felt prayers to God, and the groups unyielding hope in God’s power they were able to fellowship with each other in hopes that their darkness would soon turn into light. Through their fellowship one to another and understanding that God is the light, they were delivered from their darkness without any casualties or broken spirits. Like one of the miners stated when he was interviewed by a reporter, “the Devil and God had a war over me and God won,” that statement punctuates the strength in fellowship. The Church must use fellowship as one of the weapons God has provided for us to ward off the Devil’s sedulous attacks toward Christians. We must take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness, instead expose them. Ephesians 5:11 reads, “11 and have no fellowship with the fruitful works, but rather reprove them.” So when the secular world see Christians in the joy of fellowship, we are merely sending a message that we are the light of God and are not cemented in the darkness of the world iniquities. So, I ask you again, what is God’s purpose for fellowship between Christians? It is clearly the vehicle that navigates us to the light at the end of the tunnel, which is a beacon of fellows into God’s Kingdom. Christians take joy in fellowship one to another, because it is the part of God’s will and is important in our walk as Christians and becoming a citizen of God’s Kingdom. Remember the things we do here on Earth is a rehearsal for what we have in store in Heaven, so let’s fellowship here as we will do in Heaven. God Bless!!!

 

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Don’t Speak for Me, Us, or We!!!

The Negro who lives on the patronage of philanthropists is the most dangerous member of our society, because he is willing to turn back the clock of progress when his benefactors ask him so to do.

– Marcus Garvey
The abovementioned quote by Mr. Garvey paints a portrait of what is wrong with some black people in our race whom opinions are taken as fact.  Charles Barkley for example on last week, made his opinion well-known about Mike Brown and Eric Garner by broadcasting it across the white media, though it was his opinion and merely his opinion the damage is far more than he believe it to be.  A ten minute segment to discuss the topic alongside Shaq, Kenny Smith, Ernie, and himself on TNT (Ted Turner’s network) cannot erase the detriment of his comments.  His comments may had some truth and validity to them, but they should not have been revealed in that form or fashion on that platform.  The problem that I see a lot of times with black sports figures and entertainers is that their opinions are taken as the bible for black people all over America, when not made truth or to improve race relations. When Bill Cosby made his comments about the state of the black community, the vitriolic language used in his lambasted comments were playing into the hands of those benefactors in which Mr. Garvey spoke of. These our the same benefactors that use such vile self-hatred of the black race to their advantage, especially when things that require prejudice as a defense comes into play.  Those people who think they are addressing the problems plaguing the black community are actually pulling the pants down of an entire race to shame the entire group, that does not need anything extra to make us be considered more of a 3rd class citizens (I use that term loosely). The intra-race detractors only set themselves up to lose the backers that support them wholeheartedly within the black race and to be ostracized and humiliated by the benefactors. Where those individuals like Barkley and Cosby feel that are exposing truths through their opinions(which some of the points hit the mark), they need to focus on speaking their opinions directly to black people to create a dialogue for change in thinking and actions. Once those inflammatory comments  and opinions are disseminated to CNN, MSNBC, and especially FOX News it does not look like constructive criticism, but rather another strike against the black community from people who they feel are our best assets. The Barkleys, Cosbys, or any other “black elitist” does not speak for me or any other black person that is out in the world trying to kill the stereotypes bestowed on us since our births. The progress of black race does not start with those whom are rich or ultra talented, but with the normal people whom are exposed to ills of society because of their socio-economic status and “Melanin Badge” and don’t have the money or bullet-proof image to shift the mind of the benefactors to think their lives matter. Progress is not possible if there is a mole that brings the dirt to the surface for the world to see, progress must be made in the underground channels create amongst every black person.  Do not  profess our problems to the world, because the world has already created and provided enough problems for us to handle because of our “Melanin Badge”, before adding ether to the fire. Just know everybody is not worth listening to, no matter their status or stature. 

A Black Man does not stand a chance in the Court of Law or the Court of Public Opinion

Let me start by saying that I am a black man who is educated.  I attended one of the best (if not the best) high school in Detroit (Renaissance High) where 95% of the graduates attend college upon graduation, I hold a bachelors degree in accounting and a masters of management in finance.  However, I don’t think that is enough to shake off the stink of black male stereotypes in America. That is why I am constantly trying to figure out what to do next or more to fight against the machine.  The machine that I speak of, is the stereotypes used unfavorably against black people in America and those individuals perpetuate those stereotypes. Let us create a scenario to further shall we to drive home the point I am trying to get across. First, you have two guys who commit the same crime one is white and the other black, both are crooks in book, so essentially they are the same; however in the court of law the white man’s defense will layout an argument that paints a picture of confused man who was a good student, came from a good home but just had things appear in his life that unfortunately change his mental make-up which led to his wrongdoing.  The argument will be compelling, so compelling that the prosecution will not even pursue all the charges against the accused, unless the crime is too heinous to ignore.  Now, lets look at the black guy where the start is the end, he will not have a good lawyer in the beginning, no picture is drawn about where he went wrong, and the prosecutor will up all charges to the maximum sentence possible, hell he might not even make it to trial because he might killed when he is arrested. Do you know why the aforementioned scenario is true in so many cases in the Court of Law? One reason is  because the perception of black men in America since the test of time has been tainted so badly.  Using the phrase “Black Men” is like an oxymoron to the majority of the White America, many of them think we are animals that deserve to be caged or killed. To say that all white people feel this way is naive of me, because some black people believe that too, sad but true.  However, we have countless black men in the hood that feel they have to take on the thug mantra to get money and women, and being a positive member of the black culture is lame and the turn-up is not real unless they high as a martian fart, drunk as a skunk, or pill/gun popping.  Those are the images that are projected of young black men in society which further personifies the stereotypes that White America has of us, which make them think we are thugs and animals.  Whenever incidents like Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, or Tamir Rice happen in America, we all know the script that will be followed, where the portrait is painted that the dead young black male was a drug dealing, drug infused, super thug with mutant strength, that the person who killed them had no choice but to euthanize him. To make situations worst when the white media go into the communities where these incidents occurred, the white media makes it a point to talk to the most uneducated people in the community.  It is almost that like look around and say let’s get the that person over there that has a scarf on their head, with no teeth, and no moisturizer on their skin or lips, to ask how they feel about the situation. This is done as a method or serves as piece of carrying out the plan of character assassination of the victim that leaves people dumbfounded on who is the real victim the shooter or the dead. I will admit that some of the black males that have been served an unjust death were not sterling by no means, but we all have done wrong in our lifetime and had a chance for redemption.  I heard a MSNBC correspondent mentioned, that he was sick and tired of the people (meaning black people) hailing Mike Brown as hero when he was a thug who allegedly attacked a police officer,  that sentiment is far from the truth. We don’t see him as a hero or martyr like Rosa Parks or Medger Evers,  but as a symbol that a young black man does not have a chance to make amends for the mistakes they make or one mistake can be fatal; however a white kid in Texas can kill a whole family  with his car and get off scott free because he said, him being privileged was the reason a family was killed.  It is that same white privilege that the white media uses to rush to judgment on all black men or black people in general and will not allow them to learn or understand black culture fully; therefore leading them to make some of the most asinine and off base comments that can be  spewed by a human being. For once can the white media  gather opinions and good reasoning from thought-provoking black people, and do not promote a collection of black people who fit the demographic of the image that they are trying to project on the victim, just once. Oh well, who am I? Nobody, right, and my opinion is mines and mines only. The machine that we as black men are currently fighting will continue to operate at maximum utilization, no matter what we say or do, though we are disappointed or sadden by the many outcomes that our black males face these days by being portrayed as a thug. That thuggish image of black males will always be White America’s defense of  killing or imprisoning black men for just breathing the same air as them or in their opinion stealing the air from them.

Athletes can be Activist too…

As the world turns, so does events that spark injustice among people of any race, creed, or color that everyone seems to have an opinion on.  However, when athletes make a stand for what they feel is wrong they are treated as a sector that should not focus on nothing but playing “ball”.  I guess it is the amount of money that they earn or their perceived level of education that causes people to say, “Shut Up and Entertain Us”, nobody cares about their feelings or opinions at that time, but society wants them to be role models.  I applaud the stand that the St. Louis Rams players whom took a stand this past Sunday (whether you agree with it or not)on an issue that a group of them felt was important, it provided those young people who idolize them a visual of free of speech and the right to assemble for something that they feel is unjust.  The only thing I would like to see is more effort from athletes to speak up on more diverse causes other than the typical bandwagon issues that ignite emotions in every American.  They should be more vocal on issues that plague our nation as a whole, the type of issues that are tearing up the fabric of communities across the land. Long gone are the 60s, 70s, and 80s when athletes made a stand for a cause greater than their paychecks and winning . Last basketball season the Los Angeles Clippers took a stand against their bigot owner Donald Sterling only after a private discussion became public.  Donald Sterling’s racist views did not magically appear out of no where like a unicorn at a corner gas station, they were known for years but the players were fine as long as the checks cleared, but once the issue was somewhat projected on them then it was a problem.  Players need to be more aggressively proactive on making a stand on social issues that affect a mass group of people. Issues that do not have to racial charged all the time, but things that help an entire community prosper and not only show support when convenient.  Athletes in the past took stands for their country, wars, unfair treatment, etc., and there were far more of them taking these stands than the few that do it today.  Many players are scared to lose endorsement deals and being hated, to even consider standing up to the powers that be to get their points across.  In a world where everything is broadcasted on social media, very little is mentioned on the things that athletes do that impact others as whole oppose to when you had to read an article in TIME or the newspaper to hear about their brave acts of courage.  Don’t get it misconstrued I do hear a lot of good stories on ESPN or a segment or two on certain shows about athletes doing good deeds that affect a persons’ life, but we need see and hear more about athletes trying to improve cultures, as well as individuals. I don’t know about you, but I want the athlete that my kids follow to be more than just a “good ball player”, but I want he or she to set an example that extends further than the playing field, but show us that together progress can be made for all if we take a stand for the greater good of others.

Honesty among Friends – A Skill and Art that is Essential

“Honesty” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is a noun that defined as follows,  “the quality of being and truthful”. “Friendship” is noun as well that has a meaning that invokes. “a friendly feeling or attitude: kindness or help given to someone”. You might ask yourself why is the guy giving me definitions of words that I already should know the meanings of? Well, as I get older by the day, I quickly recognize myself that being honest to a person I have designated as a friend is a skill and art in being a good friend. First of all, lets start with word “Honesty” and breakdown that definition. Apparently the word it is a trait that someone possesses based on the definition, right? If so, that is a trait that can clearly be evaluated with a level or value because it is distinguished by the word “quality”.  The quality  evaluation that you give a person whom you determined as a friend(s) is vital to a “Friendship”. The aforementioned definition of “Friendship” is the kindness and help that you give to someone.   Being a “Friend” is a label that should not bestowed on anybody because it has to be earned and that is why my circle is as small as a “grain of a mustard seed” because a person has to be able to evaluate me  and paint elaborate picture to me of why I should trust what they say or do around me and my loved ones, which is a skill and art.  If I consider you my “Friend”, then we can work on adding the “-ship” to the mix because by adding that suffix we are in a state of being friends.  Within a “Friendship” both individuals should put “Honesty” at the pinnacle of the relationship to add value to each others’ lives. We should add value to each others’ lives in order for us to support and assist each other in being the best people possible.  I don’t want any “Puffers” on my team.  You know what a “Puffer” is you seen him/her before? A “Puffer” is someone in your life who sole purpose to puff you up and puff you so hard and fast that you just are smoke away and forgotten about just like cigarette smoked in 20 degrees below zero weather. Those people leave you as soon as you are not what they want you to be, not who you are for real or what you really stand for. Beware of “Puffers” because they don’t possess the skill and art of being “Honest” and “Friendship”is not in them. So, be very leery on whom you covet as your friend(s) because these days you don’t know if they are out for your best interest or downfall, but if you base your “Friendship” on those people who possess and project “Honesty” to you when it is not just benefitting them directly, then you know that person has spent their time learning how to be a good friend.