1Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me.
2Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.
3But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.
4I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.
5I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.
6I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.
7Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly.
8Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah. (Psalm 3, King James Version)
“But I could understand why God would have wanted you close to him, because you truly were an angel on earth.”
DMX to Aaliyah
In my older age, day by day, I am realizing that I’m not a morning person. I could run the list for why I am not, but it’s easily indicated by asking anyone I work with or live with. In the morning when I get up and the first face I see is not my own, I’m not tempted to speak because my eyes are barely open wide enough to see nor my mouth prepared to speak. But more than that, when I’m in the office and a colleague comes in all bright eyed and bushy tailed I just want to throttle the person or just throttle myself. And beyond that, I just find that I can’t be prepared to speak or be nice in the morning until I’ve had a good little talk with Jesus. But sadly, even then, mornings feel unbearable. So to strengthen my argument for not being a morning person I found a nice little scripture.
Proverbs 27:14 (New Living Translation)
A loud and cheerful greeting early in the morning will be taken as a curse!
I receive that, I really do. I think God is telling me there is justification for not being a morning person or at least not being equally cheery as the bright-eyed bushy-tailed morning people that walk around with the loud and cheerful greetings. What do you think? Can a follower of Christ not be a morning person? I think I know the answer to the question, but humor me.
If you follow this blog with any regularity, or irregularity, you will know that I love my music. Just about every week there’s a new album that I am listening to, either because I am reviewing it for The Christian Manifesto or because I found it laying in the giveway pile at work. I have a couple of favorites that I wanted to share individually, but I have to be honest with myself in that I really don’t have the time to do 50-11 posts about the music that is in rotation on my iPod. So here’s a short list–courtesy of YouTube–of what I’m listening to this week. You just might find a new favorite.
Before I moved to New York and become all Yankee-fied, I lived in Orlando, Florida, where I was exposed to Stetsons, Wrangler jeans–not the one’s sold in K-mart, boots and steer contests at the Central Florida Fair. I had friends who were a part of an organization in school called the Future Farmers of America. They walked around wearing tight jeans–the girls and the guys–and cowboy hats and chewing that stuff. Some of them had Confederate flags on theirs trucks–yes most if not all of them drove pickup trucks–but this didn’t bother me. They were a generation removed from the days when their parents used the Confederate flag to declare their separation from anyone who looked like me. And to be honest, I was really green and didn’t know the true meaning or history behind the Confederate flag because my parents didn’t tell me about it–my parents are Jamaican so many American history lessons were lost on me. But these were some of the people who I would call my friends in high school. People I supported. And people who in turn shared their culture with me which largely included country music. People who listened to, you guessed it, Brooks & Dunn, among others.
Fast forward to this evening when I read in the New York Times that the country duo has broken up. It’s not bad blood, it’s just time. I haven’t listened to their music in years but I had to go to YouTube and look up my favorite. Here’s one:
Take it easy Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn
I couldn’t resist posting this. Gawker posted a piece about God’s disciples not practicing frugality and that’s the reason they’re going broke.
But then you have your losers—your wastrels, your bums, your drags on society. Churches, we’re talking about. They’re going broke. Not practicing Jesus-like frugality, clearly, and we’ll leave you to judge whether they’re practicing chastity, or whether these economic problems they’re having could be related to fornication, with whores. Next thing you know you’re getting a divorce because you couldn’t talk to your pastor about how much your wife nags you now that you’ve been laid off, because your pastor has also been laid off, after spending all the church’s money on whores rather than lottery tickets.
Jesus wept, because of churches. He’s fine with Wall Street.
Read the rest of the post on Gawker, “God Wishes His Disciples Weren’t So Broke“
For as long as I can remember, but only realizing within the last few months, my life has been governed by fear. It has rendered me incapable of launching forth and doing the things I know I have been put here to do. This fear has also bound God’s hands and rendered him slightly (slightly since He can still work in spite of us) incapable of working the way He wants to in my life.
For the last few years I have talked about my protracted singleness and this morning I realized that I am actually more to blame for my singleness than is God for making me wait. This year I’ve had several potential opportunities for companionship and I’ve blown them all because I was fearful. I found reasons not to engage my potential suitors on a deeper level and pointed the finger at them–I called them too aggressive and too old–instead of launching into the great unknown and seeing what might be there for me. Essentially I have been living under the fear of the unknown in regards to matters of the heart. I’ve taken guarding my heart to a whole new level and instead I don’t even let it see the light of day.
Professionally I have been holding back for some time. My current job has been an amazing blessing and it has developed me into a pretty good writer and editor and speaker and intellectual mind. One job did all that, really it did. One job that God brought me to. Now I am faced with what to do with all that talent and one of the things I know I have to do more is launch forth and do more freelance writing. But I’ve always been scared of freelancing because I’m scared of the rejection that seems inevitable. (And I’ll be honest, I can be sort of lazy and the thought of things not just coming to me seems unheard of.) So like Jazmine Sullivan said, “I’m scared to try because I’m scared I’ll fail.” Then the other side of this is that I am looking at going to graduate school and a part of going to graduate school is conquering the giant otherwise known as the GRE and thus conquering a giant known as mathematics. I’ve had a longtime hateful relationship with math. It dates back to the days when my dad use to try and tutor me and all I knew how to do was break down and cry. It’s no different today. The tears well up though they may not fall. But that too is a fear. Fear that I’ll never be good at math because I sit there and say I’ll never be good at math.
And let’s not even talk about how fear is effecting my spiritual life. Suffice to say that I haven’t fully surrendered because I know deep down inside that once I do, my life as I know it will be totally changed. What’s ironic is that many look at me and think I have it all together in this department and I don’t feel like I do at all. Looks can be deceiving and even I know that there is more that he requires of me.
I am now putting myself in the position to confront this fear so that greater works can be done in my life. I’m tired of living a life below the standards that God has set for me. I need to start living the “His perfect love casts out all fear” kind of life. The “fear not, be of courage” kind of life. The “God did not give me a spirit of fear but of love, power and self-discipline” kind of life. The fearless life that God secured for us when Jesus died on the cross for us.
So, as a good friend told me when I admitted to her that I think my progress has been stifled by a life frozen by fear, “Don’t let your past fears be your present. And don’t use your present to think about your past fears. Press forward and fear no more!”
I’m not huge on knowing directors by name and to be honest, when I found out John Hughes died yesterday, I wasn’t entirely sure who he was. That is, until someone told me he was the director of every single awesome 80s movie saw and loved. “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, “Pretty in Pink”, “The Breakfast Club”, “Weird Science”, “National Lampoon’s European Vacation”, “National Lampoon’s Vacation” and my absolute favorite, “Sixteen Candles.”
So now that I know him by name and have apparently always known his work, I do know he will be greatly missed. He ushered an entire generation into the 80s in pop style. I wanted to be a teenager in the 80s because of him. I loved Matthew Broderick because of him. I thought Ducky should have a chance because of him. I wanted to go on ridiculously random family vacations because of him. I wanted the fairytale ending of sitting on top of a table with a candle-lit cake and my crush in front of me because of him. I wanted to be left “Home Alone” because of him. I wanted this 80s life that I couldn’t otherwise have because I was a little black girl growing up in Laurelton/Rosedale/Jamaica, New York because of him.
John Hughes made the 80s cool and this 80s baby loves him for it. Rest in peace John Hughes and blessings of comfort to your family in their time of mourning.
A trailer from one of my favorite John Hughes’ films:
Unless you are a recluse, you have probably heard much about George Sodini, the 48-year-old man who entered a Pittsburgh L.A. Fitness Club aerobic’s class , turned off the lights and opened fire killing three people, injuring 10 and then killing himself. This happened on Tuesday and since then authorities have been uncovering more about the life of George Sodini. They have discovered an online diary and Sodini’s blog where he documented his struggle with loneliness and his desire for female companionship. His entries go into detail about feeling unattractive amidst millions of women. He talked about seeing beautiful women at the gym and feeling like he couldn’t have any of them. His neighbors said that he kept to himself. All he seemed to have was himself, his blog and his camera where he would document the last moments of his life. And there it is.
A man, a lonely man, only has his devices with which to express his loneliness and nothing else. I sympathize with Sodini—not with his killing people—but his feeling of loneliness. I live in New York, the city that never sleeps, and yet and still there are moments when I feel utterly alone—I know there is a difference between alone and lonely. Despite the fact that I live with two other people, and am buffeted by people 24 hours a day, I too can sometimes feel lonely. Add to the fact that our society places great value on social networking. It used to be that social networking meant that you met people in brick and mortar places and you fellowshipped. But now, social networking is sitting in front of your computer or walking with cell phone in hand typing out your every emotion. And because we’ve become to accustomed to reading each other through screens, we’ve become accustomed to responding—or not—through those same screens. Sodini’s blog posts were his cries for help and no one responded. I don’t know if this was a public blog but if it was and no one responded it furthers my point all the more.
There are so many lonely people out there. You and I can be sitting next to lonely people at our jobs, or on the bus or train we take to work, or standing in front of or behind them on the checkout line at the grocery store. We could live next door to them, as people lived next door to Sodini. We could be sharing a pew with the lonely people and we just wouldn’t know. But we could know if we opened our eyes and our hearts to the people around us.
You never know just how lonely someone is—or was—until it is too late. I don’t know if Sodini had close friends or was close to his family, but I reckon that if he’d felt their love more fully in his life, Tuesday might not have happened. Furthermore, I don’t know the extent of his relationship with God, but if He trusted in God’s love more than that of human affection, he might be here today. This entire situation is a wakeup call. It is time for us to step outside of ourselves and watch the people around us. On Wednesday I wrote about the importance of going deeper to find out how people are really doing and I didn’t even realize how closely it would connect to this situation, but it does. We have to step outside of ourselves to discover the condition of the people around us. The next time you ask someone how they are doing, pay close attention to every word they say, their body language, their intonation, what they do after they’ve finished telling you. Even be aware of it if they keep their answer short. If there has ever been a time to heighten your sense of awareness about people’s conditions, now is the time.
In five days–August 10th to be exact–hundreds of students will be starting out the new school year at Frank L. Stanton Elementary School without the basic essentials to a good start, the school supplies they’ll need. It’s not that they don’t want the school supplies, it’s that they can’t afford them because these children are coming from households in urban Atlanta that are either at or below the poverty level.
Pastor Shaun King of the Courageous Church in Atlanta, Georgia has started a school supply drive to meet the needs of those children. You can do your part to fill in the gap by donating money to the drive entitled “Give Them a Good Start” which ends on August 10th.
Visit Give Them a Good Start for more information on how you can help these children in need. Every little bit counts.
Watch Pastor Shaun King’s appeal for “Give Them a Good Start”: