The Loudmouth Protestant

February 23, 2008

The Least of These…

Filed under: God,life — nickisym @ 7:18 pm
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35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37″Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40″The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
(Matthew 25: 35-40)

On Fridays I usually treat myself to lunch if I am disciplined enough to bring my lunch every other day of the week. This was one of the special times so I decided to head down to one of my favorite delis which has an incredible hot bar. In this incredible hot bar they have the most awesome salmon I have ever had—from a deli that is. I was pretty excited about the opportunity to get Omega-3s via this wonderful salmon so I rushed down the street at about 1:00 and hurried inside only to find that the salmon had been picked clean. The alternate fish was picked clean as well. The plantains didn’t look ripe enough and I wasn’t interested in vegetable Lo Mein. I walked around the deli aimlessly and finally decided to give up.

I walked out of the deli disoriented and confused about what I would have for lunch so I started to walk up the street to another deli with a decent hot bar. I changed my mind before I ever started the journey and ended up walking back toward my office. While I was crossing the street parallel to my office I noticed a man walking across in the opposite direction. He was a black man with a grizzly beard, short unkempt ‘locks and a mild hunchback. He didn’t have a jacket on, barely a long sleeve shirt and his lower body was being covered by a blanket. As if this wasn’t bad enough he didn’t have any shoes on and not that there is any acceptable day in New York City to walk around barefoot, but the city was recovering from a blizzard so the streets were fill of dirty slushy snow and he was walking in it all. Barefoot. He had a sign around his neck and a cup with change in it that he jingled as he walked. As he crossed the street people gawked and did double-takes. I was taken aback as well but there was something inside of me that couldn’t just let him go.

So I decided to turn around and slowly walk back across the street. I walked slow because I had no idea what I would do or say to this man that would make a difference. I began to have a dialogue with God asking him what should I do. I trailed the man for nearly a block and finally sidled up to him and asked him if he needed anything to eat or drink. He said “Why yes, I’d like some orange juice.” As strange as his request was, I asked and I could do nothing but oblige him. I looked around for somewhere to purchase the juice and realized it could be quickly done at the Duane Reade that we were standing across from. I told him I would go get him some juice and he told me that he’d wait on the corner for me to come back. While I was in the store, I continued to think of what else I could do. I wanted to buy him some shoes but somehow my mind was quickly changed thinking that maybe the garbage bag he was carrying contained a pair that he just didn’t feel like wearing. At the register I decided to give him some money so that he could buy himself something to eat along with his juice.

When I left the store he was standing outside waiting for me. There was a part of me that felt weird and also scared that he might take the money and buy drugs, but I pushed those thoughts to the back of mind hoping that God would honor my offering and that the man would do what is right because he needs it. I gave him the orange juice and I was about to walk away with the money in hand, but I turned around, gave him the money and told him to buy food with it. I repeated it again and he said “Thank You.”

On my walk back to the office I was still a little weirded out mostly because I’d never run up on a homeless person like that and offered myself to them. Many times when I see homeless people or beggars on the trains and the streets I don’t give them anything because I am caught up in thinking about what they’ll do with my hard-earned money. But it didn’t matter to me. The same money I was going to use to buy salmon and vegetables went to a man who didn’t have nearly as many choices as I did. And beyond that, I thought about Jesus’ words in Matthew that said “…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ And with that I knew that what I did for him with good intentions is what I did for Jesus. What an amazing moment.


February 20, 2008

Accutane Account: Day I Don’t Know

A commenter on an older post about my Accutane process just reminded me that I need to give some updates on how I am doing. I haven’t said anything about the process because there has been nothing groundbreaking to report. Since Day 13 when I felt like curling up and sleeping through until day 45 because my face was throwing up all over itself things have drastically changed. While my skin is not crystal clear, it has cleared up compared to what it used to be.

Right now I am experiencing some breakouts which could be due to a few reasons. There were a few days–not consecutively–where I messed up on taking my meds. I either took both the 40 and 20 gram together before I went to sleep or I took two 40 grams together which isn’t good because the doctor put me on 60 grams a day not 80. The other reason for the breakouts could very well be because it is that time of the month or because I am stressed. I don’t think it is the latter but a colleague told me that your skin’s reaction from stress can occur further down the timeline.

Nevertheless, I noticed that when I do get pimples they gang up on one another in what I like to call–and I am sorry folks I really do have to call it this and I hope God will not strike me down–cluster(fill in the blank with an expletive that begins with an “F”). I had no choice but to call them that because they seem to be very friendly with one another and they like to stay so close to one another that sometimes they morph in the Power Ranger of pimples and turn into one large robotic zit. It’s annoying, but it’s nothing a good cleansing, lots of water, and patience won’t take care of.

I’ve been able to manage the chapped lips very well although I must give a word or warning to those in the early stages that might be tempted to peel their lips themselves, “don’t do it!” Peeling the skin off your lips is the equivalent of burning yourself and picking the wounds, it will hurt for quite a while and leave a bright red strip on your lips for about 2-3 days. Just get some Aquaphor or Carmex and keep it moving.

Lastly, my hair has been shedding quite a bit but thanks be to God it is never enough for anyone to tell that I am losing hair and this is three months into my course. I have two maybe three months left and I am pretty sure my doctor is going to up my dosage to 80 grams for next month so maybe I’ll have more to say then. But the most I can say now is the ride hasn’t been nearly as bad as some people made it seem and I say thanks be to God. I haven’t had any bouts of depression, suicidal thoughts, social withdrawal, aggression, or any of the mental side effects they documented. Even the bone and joint pains I experienced went away when I decided that I wouldn’t let it stop me from serving in my dance ministry. So for all the folks on it, keep the faith.

February 18, 2008

Jumper Sucked!!!

Filed under: entertainment — nickisym @ 11:43 pm
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As a Christian I know that I have a Great Commission to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ and while this may not fall under the umbrella of gospel I need to let the world know how awful “Jumper” is.

Yesterday evening when our original plans fell through, my friends and I decided to take in a movie. I was kind of hoping we might check out the latest romantic comedy “Definitely Maybe” or Daniel Day Lewis’ film which has the whole world saying “I Drink Your Milkshake”–“There Will Be Blood.” But instead my friends decided they wanted to see “Jumper,” a movie that I was faintly familiar with but I figured I’d check it out since I was with good company and there have been times when I saw movies I knew very little about and they ended up being the greatest of all time. Well that was not the case with this film.

The film tells the story of David Rice, a genetic mutant of sorts who is capable of teleporting as long as he has some mental reference. He goes from drowning in a lake to a library, a rundown apartment to the inside of a bank vault, a jazzy apartment at the Time Warner Center to London. He even uses his power to jump from one room to the next and even from one spot on the couch to another. But the overuse of these parlor tricks grow old within the first 30-minutes of the movie. Somehow the producer, director, somebody figured that audiences were going to be wowed by watching a weirdo “jump” around from place to place.

After about 45 minutes of watching him jump around one starts to wonder where this is all going until Samuel Jackson hits the scene in all his white-haired glory. Jackson plays Ronald, a man whose main role in life is to exterminate jumpers in a very Crusade-y way because he believes “No one but God should have the power to be in all places.” (It’s a paraphrase but that is pretty much what he said and it was the most profound line in the movie.) Ronald is the chief of Palladins–an army of people whose main goal in life is to kill jumpers. Given all of these interesting dimensions you figure that the movie would get really good, right? No! But the formula was laid out so well.

A man discovers he has the ability to teleport but then realizes that there is a war being waged against his kind and those that want to extinguish them, this is a great plot. It sounds amazing on paper but it really didn’t translate well on screen. The action scenes were so fast that I couldn’t even tell what was going on. There was so much jumping that I thought I might catch a seizure. It lacked substance. It lacked the answers to the questions I internally asked like: Could they have given the background on the jumper v. Palladin battle? Can we know why the two can’y co-exist particularly if the jumpers aren’t hurting people? How is a jumper made? There were so many unanswered questions and worst of all they threw a love story in the mix which was really just weird and out of place. The love interest was played unsuccesfully by Rachel Bilson of O.C. fame. She did nothing to capture hearts, she was simply Summer Roberts in her movie debut. She had the same snark and snobbery which worked for the O.C. but it didn’t work in this film where she played a waitress at a Houlihan’s that didn’t even look like a Houlihan’s. She really just got in the way because–and this is a no-homo statement–I believe if you are going to have a love interest or a woman in an action film she needs to actually be hot so that when you switch from action to a shot of her mug, people won’t be disappointed and totally lose the verve they had going while watching the fisticuffs. I am sorry for being dreadfully honest, Bilson is a cute girl but I don’t think she has “arrived” to the point of screen siren status.

There are just so many more things I could say about this film but now that hour of power time has come and I must throw off my Ebert & Roper hat, but I will say this…”Don’t believe the hype.” “Buyer Beware.” It really and truly isn’t good and if you must see it, let someone else pay or expense it!

Yes, You Can

I noticed that some of you have been searching and landed on my blog while trying to figure out if you can relax your hair while you are on Accutane. Well, as a black woman that needs a relaxer about every 6-8 weeks and one who has been on Accutane for the last three months I am here to tell you that it is indeed possible for you to relax your hair while on Accutane.

Before I started the medication I made sure to ask my doctor if it was permissible and and she let me know that she has had plenty of patients that get relaxers and other chemical processes done to their hair while on Accutane and they have experienced no adverse side effects. Of course the first time I had to get a relaxer while on the drug I was kind of scared that I’d be the one patient whose hair would fall out but fortunately that wasn’t the case. So all went successful with getting the relaxer but I have noticed that when it is time for me to get a touch-up and my hair is particularly difficult to comb through I am more prone to extreme hair-shedding.

Now I am not sure if this is a general issue for most black women on the drug–who get relaxers–but I think it is something you should watch for. Also, it is extremely important that you keep your scalp adequately moisturized. I have found that the hot oil treatments my stylist has been giving me is working wonders. That and the fact that I drink plenty of water and I take Biotin everyday. So with all those precautionary measures you should be alright. Please let me know if you have any questions.

The Burning of BET

Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off in some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned. Matthew 7:15-20 The Message Bible

Although I am on a fast from television this Lenten season I chose to observe this Sunday as the mini-Easter which celebrates Jesus’ victory over sin and death. (Many in Western Christianity do not count the six Sundays during Lent in the 40 day period because they claim it as a day of celebration instead.) So I took this as my day to watch a little bit of television. The television ended up watching me more than I watched it until I came back in from hanging out with friends at about 12:30. Though it is legally Monday and my fast-break is over, I decided to turn on my television anyways because I felt justified as it was holiday and at my disobedience, I was appalled.

My television was on BET and if you know anything about how their programming runs on a Sunday, after a certain hour it all turns into “Christian” informercials. The hucksters come out and sell their pray cloths, disingenuous books, beg for seed offerings, give out false testimonies and grin like cheshire cats. I had the misfortune of watching a man who was giving away a prayer cloth for free–if you sowed a $25 seed. During his ridiculous prayer cloth speech he held up the green prayer cloth, told the viewers to lift their hands toward it and even told them to touch it–yes the viewers in their homes–and he proceeded to pray. In the midst of his prayer he said that he saw a woman with a cane that desperately wants to be healed. I was disgusted beyond words because I knew this man was making money off the backs of innocent people that don’t know God’s word firmly enough for themselves to not fall for such a ploy.

Throughout the night, each new informercial gets worse. The amount of money that each faux-preacher requests for seeding increases. Their huckerster-ism worsens as the night drags along and I am sure thousands of people are getting cheated out of their money.

I’ve been well aware of these people for years, I’ve heard others preach about their disdain for these televangelists and now I am finally trying to figure out how to get rid of them and then I thought, “Let’s attack the root of the problem.”

,br>The root of the problem are the executives at BET that don’t pay close enough attention to their late night programming. Now someone please correct me if I am wrong, but all of those faux-men of God have to go through BET or Viacom’s advertising department to even get placement for their advertisements, correct? If that is the case, why is a fine-tooth comb not used to analyze what is going on air to ensure it is not deceiving the people. I understand that the execs probably don’t believe that enough people are up for it to matter but it does matter. My bet is that a large number of BET viewers profess to be Christian. They watch “Celebration of Gospel,” “Sunday’s Best” and “Exalted.” They tune into the “Bobby Jones Gospel Hour” and other Sunday programming and on some level they trust BET to air quality programming but maybe they shouldn’t because the same network that is ensuring that they get to watch sermons from mega-church pulpits, hear today’s best gospel, learn about their favorite preachers and gives them a Christian alternative to “American Idol” is deceiving the people.

I believe it it time for the preachers that have their services broadcasted on BET to strike until those infomercials are removed. It’s time for Bobby Jones to speak up. It’s time for BET executives to stop chasing the almighty dollar and look at chasing almighty God and maybe it is time for the good and faithful Christians that watch BET to stop watching until those advertisements are pulled.

February 16, 2008

It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye

A few days ago I lost a close friend. We had been friends for the last five years. She was there for me through thick and thin, she was there for through everything. Without warning she was taken from me at the hands of someone who was taking her for granted. Now I am without her and I will miss her dearly. She was beautiful, intelligent, business-savvy, sassy, a free-spirit, bourgeois yet a street-fighter, a hopeless romantic, incredibly stylish, outspoken, crazy, sexy, cool… She was just an incredible woman and now I have to live with the fact that she was taken away from me too soon. It is hard for a woman to find a role model nowadays that she can relate to and now mine has been taken away from me at the hands of a merciless predator.

There were so many things she wanted to accomplish. Books she wanted to publish, a Tapas Bar that was flourishing, an album release and most importantly she was looking forward to spending the rest of her life with her one true love. Now she won’t get to see those things and neither will I. Oh death where is thy sting? Another one goes far too soon. To Girlfriends…


Wake Up!!!

Filed under: 2008 Election,Faith and Politics — nickisym @ 12:42 am
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People need to wake up. Everyone is in Obamatopia. They are feeling like everything is going to be alright as long as he continues to show off his oratory skills–as far as the 26-year-old speech writer and the teleprompter can get him. But I believe it is time for people to demand more of our potential next president.

Right about now we need to hear something other than flowery speeches. It’s time for him to hit us with the issues non-stop for the duration of this election season. An article in the Economist said that it is time for America to evaluate Obama the potential president not Obama the phenomenon. And people it is surely time for that.

I was disturbed when a friend told me this evening that she hears him speak about the issues “sometimes.” But as a man running after the White House, shouldn’t he be talking about the issues all the time? Shouldn’t our desire to put him in office be about his power to convince us how exactly he is going to change things and not how he can describe what change looks like? Interestingly enough, thinking like my friend’s is not rare. I have not heard enough people say they were in love with Obama’s stance on healthcare, economic policy, war, race and gender issues, etc. Everyone is just so enamored at his ability to blow minds with acceptance speeches. Should we not require more from the next leader of the relatively free world? I just want people to consider more than what they are seeing now. Spend a moment being wrapped up in his issues and really thinking about how they will affect you. The same Economist article points out a few interesting things about Mr Obama:

His voting record in the Senate is one of the most left-wing of any Democrat–within the same breath the writer points out that his policy for dealing with Iraq is a bit too idealistic suggesting that Obama would pull out of Iraq quickly, convene a peace conference, invite the Iranians and the Syrians and hope for the best.

His economic plans are more thought out but he often relies on telling people they deserve more money and more opportunities without considering that budgets do not magically cut themselves.

He has never run any public body of any note and that is a risk.

As always I must provide a disclaimer for my Obama-speak so that you know that I am not anti-Obama and pro-Hillary. At the end of the day, I just want the candidates to work really hard at proving their worth to me. The election is more than a popularity contest, more than an opportunity to see who can siphon the most money out of John Q. Public in 24-hours, more than a showcase of great orators. It truly is about change, but even change must change itself to stay relevant.

Go Benny, Go Benny, Go!!!

Filed under: music,pope benedict xvi — nickisym @ 12:11 am

It’s been a while since I posted one of my fun YouTube finds but alas I am back and thought it not robbery to hit you with this gem. I pray that all can find the humor in this and not think it is disrespectful. Truth is, he did get an iPod and inquiring minds want to know what’s on it so until then…

February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine’s Day

Greetings to all my good and faithful readers. I just wanted to take this moment to wish you all a very lovely Valentine’s Day. Remember, this is not the only day to love, it’s just the only day when you can get away with eating exorbitant amounts of chocolate packaged in red velvet hearts.

In honor of this lovely day I’d like to post one of my favorite ghetto love songs. Lauren Williams of Stereohyped reminded me of the wonderfulness of this song and of one of my first hip-hop crushes. Enjoy!

February 13, 2008

Considering God on Valentine’s Day

Filed under: God,love,relationships,singleness — nickisym @ 10:53 pm

With Valentine’s Day less than a few hours away there is no doubt a faction of coupled people running around trying to round out their V-Day offering and yet another faction of single folks ruminating on their singleness–and regretting it. For the first time in years I am finally at peace with this day.

In years past I would regret the coming of February 14th. It was an ominous day that meant I had yet another opportunity to either spend it by myself or with my other single friends. I would dress in all black and just spend the day being jaded about love. But by the grace of God, this year is different.

It’s different because I found the love of my life or I should say he found me and let me know that there is no greater love than the one he has for me and the one I can surely attempt to have for him in this lifetime. Knowing this I face tomorrow much differently than I ever have.

<br. I am okay with the fact that I don’t have someone to spend the day with because I know that throughout the entire day and every day thereafter I have someone with me at all times. He never leaves me nor forsakes me. His love for me is unconditional. He is the lover of my soul. I don’t mind that I won’t receive any flowers, cards or candy because God has given me the greatest gift I could ever receive. And what I thought would matter so much–another person telling me they love me–doesn’t seem to matter at all compared to my knowing that God loves me more than any man could.

I can say this all whole-heartedly now and admit that my change of mind has nothing to do with me and everything to do with God. He doesn’t have to do another thing for me. He could never send my husband and that would be just fine.

Tomorrow is about my loving God to the fullest and letting it be the start of a great love story. Tomorrow is also about me loving the me God created me to be. It’s about you loving yourself the way God created you. You don’t have to wait for anyone else to appreciate you, buy you something, tell you something, or do something for you. Take tomorrow to appreciate, buy, tell and do something for yourself. Treat yourself like the queen–or the king–that you are. Most importantly, treat God like the King he is in your life. Wake up with a new song in your heart for him tomorrow and tell him why he is your everything.

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