The Loudmouth Protestant

September 30, 2008

Don’t Forget to Remember (The Blessings List)

At about 4:30 this morning, a song came into my heart and it woke me up and wouldn’t let me go. It’s called, “Don’t Forget to Remember” by Donald Lawrence featuring Lalah Hathaway. The basis of this song is all about remembering where your blessings come from. I was struck by it early in the morning because we are in a time when many are worried about the future. People are worried about the financial markets, worried about their jobs, and worried about the future in general because for the past few weeks the only news we’ve been receiving is bad news.

As I lay there in my bed, I couldn’t get this off my mind, and I realized what I needed to do was provide an outlet for people to express their gratitude for the blessings they have heretofore–or at least remind them to make room for remembering. In reality, we can’t control what’s happening in the financial markets or even what will happen later on today on the Main Streets of our lives. But what we can control is our attitudes and the way we approach life from here on out. One of the most important things we can do right now is not forget to remember where our blessings come from and thank God for all that we have in this moment. Thank him for all that he did yesterday, all that he is doing today, and all that he will do in the time to come. We probably have every thing we need, we are just too caught up in our expectations to realize it.

So if you can, take a moment right now to tell God what you are thankful for. I’d love if you could leave word here, but if you don’t, just remember to spare a moment in your day to focus on the good in your life and the things you are grateful. I will start:

  1. I am thankful for my parents, who always help me to remember to enjoy life fully, but to always keep my eyes on God and help me to remember that their loving arms are always there for me to run to.
  2. I am thankful for friends, who in the little things they do and by essence of who God made them to be, have been a blessing in my life.
  3. I am thankful I have a roof over my head and food on my table and provisions with which to support those things as given to me by God.
  4. I am thankful for my church home, which has served as my refuge in times when I didn’t realize I even needed one. It’s been the one place where I could be my most authentic self and where I feel the most at home in a world where I am grasping at straws.

I have so much more to be thankful, but this is just the beginning. Share your blessings…

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September 26, 2008

“Because We’re In A Recession”

Since we are on the brink of “The Greatest Depression” I figured that we have got be entertained by our plight somehow. So, utilizing my dark sense of humor, I’ve come up with what I hope will be the running joke of the next few months. It’s a simple response to other people’s simple requests playing off of our economic climate. I think the best answer to anyone’s question within the next few months should be, “Because we are in a recession.” So here are some situations where it can best be utilized:

Mr. Massengil: John, can I see you in my office?
John: No
Mr. Massengil: Why not?
John: Because we are in a recession.

Mr. Massengil: John, did you get the new TPS report I sent last night?
John: Yes.
Mr. Massengil: Why didn’t you use it?
John: Because we’re in a recession.

Mr. Massengil: John, we are going to have to let you go.
John: You can’t do that.
Mr. Massengil: Why not?
John: Because we’re in a recession.

I could go on but I have a job I’d like to keep. But just to let you know, “Because we are in a recession,” is not just your response to work-related questions. Try it out the next time someone you don’t like asks you out on a date. Or your pastor asks, “Can I get a witness?” Or someone asks you to dance. Or when the cashier at McDonald’s asks if you’d like some ketchup. Just remember kids, recession is more than the state of our economy. It’s a state of mind. So if you’re going to be a full participant in it, you may as well get a laugh or two in while you wait for your bank to be acquired by a bigger greedier company.

For other recession-related humor, check out Gawker’s “Five Reasons This Depression Really Is Going to Be Fun” list.

September 25, 2008

Building Eternity

Filed under: God,life,randomness — nickisym @ 10:33 pm
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As the financial systems set before us crumble before our eyes, I am faced with the task of thinking about what all of this means.

Prior to the crippling news of the past two weeks, I’ve been thinking about the treasures we keep storing up for ourselves on this earth. I keep thinking about how absolutely meaningless it all is. Greed and corruption are tearing our country apart. The reason we are in the midst of this great financial crisis is because of the greed of people. The greed of lenders, the greed of borrowers, the greed of government, the greed of financial institutions. It’s insipid and disturbing. We are all in such distress right now because we are losing money, the same money which we don’t have enough time to even spend or enough foresight to do something greater with. 

In light of all of this distress, I wanted to share something I read from “The Sacramental Life.” I share this in hopes that it will be able to give someone perspective–myself included–about the money we are trying to hold on to for dear life. We can’t take this money with us. As much as we have it and as much as we’ll get it, it won’t make us any happier. Our money says “In God We Trust,” but we are operating contrary to that and even smacking of ignorance to the scripture that says, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” Well, that’s enough from me. Here’s what I wanted to share:

“O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen”

September 24, 2008

Video: Pray

Filed under: entertainment,music,randomness — nickisym @ 3:34 pm
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Just staying on topic and giving you some inspiration–and a good laugh. No discussion about prayer is complete without this song:

Enjoy!

Praying for Change

Filed under: 2008 Election,God,life,prayer — nickisym @ 3:26 pm
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Today marks the first day of the 40/40 Prayer Vigil launched by the Southern Baptists. The SB’s are inviting people to pray for the next 40 days leading up to the election and for the 40-hours prior to election day–October 31 at 4 PM to November 2 at 8 AM. The purpose of this vigil is to inspire a revival in the hearts of Christians to remember where their help comes from. Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission had this to say about their efforts:

“Our problems are God-sized problems. They are problems of the heart. They are problems of the spirit. They are problems of the soul. And they are well beyond our ability to solve them. The only way they are going to be solved is if we have revival.”

–Christian Post

I’ve never professed to understand everything about our political process, but I do have a relatively good understanding of the power of prayer. I fully believe that our stability as a nation lies not in the hands of Obama/Biden or McCain/Palin, but in our trusting solely on God. I have said this before, and I will say again, “If the majority of us survived eight years of a Republican administration, and came out pretty unscathed, why wouldn’t we survive another Republican administration?” It’s not to say it will happen again, but I am hedging my bets on God’s a whole lot more than I am hoping some politicians will save me. In the words of Jason Upton, “Republican or Democrat, both sides are fallen.”

For more information and to sign up click here: 40/40 Prayer Vigil

Video: Times

Filed under: God,life,love,music — nickisym @ 8:16 am
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As promised, here is “Times” by Tenth Avenue North

Times

Filed under: God,love,music — nickisym @ 8:13 am
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I just discovered this Christian Rock (or maybe they are Christian Contemporary) group called Tenth Avenue North.  On my way home last night, a song off their album “Over and Underneath” made me freeze. It was so transparent and so emotional, it was all I could do to not just break down crying on the J train. But the song is so real. I thought I’d share the lyrics with you and if I happen to find a YouTube for the song, I will post that as well.

Times

By: Tenth Avenue North

I know I need You
I need to love You
I love to see You, but it’s been so long
I long to feel You
I feel this need for You
And I need to hear You, is that so wrong? 

Oh, oh. Oh, oh. Oh, oh.
Oh, oh. Oh, oh. Oh, oh.

Now You pull me near You
When we’re close, I fear You
Still I’m afraid to tell You, all that I’ve done
Are You done forgiving? 
Oh can You look past my pretending? 
Lord, I’m so tired of defending, what I’ve become
What have I become? 

Oh, oh. Oh, oh. Oh, oh.
Oh, oh. Oh, oh. Oh, oh.
Oh, oh. Oh, oh. Oh, oh.
Oh, oh. Oh, oh. Oh, oh.

I hear You say, 
“My love is over. It’s underneath.
It’s inside. It’s in between.
The times you doubt Me, when you can’t feel.
The times that you question, ‘Is this for real? ‘
The times you’re broken.
The times that you mend.
The times that you hate Me, and the times that you bend.
Well, My love is over, it’s underneath.
It’s inside, it’s in between.
These times you’re healing, and when your heart breaks.
The times that you feel like you’re falling from grace.
The times you’re hurting.
The times that you heal.
The times you go hungry, and are tempted to steal.
The times of confusion, in chaos and pain.
I’m there in your sorrow, under the weight of your shame.
I’m there through your heartache.
I’m there in the storm.
My love I will keep you, by My pow’r alone.
I don’t care where you fall, where you have been.
I’ll never forsake you, My love never ends.
It never ends.”

Oh, oh. Oh, oh. Oh, oh.
Oh, oh. Oh, oh. Oh, oh.

September 20, 2008

The Process

Filed under: life,music,randomness — nickisym @ 11:24 am
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A few days ago I was inspired to put Dead Prez’s “Revolutionary But Gangsta” back onto my iPod. For those unfamiliar with Dead Prez, they are a hip-hop duo whose music is about freeing your mind from the enslavement to the world systems. I usually listen to them when I am feeling stifled by the systems surrounding me. There is one song in particular I always go to on “RBG” album called, “Way of Life.” My initial understanding is that they are talking about the process of becoming a skilled martial arts practitioner—hence the ranks and belts. But I’ve come to acknowledge this song as speaking the preparation we all go through to reach our purpose. 

I learned some time ago that we must learn how to appreciate the process preceding our purpose, for it is in the process that we are developed into the people who have the character to sustain ourselves in the next level God wants to take us to. Granted, I don’t think Dead Prez are big time Christians–or even small time ones–but I’ve definitely found some redeeming qualities in listening to this song. To that end, here are the lyrics:

Way of Life (Dead Prez)

(Verse 1)
What you know about the running, the stretching
The cars, the weapons
The path, the journey
The jewels, the learning
The fear, the focus
The aches, the pains
The contact sparrin’, the breaks, the sprains
The trial and error, the ranks, and belts
The spiritual growth, the science of breath
The tests, the techniques
The forms, the stances
The flow, the rhythm, the internal answers
The herbs, the healing, the quiet meditation
The truths reveal through daily dedication
The love for the art, the sweat on your shirt
The mind, the body, and the spirit at work
The feelings of failure, the hope to succeed
The battles with questions like “Should I smoke weed?”

The water, the thirst
The cleansing, the blessings
The flash of insights, the teachings, the lessons
The grappling and locking, trapping and boxing
The training and slacking
The starting and stopping
The stayin’ committed, when your homies ain’t with it
The hours of practice after the class is finished
The cause of your ignorance, flaws in your discipline
Broken laws of nutrition, and poor conditioning
The vitamins and supplements
Salads and ointments

The tinctures, pulled joints in doctor appointments
The dues, the pads, the wraps, the gloves
The mouthpiece you left home, the taste of your own blood
The hunger, the blocks
The punches, the squats
The crunches, the example you set for the youngsters
The will, the skills, the kill or the hill
The separation between what’s fake and what’s real
The laws of physics, The class “camaraderie”
The vows of humility, the bow, the courtesy.

September 19, 2008

Can He Ever Be Good, Again?

Filed under: life — nickisym @ 9:38 pm
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Bishop Thomas Weeks

Bishop Thomas Weeks

This afternoon I was checking out one of my favorite blogs in the ‘sphere, Stereohyped. The writer had posted an item about Bishop Thomas Weeks, the man who beat his wife, televangelist Juanita Bynum, in the parking lot of an Atlanta hotel. It was a story that swirled in the secular and Christian media realm for months and had people speculating on the character of both people. Was Bynum doing this for capital gain because she didn’t have a true ministry, but could get people to rally around her as a battered woman for her domestic violence ministry? Was Bishop Weeks nothing but a fraud and a phony in the ministry? Then came the moment when Bynum went on Divorce Court to talk about her experience. It all seemed like a circus and then it dissapeared.

 

Well apparently the circus is coming to town again and this time it is because Bishop Weeks has posted a video on his site talking about the new Mrs. Weeks. She doesn’t exist, yet, but he is fielding advice from users and congregants on what they would like to say to the future Mrs. Weeks and asking them for advice–perhaps so that someone can tell him never to raise his hand to her.

As I scrolled through the comments on Stereohyped’s post, I noticed that most of the users were disgusted with his actions and one even went as far as to say he should just kill himself. It got me to thinking…

Yes I know that he committed a crime, made a grievous error, ruined his reputation and all the rest, but at what point will we be more interested in his redemption than his crucifixion? I have no idea what he has done in his private time to be absolved of this situation, but one thing I believe is that people make mistakes–on all levels–and forgiveness–preceded my repentance–is what they need more than anything. God is going to forgive Bishop Weeks, particularly if Bishop Weeks whole-heartedly repents, so if God is big enough to forgive him for practically slaying his wife in a parking lot, when will we cut him some slack?

I don’t have much more to say. I am just concerned about the level at which we are willing to throw people under the bus and deem them not good. I am wondering if anyone will ever see Bishop Weeks as a good man? Maybe I am being too ideological…

What do you think? Can he rise from this situation? Is this a “once a wife-beater always a wife-beater” type of situation?

September 17, 2008

A True Waste During Dire Straits

Filed under: life,randomness,Uncategorized — nickisym @ 11:06 am
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Today is the deadline in the competition to find a clever name for the Large Hadron Collider. Essentially, the LHC is the machine scientists created to recreate the effects of the Big Bang. They are hoping to learn more about how the universe was created by spending billions of dollars on a contraption that they only want to change the name for because they fear people aren’t excited about it.

I don’t know why I should be excited. The thought of the LHC actually woke me up in the middle of the night and I was fuming because I didn’t understand how anyone in the world could afford to invest nearly 3.4-6.4 billion euros–nearly 9 billion dollars on an experiment that actually holds no bearing to our life on earth. In addition to the fact that some predict that this could cause little black holes that could endanger our planet. It’s too ridiculous a creation at a time when people are wondering if they’ll have jobs by the end of the week or still have a home to go to following the devastating hurricane season or the devastating foreclosure market. I just don’t get it. When will they leave well enough alone?

Just venting…

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