Soul Fiber: February and Faith

combined photo“May the day of my birth perish,  and the night that said, ‘A boy is conceived!’That day—may it turn to darkness; may God above not care about it; may no light shine on it. May gloom and utter darkness claim it once more; may a cloud settle over it; may blackness overwhelm it. That night—may thick darkness seize it; may it not be included among the days of the year nor be entered in any of the months. Job 3:3-6 NIV

The month of February seems to be one in which Job was conceived or born. The third chapter of Job starts out with him requesting “may the day of my birth perish, and the night that said, ‘A boy is conceived.’ It could be that this is the reason that the month of February ends one the 28th day for the exception of leap year when it ends February 29th. Could it be that Job was born or conceived on February 30th and God granted him his request?

Love thy neighborWho among us has escaped days, maybe weeks or months (God forbid years) of gloom after experiencing a bad patch or a series of misfortunes which, not to minimize anyone’s troubles, probably pales in comparison to Job’s troubles (Job 1:6-2:7). There are two critical observations in the first two chapters of Job: one, his troubles were orchestrated by our Advocate and the Adversary and two, Job never sinned (spoke, thought, or by deed disconnected) against God. He did something better – he asked God many, many questions and, to the best of his ability, listened. Asking questions (studying your life) and listening are the two best ways to become self-aware, undomesticated by others’ values, and set free to experience Light, Life, and Love in their purest and most innocent reality.

Negros, Blacks, Africans living in America, descendants of Africans brought to America, and African Americans, please do not give up your identity to be simply an American. Every day of your life you have to learn, live, and dream according to the American way. America is not interested in Black History, Hispanic History, or Indian History. If we do not take an interest in our particular heritage, it will become as worthless as the day Job was conceived or born. Dominant America is turning to their guns (stand your ground) and fundamentalist religion (fear-based). These two things seem counter-cultural to the social richness of the month of February and the Faith that brought us through.

Please pray for American and Coalition soul’s killed-in-action,

their families and, especially their children.

Soul Fiber: Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep

combined photo17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed,because you have obeyed me.” Genesis 22:17-18 New International Version

Abraham and Sarah are two of the wealthiest couples-of-color in Holy Writ. They are listed in the hall of faith in Hebrews 11 and they are referenced in the book as Africans Who Shaped Our Faith written by Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. Their wealth, however, is not measured so much by their earthly possessions as by their divine blessings as recorded in Genesis 22:17-18. They are blessed with descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand of the seashore; they are blessed with promises of unending victories on behalf of their unborn in millennium; and all nations on earth are promised blessings because Abraham [and Sarah] obeyed their God.

We rarely hear about the consequences of our actions and it is even rarer to hear about the blessings of being obedient to God. As more and more Baby-Boomers (the last generation of the intentionally faithful few church goers) age, the more we see a rise in such madness as pipelines from classroom to prison, the dwindling of the middle-class, disenfranchisement of civil, human, and voter rights, and disregard for the lives and welfare of Black, Hispanic, veterans, old, and poor people.

Baby-Boomers have probably been the beneficiaries of praying parents and grandparents, Federally protected safety-nets, grew up in two-parent homes, experienced extended family-hood (socially, religiously, and communally), graduated from college, and landed the best of professional and trade positions. We have wanted the same for the next generation and, instead, the next generations have evolved from earning earthly blessings and learning about consequences to raising themselves or being raised by someone else other than a mom or dad, subject to the television for entertainment, and having to resort to technological advancement versus hands-on, interpersonal relationship building.

What can we do to return to some of what worked for the Baby-Boomers and can it also work today? O yes it can if we will return to seeking God, praying to God (for our children and grandchildren), and, instead of counting ourselves blessed solo for our sheep (possessions, positions, and power) try to count the blessings that outnumber the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore and watch our descendants find themselves turning their own tide so that they can be so blessed.

Please pray for American and Coalition soul’s killed-in-action,

their families and, especially their children.

Soul Fiber: Nothing Can Separate Us

combined photoDo you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: Romans 8:38-39 Message

One of the many disturbing concerns associated with building the Inclusive Gathering has to do with persuading those who’ve been rejected by the church is this: How to use relevant Scripture to draw the rejected, overlooked, and ignored back into a fellowship that is about relationship and not about religion? The is one significant way: proof text supportive and affirming words in Holy Writ just as proof texting has been used to support slavery, degrade women, criminalize Black people, and marginalize the Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Queer communities of faith. Yes, let’s proof text the wonderful words of life, light, and love and let the Holy Spirit do the work.

This month, I will celebrate two spiritual birthdays. On February 25, 1979, I gladly accepted salvation. The road I had been traveling for ten years had been headed toward total disaster. The Redeemer rescued me from death – physical and spiritual. From that Sunday forward, I met with the Lord daily in meditation and prayer. February 23, 1980, I heard the Voice of Jesus call me to the ministry through the words recorded in John 21:15-17. Every day since then, I have been learning what it means to say “yes, Lord, I love you.” I have also learned that it means the same thing as “yes, neighbor, I love you,” and “yes, Pamelajune, I love you.”

At the Inclusive Justice meeting, the devotional leader acknowledged African American History Month and distributed two handouts one of which reads “Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative [essential] change in our souls as well as a quantitative [indefinite, measurable] change in our lives.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. What this could mean in contemporary Christendom is catching up in the spiritual evolution of what some progressives may call the ‘Love Presence in the present.’ It takes conscientiousness, intentionality, and self-awareness to love God, neighbor, and self-24/7. Every thought, every word, every deed must be regularly and thoroughly examined under the Divine microscope (Spirit looking at spirit).More importantly, our spirit must be filled with Holy Spirit more often than folk fill their cars with gasoline and change the oil.

What’s so amazing is this: our shortcomings, our sins, our troubles, our trials, our mess-ups, our make-ups – nothing can separate us from the Love of God.

Please pray for American and Coalition soul’s killed-in-action,
their families and, especially their children.

Soul Fiber: Tis So Sweet

combined photo4 Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of Truth. John 4:24 

An unnamed bishop is of the impression that “Gay activists are actually trying to bully Christians into accepting their lifestyle: There has been an exhaustive debate between the gay community and Christian circles over what should define marriage. Over the last five years, President Barack Obama has been so helpful to pushing for gay rights that he was named “The first gay president” by Newsweek Magazine.”

Do some really think gay people occupy such views? Some [Gay] people understand that one’s sexuality is directly connected with one’s spirituality? Most [Gay] people are not destroying, influencing, or threatening the traditional definition of marriage. Truth be considered, many straight people and men on the down low are the culprits. The concept of marriage is a civil matter and not a religious matter? One’s salvation is not based on who they love. It is based on the One Who loves. God loves all according to John 3:16 – multi-cultural, multi-colors, and pan-sexual.

This African American History Month we are writing SOUL FIBER as the Senior Facilitator of Space for Grace Fellowship: The Inclusive Gathering (the development of the first Opening and Affirming assembly in the Greater Lansing area led by a Black, ordained woman). Last week we met with ten individuals on the MSU campus to hear their stories and why they have returned rejection from the Black church to rejection of the Black Church. Not a college student in the room was over 22. One young man is so far removed from the Black Church that he doesn’t even think of himself as a spiritual being but a scientific expression of the evolution process. When I shared with him that he is Spirit living in a human body, he hugged me so tight with gratitude that I nearly lost my breath.

Many (Black/African Americans, Americans of African Descent) have learned, taught, and preached Plantation Theology so long that not-so-few  believe that God is a racist (slave obey your master), sexist (against women in ministry), and xenophobic (prejudice). Alas, the February 18, 1979 revelation that took 35 years to unfold. Better late than never to answer the call to BE set free and the opportunity to an advocate for freedom from the isms that seem to be blocking the flow of Spirit-to-spirit communication (spiritual constipation).

The New International Version of John 4:24 puts it this way: God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in Truth.”

Is it a risk to internalize the Spirit of Christ? Absolutely! It will cost you your traditions. O, tis sweet to really trust the Truth that can only be found in Spirit.

Please pray for American and Coalition soul’s killed-in-action, 

their families and, especially their children.