Soul Fiber: Wear Your Red Ribbon

10 I came to give life with joy and abundance. John 10:10 The Voice

Many moons after the first cases of HIV a group of artists gathered in New York City to discuss a project for Visual Aids, a New York arts organization that raises HIV awareness. They came up with an idea that has become a first, worldwide recognized symbol – the red ribbon – worn to signify awareness and support for people living with HIV. This ribbon symbol inspired later versions such as the pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness. The artists were also encouraged by the yellow ribbons tied on trees to denote support for the military service members fighting in the Gulf War.

Ribbon Far beyond the same gender loving community, HIV is a larger issue among the opposite gender loving community. That is to say, there is a greater probability among heterosexual senior citizens and African American women who are contracting HIV. HIV is no longer an exclusively ‘gay person’s’ disease. Wearing the red ribbon is one way of raising our awareness that HIV is preventable and merits as much visibility as wearing the yellow ribbon and the pink ribbon.

In the United Church of Christ (UCC) bulletin, used by churches across the nation, Rev. Mike Schuenemyer, Director of the UCC’s HIV and AIDS Network (UCAN) writes: “December 1st is World AIDS Day – an annual event held to unit people worldwide in the fight against HIV, support people living with HIV and commemorate those who have died. The world lost an inspirational advocate for people living with AIDS earlier this year with the death of Oliver Wendell Martin III….” He was “a dear friend and an amazing leader. His relentless passion for justice and vision for a church and world fully engaged in HIV response lit up many a room. He [Oliver] knew how to bring diverse people together and his war spirit set people at ease to deal with difficult questions…often going above and beyond the call. We will do well to draw inspiration from the witness of his life, so faithfully and generously lived….On December 1st, make it a point to learn some facts about HIV and then put your knowledge into action. Do it in memory of Oliver.” And, please wear your red ribbon.

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

their families and, especially their children.

Soul Fiber: The System Reaps What The System Sows

7 Make no mistake: God can’t be mocked. What you give is what you get. What you sow, you harvest. 8 Those who sow seeds into their flesh will only harvest destruction from their sinful nature. But those who sow seeds into the Spirit shall harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. Galations 6:7-8 The Voice

The posting below has circulated on FB and throughout the email community with the caption “90-year-old man, 2 pastors charged with feeding the homeless; face up to 60 days in jail and $500 fine: http//” Some of the comments are: “What ever happened to America as a Christian Nation?” Another comment: “Would they treat Jesus like this?” Not only would they arrest Jesus, they did; and killed him too. We’ve only claimed to be a Christian nation. PicThere is absolutely nothing Christian about using the bible to support slavery, domestic violence (submission), child abuse (spare the rod spoils the child), etc. The bad news is that these views continue to drive our religious, political, and cultural beliefs.” The longer I live the less I believe many of the things we were taught in the educational and religious systems. Things like “sticks and stones may break your bones but words can never harm you.” We know how painful verbal abuse can be. Untold children have been physically abused as a result of biblical teachings related to sparing the rod and some are scarred for life and become abusers of themselves and others.

Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., Pastor Emeritus, Trinity UCC, Chicago, continues to be ostracized in the media (print and verbal) for reminding America that her chickens are coming home to roost. The “Roosting Chickens” as a title comes from a 1963 Malcolm X speech about the John F. Kennedy assassination, calling it “…a case of ‘chickens coming home to roost.’” Could it be that the increased persecution of “Christian” work locally and abroad is similarly related; that the work of Crusaders, witch hunters, hundreds of hangings, pipeline to prison, and using the Bible as a weapon against women and same gender loving gay lesbian bisexual transgender questioning intersex and allies (SGLGLBTQIA) rights are vindicated as roosting chickens; i.e., what the system has sowed the system is reaping?

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

their families and, especially their children.

Soul Fiber: The Eternal Now: Remembering Constance D. Harper

And the One who sat on the throne announced to His creation, The One: See, I am making all things new. (turning to me) Write what you hear and see, for these words are faithful and true. 6 It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will see to it that the thirsty drink freely from the fountain of the water of life. To the victors will go this inheritance: I will be their God, and they will be My children.” Revelation 21: 1-7 The Voice

Over 500 deltas gathered to participate in the Omega, Omega celebration of Constance D. Harper, Publisher of the Call Post (Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati), Many of us, including her staff and family members, remain disbelieving and shocked about the reality that a legend in her time has quietly and quickly slipped into the eternal now; a refrain used in a tribute from one of her long-term friends (60 years plus) and sorority sister. They both pledged at Central State. And guess who signed their certificate? The late Dorothy Height.

While we all come from eternity past through eternity present to eternity future, eternity now seems more on point for those who are absent from the body. Another way of thinking about eternity now is in the phrase from the movie Time Machine ‘the future is now.’ We cannot see are beloved loved-ones at their highest vibration of love, their state of being outside the body, yet they are alive. I believe we shall be reunited when our eternity future (yet to be our reality) becomes our eternity now.

The musical selection Take Me to the King followed the spoken tributes. The lyrics that brought tears to most of our eyes are: “Take me to the King, I don’t have much to bring; my heart is torn in pieces, it’s my offering. Lay me at the throne, leave me there alone; to gaze upon Your glory and sing to You this song: Please take me to the King…No rules, no religion, I’ve made my decision; To run to You, the healer that I need, take me to the King….” In the Spirit I could see the Holy Spirit taking Connie to the Divine Redeemer, laying her in the arms of Jesus, and her gazing upon the Glory of God. My, my.

As if that were not the zenith of our shared experience, the selected reading from Holy Writ was Revelation 21: 1-7. May I draw your attention to verses 4 and 5?

   He will wipe away every tear from (Connie’s) eyes. Death will be no more. There will be no mourning, crying, or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Then, the one seated on the throne said “Look! I am making all things new.” Common English Bible.

With all of her accomplishments including two inductions into halls of fame, she remained humble and ready to help others even as she lives into the eternity now.

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

their families and, especially their children.