Rules….For You and Not For Me?

March 8, 2016 - Leave a Response

Historically, the law has two copies.  One copy is for those who are the least embraced by a community, town, state or within a country.  The other copy is for those who are seated in power, wealth, politically connected or feared by others.  This argument can easily be traced by at least 2000 years.  In the Roman Empire history records a man named Felix.  Felix was born somewhere between 5 and 10 A.D. According Tacitus he was appointed the position of procurator though the influence of his brother Pallas.  Felix was cruel and ruled by taking bribes and utilizing threats and fear according to Josephus in Antiquity of The Jews.  Felix’s style of rule lead to more crime because individuals of status knew that with the proper bribes their crimes would potentially be overlooked.  The politics governing Rome of 2000 years past in many ways became the blueprint of our current form of government that we call a democracy.  Democracy  has the declarations that were the stated, accepted, and written will of the people.   Prominent individuals such as Felix understood the written declarations for a price could be ignored, modified, enforced inconsistently toward those who were willing to pay monetarily or with a type of “this for that” favor. The entire duration of Felix’s rule was constantly filled with unrest and ongoing conflict within his ranks.

An excellent illustration of the above story regarding Felix is found in the book of Acts 24:24-27. And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.  And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when i have a convenient season, i will call for thee.   He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him:  wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him.  But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix’ room:  and Felix, willing to show the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.

The facts of Acts 24:24-27 are:  Felix and his wife Drusilla after hearing Paul, knew that he was a man of integrity, worthy of respect, knowledgeable, respected government and loved God.  Felix and his wife Drusilla were intimidated by the astuteness of Paul because of their personal desires for adoration and control.  Felix and his wife Drusilla attempted to set a political and religious trap to discredit Paul;  if he had offered a bribe it would be an admission to him having a flawed character.  Felix and his wife Drusilla were willing to bring public shame upon the must upright man of their day because the refused to be broken by compromising his values.

 

For individuals who do not necessarily ascribe to the Bible as factual, there can be no denying of the external documentation of how Felix and others within the Roman Empire governed.  Equally, there can be no denying that our form of government is a derivative of the Roman form of government complete with the Executive, Judicial and Legislative branches.

Philippians 3:16 might serve as a 21st Century reminder that our United States Constitution is the rule book for every citizen of America and it should not be up for bribes, ignoring, or retribution toward those that one disagrees.  Nevertheless, wereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. kjv

In the words of George Washington: the due administration of justice is the firmest pillar of good Government

Growing Into “Self”

January 2, 2016 - Leave a Response

When a child is delivered a few questions asked by most parents are: Is it a boy or a girl; does the child have ten toes and ten fingers; does the child look more like the mother or father; is everything else alright, etc.  From birth children require a conductor that is dedicated to developing the growth ability of the child physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually.  The lack of proper food for example will lead to malnutrition and possible starvation.  The joyful parent(s) who take the child home into a highly charged environment of hostility, fighting, streaming, physical violence will cause the child to be on edge, withdrawn, tense, angry, and even attempting to always please others in an attempt to avoid future exposure to emotional abuse.  Children come home with their parents from the hospital equipped with an empty social canvas eager to be developed.  Social interactions such as parental smiles, parental touch and time spent with the child, parental protection of the child, parental interactions one with the other all contribute to healthy socialization of children.  Every child has the potential for spiritual development.  Worldwide children possess an internal will to be in alliance with a power beyond self.  Children may also learn to fight against the belief that there is a God who is sovereign or children may learn to falsely advocate on behalf of an equality of multiple gods.

No child has grown into self without the assistance of others.  The “others” of choice for children are their parents.  The “others” of choice for child development is not left up to the child to select.  Growing into self without assistance is like the parent who attempts to only rely on self and no one else in life.  Growing into self might produce an undeveloped or a properly developed individual.  Below are a few questions to consider when attempting to determine how you have grow.

  1.  I have little to no problems trusting others
  2. I socialize with others because I enjoy being around people who accept me as I am
  3. I have a high amount of empathy for others
  4. I serve God because he loves me not because of fear
  5. I love others because I learned love from people who loved me

Each of us can grow up to be a bringer of blessings and goodwill into the lives of ourselves and others or a mis-user of both the goodwill and blessings of others.

The self we are is known by the fruit of our existence.  Are you willing to chance asking others who really know you to honestly share with you what the see and areas of growth that you could continue to grow more complete?

Luke 2:40,52

The Year Ahead….Never Measure It By The Year Gone By

January 1, 2016 - One Response

Exactly 365 days ago I made several decisions, which are also known as resolutions. that to a large degree have been adhered to as I approach 2016.  Most people who are successful in making improvements throughout the year have the following mindset:

  1.  A clear understanding about why they should change
  2. A plan that at least is a blueprint mapping the path to change
  3. A support system that holds one accountable
  4. An attitude that being knocked down isn’t to be seen as defeat
  5. A belief system which allows for incorrect decisions

When 2016 opens its door in just a few hours, walk through them with an optimism that a setback is never to be accepted as failure but an opportunity for reflection, restructuring, and returning to the task that you are resolved to master.

Charleston….Where It Began, Where It Ends?

July 10, 2015 - Leave a Response

The Country over 150 years ago looked like this:

Civil War map shows line for Union and Confederate States + Fort Sumter

The first shots of the Civil War were actually fired in Charleston, South Carolina.  On December 20, 1860 South Carolina became the first state to secede from The United States of America based upon its adamant defense of slavery and it’s insistence upon “states rights” to rule itself which translates into making it’s own rules in all matters regardless of how such rules would impact the life of others.  Read for yourself what the South Carolina Assembly wrote for their justification to secede:

“We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the right of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.”

As early as 1861 The Citadel Military Academy ordered cadets to fire the first shots of the Civil War on a Federal ship attempting to enter the harbor in Charleston.  Ironically it is the Citadel that to this day, July 10, 2015, continues to fly the Confederate flag in South Carolina.  The Citadel had a history of training those recruited militia individuals who were fighting against The United States of America.

The American Civil War (1861–1865), among other names also known as the War Between the States, was a civil war in the United States of America. Eleven Southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America, also known as “the Confederacy”.  This new “Confederacy” led by Jefferson Davis also had it’s own flag….The Confederate Flag.  Those Southern States were see as traitors against the United States of America.  

The Civil War remains the deadliest war in American history, resulting in the deaths of 620,000 soldiers and an undetermined number of civilian casualties. Ten percent of all Northern males 20–45 years of age died, as did 30 percent of all Southern white males aged 18–40. Victory for the North meant the end of the Confederacy and of slavery in the United States, and strengthened the role of the federal government. 


It becomes clearer why even today so many Southern States are opposed to the role of the Federal Government.  The Federal Government now as was during the period of The Civil War seen as “The Federal Union” which was against the rights of South Carolina and Southern States who advocated slavery and state rights.  These Southern States had a deeply held financial and self serving agenda for wanting to have a Confederacy:

As of 1860 the percentage of Southern families that owned slaves has been estimated to be 43 percent in the lower South, 36 percent in the upper South and 22 percent in the border states that fought mostly for the Union. Half the owners had one to four slaves. A total of 8000 planters owned 50 or more slaves in 1850 and only 1800 planters owned 100 or more; of the latter, 85% lived in the lower South, as opposed to one percent in the border states.

Ninety-five percent of African-Americans lived in the South, comprising one third of the population there as opposed to one percent of the population of the North, chiefly in larger cities like New York and Philadelphia. Consequently, fears of eventual emancipation were much greater in the South than in the North.

The Confederate Flag in the eyes of individuals who know the history of Slavery, States Rights and why Southern States seceded from The United States of America is a clear sign of ongoing rebellion against the government of The United States of America.  The bigger message communicated by the Confederate flag is it’s image of an ongoing rebellion and protest against The United States Federal Government for its role in abolishing the enterprise system set up by the Southern States to maintain a financial system funded upon the product of crops, slave trade, and formation of a political and religious system deemed right in their own sight.

Alexander G. Downing enlisted in the Eleventh Iowa Infantry on August ...

All American citizens should rejoice together that what was the symbol for “rebellion”, “treason”, “disregard for fairness”, “disregard for godliness”, “disregard for remorse” and “disregard for one nation united as one” has finally been removed from the public view in South Carolina.  The paramount next step is much more challenging.  How do you remove those things held within the hearts of people that may still be inside of them?  The external flag was a manifestation of the internal heart of those who over 150 years later desired that it not be removed.

USA Flag Flying

“Don’t you understand yet?” Jesus asked, “Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer.  But the words you speak come from the heart – that’s what defiles you.  For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.  Matthew 15:16-20

 

It’s The Law…..But Whose Law?

June 26, 2015 - Leave a Response

Earlier today in a 6 to 4 decision The United States Supreme Court has ruled that according to the “Law of The United States Constitution” Marriage is now legal according to the government.

The Supreme Court has found a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, striking down bans in 14 states and handing a historic victory to the gay rights movement that would have been unthinkable just 10 years ago.

According to Supreme Just Kennedy,  “The word that keeps coming back to me in this case is millennia,” he said then, referencing the amount of time societies had considered marriage to be only between a man and a woman.

But Kennedy was swayed by the fact that hundreds of thousands of married same-sex couples already exist and that they — and their children — are being treated differently by the law when they move to a state that doesn’t recognize their union. The states in the case also had trouble articulating why they had a compelling reason to deny that recognition, saying only that it was in the interest of children to only allow couples of the opposite sex to marry.

The responsibility of each person in the world not just the United States of America is to respect each individual as a person who is created by God for his glory and honor.  Each individual in the entire world has a responsibility to acknowledge that we are created in the image of God and honor our creator for investing inside every person the ability to show joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, patience, love and an ability to forgive one another.

Today’s Supreme Court ruling in a strange way has somehow concluded that being created in the imagine of God somehow allows the entire world population who is created in God’s image to “legally” engage in transactions as decided by local jurisdictions instead of our creator.

What must also be considered is globally what is seen as the expectation of all people in matters.  For instance, the ruling today by our Supreme Court represents only a small sampling of how this same topic is viewed worldwide by over 195 Countries instead of a sampling of a few:

U.S. Department of State

The United States’ State Department recognizes 195 independent countries around the world. Their list of 195 countries reflects the political agenda of the United States of America and its allies. Missing from the State Department’s list is one entity that may or may not be considered a country, depending on who you talk to.

The One Outsider

Taiwan meets the requirements of independent country or state status. However, due to political reasons, it fails to be recognized by the international community as independent.

As it stands, the following 18 countries have legalized same-sex marriage and two allow the union to take place in some jurisdictions.

COUNTRIES WHERE SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IS LEGAL

2000 The Netherlands

2003 Belgium

2005 Canada

2005 Spain

2006 South Africa

2009 Sweden

2009 Norway

2010 Portugal

2010 Iceland

2010 Argentina

2012 Denmark

2013 Uruguay

2013 New Zealand

2013 France

2013 England / Wales

2013 Brazil

2014 Luxembourg

2014 Scotland

COUNTRIES WHERE SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IS LEGAL IN SOME JURISDICTIONS

2003 United States

2009 Mexico

Source: Pew Research Center, January, 2015

Here’s my summary, statistics was a class that I didn’t like in my Masters or PhD studies but it has proven to be helpful in so many ways.  But for this analysis statistical analysis isn’t necessary only simple division of 18/195 = .0923076923.  This means that today’s Supreme Court ruling is in the eyes of the world a minority ruling instead of a majority ruling.  The Supreme Court ruling today represents more like a 10% in favor verses 90% opposed world ruling.

In God’s sight it would look more like 0% in favor vs. 100% opposed to the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Acts 5:29-32  Peter and other apostles replied:  “We must obey God rather than human beings!  The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead whom you killed by hanging him on a cross.  God exalted him to his own right had as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins.We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.  When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death.

In the process of obeying God, we always respect the humanity of everyone.  In the process of obeying God, we never speak in an unkind manner against our government but rather always pray for those that are leading our country.

 

Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church Shooting Impacts All Of Us

June 18, 2015 - One Response

Almost 40 years ago I began preaching the gospel of Christ.   What happened last night in Charleston, South Carolina at the Emanuel AME Church touched me dearly.  Weekly, preachers, pastors, bishops, ministers, elders hearts are made glad to see individuals assemble midweek after a long day at work, challenges with health and so many other day to day matters.  My heart dropped as I prepared for bed at 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday night following a great day serving God.  I had an excellent evening of fellowship at our 6:00 p.m. church meal, being blessed by a wonderful 7:30 p.m. study on the topic “Masters and Servants” only to arrive home and on the 10:00 p.m. news to hear about a church being targeted as the sight of a mass hate murder.

The Emanuel AME Church is considered the mother church of the AME churches in America.  It was reported that 9 of the 13 people assembled to pray and study the Word of God and encourage each other was killed by an individual who entered as a wolf among sheep.  The gunman, just like a wolf among sheep,  had no regard for anyone or anything except their own self serving desires.

The common ground for every place of assembly in the United States is not what the religious positions were of those inside the Emanuel AME Church, but rather the fact that it was a place of assembly for those who believed in the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob.  The common ground is the embrace of Jesus as the one Lord of the Christian community and for that purpose were they assembled on last night together.  If this could happen to Emanuel AME, it could also happen in any place of worship in the United States.  It’s my prayer today that collectively we can all rally around the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in support of God, Christ the Holy Spirit and the desire they had to learn more about God’s will for their lives.

Every person in the entire world who embraces the deity of Christ and the Sovereignty of God should grieve and embrace and support the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in time of their grief.  Rejoice with them who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15

“Bucket List” The Rules…..I’m Doing Me Right Now

June 4, 2015 - Leave a Response

It was December 15, 2007 when the Hollywood blockbuster “Bucket List” starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman hit the world by storm.  The movie cost about $45 million to produce and brought in over $175 million dollars.  The primary plot centered around two terminally ill patients who with nothing to loose deciding to toss restraint to the wind and go out with a bang by doing anything and everything they had always wanted to do but had not yet completed.

Bucket list poster.jpg

Recently an American was on a safari through a lions park where signs in large print were posted warning those driving through the park to keep the vehicle windows up at all times.  For some strange reason according to tour guides in the park people will ignore the verbal and written cautions as if they have nothing to loose and are saying to the world around them “Bucket”.

ABC News recently posted the following regarding the lion incident:

The park where the mauling occurred allows lions to roam while tourists drive through the preserve. A park official said that although visitors are ordered to keep their windows closed, the woman was taking pictures through an open window when the lioness lunged. The vehicle’s driver, believed to be a local tour operator, was also injured and was hospitalized.

South African media have reported that an Australian tourist was bitten by a lion earlier this year while driving through the park with his windows open and a teenager who tried to cut through the park on a bicycle was attacked by a cheetah.

The park official said the lioness would not be killed, but was kept away from tourists after the attack.

Most recently near Jackson, Mississippi a family attending the high school graduation ceremony of a loved one made a decision to ignore the directives of the school district to wait until the end of the awarding of diplomas before cheering and applauding in order for all students to be able to not only hear their name called but to maintain a certain dignity for the commencement ceremony.  A family came to the decision to “Bucket” the schools request and live, celebrate and call out the name of their loved one as if this would be the final commencement they would every attend.

http://news.yahoo.com/video/mississippi-family-members-charged-cheering-225635150.html

Boundaries, regulations, expectations and rules are often in place to protect not only an individual but also the specific institution or environment as well.  The Old Testament nation of Israel continually found themselves in danger and were constantly faced with grief and death because of their decision to “Bucket” many of Gods boundaries, regulations and expectations that were in place to keep them safe.

Deuteronomy 12:8 Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes.

At some point our country, our communities, our families and our churches must accept the reality that putting laws on a “Bucket List” will destroy the very fabric of this world as God intended.

Media Drives Fear or Calm Outlook In Time of Crisis

May 20, 2015 - Leave a Response

Perception is the view embraced by others of events, people, behavior and outcome.  Have you noticed that the news stations aren’t looping over and over again the shootout that happened in Waco, Texas which left 9 people dead and dozens others injured?  I even saw one major news anchor on television this morning biking from Boston to New York with very little said in studio about the Waco blood bath.  When the events occurred in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland the media labeled the events as “CRISIS”.  The media made sure the camera’s kept rolling and interviewing people without knowledge of what happened and almost for entertainment purposes interviewed individuals who honestly were an embarrassment to the community.

About 170 members of rival motorcycle gangs were charged with engaging in organised crime after a shootout at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas, that killed nine people and wounded 18. The crowd of suspects was so large that authorities opened a convention center to hold them all before they were arrested, police said. McLennan County Justice of the Peace W.H. Peterson set bond at $1 million for each suspect. He defended the high amount, citing the violence that quickly unfolded in the shopping market that was busy with a lunchtime crowd.  McLennan County Sheriff’s office have distributed the booking mugshots of the people arrested… (BBC)

Koreans fearful as Ferguson riot escalates

The Baltimore Riots Cost an Estimated $9 Million in Damages according to Time Magazine

The focus in times of unrest is indeed to make the public aware of what has happened while at the same time reassuring the public that they are safe and the “Crisis” does not define the city, community or citizens in the area.

The manner in which both the media and police approached Waco is commendable.  It will be great when the media and police commit nationwide to taking the same approach of respect and reassurance of safety to everyone in each community in America?

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.  For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God….Romans 13:1

 

Family Dynamics…There Is Nothing New Under The Sun

May 4, 2015 - Leave a Response

Beginning with Adam and Eve, in family dynamics some within a family seem to “get it” and others potentially will “get it” later or maybe not at all.  Within the family of King Saul in Old Testament history, Jonathan “got it” while his father never quite figured life out in a positive manner.  King David who once was an adulterer, murderer, liar who coveted power later in life “got it” but his son Absalom never quite figured life out in a positive manner.  Madelene Murry O’Hara a devote Atheist never quite “got it”, while in 1980 her son William converted to Christianity and was according to a quote from his own mother, “One could call this a postnatal abortion on the part of a mother, I guess; I repudiate him entirely and completely for now and all times … he is beyond human forgiveness.”  President Jimmy Carter is remembered for winning a Nobel Peace Prize while his brother Billy is remembered for drinking beer.  Jesus and eleven of his Apostles are remembered for being assembled together in Acts 1, while Judas is remembered for hanging himself and betraying Jesus.

Not long after the church was established in Acts 2, by the time one reads Acts 5, a husband and wife team brings shame upon the glorified church by teaming together to hide the true unchanged components of their hearts.  A few of those components appear to have been greed, mistrust of others, pride, insecurity and a true lack of spiritual maturity.    In the history of the world, there has never been nor will there every be a long extended expanse of chronological time, when mankind will “get it” collectively all at the same time in such a manner that absolute tranquility will be in place long term.  Have you noticed that in work environments, social environments and home environments at any given time, someone becomes disruptive and creates internal tension within the organization(s)?  The bad news is that within anything that has greatness and or the potential for greatness, Satan is constantly looking for an opening to destroy the potential for a wealthy harvest.  The good news about such bad news it that the burden is put upon the shoulders of those who “get it”, not to allow Satan and his many devices to take over.  Organizations with gold and silver should not allow themselves to become wood and clay.  Wood and clay must somehow become accepting of the fact that their is indeed a place within the home for who they are and what they are capable of providing to the great organization while functioning within the realm of their abilities.  Satan on the other hand will make every effort to enter into the hearts of each component and turn them one against the other.

In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay.  The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use.  If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use.  your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.  Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts.  Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace.  Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.  Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights.  A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people.  Gently instruct those who oppose the truth.  Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.  Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap.  For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.  2 Timothy 2:20 – 26

Community Protection For Crime aka Emeshed Dysfunction

April 24, 2015 - Leave a Response

In towns, communities, neighborhoods, schools and homes throughout America, criminals feel safe from being caught, turned in and even being looked down upon by the citizens they see and talk with daily.  Imagine living somewhere knowing who the drug dealers are, who stole someones car, who broke into someones home, who mugged a child or adult just out for a walk, who shot up a playground, who murdered someone, who raped someone, etc. and there is no public outrage.  Imagine living somewhere and the community refuses to march in protest and demand the criminals be given over to the authorities.  Imagine living somewhere and the community refuses to hold candlelight visuals and cry in the streets in front of known crack houses and street hangouts where criminals congregate.

Throughout urban America the above senario plays almost daily sadly without voices of righteous indignation.  Throughout urban America criminals have concluded that as long as they confine their criminal behaviors upon others within the urban grid they are safe from community protest and accountability.  Throughout urban America is the unwritten message becoming one that says as long as crime is committed by those who look like us we are not bothered?  Throughout urban America is the unwritten message becoming one that says as long as our children are in fear of those who terrorize, demoralize, show self hate, show no respect for others in our community look like us we are not bothered?

Healthy Boundaries Prevent Emotional Abuse

Clinically the term emeshement refers to a family that has little to no boundaries defining acceptable and unacceptable behaviors, actions and attitudes.  Inside an emeshed family system, each individual has a designated dysfunctional role.  Within an emeshed family, dysfunction is tolerated within the immediate family but if similar behaviors, actions and attitudes manifests from any outside source the emeshed family rallies together and fight as one unit against any resembling acts coming from outside the family.  After the emeshed dysfunctional family successfully or unsuccessfully fights against outsiders they return to their regular practice of being dysfunctional toward each other.  Until dysfunctional communities address themselves internally, any efforts by outsiders will possibly be viewed as an attack.  If in fact there is such a thing as a dysfunctional community, how should the community begin addressing itself internally?