Domestic Violence – It’s Clearly A Crime – Just Not Clearly Defined In Legal Circles

September 8, 2014 - One Response

Intimate partner violence includes rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault by a current or former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend. This report presents trends in intimate partner violence by sex, and examines intimate partner violence against women by the victim’s age, race and Hispanic origin, marital status, and household composition. Data are from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which collects information on nonfatal crimes reported and not reported to the police from a nationally representative sample of U.S. households.

Take a look at this video and decide what type of crime is being committed?  Is it simple assault, attempted murder, a felony, or a misunderstanding?  Depending upon the officer, the prosecutor, who the person committing the action is or who the individual on the receiving end of the action is, determines how the incident is handled.

http://www.tmz.com/videos/0_ekaflcqq

Females living in households comprised of one female adult with children experienced intimate partner violence at a rate more than 10 times higher than households with married adults with children and 6 times higher than households with one female only.

Females ages 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 generally experienced the highest rates of intimate partner violence.

From 1994 to 2010, about 4 in 5 victims of intimate partner violence were female.

According to The U.S. Department of Justice in a July 1996 National Institute of Justice report to Congress under the Violence Against Women Act:

Within the criminal justice system, data collection is complicated by the division of
responsibilities across many independent entities—law enforcement agencies,
prosecutors, courts, and corrections. Although some local jurisdictions have
established integrated criminal justice information systems, most criminal justice data
are fragmented along operational boundaries. The continued difficulties in obtaining
complete and accurate criminal history records were cited as one indicator of the
inability to track individuals as they move through the criminal justice system or
recidivate for subsequent crimes.

The U.S. Department of Justice 1996 report revealed another eyeopener:

Multi-jurisdictional—multiple State and local agencies
Because of victim and offender mobility, agencies increasingly must be able to share
information across State and local boundaries. There are several Federal and regional
efforts under way to either provide mechanisms to do this or to encourage the
development of these systems. Achieving this goal will take time, however, and many
technical and organizational obstacles will have to be overcome.
One situation where this has been identified as a serious problem is with court
protection orders because officials outside of the originating jurisdictions generally do
not have ready access to the information required for enforcement. In addition,
policies and standards for issuing court protection orders can vary from area to area, making enforcement across jurisdictional boundaries a complex issue for local authorities.

The absence of a national definition of domestic violence causes irregularities in the
inclusion/exclusion of more informal relationships such as current or ex-boyfriends/
girlfriends, roommates, and cohabitants.  For example, Michigan and Kansas
have added a box on their crime incident report forms that officers must mark to
indicate whether an incident was domestic violence related. Other States (e.g.,
Connecticut, New York, and Wisconsin) have separate forms for reporting domestic
violence. The special domestic violence report form enables States to collect offense specific
information that may be more difficult to include in a general crime incident
report form. Use of a separate form, however, does carry the physical and
psychological burden of additional paperwork, which increases the likelihood that
officers will fail to complete or submit a report.

Because domestic and sexual violence victims can face possible reprisals by the
offenders, a heavy burden of embarrassment, and other repercussions, obtaining their
cooperation can be extremely difficult for law enforcement and other agencies. The
act of reporting domestic violence and some sexual violence incidents may be
considered by victims as a last resort or as a way to make an irreparable break in a
relationship. Consequently, the victims may perceive reporting as an admission of
personal failure that they cannot face or believe is avoidable.
Additionally, the problem of adequate training of personnel in handling these cases
often was cited in the project panel discussions and survey responses. As many
jurisdictions are recognizing the seriousness of these offenses, new laws and policies
are being adopted, which in turn may require time to train all relevant staff in new
procedures and to fully implement them.

For all the above reasons, under reporting of domestic and sexual violence can be
more of a problem than for other types of offenses. Although efforts can be made to
overcome some of the factors hindering accurate reporting, some barriers may never
be completely surmounted given the nature of these crimes and the social and
behavioral issues involved.

Because identifying domestic violence crimes may involve consideration of a criminal
act, the relationship between the victim and offender, and the offender’s motive for
committing the act, properly classifying cases can be more difficult than for other
types of offenses. For example, a crime incident that would normally be considered a
property crime (e.g., a burglary, motor vehicle theft, larceny, or vandalism) could be
classified as a domestic violence incident if the perpetrator’s intent is to harass or
intimidate the victim. This may require the investigating officers to go beyond the
facts initially presented for a complaint to its possible underlying circumstances.
An additional complication for data reporting is that some States have not mandated a
specific domestic violence offense with which to charge an offender. In these
instances, the offender is charged with another offense, but his case may be flagged as
a domestic violence case for reporting purposes. Other States have broader family
violence statutes that include domestic violence.

As early as 1930 the Uniform Crime Reporting System has been in existence and all states contribute data into it in one form or another.  The UCRS was not mandatory however.  In 1980 the FBI replaced the old 1930 UCRS with the National Incident Based Reporting System NIBRS.  The new NIBRS is not mandatory for states to enter data.  Whether it’s the old UCRS reporting or the newer NIBRS reporting system, neither system has a clearly defined category for Domestic Violence under Category A or Category B Crimes. 

Time has come for our communities, schools, churches, businesses and families to demand that individuals who commit domestic violence be held accountable for their behaviors.  Men are to honor women as vessels of high value.  Women are to esteem men as one who is her point man or one who is willing to go before her.  Behaviorally, whenever domestic violence presents itself, it is certain that someone is functioning below God’s expectations.  There is never a time when domestic violence should be accepted or explained away in a civilized society.

White on Black Violence Is Wrong: But What About Black on Black Violence?

August 20, 2014 - Leave a Response

Aug 10, 2014 · A toddler in Prince George’s County dies in a shooting. Now police are looking for the suspect.

July 31, 2014 – Prince George’s County police are looking for at least two suspects in the fatal shooting of a Bowie, Md., man who was gunned down in his home early Thursday morning, authorities said.

February 24, 2014 – CAPITOL HEIGHTS, Md. —Prince George’s County police are investigating what they called one of the worst crimes they’ve seen in years.
Officials said three people were shot to death inside an apartment in the 5200 block of Marlboro Pike in Capitol Heights on Saturday night.

The three opening lines in each of the stories above took place in the wealthiest per capita African American County in the United States of America.  There seem to be something missing from the Maryland stories that is highly visible in the Ferguson, Missouri current events.  Without challenging readers to figure this one out, let me be direct and just tell you what I think is the difference.  There is no public outcry about any of the murders in Maryland beyond close family and close friends, although each happened in a “black” community that is policed by a large white police presence that I believe is in  disproportion to the population.  The lack of public outcry has nothing to do with the police department but that the “black” community does not get as angry about “blacks” killing blacks as the community does when a “black” is beat or killed by a white police officer or just a white person. 

Until the African American community is willing to take the same responsibility for the safety and accountability of those who shoot, steal, abuse and disrespect its neighborhoods as when “violated” by whites, neighborhoods will not be esteemed highly by anyone, not even the police.  Where is the coming together of communities when a black murders one of its own children, rape one of its own daughters, steal from one of its own neighbors or God forbid when they murder one of its own black people?  Why don’t we demand that information be released by the “don’t snitch club”?  Why don’t we demand that addresses and names be confidentially given at least to black officials such as a black news person, or a black public official or a black merchant or someone in authority? 

How in the name of common sense can a community be taken serious when through its internal failure to hold citizens accountable, suddenly a community expects the judicial system to drop everything and jump through hoops when a white harms a black man, woman, boy or girl in the community.  Someone said, “respect comes to those who respect themselves”.  The crisis in Ferguson, Missouri exploded due to the shooting of the 18 year old black man, but remember what quality of life was accepted as a part of the “don’t snitch code” prior to the crisis. 

Are you an enabler of chaos in your community?  Enablers are simply those who support by direct or indirect means the acts or attitudes that are contrary to a safe society.  There is not a pastor, politician, civic group available designed to stop community chaos.  Behavioral change begins in the heart of people one person at a time.  Communities will only change in proportion to how the attitudes and self worth of those inside the community change.  Whether it is Ferguson, Missouri, Prince George’s County, Maryland or your community, the things manifested inside a community are an outpouring of accepted expectations in the community.

Robin Williams and Bipolar – Manic Depression….Knowing The Symptoms

August 13, 2014 - One Response

Robin Williams, the comedian who evolved into the surprisingly nuanced, Academy Award-winning actor, imbuing his performances with wild inventiveness and a kind of manic energy, died on Monday at his home in Tiburon, Calif., north of San Francisco. He was 63.

Mr. Williams’s publicist, Mara Buxbaum, said in a statement that Mr. Williams “has been battling severe depression.”

In 2006, he checked himself into the Hazelden center in Springbrook, Ore., to be treated for an addiction to alcohol, having fallen off the wagon after some 20 years of sobriety.

He later explained in an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer that this addiction had not been “caused by anything, it’s just there.”

“It waits,” Mr. Williams continued. “It lays in wait for the time when you think, ‘It’s fine now, I’m O.K.’ Then, the next thing you know, it’s not O.K. Then you realize, ‘Where am I? I didn’t realize I was in Cleveland.’ ”

As far back as 1980 I recall working in an environment of engineering professionals while I was an undergraduate.  There was one particular engineer who would come into the work environment some days talking loud, ordering everyone around, challenging methodology of workers tests, threatening to fire individuals and just making everyone including the owners very tense and at the same time very anxious.  Well the truth is he made almost everyone tense and very anxious.  By then I was in my final year of undergrad and was enrolled in a senior level psychology course that examined abnormal behaviors.  After observing the strange acting engineer for about a week it occurred to me that he was playing out in real life what I had been studying.  Without much detail I had been studying what is called “Affective Disorders”, which are a cluster of clinical conditions that have a well pronounced disturbance to one’s normal functioning of “mood”.  By 1980 I understood that every man, woman, boy, girl had some level of emotion that conveyed to others and the individual their personality as well as how they cognitively processed the world.  This is clinically called one’s “mood”.  Also it should be remembered that “mood” can range from normal to high to low, much like one’s blood pressure.  When “mood” is high a person is considered “manic” and is observed having grandiose thinking, jumping from idea to idea, not needing much sleep, expanded or overrated self-esteem which will exhaust individuals attempting to interrelate or interact with them.  When “mood” is low a person is considered “depressed” and may be observed showing low energy levels, a loss of interest in things they previously were hyped about, show difficulty focusing, a decreased appetite and even thoughts about dying and killing themselves.  When “mood” is normal a person is seen as having a balanced or good day.   Only about 25% of individuals who experience “depression” actually receive treatment, yet it is when people are in the “depressive mood” that they are more likely to commit suicide.  It is projected that upward of 60% of individuals who go into remission for either bipolar or just depression (unipolar) are likely to have reoccurring episodes.  

Because suicide rates are higher when individuals are in a depressed mood, listed below are Criteria that must be present over at least a two week time span in individuals.  At least four (4) of the symptoms listed below must be present according to the American Psychiatric Association:  Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders:

1.  Poor appetite or dramatic loss of weight (if not dieting)

2.  inability to sleep or sleeping too much

3.  extreme agitation or retarded psychomotor response

4.  loss of interest and pleasure in normally fulfilling activities, decreased sexual drive

5.  loss of energy; fatigue

6.  feelings of inappropriate guilt, self-reproach, feelings of worthlessness

7.  complaints of diminished ability to think or concentrate

If you suffer from depression seek help and let others know about your reoccurring condition.  Invite them to reach out to you when you appear to be down or not functioning properly.  Seek ongoing medical and clinical care.  Learn various coping skills such as relaxing, prayer, forcing yourself to not go into isolation and withdrawal from others. 

8.  reoccurring thoughts of death, suicidal ideas, wishing to be dead, or suicidal attempts

For additional information about Manic Depression and Bipolar Disorder go to:  http://www.apa.org/topics/bipolar/index.aspx

Mental Health and The Legal System

May 26, 2014 - One Response

a family makes a frantic call to 911 about the mental instability of a family member only to be told to just go talk to the person in a more calm manner.  A Mentally unstable man kills people at The Navy Yard in Washington, DC tried turning himself in and was basically dismissed by police in another state.  A young man kills his mother and then shoots and up an elementary school with weapons he was trained to shoot by his own mother who supposedly knew about her sons mental health issues.  The DC sniper had been stopped by police in other areas of the country but nothing of concern raised a major concern to cause them to arrest him.

  In too many cases over and over again individuals in the home, the work place, in social settings notice abnormal behaviors in people that go undetected by the police and sadly the courts.  When a person is stopped by authorities for suspected DUI, there are a battery of field test they are trained to administer onsite and they are also trained to notice smells, items in a vehicle or abnormal driving patterns.  In the courtroom, judges rely upon the information as translated by “the best expert witness”.  The best expert witness is not always the most honest or none biased witness however but rather the highest paid and most popular.  Sadly, judges, experts, law enforcement ignore the history of a person and only focus upon the specific event in the present.  In Mental Health the lack of knowledge or the ignoring of the history of an individual and his or her extended family is like failing to check a persons driving license, registration, and insurance information.  In many domestic violence matters focus is paid to whether or not the person has been physically assaulted.  How do you measure mental hostility, sexual intimidation, financial abuse, threat to take children, etc.?  In life, very few individuals have even a basic knowledge of mental health disorders in family, friends, coworkers or people in general.  How do you identify a pyschopath or a sociopath?  How do you identify a passive aggressive person or a paranoid individual?  How do you identify a narcissist individual or a person who is schizophrenic?  In many abuse, neglect, mass killings, domestic violence cases it is later determined that the prepetrator had some level of mental health issues that someone in the family were aware of but did not have a “specific” clinical name to attach to the disorder.  

The wrap around approach to the continually growing problem of mental illness and violence in the home, the workplace, the schools and community is more needed today than ever before.  In the wrap around approach first and foremost family members must be willing to be honest and timely in disclosing abnormal behaviors of family members.  Second, mental health professionals must be capable of doing the necessary level of mental health assessments that go beyond the intake level mental status questions.  Psychological Assessment instruments are available to determine one’s mental health and should be utilized as much to rule out suspected disorders or to rule some disorder in.  Next the courts must be resolved to do whatever is necessary to support the clinically necessary treatment plan to insure the safety of family, community, schools, and the mentally ill identified person.  Community service time has never and will never solve the mental illness.  Probation for good behavior and letters from individuals who do not have continual intimate dealings with the mentally ill will never solve the mental illness.  Releasing a person simply because the courts don’t see what the family and mental health professionals see will never solve the mental disorder.  Finally the general public must learn how to interact with individuals with mental illness in a manner that keeps everyone safe physically, mentally and emotionally.  Clear boundaries must be adhered to depending upon the mental health of the person.  When family, the mental health professionals, the judicial system and community work together in an effort to keep everyone safe, we can then say with a greater degree of confidence that we are providing useful mental health care.  Keeping “secrets” by family members is the most destructive thing that can happen in providing proper care.   A harmful a discouraging occurrence happens when family is willing to “tell secrets” about the questionable behaviors of a mentally ill family member and the judicial system fails to act in an appropriate manner.

Have you been impacted by mental ill individuals and did not realize until much later the severity of their condition and impact upon your life or the lives of others?

For additional information go to: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mentalillness/  or

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/…mental-disorders…/index.shtml

 

God Is NOT DEAD….Now That’s One Worth Seeing!!!!!

April 7, 2014 - One Response

What would you do if you were faced with the following dilemma:  In order to insure a 30% raise, or to increase your potential for landing the career promotion of your dream just say publicly “God Is Dead”.  What would you do if you were promised by the most desired (finest, cutest) bachelor or bachelorette in the entire world that not only will they go out with you, but they would love to marry you after you say publicly “God Is Dead”.  Finally, what would you do if you were promised perfect health, endless access to all the money you will ever need in your entire lifetime and that of your children’s children if you simply say publicly “God Is Dead”.  Once again I just returned from watching another movie.  The movie I saw today was God Is NOT Dead.  A freshman college student choose to stand in the Power of God’s might against an atheist professor who assured a class of 80 students a 30% grade advantage if the would simply write on a sheet of paper three words and sign their name and then turn the paper in to him.  The three words were, “God Is Dead”.  Any person refusing to follow the professor’s directive would likely fail the class.  One student who held faith in God as a Christian refused to sign his faith away and was under threat of failure in class, his girlfriend of six years left him.  Another young lady who was Muslim was caught by her family listening to the Bible on her cell phone and was beaten and thrown out of her families home.

 

Wallpapers

The only thing that made the above individuals different from their peers was their internal understanding of the power inside them through the power of God through Christ.  The difference the individuals made by being examples of power ultimately lead a movement inside many others to unleash the power that was already inside them.  The movie did an excellent job conveying an attitude that power is activated by each persons faith.  The movie did an excellent job conveying the message that once power is understood and embraced, indeed one is capable of doing all things through Christ who keeps powering them.  There are many other scenes in this movie where individuals were being robbed by the bank robber of their soul.  The bank robber is always the devil and he was dressed to the nines in deceptive clothing of education, corporate power, importance in the eyes of people.  For two hours the theater was captivated by watching the power of God work through people operating in their purpose calling doing battle against character after character operating outside their God given potential attempting over and over again to discourage individuals by making withdrawals after withdrawals into their soul.  The ending of the movie was so uplifting.  When a person walks in the power of God’s might they not only are growing closer to God personally but also may be the example of power to others causing them to allow God to power their life.  This is not just a feel good movie but rather a movie that challenges individuals to unleash their best work every day even as stated by Todd Henry author of Accidental Creative and Die Empty.  This movie was almost like watching onscreen today’s sermon about The Baptism of Jesus in Matthew 3:13 – 17.  Jesus understood his purpose and would not allow anyone to talk him into a shortcut or bypassing the path to purpose.  Are you living life before the world in a manner that cry out God Is Not Dead?  In your work world do you conduct yourself in a manner that cry out God Is Not Dead?  In your dedication to prayer, worship, study of God’s Word do you model a message to those you are in touch with that God Is Not Dead?  When was the last time you invited a person to come and worship with you in order for them to experience assembling with others who serve The Living God who is Good All The Time and All The Time He Is Good.  Invite three people to come with you this Sunday to experience The God Who Is Not Dead….that is unless you have signed the piece of paper and passed it in that has made a statement to those in your circle that your God is not able. 

1.  You show God is not able by never talking about how he has delivered you

2.  You show God is not able by not encouraging other to try him for themselves

3.  You show God is not able by not making Him a priority in your own personal life

This movie is a must see. Why?  Because God Is Not Dead.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

April 3, 2014 - Leave a Response

Gunshots, sirens, screams, fights, body bags, fear, anxiety, worry, drug abuse, inability to focus are contributing things normally linked to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).   Imagine being exposed to such an environment day in and day out for weeks, months and God forbid years.  According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders there are at least 5 Criterion that must be met in order to diagnose PTSD:

1a.  Symptoms follow exposure to an extreme traumatic stress inducing event where the individual directly was impacted or witnessed events involving death, critical injury, threat of physical harm or threat of death.

1b.  An individuals response to events such as those in Criterion 1a are of intense fear, helplessness or even horror and agitated or disorganized behavior in younger children.

2.  The intensity experienced in 1b of fear, helplessness, horror, agitation and disorganized behavior resulting from exposure to events must be a persistent re-exposure to the traumatic event(s).

3.  The over exertion of energy to avoid stimuli associated the the initial traumatic event and a numbing of general responsiveness

4.  There is an abnormal and persistent increased arousal in the here and now that is not in line with what is happening presently.

5.  The abnormal expression of 2 – 4 above must be manifested in a person for at least on month.

6.  The abnormal expressions of an individual must cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of daily functions. 

Surprisingly it is easier for individuals to determine that individuals who have gone off to war and returned might be acting differently than it is to make a similar determination of individuals in the general population.  I recall as a boy hearing my parents talk about men who had fought in World War 2 and Korea who weren’t the same as before going off to war.  The general term used to describe the changed behavior was “shell shocked”.  Men that I grew up with went to Viet Nam and some came back very agitated, anxious, paranoid, fearful and even addicted to drugs.  Over the past decade ten’s of thousand men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan have been impacted by road side bombs, direct gun fights, rocket propelled grenades and suicide bombers.  War is an incubator for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and when our men and women return home they as well as family and friends truly hope everything will be as normal as it was before they were deployed.  The sad reality in far too many cases however is that war is an ongoing traumatic theater for the duration of one’s deployment.  

Traumatic events according to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders are not restricted to combat in the military.  Violent personal attacks such as sexual assaults, physical assaults, robbery, kidnapping, torture, imprisonment or even automobile accidents may also cause PTSD.  Children and adults in communities around the United States of America are experiencing PTSD and are many times dismissed as being socially maladjusted.  The communities where gunshots, murder, robbery, street violence exists daily, both young and old, black and white are living in exposure to the possibility of becoming victims of PTSD.  When such individuals leave the stress inducing environments of their upbringing, there is the misconception that they are able to function in a more stable work environment, a more stable community, a more stable church, a more stable marriage or more stable social settings free of the stress inducing traumatic pass.  Without any warning and regardless of where a person might find themselves,  something may trigger inside a person and they will actually experience anew the same emotions as what happened in the war zones of Iraq, Viet Nam, or even where one grew up. 

Children who were raped or constantly exposed to domestic violence and or neglect, or constantly lived in fear or witnessed chaos, might easily experience undiagnosed PTSD as an adult.  What happened at Fort Hood Texas on yesterday must be studied from the soldiers history not just based on his apparent state of mind on the day of the event, but what was his complete history from childhood, to marriage, to becoming a soldier, to the experience in Iraq and the impact of his most recent move to Texas.

Do you know individuals whose behaviors appear to be very unpredictable or agitated, suspicious of others in a manner that does not seem to bother most other individuals? 

 

Noah The Movie…..NOT REALLY

March 31, 2014 - 2 Responses

Did you know that Noah was protected by giants called “Watchers”?  Neither did I.  Did you know that a direct ancestor of Adams son Cain ten generations after Cain went into the Ark?  Neither did I.  Did you know that only Noah and his wife and his three sons and the wife of Shem were the only people to enter the Ark?  Neither did I.  Did you know that Shem’s wife bore twin girls while in the Ark?  Neither did I.  Did you know that Ham murdered that descendant from Cain while on the Ark?  Neither did I.  Did you know that Methuselah prior to Noah beginning building the Ark gave Noah a seed to plant and all of a sudden trees sprang up to provide wood for the building of the Ark?  Neither did I.  Did you know that just before the flood Ham went looking for a wife and almost got her back to the Ark but she was killed?  Neither did I.  The just released movie Noah is an absolute mockery to Old Testament History.  I now understand why this movie wasn’t recommended for children.  My 10 year old grandson would have been as frustrated as we were after sitting through distortion after distortion after distortion through the entire movie.  Oh, I almost forgot, did you know that Noah’s two other sons Ham and Japheth had no wives when they landed on dry ground and exited the ship?  Neither did I.  Did you know that prior to Methuselah’s death he healed Shem’s wife of her inability to bear children?  Neither did I.  That is until today when I saw the movie Noah starring Russell Crowe.

Noah’s Ark no kind of escape planBuilding Noah's Ark

 

I have never been so dumbfounded by a movie in all my life.  Even my wife who has accused me in times past of picking holes in movies just to be critical walked away as frustrated and disappointed as I.  When the movie ended people of all races and probably all religious backgrounds were completely silent.  A better description would be shocked, bewildered, puzzled, feeling tricked, feeling as if the movie makers used the name Noah to trick Godly people into the theater.  This movie was an absolute mockery to the Genesis account of the life of Noah and the great flood.  I would say under normal conditions for you to go and see it for yourself, but in this case I suggest you send the cost of your ticket to a homeless shelter, or donate it to a cause at a local school, or put a few extra dollars in your churches contribution plate.  This movie was terrible.  And that’s all I have to say about that.  Except to take time and read Genesis chapters 6 through 8 for yourself to see if any of the things that I saw in this movie are found in the text.

 

Taking A Bribe Will Require A Lifetime To Pay

March 11, 2014 - One Response

I have always been intrigued by the wisdom and sometimes the ignorance of older people.  As a child born to parents who were 54 and 43, I could never escape being around individuals who for the most part were the same age or even older than my parents.  By age 19 I landed a job working with W.R. Grace in downtown Memphis, Tennessee.  W.R. Grace back in the 1970’s and early 1980’s was one of the top 5 chemical companies in the entire world.  The world headquarters for the company was located in Manhattan, New York.  The Memphis offices was the major accounting center for the world operations and was located in the elite 100 North Main Building.  My office area was located on the 14th floor where the company comptroller, payroll and fixed assets employees were.  On floors 15 through 18 other operations were located included the Chief Operation Officer’s staff.  The main lobby was spotless and each morning the hallways were filled with professional and political people whose offices filled the 36 story building.  The fourth floor had a cafeteria and many shops that sold almost anything that a person might need.  There was a custom jewelery store owned and operated by Mr. Carlos.  In fact the name of the store was Carlos Jewelery.  Mr. Carlos would sometimes stand in the doorway of his very high end store and just smile and watch people throughout the lunch hours.  Numerous times I would stand and look at the many custom designed jewelery crafted by Mr. Carlos who always kept what I called a coal miners light on his head.  As time went by, Mr. Carlos took me into his store and began talking to me about how to look at diamonds and what was considered a great stone compared to just a typical stone with little or no clarity.  There were days when Mr. Carlos would point out various local Memphis politicians to me who had offices in the 100 North Main Building or they would be going to the offices of individuals for various purposes.  Mr. Carlos was affiliated with what appeared to be every organization of substance in the state of Tennessee.  Mr. Carlos was active in his Jewish religious order.  Mr. Carlos belonged to the Chamber of Commerce.  Mr. Carlos was well connected to every political power group in the entire state of Tennessee.

irs.jpg “In the name of earthly position one might forfeit their character”

One day a certain political figure whose office was in the 100 North Main Building walked by Mr. Carlos’ Jewelery store while he and I were talking.  This was a well known person in the African American business community that walked by.  This was a locally elected government official that walked by.  This was an individual that I had rode the elevator with and had only said good morning to that walked by Mr. Carlos’ store that day.  Mr. Carlos and I both said hello to the individual as he walked by, but it was what Mr. Carlos said to me afterwards that I never forgot.  Mr. Carlos said to me, “young man the person who just spoke to us will never be an effective politician and will never make it to the national political stage unless he does exactly what others tell him he can or can’t do.”  I was speechless and Mr. Carlos quickly explained why he said what he did to me.  In one sentence Mr. Carlos simply stated that the politician had “taken the hat”.

Royalty Free Stock Photography: Glittery hat filled with money “Everything that glitters isn’t necessarily good for you”

Mr. Carlos explained that in almost every circle there are “money hats” designed to ensnare individuals.  Mr. Carlos told me that he cautioned this politician not to be enticed by “the hat”, but he took it anyway.  Sadly according to Mr. Carlos, once you take the hat with the hundreds of thousands of dollars you also have taken all the good and bad intents attached to those who put the money into the hat.  Mr. Carlos described the hat as being so sinister that much like Judas Iscariot, once you have it in your hand and discover all of the corruption attached, you can’t give it back even if you want to do so.  My elderly 54 and 43 year old parents by example instilled in me to owe no man anything except to say thank you.  As a person who is continuing to learn to walk by faith and not by the many promises and offers of people each believer should try the spirits of people before falling for the potential entanglements of what is in that hat.  Do not become enticed by what is offered that you give up the greater gift of what you currently possess as did Eve with Satan.  Do not sell your soul out for evil like Esau forfeited his birthright. Jesus put forth the challenge this way, “what does it profit a man to gain the entire world and lose his soul or what will a man give once he has lost his soul to get it back again?”

Have you ever considered selling your soul in order to gain popularity, wealth or fame?  How did that story end for you?

 

21st Century – Evil Is Called Good and Good Is Called Evil

February 13, 2014 - Leave a Response

In 2014 honor and value is being bestowed more and more upon individuals who appear to meet criteria that is in direct contradiction to what this country supposedly was founded upon.  Religious freedom without persecution was a major plank in the platform of America.  Today it is almost a crime for Christians to believe what Christians believed less than 400 years ago even in America.  I will talk about a few beliefs religiously that are frowned upon today and I will talk about a few beliefs religiously that some continue to try embracing which should be let go.

1.  In the 21st century Christians who hold to the belief that God is the creator are seen as being out of touch with “world religion”.

2.  In the 21st century Christians who disagree with same sex marriage are labeled as having some type phobia.

3.  In the 21st century Christians who believe that sex (intercourse) is restricted to the marriage bed are seen as living in an outdated and unrealistic dream world.

4.  In the 21st century Christians who believe that blacks and whites should be embraced in equality are seen as trying to create one nation under God that is undivided and offers justice for all.  Ironically that is exactly what we hold claim to in our nations Pledge of Allegiance.

5.  In the 21st century Christians who oppose the idea that only those with “wealth” have a rights are seen as supporting “a welfare nation”.  Welfare by any other name such as “bailouts”, “subsidy”, “grants”, “pork barrel”, “golden parachute”, “incentives”, etc. according to the wealthy is never to be defined as “a welfare nation”.

6.  In the 21st century Christians who oppose celebrity status to public officials, entertainers, business executives who get special positive recognition for ungodly, unethical, and immoral behavior are blackballed and made a public example to create fear in others,  as if to say the same will happen to you if you as a Christian speak out against us.

Jesus made a declaration over 2000 years ago that is as true now as it was when he made it.  “A house divided against itself will not stand”.  What does that declaration mean you might ask?  A home, a nation, an institution that fights its own purpose for existing will fall.  The tragic conclusion to the father of Christianities  over 2000 year old declaration is that the fall comes from self inflicted wounds by the people within not the nations outside.

 

 

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Touched Lives Then and Now

January 21, 2014 - Leave a Response

By age 39 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was dead.  My oldest son will not be 39 for yet 10 months.  If Dr. King had lived he would be 85 years of age.   I was just 13 years old when he was murdered in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4,  1968.  Dr. King has now been dead for 46 years.  About two years ago while shopping around an old flee market in nearby West Memphis, Arkansas my son Brian McClure, PhD. and I purchased a one of a kind photograph of Dr. King that was owned by a lady whose family found it in her attic after their mother’s death.  The photo was taken on either Dr. Kings first trip into Memphis on behalf of the Sanitation Workers or on his final trip to Memphis when he was shot from his hotel balcony at the Lorraine Motel.  I stand amazed at all Dr. King accomplished in such a short time span.  By the time Dr. King was only 26 years old he led the most life changing organized nonviolent movement in the history of America in Montgomery, Alabama.  For 382 days Dr. King became the public face on the Montgomery Bus Boycott that ultimately lead the United States Supreme Court to declare public bus segregation unconstitutional in 1956.  Behind the public faces of Dr. King and Mrs. Rosa Parks was Attorney Fred Gray, a young preacher in the churches of Christ who had recently completed law school at Case Western Law School in Cleveland, Ohio although he was born and raised in Alabama.  Attorney Fred Gray had been refused admission into Law School in his home state of Alabama for the same reason that Mrs. Parks had been arrested on the segregated Montgomery bus, specifically being black.   America did not know that two preachers, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Attorney Fred Gray, were about to combine efforts and change the course of American history.

Five interesting facts about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

We may have come over on two separate ships, but we are all in the same boat now”.

“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”

When Dr. King was killed in Memphis, Tennessee I was in the 9th grade at West Junior High School located less than 20 miles from where Dr. King was murdered in downtown Memphis.  It wasn’t until 1971 that the public schools in my hometown went under a federal mandate to completely eliminate separate black and white schools.  I also recall The Halk House Restaurant in my hometown not allowing blacks to eat inside.  I vividly remember the “colored” sign and an arrow pointing to the back where you could order but could not eat on premise.  On the other end of town was Wonder City Restaurant which did not allow blacks to eat there as well.  Only a few blocks away from Wonder City Restaurant was The Avon Theater which had a balcony for blacks.  I recall my older sister telling about going into the theater and a black usher yelling at the blacks about talking in the balcony while not being allowed to correct any behaviors of the whites who could sit anywhere they choose inside the movie house.  I remember black city police officers, there were two of them, only being allowed to patrol black neighborhoods and events although their white counterparts were allowed access to the entire town.

The churches as I remember in 1968 when Dr. King was killed were as segregated racially if not more so, than the schools, restaurants, and theaters.  In 1971 when the schools were ordered to completely desegregate,  suddenly a surge of church operated private schools  in Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, and even churches of Christ occurred.  Sadly churches throughout the south were targets of burnings and bombings but the one that drew national attention was the church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.  Finally, I recall my parents taking me to the local Doctors office and upon entering the foyer there was a door to the right leading into a white waiting room and a door to the left leading into a black waiting room.  Well I guess maybe I should mention the segregated funeral homes and also the segregated grave yards.

Dr. King lived a life dedicated to tearing down foundations and walls and an attitude that some Americans were superior and more acceptable than other American citizens.  Dr. King lived 39 short years modeling and preaching nonviolence toward every American citizen.  Every American has in some manner been made better by the life and service of Dr. King.  Dr. King advocated education, family, work, worship, honoring government and obeying laws that did not contradict the laws of heaven.  Take time to teach your children about how your life has been made better because Dr. King lived.  Encourage your family to research a specific area of life that Dr. King impacted such as religion, education, family, travel, politics, civil rights, etc.  New Self Honesty will lead you to an eye opening conclusion that Dr. King touched every component of society either in his 39 years of life or even 50 years afterwards.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man will lay down his life for his friends.   John 15:13

Is there a cause so important to you that you are willing like Christ and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that you are willing to die for?