Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ministry or Menace-2-Me?

Disclaimer: First, let me say up front - I am a firm believer in the personal faith of an individual. I believe that if you stand on your measure of faith, God is going to reward that measure of faith. He can work within the measure of faith with which you are meted. If you have the faith of a mustard seed, God can work with that. If you have the faith of the field from which sprouted that mustard seed, God can work with that. The faith of the individual is not my question. Disclaimer noted and ended.


I want to hear your thoughts on this – because in these days we need to be oh so careful. Did anybody see the movie Eli? What good does it profit a man to gain the world, if he loses his soul? Be on alert out there people. The world wants us to think all kinds of behaviors are acceptable, which are not.

Here, now, is my theory. Okay, I fudge just a little. It is in the Word. False prophets are among us. When a Minister, Pastor, Prophet or Apostle – all self proclaimed or proclaimed by men wearing the right garb, says something like:

Those of you who have $100, come up to the offering right now. God is calling for those who have $100 to come to the offering right now. He said there are at least 15 of you here tonight with $100 for the offering.

Is that ministry or menace to me? I cannot see any evidence of that happening in the word.

Or, say for instance, an appropriately deep and rumble-voiced speaker of the Word (who may or may not be a doer thereof as well) says to the congregation, friends and visitors:

God wants you to write that check tonight in faith. Where is your faith, oh ye of little faith? Do you not believe? Write your check on faith believing that He will provide. Bring your offering now.

Is that ministry or menace to me? I cannot see any evidence of that happening when I read the word. 

Okay, let’s move away from the money for a minute, because money brings power, and power corrupts absolutely and absolute power corrupts.

Let’s move toward relationship. I will tread lightly here, but I want to also say that any similarity to those living or passed on is a tragic coincidence and therefore not intended.

                Now, say the leader of the cu..church, is ministering to a couple whose relationship is in danger. Notice I didn’t specify marriage, but we can even suppose that this is a married couple. Just for the sake of it, let’s do Couple A: Married; Couple B: Unmarried.

Couple A: Married….A couple of issues, as most marriages will have. Minister counsels that all marriages have issues, however, God is the center of the marriage, so therefore if we turn to him for the council of these issues with realistic visions of the work involved on both parts, and are true to each other and the task at hand, this to shall pass and that which does not kill us, will make us stronger. There may have been some infidelity involved. Minister tells couple, both parties are involved. Can two walk together less they agree? We have work ahead of us, but if you were fully committed to what you said in front of God, and the people you loved, and some of the people that you actually luvvedd previously, then you can be successful. Grow up and grow UP.

Couple B. Unmarried…Well one party is unmarried. The other one is separated, but has made a new relationship with this woman. This couple seeks the council of the married person’s pastor, and the unmarried person’s pastor.

Married person’s pastor:  You all need to go to church together and get close to the Lord and study his word together. That is what is wrong; you need to go to Church regularly and to the same church. Y’all need to be here every Sunday and on Wednesday’s for Bible Study.

Unmarried person’s pastor:  First of all, this person belongs to a union, and this ain’t it. Therefore, this union you all are in is wrong. Period. Point blank. I am gonna keep it real for you – that’s not according to my word, it’s according to God’s word. Secondly – we need to do some work on you as individuals – one, because your self worth is an issue, which means you don’t know whose image you are created in, and to whom you belong – and it ain’t somebody else’s spouse. I don’t care how long they have been separated, special rated, pro rated, or fornicating. You got to get your own.

Now, which one of these is ministering and which one is a menace to us?


Let me hear your thoughts on this...It's Elemental that we discuss it..............

Friday, January 15, 2010

Weighing in - Is this A Punishment for Haiti?



So, you know I had to talk about it, right? First, let me share Pat Robertson's quote so that we are all on the same page. Then, let me share my thoughts.........



Here is what Pat said.....
"And you know, Christy, something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French, you know, Napoleon III and whatever, and they got together and swore a pact to the devil. ‘They said, we will serve you, if you get us free from the French.’ True story. And so the devil said, ‘OK, it’s a deal.’ And they kicked the French out, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free, and ever since they have been cursed by one thing after the other, desperately poor. That Island of Hispaniola is one island cut down the middle. On the one side is Haiti is the Dominican Republic. Dominican Republic is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, etc. Haiti is in desperate poverty, same islands. They need to have, and we need to pray for them, a great turning to God. And out of this tragedy, I’m optimistic something good may come, but right now we’re helping the suffering people, and the suffering is unimaginable." (source)
I want to share a little bit about Haiti. Haiti is a richly historic land. It is the land of the most successful slave rebellion in history, which led in that nation's becoming the 2nd independent nation in the Western Hemisphere, and the 1st black governed republic. 


Haiti's progressiveness in rebellion against slavery directly affected the anti-slavery movement in the United States, greatly influencing The Louisiana Purchase and the American Civil War. (source)


Haiti is also a third world country - the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with 80% of the population living below the poverty line, and it is 50% poorer than Nicaragua, which is the next closest Country. 


Haiti is a country where witchcraft, voodoo and Satanism exist and are widely practiced. Nearly half of the population practices voodoo. Roman Catholics make up 80% of the population...yeah, that equals more than 100%...It's a long explanation, but if you belong to any denomination, it is sort of akin to how only 100 members fill your pews any given Sunday, but your actual role reported to the denomination says 300 members belong to your church....It has to do with French rule over Haiti in the 1800's, trying to limit the religion of Voodoo and force Catholicism on Haitians. Initially, the French allowed 'dances' on weekends - which were Voodoo ritual, but forced the conversion to Catholicism. Eventually, the French waged war on Voodoo, which was unsuccessful, and so you have a combination of Catholic practice with Voodoo characteristics and dual membership to religious sector. 
Yeah - it's a full study - and you can look more into it if you like... (source).

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Peezy's Place w/the Juice - It's Elemental

#BlogTalkRadio - http://tobtr.com/s/859696

Have you ever been to Peezy's Place w/the Juice? If you haven't you, need to visit. I promise you will NOT regret it. If you wanna hear AND talk about some of the most up to the minute, cutting edge hot topics, no holds barred, in the community? If you want to be a part of the conversation, and have a lot of laughs and learn something at the same time? You need to stroll on down and kick it with Peeze and Juice. 
 
Just earlier this week, I was there kicking it with Sweet D, in New York; Teach, right here in Columbus (Big Ups, Ladies) Peezy himself, and various callers. The show really covered what is trending in our community right now
  • chivalry as an implemented training vs. innate behavior
  • position and role reclamation, both in relationships and community
  • keys to keeping it real among ourselves - cutting off dead weight. Neutral is an energy drainer.
  • keeping it originally sexy;
  • and let us not forget - It's a New Decade - new things are on the horizon... 
I had just missed RealTalk Tiff and Seangotem, who has been dubbed Papa Smurf - because believe me, Peezy is gonna give you a name. If you don't come through with one that fits you, you are getting one. Yeah, Peez, I know I have been monikered Lizzy Liz. I'm cool with that.
 
Really, tho - these is where heads get together and really talk, laugh, listen, hash it up. On line radio is where it's at (look for my article in the first edition of Urban Elements Magazine) and Peezy's Place does not disappoint.

If you wanna meet the crew in person, stop by Adobe Gila's at Easton on any given Wednesday evening for the Happy Hour event, and join them and 107.5 at the Funny Bone for the Comedy Show. This is the best thing going in Columbus for unadulterated networking and fun - and the best kept secret. Hands down.

If you haven't kicked it with Peezy and Juice - you haven't kicked it. It's early in 2010...don't sleep on it...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Coming Back Home - PJ23

Growing up, my sisters and I went to catholic school. My Great Grandmother was catholic, and she mandated that her granddaughters go to catholic school. Initially, my mom was a little hesitant, but after my sister put a little boys hair in a ponytail at because he had 'girl hair', she went along with my Granny's desire, and we got skirted up and shipped off to Pope John XXIII. Pope John was really just one school in a trio -their was the Primary school, Pope John; the secondary school, St. Dominic, and the middle school, Holy Rosary. When you got to Holy Rosary, you were pretty big time, because you graduated from 8th grade and went on to one of the catholic diocese high schools. This was our life. We went to catholic school and our father was a Methodist Preacher.

Our mother wanted to make sure she selected a catholic school for us that had a nice sized population of black kids. She did her research and found out that Pope John was the place. My Dad volunteered for bingo, drove the sports carpools, and my house was the sleepover house. This was only because we were not allowed to go further than the front porch, so everybody was allowed to come to our house. That's what happens when you are the father of 7 girls. They have to stay within shout distance so you can keep them safe.

My sister and I all graduated from 8th grade and went on to high school. The twins, 5 years older than me, went on to graduate from Father Joseph Wehrle High school. I started out there, but graduated from East High School. The diocese shut down Pope John the year after my 8th grade class graduated, and subsequently shut down Wehrle. Both were closed partly out of a desire to save money, and partly because the kids who attended these schools were predominantly economiclly disadvantaged, and therefore when schools went on the chopping block, these were the first to be shed.

Then Maurice posted that he was thinking about a reunion. Sina and I had been talking about how much fun it would be for a few years. So we posted it on facebook and started putting out feelers for interested parties. And set a meeting date.

You know how you feel when you go back to your childhood home, after you have been gone home for a long time? I had that feeling Monday evening. About 12 of us gathered across the pews of Praise Temple CME Church, meeting to organize
The 1st PJ23 Reunion
- A reunion that is going to span primary, elementary and middle school, and bring back together a family.

The first part of the meeting was spent laughing and catching up, the whole while being videotaped, until we finally got down to business. The magic of the whole thing was that as each person entered the building - whether we saw each other last week or 10 years ago - there was no hesitation. The relationship - the communication - picked up like yesterday.

Yes, the evident maturity of each person was witnessed, but the basic essence of who we were, the structure that catholic school gave us, and the lessons that tied us together - the fraternity of PJ23 - superceded everything.

Then Michael said - whenever I see anyone from PJ23, it's just like I'm already home.


A couple weeks ago, my colleagues and I had a conversation about how you lose track of the people you grew up with, and the people you go to college with. I was amazed at what I was hearing - because I have friends I have known since kindergarten. Friends I love like I love.I credit my ability to develop long lasting relationships to what I learned at Pope John XXIII - this is a family.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Klatch Me If You Can...


I anticipated attending BLAKstar’s Klatch (http://www.blakstartalk.com/) on the 2nd Saturday in January. I was waiting for it like a small child waits for a snow day – which happened that same week as well. I was ready for two reasons: First, I was at the first Klatch dedicated to the discussion of relationships, when the panel of men took questions from all women about relationships, etc. It was hot like fire, and the men held up well and gave good headgame. I was anxious to see what the ladies would bring.

The second reason was that BLAKstar's Shené Brownlee and Mealee Thomas, the able orators and hosts of the event, had contacted my sister and Pastor Tersa T. Leigh (@TLeigh2703), to sit on the panel.

Always arrive with an expectation, my people – set the atmosphere to respond to your need. As usual, I was late – but Lorine Bolds, Urban Elements Staff Writer, and my big Sis Theresa saved me a seat. Already priming the spot for the discussion was SoDebNair from FreshFace Radio (http://www.freshfacedaily.net/ for an excellent take on this event), and Darrell James photographing.

BLAKstar set the mood and environment the same way as they did for the fellas, and they gave the emailed, texted, tweeted and called-in questions from men (mostly) to the ladies. The panel, diverse women at different stages in life, well versed in relationships, took the questions and as ladies are wont to do, sliced them up in the air, and laid them down delectably on the plate – served up Queen style for dinner.

What did we learn from the discourse? That relationships take commitment, work, faith, and 'hot sex' on both parts. Also, though women and men seem confident about what they think the opposite sex wants from a relationship, we are still missing the mark on the high five. There are some issues on which we just do not communicate or interpret the need and/or the want well enough. Confronted with this issue, the men spoke well about how relationships take work, continual work - but not nagging. Of course, they agreed, if you are on task, her desires wont ever become nagging. Good talk.

Two questions were asked of both panels the very same way: What does a man need from a woman in a relationship? Is chivalry dead, and did women kill it?

When the men answered these questions, they talked explicitly about needing respect, a partner, a woman who loves God, and the women touched upon these very same things, and even threw in that men need hot sex, too. But there was one thing the men emphasized needing that the women never even hinted at knowing: a goal. The men said, ‘give me something to do. Give me a task, a goal, something that needs an end result. A purpose.’ Not one woman touched upon that.

When asked what women need from a man – women were resoundingly clear in a few common requests: honesty, clarity, a relationship with God, a plan. Most women agreed they could work through almost anything, as long as they knew their mate was being honest with them.

Both parties agreed that most dishonesty in relationships is a result of past relationship or emotional hurt. Loving yourself is key to being able to love someone else.

With the question of chivalry, I am glad to report that chivalry is not dead. Chivalry does not live in some neighborhoods. What we learned was really summed up by a gentleman in the audience, who said “I teach my sons that taking out garbage is not an option – it’s a responsibility; that their mother should never clean off her own car in the winter; and she should never carry a basket of laundry to the laundry room.” Chivalry is not dead – it’s the teachers that are in high demand. “Single mothers,” he said “date your sons. Take them out and teach them what a date is supposed to be.”

What we walked away with as well is the understanding that we create the expectation of what is and is not acceptable in a relationship for ourselves, and therefore for our children. We also set the expectation for chivalry and for relational acceptances in our communities - WE do that. So, it is our job to carry ourselves with the full weight of that knowledge - not as a burden - as a right.

Finally, the most dynamic part of this discourse, which is what a Klatch is all about, was the intercourse between all active members of the audience and the panel – every person left with something from the discussion, and excited about the exchange.

I think this dynamic is going to make February’s Klatch that much more worthwhile as the discussion continues. I promise you - this is an event you want to put on your calendar. Be at the Method Gallery, atop Urban Spirits Cafe, on February 13, 2010 - it might make for a lovely foreplay to Valentine's Day!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Ohio - Still Leaders...In Human Trafficking

Have you heard this before? You should have - it is the same information that has been reported for the last 3 years and probably will be reported again this year.

A 2007 Rand Corporation report has identifed Ohio, specifically Columbus and Toledo, as prime for the recruitment and kidnapping of sex trafficking victims. Ohio has been identified as a hub for human trafficking.

These numbers are from 2007 - and we have just stepped into 2010.

Nearly four years before that, in late 2003, a Cleveland teenage girl was abducted at gunpoint downtown and driven to Detroit, where she was kept with other girls who were being forced to have sex with men in exchange for food and money.

In 2006, federal authorities broke up a prostitution ring in Toledo that abused girls and young women smuggled into the United States. Near Cleveland in March, a police traffic stop found a driver and passengers, including a terrified 23-year-old woman, in a car that came from Mexico. The woman, disoriented and pregnant, told rape counselors through an interpreter that instead of finding her family, she was forced into prostitution.

There have been cases of young girls being trafficked from Columbus to all points, including West Virginia, the aforementioned Michigan, New York and nationally.

Federal law prohibits human trafficking, and the U.S. Department of Justice has urged each state to make its own statute. Twenty-seven states have. Ohio's bill is pending. It has been since 2003.

So what happens when child prostitutes are located or found?

The only way to ensure a good chance of recovery for these children is placement in a residential treatment program. Right now there are only three in the United States: in New York, California and Georgia.

“When America’s child prostitutes are identified by the FBI or police, they are incarcerated for whatever reason possible, whether it be an unrelated crime or ‘material witness hold,’ ” said Lois Lee, founder of one of the three centers, Children of the Night in Los Angeles.

“Then they are dumped back in the dysfunctional home, ill-equipped group home or foster care, and (often) disappear back into the underground of prostitution with no voice.”

Experts say victims struggle to find care once they escape an industry that could involve as many as 300,000 U.S. children.(Gracehaven)


Hmm....is this more of your tax dollars at work? Let's see:
1. Discover the problem - billions of dollars - Pookie and 'em coulda told you about it. They have seen it happening because the girls abducted are not mostly living in Wexley.

2. Do a big giant report about it - billions of more dollars - Lil Cease and them coulda wrote it like a rap. They are not doing anything else. Them and Foxy plus Kim have LOTS of time.

3. Quote the report throughout the media for 3, going on 4 years. And use the same 2 paragraphs to quote from, as well. I found the same quote in 4 articles from 4 distinctly different mainstream media sources. Hmm.....any third grader could have done that. That way, you don't have to read past the first couple of pages of the report. Or you can just use the AP Wire.

4. Start a 'Say No to Human Trafficking Campaign' and do some busts - arrest the young girls to get them out of the critical situation. Billions of dollars
- black bullet proof vests, $5.3 Million;
Black bad ass sunglasses to deflect the glare of sun when you bust prostitute rings $2.5 Million;
herding little girls into jail and holding them long enough to place them back into equally bad situations with no help, no counseling resources, because there are only 3 residential treatment centers for women/girls in this condition in the United States, privately founded. NO HELP - priceless.


But I bet you the IRS is busy checking the taxes of every taxpaying U.S. citizen back to 2003 for discrepancies.

So, herein lies the issue - how do you help? How to become a part of the solution that probably affects some of our urban elements more than it does some of those that are not so urban?

Contact:
Gracehaven: www.salvationarmycolumbus.org
Salvation Army: www.salvationarmycolumbus.org


According to HumanTrafficking.org:

HOW TO RECOGNIZE A VICTIM OF TRAFFICKING
RED FLAGS TO LOOK OUT FOR A TRAFFICKING VICTIM:


Living with Employer
Poor Living Conditions
Multiple People in Cramped Space
Inability to Speak to an Individual Alone
Employer Holding Identity Documents
Signs of Physical Abuse
Submissive or Fearful
Unpaid or Paid Very Little
Under 18 and in Prostitution
Heavy security at the commercial establishment including barred windows, locked doors, isolated location, electronic surveillance. Women are never seen leaving the premises unless escorted.

Victims live at the same premises as the brothel or work site or are driven between quarters and "work" by a guard. For labor trafficking, victims are often prohibited from leaving the work site, which may look like a guarded compound from the outside.
Victims are kept under surveillance when taken to a doctor, hospital or clinic for treatment; trafficker may act as a translator.

High foot traffic especially for brothels where there may be trafficked women indicated often by a stream of men arriving and leaving the premises.

When you see these kinds of signs - call somebody and report them. Call them back. Then call them again.

Call the Mayor's hotline. He left the Rally against teen violence early. He's available. 311

Call the FBI action line.

Or just attend this event:

“January 11, 2010 - National Human Trafficking Awareness Day Event"
at OSU from 1:00 - 8:30 PM
at The Ohio State University, College of Social Work
Stillman Hall, Room 115.
Featuring Speakers: Michelle Hannan and Theresa Flores,
filmscreening of: Playground
panel discussion
Open to the Public

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day Agenda
January 11, 2010
1:00 - 8:30 PM
The Ohio State University, College of Social Work
Stillman Hall, Room 115

Where is safety? I thought this was the refuge

Now, if we are not safe in the church house on New Years Eve, where are we safe? The Church is a refuge. How dare some idiot be outside firing a gun anywhere in the proximity and a CHILD lose his life? Is there a way that the shell can be traced back to the gun? Where is McGyver? Where is CSI or NCSI or any other investigative crime unit, real or imaginery?

You probably know what I am talking about already, but in case you don't - here is a snippet:

A four-year-old boy has died after a bullet fired from up to five kilometres away fell through a church roof and struck him in the head.

Marquel Peters was playing a portable video game at the church in Decatur, Georgia, on New Year’s Eve when he suddenly slumped to the ground and began bleeding profusely, US networks report.

His parents sitting next to him had no idea what was happening as they leant down and spotted a gaping wound in his head.

“I saw his Nintendo game fall on the floor, and I heard a sound and I heard him scream a little bit and I looked around and all I saw was blood coming from his head,” said Marquel’s mother Nathalee Peters.

Read more: http://elev8.com/daily-offerings/news/elev8-staff/boy-killed-in-church-on-new-years-eve/#ixzz0bgStuiQi


Where do you weigh in on this? What does it prove that you can point a gun up in the air without a thought that a bullet has to come down? That you are a complete waste of brain matter without conscience thought that your action does indeed have far reaching consequence, whether you are there to answer for it or not? Too late now to say you are sorry. What about Marquel? What about his family? When are we going to understand that it is time to find a new way to show our bravado?

You know the column that often appears in magazines that shows what is in and what is out for this season? Organizing and being proactive in your community? IN....Standing around with big guns and shooting up in the air like you are big ish? OUT......Player please.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Bigger and Better(?)


So, we are now succinctly placed into a new year. No more getting ready for it, it's here. What are you gonna do about it? You have a full year behind you, and I am sure you can recall what you were doing last year at this time. Was it in any way similar to what you are doing right now? Then, there might be an issue. Something, at least, should have changed in a years time.

Did you set goals? I have a friend who, every year on her birthday instead of getting dressed to go out and kick it, spends the day revisiting her life goals, going over her budget plan, and assessing how well she is doing according to the plan. You can only do this if you have a plan.

This also brings up another question - at what age do you STOP strapping on stilettos or shining up your best italian leather kicks and going out on your birthday? What is that definite year? What is the line in the sand - because somebody needs to post it at some spots in Columbus.

Okay, I digress. Back to the question at hand - how well do you set personal growth goals, assess your budget and stick to it, and live according to your means and not your 'Seen-it-got-to-have-its'.

We are in a lot of the condition, economically and socially because of the entitlement of others. The reason it is not succesful is because it is not true - to be entitled means somebody owes you something.

We spend a lot of time saying we work hard so we deserve to go out, we deserve to buy those shoes, we deserve whatever the immediate satisfaction is - but that is an illusion of entitlement. We don't deserve anything - it is not our inalienable right to have $80 hairdos and $45 mani/pedi's every week or every other. Not true. Myth. Really. You made it up.

So, tell me, how does this fit all together into your goals for 2010? And how far are you from where you where at this time in 2009.

ON Fire: An Ozzie Novak Thriller (John W Mefford)

NEW RELEASE.... Rainmakers rule – but nothing influences another man more than two bullets in the back of the head.  A beautiful, amb...