Author Archive

Thursday

21

May 2015

0

COMMENTS

America’s Real God

Written by , Posted in Culture, Politics, Religion

 

What’s one thing many American Christians love more than Jesus? Power.

Christian_Politics

The debate over the role of religion in the public square is not new. Following the recent controversy surrounding Indiana’s religious-freedom laws, we’ve heard from Christians on both sides of the political spectrum who believe their faith informs their views on important social issues.

I recently came across an article that talked about how the “New Christian Left” is twisting the gospel. The author unpacked a number of points related to the tension between traditional biblical teachings and contemporary moral values. She also listed three different types of evangelical Christians that have emerged in these unique times–those who stay silent on major cultural issues, those who pick and choose which parts of the bible they want to live by, and those who operate in mercy and grace while still sharing the gospel message with their neighbors. Up to this point I didn’t really have any major issue with what I was reading. Then the author said this:

I know about these three types of Christians because at one time or another I have fallen into each of these three categories. My parents will tell you that even though I was raised in church, I morphed into a full-fledged feminist, told my parents they were ignorant for not endorsing homosexuality and bought into the distorted social justice rhetoric that confuses caring for the poor with advancing socialist or big government systems and demonizing the United States for its free market system.

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Wednesday

29

April 2015

2

COMMENTS

Civil Unrest in Baltimore

Written by , Posted in Culture, Politics, Race

 

A major American city is talking. Will anyone listen?

protester-baltimore

Still trying to wrap my head around everything that’s been going on in Baltimore. A few thoughts:

1. The Baltimore city government needs to move quickly to make the results of their investigation in Gray’s homicide public.

1a. Using racialized language (i.e., “thugs”) at a time like this is not a smart move, even if you are a black elected official.

2. We’re at a point where only the most ardent police apologists can deny that there are aspects of law enforcement culture that are rotten and need to be changed. That will require changes in technology (i.e., body cams), recruiting, training, department policy, police culture, investigation, and prosecution. Police who betray their oaths and commit serious crimes, and the arms of law enforcement that are complicit, undermine the very rule of law they have sworn to protect.

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Thursday

16

April 2015

0

COMMENTS

#TBT – Who Sets the Tone for Your Relationship?

Written by , Posted in Relationships

 

Based on a Black and Married with Kids (BMWK) article from 2010.

Anyone who has ever taken salsa lessons should know that men are traditionally responsible for taking the lead on the dance floor. This is true regardless of whether the man happens to be a better or more experienced dancer than his female dance partner. This concept reminds me of a conversation I had recently at a friend’s birthday barbecue in which I stated that a man should set the tone for his relationship; I likened the dynamic between a man and woman to that of a thermostat and thermometer. For example, a man who is overly excited about the woman he’s dating might have the relationship temperature up a few degrees too high, and her response (e.g. avoiding phone calls) should be an indicator that he needs to cool things down a bit. Likewise, a woman who expresses her disappointment in the lack of interest or effort on the man’s part is a signal that the temperature might need to be turned up a few degrees. Unsurprisingly, everyone did not share my view on this subject. One person felt that women should set the tone by creating an environment that makes a man comfortable being himself. In her view, women should take the initiative to set the course for the relationship.

To be clear, the conversation wasn’t meant to be an argument about who holds a more important role in a relationship or an attempt to draw battle lines in a fruitless power struggle. I firmly believe that both parties in a relationship must put forth effort if it is to be successful; my point was simply that a man who takes initiative serves as an antidote to the well-worn perception of men being passive participants in relationships. Our culture has taught us that generally speaking, a woman’s natural inclination is to seek stability while men have a propensity to seek variety. Therefore, without initiative on a man’s part a woman might think that she is just his “flavor of the month”. To be clear, the initiative I’m referencing here is not the superficial gestures that some men use as a means to an end (i.e. sex). I am talking about men who take the initiative to do what’s necessary to build a strong relationship foundation. This includes spending quality time, articulating feelings about the woman and the relationship at the appropriate time, and ensuring that one’s words and deeds are in alignment. I believe these types of  actions  take the adversarial nature and senseless game playing  out of dating, courtship, and even marriage. All of these activities communicate to a woman that her mate is in the relationship because he wants to be there, not because of coercion, convenience, or comfort.

Relationships often suffer because of a lack of clarity so a man who clearly articulates his vision or desires for the relationship goes a long way to removing some of the doubt and insecurity that can erode the relationship’s foundation. This is not to say that men don’t need to feel secure in their relationships. I once had a girlfriend tell me she was taking a break from the relationship to figure out whether she wanted to be with me or one of her close male friends who had previously expressed a romantic interest. Needless to say, that experience left me feeling less secure about my place in the relationship. The insecurity I reference here is not in relation to body image issues, the residue of past hurts in prior relationships, or some of the other internal issues that must be resolved on an individual basis. The insecurities to which I am referring are the feelings that arise when there is uncertainty about the status and direction of the relationship itself. Ultimately, both men and women must contribute to the growth and development of a relationship but similarly to dancing, someone must take the lead. Hopefully we won’t step on each other’s toes too many times in the process.

Who do you think should set the tone for the relationship? Does a man who takes initiative create a greater sense of security in the relationship?

*Original article can be found on Black and Married with Kids. 

Monday

13

April 2015

0

COMMENTS

A New Day in Ferguson

Written by , Posted in Culture, Politics, Race

 

Change is on the way in Ferguson.

(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Over the last 10 months Ferguson, Missouri has become the epicenter of the growing movement against police brutality and misconduct. The outrage after Michael Brown’s death sparked protests across the country, particularly in other cities with high-profile police shootings, investigations by the Department of Justice, and new elections. In less than one year, this small Missouri city became an example of how everyday citizens could fight back against institutional racism and affect substantive change. While we’ve seen signs of progress, it hasn’t come without serious challenges.

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Thursday

9

April 2015

0

COMMENTS

#TBT – Are You Sabotaging Your Own Relationship?

Written by , Posted in Relationships

 

Based on a Black and Married with Kids (BMWK) article from 2010.

What comes to mind when you hear the word “intimacy”? Do you think of marriage, sex, friendship, affection, familiarity, or something else altogether? Regardless of what words you associate with intimacy, close relationships require it to truly be authentic. Unfortunately, we often block intimacy with our own actions, words, and thoughts. It is easy to see how verbal or physical abuse, poor communication, dishonesty, and selfishness would drive two people apart, but there are also individual habits that undermine attempts to build intimacy. This latter group of “intimacy-killers” are incubated internally but manifested externally. They do a great deal of damage if left unchecked and can counteract the peace and contentment we seek in our relationships. While my list of five intimacy-killers is certainly not exhaustive, it should prompt us all to examine ourselves to determine whether we are subconsciously sabotaging our own relationships.

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Thursday

9

April 2015

0

COMMENTS

When Will it End?

Written by , Posted in Politics, Race

 

Police violence is being met with universal condemnation. Will justice follow?

The killing of Walter Scott by a South Carolina police officer has been universally condemned by those who have seen the video. But none of us would probably even know the name Walter Scott if not for Feidin Santana. His video shows Walter Scott, having already been tased, run away from officer officer Michael Slager, who, instead of pursuing Scott, pulls out his gun and fires eight shots before Scott falls to the ground. The officer then appears to drop something, presumably a taser, next to Scott’s body. A second officer arrives on the scene but neither appears to offer Mr. Scott any medical assistance.

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Monday

6

April 2015

1

COMMENTS

Who Deserves Forgiveness?

Written by , Posted in Culture, Race

 

mone_davis

Two recent stories got me thinking about forgiveness last week. The first involved Levi Pettit, the SAE member who, along with other members of his fraternity, got caught on video singing a song that referenced lynching. The second story involved Joey Casselberry, a college baseball player from Bloomsburg University who referred to Mo’ne Davis as a “slut”in a recent tweet, apparently after hearing that Davis would be the subject of an upcoming Disney movie.

Pettit and Casselberry faced intense criticism for what they did but the actions of a handful of black folk also garnered a good deal of attention. A group of black elders, including clergy and at least one state senator, stood behind Pettit while he apologized during a public statement. Mo’ne Davis took things to a different level when she not only stated she forgave her offender but also contacted his school to ask for his reinstatement after they kicked him off the baseball team. Both instances present interesting case studies in forgiveness.

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Thursday

26

March 2015

0

COMMENTS

TBT – What if the first black president were a Republican?

Written by , Posted in Culture, Politics, Race

 

Based on an article from theGrio in 2012.

gopblacks-495x262

Our country has been engaged in a national dialogue on race since the election of the nation’s first black president in 2008. Barack Obama’s supporters and opposition have both been accused of being motivated primarily by race, but one topic that has not been discussed is what factor race would have played if our first black president was a Republican. A deeper analysis of this issue reveals a great deal about the prisms through which we see race and politics in our culture.

The degree to which race would impact the country’s acceptance of a black Republican president would depend on both policy and personality. A black conservative president would fashion a cultural and political reality almost completely contrary to the one created by Barack Obama’s presidency. White conservatives would be some of the black president’s most ardent supporters, while black progressives would be among his fiercest critics. One only need consult the chapters in the black conservative playbook that pertain to race to understand why.

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Thursday

26

March 2015

0

COMMENTS

#TBT – What Makes a Man Husband Material?

Written by , Posted in Relationships

 

Based on a Black and Married with Kids (BMWK) article from 2011.

According to Urban Dictionary the term “wifey material” is a phrase used to describe a woman who possesses certain qualities that would make her a model wife. I’m sure many men would describe this type of woman as a perfect mix of style, substance, sass, and love””or at least respect””for sports. Aside from that, men appreciate her kindness, supportiveness,  and caring nature. She’s the type of woman who could turn a serial player into a one-woman man.

Urban Dictionary has no such definition for “hubby material,” however, and the definition for “husband material”, a guy you would consider perfect enough to marry one day, is so self-explanatory it’s almost laughable. Generally speaking, there’s relatively little dialogue about what makes a man husband material, aside from the standard responses that include some combination of appearance, stable employment and steady income.

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Friday

20

March 2015

0

COMMENTS

A Fragile House

Written by , Posted in Entertainment, Politics

 

Be careful what you wish for.

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The missus and I recently finished the third season of House of Cards and are already ready for more. The show consistently brings to the screen the best (or worst) of what people like about political dramas. Frank Underwood is calculating, manipulative, power-hungry and ruthless. He is, in many ways, to politics what Sun Tzu was to military strategy—equal parts philosopher, strategist, and tactician. He believes that power is more important than moneya concept he thinks most people in Washington still don’t get.

Claire is the only person on the show who even comes close to matching Frank’s combination of ambition and ruthlessness. Theirs is a relationship unlike what we are accustomed to seeing from fictional power couples. One of the things that really stood out in the first two seasons was the ease with which they accepted relationships outside their marriage. We’re accustomed to seeing wives of powerful men grudgingly endure their husband’s infidelity but we’re certainly not used to seeing the openness with which the Underwood’s share their extramarital affairs. In fact, the couple’s affairs prior to season three were shown to be both physical and strategic in nature.

Sex and sexuality were key themes in the first two seasons, and not just for the main characters, but season three was much different. Sex didn’t seem to play nearly as important a role, especially for the main characters. The Underwoods’ relationship in season three is characterized by distance–both literally and figuratively. If the first two seasons were characterized by people looking to acquire things–power foremost among them–the third season seems to be more about people trying to hold things together, whether party unity, sobriety, self-image, or relationships. Frank and Claire spent the first two seasons trying to get where they are in season three, but they demonstrate that sometimes the things we want in life bring problems we don’t anticipate. The third season of House of Cards proves that scaling the mountain requires a different set of strategies than staying on top of it.