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Monthly Archives: November 2007

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The Democratic Party has had a lock on Black America since the Civil Rights Movement. And all the talk of the GOP being the party of Lincoln has done little to change this. So it would seem that an African-American Presidential candidate that is doing as well in the polls as Obama, would easily have this group in his pocket. After all, the Black public is nothing if it’s not fiercely loyal and monolithic in its support of its own. So why then, according to polling, is Obama trailing so far behind Hillary Clinton with Black women? Is it the “not Black enough” thing? Not likely. Is it the experience deficit? After all, Obama has never been First Lady. Again, I don’t think that is it. Obama is smooth, charismatic and good looking. The very same traits every Black woman has seen in every Black man that has ever done them wrong. Every Black man that ever knocked them up and hit the road. Every Black man that ever left them for another woman. Every Black man in their life that lost a job, went to jail or wound up with a drug habit and behind on child support. All smooth, charming and persuasive––just like Barack. Forget that Obama is nothing like these ill-fated relationships from their pasts, presents and futures. But it may be far easier for many of them to trust a strong, driven woman like Hillary Clinton. For again, it has been strong women who have always done right by them. Be it the church-going Grandmother that raised them. The single-head-of-household Mom who worked two jobs to put them through school. Or anyone of a dozen other female role models who have been there for them all their lives. And maybe this is the saddest thing about bigotry, racism and stereotyping. We all do it. Crazy, huh? As always, my apologies.

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king

I think it made all the papers. “Why can’t we all just get along?” That was the question. It was 15 some years ago, and it seemed like a fair question. I mean where’s the love, man? Do we really have to riot in the streets when a few brutal cops are aquitted by an all-white jury? Do we really have to get all bent out of shape over a little institutional racism? Do we really have to beat a man half to death for resisting arrest after a high-speed chase? It’s a fair question. So when Rodney King was shot square in the face standing on a neighborhood street corner earlier today, I’m sure right after the obvious one, “Who was that Popeye’s-Fried-Chicken-eating sumbitch that just blew my face off?”––his next question had to be, “Why can’t we all just get along?”Just off the top of my head, I’m thinking the answer has to have something to do with: envy, greed, malice, strife, enmity, fear, racism, class-ism, narcissism, shame, covetousness, rage, anxiety, lasciviousness, chauvinism, feminism and plain, downright orneryness. You know, all that sinful stuff Moses jotted down on those stone tablets. The same reasons we put cops on the beat and lock our doors at night. Which brings me to my question.”How many times does the gentle Mr. King have to take it in the face before he grasps that mankind––with all its noble intentions––is not basically good?”Another fair question.

Robertson & Rudy

Pat Robertson, the self-styled Jeremiah of the Religious Right has a new “word of knowledge” for his little flock. Rudy is God’s man. Rudolph Giuliani, the thrice-married, gun-controlling, cross-dressing, pro-abortion, gay marrying, non-church-going lapsed Catholic. He’s God’s guy. Boy, I did not see that one coming. But as Dylan once said, the times, they are a changin.’ And Isamofascism is the hot, new family value. Or should I say, its defeat is. And Rudy is the Christian Right’s clear-cut, clean-cut Crusader. At least, he’s the name that floated up in Pat’s fortune-telling magic eight ball that he consults when he locks hands with his 700 Club cronies and squeezes his eyes shut to allegedly hear from on high. Again, I did not see this one coming. And what is very curious in this reshuffling of Christian values is the idea that Rudy will do the best job at keeping us safe in this global holy war. After all, he’s the guy who failed to protect his city’s twin-tower landmark which had previously been bombed on his watch by these said fascists. Lightening doesn’t strike twice. Or does it? Plus, the reason Rudy has all these great Kodak Moments of him and his staff walking through the smoldering streets of the Big Apple is because he had recently relocated his Emergency Command Center into the World Trade Center. And here’s the irony. He had no office to go to that dark day. He could only walk the streets and look steely-eyed for the cameras. Grit and vision, both! Clearly, God’s Man for the task. Like I said, I did not see this one coming. But then again, the ways of the Religious Right have always been a bit mysterious. A tad unsearchable. Inscrutable, even. Yep. In a year when we have a church-going, Bible-quoting Obama running in the Democratic primaries and an affable, evangelical Pro-life pastor running in the Republican primaries, the choice is so obvious! Rudy is the man. Pat’s man. God’s man.

turkey kid

In this brave new world of political correctness, we are conditioned to refer to the Christmas holidays in a sanitized, Christ-less language that offends no one but is nevertheless intended to make vague allusions to good will, joy and peace. “Seasons Greetings.” “Happy Holidays.”“This Joyful Season.” Etcetera. We have all become quite facile with this. It seems benign enough. Something to do with the separation of Church and State and good breeding.

 

I’ve recently become aware that our quaint, state-bequeathed holiday of Thanksgiving has not emerged unscathed from this well-intentioned newspeak. Why? I don’t know.

 

Yes, granted, there is an implicit allusion to a higher being of some ilk in the sentiments of this holiday. But this is an American holiday not some holy day that falls on the liturgical calendar like Easter or Epiphany. It’s decreed by no Pope. It is imposed by no pointy-hatted Patriarch. And the implied God in question is clearly nonsectarian­––be He the fatalistic Allah of the Koran, the Almighty Yaweh of the Bible or the undemanding, disengaged First Cause of Deism. Yet, more and more people seem to be going to great lengths to take the “thanks” out of Thanksgiving. Surely, you’ve heard it. “Happy Turkey Day.”

 

“Going to your Mom’s for Turkey Day?”

 

“Whew! Ate too much on Turkey Day.”

 

Really? Turkey Day?

 

Maybe they think it’s cute. I assure you it isn’t. And it is a slippery slope.

 

What’s next? Does Easter become “Happy Chocolate Bunny Day”? Does Halloween become “Happy Candy Corn Day”? Do we turn Yom Kippur into“Happy Skip Breakfast Day”? Nothing would surprise me in this PC world gone mad. And what, may I ask, becomes of “TGIF?” It may be the last vestige of a grateful nation’s obeisance to the benificient Deity of the 5-day workweek. Let us thank Him before the rocks cry out. Here’s to the God of 5-day workweeks and 4-day holiday weekends. Long may He reign.

 

As always, my apologies.

tears

A murder/suicide, the loss of a child, the loss of a parent, jail time, families torn apart, divorce, custody suits, chronic illnesses, lymphoma, depression, financial loss­­––More pain than we can say grace over in a month of Thanksgiving Thursdays. To some, our extended family’s growing list of sorrow sounds more like a proof text for atheism than an enumeration of God’s mysterious blessings.

 

The problem isn’t that the atheists have gotten it right or that God has somehow dropped the ball. The problem is we have all been sold a bill of goods. We have had the Majestic broad-shouldered, Covenant God of the Bible so soft peddled to us that we have come to believe that He is nothing more than some sort of sentimental, weak-kneed, jolly old deity that only wants us to be healthy, wealthy and happy. The god of good times. The god of least resistance.

 

But no matter how much we try to prop up that flabby, false and ultimately disappointing deity, the true God speaks from His Word and calls us to pull down our altar to this idol made with hands­––This false god of smooth roads, upbeat outcomes and personal happiness. So this Thanksgiving let us fall on our faces before the Almighty God of the Scriptures. The one who was made flesh and dwelt among us. Who endured sorrow, bore up under our illnesses, our pain, our sins and our prickly crosses.

 

For the true and living and incarnate God is nothing like this wobbly idol that we’ve cozied up to in our vain affections. No, He is something far bigger. Something much greater. For the True, Incarnate and Almighty God never has spared his people from pain and hardship. Never ever. Jesus never promised to help us avoid life’s storms but to be with us in the midst of them. Jesus never promised Mary and Martha that their brother would not die, but He did promise that He himself was their resurrection and their life. He never promised us that we would not hunger. But He did promise us to be the Bread of Life. This God never promised to keep his people out of the fiery furnace but rather to show up when the flames burned their hottest.

 

The Covenant God of Israel let his people be sold into slavery. Why? That He might demonstrate His glory as He lead them out. Then what does He turn around and do? He stands them between an impassable Red Sea and the relentless chariots of a blood-thirsty militia only so He might masterfully remove both of these obstacles in one fell swoop.

 

No. The biblical God, the Redeeming God, the Merciful God, the Incarnate God never said that he would save us from the storm. But He did promise to be with us through the storm. These are the covenant promises to us this Thanksgiving holiday: “I will never leave nor forsake you.” “Lo, I am withyou always.” “Let not your hearts be afraid. Believe in God. Believe in Me.”

 

And in this…in all things…we will give thanks.

 

 

11/9

Okay. I know. There are too many blogs, right? As in “way too many.” I am a little late to the game, I confess. But here’s the deal. I intended to start blogging a while back. But then that 9/11 thing came along and well, I got a little distracted. You know, all that global war on terrorism stuff. I would have started blogging back then but I was a little concerned that my pearls of wisdom could fall into the wrong hands. Evildoers, and the like. So I put the whole blogging thing on hold. Now, I’ve decided to take the plunge and I’m a little concerned that blogging has surpassed critical mass or whatever they call it when there are more people writing blogs than there are available people to read them. So, my apologies. But here is the sort of soul-liberating silver lining to all this. Nobody will probably ever read any of this. I mean other than…you know…me…a few crazed jihadists…and maybe my stalker (if I ever get one. That ship may have already sailed as well.) So, here it is: my belated blog. Enjoy, you evildoing jihadist you!