Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hmm... But Believing in God as Creator is Delusional?

In the following clip, atheist Richard Dawkins admits to the possibility of Intelligent Design... but hypothesizes Earthlings can thank aliens for our planet. Is it really that hard to believe God might exist?

Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged...

The following series of humorous Ameriquest commercials highlight why being a Judgey McJudgey-Pants is not a good idea.



But on a serious note, there are repercussions when we make haughty, ill-informed and unjust judgments. In Matthew 7, Jesus said:


1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

Very wise words. So that guy might not be trying to commit caticide... but actually IS simply preparing his wife a delicious romantic dinner!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My Answer: "Yes"


The original Bojangles. Today's hip hop artists do their own version of shucking and jiving, complete with grills, video chicks and rented mansions.

This article asks "Are Hip Hop Artists "Bo-Jangling" for the Dough?" My answer is the title of this entry. I think a better question is when did it all begin? When Producer Diddy slid on his shiny suit and pretended to rap? Or when Fifty Cent bragged about being shot 9 times to prove how hard and real he is... even though his first video negated his street cred when viewers saw his "creation" by Eminem and Dr. Dre? So Lil' Wayne is a caricature of a rap artist... the current, dismal state of hip-hop has been coming for at least a decade.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Obamanation!


Talk about branding! Artist Jorge Rodriguez Gerada created the above massive sand portrait of the POTUS. Gerada described it as: "The work’s grand scale (1 hectare / 2.5 acres) embodies the immense sense of hope felt by Barack Obama’s supporters and raises a mirror to reflect the source of that hope. Obama has awakened an enormous yearning for change that runs deep beneath decades of disaffection with the political establishment."

With all of these portraits popping up everywhere, I'm having an enormous yearning of my own, one for change- away from Obamanation! Look, don't get me wrong, my annoyance has nothing to do with politics. It's really just the irritation of seeing the Prez's visage seemingly everywhere. Last week, K and I were driving to pick up some jerk chicken (we heart Caribbean food) and had to drive through a certain area of a particular city that can be rightfully called "Dirty Jerz". We were stopped at a light (with windows rolled up and doors locked... look, you'd go through the trouble, too if you tasted some of that chicken) when my eyes wandered over to the eighth liquor store in as many blocks. Lol, now you know you're in the hood when you're surrounded by storefront churches, bodegas, bail bond places and liquor stores... but I digress... so what caught my eye about this place was not the Corona poster, but the giant, life-size Barack Obama cut-out that stood stoically... next to the Coors Light sign. What in the world was he doing in there???

I have seen him in many other places. Hanging in the Caribbean restaurant, next to a picture of Bolt, the Jamaican Olympian. On calendars with Michelle, Malia and Sasha, all big smiles. On prayer placards (which is weird to me). On t-shirts, mugs and dolls. On coins, plates, buttons and posters. And then during the 4th of July weekend, I saw this frightening ad:



Eww... nothing like making a plastic bust of the President sprout a leafy afro to show your civic pride.

But anyway, in all honesty, I'm sick of seeing Obama's face. It's like in 2003 when Beyonce released her first solo album. As it rocketed up the Billboard charts, she was everywhere. Pushing hair dye. Blowing lipsticked kisses at the camera for Revlon. And I got sick of her, too. Not necessarily her album, but mainly her face. It happened when Tomkat got together in 2005. The stalkerazzi had their every moves recorded. They were plastered on every tabloid cover. I wanted to hurl. Brangelina, Paris and Britney...all of them at certain points this decade have made me rush for the Pepto.

The problem with all the hoopla surrounding President Obama is that despite his popularity, his primary role is in the realm of politics, not as a pop icon. So I find myself flipping the channel when he's talking about why the economy is still in shambles or his new health care initiatives, which is a real shame. But for now, as shallow as it might be, I'm going to try to avoid Obama. Which is going to be pretty hard since I'd like a nice bottle of white wine with the chicken I'm planning to make for dinner tonight... and you never know where he might pop up.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

30 Might Be The New 20, But 27 is NOT 17


Tre sexy, right? My taped-up leg, keeping the knee cap straight.


I've been on a sabbatical of sorts for the past week, which was supposed to be a staycation from work but wound up being a non-stop barrage of physical therapy appointments and blood work tests. This whole medical mess started about three months ago when my left knee swelled up like a sausage. This has happened to me a few times before, ever since I injured it in 2003. What alarmed me in April was all the pain and weakness that came with it. Fast forward to the present, and I'm spending about five hours a week in PT bootcamp, which is good, but brutal. They work me so hard I'm left totally exhausted and fall asleep for like 3-5 hours afterward.

Making things more complicated... I just found out through said blood tests that I'm going to need treatment for hyperthyroidism. Which might explain why I feel so extra fatigued and sore.

I'm feeling optimistic though- when I'm not knocked out sleep that is (I slept for a good 11 hours last night). I know what's wrong and I'm getting treatment. I know I have quite a long way to go, but I'm proud. I am pushing 30 more pounds this week on the equipment compared to the previous week, which means I'm getting stronger. And after just two weeks, I can see calf muscles popping out (which I actually think IS sexy). So although I'm no where near I was at 17, I'm sure I can get to be the best 27 year old I can be. And that's not bad.

(If you have the chance, I'd appreciate prayers... and let me know if you'd like me to pray for you!)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Javaluia!

This clip hilariously shows why so many churches need to nix the pushy prepackaged routine so common in evangelical circles. I can attest to having experienced all of it, and it can be overwhelming.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

These Two Stopped Me in My Tracks...

File these two stories under "shameless." Both involve males and abortion. First, from Creative Minority Report, a blog on an article featured on Askmen.com : "An unplanned and unwanted pregnancy can dramatically affect an otherwise loving long-term relationship. Some men rejoice, but others simply aren’t ready to be fathers. If they discussed the possibility and specifics at the start of the relationship, he may hope she’s going to stick to the original plan and terminate the pregnancy. And she might -- but for some women, getting pregnant can start clocks ticking and make them suddenly want to be mothers, despite previous agreements." The article gives guys pointers on how to convince their knocked-up girlfriends to abort.

Blech... nothing like a nifty how-to on skipping out on responsibilities. I like how "an otherwise loving long-term relationship" mutates into a business transaction with an "original plan" and "previous agreements" once a woman gets pregnant. What happened to the love??? The article (which by the way, is penned by a woman), wraps with these words: " If...your woman decides to have the baby anyway, this does not mean you’re required to get married or move in together. You’ll probably want to provide for your child regardless, but if you’ve been clear about your intentions from the start, you are not obligated to contribute beyond what your conscience and the law expects of you. This was her decision, not yours, and the bulk of the responsibility is now hers. Prenatal pros: Take a moment to spell this out for her when she gives you the final decision; it may just sway her over to your side." Yes, because there's nothing like the threat of abandonment to persuade your pregnant beloved, in the most respectful way, of course, to help get you off the hook... and out of child support payments.

The second, is just downright creepy. Entitled "My First Abortion Party", it is written by a guy who's 22 year old friend "Maggie" throws a party to raise money to have her abortion. The party is packed full of sweaty dancers, "Prince" music and food, and in a weird twist, "Eli, the three-year-old son of one of the partygoers" The writer even makes note of the strangeness of his attendance: "Even though I thought the presence of a young child at an abortion party was a little bizarre, nobody else seemed to acknowledge (or care about) this contradiction. Instead, the rest of the guests just took turns fawning over him, exchanging high fives and swooshing him through the air. He, along with everyone else, was having a blast." A blast??? Sigh... sounds like the Twilight Zone.

Attacking Rick Warren's Purpose


This past Saturday, Pastor Rick Warren, successful writer of such Christian mega-sellers like "The Purpose Driven Life", spoke at the Islamic Society of North America's 46th annual convention in Washington. He urged Christians and Muslims to "partner" together to "end what he calls "the five global giants" of war, poverty, corruption, disease and illiteracy."

He added "It's easier to be an extremist of any kind because then you only have one group of people mad at you," he said. "But if you actually try to build relationships — like invite an evangelical pastor to your gathering — you'll get criticized for it. So will I."

And despite his seemingly innocuous speech promoting ecumenical good, Warren is right. He's not only being criticized but attacked. Just out of (morbid) curiosity, I opened the link following the MSNBC.com article for reader comments to read numerous responses filled with venomous barbs- the sharpest being from fellow evangelical Christians. Here's a sampling:

  • "The problem is as a so-called Christian, Warren is not supposed to cuddle up to false religions in an effort to gain their support. His faith and his allegiance should be 100% to Jesus the Christ and he should be closed minded to other religions...I believe it is time to disregard Rick Warren as anything but a one man show bent on getting his face back out in the public and his books sold."
So he's a "so-called" Christian because he advocates working with others outside the faith for the betterment of society? I disagree and think this writer is guilty of being a Judgey McJudegy-pants. We don't know Warren's heart, only God does, so to accuse him of making such overtures to merely sell books isn't fair.

  • Rick Warren has just gotten so full of his popularity that he is willing to forsake his calling to preach the Word of God. Don't be surprised if he runs for some political office soon-he is seeking self-glory.
How do you know he's forsaken his calling? He's continued to oversee Saddleback Church, and has done numerous other appearances speaking to the Christian faithful, such as a speech in front of the new conservative Anglican church a couple of weeks ago. And what makes him "so full" of himself? And what if he does decide to run for office? Believe me, I'm no fan of mixing religion with politics, but he wouldn't be the first evangelical pastor to make the foray into government. What say ye of Mike Huckabee?

  • Warren does not speak for all Southern or Independent Baptist. What can anyone expect from him as he said the so called prayer at the biggest Mus lover (O'Bama) inaguration in the country. Warren needs to repent and turn from his evil ways. The Koran teaches hate, my Holy Bible teaches love. You will find no where in the New Testament of the killing a non-believer. With so called evangilist like this no wonder America is headed straight to hell on the fast track. God help us ! ! !

Oy vey! Ok, this one speaks for itself. Just plain crazy. I'll make a few comments, though. First, what's wrong with Obama loving Muslims? Perhaps this writer forgets we as Christians are commanded to love others, even (especially) people unlike us. So if Obama loves Muslims, kudos to him. Second, what are his "evil ways"? Aghast, speaking to Muslims? Aiming to eradicate illiteracy? I wish this commentor would elaborate. Lastly, if this writer thinks he'll be winning hearts to Christ with lines like "The Koran teaches hate...", he's sadly mistaken. How is a diatribe against the President, a fellow Christian and people of another faith a good witness? I'm just stumped.

Over on Wintery Knight's blog, he took issue with Warren, too, questioning his orthodoxy: "My advice: Never trust Christians who think that Christianity is just about helping the poor. That is a peripheral issue, which some Christians focus on in order to avoid debates about the main issues of Christianity. The main issues are “Does God Exist?” and “Who was Jesus?”. Why people follow these left-wing social justice mega-church pastors instead of solid Christian scholars is beyond me. Just another reason why Christians should be fiscal conservatives."

Ouch... although he's not blaming Warren for the sorry state of the nation, he has managed to smoothly link him to the scourge of the social gospel and the most abhorred "left-wing". It's beyond me why so many Christians believe attacking fellow brothers and sisters will help in the spread of the Gospel. It makes us look like we have the severest case of sibling rivalry ever- "Nuh uh, Father God LIKES me more than you because you are doing all these things wrong and I do them right!" It's just silly and embaraasing at best and hateful and defeating at worst. I'm not saying we can't disagree or that we can't be upset; but how we handle our differences is what counts. The Bible says to "Be angry, but sin not." So if someone disagrees with Warren's writings or speeches, critique his words. But claiming to know he's just out to sell books (which by the way, wouldn't benefit him too much since he donates 90% of income earned from sales to charity) is just plain wrong. We don't know his "purpose" or intent, since we are not God.

Also, and this is just my humble opinion, I don't agree with the claims that by working on social issues, one has forsaken spiritual ones. It is true that some would rather work to heal this world rather than speak of Heaven or Hell. And Christians should never neglect to spread the whole Gospel- of redemption, salvation and eternity. Jesus was born to die- so that all may live. This should never be hidden, diminished or forgotten. But if we are to look at Christ as our guide, we should not overlook how many times he met people's physical needs- feeding the hungry, healing the sick and reaching out to all- from kids to undesirables. Reality is, many won't start thinking of Heaven if they're living through Hell now. Christians are told to help "the least of these" and when we do, we'll be doing it for Christ.

Regarding the assumption that all good Christians pledge allegiance to a particular political party- read my blog, "Five Things I Hate About Us: An Open Letter." That pretty much sums up my feelings.

Survey Says: Doggone It, It's A Tie


In the second FAR survey for best pet, cat and dog tied. Of course, it wasn't a hard fought battle for either- each animal only received a measly vote apiece. Once again dear readers, you are far from rocking the vote. Let's try to do better this time. So next survey question: "What's your favorite Michael Jackson song from Thriller?" Voting has now begun... so puh-lease, go to the bar on the right and choose!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

One Last "Smile" for His Little Brother

The clip below, from today's public memorial for the late King of Pop, is of Jermaine Jackson singing Michael's favorite song, "Smile" by Charlie Chaplin. It was the most touching moment for me.


Monday, July 6, 2009

An In-depth Look at the "Our Father" Prayer

This article by Whitney Hopler entitled "How to Live the Words of the Lord's Prayer" is an excellent, in-depth look at the prayer Jesus shared with his followers, recorded in the 6th chapter of Matthew.

Below is an excerpt from the article:

“Our Father”: Pray for a healthy image of God that reflects Jesus’ experience as “Abba” – an affectionate term for a Father who loves deeply and unconditionally. God isn’t a cold, aloof Creator who has abandoned His people; nor is He an insensitive judge who nonchalantly rules creation heartlessly. God is close to you, pouring out His love into your life no matter what, and offering you strength and courage whenever you need them. Let your gratitude for God’s deep love in your life motivate you to perform selfless acts of sacrificial love for others – just as Christ has done for you. Recognize that you’re part of a huge spiritual family: All people are made in God’s image, and fellow believers are your brothers and sisters in Christ. Since God is “our” Father, spiritual formation is about God, others, and you. Ask God to give you the love He wants you to have for other people. Intercede in prayer for them regularly. Pray for opportunities to use what you’ve learned through your own suffering to help other people who are struggling in similar ways. Welcome and accept all people – no matter how different they are from you.

This article changes this prayer from rote to wonderful.

5 Things Men Should Know- By Gary Watkins

Great read! Enjoy this guest post by Gary Watkins:
~Li


I'm going out a limb here by posting this note because I know I'm making myself a target for most who might say something like "OOoo what makes you think you're such an ideal man". That's also to say "what makes you think you know everything about what all women want!?".....So I'm going to to kind of try and tie in what it is I wish I would see more of in more men. Maybe that may be a safer playing field for this one :)

In series with a later posting that I made about 10 things every woman should know I'm now posting "5 things every man should know."

1. First and foremost is love. It is critically important to understand as men, the different aspect of being a man that we can offer a girl. I have always said that the reason I know that I love my wife is because I have harbored tendencies of loving her as her lover, her friend, and her father. My wife is my girlfriend, my drinking buddy, and my little girl. Because of this I can offer her basically every aspect of manhood in our marriage. I can offer her warmth and touch...i can offer her value, reflection, and encouragement of herself....and I can also offer her protection and security. Be careful to show careful balance of these 3, as one overbearing the other is could be dysfunctional. This long lost trinity of love is the truth behind the lifelong promise of a relationship.

To all the men out there...be ALL the men out there.... to your girl.

2. Bring out the best in your girl. A woman is an ever developing bloom of purity and gentleness. What makes it hard for women to find a good guy is that there are few of us out there are genuinely concerned about our girl's development, and participating in whatever it takes to bring her to her next step in life. If she is the same girl she was last year, then what good was it to have you around? All it takes is a little insight and a little bravery to step out and take her hand into a deeper journey of herself.

To all the man out there...a woman is a mysterious thing and it will take the both of you to discover everything about her.

3. Take charge. Men have been anointed by God to be spiritually gifted to lead the household. This means that YOU are responsible for your family (or relationship). Do not share in blame or shame for wrong decisions and or decisions that bring unwanted circumstances. Be a man and accept your position as the responding individual for the status of your relationship/family. This doesn't mean that you're a lone ranger in all decision making...make sure to make joint decisions when necessary.... but keep in mind that it's one of our greatest gifts to her....to ease her mind of pressure...and take on the burden of a final decision, so she's not alone. Even if it's something simple like "what shoes should i wear". Having an opinion is what makes companionship. Helping her make decisions just goes to show how much you genuinely want to be in her life.

To all the men out there...simplify her life...it's her support

4. The difference between a boy and a man, is that a boy does what he wants to do, and a man does what he has to do. We all start off as boys, but making it to a man is a different journey. Sometime it's hard for us to break the boyish behaviors and "turn on" the MANtallity. It's important to be young with your girl, but it's even more important to be grown up when it comes to grown up conversation. Laugh and be silly and sarcastic, but don't forget that there is always a time for everything. "I'm sorry for putting gum in your hair" is totally different from "I'm sorry for not thinking about you". What graduates us from boyhood to manhood is our insight of girlhood to womanhood.

To all the men out there...there's a nasty rumor going around that most of us do not ever hit mental puberty. Let's flip the script on them!

5. Be unbeatable! Make sure that you take notes in what she likes, what she thinks is romantic, what type of person she admires..and try your best to make sure that you've covered the bases. Work like you want her to boast about you at parties...try your best to make sure when other girls complain about issues with their men that she isn't caught up in the flow. Make the "typical man" foreign to her...or a thing of the past. No one including you wants to be caught up in today's social understanding of a relationship.

To all the men out there...don't convince her that you are unbeatable..let her realize if for herself


I'll stop here because men are more simple and probably wont read any deeper lol j/k. Please be gentle in your criticism. It was easy to post "10 things women should know" last month because most men are not that critical of women, but in today's society women are much more critical about men. If you agree and or want to add anything please share. It's about about doing life together and learning.

Also, this is gender specific like my last post so i will start broadcasting this note to men first and foremost. But everyone is welcome for comments.

Hope everyone had a happy 4th.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

MJ's Music Won't Stop- Hip Hop Can't Get Enough


My apologies to readers who might be growing tired of my posts on Michael Jackson's music. But please note I'm covering the MUSIC not the MAN. There will be no speculating, gossiping or spreading rumors on this site. Just celebrating the Gloved One's albums and continual impact on the music of today. If you haven't guessed by now, I'm a music lover- in college, I majored in English with the goal of entering into the world of Arts & Entertainment journalism. I wrote for two of my university's papers reviewing CD's, covering concerts, and reporting on the world of Pop/Hip Hop/Soul/Jazz. Although my "career" never amounted to more than a few articles for Vibe and a rejected piece for another Hip Hop mag, my love for music never diminished. Music captures the time period during which it was created- it is the soundtrack for history. And my personal history had quite a few MJ songs playing in the background. So bare with me!

Judging by the many Hip Hop artists who have sampled Michael's music, I'm not alone in thinking his songs are lyrical gold. Below is a song list from Imeem which lists the Top 10 Hip Hop songs borrow from MJ (Did you know Tupac and Ol' Dirty did? Quite interesting...)

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