Sunday, October 30, 2011

JesusWeen?

I heard about the JesusWeen movement a few weeks ago and immediately laughed. Not just a sarcastic snicker, but a true guffaw.

According to the official website, "Our mission is to ensure that JesusWeen becomes a global phenomenon. We have and will continue to share the word of God in love and by doing that, we seek to encourage a culture whereby Christians, regardless of their denomination, reach out to the world around them with the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Okay, that's not bad, promoting evangelical ecumenism and what-not, but why on Halloween? Again, back to their site, "Join us in making Jesus the reason why millions will celebrate every October 31st. Get involved, Donate; Partner with us and Volunteer for JesusWeen - “World Evangelism Day”." 

Oh! So Christians of all stripes should band together to co-opt this dark and grisly day for the purpose of shining the light of Christ and such. Well, that's... what we're supposed to be doing the other 364 days of the year, too. While their goal is admirable, I'm cringing that they've stuck it with such a cheesey cornball name and that they felt the need to hitch it to the Halloween wagon. I mean, come on! JesusWeen? So hallowed be the Father's name, but not the Son? Augh!

It also reminds me of the "Jesus Is My Homeboy" type within Christianity. You know, the folks who have a "store-brand" Christian version of the "real" secular product. They won't actually wear Ed Hardy, but will flock to the local Christian bookstore for a tee that borders on copyright infringement, replacing skulls with crosses. Now, I'm not against Christian products. And full disclosure- I rocked a "Jesus Is My Homeboy" tee back in '04 proudly (I did because, well He is, but also I knew it was kitschy). I just don't like when Christians go out of their way to copy secular things in an attempt at appearing relevant or cool. We just seem like Oateeos to their Cheerios.

But I am okay with flipping something that is secular for the good of God. That is how we got Christmas, after all, when the Roman Catholic Church Christianized a pagan holiday. I like how John Mark Reynolds puts this flip in "Thank God for Halloween": "Christians are good at taking wicked old customs full of fear and turning them into good and joyful events. If a cult worships a mountain and names it for a demon, Christians will ignore the old backstory and name it after a Christian hero. What we never do is ruin anything good about the old ways. We save what we can of them." 

He continues: "Of course, All Hallows, the day before All Saints, does not need much saving at this point. We made it our own and as a Christian, I refuse to let the pagans have it back. Halloween taught me some good lessons as a child. Halloween reminds me that death is part of living and I too will die. In my grandmother’s day, funerals were major social events and the undertaker had fewer abilities to pretty up the corpse. Ancient Christians worshiped in the catacombs amongst the tombs of the righteous dead. Christians were not afraid. In most villages entering church meant passing through the churchyard. You knew that someday you would join those that had gone before you in resting in that sacred ground. A man was baptized, worshipped, was married, and finally buried in his church. He knew that several times a year, such as All Hallows, his church family would remember him. This is good for the living and a comfort to the dying."

Good points all. I like what my church did last year. Take the emphasis off Halloween and on to All Saints Day, encouraging kids to dress as saints they look up to. I think a lot of Protestants have dropped the ball on dropping this holiday.

No matter how you choose to celebrate, or not celebrate tomorrow, just remember to be safe. Especially for all my fellow Northeasterners who got hammered with snow this weekend. How's that for a trick? Because digging your pumpkins out from under the white stuff is definitely not a treat. :-/


Friday, October 28, 2011

If You Came Here From BGLH...


... then welcome! I'm so glad you clicked the link. I hope you enjoy your visit and come back often. If you'd like to know a little more about this blog, then you can go to the Not-So Frequently Asked Questions. They are a bit dated now since I wrote them in 2009, but you'll get somewhat of an idea on things.

You can read on Christianity or Christ, or Religion. I did a little series on Hair which I've been meaning to continue. It documents my time transitioning as well as sharing stories of other curly/kinky haired girls.

And of course, there is the Moi section. I talk about what I think I know best me, lol. Friends, family, personal struggle. My neurological problems. Wrestling with doubt. The times I've been a b****. Yup, I lay it out there. So I hope you like what you read, and I definitely encourage compliments... uh, er, comments. And if you want to write a guest post (I'm looking at you Aja), email me at alishadefreitas@gmail.com.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Happy Anniversary!




From the time we started dating, I knew you'd be the one. And you felt the same, giving me a promise ring I still wear now.








We were soon married, and only have had eyes for each other!






We've weathered many storms, but it has only brought us closer.






 Together, we have built a life, a home...






... and a family.






I love you. Happy Anniversary, my Knight.



Friday, October 14, 2011

Straight Outta Dunwoody




I found this hilarious! I dedicate this to all my fellow nerds! He he he!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thanks to God, This Rapper is a Real Supaman

Rapper Supaman and his baby boy.


I found this awesome and inspiring story from NPR about a Native American rapper, Supaman, very inspiring:

"In southeast Montana, thousands of miles from the birthplace of hip-hop, a man with the given name Christian Parrish Takes the Gun has been rapping to young people on the Crow Nation reservation. He calls himself Supaman, and he's been merging inner-city music with more local concerns for more than a dozen years. "Native Americans grasp that culture of hip-hop because of the struggle," he says. "Hip-hop was talking about the ghetto life, poverty, crime, drugs, alcohol, teen pregnancy; all that crazy stuff that happens in the ghetto is similar to the reservation life. We can relate to that." 

Supaman says he saw that crazy stuff as a kid. He says his parents were alcoholics and he spent lots of time in foster care before moving in with his grandfather. And for as long as he can remember hip-hop was playing in the background, like a soundtrack. When he was 24, Supaman decided it was time to make his own music. "It was just nonsense," he says. "it was just dumb. It was like gangsta rap, or something. The way hip-hop influenced me in my earlier years is in a negative way. I mean, I hate to say that, but it's true." He says he and his friends took the stories they heard in rap songs and made them real life. "We would play the part, you know. We were wannabees, trying to be, like, these rappers on the rez. So we started doing the crime, robbing, went into houses and trade the merchandise and then get weed from the merchandise, and then started selling." 

Supaman says he got lucky — he was never caught breaking the law, and as his music career gained momentum, it seemed hip-hop could be his ticket to a better life. A record label in Seattle took interest in him, and Supaman started touring, leaving behind his wife and baby. On one trip he and another Native American rapper were in New Mexico, bringing down the house. After a performance, two girls walked up to him. "And they're like, 'You were awesome up there, where you from?' " he says. " 'I'm from the Crow Nation.' " 

One thing led to another and Supaman found himself kissing one of those girls. Then he caught himself. "I start feeling like 'What are you doing? You got a wife, you got a baby girl.' " It was the first time Supaman had felt remorse in a long while. He got sick to his stomach and couldn't eat for days. He missed concerts. And he began to question the life he was leading and to look for answers in unlikely places, like one night back at the hotel. "I was just down and out — rock bottom you could say — and I grabbed the Bible," says Supaman. Reading the Bible rekindled memories of going to church as a boy. And despite his own disbelief at first, Supaman found himself in a dialogue with God over the next few days. 

He says he saw a sign of his presence and fell into prayer. "And I felt right there at that moment this love, I felt this warmth come over my body," he says. "I said, 'God, why did you do this? You know me, I'm dirty.' I just cried. Tears came down my eyes; I'm holding it back right now. Every time I tell this story I feel that. And right there I said 'All right, I'm yours God. You want me to rap for you? I'll do it.' " 

To read the whole story and listen to one of his songs, click here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Braids Are Back?






Uh... when did they go out of style?













I'm sorry Today show, but major fail. Even when I take into account that for this Black girl, braids never truly went out of style, this story was seriously late. I've been seeing Hollywood starlets like Nicole Ritchie and Kourtney Kardashian wearing braids for years (since about '07, I think). Sheesh... and duh on putting a scarf on your head at bedtime to protect your 'do. LOL!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Apps & Hope



In the wake of Steve Jobs' death over the weekend, I've seen a number of cartoons similar to the one above. Steve Jobs with St. Peter, Steve Jobs with God, Steve Job making suggestions on approving Heaven. They are cute little comics, but stand in stark contrast to the actual Apple co-founder's true religious beliefs.


On Saturday, during a quick Starbucks run, I picked up a copy of the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal and read an article titled, "Steve Jobs, the Secular Prophet". Floating around the web, along with the cartoons, are feel-good excerpts of a speech Jobs made at a commencement address. But the whole quote is a lot more telling:

"No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It's life's change agent; it clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now, the new is you. But someday, not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it's quite true. Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become."

The writer of the piece, Andy Crouch, made these points about the late techie mastermind:

"Steve Jobs was the evangelist of this particular kind of progress—and he was the perfect evangelist because he had no competing source of hope. He believed so sincerely in the "magical, revolutionary" promise of Apple precisely because he believed in no higher power... 

...Death is "life's change agent"? For most human beings, that would sound like cold comfort indeed. But the genius of Steve Jobs was to persuade us, at least for a little while, that cold comfort is enough. The world—at least the part of the world in our laptop bags and our pockets, the devices that display our unique lives to others and reflect them to ourselves—will get better. This is the sense in which the tired old cliché of "the Apple faithful" and the "cult of the Mac" is true. It is a religion of hope in a hopeless world, hope that your ordinary and mortal life can be elegant and meaningful, even if it will soon be dated, dusty and discarded like a 2001 iPod. It is said that human beings can live for 40 days without food, four days without water and four minutes without air. But we cannot live for four seconds without hope."

Crouch goes on to note Jobs' Zen Buddhist faith, and his belief that this life is all we get. He contrasts it with the Christianity of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who held to the Biblical belief of eternal life.

The essay was well-written and made me think. Especially of hope. Jobs had a point about death, how people want heaven without the ugliness of death. And yes, the death rate for us all is one per person. For me, what makes even the thought of death- and currently, the suffering of life - tolerable is hope. Not in the emptied of meaning, politicized "hope" we've been hearing about the past three years, but the hope I find in the loving mercy and grace of God. Because of that hope, I know that while one day my body may be discarded like a "2001 iPod", my soul never will be.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Occupied: Doth They Protest Too Much?



Despite being a mere hop, skip, and a bridge (or tunnel) away from me here in Jersey, I paid little attention to the protest being held in the city known as Occupy Wall Street until a few days ago. I rarely watch broadcast television anymore, and I usually get my news in snippets from the Internet via my IPad or cell. When the story popped up a couple of weeks ago, I simply bypassed it. But it has become hard to ignore as my timeline in Twitter and newsfeed in Facebook became full of links, pictures and opinions on the spreading protests.

A few days ago, while checking a CNN story on the protests, I asked K what he knew about it. And his answer was, "Not much." Hmmm... "Um, do you know what their goals are?" I asked. Without looking up from his laptop he answered, "Nope." Oh... My confusion was confounded when some of the protesters interviewed couldn't answer that all important, yet basic question either. Some seemed to be protesting for the sake of... protesting.

While catching up on episodes of television shows I missed because I don't watch broadcast television anymore, I saw the second episode of this season's "Community", in which leftwing, liberal, vegetarian hippie Britta learns how a former friend of hers has been imprisoned in the Middle East for protesting. She becomes jealous and begins a campaign to protest "the man" on Greendale's campus. "The man" being Security Guard Chang, and the result being hilarious:



Okay, hilarious and bizarre. But any show pumping 80s classics is definitely blog worthy. These scenes reminded me of some- emphasis on SOME- of the protesters. They want to be caught up in something. After all, all those thousands of young Arabs got to protest this past spring... why shouldn't we take the autumn? Let's make sure it gets on Facebook, okay?!?

But of course, not all of the protesters are about to slap on a black bodysuit decorated with Barbies. They actually have much to protest. They are sick of being unemployed, underemployed and hopeless. They want the change they were promised in '08, but have yet to see. We are battling on more fronts, with no end in sight. We're even more in debt. More people are seeking food assistance. Things are pretty freakin' scary. I like Red Cardigan's take on it.

While many of my Earl Grey sipping friends are taking potshots at the OWS crowd, I'd like to point out that their compatriots started out in much the same way two and a half years ago but without the coverage level of the latte crowd. I also think the OWS crowd need to quickly coalesce around some kind of platform soon a la the Tea Party, because I doubt too many people will want to march around lower Manhattan in 35 degree December weather without having some real organization to stand on.

No matter where you stand on the protests, I'm sure we can all agree, it's Lionel Ritchie we're looking for.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Message That Can't Be Killed




"Ladies, your man is nastier than you ever imagined. Your man has been watching porno since he was twelve years old. He has pornographic images in his head and wants to relive some of that s*** before he drops dead. That's right ladies, get up on it. Listen to what the f*** I'm going to say. Just because he came, don't mean you made him come."

~Chris Rock, "Kill The Messenger"

Oh my, there is much truth in comedy. I actually find the funniest jokes are based  in reality, which is why I'm still such a huge "Seinfeld" fan after all these years. Anyway, the statement above, funny in a "shaking my head" kind of way, is very true. Brutally honest, in fact.

And I believe Rock has punchlined his way into revealing one of the biggest problems with porn. Like a mental case of genital herpes, it stays with you. Forever.

When I told a friend I was going to be doing this post, he discouraged me from doing it. And I totally understand why. I'm pretty sure some of my readers clicked on this link, and after reading the above quote, with not one, but two asterisk-filled words featured on George Carlin's infamous list of seven, began their own head shaking in earnest. Well, my bad. But again, this blog is a melding of the "sacred and profane". So skip this one. But back to my friend. He said he wasn't really into porn (not every guy is... just like not every girl isn't), and only watched it a few times back when he was in the 10th grade. But THAT is the point of this post. I'll skip the salaciousness, how porn demeans the actors- turning them into meat. I'll bypass discussing the spread of disease, along with how it separates sex from love. No, I want to point out how it remains stamped in your mind, so much so that my thirty-something friend who doesn't even like porn can still remember viewing it over fifteen years ago.



I have a friend, a very good friend, who I remember sneaking into my brother's room with back when we were about 16 or 17. We would go in there on occasion because he always had something two bored upperclass high school girls could use. A huge stereo system or a few bucks we could "borrow" to use at the corner store. One particular boring afternoon, we stumbled upon his stash of dirty mags. And by stumble, I mean, literally stumble because he had left them out in a pile along with copies of Rolling Stone and Spin. Both of us being very curious, picked up a mag and stared, laughing at the frankly unattractive couple in the middle of what should be a very private moment. "Look at her hair!" I said (yeah, I actually honed in on her feathered, permed do before taking stock of the sex). "EWWW... look at his face! Gross, Li! He looks like a dirty old man!" That was her first impression.

I bring this story up because I remember the two "models" to this day. He with his reddish-brown hair and thick beard. Her with the 1980s neon pumps on. And nothing else. I saw that magazine about twelve years ago. And I STILL remember it. I might not have mental herpes, but I definitely have some pox scars on my mind. I had rubbed up against some porn, gotten itchy with curiosity, scratched, and still have the marks to show for it.



I feel very bad for the ladies Chris is talking to. Think about that... making love to your man, sharing your body with him, giving yourself freely... to your husband... who is mentally doing some strange woman... repeatedly... augh. They've had a love affair going since he was in middle school. Might be the longest relationship he's ever had.

Chris' joke is humorous, but the story behind it is not. It's hurtful. Viewing porn is a message that can't be killed.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Twenty Questions: The Wire

So I'm on maternity leave, and have had a chance to finally watch "The Wire", a show that ended three years ago. I know I'm super late to it, but this show is absolutely the best drama. Ever.

A quick disclaimer though- it also has the most use of profanity on a drama. Ever. Except for maybe "The Sopranos". There's just something about gritty, murderous, hour long series set on the East Coast that aired on HBO and that mandates excessive and creative use of the "F-word", I guess.

Anyway, I haven't done a "Twenty Questions" since January (!!!), and after reading a recent Minus The Bars post on "The Wire", I figured I'd give it a shot. Here goes!




1.) Why did Wallace have to die? Why?

2.) Just how long were those extension cords the Corner boys used to get electricity in the boarded up row houses?

3.) And whose outlet were they plugged in to?



4.) How ugly was Ziggy's prized jacket?

5.) Have you ever heard of the term "low rise" actually used outside of the series? This Jersey girl was well aware of "high rise", but "low rise"? I would think they were talking about jeans.

6.) How ugly was Shardene's glasses? Did she just keep the same pair from the seventh grade?

7.) Were you as surprised as me that Shardene wound up with Freamon?



8.) How creepy is Omar's whistle version of "The Farmer and the Dell"? Um, what exactly is a dell, anyway? I mean, the non-PC dell, that is.

9.) What do you think McNulty really wanted when he showed up at Kima's apartment late that night just to say, "Thanks"?

10.) Which character had the most obnoxious nickname? Poot? Stinkum? Dukie? Cheese?

11.) Which version of the opening theme song was best?

12.) Did you know "The Wire" and NBC's "Homicide: Life on the Street" were both based on the same book by David Simon?

13.) Did you know many of the actors from "The Wire"- such as Clark Johnson, Peter Gerety, Larry Gillard, Jr., and J. D. Williams (among others)- first appeared on "Homicide"?



14.) Did you catch John Munch (Richard Belzer) of "Homicide" and currently, "Law & Order: SVU" arguing at Kavanaugh's in a fifth season episode?

15.) Am I the only one to not realize for a while that Snoop is a girl?

16.) Do you think the Co-op received some kind of business rate on the meeting room they used at the hotel?

17.) Did you smile as much as I did when Bubbles' sister finally opened that basement door?



18.) Who is the Greek? Really?

19.) Wasn't it strange to see Poot selling sneakers in that faux-ref uniform?

20.) Are your fingers crossed for a "Wire" reunion movie?

Hmmm... I'm thinking I might have to do a second part to this. Check out Don's post on Minus The Bars, or if for some (admittedly strange) reason you've read this entire post without having the faintest idea of what "The Wire" is, click here. Then comment away!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Jesus, Ellen & Ann



 Yes, His hair shines, but is it too 1st century?



This morning on the "Today" show, Ann Curry interviewed comedienne and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, who is promoting her latest book.She offered up opinions on her relationship, homes, and even Jesus:




What struck me was that little bit about Jesus. Ann says Ellen writes in her book, "... if Jesus were alive today, there would be polls about him in 'US Weekly'." Ellen goes on to say that there would be polls about his appearance, like his long hair and robes. I got Ellen's point. That even Christ would be held to silly, superficial standards, and that people would jump at the chance to judge him on such.

But what got me was the "IF Jesus WERE alive today" part. IF? I immediately thought, HE IS! And people do happily judge Him. I've read in books, magazines and blogs about how Jesus isn't good- He spoke too harshly to some, didn't heal everyone, advised the rich young ruler to give away his wealth...

Ellen also mentions how her wife, Portia di Rossi, told her to be loved is important, but to be understood is profound. That statement, in itself, is profound. It also made me think of how many people today claim to love Jesus, but don't understand Him. Not his power, love or mercy.

Funny how a morning talk show could become a devotional, all before my first cup of coffee.
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