Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Soul Magnifies The Lord




Today is the Visitation of Mary, a feast day on the Christian calendar. A few years ago, I didn't even know this day existed, having grown up Pentecostal and then belonging to a nondenominational church. Now that I'm part of the Anglican tradition, I'm quite enjoying little surprises like this.

Today's Gospel Reading in the Lectionary comes from Luke, chapter 1, also known as "The Magnificat". For many years,when I read through this passage, it was almost always in December as a lead up to Christmas. The power and beauty of Mary's song to God was reduced down to a cursory reading, and at times, an opportunity to (unfairly) chastise Catholics for "worshiping a creature, rather than her Creator".

It was during my pregnancy that I really contemplated on those verses.

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
    and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
    for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
    holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
    from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
    remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,  just as he promised our ancestors.”

One Sunday, towards the end of service, our pastor, Father Ros called me and K up before the congregation and prayed for us as a family, but especially for pregnant me. Laying hands on me, he used this passage as part of the prayer. It was in the following days that I sat and pondered how scary, amazing and wondrous it was for Mary to be carrying Jesus. An angel's appearance, her aged cousin's blessing, and a thankful praise to the Almighty! Such humility and faith.

It is that example of complete trust  in and willingness to serve God that is celebrated today. May we all glorify God, heart, body and soul.

Father Ros, pregnant me and K last May.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

In Search of Silence


"Absolute silence leads to sadness. It is the image of death." Jean-Jacques Rousseau 

I'm not quite sure when it happened, but I've become afraid of silence. From  the time I get up, I'm constantly snatching on electronics to produce sound. Pandora, YouTube, podcasts, whatever. I use them to drown out silence.


My friend David sent me an email recently about meditating. He felt it calmed him, gave him the ability to refocus. After reading the email, I sat thinking if I could ever get to the point where I could sit and meditate quietly for an entire ten minutes. Not anytime soon. If I find the noiselessness around me disquieting, I doubt I could get comfortable with it being inside me.

The Rousseau quote above captures my feeling about silence lately. Hearing nothing is really something. When I think of life, I conjure up noise- Zoe's laughter (or, howls), the ding of my iPad with a message from my brother, Buju Banton's voice coming through speakers. It's my mom on the phone, the horn blowing from a car somewhere.

Death is... silence. Silence has become death.



"But I have stilled and quieted my soul." Psalm 131:2

Yet, I know that's not right. Despite my fear, I long for quiet. For rest. For the peace that comes with being still. Outside and in.

When my mother-in-law was staying with us this past winter, there were quite a few mornings, I'd come bustling out the bedroom, already loud with a Matt Lauer interview, and find her sitting in complete silence. Eyes shut, brown wooden rosary beads in hand.

I was amazed how she didn't even flinch at the outside noise. Not to Zoe's cries or my messing around in the kitchen.

Her fingers made quick work of each bead, moving from one to the next.

In the stillness. In the quiet.

In peace.

In silence.

I've decided to try to overcome my fear of silence. I'll start with just a couple of minutes everyday. It will be a challenge, but I know it will be well worth it.

There is much life in those pauses.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

In Honor of Pentecost Sunday...




... some worship songs! Happy Pentecost!




Saturday, May 26, 2012

This Is How He Does It: Montell Jordan Becomes Music Minister

Like A Virgin: Should Celebs Keep Their Sex Lives To Themselves?

U.S. Olympic Hurdler Lolo Jones

Over on Clutch, writer Stacia L. Brown makes the case that celebs like Lolo Jones, who has been public about being a virgin at 29, should stay mum on the topic:

As part of the press junket for the upcoming Summer Olympics, U.S. hurdler Lolo Jones has been making the interview rounds, discussing her hopes for success in competition, but there’s another topic she’s been discussing a lot of late: her virginity. Jones is 29-years-old, and forgoing sex until marriage. Of course this is admirable, since she’s doing it in part because of her religious convictions. She also pointed to her unmarried parents’ break-up as a contributing factor in her decision.

But in mentioning her very personal choice to the press, Jones has also opened herself to public scrutiny. In a recent The Jane Dough article, writer Laura Donovan took issue with Jones’ comment that abstinence has been the hardest thing she’s done in her life....

Virginity is a deeply personal choice; everyone’s reasons for preserving it are motivated by different factors. And having to discuss it with the press for cutesy human interest spin or as a detail that distinguishes the virgin from other celebrities can be an odd and alienating thing. The media always treats virginity and celibacy as freakish decisions, made only by religious zealots and the deeply naive. It’s something they seize on at every (increasingly rare) opportunity, making the virgin the butt of headline puns and jokes. Paparazzi scrutinize every celebrity virgin’s relationships and dog them with inquiries about their virginal status (see: Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson). If they don’t continue abstaining, it’s treated as a very public moral failure. If they do and then marry, they cease to be interesting public figures.
Brown does make some great points, and does so respectfully. This keeping the public away from the personal reminded me of the recent flap over Raven-Symone. After a tabloid published a story claiming the former child star and current Broadway actress is in a lesbian relationship, she took to Twitter.

"I'm living my PERSONAL life the way I'm happiest," she tweeted. "I'm not one, in my 25 year career to disclose who I'm dating. and I shall not start now. My sexual orientation is mine, and the person I'm datings to know. I'm not one for a public display of my life."


 What do you think? Is more, in this case, less?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Every Tongue Will Confess That ----- ------ is Lord


There's yet another version of the Bible out, this one called "The Voice" by Thomas Nelson Publishers. Here's the promo video:


But this is definitely not just another version of Scripture. From USA Today

The name Jesus Christ doesn't appear in The Voice, a new translation of the Bible.

Nor do words such as angel or apostle. Instead, angel is rendered as messenger and apostle as emissary. Jesus Christ is Jesus the Anointed One or the liberating king.
That's a more accurate translation for modern American readers, says David Capes, lead scholar for The Voice, a complete edition released this month by publishing company Thomas Nelson. Capes says that many people, even those who've gone to church for years, don't realize that the word "Christ" is a title....
The title for The Voice came from the New Testament book of John and from the Greek word logos. It's usually translated as "word" in verses such as John 1:1, which reads: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," in the New International Version, one of the most popular English translations.
In The Voice, that passage reads: "Before time itself was measured, the Voice was speaking. The Voice was and is God." Frank Couch, the executive editor and publisher of The Voice, says that translation better captures what logos means.
A Bible without "Jesus Christ"? I'll pass. H/T: The Old Black Church

A Sign of the Impending Apocalypse: Suffragettes!

EVIL!!!

This "pastor", the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, is just plain ridiculous. Really. 



H/T: The Root

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Lived-Through Saturday



 I don't get very many invites these days, so it's very striking I managed to get three for events all on the same day, May 19th.

Three parties celebrating three very different occasions. But all for beautiful women who are about to experience life-changing events.

Candace has been my friend since before Dawson and Pacey but after the Macarena. We were both transfers to a now-shut down Christian school, new girls in the eleventh grade.

She was-and is- everything I'm not. Tall, thin, charismatic and adventurous. We clicked immediately.

After college, she moved to Miami, preferring the heat and sun to Jersey's cloudy gray. She's traveled the world- London, Port of Spain, Acapulco- with aplomb. So it makes perfect sense that she's taken a job as a flight attendant, stationed in the exotic where billionaires play. She's leaving in a few days.





The second event was to honor- and exhort- Dawn, mother of six,  loving daughter and sister, faithful Christian, domestic abuse survivor, and youth leader. She'll be undergoing a mastectomy this week, and her daughters put together a surprise party.

A cancer diagnosis would probably drive most folks into silence, but it's the opposite for Dawn. She pulled out her camera, and began a video blog of her journey





Juthi is expecting her first baby in August, a little boy. She's excited, scared, nervous and all those other descriptives new mommas are.  Hopefully, after Saturday's surprise babyshower, she's also at least a bit relieved.

Petite with cinnamon skin, Juthi is a native of Bangladesh, and although she has a number of friends (and an awesome hubby) here in Dirty Jerz, her parents, aunties and cousins are so very,very far away. She is caught between- past and future, Bengali and American, saris and jeans.

As Candace takes to the sky, Dawn goes under the knife, and Juthi prepares for motherhood, I pray. For fear to vanish, God's protection and courage in moving forward.

Because, just like that, the calendar is flipped. To-do has been done. Events are memories.

The next chapter awaits.


Rest in Peace, Nancy

Nancy and her son, Marques

Last year, I did a post seeking donations for Nancy Pont du Jour, a former schoolmate who was battling a rare form of cancer. 

She lost her battle this past Saturday at the age of 36. She leaves behind a son, Marques, and a large family of brothers, cousins and many, many friends. 

Please keep them in prayer as this is a huge loss.

Rest in peace, Nancy.

Facebook is making me [insert adjective here].

On Wednesday morning, I flipped on my IPad and went on Facebook. The first picture that greeted me? This:

 (April's personal photo. Used with permission. Thanks!)

My friend April doing couple's Acro Yoga with her hubby Gary. (You can read about them here.)

My first thought was, "Acro yoga? That's a thing?"

My second thought was, "Totally freaking cool."

Then, "I need coffee."

Finally, "Why can't I be that cool? Or sexy? Or flexible?"

Of course, I've never been cool or sexy. If this were TLC's famous album, I'd definitely be in Left Eye's spot. And I haven't been flexible since Daria was on MTV. But that picture got me thinking about a story I heard on NPR  (look, I stated I wasn't cool) about the effects of Facebook on many of it's users. Seems many people wind up feeling pretty crappy about themselves compared to their many "friends" who always take beautiful pics, have wonderful vacations, cute kids and oh-so fabulous lives.

For people with low self-esteem, Facebook can be very unfriendly. Some believe it can even cause depression. Or maybe it's just full of narcissists. I think there's really something to that last one because, quite frankly, I'm a bit of a narcissist. I scrutinize photos of myself way too much, wonder why only one person liked my amazingly witty status update (the first of the day!) and ponder why some dude I took American Transcendentalism with nearly a decade ago hasn't accepted my friend request.

One thing can be certain, though. While Facebook may be making some of us loony, it's definitely making Mark Zuckerberg stinking rich.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Twenty Questions: May 15, 2012



1.) So is Newsweek using the same logic that made Bill Clinton the first "Black President" to label Barack Obama the first "Gay President?

2.) First, it was no-no to using the "B" word for Jay-Z. Now he's saying "yes" to Gay marriage. What next from the Jigga-man?

3.) Are you among the group of Evangelicals who, like the President, find themselves shifting on the issue of Gay marriage?



4.) Is is just me, or is that Life of Julia video kind of creepy?

5.) Have you heard about gorgeous Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai getting trashed in the Indian press for not losing all her post-baby weight instantaneously a la Victoria Beckham? I guess famous moms worldwide can't catch a break.

6.) Stop updating your status update for a sec and ask yourself this: Do you think Facebook is a fad? Half of Americans polled said yup.



7.) How cute are Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon's twins, who just celebrated their first birthday?

8.) Did you know interest in archery has shot up with the release of "The Hunger Games"?

9.) Think spanking is protected under "Freedom of Religion"? Think again.

10.) Were you taken aback by Time Magazine's controversial breastfeeding cover (I was, but not because I have a problem with breastfeeding. I breastfed Z)?


11.) If yes, is the above okay? Check out more here.

12.) Is Ron Paul finally out the race or not?

13.) Parent alert: do you know which baby staples are cause for alarm?

14.) Should tattoos be taboo for Christians? If yes, I'm in trouble.


15.) Would you rock open-toed boots like these stars?

16.) As if Newark residents don't have enough to worry about: pedestrians in New Jersey's largest city are at a far too high risk of getting struck by a vehicle. Mayor Booker to the rescue?

(AMC)

17.) Was Sunday's episode of "Mad Men" an everyone hate on Megan-fest?


18.) Do you know this is Neuropathy Awareness Week? Find out more about this neurological condition that affects millions, myself included.

19.) Heard the statistic that 85% of college grads are moving back with their parents? Not so fast.

20.) Did you have a good Mother's Day? I did! Spent the day with my Loves. And my new coffee maker. ;-)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

True Love Is...


...present here. I absolutely fell in love with this picture. I love the humility, grace and admiration portrayed in this image. From Truth & Charity:

On Holy Thursday, I watched our bishop wash the feet of twelve individuals, just as Jesus washed the feet of his disciples on the night he was betrayed.  Regardless of status or stature, a person washing the feet of another looks humbled.  The shoulders are hunched, the back is bent, and the person doing the washing is on their knees on the bare ground, a position of complete humility.

It is springtime, and weddings are aplenty.  One of the traditions performed at many weddings is the garter toss.  I find it to be utterly revolting tradition which involves removing an undergarment from the bride and tossing it to a pack of lustful bachelors only to end up hanging on a rear-view mirror as a trophy of degradation.

One such event happened at the wedding of a couple I knew in college.  Matt and Julie married last week, and when the time came for the garter to be removed, Matt did something unexpected.  As Julie sat in her chair, Matt approached her with a water basin and a towel.  With perfect tenderness, he humbled himself and made a beautiful gesture of his service to her.
Read the whole thing here. May God bless this wonderful couple.

(Not) Happy And (Not) Gay


 Christians? Maybe not so much. (Source)


Last week, with the story of Dan Savage calling a bunch of Christian kids "pansy assed" being spread around the interwebs, a couple of my favorite bloggers wrote about Christians and Gays.

More specifically, Matt of The Church of No People wrote about how many Christians don't want to be part of the au courant anti-bullying campaign because they believe it to be a flimsy smokescreen for the pro-gay movement. Which in turn has many Christians seemingly supporting bullying (!). He writes:

The anti-bullying crusade has been picking up steam for few years, but I think it has finally reached critical mass. It started several years ago when schools enacted “zero tolerance” policies...

Then you had the “It Gets Better” campaign on YouTube more recently. Lots of celebrities got on board with that one, including Ellen Degeneras, Anne Hathaway, and Neil Patrick Harris.

Last month saw the release of the “Bully” movie. The ‘Biebs has been a vocal advocate of the film...

What I want to know is where the hell are the Christians?

If you’re wondering why people think the church is irrelevant, this is a case in point.

...  it’s seen as a gay cause. The bullied kids being showcased are almost always suspected of being gay. The LGBT community owns this thing.

And the evangelical church can’t be seen as standing up for gays. God forbid we stand up for the queer kids, or partner with the LGBTs. (Even though this isn’t just a gay issue. It’s a “fat” issue, and a “dorky” issue” and a “special needs” issue.) We’d rather be silent. If we’re silent, we might as well be pro-bullying.
 
 (Source)

I had noticed this indifference/ avoidance/ silence regarding bullying, especially as the subject became increasingly popular. Looking at the comments on the article, I can see a lot of Christians honestly do care. Julie wrote: "It’s easier for us to talk about how to be a better follower of Christ, a better leader or influencer, how to be a better Christian, and discuss how to “go make disciples” but when it comes to real issues such as these, we aren’t loud enough. We sit back and watch everyone have a voice when we are the ones that should be doing than sitting on the sidelines watching everyone else be heard. The same could be said about Suicide and Depression. These topics are “hush hush,” kind of like “Dont ask, don’t tell.

Ashley wrote, "As Christians, we don’t need to get together with other Christians and form groups to champion these causes. We can join these preexisting groups and serve right along non-believers. I think this could change others’ view of the church and Christians as irrelevant and may lead to other opportunities to minister. And now that I have come to this realization, I will be more active in helping the human cause!"

But not everyone is on board. John wrote, "My problem is two-fold. First, bullying is entirely subjective. What can be considered simple, playful, harmless teasing in one circumstance gets labeled bullying in another. There is no universally acceptable definition of bullying that applies to all people in all circumstances, so to advocate for a one-size-fits-all solution of “no bullying” seems absurd to me... Second, even if some universally agreed upon standard was created, how would such a thing possibly be enforced? If bullying is a no-no, some kids will do it just because it’s “forbidden”. It’s the same principle as telling a kid not to touch a hot stove – it only drives the idea further into their brain."

John raised very good points. In fact, I would like to know how anti-bullying standards can fairly be enforced. Last week, my ten year old nephew was suspended for two days after a bully picked a fight and he defended himself. Because of zero-tolerance policies in place, he was punished, too.

Jillian wrote: "The only time that bullying makes the news is if it’s an issue with homosexuality. I assure you, plenty of other kids are at this very moment being bullied, but they aren’t getting news coverage or web-sites or celebrity endorsements. Their experiences aren’t sexy enough for coverage... as a Christ follower and teacher and mother and human being, I will take a stand against bullying. But I won’t jump on the bandwagon. I will be involved in every situation that comes in my path, but I have different bandwagons to addresss."

Uh... not so much. (Source)

Meanwhile, Catholic blogger Mark Shea ran afoul of A LOT of people when he praised Perry Lorenzo, a Seattle Roman Catholic who passed a few years ago. Oh yeah, and he was gay. I'm not going to pick through the nearly 300 comments on that post or the over 100 on this follow up or the few here or here. I could keep on linking, but I think you get the point. When Christianity- whether Evangelical or Methodist or Anglican or Catholic- and Homosexuality intersect, it's usually a collision.

Now I pose the question- how do we, as the body of Christ, go forward representing both Truth and Love? A trillion more amendments can be passed like in North Carolina and this subject still won't go away.

It's out of the closet.

And in our pews.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Plan B (The Non-BC One)

Why????

As I mentioned, somewhat in passing a couple of weeks ago, I resigned from my full time job. It was hard. So very hard that three weeks later, I still feel at a loss for words.

It's not because I loved my job. Because quite frankly, I had no warm feelings towards it. The people- my boss, the coworkers and the students I helped, yes, very much so. But the filing, memos and meetings- eh, not so much.

It was far better than the previous job, but it was still just a job. I don't mean that in a disparaging way. If it weren't for those jobs, I wouldn't be who I am today. I'm extremely grateful for them.

I mean they weren't part of the career I had mentally laid out to be a writer. Not a blogger. Not an occasional freelancer. I mean writer. Like in the 20th century sense.

*************************************************

Yesterday, while Z was napping, I re-watched the "Plan B" episode of "30 Rock" from last season. One scene stuck out like Rose McGowan standing in a line-up next to Lindsey Lohan, Snooki and the NJ Tanning Mom (why on Earth they'd ever be in a line-up together outside of my mind, I have no clue). Here it is:


video

Please note: I do NOT own that clip. It is "content that is owned or licensed by NBC Universal." I'm not selling or attempting to profit from it whatsoever. Do not sue me. Thank you.

As much as it pains me to type this, I totally chose the wrong major. Unlike Liz, my parents did not allow me to major in English with a minor in Communications (!). I was on a full academic scholarship (Nerds ROCK!) and worked part time throughout college. I was actually an Education major who switched to English in the 4th quarter of the game much to the utter dismay of my Dad.

Since freelancing pays less than babysitting (really), I wound up taking a full time job with great benefits and not-so-good pay. 

We all have to grow up some time. I had no intention of living under subways, even if the CEO of Friendster was there. Now maybe if Tom from MySpace were my neighbor... No, no, still not for me. To paraphrase Liz, I do not want to go to there.

***************************************************

I'm home now anyways. I have CIDP, and unlike the previous paragraph's figurative pain, it has stopped me from working full time (outside the home that is- being a mom IS a full time job). It's my plan, though, to get this thing under control and to go back out to work eventually. But... where to? My career, writing or journalism, is not a thing anymore. At least not a happening thing. It hasn't been since the last time "happening" actually was a thing to say.

So what's an awkward Black girl writer to do (who isn't Issa Rae)? I don't know. I guess discover Plan C. Or D. Or ride the whole alphabet. 


This is actually where I keep my degree. And yes, I know I need to clean up my closet.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Twenty Questions: May 7, 2012

 Carly Rae Jespen


1.) Have you seen the Youtube hit video "Call Me Maybe" by Canadian pop singer Carly Rae Jespen?

2.) How about the Justin Beiber/ Selena Gomez version?

3.) Do you have no clue what those first two questions were about? Do you care?

4.) Were you one of the many millions to fork over cash to see the box office record breaking "Avengers" movie this weekend?

5.) Why? This one word question goes to Dirty Jerz notorious tanning mom Patricia Krentcil, pictured below.


6.) Did you catch the spoof on Krentcil on SNL this weekend? If you were too busy watching "Avengers", here it is:



7.) How amazing was the Super Moon?

8.) Do you think Bravo execs might want to change their ultra-formulaic scripting on their reality shows after Thursday's spot-on "30 Rock: Queen of Jordan" episode?

Not so "Rude!": Liz and Virginia finally hit it off.

9.) New dad Jay-Z boasts that daughter Blue Ivy will be "the worst, spoiled little kid, ever". Is anyone surprised?

10.) Did you know about the late Adam "MCA" Yauch's charity work?

11.) Do  you know it's Teacher Appreciation Week? Check out this site to get some great gift ideas.


12.) Are you embracing the color blocking trend?

13.) Sooooo, how about those Knicks? Woohoo! Shout out to Daddy: Congrats!

14.) Did you watch the Kentucky Derby? If no or you did but had one too many Mint Julips to remember, here's the rundown.

15.) Celebrated Cinco de Mayo but still don't know what it's actually about? Check this out.

16.) Are you ready for Mother's Day on Sunday? Don't forget Mommy!

17.) Do you agree with Jeff Bethke that if Jesus were walking the Earth right now, he'd head over to Skid Row and chill with the druggies?


19.) Did you see the video of North Carolina pastor Sean Harris promoting punching your kid if he's gay? Well, he has apologized:


20.) Did you read this New York Times editorial that proclaims that Black women are fat because they want to be? Um... yeah, this Black woman doesn't want to be.


RIP MCA

 Adam Yauch, aka MCA


 In honor of Adam "MCA" Yauch of the Beastie Boys, who passed on Friday at the age of 47 after a long battle with cancer, this reminder to fight, for your right, to paaaaaaarty!



I also wanted to share this awesome rendition of the song by Coldplay:





Thursday, May 3, 2012

Single, Saved & Having Sex


From Ebony:

Yolanda Jordan* remembers the moment she decided to have sex for the first time. She was 27, fresh out of grad school, in a committed relationship—and horny. She was also raised in the Baptist church and had taken a vow of abstinence. “I was curious,” says Jordan, now 34, a graphic designer in Columbus, Ohio. “My mind was telling me one thing, my body another. I was grown [and] longing to be touched. I am not perfect; I struggle with sin. I strive to live a righteous life. Just because I have a Bible on my nightstand and condoms in the drawer doesn’t mean I love God any less or that He doesn’t love me.”


Many Christian youths who signed abstinence pledges or wore purity rings reach a crossroad as young adults. They are faced with upholding Biblical principles against sex outside of marriage during an era when the average age of first marriage creeps toward 30. Celibacy may be even tougher for singles who have splashed around in the pool of fornication long before dedicating their lives to Christ. More are asking, “Am I really condemning my soul to eternal damnation by getting my freak on Saturday night and praising the Lord on Sunday morning?” As many as 80 percent of young unmarried Christians have had sex, according to Relevant, a magazine for Christians aged 18 to 30.

Even as they uphold abstinence as ideal, religious leaders can no longer ignore the elephant in the sanctuary. From a newsletter published by pastor Creflo Dollar: “There was a time when … marriage was honored and respected ... and sexual relationships outside of marriage were certainly not accepted as the norm. However, times have changed … values have moved away from the standard of God’s Word because of selfishness.” Last year’s Jumping the Broom, produced by Bishop T.D. Jakes, opened with Paula Patton’s character regretting her decision to have casual sex the night before. The romcom portrays her finding true love and deciding with her fiancé to abstain until their wedding day. It was Jakes’ decision to include the morning-after scene, Patton told The Christian Post. “We make mistakes, but the goal is to become better [people].”

But finding a Christian man who is actually willing to wait may be easier onscreen. Single father John Fitzgerald, 29, acknowledges the difficulty in putting faith before flesh and has even ended relationships because of the woman’s decision to remain abstinent. “Yes, it’s wrong, [but] I’m still doing it,” he says. “It’s something I struggle with in my personal relationship with God. People say, ‘Don’t make sex such a big deal,’ but for a lot of people, it’s a deal breaker.”
 Read the rest here. Sigh. Okay, we all know (almost) everyone is doing it, but that still doesn't make it right. It's discouraging to read Yolanda's rationalizing. Yeah, God still loves you. That's the first thing you pretty much learn in the nursery Sunday School. Duh. But God's love does not void God's will.

And John... dumping a chick for not giving it up? Double sigh and a SMH.

Now before I get accused of "judging", I'm not casting any stones. Lord knows He's not finished with me yet. But to deny fornication is a sin is wrong. Scripture says it best:

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20

George Will's Touching Article Celebrating his Son...

 The Will family

... truly moved me. After experiencing pressure by doctors to terminate Z last year because of the possibility she might inherit a disease from me, I have a soft spot in my heart for people with disabilities and their families. George Will writes:

When Jonathan Frederick Will was born 40 years ago — on May 4, 1972, his father’s 31st birthday — the life expectancy for people with Down syndrome was about 20 years. That is understandable.

The day after Jon was born, a doctor told Jon’s parents that the first question for them was whether they intended to take Jon home from the hospital. Nonplussed, they said they thought that is what parents do with newborns. Not doing so was, however, still considered an acceptable choice for parents who might prefer to institutionalize or put up for adoption children thought to have necessarily bleak futures. Whether warehoused or just allowed to languish from lack of stimulation and attention, people with Down syndrome, not given early and continuing interventions, were generally thought to be incapable of living well, and hence usually did not live as long as they could have...

Jon was born just 19 years after James Watson and Francis Crick published their discoveries concerning the structure of DNA, discoveries that would enhance understanding of the structure of Jon, whose every cell is imprinted with Down syndrome. Jon was born just as prenatal genetic testing, which can detect Down syndrome, was becoming common. And Jon was born eight months before Roe v. Wade inaugurated this era of the casual destruction of pre-born babies.

This era has coincided, not just coincidentally, with the full, garish flowering of the baby boomers’ vast sense of entitlement, which encompasses an entitlement to exemption from nature’s mishaps, and to a perfect baby. So today science enables what the ethos ratifies, the choice of killing children with Down syndrome before birth. That is what happens to 90 percent of those whose parents receive a Down syndrome diagnosis through prenatal testing.
Jon in Rome in 1989.

Which is unfortunate, and not just for them. Judging by Jon, the world would be improved by more people with Down syndrome, who are quite nice, as humans go. It is said we are all born brave, trusting and greedy, and remain greedy. People with Down syndrome must remain brave in order to navigate society’s complexities. They have no choice but to be trusting because, with limited understanding, and limited abilities to communicate misunderstanding, they, like Blanche DuBois in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” always depend on the kindness of strangers. Judging by Jon’s experience, they almost always receive it....

 The eldest of four siblings, he has seen two brothers and a sister surpass him in size, and acquire cars and college educations. He, however, with an underdeveloped entitlement mentality, has been equable about life’s sometimes careless allocation of equity. Perhaps this is partly because, given the nature of Down syndrome, neither he nor his parents have any tormenting sense of what might have been. Down syndrome did not alter the trajectory of his life; Jon was Jon from conception on.
 Read the article in its entirety here.
H/T: The Anchoress

Natural Hair Dolls- Now Everyone Can be Barbie Girls!


Lori and her personalized doll.


A lot has changed in the twenty years since I was given my very favorite Barbie doll, Nichelle, who was part of Mattel's "Shani" collection.

I later received Shani, while my sister was given Asha. Then came the Jamals- plural since we both got one. 

The trio of Black beauties were great. They had their own names, styles and outfits. They were all beautiful with their different skin tones, instead of just being brown carbon copies of Barbie.

Sure, there had been other African American friends of Barbie, but these girls were in their own world.

 
From left to right, Shani, Nichelle & Asha

Fast forward to the present, and Natural Girls United makes Shani's world seem extremely small.

I found out about the company when my friend Lori (who was featured on FAR here) posted pics of her specially created doll this past week. I was amazed by the doll's honey hued locks and warm amber skin tone. Lori shared with me the link to the site and added that she had designed her mini-me back in February and she was brought to life by the creative (and friendly) Karen Byrd.

 Lori and Lori!

As a Barbie fan who still has my Nichelle (!) and is a mother of my own little doll, I'm definitely bookmarking this site with plans to purchase my own natural girl some day soon!

Some more of Karen's work:



Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Author Deborrah Cooper to Release Controversial Book on The Black Church Next Month




A couple of years ago, I posted a response to an article by Deborrah Cooper about Black women and the Black church. To my surprise, she read the post and responded in the commbox.

Last week, she left a link to the following book trailer:



She also wrote: '"I've just finished a book which takes that discussion to the next level and addresses rampant sexual, emotional and financial abuses in the Black church against black women and children.

Due to be released in May 2012, THE BLACK CHURCH: WHERE WOMEN PRAY AND MEN PREY goes in on preachers that manipulate black women with scripture and guilt, mega churches, the prosperity gospel, and the non-scriptual mandates used by alleged men of God to destroy black women's spirits."


I'm going to try to contact Ms. Cooper for an interview. Would you read her new book?
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