Saturday, October 29, 2011
I listen to a nationally syndicated radio host sometime in the afternoon. This guy has a show from time to time called “Pimps in the Pulpit”. It sounds bad, I know, but is there a hint of truth to that description. Trust me, I know that talking about religion or the church is never a good idea. Having said that, I’m sure I will be berated for this writing but I hope most will understand that my point is this: when will the black church community take an honest look at itself?
Don’t get me wrong. I love the “lawd” as much as the next person who claims that they do. I also love and can appreciate “The Word” and I respect pastors, and there are many good ones out there. I think we should do more to support and honor the good ones. I have several in my family. I also know that there are some who have raised hell all of their lives, gone to prison and worse, who now claim to have been called. So I know, in many cases, all are not what they seem or claim to be. Lest, be careful and not confuse the man or church with Christianity or Spirituality.
Let’s be real, you know the scenario – I’ll call it the drama. A pastor gets caught in some scandalous behavior like stealing money, committing adultery, having a child by a member or worse. The word spreads, a few fed-up members leave the church. The “incident” is down-played or swept under the rug and eventually the congregation moves on as if nothing ever happened. Black churches are notorious for their unwillingness to shake bad leaders. Even in the face of undeniable evidence of gross sin, some congregations maintain their commitments to shady characters with an almost addictive-like quality.
When this happens it tends to inflect damage far greater than their collective work. Frankly, it spells disaster for its mission, its people, and its community. The little country church I attended as a child had a preacher that I always admired because he told the truth. He once said, “The bible has been rewritten 28 times. If the first version was God’s word; Why then would man need to rewrite the order God left for us?” When I got older and saw him outside of the church in his Caddie, he told me that, “There is a lot of money in Jesus name”.
I thought then, and do sometimes now, that it is like the wolf guarding the sheep. There was a time when the church was there for the community and now it seems the people are there for the church. Think about that for a moment. During the Civil Rights era, black preachers changed the world; put their lives on the line, and many died for their community and the people of it. Do you know one preacher who would do that today? Probably not!
I went to church a few weeks ago - a mega church. The first thing I saw was an ATM machine and the pastor that day was ten years old. What came to mind was the day Jesus turned over the tables of the money changers in the temple and with respect to the ten year old preacher – Negro Please! My point is this; let thee be guarded with respect to the messenger. Some churchgoers believe pastors (even bad ones) are virtually untouchable or they are all knowing like God speaks through them. They are human and most have an agenda. Let me add that in most cases it’s not you.
Because of their position and function within the church, they are seen as being above any charge of indiscretion. People who hold this view will protect a corrupt pastor by immediately denying and dismissing any allegation of misconduct before careful consideration. Sometimes the congregation will blame the victims for their own victimization. For instance, many women find themselves blamed for having been sexually harassed by a corrupt pastor. Should they find the courage to speak out, they are often branded as “trouble makers” and/or demonized as a part of the devil’s scheme to bring down the ministry.
What a shame that many in the congregation feel that as long as he/she shows up on Sunday, in his Caddie, and performs all the public duties of a pastor, their private life should be virtually off limits in spite of it sometimes being masked with sinister intentions. Some people tolerate pastoral misconduct because it gives them political leverage over a compromised pastor or secures their position within the church. They keep pastoral indiscretions a secret in exchange for certain favors from their leader or out of fear that if he should lose his power, so would they.
For the record, the Bible does offer human protections for congregations in the form of multiple pastors. It also promotes real pastoral accountability from a group of people who know the day-to-day ins and outs of that particular congregation and who are qualified to recognize and call out pastoral misconduct. I know this is a HUGE paradigm shift but before you prejudge it, check out these biblical references to see if they support a single or a multiple pastor model for local churches. (see Acts 11:30, 14:23, 20:17, Philippians 1:1, Titus 1:5, 1 Timothy 5:17, James 5:14)
The Bible never says that Christians should remain loyal to corrupt leaders. In fact, the Bible clearly forbids churches from clinging to such pastors. 1 Timothy 5:20 says “As for those [pastors] who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.” There are precious few congregations willing to obey this biblical command. Can you imagine a local Black church publicly reprimanding a corrupt pastor by bringing him before the congregation, calling out his sin, and “sitting him down?” I doubt it!
However in many cases, this is exactly what God’s word calls us to do. For you haters who will offer negative comments concerning this article. I simply ask that you judge not. This can be done by looking in the mirror. Further, you need look no further than your local or national news to see that there are wolves preying upon their flocks. 1 Timothy 5:21 insists that even pastors should receive no special favors or leniency when it comes to sin. It says “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality.”
Pastors aren’t above God’s law– Churches dishonor the Lord himself by acting as if they are. In cases like Eddie Wrong and others, and you know some, I say, we need to take pastoral integrity very seriously and avoid the physical, psychological, and spiritual devastation to our communities and ourselves, simply by demanding that pastors obey the Bible’s clear direction in this area. If you noticed I stopped short of agreeing with the radio host but “game knows games” and most are playing a game with your soul. I know this is lengthy but that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective.
Monday, October 24, 2011
I love to praise the most powerful man on the planet, particularly because he looks like me. Our president is strikingly handsome, articulate, likable, a family man, and accomplished as the incumbent in the White House that the fools who call themselves Republicans want to defeat? They make stuff up, which is exactly what the GOP has been doing since President Obama took office in 2009. I get the sense that before this campaign is over he will be called the “N-Word”; after all one of those guys had a lodge that was called the N-Word Head. Hmmmm.
We know they have tried to do everything they could to make sure the history making event that made him president is over with this term. Now, it is my opinion that they want to make sure that no other black man or person of color ever lives in the White House again. This man, my hero, has done more than the last several presidents to save us from destruction. Yet, it is the GOP who would rather see American destroyed. They went out and found this Negro who I call the insane Herman Cain. Then there are the rest of the clowns trying to defeat him – wow- what a pitiful lot but I have seen them before. They were once called the “Citizens Counsel”.
I can go on and on but I won’t because we can all see this power play. They have been doing it since they stole the land from the Indians. His opponents will go so far as to prevent job creation to put the blame on President Obama. They have not presented a jobs plan that would actually create jobs since taking control of the House of Representatives in January. They have been too busy trying to prevent women, gays, and unions from having rights of their own. They have unanimously voted against any bill that would create jobs presented by President Obama, simply because it has been presented by President Obama.
Many parts of his jobs plan include old Republican ideas that the GOP has been quick to disavow now that Obama presents it back to them. When the only thing you have against Obama is something that you have to manufacture to make him look bad, you will be the ones to look bad in the end. President Obama was indeed born in the USA and it has been proven more than once. President Obama is certainly not a Socialist, as evidenced by his love for capitalism and how he helped save it. He doesn’t want the government to run your life; he simply wants a government that enables people to be able to run their own lives.
Obama actually granted more gun rights by allowing individuals to be able to carry a weapon into national parks. President Obama’s health care law simply holds insurance companies accountable to actually care for the people they insure, and to provide a mandate that will end up being cost-effective because fewer people will be reliant on the government dime. The Affordable Care Act also prevents insurance companies from neglecting individuals that need care the most.
Saying that Obama hates white people or rich people is about as useful as throwing sand in the sand box… it’s obviously childish, and holds absolutely no proof or clout except for being a nuisance. Obama has undoubtedly proven that he is not soft on terror by his recent international take-down of the world’s most sought after terrorists.
He has also proven that he is not weak on immigration with record numbers of deportations every year since he has taken office. Obama has opened the lines of communication up further than most Presidents in the past have been able to between Israel and Palestine. He has also made it clear that he believes it’s a woman’s right to choose, and his choice is life.
THE BEST THING WE CAN DO IS SUPPORT THE PRESIDENT AND VOTE.
Lest they not forget he got be Laden and a whole lot of others. That is really something to consider as they make up or manufacture “Bull S###”. Get used to it the jig is up; he will be reelected. And that is my THOUGHT PROVOKING PERSPECTIVE!
Thank you Sarah Wood
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
It’s been several years since "Just a Season" and it’s time to move on. Generations have and gone, life is bearable after all, and hope lives in a little boy and in a man who almost lost all hope.
It's been said that there are no words that have not been spoken and no stories that have never been told but there are some that you cannot forget! "Legacy - A New Season" is the perfect compliment to that statement. It is the sequel and the continuation of "Just a Season" and a stand-alone story rich in history on a subject rarely explained to children of this generation concerning the African American struggle.
This long awaited suga to the epic novel "Just a Season" will take you on an awe inspiring journey through the African American Diaspora, as told by a loving grandfather to his grandson in the oral African tradition at a time when America changed forever.
I would like to thank the great Woody Woods for the background music.
If you were to reexamine the time in which you’ve lived, you will come to know that the reason we live is to die. The question then becomes what happens between the years of one’s birth and death. This is without question a quandary that each of us will face. In the novel I referred to this specific period of earthly existence as the dash that will be placed on our final marker between the beginning and end dates of life’s journey. This period of time can only be characterized as a journey because this tiny little dash represents the whole of your life.
It’s been said, there are no words that have not been spoken and there are no stories that have never been told, but there are some you will not forget! Legacy - A New Season is that story. It chronicles what has been called a contemporary “Roots” with a reviewer saying “this is the stuff movies are made of... I have not read anything that so succinctly chronicles an African American story.” Another reviewer said, “Not since The Color Purple have I read a book that evoked such emotions… transports the reader directly into the life and struggles of the main characters..."
I am honored to have been chosen to channel such an epic saga. With that said, I am reminded of a powerful statement once made during a sermon by my childhood pastor - Reverend Cole. He said, “Unless and until you suffer enough pain, then and only then, will you reach deep inside and feel the breath that God has breathed into your soul coming eye to eye with your destiny”. I’ve pondered that profound statement my entire life and it continues to deeply impact my life.
It could very well be because I lost my only son that I have come to embrace this message so profoundly. There have been a number of reflections from those early days at Friendly Church that continue to touch my spirit. Specifically: “Why Jesus wept?” As the story goes, Jesus was so moved as he witnessed the pain of Mary and Martha weeping for the loss of his dear friend, Lazarus, that he also wept. Today, I understand that emotion because I have felt such pain. This might explain why I was chosen as the vehicle to share such a powerful story that will surely live far beyond the season I’ve been given.
Just a Season is a historical narrative that began with a grief-stricken father visiting the gravesite of his beloved son who was killed in a tragic automobile accident. A dreadful moment no loving parent should ever have to face. The story begins with the main character, John Wells, asking himself a philosophical question as he views his late son’s final marker. “If the tiny dash placed on my marker were to tell my life’s story, what would it say?"
What emerged from the pages is a legacy of true benevolence and grace that I believe is destined to be become a literary classic. This luminous story is a riveting portrait into the life of an African American man who, in the midst of pain and loss, journeys back in time to reexamine all the important people, events, circumstances, and intellectual fervor that contributed to the richness of his life. Moreover, the main character relives all of the significant events affecting the African American Diaspora, over a fifty-year period, providing a perspective of reality to the unfolding history.
As the story ends, as if in the blink of an eye, John reflects upon life’s journey realizeing that it is very interesting how we come into the world crying while all around us are smiling. Then we leave the world smiling while everybody around us weeps. This thought causes him to recall another powerful sermon Reverend Cole gave explaining this phenomenon in the simplest of terms. The Good Reverend said, “This period of existence we call life in the final analysis is "Just a Season.
Then with a deep sigh realizing that the story must end, as stories do, he leaves the cemetery slowly walking past his loved ones resting for eternity; pausing briefly to look back in the direction of his son’s resting place and say, “I will always love you.
As he nears the crest of the hill walking into the abyss of time, pausing at his grandfather’s resting place, seemingly unable to take the next step. With tears flowing down his face, he gently touches the headstone of his grandfather and quietly asks him “to look after my son”. At that moment, he fondly recalls the last thing his grandfather said; “life is not just a race you run. It is a relay. It is now your responsibility to pass the baton.” Somehow, John finds the strength to look toward the heavens saying softly that “I have to be Granddaddy now. I just hope my grandson will love me as much as I loved you. More importantly, I must make sure that he tells his grandchildren about me.
It’s been several years since receiving the epiphany leading me to tell the story of this man’s epic journey that many have wondered if it was a true story, miracle, a blessing, or simply a fairy tale. I will only say "Just a Season” is a must-read story that reflects the audacity of hope, pain, and struggle of a people that will most assuredly touch every emotion as you travel through time, as you relive a life through the eyes of an African American man living in America.
In the end, John sorrowfully leaves the cemetery at Friendly Church that day feeling as if God has forsaken him. But his conviction is strong in faith and he knows that faith is the instrument to believe true what is not seen. With all the strength within, he refuses to drown in his tears; rather he is committed to swim in his blessings because God has not forsaken him and the wonders of life spoke loudly. Blessed are those who believe and have not seen which is tomorrow and tomorrow holds his Legacy and A New Season...
John T. Wills
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Let me be clear, I am for anyone who is successful and trying to do positive things but this guy! This is the first time in a long while that I am assumed for him. He recently said that during the wretched segregation period he would go to the back of the bus rather than cause trouble. I was never more shocked in all my life. My issue with him is that he disrespects our president, yet calls himself and American. Frankly, he has no more chance of being the Republican nominee for president for the GOP than I do.
There is nothing that distinguishes him from the rest of the republican candidates other that their rage for Obama. Cain has had a couple of victories and that has caused him to lose his mind. This week, Herman Cain made the comments that “Racism in this country today doesn’t hold anybody back in a big way.” He acknowledges there are some racist elements in the society but suggests that the so-called level “playing field” is only screwed during weak economies. He can’t be that unconscious.
With that statement, he just earned my nomination for the most insane Negro on the planet. Only a fool would believe that the vestiges of racial discrimination are not only present in today’s society, but some of the disparities they created are worse than they were nearly 60 years ago. Just because a few more are doing better doesn’t it does not exist. That’s why the black bourgeois who escape the realities of black misery have never been able to speak for the masses. It this false intellectualism or insane and I chose insane.
National columnist Anthony Asadullah Samad, Ph.D. wrote a great column where he sai: “Well to do blacks like former BET owner, Bob Johnson, and Godfather Pizza giant, Herman Cain, distort and misrepresent the racial complexities of American culture today. To dismiss the reality of racism, after knowing the sting of racism — just because you got a break—to win an election or carry favor with a white electorate, suggests you have no conscience about who you step on to get to where you want to get to. Cain is a Morehouse Graduate, who came up in the Civil Rights Era South, but somewhere along the way — someone stole the soul.”Do I believe racism still exists: Yes! Is it as overt as the Citizens Counsels of old, hmmm, but it certainly is in evidence by omission, as blacks are disproportionately left out of social and economic mainstream. My Granddaddy use to tell me and I will share this with the man whose name should be removed from the minds of mankind. “You can be on top of the world today and tomorrow the world will be on top of you. So be careful what you wish for because you may have to come back to us and guess what we don’t want you.
Samad, also said in this article, “It has nothing to do with holding them back, and everything to do with leaving them behind. Blacks are expected to “pull themselves up” without a rope, and America won’t throw us one. Even though they throw themselves one every day. Economic stimuli and corporate bailouts, are ropes thrown to the wealthy to pull themselves up.
Twenty years ago, blacks were told, “pull yourselves up by your own bootstraps”…even if you didn’t have boots. Another Negro spewed the same line as Cain suggesting there was no such thing as racism. His name was Ward Connerly and he was the face of the anti-Affirmative Action movement in America. It led to the elimination of affirmative action in many states. We have witnessed, firsthand, what the absence of conscious can do. It can make you lose your mind, forget the truth and steal the integrity of a true movement.”
Twenty years ago this week, America sought to confirm the most unconscious black man in America history, Clarence Thomas, when a sister of conscious, Anita Hill, stood up and suggested that Thomas was not fit of mind to serve on the Supreme Court. We have not only found out that he wasn’t fit of mind but he is out of his mind and is absolutely soul-less when it comes the racial experience that positioned him to be where he is. Clarence Thomas is the “Who Stole The Soul” poster boy for where you can land if you’re willing to say and do anything, including put down your own people.
Malcolm X once said, “I have no mercy or compassion in me for a society that will crush people and then penalize them for not being able to stand up under the weight.” That’s what people like Thomas, Connerly, Bob Johnson and Herman Cain do. They dismiss what America has done to the masses of black people, then criticize black people for not being able to stand up to the weight of centuries of racial oppression—just because they escaped it. Then they make excuses for why conditions remain the same.
They say things like what Cain said, “If you’re poor, don’t blame America. Blame yourself.” Really? Even if you believe that, saying it is a false assertion that exploits racial circumstances more than it helps because those who want to believe it, use it as an excuse to do nothing to change the racial disparities we all know are real in this country.
It’s unconscionable that black folks lose their minds like this, but obviously it happens when someone or something steals your cultural conscience, what we call, soul. Other people fake the conscience and steal the soul, just to remain relevant with black people when they need to be. There is a modern day Niggerati in our midst. We see it and allow it to move about us, but we need to be clear about the compromise it represents because its not about us—its about them and only them. One who steals the soul from his community is no better than the one who loses his soul, forsaking his community for another. Both have lost their conscious minds and will say or do anything to promote themselves.
Speaking of losing your mind, the Taste of Soul festival is in Los Angeles this weekend. The Taste of Soul was created by radio executive, Ron Turner, who was the National Sales for KKBT. “The Beat” was planning a street fair in the late 1990s before they sold the station to Cathy Hughes. The name of the concept…”Taste of Soul.” Turner met with several community folk, including myself, to start the street fair under the new management but Cathy Hughes sold her station before the fair could be implemented. Someone else has implemented it, but they didn’t create it. Didn’t even change the name. I hope my baby brother, Ron Turner, strolls down the boulevard this weekend to take in his creation. But it says something for someone who won’t acknowledge when they get their “ideas” from others and refuse to give credit to them.
And that’s my THOUGHT PROVOKING PERSPECTIVES…
Sunday, October 2, 2011
I have always believed that “I have never met a person that I have never met before” but now I can say that is a fallacy. This week the conservative GOP presidential candidate proved me wrong. I am talking about the Godfather of Pizza who said that African Americans are brainwashed by the Democratic Party because most vote for them. I have to suggest that maybe he has been brainwashed by the likes of the Tea Party and those like minded people; meaning the modern citizen council members. Personally, I thought Cain’s remarks were curious for a number of reasons, mainly because they insulted the intelligence of millions of black Democrats.
Of course, Cain is correct in that many voters are brainwashed in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. But what he left out is that brainwashed voters lie on both sides of the aisle, not just in the Democratic Party. When you consider that this man recites party lines are in almost complete lockstep with the Republican handbook of political discourse, should rightly be the first target of brainwashing allegations. Also, being the only Republican who discusses President Obama’s race on a regular basis, Cain is nothing more, in my opinion, than a dark-faced puppet of those who are afraid of a sensible reality. Are there any other Republican candidates who discuss race as much as Cain? I rest my case.
Obviously, he believes that his strong performance in a recent Florida straw poll has suddenly made him into a serious political player. He will see that his overconfidence will be short-lived, because anyone watching him in any serious way will easily see that a man as goofy, arrogant and simple-minded who could never be taken seriously enough to be president. In fact, Cain isn’t even good enough to be artificially propped up as a black Republican who could challenge President Obama.
Moreover, if you simply look at the people who promote and endorse him one will see he’s a nut and I am being kind. I won’t dignify my remarks with any praise given to him by Glen Beck and we know how ludicrous he is. So I will go to someone who is equally as far right Conservative political commentator Pat Buchanan who supports the Cain’s theory that African Americans have been 'brainwashed' into voting for Democrats. Buchanan said, “I admire Herman Cain for standing up and going against, if you will, the conventional wisdom, and being a tough African American businessman who succeeded in a tough world”. Hmmmm.
Wait, it gets worse, Buchanan added this racially charged sentiment to the mix. “I think what he's saying is they bought a lot of liberal propaganda on the liberal plantation and I think he's right… I think the African American community has embraced Great Society liberalism which has proved devastating for the African American family”. For Cain and others who believe that African Americans have been brainwashed into not being open minded sounds like the thinking of the days of old, i.e., slave masters.
I don’t make these remarks about Cain because he is a conservative. Rather because as a black man who has lived long enough to know segregation and racism should know better and what these kinds of house Negro remarks make him look like a fool or maybe as a political joke. Colin Powell, a far more serious and measured Republican, would be the kind of candidate that Americans of all backgrounds could support. Herman Cain has made a living by saying the kinds of racist things that right wing folks like to hear and also by throwing angry rhetorical fireballs at President Obama in the name of Tea Party hatred. Racism is typically most effective when it has a black face, and I will say again Cain is merely a modern-day artifact of House Negro attacks during slavery.
Cain is a weak leader because he has not defined himself as a man of meaningful principle, nor as a human being who possesses political skills necessary to make him anything more being a Republican jester. His thoughts are rarely original, and I find his mannerisms while communicating to hardly garner the kind of respect that one would give to the President of the United States. George Bush might have been able to get elected while not being presidential material, but Cain will never get that chance. The Republican Party or those conservatives he praises will gladly throw him under the bus to advance their motives. They will surely spit him out if he ever decides to truly lead the party in a direction that has not been previously programmed into his skull.
It’s like his recent remarks where he said, if elected, he would “change the mood” of “Hail to the Chief” by adding a gospel vibe. “It’s traditional and that’s all well and good, but I happen to believe there comes a time when you need to change the mood of it just a little bit, not drastically,” Cain told Fox News’ Chris Wallace. “It’s kind of like in marketing. Periodically, companies that have been successful at branding might modify their logos just a little bit to give it a fresher look. I think ‘Hail to the Chief’ needs a little bit fresher sound.”
Let me just say in closing what I have been trying to say. Herman Cain should be careful about using the term “brainwashed” toward anyone, for that’s exactly the term that comes to mind when I think about his short-lived run for president. His decision to run as a walking gimmick demeans himself, his party and all of those who support him. The recent Florida straw poll results have made this cocky man even cockier, but he’ll soon be yanked back down to earth; just you wait and see. He also needs to realize that a man can achieve his goals without insulting his own people. What comes to mind when I think of him is that he reminds me of my Uncle Thomas who we call Tom. And that is my Thought Provoking Perspectives.