Uncategorized

I’m so Pretty

Recently I was listening to “Betcha Gon’ Know” by Mariah Carey. It was the version that features R. Kelly. It made me think about how R. Kelly is now known for abusing women and how many were pushing for the mute R. Kelly movement, among other celebrities that are outed as abusers or pedophiles. I see why people want to shame these people and want to take away their star power. However, there are abusers all around us. There’s millions probably billions of people that abuse other people but we are only aware of the cases that make the headlines, nationally or locally. If we knew what literally everyone was up to in their spare time no one would be allowed to do anything in the court of public opinion. It seems that we have entered a new era in history. Pedophilia and abuse against women in general is taken more seriously in some ways. Despite the “anything goes” culture, the “consent” culture, there seems to be thirst to know the truth even about our supposed heroes or favorite celebrities. I cannot emphasize enough though that it shouldn’t surprise you that the World is busy being the World. That is, if you’re a Christ follower.

In Genesis 6:9, the Bible tells us that “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.” He [and his immediate family] was the only one selected to survive the Great Flood. Literally, no one else.

As far as God was concerned, the Earth had become a sewer; there was violence everywhere. God took one look and saw how bad it was, everyone corrupt and corrupting—life itself corrupt to the core. Genesis 6:11-12 MSG

Further in Genesis 18, the Bible tells us that Abraham interceded for the town of Sodom. He asked if God would spare the city if fifty righteous people are found and God said he would. However, I think Abraham knew there wasn’t fifty righteous people so he kept bargaining for less. He stops at ten. He asks God if he would spare the city if there are ten righteous people found and God gives His word, “for the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” We read just one chapter later that God did not find ten righteous and only allowed Lot, his wife and two daughters to flee as God rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from Heaven. Out of the four fleeing, three made it to the next town.

Skipping ahead to the book of Daniel, we learn about a young man named Daniel that was trafficked to Babylon after Nebuchadnezzar took over Jerusalem. Daniel became known for maintaining his purity in the midst of the Babylonian culture. Daniel refrained from the foods and drinks they served as to not defile himself. God gave him favor and Daniel was allowed to not partake in the lifestyle. Daniel continued to see favor throughout his life while living in a different kingdom.

Just as in the times of Noah, Lot and Daniel- these men were counter-cultural. Within their generations and throughout history, their names and stories were written down to be known forever for their righteousness. These are just three examples, but three out of the billions of people that have gone to the grave before us and will go after us… THREE stands out to me.

We are living in modern day Babylon or Sodom or Gomorrah. These cities are basically cliché in 2019. But if you are a Bible reader, you need to acknowledge the time in which we live. Our culture is a secular one. Our country didn’t begin that way but as history repeats itself, Secular is what we have turned into. That is why there is so much hostility towards the Christian life. Real Christians standing for Biblical Truth in the Post Modern Culture.

You’re probably wondering when I’m going to explain how I’m so pretty and what that has to do with R. Kelly, historical and biblical references.

[I apologize if you’ve lost interest already. Context is one of my top strengths and I feel compelled to give the context to help lead you from one idea to the next. It’s just how my mind works! ]

While we live in Babylon just as Daniel did, we are called to stand out. We are not to participate in everything that the opposing culture offers. Daniel could have forgot his identity and dismissed his God but he did not. He could have sold out to the dominate culture, a foreign culture. Time and time again God warned his people to not worship other gods or idols. To not become like those around them. In the Old Testament, God very clearly gave those instructions repeatedly. In the New Testament, God gave us his only son to give us the grace that we might finally obey his commands. He allowed Jesus to come to love us by allowing us to see our hearts are knitted together with His. That we see ourselves and others with His gracious loving eyes. We have to distinguish what is the culture permit and what does God command? They should not be the same. We are to pursue Christ and aim to be Holy not assimilate to a culture that rebels and rallies against our God. It can feel uncomfortable but if our eyes are on eternity with Christ, saying no to permissive cultural practices should become easier over time.

Earlier that day I was running errands. I went to a Target for one thing. That one thing was not in the store so I decided to walk around a bit. Dangerous, I know! I walked through the women’s clothing, accessories, bedding, back through the accessories and women’s clothing. I tried on a lot of sunglasses and touched many handbags. I left the store only buying one t-shirt!

As I was driving away, I began to think about how much I desire to buy new clothing and accessories. How much I desire to join in the beauty and fashion trends taking place. How the pull of obtaining more clothes, more accessories, longer lashes, specific nude colored lipstick permeate my mind. I follow a lot of online boutiques on social media so I constantly see the clothes I don’t have and decide very often that I need thirty new tops every month. Social media is now interwoven with ads of all types. These ads are catered specifically for you through algorithms. Its easy to get caught up in striving to look a certain way or follow current trends.

I often feel I need to be prettier. Prettier and prettier. I have to achieve more as far as appearance. I have to improve my appearance. I have to aim to look better than I do today. Its feels like a beating drum…. Prettier….prettier….prettier. A pounding drum.

For men, it could be you feel you need to make more money, improve your wages, get a bigger paycheck. More money…money….money. A pounding drum.

I then wondered what if I replaced that beating drum with the beating drum of God’s love? What if I put that appearance drum on mute. I believe I would hear the pounding drum of God’s fierce love. I Love You. I Love You. I Love You. DEEPER. FIERCER. That sound would be overwhelming and no other sound could replace it once I heard it truly.

It made me think of how I long for a husband. A husband that would take delight in me. That would be excited when I walked into a room. Or if I were doing something like the washing dishes a very mundane activity. My back is towards him as I zone out in the task before me. He, on the other hand, very much intently watching me. Radiating beautiful thoughts towards me.

So, if I take this vision and transplant it on the Lord…

Can I fully grasp how much he loves me already? How much it isn’t about my appearance? The clothes I wear, the makeup trends I choose to follow or reject, my hair style, my weight. When I catch a glimpse of myself in a reflective surface and instantaneously think “ugh,” when I don’t measure up to the standards I decided were important… NONE of these influence God’s love. God has been radiating beautiful thoughts on to me since before he knit me together in my mother’s womb. For every beat of “be prettier,” God beats “I LOVE YOU” louder, “I LOVE YOU DEEPER,” “I LOVE YOU FIERCER”….its a beat more steady and full than our own heartbeat. Its a rhythm with origins in Heaven that God gave us the grace to tune in to.

Havilah Cunnington posted this the other day on her Instagram. I thought it fit perfectly into the revelation I had.

Related Reading:

Sister, Your Worth is Not Found in Your Size

Advertisements
Standard
Gender Issues, Men

Am I my Brother’s Keeper?

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know, ” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Genesis 4:9

image

Woman was made for Man. She was made of Adam. He is the innate leader. When men and women step out of that dynamic relationship, everything else falls and fails. Adam was created in the image of God, we need to honor that.

Crime is a gender issue. The majority of crime, and specifically violent crime, is perpetrated by men. Men are the majority of the incarcerated population all over the world. In the majority of domestic violence and rape cases, men are by far the aggressors.

Fatherlessness is a pestilence that we will never recover from. You could argue that fatherlessness cause the hurts of society. Those without fathers are more likely to commit suicide, commit crimes, drop out of high school, be incarcerated, be homeless and suffer drug and alcohol addictions. One thing begets another and another. There seems no beginning and end to what happens when fail our boys.
tggg

Recently, I stumbled upon an article, “1,000 women of color want women and girls included in ‘My Brother’s Keeper’” via The Washington Post website. This drew me in and prompted me to learn about MBK. This initiative was signed in from President Obama last year. The initiative strives to better the lives of young men and boys of color (Black and Hispanic) here in America. It focuses on children entering school, completing high school, attending secondary education and entering the workforce. This plan aims to decrease the “cradle-jail” program that is currently in place. Our President challenged our nation to step up and create community tasks forces and take action. I am in full support of MBK as is. Male centered, for men by men.
image

Trying to include women and girls in MBK defeats the purpose. I see this as another way we are feminizing our boys. Feminizing America and feminizing our society. Our boys deserve to be honored as boys. Something separate and different than us. Boys have gotten lost in our society. Boys are not made to feel good as boys. They learn that to be masculine is to be aggressive and crude. That to be masculine is to go after money no matter the cost or means. To be masculine is to have sex with women with no commitments or responsibilities to them. That to be masculine is to impress other boys or men with bravado and fear.

I take these ideologies personal because I have worked with fatherless boys involved in the juvenile justice system. I see this firsthand, I see the aftermath. These boys have no way to relate to others unless it’s through retelling stories of fights or other violent times, times they got high or drunk. Reliving a crime they committed. For some it’s even worse. They have no way to communicate unless it’s through spoken rap lyrics. They have no conversation skills, especially towards an adult woman. Their idea of having a conversation with an adult woman is to attempt to be flirtatious. Or if you are an adult woman that takes a few moments to attempt a conversation, they take it as she wants some. To get even more personal, the men that I have “fallen for” possess the fatherless trait. Either fatherless or the bond essentially just not there due to other issues. My first boyfriend ever, his father died when he was two years old. The second boyfriend he didn’t know who his father was until he was a teenager already committed to gang life. Another man, I have no information on him ever having his father in his life. The fourth, after his parents’ divorce around age 10 and prior family dysfunction, there was no effort on his father’s part to stay engaged. In fact, it made for a very awkward lunch we had with his father, father’s wife and child. ONCE. So, still working out? As my boyfriend’s muscles bulged out of his t-shirt. Yea. Still at the same job? Yup. Cricket*Cricket. These fellas all succumbed to drugs and alcohol as part of their everyday life or coping. One unable to keep a job, high school dropout, dead. One juvenile delinquent with felonies; father to about 5 kids by different women. One unable to commit to a woman, multiple DUIs, some jail time. The other overly attached to his mother, at the cost of our relationship. This isn’t to discredit them, be negative, or put all their business out there. I am simply stating what can be found in texts books, what can be found etched into the heart of every man.
image


Our boys are in trouble.

Men must begin to invest back in their community, in their homes. It starts with investing back in their boys. Raising and training up boys to be men, to lead in a righteous way. Lead in a way that leads to more marriages, Fatherhood, employment-not to fatherlessness, crime, incarceration, and death.

We need to let men solve men-problems. Women, stop thinking you can solve a man’s problems (especially when you think of him as such, a problem). Allow men to bestow their masculinity on the next generation. Men won’t lead unless you step out of the way. You want to tame and domestic the man because you have no trust. Because you have no faith.

“In short, women and girls of color are not doing fine, and until they are, men and boys will not be doing fine either.”

This is wrong and backwards. When men are taught to be men, they will lead us in the right direction. I again tell you, Woman was made for Man. Adam was the one that was granted dominion “over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” Genesis 1:26 God didn’t say well let me get Eve what she wants and then, we will get you started Adam.

Now, I relate the state of Womanhood with this horrific state of Manhood. Women are ratchet because men are lowering their standards. So women follow their lead, they expect less, accept less and continue to do less themselves. This mirrors what men are doing. They do less because we expect less. They do less because we accept less.

If you truly want things to change. We need to expect and accept MORE. I will expect men to train up men and expect nothing less. You wont even step aside to allow the President of the United States of America to bestow masculinity on his American boys?

I want a generation of young men of color, boys that look like my nephew to be trained up well. To live past the age of 18. To bring joy and comfort to his family. To bring protection to his wife and children. Please step aside and let these men be men.

image

Related Reading:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/my-brothers-keeper

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2014/06/18/1000-women-of-color-want-women-and-girls-included-in-my-brothers-keeper/

http://thefatherlessgeneration.wordpress.com/statistics/

http://www.girldefined.com/call-manhood-part-1

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/03/15/how-not-to-become-your-absentee-father/

Related video:
http://roseynews.com/10-yr-old-brings-drill-instructor-to-the-brink-of-tears-with-just-2-words/

Standard