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

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hookup culture, Men, sex, Uncategorized, Women

Surviving R. Kelly and Everyone Else

This weekend I discovered the docuseries, Surviving R. Kelly, on Lifetime. I was horrified, shocked, confused but also very much jaded. I kept thinking backwards to try to recall when all of these accusations were circulating in the media. I guess I missed all of it because I was a teenager myself and not a huge fan? Yes I can name some of his most popular songs but they weren’t ever my favorites. At that time in my life the only older man I had eyes for was Brad Pitt! (That’s another blog post LOL).

I know many right now are grieving and angered by the stories in the series. The stories of Robert Kelly’s predatory behavior, his own sexual abuse as a child, the countless underage girls he preyed on, the manipulation, the intimidation, the domestic and dating violence, the deceit, the power plays, his Hiding In Plain Sight, and much more. Watching women cry through the painful memories that haunt them is in itself painful to the viewer.

I’m not glad any of this has happened to the individuals involved. I am hopeful that through the handful of stories shared by these brave women that people will begin to take sex seriously.

Sex wasn’t made for a power game. Sex wasn’t made for manipulation. Sex wasn’t made for control.

If you are having a sexualized relationship with someone and power, manipulation and control are a dominating the experiences – then you need to remove yourself. Leave, ask for help, reach out at all costs. It will destroy you.

Sex alone is a powerful experience. The God of the Bible created sex as a powerful experience to glue a man and women together in a covenant. The covenant(marriage) is two becoming one, not one enveloping the other.

The only visual representation I can use to warn you against is that of Symbiote. The symbiote comes from the Marvel comic book world used to identify a fictional species that bonds with their hosts. Wikipedia states, “They also are able to slightly alter their hosts personalities, by influencing their darkest desires and wants, along with amplifying their physical and emotional traits and personality, granting them super-human abilities.”

Think of the Venom taking over Eddie Brock. In this clip Eddie meets Venom.

Its all fun and games when it’s a movie, a comic book movie, a movie with my Bae(Tom Hardy)- but its your demise when your mind and body are conquered by another entity.

Outside of God’s will, we will come in contact with these other entities. I do believe just like Ephesians 6:12 tells us that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, and spiritual forces in the heavenly realms.

That is why we have to be born again like Jesus tells us in John 3:3-6. Before we are born again, we are operating in the flesh.

John 8:44 tells us, You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Jesus was speaking to the Pharisee at this time, because they refused to acknowledge Him as the Son of God, refused to accept the Truth and because of this rejected His authority. This goes the same for us in the here and now. When we believe ourselves to be our own authority then anything goes.

Aleister Crowley, made famous ‘Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” in the early 1900s but its message goes back to the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3. The serpent introduced “do as thou wilt” to Eve and she welcomed it.

I’m getting real nerdy here to drive home the message that outside of Christ, we will do harm to one another. Mark 7: 21-23 tells us, For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.

Is Robert Kelly guilty of such things? YES.

Is he guilty of crimes in our modern society? YES.

Is he guilty of being a human devoid of submission to Christ? YES.

Should we intercede on his behalf? YES.

A couple of years ago I attended a conference on a college campus. The topics covered were regarding campus safety, sexual assault and stalking, mass shootings etc. There was a breakout session led by a professor that presented us with the story of Nate Parker and his movie, Birth of a Nation (2016). The movie and Nate Parker were receiving mixed reviews. The film tells the true story of a slave rebellion in 1831. Nate Parker’s past had come to the fore front as the movie was released. During his college career, he was accused of rape in 1999. I will stop at those facts. Research more if you want. The purpose of the break out session was to discuss the issues of our heroes also being monsters. Do we celebrate the movie and give Nate Parker praise for directing and acting in this depiction of slaves rising up? In a story that has been minimized in our history. Do we protest the movie and Nate Parker? Nate Parker was acquitted of the charges. Does acquittal equal innocence? Is he still guilty of crimes committed even though a court of law found him not guilty?

This seems to be the defense of many Robert Kelly fans. Numerous times in this series, fans stated that he was acquitted of the charges against him and that is why they proceeded forward in their support or business with him.

My one question to throw out there for discussion is: In general, most Americans, could agree that the justice system gets it wrong from time to time. Innocent people are determined guilty and guilty people are determine innocent. The system is flawed whether it be judges, attorneys, or juries. If we start from this agreement, then why would we pledge our loyalty to someone brought into court with video evidence of them paying cash to a 14 year old girl for sex? The charges were child pornography. The existence of a video let alone fits the description.

Many voices in the series referred a lot to the Black community. Some felt the Black community failed the women and girls that were harmed by Rob Kelly. I would agree.

No matter the “community” you identify with, racial, ethnic, religious, socio-economic, political – it will fail you.

We cannot pledge allegiance to our demographics.

How do we move forward?

First, we need to welcome Godly sorrow and grieve our mistakes.

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 2 Corinthians 7:10

Our personal sins and the sins of others needs to bring us sorrow. We need to learn to blush again, we need to be embarrassed for our lack of self control and rebellion. We need to be grieved by abuse committed against others. By abuse, I mean all forms of sexuality that is not under the submission of the Word of God. Society’s standard for sexual behavior is that which is consensual. However, God’s standard is much MUCH HIGHER.

Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct?
No, they have no shame at all;
they do not even know how to blush.
So they will fall among the fallen;
they will be brought down when they are punished,
says the LORD. Jeremiah 8:12

Second, we need to repent. To repent means to turn from sin. Feeling Godly sorrow is foundational but next is to turn away. Turn away and run in the opposite direction.

Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22

Third, is to pursue righteousness. How do we do that? Ephesians 5:1-20 outlines how we should live.

1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.[a] 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness,righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Finally, if a relationship is what you desire Paul has some amazing things to say in 1 Corinthians 7:1-40 and Ephesians 5:21-33. I encourage you to read it in the Message version. Please do read them!
Some highlights are:

Now, getting down to the questions you asked in your letter to me. First, Is it a good thing to have sexual relations? Certainly—but only within a certain context. It’s good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. 1 Corinthians 7:1-2 MSG

Sometimes I wish everyone were single like me—a simpler life in many ways! But celibacy is not for everyone any more than marriage is. God gives the gift of the single life to some, the gift of the married life to others. 1 Corinthians 7:7 MSG

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. Ephesians 5:25-27 MSG

Let me say again, if you are in a relationship that does not model the above mentioned scriptures, if you are having a sexualized relationship with someone and power, manipulation and control are a dominating the experiences – then you need to remove yourself. Leave, ask for help, reach out at all costs. It will destroy you.

The thief (satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

Make the sure the Shepherd you are following is the Right One, the Righteous One. Jesus said that those that have come before were thieves and robbers John 10:7. Don’t let them steal your life.

Throughout the beginning of time, Robert Kelly and others have come in disguise to shepherd, but they were thieves. Jesus is the Good Shepherd and is coming back for His people.

Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Psalm 90:1

We can mute Robert Kelly and others like him but 30 more will take his place. Evil was always here. The human experience and condition can be egregious and it often is. I feel fear for those that do not know who they are co-heirs with Christ Romans 8:17 and what is to come, But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father – Mark 13:32. What will you be caught doing when Christ returns? Will He recognize you or say depart from me, I never knew you- Mark 7:23.

Take this docuseries as time to reflect. Reflect on our culture and where we have arrived. Reflect on your own life, have you contributed to a culture that makes sex arbitrary instead of sacred? Reduced it to just consensual instead of Holy.

Romans 3:10-12:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
11 no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”

Weep for the culture and be burdened to fight against immorality.

 

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy,[a] drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do[b] such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:19-24

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