black women are less attractive?Really Psychology Today? i can’t.

check the link

less attractive eh? every man’s fantasy. some women’s too. the archetypal goddess? less attractive. compared to what? this guy?

who said this on his LSE faculty page:

“If the truth offends people, it is our job as scientists to offend them.  Wir müssen wissen, wir werden wissen.”“If what I say is wrong (because it is illogical or lacks credible scientific evidence), then it is my problem.  If what I say offends you, it is your problem.”Prepare to be offended.

sigh.

the article has been suppressed. BIG surprise.

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a rant on james frey or, so it’s like that then?

unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve probably heard of and forgotten or vaguely remember the ‘writer’ James Frey. frey’s “memoir” a million little pieces, was published by Random House in April of 2003.  it seemed the world went nuts over this little book with a big message. i just thought the cover was cool.

he was fortunate enough to have his book blessed with a little white and gold circle with  oprah’s seal of literary approval. i rarely missed an opportunity to read one of her choices, which i will discuss in a later article, but this one i could not bring myself to buy. of course i did my usual book buying ritual, i went to books a million, perused the new selections, read the back cover, picked it up, walked around the store and picked up other books, put that book back, went and bought coffee and a snack and went home.  i repeated said ritual at barnes and noble. i could not convince myself that this book was worth my time. sorry auntie o. and then the scandal broke. five days after my 24th birthday (it’s not important but why not), the smoking gun exposed frey’s book as a fraud. a big ole sloppy hot dumpster juice smelling fraud. and what’s worse, oprah had approved it. oprah approved a fraud. can we say tail spin?

and the world went NUTS!! he went on larry king (oprah called in to defend him) and he was on every piece of semi news and news show to defend himself. i was DISGUSTED! not just because his voice grates on the very fibers of my nerves, but because HE LIED! he lied about being wanted in three states, he lied about his criminal record, he lied about his jail time. he lied. and this book was in the hands of MILLIONS of people before and AFTER oprah approved it.  here i was, a struggling poet and soon to be college graduate, still holding on to the idea that if you do what you love and you come from a place of truth, you will be rewarded. I WAS SNOOKERED PEOPLE! not by james frey, because i didn’t read the book remember. but by the idea that a book can be written and steeped in lies and sell and be approved by oprah, who has the midas touch for most anything that is to be consumed and then be  revealed a fraud and frey becomes a VICTIM?! of what?! he didn’t snooker himself. he snookered everybody else. INCLUDING OPRAH!

i was upset then and now for the same reason. this topic has resurfaced because, in season 25 of her long running show, oprah decided to bring this man back for a two part interview as one of her most controversial guests. watching today, i remembered how i felt at 24, young and poet and believing that as long as i wrote from my heart and told the truth i’d be okay. and i counted on my fingers how many times this fool has been on oprah and i got pissed all over again. a FRAUD! a CHARLATAN! a NE”ER DO WELL gets on oprah 4 TIMES FOR A LIE and i have yet to get a positive response from a publishing company. ONLY IN AMERICA!

i got on twitter and said the following: @nrthebyrom Fk james frey. fk random house. fk his agent. fk his hs english teacher. fk his pens. fk his journals. fk his laptop. fk his drug habit.

i would like to add the following: fk whoever told him he had to lie to kick it when tupac CLEARLY said we don’t. fk his agent. fk the people who said oprah was wrong for calling him a liar because he did indeed lie. fk the people who didn’t get their money back for the book. fk the lady in barnes and noble who told me i simply had to have it when i said i didn’t want it.

FUCK WHOEVER SAID IT’S OKAY TO PUBLISH A SEMI FICTIONAL MEMOIR. THAT SHIT MAKES NO SENSE!! but i guess if Carl Rove nem can say common is a thug , a memoir can be a patchwork of supercalifragilisticexpealidocious liebangers.

i digress. another book i never purchased was Dr. Henry Louis Gates’ The Trials of Phillis Wheatley. i thought about the dear sister phillis today, as that man sat on television basically saying he lied on purpose, and that the reason he couldn’t tell the truth is because he had finally been published and Kurt Vonnegut was at his release party and oprah was going to put it on her list and blah blah blah. i thought about the dear sister.

the poet. the writer. the slave. named after the ship she was brought over on. an educated woman, even though enslaved. freed in 1778, when it was still wrong to be black and female and alive in america. wrote a poem to George Washington. went to his house.  my favorite of her pieces is on being brought from africa to america.not because of it’s title or even it’s syntax, but because of the debate it sparked in one of my classes. we argued over those 8 lines for almost 2 weeks. like to read it? here it go:

On being brought from Africa to America

‘Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand
That there’s a God, that there’s a Saviour too:
Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.
Some view our sable race with scornful eye,
“Their colour is a diabolic die.”
Remember, Christians, Negro’s, black as Cain,
May be refin’d, and join th’ angelic train.

phillis wheatley

she never heard thomas jefferson’s remarks about her. she faced down a group of “founding fathers” to defend her ability to be black, female, african, creative, intellectual, HUMAN.  she died at 30 years old alone and broke. sound familiar? it’s the fate of many a what? starving artist. i thought about phillis because james got a pass. nobody questioned his ability or the validity of his story because he sold it. it was real. it was so gritty and grimy. it showed the world that no matter how bad the situation, you too can reach your crack residue laden fingers down and grab the straps of your boots (if you’re not using them for a tourniquet) and put your life back together. you can. but phillis was saying she was glad she had been brought to america, even if it was under the guise of slavery. and thomas jefferson, among others, said she didn’t have sense enough to know what was going on or how to express it? and i still can’t get a book deal. so, if i publish my poems under a pseudonym and pull one of those moves like on the chapelle show when the blind black guy was a klansman, then maybe i could get some publicity… oh no? i’d be the new phillis? so… it’s like that then? damn.

dear james frey,

or to oprah to get your book sold.

nikki on NICKI or: quit hatin

i was once a HUGE lil kim fan. lil kim could have rapped my speeding tickets and the corresponding fees on a hot beat and i would have been completely down with it. when her last album the naked truth came out, i drove about an hour to best buy and bought 2 copies. one for my car, and one for my apartment. i had to have it. to date i have owned 5 copies of The Notorious K.I.M. and that album still holds a very special place in my heart and in my cd portfolio.

i could segue into this whole spiel about how i was missing all the female rappers that i loved and had grown up listening to and then along came Nicki Minaj. i could talk about how i was listening to the radio one day and heard this voice and instantly fell in love with the personality, the wordplay, the audacity of this woman, the black barbie…. i could,but why would i? none of that really happened. at least, not to me. to millions of others though, it happened exactly like that.

i don’t even remember when i heard nicki minaj the first time. but when i first saw a pic of her or saw her on television i was like (and please pardon my language) “are you fucking serious right now?” i was disappointed by her look, her facial expressions had me shaking my head so much i’m sure somebody thought i was developing early onset parkinson’s… the hair, the clothes the voice(s) the everything. too much. and then i heard her rap. sigh. i am a sucker for wordplay. a good cadence is fine, because tupac (who i’m not a fan of really but i can respect his talent) was a master of cadence and rhythm, and we all know he had (and still has) a bit of a cult following. a gimmick or an image, though once not important at all, is now almost more important than talent and ability (see cali swag district, souljah boy tellem, wacka flocka flame, et all). and to be female in a crew or family of established male rappers doesn’t hurt either. unless you’re La’Chat, or Shawnna, or dare i say it, eve. but this chick, this nicki minaj character, was just that to me, a character. someone who would be the pretty girl in a crew of established rappers. big damn deal.

and then she was everywhere. on everybody’s remix, and she was beasting. EVERYWHERE. mix tapes, radio edits, videos, television. beasting. who could deny her? no album out and she’s a household name? who does that? ( i know other rappers have, but how many of them were female? exactly) and for every fan, barbie or ken barbie, she has a hater. most of the guys i know who don’t like nicki minaj are, in my opinion, probably descendants of men who didn’t like diana ross when she broke from the supremes, or didn’t much care for madonna at any point. and that’s sad. why is it that we hate what we can’t conquer? i think if a man is intimidated by a woman in any fashion, his first line of defense is to downplay her talent, intelligence or sexuality. for example, i have a friend (several actually) on facebook that i went to college with who claims that nicki minaj is a gimmick and the only reason anyone pays her any attention is because of her body. well hell the same could be said for lil kim, trina, khia, shawnna, etc. is that what you’re looking for to see someone’s viability? because if that were the case, why then is lil wayne so popular, or rick ross? they’re not what most women would call attractive, either due to genetics or their own modifications. or is it a double standard among blacks, men, and black men to always denigrate a woman’s ability to thrive and succeed in a “man’s world”? y’all did lil kim the same way. she can be a sex goddess but nothing else. you can lust after her but not listen to her because listening to her and then looking at her would force you to come o the realization that her body is something you can never have. you can’t conquer her sexually so you must break her down to a point where you are disgusted with her very being in order to remove the shame and insecurity you feel about being your lame or average, dreamless, goal less self.

personally, i’ve been told several times that my vocabulary and intelligence intimidate or turn men off. so the next logical step is to assume that because i am so independent, intelligent and outspoken  i must be a lesbian or bi-sexual. dudes always talking about taming me as if i’m sort of animal. the same could be said for any female who can hold her own. where is the sense in that mess?

i digress. so there’s a beef between lil kim and nicki minaj. this article is so poignant. apparently lil kim wants some homage paid to her in some unnamed form for nicki’s image. the wigs, the clothes are all based on kim’s old persona. but where did kim get it from? there’s nothing new under the sun ma’am. madonna has done it, cher has done it, erykah badu has done it, hell even boy george and elton john have done it. did you pay homage to them? or is it kim that you see your relevance fly out the window every time you hear a nicki minaj feature, or you’re sitting at home while she’s all over the television? she acknowledged you. did you acknowledge mia x? did you say ‘preshate you mia for being one of the first hard core female gangsta rappers with staying power’? no. because you weren’t checkin for mia x, the same way no body was checkin for nicki minaj because they thought she was a serial feature artist, a female figurehead in a sausage factory crew. what did you do to make sure you would stay relevant? not a lot. where’s your clothing line? your make up line? wig line? non profit? no? don’t have one? so you were just a flash in the pan then huh? didn’t take the time to brand your name like diddy, or jay z or any of the other rappers who also don’t pay you any attention.

do you do well to be angry lil kim?

nicki sings her own hooks. and can hold a pitch better than some of the more thirsty “r&b singers” out now (see keri hilson). she writes her own stuff, and we all know you’ve always had to negate having a ghostwriter. your diss record was weak, even for you.

she’s keeping you relevant. you sound bitter, desperate, THIRSTY. where’s your album? where’s your feature? you got street cred for going to jail. you didn’t come back hard. you didn’t pull a T.I. before you went to jail. his show was on MTV, yours on BET. when you came back where did you go? lil kim who?

this is sad because there aren’t a plethora of successful female rappers who still rap or made their name household fodder because they are businesswomen par excellence. this is like when a mother hates on her daughter because she’s still young perky and pretty. it’s that self actualization that one day we will be a memory. madonna and elton john have embraced lady gaga. why you hatin? and then here comes khia’s one (minor) hit wonder ass….nobody knew who you were until you were on that whack ass VH1 show and then you couldn’t even win that and you were a “real” rapper by then. you got clowned by wannabes. who does that?

minaj did a mini doc with MTV that was more revealing, more honest than any other artist we’ve seen. peeling back the persona and showing her self. she earned my respect (as much as i can muster for someone making millions of dollars while i’m unemployed and yet a starving artist) in that 53 minutes. she ‘bossed up’.

to the female rappers with nothing else to do… find something else to do. put out a record. make some money. get on twitter (if you even know what that is) get a lipstick. get your weight up. do SOMETHING. quit hatin. it’s so unbecoming of a lady, queen, or otherwise.

without works

i’d almost forgotten about Soledad O Brien’s Black in America: Almighty Debt special on CNN tonight. and then i logged on to twitter, and my time line was going bananas with the commentary. so i tuned in. again, o’briens’  newest installment of BiA, which i have either been for or against since it’s beginnings 3 years ago, opened the curtains for the rest of the world and presented, in all it’s beautiful ugliness, the perils and triumphs of the black community. this latest episode focused on, in case you missed the title, Debt. Specifically, debt and the church in the black community.

we were introduced to three storylines. there was fred philps, the high school student and aspiring actor, who dreamed of going to college to study his craft and pursue his dream. the next, carl fields, a 59 year old white collar professional who’d been out of work for 18 months and was looking, and finally, the jeffries, a couple about to lose their 3500 sq. ft. home to foreclosure.they are all parishioners at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, NJ, where Rev. DeForest Soaries, Jr. is pastor.

i will try to spare you the spoilers, as i am sure CNN will air this mini doc again soon. i am, however, going to give you my commentary about the documentary and the implications it has for the black community from my perspective (as i do).

i will start with young fred. now fred, in my mind, was misinformed. all of them were, but since he was the youngest subject presented, i will not necessarily count his lack against him. not totally at least. fred wanted to go to school to pursue acting. there’s nothing wrong with that. but there’s also nothing wrong with having good grades in high school and working to get into college. fred comes from a single parent home, his mother works two jobs, and we are told that his brother had been deported back to jamaica for selling drugs. he’d been in a situation where there were no lights or running water in his home and yet, he graduated and dared to dram big (insert applause and misty eyes here).

this is my issue. if you have a dream, do the research. don’t just think that because you want it, it will come to you. since this show was centered around the church and the black community or a black community, allow me to rephrase. the bible says that faith without works is dead. so while our dreams are important in a sense, without action, they are simply a beautiful, comforting, brain fart. this young man was misinformed. 12 years ago, i was a sophomore in high school. i made a decision about what  i wanted to study in college (music therapy, it changed three times before i actually graduated from college) . i loved music and i loved helping people and music therapy seemed like the best choice at the time. i did research on the subject itself, and on all the schools that would allow me to study such a thing. i kept my grades high, volunteered more, participated in more clubs and extracurricular activities, not because i wanted to, although it’s been documented that i had definitely had a reason to, but because i knew that the only way for me to get where i wanted to be was to make myself a fantastic candidate; i worked hard. fred did what fred does. he acted. and acted. and the pastor stepped in on his behalf and got him admitted and got him a job. he’s gonna need it. he’ll be 16,000+ in debt at the end of his freshman year. SIXTEEN GRAND. i couldn’t imagine. but then again, i ended up at Fort Valley State University, an HBCU in the heart of Georgia. my tuition and fees were covered for four years. because of my hard work. and the grace of God.

somebody told him to chase his dreams. it seemed no one said “before you chase your dreams, condition. train for the chase. prepare yourself.” so here’s this kid chasing his dreams. and pretty soon, the Department of Education will be chasing him, wanting their money.

carl fields was disappointing. he was 59 years old, had worked his way up the ranks to vp of some company doing something and was reduced to yet another laid off black man. he felt emasculated because he watched his wife get up every morning to go to work and he wasn’t. he was in the bed. and a few hours later he’d be getting up to go to the library and fill out more applications. i feel his pain, really i do. i got laid off. i’m STILL filling out applications. what i couldn’t vibe with was the fact that this is a man with 25 years of experience in a specific field, who’d worked his way up to VP status somewhere, and he didn’t start a consulting firm. he could have done that out of his home FOR FREE. dude, you’re sitting in a church full of people who could use the information you have in your brain. activate your faith! do the work!

where is our sense of self sufficiency? before “they” gave us anything, we had everything. we worked together and we were self sufficient.  i absolutely abhor the idea of having to work for someone else for the rest of my life. i don’t think i was created for such monotony. for some, that’s not a problem. i’m not one of those people. i think i have a lot of marketable skills and talents. i seize opportunities to work for myself as often as possible. this dude is sitting there with a gold mind (catch it) and is frustrated and disgruntled. faith without works is dead. yes, God is good. yes, God wants us to be blessed. but He also wants us to live delusion free. i think Rev. Soaries needs to add that to his dFree program. debt, delinquency, deficit, and DELUSION. because to believe that you cannot support yourself is a complete delusion. why wouldn’t you believe that the same God you pray to, the same God you praise, the same God that created EVERYTHING can take care of your needs? quit shuckin and jivin and start planning and networking for YOU. because you know that at your age you are more of a liability than a commodity. be a marketable, essential asset to yourself.

last and certainly not least are the Jeffries, who’d built their 3500 square foot home themselves. they’d lost a child and have a daughter who plays tennis and loves clothes. they were always well dressed and put their absolute best face forward. these people looked more like the people i’d seen at another incarnation of a church i’d once frequented. they had all the material trappings of what we would call “blessed” but under the surface, they were about to lose their home. SO many things struck me as odd with these people.

first, why does your daughter have a credit card and no job? i understand that the two of you were once very successful at whatever it is you do, but that is a past tense situation, presently, you’re about to lose your home. why isn’t she flipping burgers or ringing up a sweater or tee shirt somewhere? when asked if she knew how high her credit card bill was, she said no because she doesn’t want to focus on the negativity. she said she believes that all you really have to do is pray and God will work it out. how negative is homelessness again? i guess it’s not her problem really. she didn’t create the monster that she’s becoming.

secondly, you’ve downsized to one car…. but that one car is a bmw x5. i’m not hating. you once had the money to afford whatever you wanted to buy. but between the shopaholic daughter and basically having to beg the bank to let you stay in the house you built, doesn’t a toyota sound a little more appealing?

Rev. Soaries has a fantastic program at his church. dFree. i love it. in fact, i’m probably gonna go register once i finish this post. the jeffries lady said she’ll go once she finds out whether or not the bank is gonna take her house. how’s that for hindsight? i know it seems like i’m a little more harsh on them than i was on the others. but it’s a symptom of an overwhelming pandemic that is stifling the body of Christ. we are in the world and becoming more OF the world. that’s not how it’s supposed to be.

the prosperity doctrine is like a cancer. it teaches that if we sow enough seeds, and speak enough life that God will bless us with riches and wealth and health. here’s the rub. prosperity is not all about being rich. the bible teaches us more about how we are to relate to one another, believers and non, than it does about being rich. in fact, it admonishes us to avoid the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life.

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 1 John 2:15-16

these three things are hairy little imps that can creep into the lives of any believer who has ever faced the possibility of being embarrassed at how unsuccessful they are at keeping up with the joneses. FORGET THE JONESES. prosperity is about being a blessing to others because you’ve been blessed. can you read? FANTASTIC. can you help someone learn who can’t? do you have a dollar to spare? AWESOME! will you give it to the old lady in front of you who’s 13 cents short on her groceries? do you know anyone with a problem? HALLELUJAH! are you willing to pray for them instead of just pitying them? be a blessing because you’ve been blessed. of course there are more examples than this, but you’re not typing now are you?

my mind is not focused on prosperity. i used to attend a church where that was the goal. to get wealthy. how does my soul prosper in all this wealth i’m petitioning God for? i still don’t know. how does a new car and a new house and all this stuff help me when my husband tells me he’s leaving me? or when my daughter tells me she is attracted to women? or when my boss calls me a nigger? or when i can’t shake this mood indigo? what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?

we are to be good stewards over what we are given. tithing (no money? no worries, tithe your time, your talent, etc) saving, preserving. being prudent and wise with what we have. you can’t honestly expect God to give you a bentley if the kia that you have is constantly in need of some repair not because of how it’s made but because of your negligence. you can’t honestly expect God to make you stupid rich if right now you’re just stupid. c’mon son.

i have no need for this jackpot jesus nonsense in my life. i think we need to get real with ourselves and with each other about what is really being asked of us and what we are doing as a community in EVERY aspect, not just our finances. the political climate is such that any bad move on our part will constitute another generation having to pay for our mistakes. we can’t afford that. suzanne malveaux made a fantastic point about blacks and wealth. i won’t spoil it for you.

i will leave you with this, in hopes that you understand why simply throwing up a hail mary prayer to Jesus won’t help if you’re waiting on him to just give you stuff….or get you out of a mess you created from your own foolishness.

James 2:14-26 (New King James Version)

Faith Without Works Is Dead

14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your[a] works, and I will show you my faith by my[b] works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?[c] 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”[d]And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Footnotes: 

  1. James 2:18 NU-Text omits your.
  2. James 2:18 NU-Text omits my.
  3. James 2:20 NU-Text reads useless.
  4. James 2:23 Genesis 15:6

New King James Version (NKJV)

 

Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

 

goodnight.

in GOD we trust

I weigh about 186 pounds, so if/when I step on your toes, it may hurt a bit. Consider yourself forewarned.

I have prayed, pondered, and contemplated the allegations against Bishop Eddie L. Long for the past few days. For those of you who don’t know, Bishop Long is the pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, GA; a behemoth of a mega church with upwards of 30,000+ members . I’ve never been there, don’t think I’ve even been near it, but I’ve heard of it. Until this scandal (if you must name it such) I didn’t realize how many of my friends and family were parishioners there, we’ll discuss that later. But it’s a huge church, with a massive following. They have a gift shop (as mega churches and seemingly most churches nowadays do) and car tags, which I thought was cool. Not really cool enough for me to check out, but cool in a “hey, they rep their church…. Cool” kind of way. I digress.

Recently, two (now three with the possibility of more) young men alleged that the bishop had engaged in some unsavory activities of a clandestine sexual nature (with extortion tactics soon to follow) with members of the church’s young men’s group. The two initial claimants had been indicated in a 2009 break in and robbery of the church. Their supposed motive? Rumors that the bishop had engaged in unsavory acts with other young men.

As soon as the story broke, my followers on twitter went in. Defending and disparaging (as we do) both the bishop and the two young men. Although I have many friends and family members in the metro area, I didn’t know until this week how many of them attended New Birth. Not that this new insight had any bearings on my opinion, it was just an interesting side note. Some of them, whom I didn’t even know went to church at all, were adamant about the innocence of their spiritual father, others were just angry that anyone would choose to make such an allegation. Understandable.

I’ve been asked to weigh in on this subject twice today. And my opinion has been consistent… I hope that those reading this will be patient as I expound upon this point and make my case, if you cannot, please close this window and go on with your life, God Bless you.

Eddie Long is a man of God. at some point in his existence, a call was placed on his life that he could not ignore which set him on a path he could not walk away from. The call to ministry is as serious, and to some (myself included) more serious than anything else one can be “destined” to become involved in because it is a divine assignment, one that God holds in high regard, and the one with the most benefits and consequences. The job is to be a shepherd of souls, leading people to Jesus Christ and away from the perils of sin. It is a heavy task, job, responsibility for any man or woman, and it is not without its fair share of work and hardship as we each must work out our own soul’s salvation. In all of that though, we must realize that before he was Bishop, he was Eddie, a man. Men, and women alike, while in this carnal, fleshly suit, make mistakes. I am not proclaiming his guilt or innocence, because I don’t know, I’m simply stating fact, he is human.

And so is my bishop. A man.

In our haste to make mountains out of men, our hero-worship, we lose sight of our humanity. By our, I mean our own and that of the others we hold in positions of respect and authority. We look quickly at the “fallen” or transgressed brother or sister, not remembering that we too fall short of the glory of God. If you do not believe, then this will sound like the ramblings of a simple “follower” of a religion. And we all know how some “intellectuals” feel about religion. *shrugs* Think of it this way, would you want someone passing judgement on you so quickly, or would it not matter because you’re not a person of “public interest”. Wrong is wrong. The Bible says we should go to our church elders to handle discrepancies or injustices. Not the media. We are in this world but not of it, therefore we are to handle ourselves a bit differently. I’ve been in a situation where it was indeed the pastor who’d wronged me. Taking it to the elders did no good. In such a scenario, I had to make another decision and go a different route. What i’m suggesting here is that the outlet for their frustrations should not have been robbery or the media. It should have been the church. If they felt they would have been ostracized or not heard, surely there would have been cause to go into the world for justice, but not first. Having said that, the choice was not mine to make, and I understand that we each have the right to deal with life the way we see fit, not the way others tell us to see fit.

Can we try not to make gods of men? We know that our Father is a jealous God, and probably wouldn’t be very pleased with the way we worship our leaders. My Bishop is my spiritual father, as many of you have described your pastors and reverends. I love him for who he is. But I take very little thought of him as some kind of superhero. He is to me a MAN of GOD. Meaning he, like many other HUMANS, has decided to walk the path of ministry. I believe he takes his calling seriously and truly cares about his flock. Had these allegations come against him, I can’t say that I would have been as calm and considerate as I am about someone else’s pastor. But I would be very slow to judge, and very quick to pray. In fact, my Bishop admonished us to pray for our brother and his flock. So I suggest you do the same, if you do pray that is. Pray for the body of Christ. Pray for the Bishops, Pastors, Reverends, Elders, and all other leaders in your church and every other. We are set apart. Let’s act like it. Before we enter into worldly behaviours, let’s do what we do. Pray. Pray for truth, for strength, for right, for the will of God to be carried out.

How would you feel if the world turned against your Pastor? exactly. Have some compassion and pray for our brothers and sisters. Leave the judgements to the judges and the Judge. Did you catch that?

it is in God that we put our faith. not our pastors, not our mothers, not our selves. but God. we realize that God is the author and finisher of our faith. i love to hear my bishop sing, but i understand that his talent and skill with his voice is not his own, it is God working through him. i love to hear him preach, again, God works through him. God works through us, his people. it is to Him, the creator of all things, that we must run to, listen to, pray to and worship. not each other and most definitely not ourselves.

let’s let God be true and every man a liar. let’s focus on strengthening the body of Christ and going forward in faith and love during these crazy times. the church has enough issues not to be praying for and loving each other. we have enough enemies and vultures waiting to feast on our flesh. we must encourage each other and worship, praise and trust God that he will go to war with those who war with us.

i refuse to go into the whole homosexuals in the church thing with y’all because i already talked about it and you weren’t listening. so pray for Eddie Long, his family, and his flock. i will.

meanwhile, back at the farm: black farmers and the race against time

i’m from macon county, ga. if you look on a map and blink, or if there’s a spot on your glasses, you may just overlook it. it’s small. the population is just over 14,000, which averages out to about 35 people per square mile. the town i’m from has one traffic light, seen here:

the one traffic light in my town

 

 it’s that small. my family is based in five points, the outlying rural area between montezuma and marshallville. if you drive that way, you’ll see fields,

trees,

cows,

 silos and more of the same.

there are houses dotting the landscape, but by and large, you’re in for a very green, somewhat boring ride. that’s because everyone in five points is either a farmer or a descendant of a farmer. my great grandparents built a life on farming. they raised 5 children (four of their own and one adopted relative, which was commonplace in those times) on a spread of hilly, fertile breathtakingly beautiful Georgia earth about fifteen minutes away from montezuma.

when my great grandfather died, my great uncle, Timothy Odom, Sr. left grade school to help his mother work on the farm. this was also commonplace during that time. life was hard but not impossible. together they planted and harvested vegetables and raised livestock to support their immediate and extended family members through wars, the klan and the ravages of black life on a farm. my uncle loved farming. it was in his blood. his sisters went on to college and became educators and nurses, but he loved the land. so there he stayed. his hard work helped him support his own family of 13 children, with over half of them graduating from college, all of them successful, 3 of them farmers.

in 1997, Timothy Pigford along with some 400 other black farmers, filed a lawsuit against the United States Department of Agriculture, claiming, among other things, that between the years of 1981 and 1997 the USDA had been discriminatory in its practices when it came time to show the farmers the money. any businessman will tell you that it takes money to make money. farms are no different. money buys the seeds, the feed, the animals that eat the feed, covers property taxes, employees,  purchases or fixes the equipment, gets insurance and keeps the farmer afloat. well, the black farmers were categorically and systematically denied these monies. and it hurt their farms. it hurt their livelihood. it hurt their pride. as i mentioned before my uncle left school to help his mother with their family farm. farming was what he knew. though he was intelligent and probably could have excelled at any other occupation, farming is what he loved. there was no alternative. so it is for many black farmers. they were working hard making a living off the land. and the same government that took taxes from them, gave farmers of the white persuasion the fundage necessary to thrive and left the black farmers quite literally in the dust.

the Pigford v. Glickman case was settled in 1999 with some 16,000 claims to be paid and another 7,000 denied. in February 2010, Congress had a chance to allocate the 1.25 billion dollars in funds needed to pay the rest of the farmers who were owed monies but went on their break without doing so. the monies would have been slated to be disbursed in summer 2011.

meanwhile, back at the farm, the old black farmers are slowly dying out. my great uncle passed away March 11, 2010, at home, on his farm. he won’t see the settlement money. won’t get to buy that new tractor he’d been wanting. like many of his fellow fallen farmers, justice was just outside their grasp. i recent emailed my two senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson asking them to push for this money to finally be allocated and disbursed before any more of the nearly 33,000 black farmers miss their chance to see some sort of acknowledgement from the government. i have not received responses.

it’s funny that the USDA would fire a black woman for talking about considering not helping a white farmer 20 something years ago. in the wake of the Shirley Sherrod fiasco,  no USDA officials were or are in jeopardy of losing their jobs because of discriminatory practices.

meanwhile, back at the farm, somebody could use a new tractor.