Sunday, March 6, 2011

Birthdays and a Black Woman's Hair

I was born in Jamaica on March 11, 1964. So that makes me 47 in a few days. But don't think I'm so brave to tell you my age (BTW: presents are appreciated.)  Once you've been a politician, your whole life is public--just look me up on Wikipedia. Now some of it is true and some are lies. Well, one reporter got his "facts" wrong 10 years ago and it keeps popping up. Even heard it again last month as someone read my bio outloud. Grrrr. I guess that's why my father always said, "Believe some of what you hear and half of what you read."

But I want to talk about a black woman's hair and stomp being a wimp. Watch me connect it to my birthday.

My mother's father came from a people in Jamaica called Maroons. They were Africans, brought to Jamaica as slaves, but killed their white owners and claimed to have never mixed with other races of Jamaicans. So it's a wonder that my mother, who is of very dark complexion, had very coarse, but very long hair--between shoulder blades! My father, on the other hand, had a mother who was half-Syrian and his father was half white or three-quarters something else....

So my hair was something of a hodgepodge. My mother told me never to relax my hair since people said I had "good hair"--because the relaxer would destroy it. See, I wanted bouncing and behaving, fly away hair.  Well, I didn't listen and I later regretted it. While we are here, what is "good hair"? I detest hearing people describe hair in these terms and it is long past time for us to know better. If it is "good hair," then I am diminished!  Good compared to what? Already we are having to tell the grandchild that her hair is what God wanted for her.
And what got me talking about this hair business is that I have a birthday coming up--as I already mentioned. And birthdays have a way of making you consider what you've accomplished in your life, what you could have done better, opportunites you might have missed, etc. Yesterday, I washed my hair with the new procedures that I learned from See I've decided that I'm no longer spending X dollars at the beauty shop and endless hours to get my hair straight so that it's acceptable. Acceptable to whom? What is acceptable?

So, I read Moptop's blog for hours, watched the videos, bought the products and have been faithful to it for three months now. Yesterday was my time to try the Henna treatment.

I prepared the Henna from the night before and put it on my hair. I walked around with that mess on my hair for four hours, stinking, then conditioning, then putting four different products on my hair, then blow drying, and finally to bed. I looked over at my husband, who has cut his hair so close that he's almost bald. I got real mad. All he does is wash and go!

Then before church this morning, I spent another hour getting my hair straight with the curling iron! As I watched the plumes of smoke rise from my head, I wondered if I'd burned my hair and undone all the work I've been fastidious about. This is now the fourth time in my life that I've that I have chopped off my hair--I mean down to the skull, to start all over to get my hair back to natural. And I start to get mad again. Why? Why am I doing this? I'm going to 47 in a few days! Why am I spending ssooo much time on my hair? Have I learned nothing and here I'm about to be one year older?

So here's what I've decided: I'm done--like the Sesame Street video says.  Done with making my hair presentable.

What is presentable?  Does it have to be smooth to be presentable?  Done with being a slave to my hair. Done with spending money on it. Just plain done. So, if you see me one day and I have hair as long as Lady Godiva and the next it's in an afro, don't ask me if it was a wig. You know it had to be a wig! I'm not gonna worry that the grand kids will talk about my wig in public. I don't care that YOU are trying to figure that it's not my hair because, "Girl, you know she can't get it that straight!" I don't care that you know that last month it was black and this month it's got some grey, "So you know she had to have been coloring it!" Naw, I don't care anymore.

This is the hair God gave me. I'm not being a militant, black woman--just wearing my hair naturally, the hair God wanted me to have. He knew this was the best hair for me. So, no more wimping out! Yes! It's a wig! Yes! I colored it! Yes! My hair is this long or maybe not! Yes! This time it's really my own hair!

By the way, the hour I spent before church on getting my own, natural hair straight did look nice today. Husband said so. Easy for him to say: like I said, all he does is wash and go. But, maybe I'll put off buying the wig until my next birthday--when I do my self assessment, again. And get mad, again.

Monday, January 10, 2011

In Whose Name?

Remember learning about the Speakeasies from the 1920s where, if you wanted to get an alcoholic drink, you would have to mention a powerful name to get in?  Then think about this Bible verse where Jesus says,

  • "23 At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. The truth is you can go directly to the Father and ask him, and he will grant your request because you use my name.
  • 24 You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.
  • 25 I have spoken of these matters in figures of speech, but soon I will stop speaking figuratively and will tell you plainly all about the Father. 26 Then you will ask in my name. I’m not saying I will ask the Father on your behalf,
  • 27 for the Father himself loves you dearly because you love me and believe that I came from God.[b]"
  • John 16: 23-27

Get it?  Powerful stuff, isn't it?

Since I learn more by doing and seeing,  when I was praying last night, I wrote, "Jesus sent me", on a piece of paper; so, as I was talking to the God--the Father, I pushed the paper forward--like they would as they tried to get into the Speakeasie.  Yes, I know it may seem childish, but our Father understands.  See, this was my was of telling God that Jesus' name gives me the ability to come to Him, to speak boldy to Him, to ask Him  for help.

Yes, Jesus did indeed send me!  Jesus' name opens doors!  While we are here, don't forget that, "...we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. 15 And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for."  I John 5: 14 -15

And James 1:5,6 reminds us, "If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer."

I want to caution you that the "name it and cliam it stuff doesn't work MOST of the time becuase we forget the other Bible verse that wanrs us that, "...when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure." (James 4:3)

So, this is not a formula for prayer folks, but God's way of parenting.  Those of us who are parents readily recognize God's ways of giving us what we ask for because we make the same conditions to our children.

As I finish here, whatever you do today, remember the POWER of the name of Jesus.

Happy New Year!





Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Prayer that Riled the Kansas Legislature

'Heavenly Father,

We come before You today to ask Your Forgiveness and seek Your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, ''Woe to those who call evil good,'' but that's exactly what we have done. We have lost our Spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values.

We confess that; we have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it pluralism;
We have worshipped other gods and called it multiculturalism;
We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle;
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery;
We have neglected the needy and called it self preservation;
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare;
We have killed our unborn and called it choice;
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable;
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem;
We have abused power and called it political savvy;
We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition;
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression;
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, O God, and know our hearts today; try us and see if there be some wicked way in us; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of this state and who have been ordained by You, to govern this great state of Kansas. Grant them your wisdom to rule and may their decisions direct us to the center of Your Will.

I ask in in the name of your Son, The Living Savior, Jesus Christ."

The prayer you have just read was prayed on January 23, 1996, Pastor Joe Wright, of the Central Christian Church in Wichita, was guest chaplain to pray in the Kansas Legislature (House) that day. He prayed a prayer of repentance that was written by Bob Russell, pastor of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky. According to an article in the Kansas City Star from January 24, 1996, his prayer did stir controversy and one member of the legislative body walked out. Others criticized the prayer. The controversy didn't end there. Later that year in the Colorado House, Republican representative Mark Paschall angered lawmakers by using Joe Wright's prayer as the invocation. Some members there also walked out in protest.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

It's NOT the economy, Stupid!

"'It's the economy, stupid'" was a phrase in American politics widely used during Bill Clinton's successful 1992 presidential campaign against George H. W. Bush. For a time, Bush was considered unbeatable because of foreign policy developments such as the end of the Cold War and the Persian Gulf War. The phrase, ...made popular by Clinton campaign strategist James Carville, refers to the notion that Clinton was a better choice because Bush had not adequately addressed the economy, which had recently undergone a recession'"-Wikipedia

Well, I am here to tell you that it's NOT the economy, Stupid.   As Christians, is our trust in the economy or in God?  Can God not turn the economy around?  And we are told to vote for this or that candidate because they will bring our economy back to life--forget about the moral issues.

So we're back to that, then--the almighty dollar?  Forget about the moral issues, we are told.  Well, does God forget about the moral issues?  Does He look past a candidate who supports abortion so much so that the candidate votes that babies born alive should be left to die on the table--even if the baby is breathing on its own?  Even  if the baby is FULL TERM?  Folks, we are operating on babies at 21 weeks!  A full-term baby is 40 weeks!

Does God look past homosexual marriage even though His word says, "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God" 1Corinthians 6:9, etc

And you can try to use the Bible to contradict itself and think you're scoring points like this presidential candidate did, but you're not  In the Old Testament if you committeed certain sins you were stoned.  But when Jesus was presented with the adulerous woman, He did not stone her.  He did tell her not to do it again.  Jesus is looking for repentance. 

 Our families are breaking down and, therefore, our society is breaking down.  We say if only the poor had more money and if only the rich would part with more of theirs.  But, people, that's the economic talk again.  Can the economy fix what' really ails us: a lack of morality?  Morality tells us not to steal, not to cheat, to treat everyone equally regardless of their monetary worth (because they are valuable to God), etc.  Can money fix that?

On our money is stamped our national motto, "In God we trust."  But, we are acting like our national motto says, "In our Economy we trust."  Has our economy taken the place of our God?  Have we forgotten that,  "It is God who gives us the ability to create wealth"? Deuteronomy 8:18 

Folks, let's heed Elijah, "If the Lord is God, follow Him, but if [the Economy] is god, follow him."  1 Kings 18:21.

(PS:  When the next presidential candidate shows up, I'll give him/her the same treatment.)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Who you gonna believe?

From Oprah to Bill Maher, we are told that all roads lead to heaven or there is no heaven.  So, if you want to know where a person stands when it comes to Jesus, just ask them, "Who is Jesus to you?"  This is the same question that Jesus asked His disciples in Matthew 16:15. 

Buddhists believe that Jesus was a good teacher, though less important than Buddha.

Hindus believe that Jesus was just one of many incarnations or sons of God, that he did not die for people's sin.

Muslims believe that Jesus was the second greatest prophet because Muhammad is greater than Jesus.

In Jainism you are responsible for your destiny and that it is possible to reach a perfect state through your own actions, because of karma.

The Mormon Church teaches that God the Father is a resurrected human man who is a married being who has "spirit children" in Heaven; Jesus was also born in the pre-existence to God the Father and one of his wives; and that Jesus and the devil are brothers born to God and one of his wives.

Wiccans say Jesus went through individuation, meaning He embraced His "dark side"

Jehovahs Witness teach that before His earthly life, Jesus was a spirit creature, Michael the archangel, who was created by God and became the Messiah at His baptism.

And there are other religions that deny Jesus.
So who you gonna believe?  Do all roads lead to heaven?  Are we all worshipping the same God?
(meanings taken from various sources)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Family Ties--Ishmael

I have certain decisions to make and not knowing which way God wants me to go, it appears that I am to do nothing at this point but wait.  And so, as I always do, I checked in the Bible to see if an example of this (when one is confused about God's direction then do nothing) was there.

Of course it was.  The Bible leaves nothing to the imagination.  I found that when God Himself stopped Paul from preaching the Gospel (!) in Mysia, Paul went down to Troas to wait on the Lord (Acts 16).  And there are other instances where God tells us to wait on Him.

Well, I started thinking about Ishmael (because Abraham, as you know, could wait no longer), and wondered just what became of Ishmael's twelve sons (Genesis 25:9-18)?  I came upon these two websites and their family charts.  You might want to read them for yourself.

You realize, once again, that we're all family and yet we fight so.  But then we don't need a history chart to tell us that we can't get along--it's in our own families!  So Stop Being A Christian Wimp and forgive your family member (or members). 

It takes more courage and power to forgive while it's easier to wimp-out and not forgive--don't you agree?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Laughter: the Dental Way

You know, we sometimes see God, or as like to call Him:  Daddy (that's what Abba means), as just waiting for us to mess up and then "BAM!"  He hammers us.  Now what kind of sadistic Father would that make Him out to be?

 ABBA Verses:  Mark 14:36, Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6

And then, we could even say Dad would also be schizophrenic:

1.) one minute He is stripped naked in front of people, then allows Himself to whipped with an instrument that takes his flesh off, is cursed and spat upon, is hung on a cross, barely being able to breathe, skin and blood sticking to the splinters in the cross, more cursing and all because he wants to save us and take us to be home with Him;

 BUT then next minute

2.)  God is waiting to clean our clock, to find reason to be angry with us?

C'mon!  Who you gonna believe:  God or satan?  Either Dad loves us to death (hey!) or He is against us.  Can't He make up His mind?  Are you gonna let the evil one convince you that you're so far gone that even God can't save you?  That your sin is so great that not even the blood of Jesus is powerful enough to wash that away?  And will you let the enemy tell you, "You just can't ask for forgiveness for that sin and expect that God will be immediately cool with you.  You've got to give it time."  Rubbish!  God is always quick to forgive:  Jonah 4:2 and Luke 15:30.  So don't wimp out, tell the enemy to get away from you.

And let's lighten up today, people.  Watch this video that will make you laugh.  And that's another thing, why would Dad create us with the ability to laugh only to want us to live a life where we're so pious we look like we've been sucking on lemons all day?

Remember, righteousness comes from the inside out, not the other way around!

Here's the video

Post some of your "laugh" videos here!