My 2016

Bittersweet.

This is my personal word for the year of 2016. Looking at the celebrities that have passed away, the stories that have made the news, and the events around the world, I can only reflect on my own personal journey through these last 365 days.

Let’s do a quick review of why I think this is so.

January 2016: Rang in the new year with good friends in Sydney, Australia AND Celebrated Australia Day with a Sunburn (but still take good photos :))

February 2016: Employed for the month in a for-profit college system (For Profit Universities are NOT my cup of tea)

March 2016: Unemployed through the month. No income & bills still needed to be played. 

April 2016: 23rd Birthday Celebration with a great friend in Wine Country (Hunter Valley) NSW. Found a job at non-profit organization;

May 2016: Week-long festivities with friends in Sydney. Bon-voyage from Sydney, Australia for the SECOND time in my life. My Grandfather passed away. Welcomed Back to KY with my Berea Friends upon returning from Australia!!! 

June 2016: Unemployed (again). Not hired on at Berea College for the third time.  

July 2016: Hired at Blackboard. PAID for my first car.

August 2016: $534 Bill from a Surgery that happened in 2013. Wedding Ceremony for “My Fresh(wo)man.” Berea started with a student taking his own life. Began singing with Berea College Black Music Ensemble as an Alumnus of the College/Choir.

September 2016: Reunited with my nieces & nephew. My Uncle took his own life.

October 2016: Walked ~2.5 miles in Pulaski Co Park. Reunited with a great brother from Berea. Hookah & great conversations with “mother” of my group of friends. This Shall be known as the October Reunion with Friends! 

November 2016: HOMECOMING 2016!!! Student at Berea College took his own life. Hired Full-Time at Blackboard. Sick at Thanksgiving.

December 2016: Christmas Concert Performed for a total of 8.5 hours but 60 minutes of footage would be broadcast Nationally on Christmas Eve on CBS ( I got a few good camera angles). “Dad” of my group of friends became an Alumnus!!! Got to say “Goodbye” to a good friend who didn’t give up at Berea and graduated. Sick at Christmas. Realized that I will be applying to Graduate Programs beginning in January 2017.

2016 has been one doozy of a year for the world on a national scale; however, my personal experiences show that sweetness can happen in the midst of the struggle. Trials and tribulations hurt! Bitterness stings. Yet, here’s the one thing that matters the most: happiness. Choosing to be happy is a personal choice that I will take with me through 2017.

You don’t have to take my word from it, as one of my favorite TV shows & the alien simply known as The Doctor reminds us:

Things end, that’s all. Everything ends, and it’s always sad. But everything begins again, too, and that’s always happy. Be happy. 

 

References

Moffat, S.W. (Writer), & Bazalgette E. (Director). (Dec. 25, 2016). The return of doctor mysterio. In  P. Bennett (Producer). Doctor who. Wales: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC Wales).

 

Posted in Personal, Personal Development | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Stand in the Light

You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. I Thessalonians 5:5-6; 8-11

“Stand in the light and be seen as you are” is a verse from a beautiful song by Kentucky native, Jordan Smith, winner of NBC’s The Voice.

The album that he debuted with had that hit on it and this is something that has come to mind as I have read part of a letter from Paul talking about the end of time. I could talk about it–but for Paul, it was a part of clarification instead of full instruction.

These verses speak on living a life in the light. Johnny Cash said that “God is going to cut you down” for what’s “done in the dark will be brought to the light” as Jordan Smith expressed to live as you are in the light.

Paul confirms our identity in Christ: “Sons of the light; daughters of the Day” (MSG Translation). Being in the light requires attention and requires one to pay attention to their surroundings. That’s what Paul has suggested to us for the end of times. May I also suggest that Paul alludes to standing firm in your faith as you wouldn’t notice the subtle pride and arrogance the people are in until it was too late if you don’t stand firm? That’s what I think of some of verse 6 and 7 allude to.

Back to these verses: The letter to the Thessalonians is thought to be one of Paul’s earliest works. If that’s the case then we can see the beginnings for the Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-16) where faith and love are a breastplate and hope of salvation is a helmet. And it’s a joyous occasion to be filled with salvation when our Master calls us home!

Summary:
Stay vigilant.
Stay awake.
Love live.
Live Love.
Encourage one another and build up community so everyone may live with together with the Almighty God.

Posted in Christian Journey | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Love More

Regarding life together and getting along with each other, you don’t need me to tell you what to do. You’re God -taught in these matters. Just love one another! You’re already good at it; your friends all over the province of Macedonia are the evidence. Keep it up; get better and better at it. Stay calm; mind your own business; do your own job. You’ve heard all this from us before, but a reminder never hurts. We want you living in a way that will command the respect of outsiders, not lying around sponging off your friends.
1 Thessalonians 4:9‭-‬12 MSG

Paul has spoken to the Thessalonians before about the practice of loving each other as he has alluded to before in this chapter.

What’s interesting though is that their practice of loving the Maacedonians was taught to them BY GOD! This is interesting to me because it brings up a question: How were they taught?

If they were taught by God for the example of unconditional love for everyone by giving us Jesus as that sacrifice for our sins–dedication and a live of promise. They looked to God’s example and practiced unconditional love.

They could have used Paul’s testimony as the power of love–the chief of sinners! God’s power of conversion of Saul to Paul of God calling Saul out by name an using him as a cornerstone in the foundation of the church. This example is something that I wonder about as being relatable to me because of where I have been and where I fear that I was going. The power of LOVE that can rewrite a course–that’s powerful and amazing love!

What’s even more interesting is that Paul says: LOVE MORE; “get better at it.” And he then goes forward with how the Thessalonians can get better at loving one another: live in a way that commands respect from outsiders.

Is this where “Kill them with Kindness”comes from? Because it can fit here. Love them with actions that will make everyone notice. And sooner or later, someone will ask: Why are you so happy all the time? Then you can smile cheeky and boldly and proudly reply: It must be the Jesus in me!

Posted in Christian Journey | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

The (Non) Mirror of the Olympic Games

 

Author’s Note: This was written in February 2015 for a course over the history of the Olympic Games. The paper below was a proposition paper where we had to analyze both sides of a situation and then give our own personal opinion. In honor of the upcoming 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, I wanted to share two papers from my undergrad career that sheds some light on how the Games, in my opinion, are not a mirror of the World and are NOT benefical. Read my paper below, refer to the resources cited below, and share your own opinions on it. 

Greek mythology states that the idea of fire, in essence knowledge, was given to humankind by Prometheus (Prometheus, 2013). The flame introduced humankind to the revelations of life which upset Zeus and the Greek Gods. Prometheus was punished by Zeus by being chained to a rock where birds would eat from his liver on daily basis as it would form a new each day due to his immortality. This idea of revolution against political leaders enables the history of the Olympic Games to embrace hope and perseverance that can evolve into the idea of being an equal to the Olympic Gods as seen by Prometheus’ revolt. The flame that is introduced at the ceremonies of the Olympic Games pays homage to this act which influences the ways in which the Olympic Games are recognized. In summary, the flame that Prometheus stole is a symbol to the world (and athletes) of today’s Olympic Games to pay honor and respect to the man who wanted to educate all peoples where education was once controlled. The flame begins from Athens playing tribute to the Greek Gods and Prometheus and through the Games, the flame is center stage to where everyone can see the flame throughout the Olympic Park that continue to burn for the duration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tomlinson, 2005).

To be an Olympian, one would have to encompass the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Olympic Charter revised in 2013. The Charter holds seven fundamental principles that are made to embrace all the ideals of the Games. One can research the charter for themselves; however, it is interesting to note the first principle as quoted from the Olympic Charter (2013):  Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example, social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles (p. 11).  

This ideology implies that every athlete be willing to have a new philosophy that helps spread the values of the IOC and what they continue to perpetuate their own self-interests which will be discussed momentarily. For now, this principle instills that anyone who wants to be an Olympian be able to bring sport, culture, education, social responsibility, and ethics into a balance of pursuing the gold as the athletes participate in the Olympic Games. This symbol of sportsmanship is guaranteed for any athlete who wishes to participate in the Olympic Movement as “belonging to the Olympic Movement requires compliance with the Olympic Charter and recognition by the IOC” (Olympic Charter, 2013, p. 12). In hindsight, this may be good for athletes to be able to be recognized by the IOC as the IOC owns and sells the rights to broadcast, endorse, and produce anything that the athletes are a part of including using the athletes in commercials for the Games. What athlete would not like being shown to the world from video footage (e.g. qualifying round footage, past game performances, medal ceremonies) to endorse the Games as it is recognized today? This is a question that can be analyzed in another paper but for now it simply segues into looking at two perspectives of why the Olympic Games are not a mirror to the world as they are.

For the average person, the Olympic Games are known to be played every two years, rotating every four years between the seasonal games (i.e. summer and winter). The location of the Games has been debated since the revival of them in 1896 when Coubertin wanted the games to have a permanent city (Young, 2005) while others felt that as the world participates, the world should play host. By hosting the Olympic Games, cities hope for an economic boost to the city’s economy (Cashman, 2002) but also realize the negative effect of financing the Games as seen by Montreal having a debt being paid off nearly 30 years later after hosting the 1976 Olympic Games (Newtown, 2012, para. 2). The negatives of the financial burden of hosting the games rest predominately on the host city (Cashman, 2002). A host city has to be able to show the IOC the benefits of hosting the Games and how the Games will benefit from being hosted in said city. For many cities, the benefit lies in the economic promises post-Olympics which sadly do not come to pass as the city desired as Cashman suggests. The cities seem to only be involved in the pre-Games, and Game duration (16 days), but fail to do anything productive post-games. For some, the productivity includes a festival a year after the games but for some a celebration cannot take place as regrets stand nearby. To sum up this first argument against the idea of the Games are a mirror to the world for what they are, financial misfortune and miscalculations exist which may put the cities in more debt than they wished, as seen with Montreal. Financials should be analyzed pre-Games but also post-Games to ensure that the words entrusted to host the games do come pass as seen with the success of Barcelona in 1992 (Botella, 1995).

Another reason that many fail to see the Olympics as a mirror to the world include the controversies that surround the Games as a whole. The controversies surrounding the Games themselves (e.g. 1976 U.S. men’s basketball game against Soviet Russia) or the controversies surrounding the IOC (e.g. the killing of Mexico City students in the Tlatelolco Massacre in 1968). These controversies are simply manifestations of human judgment that interferes with the games due to the weight of the country they are representing or the idea of human and civil rights being protested in many games including the 68 Mexico City Games and the last Winter Games in 2014 in Sochi, Russia. The controversies are either by athletes or are impacted by the IOC due to the capitalization and commercialization of the Olympic Games. Hindsight is 20/20 but scholars suggest that the IOC is out to make money which in business terms, it’s all about the bottom dollar (Achbar and Simpson, 2003; Muchinsky 2012). The IOC is a corporation who are out to serve their own interests including many scandals in which host cities are at the center of (e.g. Salt Lake City Scandal).

With the summary of four different perspective arguments of what the Olympic Games mean, I find myself siding that the Olympic Games are not a mirror to the world for how they are. I take into consideration many viewpoints but I look to a local athlete that suggests countries only want the medal and like the IOC, simply do not care for the athletes. Local newspaper in Berea, Paint Lick Reflections, discussed the 1972 men’s basketball game in the Olympics held in Munich, Germany. Kentucky Olympian Kenny Davis retold the story of having to play the last three seconds of the title match between Soviet Russia three times. In the 2002 article, Davis recounts how the entire U.S. men’s team refused to the silver medal after winning and then losing the gold. I had the privilege of having Davis come to class to discuss this controversial game and he ensured everyone that no man on the basketball team wants the silver medal because they want the gold medal. In fact, the U.S. Olympic Committee urged the basketball team to get the silver! Our own country was willing to cowardly accept second place when we had won the gold! As previously alluded to, countries only care about the medals that they are receiving and not the players! It has already been stated that the IOC is likened to that of a corporation who are selfish but it is upsetting to see that countries who pride themselves on doing the right thing want to blow over the incident just to receive a medal. It is a revolting thing to think about and unnerving to hear from a legendary athlete that had to live through the after effects of being in Munich 40 yards from the terrorist attacks that would become known as the Munich Massacre.

Furthermore, the games are not a mirror to the world as they are because they capitalize on the monetary gains made by having the Games—remember the IOC controls the production and promotion of the Games. Take for instance the Opening Ceremonies of the Games. In the United States, directors, writers, and producers have the opportunity to be nominated for Emmy Awards for the “Outstanding directing for a Variety/Music/Comedy” (Toohey & Veal, 2012, p. 145). Not only is the American Olympic Committee wanting to bring home the most medals but we are also trying to get people to produce/direct/write the best Opening Ceremony. It is a scary thought to see that everything has a price tag as it relates to the Olympic Games; even broadcasters are entangled in this understanding for presenting the information over television. The addition of many large personalities to the NBC Universal commentators for the broadcast of the Games, like Ryan Seacrest and Apollo Ohno, suggest that NBC is looking to cash in on the best possible income for the Games (Moraes, 2012, para. 2). After all, having former Olympians run correspondence for the games, including commentary, on an event that they participated would hopefully introduce more viewers to the games therefore increasing the revenue for the company.

The Olympic Games. Just writing/reading these words should bring some information to your brain. Rather it be the five Olympic Rings or being able to call out Olympians by name, the Olympic Games have been a way for the world to connect and ideally to unite. The cognitive recognition of what the Olympic Games is speaks to the icon it has become. Through this essay, a discussion on how the Olympic Games could be seen as a mirror to the world for how they are recognized was presented. Upon conclusion, my opinion was given stating that the Games are not a mirror to the world but instead a way in which corporations continue to gain money. It is upsetting and unnerving to think that countries simply want the medals to be recognized as the best but at the same time, the athletes that they represent need to be valued for who they are from the beginning: human beings. This concept is what I conclude with. Until the Olympic Games can take in the personal factor of understanding the athletes and not using them for means of endorsement, basically objectifying them, the Olympic Games will continue to not be a mirror to the world.

References 

Achbar, M. & Simpson, B (Producers). Achbar, M. (Director). 2003. The Corporation. Canada. Big Picture Media Corporation.

Botella, M. (1995). “The Keys to success of the Barcelona Olympic Games”, in Miquel de Moragas & Miquel Botella, The Keys to Success: the social, sporting, economic and communications impact of Barcelona’92. Barcelona: Servei de Publicacions de la UAB, pp. 18-42.

Booth, D. (2005). Lobbying orgies: Olympic city bids in the post-Los Angeles era. Sociology of Sport. 3. pp. 201-225.

Borden, M. (2005). Mexico ’68. An analysis of the Tlatelolco massacre and its legacy. Retrieved February 15, 2015 from https://scholarsbank.uoregon.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1794/993/Borden.pdf.

Carney, S. & Fox, R. (2002). Thirty years, no peace: Kenny Davis reflects on the monumental losses at the 1972 Olympic Games. Paint Lick Reflections. 1(3). pp. 11-14.

Cashman, R. (2002). Impact of the Games on Olympic host cities: University lecture on the Olympics. Centre d’Estudis Olímpics (UAB).

International Olympic Committee. (2013). Olympic charter. Retrieved February 15, 2015 from http://www.olympic.org/olympic-charter/documents-reports-studies-publications

International Olympic Committee Media Relations. (2014). IOC awards Olympic Games broadcast rights to NBCUniversal through to 2032. Retrieved February 15, 2015, from http://www.olympic.org/news/ioc-awards-olympic-games-broadcast-rights-to-nbcuniversal-through-to-2032/230995.

Moraes, L. (2012). NBC announces Ryan Seacrest’s role in Olympics coverage. Retrieved February 15, 2015, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/tv-column/post/nbc-announces-ryan-seacrests-role-in-olympics-coverage/2012/04/26/gIQAfgBQjT_blog.html.

Muchinsky, P. (2012). Psychology applied to work: An introduction to industrial and organizational psychology (10th ed.). Summerfield, NC: Hypergraphic Press.

Newton, P. (2012). Olympics worth the price tag? The Montreal Legacy. Retrieved February 15, 2015 from http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/19/world/canada-montreal-olympic-legacy/index.html.

Prometheus, in Greek mythology. (2013). Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition, 1.

Tomlinson, A. (2005). The commercialization of the Olympics: Cities, Corporations, and the Olympic commodity. Sociology of Sport. 3. pp. 179-200. 

Toohey, K., & Veal, A. (2007). The Olympic Games: A social science perspective (2nd ed.). Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK: CABI.

Young, D. (2005). From Olympia 776 BC to Athens 2004: the origin and authenticity of the modern Olympic Games. Sociology of Sport. 3. pp. 3-18.

Posted in Undergrad Writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Zero to Hero Culture

Culture. It is a funny word because it encompasses so many things. Vincent Parrillo defines culture as “elements that are shared by members of a society and transmitted to the next generation” (31). Essentially, culture boils down to how the environment interacts with nature. The interactions of my environment imprint upon my life and make the ideas of my culture. I think about my culture and it becomes difficult to think about myself as having a culture as a White (Caucasian) Christian Male. I feel that with this identity, I do not have a culture to discuss since—history will tell you—people in the privilege group do not have to think about their culture. The three groups that have been written out are considered to be the “big three” since being in these dominant groups, one will receive the most unearned advantages in the American society. I have the most privilege and to think about writing a paper about a culture that I do not have is difficult to do. In the context of the writing, I must write about the privilege that I have as it comprises my own cultural assessment.

What does it mean to be “Caucasian?” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines the word “Caucasian” by: of, constituting, or characteristic of a race of humankind native to Europe, North Africa, and southwest Asia and classified according to physical features —used especially in referring to persons of European descent having usually light skin pigmentation. With the latter half of the definition, one can now understand the remaining context in which this essay is written as well as understand how the term will be used. According to feminist scholar, Peggy McIntosh, when one is Caucasian, they are considered to have white privilege meaning their “Whiteness protected [Caucasian people] from many kinds of hostility, distress, and violence, which [they] were being subtly trained to visit, in turn, upon people of color” (para. 12). She went on to note many advantages that Caucasians take for granted. Some of these advantages include Caucasians “being able to arrange the company of their own people for most of the time, usually go shopping alone without being followed or harassed, and can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having coworkers suspect that they got the job because of their [skin color]” (Jackson 471). Caucasian men and women may allow these advantages to explode into something deeper than just privilege; Caucasians have allowed their privileges to evolve into supremacy.

White supremacy is not just a term given to the 1950s, 60s, and 70s—it’s been around for all of history. White supremacy continues to this day! Unfortunately, white supremacy has been linked to white males which, in turns, connects to me. The name given to men who declare themselves white supremacists have now become known as white terrorists. “The purpose of White male terrorism is to demoralize the non-White American population and use its discontent as leverage on government at the national, state, and local levels” (Wilson para. 2). The connection between being white and male makes me feel unsettled since it is connected to white supremacy, white privilege, and hatred. Thus, it is my hope to dive deeper in understanding my own history to change tomorrow’s ideology.

In searching for what white privilege means to my cultural assessment, it means that I have so many privileges that I do not see. One such privilege that I have would be to go to any bar across the United States, ask for a drink and no second thought would be given and an issue would not arise between the bartender and me. Black columnist, A. Bruce Crawley at the Philadelphia Tribune, he recounts a situation in which his skin color became an issue when he went in for a drink at a bar in Landsdale, Pennsylvania.

[I] walked in, the music from the sound system was blaring and there was a notably loud din from the conversations being shared by the 75 or so white males in the room. As they turned and saw [me] enter, just like in an old ‘B’ cowboy movie, every conversation seemed to stop and all eyes focused intently on us. We approached the bar and I asked for a beer. In an arrogant and condescending tone, the bartender said, rhetorically, ‘You won’t be needing a glass, will you?’ I drank half of that one beer – from the bottle -paid, and the five of us backed out of the bar. [I] could hear the conversations resuming immediately after the doors closed behind [me]. What [I] experienced that day was what happens to…Black men when they incorrectly assume that they are automatically entitled to enjoy the same social privileges, in this country, that men of European descent, commonly and unthinkingly, enjoy every day (Crawley para 9).

In thinking of the three theoretical perspectives in sociology, the conflict perspective is key in understanding the interactions in the white/black debate across the nations. One aspect in the conflict perspective shows that “disequilibrium and change are the norm because of societal inequalities” (Parrillo 15). With that in mind, I must be reminded that for right now, the societal norms is that there are inequalities toward people who are not white. What this means for me and my culture is that I have privileges that others may not have—such as the example above. Yet, in regards to the interactionist theory, I can become aware of the intercultural connections which would then improve the set patterns to allow a slow change for white privilege to become privilege to all, regardless of skin color.

With Crawley’s story and McIntosh’s list of privilege that is given to men and women who are of Caucasian ethnic heritage, I now understand how being white and male is part of the “big three.” It upsets me because I do not understand how a society can have a functionalist theory in it. My white cultural is said to be in power because being white has so many unearned privileges (McIntosh). In the Encyclopedia of Multicultural Psychology, white privilege has such a negative stigma when it states, “From the humanistic, social justice, and multicultural competency perspectives, White privilege does harm to people of color. White privilege has negative psychological consequences for Caucasian people by virtue of their collusion, intentional and conscious or not, in subordinating diverse others (472).” While these perspectives are empirically correct, I feel that they could be biased in certain ways. I am unsure of how they could be biased, but every person have biases that are unchecked and is rather difficult to keep them balanced when doing article publications, which thus can cause controversy and conflict between groups of people in society—primarily, blacks and whites. The conflict created from a person’s biases can be called discrimination as Parrillo describes how biases/prejudice becomes actions toward a group of people belonging to group and is discrimination (Parrillo 206). I agree with Jackson in the Encyclopedia when he states, “Caucasian people need to raise their daily consciousness of White privilege and work to reconstruct their interpersonal and systemic power imbalances with people of color” (472). I agree with Jackson in how I am supposed to grow from the comments made by Peggy McIntosh, Jackson, Crawley, and how Wilson describes a solution when it comes to white male privilege,

We must teach…that White supremacy and White male terrorism are injurious, unfair, and unjust across societies, as well as across time. Over the long-term, America must emphasize this lesson to elementary and middle school students, perhaps fewer White boys will grow up thinking anachronistic White supremacist ideas are applicable in an increasingly Yellow, Brown, and Black contemporary context. … Non-White America must NEVER FORGET the full scope of America’s past. If history is an accurate predictor, we can expect an increase in the frequency and intensity of White male terrorist activity (para. 19).

I have many unearned privileges that I have found out in the research of this paper. While I felt that being a white Christian male meant that I had no culture before the writing of this paper, I have now seen that many news articles, encyclopedias, and scholarly works have biased statements that go against what I was once ignorant to have believed. Yes, I have a culture. While it may make me feel upset with my European heritage, I cannot get upset with what is going on right now and ignore everything else. I must act and therefore, from the knowledge gained in the realization that I have culture, I cannot get upset at myself for what has happened. It is a responsibility of mine to correct the biases toward white Christian males to where we as a society do not continue to disagree or disrespect one another just because “the big three” are triumphing.


Works Cited 

“Caucasian.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2013.

Crawley, A. B. “‘White Privilege’ Trumps ‘Post-Racialism’.” Philadelphia Tribune: 1. Dec 30 2012. ProQuest. Web. 1 Oct. 2013

Jackson, Margo A. “White Privilege.” Encyclopedia of Multicultural Psychology. Ed. Yo Jackson. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Reference, 2006. 471-72.

McIntosh, Peggy. “White Privilege: Unpacking The Invisible Knapsack.” Independent School 49.2 (1990): 31. Academic Search Premier. Web. 20 Sept. 2013.

Parrillo, Vincent N. Understanding Race and Ethnic Relations. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2012. Print.

Wilson, Delgreco K. “White Male Terrorism Isn’t New in America: Country’s Founding Fathers were Self-Proclaimed Supremacists.” Philadelphia Tribune: 0. Aug 24 1999. ProQuest. Web. 1 Oct. 2013.

 

Posted in Personal | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Remember Who You Are”

In the Disney movie “The Lion King” there is one scene which sticks out from the others.

This scene occurs near the end of the movie. Simba’s father had died, and because Simbabelieved his father’s death was his fault, he ran away. Simba left his royal duty as the heir that was to take his father’s place as king. He ran away and hid with a pig and some other  strange animal. In his absence the Prideland fell into bad hands and was being destroyed.  No one thought Simba was alive so no one had hope of saving the Prideland from its enemies. 
Then one day, a “wise” monkey found Simba. He told him he knew his father.  

Of course, Simba, weighed down by discouragement and guilt wanted to find his father to get his wisdom on things. When the monkey finally led Simba to the place where he was to meet his father, it was a pool of water and Simba saw his own reflection, which looked  just like his father. 

At the same time, he heard his father’s voice saying “Simba, you have  forgotten me.” 

Simba replied, “No Father, I would never forget you.”

His father said,  “You have forgotten who you are and therefore have forgotten me. You are my son…

He  reminds Simba, “Remember who you are. Remember who you are.” 

Simba’s father tells him that he must remember who he is. 

As we commune with our Creator, we must remember who we are. If you truly know Christ as your Savior then your whole identity has changed. It is now connected to Christ and knowing who He is, first through a relationship with him, and second through  daily being made more like Him. Knowing who He is, is key to knowing who you are!  

1. You must remember you are: A Justified Sinner.  

We are all sinners at birth. We are born spiritually dead in our sin and only through Jesus Christ reaching out to us and breathing life into our spirits do we  truly become “alive”. Our eyes are opened to our sinfulness, our desperation, and  our need for a Savior. For some, that happens at a young age, for some it happens later in life. Whenever it happens, Christ penetrates a life, redeems the soul from  death and declares the sinner “justified.” 

But what does “justified” mean? 

The  dictionary says it means “to be freed from blame or guilt.” So when Christ becomes our Savior, He saves us from the blame and guilt we deserve because of our sin. At the moment we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior we are “justified”, and our whole identity changes. The core of who we are, our identity, is no longer tied to sin and death, but to Jesus Christ and life! Knowing who we really are at our  core, the center of our person, where Jesus resides and has given us life, is vital to  the daily battle against sin in our lives and pursuing a pure life. 

2. You must also remember that you are: An Heir.  

What is an heir? Think of the many movies you’ve seen with a king or queen in it.

What is an “heir” entitled to? An heir is a person who has the rights to property or

title after the owner has died. Other words that have similar meaning are: successor, beneficiary, recipient. 

The apostle Paul’s concept of a spiritual
inheritance for Christians or being an “heir” was influenced by Jewish, Greek and Roman practices. Three pictures of these influences were: (1) inheritance was
regarded as immediate as well as ultimate, (2) all legitimate heirs usually shared the inheritance equally and jointly rather than a division favoring a firstborn son, and (3) legally adopted children enjoyed full inheritance rights along with natural offspring.

“Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ,
if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
Rom 8:17

3. A third item in remembering who you are: Human.

Humans are the only creation that bear the image of God. 

Genesis 1:26 says, “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image,” which shows that we are different from the trees and animals in that we, as humans were created in the image of God. 

That is avalue and honor given to us by our Creator at the very beginning. Whether people acknowledge God in their lives or not, no one can deny that we, as humans, are valued above all other creation because of the image of God stamped on us at creation. (Of course bearing that image does not give us salvation, because sin has marred that image in us and we are as “filthy rags” (Isa.64:6) apart from Jesus Christ.)

4. Finally remember that who are: As Christians.

As a Christian, Jesus Christ lives in us. He is the most valuable thing about us.
Christ gives us value when He makes His home within the deepest parts of our
heart and soul. Our true value cannot be felt, understood or lived up to apart from
Christ! We don’t need to look to surroundings, people or performances to find our worth, but our worth can be found as we look to Jesus Christ and His sacrifice to have a relationship with us! He has made us a new creature, and that is who we are! As Jesus Christ lives in us, he gives us new value.

Like Simba’s father told him to remember who he was, God tells us to remember. who we are in Him. When we return to our Lord’s Table, let us not forget that we are justified sinners and heirs of God. We are humans that God created to worship Him to where we would accept Him as our Savior and become Christians. Like Simba, we can NOT forget who we are because the moment we do that, is the moment we will fall to Satan’s tricks.

Posted in Christian Journey | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pain, yet it’s okay?

Jesus. The word alone can evoke emotion, but for me, I think of a man who was the Almighty in human form. This alone is a powerful statement! It’s something that sometimes can be a headache, but something that for today, tonight, and every future June 30, brings comfort to me. 

46 years old is considered middle age, but unfortunately, what would had been my Mother’s age just wasn’t meant to be. Yes, my mother would be celebrating her 46th year alive; however, nearly 17 years ago, she passed from this earth. I was only 6 years old. 

Many say that this event was traumatic; however, I still celebrate her memories–of what I can remember and what others have told–as means of keeping her alive and well. The pain; however undesirable, still is present. 

This pain is actually something that has made my relationship with the Creator distant at times. The Almighty and I have, what I deem, an understanding which includes that I can be upset at the sucky timing of it all as long as I continue to just talk about this pain from Mother’s Day to August. 

God and I came to this understanding in 2012, after I had went out with my best friend to”celebrate” Mom’s birthday. In 2012, a top my drive way, I heard what I deemed the most loud whisper of Jehovah that I have heard thus far in my life–“remember even I cried when my best friend died.” 

Chills. 

Every where. 

Since that evening in the summer of 2012, God and I have worked out that this pain, however traumatic and hurtful, it was a comprehensive promised pathway for me to continue to heal in my journeys on this earth. (This can change as I grow closer to the Almighty.) A couple of days ago, I was reminded of “our truth” just in time for today’s birthday for Mom. I believe that God can work in all things, but that doesn’t mean God doesn’t grieve with us when things just suck. And that’s okay. 

Posted in Christian Journey, Personal | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment