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Becoming Jewish Is Not Our Goal

We have this deep desire to be special…to be chosen.

You’ve heard it: “many are called…few are chosen!” We pride ourselves on being “in with the in crowd.” That is a character of our Society, and it spills over into our religion.

We have spent centuries building the image that the Jews are God’s “chosen people.” And because they are chosen, there is something supposedly special about being Jewish. So, Western Christians hope to be “in with the in crowd” and try to be as close to Jewish as possible.

By being close to Jewish, we too can be God’s “chosen people.” We become special by association. But should that really be our goal?

This is the problem with chosenness. We put blinders on and misunderstand what is meant by chosenness, when it comes to the things of God. Chosen for what?

Jewish or SamaritanBecoming Jewish is not our goal, because the journey of faith shows us how the chosen ones continuously got it wrong. They were forgetful…they were ungrateful…they were unfaithful.

God wasn’t good to them because they were Jewish. God was and is good because God IS GOOD. Rather than being chosen because they are Jewish, the Israelites were chosen to be an example of God’s love and mercy, despite our unfaithfulness.

Now, Jesus Himself acknowledges that salvation is of the Jews. So, this is not an anti-Jewish post nor am I anti-Jewish. Yet this statement by Jesus is not meant to say that we are saved because we are Jewish, or closely associated with Jews. What it does mean is that the truth was revealed to the people of Israel and through the Jewish faith – whether they understood that revelation of not.

However, the true worshipers won’t worry about being Jewish. Rather, they will worship the Lord in spirit and in truth (cf. John 4:23). So, let us be struck by the word of God so that our thirst would be quenched! Instead of trying to be Jewish, let us be like the Samaritans. Being in the in crowd won’t save us. Listen here, to see what I mean…

Why I Cheered for Jameis Winston

It’s cool if you’re not part of the experience…my intellectual/theological musings. For those who might have to endure my thinking in person, it’s not so easy…I know; I’m sorry. I love you all!

Florida State v. AuburnFor some reason, things are always deeper than they need to be for me. But, maybe they are as deep as they really are? Hmmm…Yet, sitting here watching this BCS National Championship Game between the Auburn Tigers and Florida State Seminoles I can’t help but consider why I’m compelled to root for Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston.

I mean, I always have to have a reason for why I’m doing something. Everything just has to have meaning. #MercyLord. Yet, I have no horse in this race. So, why indeed do I care?

I read friends postings saying they could never root for the Seminoles because the ‘Noles were a rival team to their school. And, in a sense I guess it should/could matter to me. I mean, I graduated from the University of Maryland and the Terrapins are in the ACC with the ‘Noles. Yet, I am not inspired to any allegiance to the University of Maryland. So, I’m not drawn to support Auburn. However, I’m not even moved to allegiance for the ACC. So, that doesn’t move me to support FSU.

I just ended a Vestry Meeting early because a member of my board attended Florida State! I can dig it…she was also an athlete there. So, I can understand and happily oblige. Then, some have considered rooting for Florida State because they’re from Florida. That too makes sense: support the home State. Yet, although I live in Florida I am from the Virgin Islands. We have no professional team. So….?

Jameis WinstonWhy do I root for Jameis Winston?

I used to loosely follow sports. I follow it even less now. I’m not a rabid fan. So, it’s not even my interest in Jameis Winston’s skill set. Frankly, I don’t know what his skill set is. This is the first time I’m seeing him play…and even still, I am writing this blog post as the game is playing. So, that tells you how much attention I’m paying to Jameis’ play. (I just had to stop to watch this FSU Kickoff TD return…sorry, I’m back.)

So, why do I cheer for Jameis Winston?

I’ll be honest: I thought I was cheering for him because I “always support the Black quarterback.” #TomJoyner Then, I realized both teams have Black quarterbacks. This is ¡no bueno!

Yet, I realize why: and it’s all connected…connected to Society and to Faith.

I remember when “the cloud” surrounded Jameis Winston after the false allegations of sexual assault. I watch ESPN daily…bout the only news, besides Jon Stewart’s Daily Show, that matters these days. And, one commentator (it was probably Ray Lewis) asked the question: when will it be enough? What will Jameis Winston have to do in order to shake the cloud of something for which he was never even charged?

And, that beloved is the cost of being a Black male. It seems there is nothing you can do to shake the stigma of Black male identity. Even when you’ve been wrongly accused, the stain of the crime continues to follow. How much must be done…how long must we endure in order to clear the stain of someone else’s false impressions of our character and worth?

Yet, despite the image some wanted to cast upon Jameis Winston’s character you couldn’t help but be drawn to his character. You couldn’t help but see a certain depth of spirit within him. People wondered: how does Jameis Winston remain upbeat?

Famous Jameis HeismanSo despite the drama that crossed over from ESPN and reached the national network evening news, Jameis Winston was vindicated and there was no basis to charge him with a crime. Yet, despite his astounding numbers, there was question as to whether even false allegations would prevent him from claiming NCAA Football’s highest individual honor. He went on and one the Heisman Trophy. Jameis Winston is the Heisman Trophy winner (“who had to face sexual assault allegations”). And that question remains: what more must he do to not have those false allegations brought up every time?

Even as he approached the BCS National Championship Game, people wanted to challenge his character and mettle. Yet, his spirits remained high.

We flash to the game – which is now over, and Jameis Winston faced an adversity many thought would break him. Yet as his coach, Jimbo Fisher said it best: “Jameis Winston struggled for three quarters…” But in the fourth quarter he played big.

And when he finished shining, he was still smiling. So they asked: who helps you stay in such high spirits? Jameis Winston’s response: no one but God Almighty.

Jameis Winston ChampionThere: it is…that’s why I rooted for Jameis Winston and I’m happy he won. Because despite all the turmoil and adversity, he still stayed strong. And it wasn’t that strength upon which America’s “rugged individualism” is built. It wasn’t the strength of that typical one who becomes callused in their very soul…those who’ve forgotten what it is to feel and to love.

So, I cheer for Jameis Winston. Because he had the strength to persevere not just in bodily achievement, but first in spirit. And by his perseverance in spirit he was able to conquer the giants (and Tigers) in his way.

What are the tigers in your way? There will always be haters. But, how will you respond to those haters? When the vampires come to suck your blood, will the cross you bear actually protect you? Or will it cause you to buckle under the pressure and fall in the face of those who plot against you?

Jameis Winston stood strong. He held his faith and kept his joy, knowing the realm of the spirit to be greater. So, stand strong young brother! Take courage and keep your joy. Your name is clear, where it matters. Who cares what the haters say?

#EmancipateYourselfFromMentalSlavery

Push Through the Crowds & Go Climb a Tree | Luke 19:1-10

Mary Poppins told you to go fly a kite…Jesus tells us the go climb a tree!

Are you too short to see Jesus? Don’t let that stop you from encountering God! In this sermon, Fr. Jah Bread explains how we must overcome our short stature in order to see the Holy One.

You Don’t Need More Faith | Luke 17:5-10

Everyone talks of needing more faith in order to overcome the obstacles we find in life. But, what does Jesus say? When Disciples ask the Lord to “Increase our faith!,” what is His response?

You don’t need more faith, and the Lord tells us why!

Negroes, We are Free to Use Our Natural Minds in Electoral 2012

I continue to receive emails from fellow Black Republicans trying to sell me – and others – on support for Mitt Romney.  The most recent was from the Chair of a Black Republican organization entitled, “Prominent Black Mormons.”  The email (and post) is styled as an attempt to dismiss charges of racism against Mormons.  The defense used by the author is that there are Black Mormons.  Hence the title: “Prominent Black Mormons.”  My response is…SO WHAT?

So, because some Black people decided to ignore the bigoted ideology of the Mormon Church that means Mormon ideology isn’t racist? There were Negroes in the Confederate Army…does that mean the Confederacy wasn’t racist? We must be smarter than this and stop selling ourselves for the crumbs of our (former) masters.

Negroes…we are FREE to use our natural minds! We shouldn’t have to shovel crap any longer. Stature, standing and prestige in the eyes of Whites shouldn’t be of such importance that scholarship, integrity and truth go out the window.

The example that would refute racism in Mormon theology IS NOT the presence (nor absence) of Black people. It would be a refutation of racist scripture in their texts. For instance, from the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 5:20-25 states:

20 Wherefore, the word of the Lord was fulfilled which he spake unto me, saying that: Inasmuch as they will not hearken unto thy words they shall be bcut off from the presence of the Lord. And behold, they were cut off from his presence.

21 And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.

22 And thus saith the Lord God: I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their iniquities.

23 And cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their seed; for they shall be cursed even with the same cursing. And the Lord spake it, and it was done.

24 And because of their cursing which was upon them they did become an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety, and did seek in the wilderness for beasts of prey.

25 And the Lord God said unto me: They shall be a scourge unto thy seed, to stir them up in remembrance of me; and inasmuch as they will not remember me, and hearken unto my words, they shall scourge them even unto destruction.

I have fervently searched for a refutation of Joseph Smith and this passage.  I have found none.  If you know of any, please post it to the comments!  Nevertheless, this passage remains in Mormon Canon.

Forget the fact that Mormons…the descendants of Moroni (the Mormon prophet – NOT Jesus), son of Mormon, believe themselves to be descendants of Jacob – and a lost tribe of Israel – who migrated to the Americas in the 600s BCE. According to their theology and history, in the 6th century AD, Native Americans came is slaughtered all the Europeans – stealing this land from Whites. Their messianic vision is to reclaim America for “it’s rightful owners” (i.e. White European Americans). Joseph Smith hoped to effect this petit-apocolypse by running for US President in 1844. Herein lies the parallels and problems with Romney’s candidacy – sans a refutation of problematic Mormon theology/ideology. And, Frances, this is not an “angry Black man” speaking…this is Mormon theology that can be researched, traced and verified. For more info, see [amazon_link id=”0670021261″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Diarmaid MacCulloch’s Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years[/amazon_link], pgs. 906-908.

It’s disconcerting that few on the Right – especially Blacks – took no issue with the Mainstream forcing President Obama to refute the Christian Liberation Theology of Rev. Wright, which was the same theology of Dr. King (who Black Republicans love to hail as one of their own), yet we want to silence any who present a similar challenge to the non-Christian Mormon theology. It’s interesting that President Obama was considered ineligible (by some) to stand for the Presidency because he might have been a Muslim, yet faith has no bearing when it comes to Gov. Romney’s (AND Harry Reid’s) Mormonism. And for those who think Mormonism is a “branch” of Christianity, I present Flava Flav: DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE!!!! If they revere a prophet other than Jesus, they cannot be Christian. Moroni is the Mormon prophet, so they are no more Christian than Muslims (who, like Mormons, also believe Jesus to be a prophet – just not the final prophet).

For a group of people who are against paternalistic politics typically exemplified by Democrats, it’s striking that simply because a White person may have marched for Civil Rights, we are supposed to ignore their paternalistic mores. Many have argued in support of Abolition and Civil Rights without believing Black people to be of equal humanity, i.e. [amazon_link id=”1566195519″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Harriet Beecher Stowe[/amazon_link], among many others. Additionally, many in the GOP would argue that by being in the Democratic Party, Blacks have signed up to support their own demise. So, why does the presence of Blacks in the Mormon faith automatically validate Mormon ideology?

Negroes…we are FREE to use our natural minds! We shouldn’t have to shovel crap any longer. Stature, standing and prestige in the eyes of Whites shouldn’t be of such importance that scholarship, integrity and truth go out the window.  We must be smarter…those who struggled before us fought too hard for freedom, for us to simply cede our intellect to the whims of the Mainstream.

This is not to say that Mormons are bad people.  It is a question of where individual Mormons – especially one running for President of all Americans – stand in their “core values.”  The text from the Second Book of Nephi in the Book of Mormon does wreak of racism.  Mitt Romney was a Bishop and President of the Mormon Church.  Eventhough some may say that position might be misinterpreted, he certainly had the gravitas to make profound statements refuting various doctrine that are degrading to the humanity of individuals.  Yet, no one has yet posed that question and challenged Governor Romney.  Moreover, no statement exists from Mr. Romney, refuting the distancing himself from Mormon Scripture on the issue.  Rather, when speaking with the late Tim Russert, Mitt Romney stated he would not distance himself from his faith.  See the video:

So, for Blacks of good sense – and any person of conscience to simply excuse this connection is puzzling.  Maybe some may not see it important enough to sway their vote.  But, surely Blacks of stature within the Republican Party should be faithful to their Charge they have to Keep, and pose the questions that would make Mr. Romney a more viable (and authentic) candidate for Blacks to consider.  This issue is of critical importance, because it shapes the very way policy will be developed.  And, as we have seen by both Parties through the course of history, even well-intentioned policy has the potential to cause harm if not informed by sound ideology at the foundation.  Certainly, we should have answers that satisfy the questions on this issue rather than dancing around it as if it is of no consequence.  We should not simply be rubber-stamping a Party nominee so we may continue to eat from the trough.

Negroes, We are Free to Use Our Natural Minds…let us use them!  (Part II to come…later this evening)