Tag Archives: baptist preacher

All Hail The Queen

1The world renowned Diva Aretha Franklin is without question the most profound voice of our time. She is universally considered the Queen of Soul standing head and shoulders above all others. However, she is not only a giant of the soul music genre, but to pop and gospel music as well; more than any other performer, she epitomized soul derived from her gospel-charged roots. The Queen established an astonishing run of hits like “Respect,” “I Never Loved a Man,” “Chain of Fools,” “Baby I Love You,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” “Think,” “The House That Jack Built,” and so many more great tunes during her career that we love.

Aretha or Ree Ree, as we affectionately call her sometimes, earned the title “Lady Soul” early in her career but I think “Queen of Soul” is more appropriate, which she has worn uncontested since she recorded her first tune. As much of an international institution as she’s become, much of her work, if not all, is fitfully inspired by her gospel roots making her music a must and in some cases a necessity, for our listening pleasure.

Franklin grew up in the bosom of gospel music, one of six children, and daughter to a Baptist preacher. Moving from her birthplace of Memphis, Tenn. and finally settling with her family in Detroit. Her early years were filled with musical experiences and environments from two cities that were brimming with groundbreaking music – from gospel to soul to R & B – in the 1950s and 60s.

Franklin’s first recordings with Columbia did not receive the accolades the label thought they would receive, and it wasn’t until she began her career at Atlantic Records did she find her real place in music, eventually becoming the recipient of 18 Grammies.

Aretha’s voice has been the prize to which so many females over the last 50 years have set their eyes, striving to emulate with success her depth of feeling, her soulful cadence and the natural essence that seems to flow from within her and into her music. From girl groups to solo artists, so many women, young and old, see her more than just a role model for music, but for womanhood in general.

As a compliment to the Queen, I see her in the metaphorical sense like the guy from the movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” which was about a man who gets younger as he ages. She gets better with time! Aretha’s ongoing, lifelong career is bar-none one of the most profound and greatest of our time. Her music remains the foundation for so many to live by and love, and it has stood the test of time. All Hail the Queen. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

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Pimp’s In The Pulpit

6It is no secret that black people are the most religious people on the planet, and we know black women will out Pope the Pope. But today, I thought it might be timely to re-post this article in hopes that some of these good Christian folk will take a good look at the messenger that stand in your pulpit. I know it sounds bad, but far too many are little more than “Pimps in the Pulpit”. Therefore, on this Sunday morning, I thought it might be a good idea to share this message for the lost sheep who follow blindly some of these crooks, and you know who they are!

I know, talking about religion or the church is hardly a good idea to in the minds of some. It was evident when I wrote this several months ago. I got berated with comments from many so-called Christian’s “Damning me to hell”, and you know Christians do that well. However, I hope most will understand my point is this: when the black church community take an honest look at itself for the benefit of the community, and families is what is an important benefit to all us.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the “lawd” as much as the next person who claims they do. I also love and can appreciate “The Word” and will say there are “some” good pastors out there. Just as there are those, who have raised hell all of their lives, gone to prison and worse. I think we all know many like this and those sleeping with the ladies and young people of the congregation, yet they claim to have been called to deliver the Word. So why can’t people see, in many cases, all is not what it seems. Let’s be careful and not confuse the man or church with Christianity or Spirituality.

Let’s be real, you know the scenario – I’ll call it the drama. A pastor gets caught in some scandalous behavior like stealing money, committing adultery, having a child by a member of the church family or worse. The word spreads; a few fed-up members leave the church. The “incident” is downplayed or swept under the rug, and eventually, the congregation moves on as if nothing ever happened. Black churches are notorious for their unwillingness to shake bad leaders. Even in the face of undeniable evidence of gross sin, some congregations maintain their commitments to shady characters with an almost addictive like quality.

When this happens, it tends to inflict damage far greater than their collective work. Frankly, it spells disaster for its mission, its people, and the faith of the community. The little country church I attended as a child had a preacher I admired greatly because he told the truth. He once said, “The Bible has been rewritten 28 times. If the first version was God’s word; Why then would man need to rewrite the word God left for us?” When I got older and saw him outside of the church in his Caddie, he told me, “There is a lot of money in Jesus name.”

I thought then and sometimes now that it is like the wolf guarding the sheep. There was a time when the church was there for the community, and now it seems the people are there for the church. Think about that for a moment. During the Civil Rights era, the church was the foundation that changed the world. Pastors put their lives on the line, and many died for their community and the people of it. Do you know any preacher today like that; just name one preacher who would do that today? Probably can’t!

I went to a church some time ago – they called it a mega-church. The first thing I saw was an ATM machine. What came to mind was the day Jesus turned over the tables of the money changers in the temple. More outrageous was the preacher was ten years old. I will admit it was a great show but with respect to the ten-year-old preacher – Negro Please! My point is this; be guarded with respect to the messenger. Some churchgoers believe pastors (even bad ones) are virtually untouchable, or they are all knowing like God speaks through them. They are human, and most have self-serving agendas.

People who hold this view will protect a corrupt pastor by immediately denying or dismissing any allegation of misconduct before careful consideration. Sometimes the congregation will blame the victims for their victimization. For instance, many women find themselves blamed for having been sexually harassed by a corrupt pastor. Should they find the courage to speak out, they are often branded as “troublemakers” and/or demonized as a part of the devil’s scheme to bring down the ministry.

For the record, the Bible does offer human protections for congregations in the form of multiple pastors. It promotes real pastoral accountability from a group of people who know the day-to-day ins and outs of that particular congregation and who are qualified to recognize and call out pastoral misconduct. I know this is a HUGE paradigm shift but before you prejudge it, check out these biblical references to see if they support a single or a multiple pastor model for local churches. (see Acts 11:30, 14:23, 20:17, Philippians 1:1, Titus 1:5, 1 Timothy 5:17, James 5:14)

The Bible never said anything about Christians remaining loyal to corrupt leaders. In fact, the Bible clearly forbids churches from clinging to such pastors. 1 Timothy 5:20 says “As for those [pastors] who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all so that the rest may stand in fear.” There are precious few congregations willing to obey this Biblical command. Can you imagine a local Black church publicly reprimanding a corrupt pastor by bringing him before the congregation, calling out his sin, and “sitting him down?” I doubt it!

However, in many cases, this is exactly what God’s word require. For you haters who will offer negative comments concerning this article. I simply ask that you judge not. This can be done by looking in the mirror. Further, you need to look no further than your local or national news to see that there are wolves preying on their flocks. 1 Timothy 5:21 insists that even pastors should receive no special favors or leniency when it comes to sin. It says, “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality.”

Pastors aren’t God’s and you so-called Christian’s dishonor what you claim to worship – the Lord himself by acting as if they are. We need to take pastoral integrity very seriously and avoid the physical, psychological, and spiritual devastation to our communities and ourselves. It is time to demand that pastor accountability occur and not being an accomplice to the “pimp in the pulpit”. There is a saying “game knows games” and these false prophets are playing a game with your soul. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

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The Surge Of The Southern Strategy

10514657_10202131902970802_7641807366571926388_nI can remember an old joke told when I was a child that said, “What has four eyes but cannot see; the answer was Mississippi”. This was a reference to the blatant racism, murder, and lynching of black people was something they could not see. The officials conspired to sweep it under the rug! In what would be viewed as modern times, the joke has been updated to say, “What has two eyes but cannot see; the answer is Missouri!!!” Obviously, it appears, not much different than Mississippi 40-50 years ago. Yesterday’s police press conferences made that painfully clear.

I spent some time in Missouri in the early 1970s, and it was NOT a vacation. I was in the military stationed at Ft. Leonard Wood, and it was so bad that I would have felt safer in Vietnam, which I did go to Vietnam where I did feel safer! From the looks of things, not much has changed. Although, technically, Missouri in not in the south but as Malcolm said, “anywhere south of Canada is south in America.”

I think it’s important to remind you that it was in St. Louis that the Dred Scott case occurred. In the Supreme Court decision, known as the Dred Scott Decision, it said, “There are no rights a Negro has that a white man must respect”. This coupled with what was written in the Constitution that says a Negro is 3/5ths a human. This is to include the Civil War where frankly, there are many who seem to be still fighting it; notwithstanding, the Apartheid system of Jim Crow that followed all of this.

I wonder if some of these people realize that this is not your “Grandfathers America”. I know there are those who want to go back to the days of black and white television, and everything else black and white, meaning “segregation”. After all, it has been said repeatedly – “We want our country back” and as a result racism is up, and human rights are down. It could be said; this is a mandate! There are comments by those from the right, who claim “there is a war on white”. I think, based on the display in Ferguson and from the police – it is a war on black people.

As we witness this sad irony; let’s be mindful that what we see is no different than the Willie Lynch Syndrome at work and until they attacked and arrested the media. All of the info transmitted by the people of authority has been negative, which is to say it is “those people”. Do not fall for the word games played. We saw the war machine on display and remember all of this began, as a result, of the murder of an unarmed young man at the hands of police.

These folks hired a “gang of thugs”, arm them to the teeth, and gave them a license to kill. Therefore, what else could be expected? It think it is a surge of the Southern Strategy or something more ominous as the American way! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

The video is heart wrenching and ends with the caption:

Mike Brown was said to have been jaywalking and mouthing the officer involved. But since when has mouthing and jaywalking been punishable by death?

This isn’t a white vs. black thing. This is a citizens vs. brutality issue.

Ferguson police dump Michael Browns’ body into an SUV.

Here’s the video. The contrast between the neighbors’ raw and deeply emotional reactions and the police officers’ casual cruelty makes it hard to watch… yet hard to stop watching.


Hand’s Up – Don’t Shoot!!!

10514657_10202131902970802_7641807366571926388_nI am one who believes; “I am my brother’s keeper”, and so are you! By that I mean I have a responsibility to mankind as it is the purpose we exist. Having said that, a few days ago I wrote an article, titled “Please Mr. President” suggesting that our president, my brother, was MIA and there was a need for his attention.

Let me say, thank you Mr. Obama for you words in this matter and I am sure black people as a whole welcome your voice and attention in the death of our unarmed black child in Ferguson! As we have seen once the president spoke, the situation, at least in terms of the police aggression, changed immediately.

Further, the moment the President uttered those few sentences every political figure, even a few Republicans, spoke and used their power of redress against the current crop of “Bull Connor’s” for their shameful aggression. Frankly, this should have done from the beginning because we do pay them as tax payers. I stand by what I said in that article and his words did not adequately address the issue. Frankly, it was a weak response in light of the weekly murders of black people at the hands of the law!

I do, however, give him credit for those few sentences whether it was because of the visuals beamed around the world that forced his hand causing him to speak. What we saw a few nights ago surely went against the narrative being sold of America to others around the world. Or maybe it was because the armed and militarized thugs arrested and attacked the media? Either way, it was time for the President to come forward and speak.

What the world needs to know is that African American’s are saying enough is enough!!! Yes, the events in Mayberry, Missouri began with the murder of Big Mike but it’s much bigger than that:

It’s about Eric Garner, choked to death in a confrontation with New York City Police. It’s about Jordan Davis, shot to death in Jacksonville, Florida, because he played his music too loud. It’s about Trayvon Martin, shot to death in Sanford, Florida, because a self-appointed neighborhood guardian judged him a thug. It’s about Oscar Grant, shot by a police officer in an Oakland, California, subway station as cell phone cameras watched. It’s about the grandmother beaten on the highway in California. It’s about Amadou Diallo, executed in that vestibule and Abner Louima, sodomized with that broomstick. It’s about Rodney King and all of the people who are victims of simply being black.

In the 1960s, we saw many riots and each was the result of a negative police action. Is it wrong? Probably, but sometimes it is a last resort and necessary to get attention for those who have been forsaken. I applaud the people of Ferguson for taking a courageous stand in the face of danger to achieve relief, at least some measure of it; the “gang of thugs” are out of control! Please take away their weapons of “mass destruction” and war from these people who are ill-equipped with any sense of respect and the absense of reason. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


The Scene Of The Crime

It is a fact that the history of people of African descent was destroyed by government-sanctioned system of slavery. However, I have resurrected our amazing and often horrific journey many times through this blog. I have tried to bring into remembrance some heart-wrenching events and glorious victories resulting from the unimaginable struggles that African Americans have had to endure. Therefore, I would be remiss if I did not start at the beginning with what I call the scene of the crime.

The Jamestown Colony, England’s first permanent settlement in North America, was a marshy wasteland, poor for agriculture and a breeding ground for malaria-carrying mosquitoes. The settlement was such a harsh environment that only thirty-two of the estimated one hundred original settlers survived the first seven months. HIS-Story describes this as the “starving times,” but all would change.

On August 20, 1619, the first African “settlers” reached North America as cargo onboard a Dutch man-of-war ship that rode the tide into the shores of Jamestown, Virginia, carrying Captain Jope and a cargo of twenty Africans. It seems strange to me, but history cannot tell us why this mysterious ship anchored off Jamestown. It is believed the cap­tain needed food and in exchange for food he offered his cargo of Africans as payment.

When the deal was consummated, Antoney, Isabella, and eighteen other Africans disembarked. Although they were not the first Africans to arrive in North America, they were the first African “settlers.” Regarded as indentured servants rather than slaves, fifteen were purchased to serve their redemption time working for Sir George Yardley, the Gover­nor of Virginia and proprietor of the thousand-acre Flowerdew Hundred Plantation. In ten years, by the 1630’s, the colony, through the use of the Africans, had established a successful economy based on tobacco.

Slavery was born, and the slave trade became big business. These human souls were acquired in Africa for an average price of about twenty-five dollars each, paid primarily in merchandise. They were sold in the Americas for about one hundred fifty dollars each. As the price of slaves increased, so did the inhumane overcrowding of the ships.

This was the beginning of the worst crime ever inflicted upon a people and the most morally reprehensible agenda the world has ever known. Adding to this injustice and more horrifying was that the perpetrators believed their actions were sanctioned by God with a religious manifestation that justified slavery. The next two-hundred years were a designed systematic effort to destroy millions of lives through indoctrination, brutality, savagery, and terror.

I am always struck by the use of the word civilization in this matter because the root word is “civil” and there was nothing civil about the institution of slavery. To be clear a slave is chattel – a human being considered property and servant for life. The business of slave trading had one purpose – profit. The process would begin with an African being paid to venture into the interior of the continent, capture other Africans, put them on a death march to the coast and sell these captives to Europeans. Now, if stealing and capturing the victims was not misery enough, what was to follow surely was in every sense of the word.

This horrible journey, known as the “Middle Passage,” ended with a lifetime of bondage awaiting the captives at the end of the voyage. A typical slave ship traveling from Gambia, the Gold Coast, Guinea, or Senegal, would take four to eight weeks to reach New England, Chesapeake Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, or the West Indies. Women, men, and children were crammed so tightly in the cargo ships that out of a load of seven hundred, three or four would be found dead each morning. Africans from Senegal were the most-prized commodity be­cause many were skilled artisans. Ibos from Calabar were considered the most undesirable because of their high suicide rate.

Most ships had three decks with the lower two used for transporting slaves. The lowest deck extended the full length of the ship and was no more than five feet high. The captives were packed into tomb-like compartments side by side to utilize all available space. In the next deck, wooden planks like shelves extended from the sides of the ship where the slaves were chained in pairs at the wrists and ankles – crammed side by side. Men occupied middle shelves and were most often chained in pairs and bound to the ship’s gunwales or to ringbolts set into the deck. Women and children were sometimes allowed to move about certain areas of the ship.

A typical slave ship coming directly to the American mainland from Africa weighed about one to two hundred tons, although some were slightly larger. Slave ships were eventually built especially for human cargo. These slave ships could carry as many as four hundred slaves and a crew of forty-seven, as well as thirteen thousand pounds of food. They were long, narrow, fast, and designed to direct air below decks. Shack­ling irons, nets, and ropes were standard equipment.

The competition at slave markets on the African coast grew so exceptionally that historians estimate that as many as 60 million human souls were captured and taken from the continent of Africa to be sold into bondage. It is estimated that as many as one-third of that number did not survive the “Middle Passage” to reach the shores of a place like Jamestown.

Did you know the first registered slave ship was named “The Good Ship Jesus,” and in the name of God the greatest crime the world has known began in this place called Jamestown? The devastating effects of bondage would have an effect on the race of people for centuries.

I will continue to pray that we will be able, one day, to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.” And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…
 

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A Comprehensive View Of Our History

Stubborn as a Mule 

This is a MUST SEE internationally award winning film that depicts and explores facts of history that are not whole known or taught in any educational system. It is an eye-open look at the concept that makes the case for why reparations should be open for discussion and the necessity for it to be addressed.

AWESOME DOCUMENTARY!


Gang Of Thugs

1We’ve been conditioned and lead to believe, or dare I say, accept that law enforcement is supposed to be for the benefit of the people, who pay their salaries “to protect and serve.”  However, this is not the case, particularly when it comes to black people. Some might argue, and I am one of them that believe this was never the intent in the first place – meaning protect black people. Rather, when it comes to the justice system what we find is “Just Us”!

Nonetheless, the police today are heavily militarized agencies that would make one think we are in a combat zone. People of African descent have always lived in a police state, and frankly the police has become little more than “slave catchers” to fill prisons with cheap labor, not unlike the chain gangs of old that was designed for slave labor.

I am sure you watch the news and read the reports of renegade cops, who brutalize black people for little more than “because they can get away with it.” Nearly every day in America a black man or woman is manhandled, beaten, or killed by the police – the people we pay who are suppose to protect us, with no conscience or consequence for their action. Except the word JUSTIFIED!

Here are a few examples, in today’s Chicago’s newspaper there was a story of four (4) officers and I use that loosely, who were responsible for four hundred (400) misconduct complaints and still on the job. In the City of Angels (LA), a highway patrol officer, again used loosely, beat a grandmother nearly to death – still working. There was a recent case in New York, Eric Garner, where the police choked a black man to death for nothing, meaning he committed no crime. No charges for any of the assaults or murders. This is not to mention the countless murders covered up by the gang in blue.

The black man, Eric Garner, who was choked to death immediately, joined a larger parade of fatal clashes between black men and police that seem to stretch back all the way through living memory. His name joins a string of others that together form a kind of shorthand for excessive force: Amadou Diallo. Patrick Dorismond. Timothy Stansbury. Sean Bell. Ramarley Graham

We must also include the people those cops who take money to protect drug dealer and shake them down. They steal the evidence [drugs] and give them to their street snitches. Let me be clear, these kinds of acts at the hands of the “law” were occurring way before Rodney King’s assault was captured on video tape by the brutes in blue, who are paid to terrorize the black community. In fact, before slavery, during slavery, and until today this is what they were hired to do in the same manner as the Klan operated.

It is reported and we know the FBI used covert activities, such as COINTELPRO, and the government assassinates its citizens under cover of law. In addition, a report was just released to the public that thousands of FBI cases were reviewed with faulty crime lab results. Another report was released some time ago that said, the FBI have never had an unlawful shooting in its history.

This has happened and continues to happen far too frequently and it’s time for accountability. I am not going to get into the fact that judges send black people to jail far more than others and for longer periods of time. Justice has run amuck! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


BLACK EMPOWERED MEN

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The subject of a black man doing anything positive is very polarizing and controversial, but it is a crucial piece of the African American Diaspora. This is unless he is viewed as a sellout, and we know who you are!!! I digress! I can speak to this issue because I am not unlike many African Americans who have been touched by the consequences or aftermath of living in America.

My father abandoned my teenage mother while I was in the womb. I did not meet him until I was ten and had only been in his presence for maybe two hours in my entire life. However, my grandfather was the man in my life, and he taught me how to be a man. His teachings resonate profoundly within my every waking moment, which I used to raise my son and teach my grandson to include sharing the same knowledge with others, as I navigate the troubled waters of life. The reality is, “you have to see a man – to be a man!”

We are a community in crisis. I do not cast blame because there is surely enough to go around. However, there are men who give of themselves to the benefit of others, raising their children, empowering the community, who carry themselves with dignity and respect – in other words “they represent.” So ladies, it may not be or does not have to be your man but there has to be a man present in the lives of these children. If this were being done with vigor, it would have a ripple effect. The home would be held together; the community would be greater, there would be a development in the minds of our youth, and maybe the carnage that is taking place would cease.

Images are and have been projected of black men most often falsely, glorifying our role in society as thugs, gangstas, criminals, buffoons, clowns, being worthless, and hopeless have permeated far too long. I know many of you know that is not the case by enlarge. However, when you open your newspaper or watch TV that’s how we are represented. I argue that this assassination of character should come to an end. If for no other reason than, the fact, the most powerful man in the world today looks like us, an African American. Adding to this, he leads a proud, dignified family that is positively on display for the whole world to bear witness to, which says all things are possible.

The absence of the strong, responsible black man holding it down, in the family and community, is destroying us as a people. Having said that, the purpose we live is to continue the species. I was taught a very significant lesson early in life, and reinforced every day of my life, by my Grandfather who said, “I raised you to be a man and as a man you don’t know what you might have to do but when the time comes you do it.” We don’t know what challenges are ahead of us. Therefore, my interpretation of that daily message was preparation plus opportunity equals SUCCESS and that the difference between a man and a boy is the lessons he learns.

These platitudes are essential to the survival of our children and, frankly, our existence. There needs to be a man in the lives of these boys, and girls, because the father’s role is to be an example, a role model, to guide, direct, and pass on the wisdom he’s gained. For example, how can you expect your little girl to chose a man if she has no model to base a relationship on?

In addition, ladies, please stop thinking that can make your boy a man – you can’t. You can raise, teach and nurture him – but you cannot make him a man because you are not one. Now, to the ladies that are holding it down, I applaud you, I know what that enormous job is like – my mother did it, and I was no walk in the park. If it had not been for Granddaddy, I would be lost – dead or in jail.

There is a Facebook group BLACK EMPOWERED MEN where you are personally invited to join and share your thoughts, and wisdom. ALL ARE WELCOME! The purpose of this group is to be a vehicle to communicate with those who agree and can offer feedback, suggestions, ideas, and information to the benefit of our families and by extension our communities. If not for you, do it for the children. Stand Up Black Men –Reach one Teach one! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


The Godfather Of Rock and Roll

It is a great joy to share with you the glorious past of the ghost of the greats whose shoulders we stand that are dear to my heart. I am proud to share this article because I love the story of the crossroads. It is a story about the great Delta Blues-man Robert Johnson. The history of music is littered with tragic figures, and none was more tragic than Robert Johnson’s story.

This amazing, ultimate star-crossed musical genius laid the early framework of rock and roll decades before that term was even imagined. Robert Leroy Johnson is among the most famous of all the Delta Blues musicians whose landmark recordings from 1936-37 display a remarkable combination of singing, guitar skills, and tremendous songwriting talent that have influenced generations of musicians. Johnson’s shadowy, poorly documented life, and violent death at age 27 have given rise to much speculation adding to his legend.

He is considered by some to be the “Grandfather of Rock-and-Roll,” his vocal phrasing, original songs, and guitar style influenced a range of musicians, including Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, The Allman Brothers Band, The Rolling Stones, The White Stripes, The Black Keys, Peter Gabriel, Neil Young, and Warren Zevon. Eric Clapton called Johnson “the most important blues musician who ever lived.

Johnson was conceived in an extramarital affair and born in Hazelhurst, Miss., in 1911. Most of his biographical details have been lost to history, but what’s known is that he learned guitar in his teens, got married, and had a girl who died in childbirth. The death led Johnson to throw himself even deeper into his music. He fled to Robinsonville, Miss., where he was influenced by early blues legends Son House and Willie Brown.

By 1933, Johnson remarried and began playing the guitar professionally. He once related the tale of selling his soul to the devil at a crossroads in exchange for his talent. Johnson tells the story in his song “Crossroads Blues.” Playing for tips up and down the Delta, Johnson gained in popularity. But as he grew in fame, he became a noted philanderer. He would also walk off in the middle of performances and not be seen or heard from for weeks at a time.

In 1936, he was put in contact with Columbia Records talent scout Ernie Oertle, who took him to San Antonio, Tex., where Johnson recorded classics including “Sweet Home Chicago,” “There’s A Hell Hound On My Trail,” and his signature “Terraplane Blues.”

Johnson began to tour nationally and became known for his unique voice and halting guitar rifts. But in 1938, as the legend goes, the devil caught up with him. While playing at a juke joint, he flirted with a woman whose husband became jealous, and the man laced Johnson’s whiskey with strychnine. Although he became violently ill, Johnson played until he collapsed. He died four days later at age 27, although conflicting stories say he survived the poisoning and died later of pneumonia.

There are at least two Mississippi gravesites that bear his name leaving questions about his passing and burial. “The reason that it’s so powerful a story is because it is the outline of the tragic side of the music that followed,” said music journalist Alan Light. “Some knew him as a musician, others by legend, but his shadow touches everyone who came out of that time and place.” I will say that Robert Johnson is truly a legend whose legacy will last forever. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

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The War On Poverty

1aWar is unjust, evil, and futile because it only benefits the wealthy. It is particularly wretched as the system continues its assault on the poor and defenseless. The day has passed for superficial patriotism in terms of words of false prophets. He who lives with untruth lives in spiritual slavery. Freedom is still the bonus we receive for knowing the truth.

Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth… And the truth shall set you free.” I agree with Dante that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis. There comes a time when silence becomes betrayal.

There is an obvious and almost facile connection between the struggles many poor people face as it relates to racial issues. Once there was a shining moment in that struggle where it seemed there was real promise for the poor, or at least hope for both black and white, through Poverty Programs. I watched these programs broken as if they were idle political playthings of a society gone mad. America will never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor.

It is estimated that America spends more than $500,000 to kill each enemy soldier. While we do not spend a hundred dollars for each person classified as poor, and much of that goes for salaries of people hired to, supposedly, help the poor. Therefore, I am increasingly compelled to see the war or poverty as an enemy of the poor. In addition, the money spent on the space program could feed every person in America. Frankly, this is a cruel manipulation of freedom and justice while anything like a moral political agenda exists, which is a disgrace.

In the end, it is families, women, children, and the elderly who suffer. The system has destroyed its two most cherished institutions: the family and the church. A true revolution of values should cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our present policies. On the one hand, we are called upon to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside, but that is only the first step. One day, we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be changed so that men and women will not be beaten constantly as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth with righteous indignation.

The Bible says, “You shall reap what you sow”. With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to speed up the day when justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream. With this faith, we will be able to speed up the day when the lion and the lamb will lie down together, and every man will sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid because the words of the Lord have spoken it.”

We can change the world but first we must change ourselves. If we can have respect for the living maybe the died might not die without dignity. The war on poverty is just a war on the souls of man! And that’s my THOUGHT PROVOKING PERSPECTIVE…


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