Tag Archives: Church

Happy Birthday Luther Vandross

2It is with great pride and pleasure I take in resurrecting the ghost of the greats that enriched my life, and dare I say made the world a better place.  I’ve highlighted and spotlighted many enormous champions of the African American experience, along with many who, regardless of their station, changed the world and made tremendous contributions. This was to also include the monumental musical giants of our time. In fact, I would be remissed if I did not acknowledge the spirits of those artists and entertainers whose presence will live within us for eternity.

I am rarely at a loss for words, but the voice of Luther Ronzoni Vandross was so passionate and powerful that I have no words; other than to say the day Luther Vandross transitioned to the great beyond was a mighty loss. We will never hear a voice of such quality, sweetness, or grace every again. So on this day I want to put you in a mellow mood with these attached videos of the legacy Luther left for use to enjoy. Rest In Peace. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


A Message For Easter

7Easter is the most important day Christian observe the world over because it is a celebration of deliverance, with Easter Week providing powerful imagery of faith. I have always been moved by this presentation of Jesus from a Catholic Eucharistic prayer: “To the poor he proclaimed the good news of salvation to prisoners, freedom, and to those in sorrow, joy.”

Holy Thursday and the Last Supper have an ominous feel because they are in preparation of Good Friday and the story of Jesus’ crucifixion. Yet two days later, the tale ends in triumph and resurrection. Whatever questions Christians may have about the meaning of that empty tomb, most of us have experienced a sense of joy when we hear the words “He is risen!” The basis of Christianity is inextricably linked to and rooted in the idea of liberation.

I have long seen the Exodus and Easter as twin narratives involving a release from oppression and the victory of freedom. These promises have left a permanent mark on the culture outside the traditions from which they sprang. Yet even in the Easter season, it’s hard not to notice that most people of faith like it has been with Christmas, have lost much of its message. What I mean is that it has been hijacked by man in the commercial sense and Christianity’s, many, do not project the true meaning of this day or present their faith in the best light.

For example, with the assassination of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Michael Brown, Eric Gardner, and other criminal acts that mankind seems to have lost the understanding of the symbolic subordination of a rich tradition of social justice. What is more concerning is that popular Christianity often seems to denigrate rather than celebrate intellectual life or critical inquiry into injustices within our society.

What I would like to suggest, as with the civil rights movement, is that the church or at least Christians must not be disengaged from politics. In fact, the early Christian movement was born in politics. If you can recall, Jesus died in opposition of injustice for the least of Thee. Rome in Jesus’ day was the state and had the power, which they used to kill him. We see today, the state killing people at will, forgetting that commandment that says “Thou shalt not kill”.

I know there is great debate over how to understand the relationship between Jesus’ spirituality and his approach to politics, but his preaching clearly challenged the powers-that-be. He was, after all, crucified by the state. Now, if we truly claim the life of Jesus Christ and if true. We should be among the most active, most serious and most open minded advocates for justice. So if Easter is about liberation, this liberation must include intellectual freedom and the right to fair and equal justice. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspectives…

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Did You Know King James: The Man – The Bible

1-Did you know KING JAMES was a murderer, he killed his mother, a sexual deviant, homosexual, and in short an evil man. So how many of you good Christians knew this about the man who commissioned the King James Bible and to whom it was dedicated to loved men and had sex with them? At the age of thirteen James fell madly in love with his male cousin Esme Stuart whom he made Duke of Lennox. James deferred to Esme to the consternation of his ministers. In 1582 James was kidnapped and forced to issue a proclamation against his lover and send him back to France.

Later, James fell in love with a poor young Scotsman named Robert Carr. “The king leans on his [Carr’s] arm, pinches his cheeks, smooths his ruffled garment, and when he looks upon Carr, directs his speech to others.” (Thomas Howard, Earl of Suffolk, in a letter, 1611)

Carr eventually ended the relationship after which the king expressed his dissatisfaction in a letter to Carr, “I leave out of this reckoning your long creeping back and withdrawing yourself from lying in my chamber, notwithstanding my many hundred times earnest soliciting you to the contrary… Remember that (since I am king) all your being, except your breathing and soul, is from me.” (See The Letters of King James I & VI, ed., G. P. V. Akrigg, Univ. of Calif. Press, 1984. Also see Royal Family, Royal Lovers: King James of England and Scotland, David M. Bergeron, Univ. of Missouri Press, 1991)

King James’ favorite male lovers were the Earl of Somerset and the Duke of Buckingham to which he named a castle after. – Ben Edward Akerly, The X-rated Bible

James’s sexual orientation was so widely known that Sir Walter Raleigh joked about it in public saying “King Elizabeth” had been succeeded by “Queen James.” – Catherine D. Bowen, The Lion and the Throne

King James 1 was a known homosexual who murdered his young lovers and victimized countless heretics and women. His cruelty was justified by his “divine right” of kings. – Otto J. Scott, James the First

Although the title page of The King James Bible boasted that it was “newly translated out of the original tongues,” the work was actually a revision of The Bishop’s Bible of 1568, which was a revision of The Great Bible of 1539, which was itself based on three previous English translations from the early 1500s. So, the men who produced the King James Bible not only inherited some of the errors made by previous English translators, but invented some of their own.

Desiderius Erasmus was a “Christian humanist” who collected Greek (and Latin) New Testament manuscripts and compared and edited them, verse by verse, selecting what he considered to be the best variant passages, until he had compiled what came to be known as the “textus receptus.” Early English translations of the Bible, like those mentioned above, were based on his “textus receptus.” Erasmus was also a monk whom some historians believe engaged in homosexual activities.

But without both King James and Erasmus, the most widely touted Bible in Christian history would never have been produced, the KJV (or shall we say, Gay-JV?) Bible.

A physical weakling, as an adolescent James had shown himself to be a coward, who liked only to hunt, to read (which he did, prodigiously) and to talk. To protect himself he wore thick quilted doublets, so padded that they provided a kind of armor against any assassin who might attack him with a knife. When he revealed a sexual preference for men, falling in love with his cousin Esmé Stewart and elevating him to a position of authority on the royal council, some of his nobles kidnapped James and held him captive, banishing Stewart and controlling James’s every move. After nearly a year James escaped, but continued to resent his jailers; after he began to rule on his own behalf, at seventeen, he made it a priority to bring the turbulent Scots nobles under control.

As he aged James indulged his preference for handsome men, living apart from his wife. His doting fondness was part paternal, part erotic; he called his favorite George Villiers “sweet child and wife” and referred to himself as “your dear dad and husband.” But to his courtiers, the sight of the aging, paunchy, balding monarch, who according to one court observer had a tendency to drool, leaning on his paramours was utterly repellant.

The first of the king’s minions was Robert Carr, Groom of the Bedchamber, who the king elevated to earl of Somerset and appointed Lord Chamberlain. After six years of favors and royal gifts Carr was brought low, accused of murder and sent away from court. The second and greatest royal favorite, the extraordinarily handsome George Villiers, rose from cupbearer to Gentleman of the Bedchamber and ultimately to Earl of Buckingham.

“I love the Earl of Buckingham more than anyone else,” James announced to his councilors, “and more than you who are here assembled.” He compared his love for the earl to Jesus’s affection for the “beloved disciple” John. “Jesus Christ did the same,” the king said, “and therefore I cannot be blamed. Christ had his John, and I have my George.”

With such pronouncements King James seemed to reach a new level of outrage, especially when he compounded his offense, in the view of many, by heaping Buckingham with costly jewels, lands, and lucrative offices.

For those who claim to read the Bible it say right on the cover that the book is “King James Version”! There is so much more about the King which will astound you. I always suggest that you do your research and know the people you claim to worship and follow. In most cases you will be surprised! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Hoodwinked

1-People have been “Hoodwinked” as long as there has been the sense of power over other people. No matter how ridicules the idea or scheme the majority of people fall for it! I won’t go back to the beginning of time but let me just go back a few thousand years. Someone came up with the concept of religion, albeit stolen from Africa, refined it, altered and change it. Then somehow convinced the world that God gave his only son to the world to die for the sins of mankind. They also told the world that he was a blonde haired blue eyed man that came from a region of the world that had no white people.

Further, they told people that a building was his house, a church, and that he left earth to prepare a place for man; only if you believe in him! This was the main staple of oppression, slavery, and death the world over. The truth is the have been more death and wars started in the name of religion than any other concept in all of history. The moral crime as I see it is that they came up with this idea of tithing, which is those people who believe in the Father must pay God so that the believer does not go to hell.

Surprising people do it faithfully, and you are probably guilty of doing this yourself. I get it, as humans we have to believe in something or we perish – got it. But everybody will die and when they do they are put in the ground, and supposedly go to this place in the sky as your reward for believing. This kind of logic has work on people in many different aspects of life. For example, the new president while running for office told the people nothing pertaining to fact or truth – just believe in him!

In this election, whether those voters who voted for this guy, admit or not, it was based and driven by race. I would say what the president has done, so far, relied on this same principle as religion – telling people such outlandish things like I am going to build a wall and he is going to drain the swamp. I will suggest that none of this will ever happen. Just like your belief in the white man’s religion that says Jesus is coming back is not going to happen nor will this guy build a wall.

This guy and his minions could not tell the true if their lives depended on it. Millions around the country and the world protest his policies, yet he remains the so-called president. Black people know that “we have got nothing coming from this guy” but white folk you need to understand neither do you! However it is you (white people) who must take credit for this disaster!

Herein is the problem; people are convinced to believe anything even if it does not produce little more than a dream or scheme. This is an old game, and it continues to work. America now has its champion, the face of White Supremacy and we shall see if Armageddon is going to happen. Whether it does or not, white people has reclaimed its racist posture and have been fooled into think they took their country back to the 18th century.

There are some of these so-called preaches claiming that this man is like one of Jesus’ disciples. I will tell you one thing for sure, like the church and its tithing only this guy and his cronies with get the money. So as we wait for Jesus’ return and the wall to be built neither will happen; my guess is that Jesus will come back before the wall is built. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Who Or What Is God?

1One of life’s eternal and important questions has been since the beginning of time is the question who or what is GOD? God is conceived of as the Supreme Being and the principal object of faith. The concept of God as described by most theologians include the attributes of infinite knowledge, unlimited power, present everywhere, being all things good, and as having an eternal necessary existence to which most religions refer to God in such terms as “Him” or “Father”.

I don’t know for sure, if the creator is a male or female, its gender or race, and frankly, if he or she even exists but I do know something greater than a human created the universe and the many marvels therein. The problem I think is that of the 1500 different religions, most have chosen or created their own version of God and this makes for fraud and deception. To that point, I have known many so-called messengers or chosen people supposedly sent to deliver his “Word of God” and most were poor excuses for human beings; let alone people of moral standing.

I can remember a preacher when I was a child, who was nothing but a hustler told me “son I do this because there is a lot of money in the word of God”. I never understood this until I was a grown and a businessman, which exposed me to the corruption in the system of faith. They, most, are trained to take from the needy to benefit the greedy and this can be done by using the word God and it works. I don’t know anyone God has spoken too – not one man ever and if these folk tell you God did – they are lying.

I will readily admit that I am suspicious of white folk; they have never told us the truth about anything. During slavery, they made people slaves, beat, raped, hung, and worked black people to death with a promise that when they die they would go to a special place where they will get their reward. So why should I expect them to tell the truth concerning my salvation? When there is talk of God it is usually a focus on the sky, where there is supposedly a place called heaven. I don’t want to offend anyone but for all the people who claim to be godly and think they are going to heaven – I don’t want to go to that place if they are going to this mythical place!

In some religions, God is not believed to exist, while God is deemed unknown or unknowable within the context of agnosticism. God has also been conceived as the source of all moral obligations to the “greatest conceivable existent”. Many notable philosophers and humans have developed arguments for and against the existence of God. In fact, there have been men who actually convince other men and women that they were actually God in the flesh!

Hence, there are many names for God and different names are attached to different cultural ideas about God’s identity and attributes. In the ancient times, in Egypt, possibly the earliest recorded monotheistic religion, this deity was called Aten with the premise of being the one “true” Supreme Being and creator of the universe. In the Hebrew Bible and Judaism, “He Who Is”, “I Am that I Am”, and the Hebrew says “I am who I am”; “He Who Exists” are used as names of God, while Yahweh and Jehovah are sometimes used, whereas in the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, God, consubstantial in three persons, is called the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Muslims have a multitude of titular names for God, namely Allah.

There are many different conceptions of God and competing claims as to what or who God is, which is confounding in many ways. For me, being suspicious of white folk, it appears they wrote the biblical stories or more likely stole the words from another culture, project the image of God being white with all the angel white suggest something is amidst at work. Many perennial philosophies, which believe that there is one underlying theological truth, of which all religions express a partial understanding; “the devout in the various great world religions are in fact worshipping that one God but through different, overlapping concepts or mental images of Him.

I know there are some willing workers out there who can enlighten me on this topic! Can you explain to me what is your relationship to God and tell me who he or she is? Thoughtfully, submitted with hope that someone can answer the question. Personally, I am of the opinion that “if you know thyself you will then know God”! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


The Meaning Of Christmas

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I read an interesting article recently that asked, in so many words, if we actually know what we believe, which caused me to think about that as we approach the Holiday Season. Every year since this week was invented people believe every word of the Christmas story and does not worry about the true in what is told.

I’ll say from the onset, regardless of your religious beliefs you’re probably familiar with the Christmas story; whether you’re a devout Christian, doubtful, unsure or an atheist. You know the story of what is said to be “the greatest story ever told,” which we know that a story is usually a tale that was made up. Or do you? This story with its significance and its traditions are sometimes misunderstood.

This day has been turned into a massive commercial holiday. If you count all the Nativity scenes displayed, you would think Christmas is the most important date on the Christian calendar. On the other hand, Easter is the day in which Christians believe Christ rose from the dead, which has more religious significance than does December 25th.

In fact, science would have us believe that the savior was actually born in the spring. Whereas Easter, the day of Christ’s resurrection means not just that one man’s conquering death, nor was it simply proof of Jesus’ divinity to his followers; it holds out the promise of eternal life for all who believe in him.

The Gospel of Mark, the earliest of the Gospels, written roughly 30 years after Jesus’ crucifixion does not have a word about the Nativity. Instead, it begins with the story of John the Baptist, who announces the impending arrival of the adult Jesus of Nazareth. The Gospel of John is similarly silent about Jesus’ birth. The two Gospels that do mention what theologians call the “infancy narratives” differ on some significant details.

Matthew seems to describe Mary and Joseph as living in Bethlehem, fleeing to Egypt and then moving to Nazareth. The Gospel of Luke, on the other hand, has the two originally living in Nazareth, traveling to Bethlehem in time for the birth, and then returning home. Both Gospels do, however, place Jesus’ birthplace in Bethlehem. This much they all agree.

Then there is the idea that Jesus was an only child. Catholics, for example, believe Mary’s pregnancy came about miraculously as a “virgin birth.” They also believe that Mary remained a virgin her entire life, although many Protestants do not believe this! For the purposes of this writing, I will not expand on the thinking of the thousands of religious philosophies.

Nonetheless, there are Gospel passages that speak of Jesus’ brothers and sisters that seem to confuse many. For example, in the Gospel of Luke, someone tells Jesus: “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.” And in Mark’s Gospel, people from Nazareth exclaim: “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us?” Saint Paul even calls James “the Lord’s brother.” Therefore, I agree with many scholars who maintain that Jesus indeed had brothers and sisters, which might be explained perhaps by an earlier marriage of Joseph. Or not!

Dr. Ben, the noted African historian, points to a story thousands of years before Christ that is very similar that occurred in Upper Africa to Isis, the mother of Horace. This clearly indicates that this person named Jesus was a black man. If this is true, then the greatest story ever told is a recent phenomenon. For sure, the way it’s practiced today is a phenomenon that is not consistent with the true meaning of Christmas. However, worries about diluting Christmas’s meaning go much further back than recent memory.

Gift-giving, for example, was seen as problematic as early as the Middle Ages, when the church frowned on the practice for its supposed pagan origins. The holiday season has become so distorted that our children now think that Jesus was born at Wal-Mart.

This recounting of these few recorded facts is in no way intended to steal your joy or deter your faith. As we all know, faith is, believing to be true that which is unseen. No one really knows the truth of this miraculous event that resulted in a poor peasant boy changing the lives of mankind since his birth two thousand years ago.

The point is this: in the midst of our joy and celebration lest not forget the true meaning of Jesus’ birth that is to love one another and humanity. After all, the purpose of our existence is to continue the species – mankind – which is what Jesus preached!

I am looking forward to the blessings and opportunities that the New Year can bring all of us and wish you and yours a Happy Holiday Season, full of Abundance, Prosperity and an Extraordinary 2016! Therefore, I send the gift of love and empowerment to all. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…


The Christmas Story

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There are so many fallacies associated with every holiday with none more than Christmas. We know European’s created many myths presented as truth. In fact, what we worship in the form of religion is actually a collection of historical stories stolen from cultures that predated what we know as Christianity. What they have us practicing, worshipping might be a better word, through their religion and churches is little more than brainwashing to fund an economic engine for the benefit of those who drive the machine, and frankly, has very little to do with Jesus or God.

They created a holiday called Thanksgiving and each year after the Thanksgiving spending spree, most people’s thoughts turn to Christmas. It is a thirty-day mass-marketing celebration of a time when most people, you should think would be focused on the birth of Jesus Christ and the day of his birth. After all, it is called “Christ-mas” season!

Christian’s and non-Christian’s alike celebrate this assigned holiday honoring the birth of Christ, which has become the biggest economic period of the year. The origins of Christmas evolved over two millennia into a worldwide religious and a secular celebration that derived from many pre-Christian, pagan traditions into the festivities along the way for the rich to get richer. I don’t have to tell you that there is a lot of money in the name of Jesus.

Now, I don’t have to remind you of the traditions associated with the day has nothing to do with the Saviors birth. For example, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, holly wreaths, decorated trees, mistletoe, season’s greetings cards, seasonal music, and “chestnuts roasting on an open fire.” However, my personal favorite is this jolly white man called Santa Claus that is associated with this holiday and usually the face of it that brings warm feelings to those who celebrate it.

Almost every child the world over has been conditioned to believe this myth. Two things here, if you are African American, few white men in the history of white men period have given black people “anything,” rather it is this group that black people gave to them, in most cases their hard earned dollars. Second, most do not have a chimney for him to shimmy down with the gifts to put under a pine tree. The sin in this is that you work to earn money, buy the presents, and lie to your children telling them that a jolly white man cared so much about them and gave them the stuff for being good.

Dr. Clement Moore, a professor at Union Seminary, published a poem in 1822 based on the character Santa Claus: “Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in the hope that Saint Nicholas soon would be there…” Moore innovated by portraying a Santa with eight reindeer who descended through chimneys.

The Bavarian illustrator Thomas Nast almost completed the modern picture of Santa Claus. Before Nast, Saint Nicholas had been pictured as everything from a stern looking bishop to a gnome-like figure in a frock. Nast also gave Santa a home at the North Pole, his workshop filled with elves, and his list of the good and bad children of the world. All Santa was missing was his red outfit.

In 1931, the Coca-Cola Corporation contracted the Swedish commercial artist Haddon Sundblom to create a coke-drinking Santa. Sundblom modeled his Santa on his friend Lou Prentice, chosen for his cheerful, chubby face. The corporation insisted that Santa’s fur-trimmed suit be bright, Coca-Cola red And Santa was born; a blend of Christian crusader, pagan god, becoming a commercial idol and what we now know as the face of the holiday.

To add some context to the Christmas story; there were no existing eyewitness’ or contemporary accounts of Jesus at the time of his birth. All we have are later descriptions of Jesus’ life events by non-eyewitnesses, most are obviously biased. Little can be gleaned from the few non-Biblical and non-Christian sources, with only Roman scholar Josephus and historian Tacitus having a reasonable claim writing about Jesus about 100 years of his life.

Scholars agree even that although the accounts of the child’s birth are shrouded in controversy, with disagreements over what parts have obviously been changed by Christian scribes. The fact that both of these authors were born after Jesus died says they received their information second or third-hand, and it is odd that centuries past before Christian apologists start referencing them.

I know most believers, who are excitedly preparing for their Christmas celebrations would prefer not knowing about the holiday’s real significance designed purely as an economic engine. If they do know the history, they often object that their celebration has nothing to do with the holiday’s history and meaning. “We are just having fun and spending your money.” And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


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