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Granddaddy’s Lessons

just a season book cover.One of the books I’ve published speaks to a subject rarely explained to children of this generation concerning the African American struggle. “Legacy – A New Season” is a stand-alone story rich in the history of the African American Diaspora. It is the sequel and the continuation of the novel “Just a Season”.

This long awaited saga to the epic novel “Just a Season” will take you on an awe inspiring journey through the African American Diaspora, as told by a loving grandfather to his grandson in the oral African tradition at a time when America changed forever. I wanted to share this particular excerpt from “Just a Season” that I hope it will enlighten, empower, motivate, and touch your heart.

Today we live in a world where there is no Granddaddy to share that precious wisdom necessary to guide our young men and women into adulthood. I was fortunate or maybe blessed, to have had a loving grandfather who shared many valuable lessons with me.

These lessons formed the foundation of my very being…

Excerpt from “Just a Season”

“Granddaddy would say if you really hear me, not just listen to me, you will inherit life’s goodness. I would hear him talk about things like “God bless the child that’s got his own.” He constantly reminded me that everything that ever existed came from a just-single thought, and if you can think it, you can figure out how to do it just put your mind to it.

I would also constantly hear that a man must be able to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done regardless of the circumstances. “I raised you to be a man and as a man, you don’t know what you will have to do, but when the time comes, do it.” Granddaddy drove home the point, the difference between a man and a boy is the lessons he’s learned.

Granddaddy would also say you will always have an enemy. Your enemy is anyone who attempts to sabotage the assignment God has for your life. Your enemy is anybody who may resent you doing positive things and will be unhappy because of your success. These people will attempt to kill the faith that God has breathed within you.

They would rather discuss your past than your future because they don’t want you to have one. Your enemy should not be feared. He would say it is important to understand that this person usually will be close to you. He would tell me to use them as bridges, not barricades. Therefore, it is wise to make peace with your enemy.

“Just remember these things I say to you.” I certainly could not count all of these things, as it seemed like a million or more that I was supposed to remember. However, he asked me to remember above all else that there is no such thing as luck. The harder you work at something the luckier you get. I would tell him that I was lucky, maybe because I had won a ballgame or something. He would smile and tell me luck is only preparation meeting opportunity. Life is all about survival and if you are to survive – never bring a knife to a gunfight. This would be just as foolish as using a shotgun to kill a mosquito. Then he asked me to remember that it is not the size of the dog in the fight; it is the size of the fight in the dog.

Granddaddy’s words had so much power, although it would often require some thinking on my part to figure out what he was talking about, or what the moral of the story was supposed to be. It may have taken awhile but I usually figured it out. For example, always take the road less traveled, make your own path, but be sure to leave a trail for others to follow. Life’s road is often hard; just make sure you travel it wisely. If you have a thousand miles to go, you must start the journey with the first step. During many of these lessons, he would remind me not to let your worries get the best of you.

Sometimes he would use humor. For example, he would say something like “Moses started out as a basket case.” Although most often he assured me that hard times will come and when they come, do not drown in your tears; always swim in your blessings. He would tell me he had seen so much and heard even more, in particular those stories from his early life when dreadful atrocities were done to Negroes. Some of the stories included acts of violence such as lynchings, burnings, and beatings. He would make a point to explain that the people who did these things believed they were acting in the best interest of society.

He would tell me about things he witnessed over time, that many of these atrocities were erased from the memory of society regardless how horrible the event was. Society’s reasoning would make you think their action was right, fair, and justified. Granddaddy would add, if history could erase that which he had witnessed and known to be true, how can you trust anything history told as truth? He would emphasize that I should never, never believe it, because nothing is as it seems.

I would marvel at his wisdom. He would tell me to always set my aim higher than the ground. Shoot for the stars because if you miss you will only land on the ground and that will be where everybody else will be. When he would tell me this, he would always add, please remember you are not finished because you are defeated. You are only finished if you give up. He would usually include a reminder. Always remember who you are and where you came from. Never think you are too big because you can be on top of the world today and the world can be on top of you tomorrow.

I think Granddaddy had the foresight to see that I could do common things in life in an uncommon way, that I could command the attention of the world around me. Granddaddy impressed upon me that change is a strange thing. Everyone talks about it but no one ever tries to affect it. It will take courage and perseverance to reach your place of success. Just remember that life -is not a rehearsal. It is real and it is you who will create your destiny don’t wait for it to come to you. He would say, can’t is not a word. Never use it because it implies failure. It is also smart to stay away from those who do use it.

He would tell me that I was an important creation, that God gave a special gift to me for the purpose of changing the world around me. It may be hard sometimes, you may not understand, you may have self-doubt or hesitation, but never quit. God gave it to you so use it wisely. He would add often times something biblical during his teaching, or so I thought, like to whom much is given, much is expected. It is because we needed you that God sent you. That statement profoundly gave me a sense of responsibility that I was duty-bound to carry throughout my life.

Granddaddy’s inspiration, courage, and motivation still humble me, and I’m filled with gratitude that his example profoundly enriched my soul. So much so that in those times of trouble, when the bridges are hard to cross and the road gets rough, I hear Granddaddy’s gentle voice reciting words once spoken by the Prophet Isaiah: “Fear not for I am with you.”

And that is a Thought Provoking Perspective from a loving Grandfather…

Praise for Just a Season

This Must Read Novel can be purchased through AMAZON

All Rights Reservedbook 1

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Living Yesterday – Today!

Let me first say to all who follow THOUGHT PROVOKING PERSPECTIVES that I am indeed honored that you read my words. I try to provided and add a prospective to reality whereby you may be empowered and maybe, just maybe, see the world through new eyes. If you knew me personally, you would know that I rarely ask for anything, maybe that is a fault, but I am a benevolent spirit and this is my way of giving.

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I WILL HOWEVER, TODAY, ASK EACH OF YOU FOR SOMETHING. PLEASE SHARE SOMETHING ABOUT THIS MURDER, ASK FOR JUSTICE, AND RAISE YOUR VOICES IN PROTEST OF THIS INJUSTICE!!!

I have lived long enough to have witnessed many vial and unspeakable things done under the auspices of RACISM. I remember the first time I saw the brutally beaten corpse of little Emmitt Till, which was done because of a way of life. I can recall crying that day and I cry today for the murder of Trayvon Martin. As I see it, these two horrible events are strangely similar and equally frightening.

It shows that we, as African Americans, are still a nation of people living in a nation without a nationality. Translated – no justice!

Of course, we don’t yet know every detail of the encounter between Martin and the monster who murdered this unarmed 17-year-old high school student. But, we know enough to conclude that this is an old familiar story with the same tenets rooted in RACISM. Emmitt’s murderer got away with it and so far so has this guy.

Now let me ask, how many guys named George are out there cruising the streets? How many guys with chips on their shoulders and itchy triggers fingers with loaded handguns? How many self-imagined guardians or more aptly put vigilantes who say the words “black male” with a sneer? You do know that was the Klan’s mantra!

Whether Zimmerman can or should be prosecuted, given Florida’s “stand your ground” law providing broad latitude to claim self-defense, is an important question. But, the more important question is: “we should stand up to repeal these deadly laws designed to give license to “Kill Black People”. This often happens because this bull’s-eye that black men wear throughout their lives, and in many cases, just caught on the wrong street at the wrong time.

Protect, teach your children, and may this child’s soul rest in peace. I have lost a child through tragedy and I know this pain. My heart and prays go out to the Martin family.

If you never took a stand for anything – now is the time. And that is my Thought Provoking Prospective…

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Eddie Long or Eddie Wrong?

This is a very difficult blog for me to write because religion is the most personal aspect of one’s life and I never want to get into anyone’s religion. “I am not perfect,” but I do have an opinion based upon what I know. Let me share it, but before I continue, I hold no man above my higher power, who I chose to call God. I also know that “religion” is a business and sometimes leaders tend to lose sight of the mission. However, my spiritual compass teaches me that what is done in the dark will come to light. For this reason, I reluctantly, offer a few thoughts concerning this mess Bishop Eddie L. Long has gotten himself into.

He came to national prominence in 2006, when his New Missionary Baptist Church hosted four U.S. presidents for the funeral of Coretta Scott King. The church sits on a 240-acre campus and has satellite churches in other cities. It is one of the largest venues in the state of Georgia. The church boasts a roster of parishioners that includes athletes, entertainers, politicians and many who are considered prominent within the African American community. Only TD Jakes is larger in terms of stature and prominence among black ministries.

Sunday morning B-Long took to the pulpit of his sprawling mega-church to address his 25,000 member congregation defiantly and confidently. “Please hear this: I have been accused. I’m under attack. I want you to know that I am not a perfect man but this thing I’m gon’ fight… I feel like David against Goliath but I’ve got five rocks and I haven’t thrown one yet.”

Portraying himself as the Bible’s ultimate underdog, B-Long went before thousands of his faithful supporters and promised to fight accusations that he lured four young men into sexual relationships. However, it was significant to note that he stopped short of denying the allegations while implying he was wronged by them. Nor did B-Long address the allegations directly but spoke at length about enduring painful times. He used the word “painful” nearly 20 times and “difficult” came up seven times along with a lot of scripture.

Many lined up for hours before the start of service with some wearing t-shirts that said, “Love like him. Live like him. Lead like him”, while others stood in prayer circles, clutching Bibles and singing the hymn, “Wash Me White as Snow,” then as B-Long entered the cathedral, a group of people shouted, “We love you bishop!”

Some people in the church cried even before he took the stage to give his statement followed by a brief sermon on facing painful situations. His statement: “I have never in my life portrayed myself as a perfect man but I am not the man that is being portrayed on the television. That’s not me. That is not me.” Members of the church appear to have closed ranks around B-Long. One member said as if he was on a war footing “The devil always tries to attack the Kingdom… We will fight it on our knees with prayer and fasting. He’s not a perfect man, but God will fight on his behalf”.

B-Long made it clear that he is determined to hold on to the religious empire he built and would the fight four lawsuits alleging he used his position to coerce young male members of his flock into sex acts. In their lawsuits, the young men, all over 16 at the time of the alleged incidents, say that B-Long instructed them to call him “Daddy” and moved to block their relationships with girls by “increased contact and spiritual talk as to the covenant between the Spiritual Son and himself.”

It has been rumored that some in B-Longs circle knew about his conduct but did nothing to warn the defendants. They allege that he “has a pattern and practice of singling out a select group of young male church members and using his authority as Bishop over them to ultimately bring them to the point of engaging in a sexual relationship.”

B-Long is a father of four, married, and has been an outspoken opponent of gay marriage and his church has counseled gay members to become straight. Two of the young men say he groomed them for sexual relationships while enrolled in the church’s LongFellows Youth Academy, a program that taught teens about sexual and financial discipline. According to its Web site, it has also held weekly “out of the wilderness” counseling sessions for the “discipleship of men and women struggling with homosexuality.” The other two young men, one of whom attended a satellite church in Charlotte, N.C., have made similar claims. The men say they were 17 or 18 when the relationships began. Federal and state authorities have declined to investigate because Georgia’s age of consent is 16.

These four men, in their civil lawsuits, tell remarkably similar stories. They say that Long took a special interest in some of the young men who attended his church in Atlanta and a satellite church in Charlotte. They say he took them separately on trips to such destinations as Kenya, South Africa and New Zealand when they were teenagers — but above the age of consent in Georgia, which is 16. David-Goliath, really, I think B-Long’s got that backward.

For years, B-Long has been either beloved or bemoaned for his glitzy lifestyle and politically connected mega-church. It has TV ministries, a fitness center, a school, and a program for the homeless and addicted. In 2004, Long and Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., led a march in downtown Atlanta calling for a “return to family values in the African American community” and opposing same-sex relationships, while demanding health-care and education reform. Long was a supporter of President George W. Bush’s faith-based initiatives.

B-Long became one of the country’s most powerful independent church leaders over the last 20 years, turning a suburban Atlanta congregation of 150 to a 25,000 member powerhouse with a $50 million cathedral. I’m sure as a result B-Long felt he, too, should be prosperous. In 2005, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published tax records from the church showing that, from 1997 to 2000; B-Long had accepted $3 million in salary, housing and other perks from a charity he controlled. He told the newspaper: “We’re not just a church, we’re an international corporation. We’re not just a bumbling bunch of preachers who can’t talk and all we’re doing is baptizing babies. I deal with the White House. . . . I pastor a multimillion-dollar congregation.”

Now my questions: What if it ends up being true? Has it tarnished the good work it is said that he has done? Or does this scandal, such as the cases of child sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic Church and the revelations that Ted Haggard, the former leader of the National Evangelical Association, allegedly engaged in sex acts with a male prostitute, prove that he is a hypocrite. I was disappointed for this reason, from what I saw I did not see a man that was innocent.

He said this is not him. Well who is Eddie Long? The upstanding father of four who came to the pulpit hand-in-hand with his wife and denounced but did not deny the allegations against him? Or the manipulative sexual con artist who, according to his four accusers, does not remotely practice what he preaches? Saint or sinner, preacher or hustler, or maybe he’s just on the “Down Low”.

Nonetheless, there were almost no sign Sunday that his flock wanted to turn him away. However, it was reported that one young man during the second service in a blue shirt stood up and shouted: “We want to know the truth, man!” He was quickly escorted out and did not return. As for B-Long he said, “I love you, New Birth… I’m not leaving you if you don’t leave me.” When he finished, the sanctuary roared with applause as B-Long dropped the microphone, took his wife Vanessa’s hand and left the stage. I hope that we will believe in God and not the goods, as that is where our salvation comes.

Stay Tuned!!!

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