Tag Archives: movement

The Concept Of Hell

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I am sure most of us have been damned to “Hell” at one time or another. With much talk of the Resurrection have you ever stopped to wonder about this place called “hell”, where exactly is this place of damnation or where did this concept originate? Is it really in the center of the earth as the church tells us? Or is there no such place that ever existed? All of these are interesting questions.

Hell had been taught in Greek philosophy long before the time of Jesus. The concept of a soul within us cannot die first became a Christian doctrine at the end of the second century AD and was an important part of Christian doctrine at the Conference at Nicaea. It was at this conference that Christianity was formed established to represent what we know today.

The teaching of an everlasting place of punishment for the wicked is the natural consequence of a belief in an immortal soul. By the year AD 187, it was understood that life, once we have it, is compulsory; there is no end to it, either now or in a world to come. We have no choice as to its continuance, even if we were to commit suicide to end it. Of course, this is according to the church and its belief in “Life Ever Lasting”. Maybe I should say religion because almost all religions have a version of purgatory in one form or another.

Christianity altered the thinking because they figured out a way to monetize the concept of this mythical place through human speculative reasoning and the teachings of God’s Word. Such words and phrases as the continuance of beings perpetual existence, incapable of dissolution and incorruptible began to appear in so-called Christian writings. Other phrases used were “the soul to remain by itself immortal” and “an immortal nature.” It was taught that this was how God made us but, in fact, this idea derives from a philosophy, not divine inspiration. There are no such words in the Bible.

It was Athenagoras, a Christian teacher, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, responsible for the strongly tinged Platonism, who had introduced the teaching of an immortal soul into Christianity. In this way, he paved the way for the logical introduction of eternal torment for sinful souls. This was a hundred years after the time of the apostles and came straight from popular philosophy. The apostles had consistently taught that death is a sleep, to be followed by resurrection. The early church leaders also believed that death is a sleep, taught that the wicked are destroyed forever by fire; their punishment was to be annihilation. These leaders did not teach of an immortal soul to be tortured by fire in hell for eternity.

About AD 240 Tertullian of Carthage took up the teaching of an immortal soul. He taught the endless torment of the immortal soul of the wicked was parallel to the eternal blessedness of the saved, with no sleep of death after this life. It was the result of Pagan rituals that the darkness of the infiltration of man-made beliefs into Christianity deepened until the Dark Ages had smothered almost all the light of God’s Word. It is at this time that such beliefs, held by most Christians today, had their origin. An ever-burning hell has remained a commonly taught doctrine of the Christian religion to this day. It was not based on the Bible but on philosophy. Bible verses were later sought to uphold the ancient philosophies of the Greeks, and added to the teaching.

Eventually under the influence of Augustine, AD 430, the concept of endless conscious torment was brought into general acceptance by the Catholic Church. They began to teach that Purgatory was a place of purification. If of course, the believer gave money or material possessions to the Church. Then you could be relieved of eternal damnation. This arose out of the Gnostic idea that the body, flesh, and matter, is inherently evil and must be purified and purged by fire elsewhere. But we know bodies can be exhumed for examination, so it cannot be true that the flesh goes elsewhere.

A similar view was held in Egypt, with prayers and services for the dead and payments made to priests for them to intercede for the dead. The idea of a place like purgatory did not have its beginnings in the Christian church but in ancient pagan religions. Purgatory was added, and later fully confirmed by Pope Gregory the Great, about 582. Purgatory could not be supported by the standard canon of the Bible, and it was the books of the Apocrypha that were used to justify this new idea.

A similar teaching appeared in Moslem and Jewish belief. The inhabitants of the world were seen as good, bad and ‘middling.’ It was believed that, if one died for curable offenses, these would be purified by pain and torment as a preparation for heavenly bliss. By 1439 the teaching of purgatory, with services and prayers for the dead to spare them years of this pain, was fully accepted in the Western Catholic world – Italy, Spain, England, France and was ratified by Pope Eugenius IV.

It is sometimes taught that even the righteous go to such a place for a lesser time so the stains of sin can be burned from them, and this can be greatly hastened if certain exercises are undertaken. At the end of this time, any that are incorrigible are sent to hell forever, and the righteous go to a place of eternal blessedness.

Heaven and hell are seen to exist together side by side forever and ever. This means that Jesus the Savior can never see an end of the sin and misery he came to die for. Any teaching of the eternal co-existence of evil and good is not in the Bible but is a teaching from Greek philosophy.

The concept of hell is where hatred lives and not alien to black people. It is what we live each day here in this earthly realm, particularly anywhere south of Canada. If there is a hell, I know it will be filled with “devils” as Brother Malcolm described. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


America’s Shocking and Ugly Truth

 A picture is worth a thousand words.

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Enough said, and that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Please Mr. President

1549544_10201525536561628_1876359458_nI want to preface this writing by saying I have been one of the most-ardent supporters of the First Black President. I happen to believe that no event in history was more significant than the election of a black man to the office of “President of these United States.” Having said that, I, like many people of color are losing faith in you! You came to office telling us that we have entered an era of “post-racial” America and preached hope. But Mr. President, we see no hope and now feel more hopeless than on your first day as the most-powerful man in the world.

You held a news conference after the Trayvon Martin’s tragedy and told us you know what it’s like to be black; being followed around like a criminal in stores, and that before you got secret service protection women clinched their purses when you came near. We understood and know this to be true because it still happens to most black men, and you statement came from a man raised by a white family. You told us, vociferously, not to worry and that you were the president of all Americans. With all due respect, you do know we are also American people!

We see every other group, particularly those not brown and black, having benefited from your power. Not to mention, people around the world; why not us? As we have witnessed the horrifying atrocities of racism escalate and the blatant killings at the hands of authorities – black people have yet to see this power you hold. If I am wrong sir, I apologize! But African Americans are in the worst position, living or health wise, than any other cultural group in America.

The people in Iraq stuck on that mountain, or anyone anywhere in the world, get your help within hours. In Detroit, the government deprives its citizens of the second most-important commodity needed to live –“water.” You sent million of gallons to the mountain half-way around the world, while you sent no relief to Detroit. Every week, you witness, like the rest of us, murders by the police around the country of unarmed black men. Is this hope we can believe?

I am not expressing my grievance without a solution. With respect to the brutal police actions that are blatantly inflicted upon people living in black communities, and all too often, where people live who look like you. It is this simple: “Instead of sending billions of dollars to Iraq and other places, or sending tanks and armaments from the war to these police forces to occupy these communities. Use your power and that of the Justice Department to order that every police office wear a camera to record their activities and to have every police car equipped with a dashboard camera.”

On the issue of race, I can only recall you talking about it a few times and it saddens me to say, you have done nothing for us and that is troubling. The African American community is only asking that you pay attention to their needs, and these needs are worsening. Policing or the occupation of black communities, when you have the power to intervene is not the legacy of how you should be remembered.

We know the GOP, the right-wing, and for that matter many whites are against you, and they are against us too. But, we have never left you. Don’t leave us! I must respectively ask, is the genocide of the Iraqi people more serious than the genocide of your own black citizens? And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

#IfTheyGunnedMeDown


The Insanity Of WAR

11I can recall not too long ago, there was a tiny little place in Southeast Asia called Vietnam. When I was there we called it the land of the little people. They were not much more than poor rice farmers, not a mighty army or even a strong political force to any degree. Yet, they were able to defeat the mightiest nation on the planet. America told the American people we need to go there to support then to save democracy, because we had to fight Communism! Well, history tells us how well that worked out.

Millions of people died and were maimed; trillions of dollars were spent in this effort constructed on false pretences. They said this little nation attacked an American ship in the Gulf of Tonkin, which never happened but it was used to get America involved. This war lasted for more than a decade and left with no accolades. In fact, it was not a victory! We saw a similar action in the fifties in a little place called Korea!

Let’s look at today’s industrial military projects. Bush and company took put American in two wars about a decade or so. They told American people it was necessary to defend the “homeland” against terrorism. The Bush wars were also sold based on false pretenses, some say a downright lie. Wars have traditionally been fought for religion reasons in the name of God and of course land has been a reason. It is hard to determine if either of these reasons were the cause of these current wars. Yes, religion is part of it – land, not so much but this war is about what’s in the ground. So I suppose, it is not too far from the script.

In Vietnam, when American left; the enemy took over the entire country in about a week. In Iraq, about 800 ISIS forces took nearly half the country in a week. Not only that but these same 800 men caused 30,000 Iraqis troops to surrender and run away. Does this sound similar?

What is lost, however, is that the Politicians have yet to learn two things: [1] you cannot impose freedom upon people who don’t want it or know what it is and [2] they have not learned to mind their own business and stay out of the affairs of others. Particularly, when American has more than its share of problems here at home!

During the Vietnam War there was a draft, where you were force to go off to your death. This time we have what’s called an all volunteer army, which mean they convince men and women to volunteer to go off to be maimed and die. In Vietnam, most of the soldiers were black and poor. In this war, they are still poor, by and large, however, they are mostly white. Vietnam was about money and so is this war.

Bottom line is this: war is about money and has nothing to do with freedom! If you ask, what is war good for; the answer is nothing – absolutely nothing! What I think we can conclude is that these people who involve America in such conflicts cannot walk a chew gum at the same time because history has shown their way has not worked because not one war has been won in a half a century. Now, they got rich.

It is also important to note that most often these men who start wars have never been to war, which makes it easy to start one. Also, their loved ones and children never fight or die. Maybe a fair draft system might cause the war hawks to think more carefully if the new their children might suffer as a result. This is just a short reflection into the realm of sanity, or at least common sense. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


“The Dash”

legacy bookI wonder how many of you have taken the time to reexamine the life you’ve been given. If you were to view the headstone that comes with the end of life; you will see your name inscribed. You will also witness a tiny Dash that separates the years of one’s birth and death that represents the whole of a person’s life. This should bring about an illuminating discovery. So if this tiny dash were to tell your life’s story, what would it say?

A few years ago I was blessed to be the vehicle to channel an epic novel titled “Just a Season” where a man journeys back in time to reexamine all the important people, circumstances, and intellectual fervor that contributed to the richness of his life. I chose to title this novel “Just a Season” because that’s all God gave us, and this novel is a story of life. It captures the journey, life and times, of an African American man living in America and the significant history witnessed during his journey.

Television Host and Poet Sistah Joy said, “Thank you for your example of tenderness and discipline in what I know is a story of love, delicately shared with readers in a way that says this life, though brief, is significant. So hold it in highest regard for “the dash” is our legacy to love ones, indeed to the world, which we are blessed to share, albeit, for Just a Season.” 

Other reviewers complemented this epic story by saying “This is the stuff movies are made of… not since “Roots” have I read a story that so succinctly chronicles an African American story!” Another said, “Not since The Color Purple have I read a book that evoked such emotions.”

Cheryl Hayes of APOOO Book Club said in her review that “Wills pulls you in from the very first page… Just a Season is a heart-wrenching story about growing up and believing in yourself. I highly recommend this book to young men in high school, trying to find themselves and feeling like they have nowhere to turn.”

This book has received rave reviews and I’m honored having my work mentioned in the same sentence with “Roots” and “The Color Purple”. This is evident of its richness and I’m blessed that the story has touched the hearts of so many and mankind. I will say, and you can quote me, “You will see the world through new eyes”. I will say, and you can quote me, “You will see the world through new eyes”.

It’s been said that there are no words that have not been spoken and no stories that have never been told but there are some that you cannot forget! It’s been several years since “Just a Season” and it’s time to move on. I’ve penned a new novel “Legacy – A New Season“. It is the sequel and the continuation of “Just a Season” and a stand-alone story rich in history on a subject rarely explained to children of this generation concerning the African American struggle.

Legacy – A New Season” the 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.

Prelude to “Just a Season”

A MUST READ!!!A season is a time characterized by a particular circumstance, suitable to an indefinite period of time associated with a divine phenomenon that some call life. One of the first things I learned in this life was that it is a journey. During this passage through time I have come to realize that there are milestones, mountains, and valleys that everyone will encounter.

Today, I have to face a valley and it’s excruciating. It’s June 28th, a day that I once celebrated as a very special day. Now, it’s filled with sorrow. The reason this day is different from all others is because I have come to the cemetery at Friendly Church.

Normally it’s hot and humid as summer begins, but not so today. It’s a cool gray day with the sky slightly overcast. I hear the echo of birds chirping from a distance. There is also a mist or a light fog hovering very near the ground that gives the aura of a mystical setting.  This is a place where many of my family members who have passed away rest for eternity.  Some have been resting here for over a hundred years. I have grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, a sister, and many friends here as well. The cemetery is in the most tranquil of places secluded from the rest of the world, very peaceful and beautiful, almost like being near the gateway of heaven.

My heart aches today because I have come here on what would have been my son’s birthday. This is a very hard thing for me to do as the natural order suggests it should be the other way around. Another difficulty is that this is the first time I will see his headstone that was put in place just a few days ago. Although I know what it should look like, it’s going to be hard to actually see it. It will indicate the finality of losing the dearest of all human beings.  It’s hard to imagine what the rest of my life will be like without my precious son.

As I pass Granddaddy’s gravesite, I stop to say hello. After a brief moment, I continue in the direction of my son’s resting place. As I get closer, I begin to receive a rush of emotion to the point that my movements slow as the sight comes into view. I can now see his name clearly and I whisper “God why did you take him?” I become numb as I finally arrive at his gravesite, overwhelmed with this never before known emotion. This is something I never thought I would ever have to do, but here I am!!!

Suddenly, the sky begins to clear somewhat, as I now feel the sun’s rays from above.  At this very moment, I receive an epiphany upon reading the dates inscribed on the stone.  1981 – 2001. What does this really mean? The beginning and the end, surely, but in the final analysis it is just a tiny little dash that represents the whole life of a person. I fall to my knees realizing the profound impact of that thought causing me to look to the heavens and wonder. If someone, for whatever reason, were to tell the story concealed within my dash. What might they say?

Get Your Copies

Just a Season

Legacy – A New Season


Black Women and Faith

I came across a newspaper article that I found interesting – yet troubling. It was a nationwide survey conducted by the Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation that revealed that black women are among the most religious people in the country.” Now, having know a few black women in my time this was not that much of a surprise because I have found that most will out Pope the Pope!

I am going to say from the outset that I am expecting hate mail but if you read my words they are simply designed to provoke thought on the topic. Therefore, I say think about what you read – maybe even step back and look in the mirror. Early in the article there was a powerful statement made by the author who asked, “For what purpose are you seeking an education? Is it not that you may relieve the suffering of humanity?”

There was a woman quoted as saying she found on her phone this: “Finding that verse at that moment was no coincidence… God had spoken. Instantly, a sense of calm and confidence enveloped her. In times like these, when she feels anxious, afraid or unsure… relies on her faith.” Just so you know faith is that what you believe to be true what cannot be seen. Keep reading I have some thoughts on this too! But first let me talk about the survey.

This nationwide survey found that nine in 10 African American women reveals that as a group, black women are among the most religious people in the nation. The survey found that 74 percent of black women said that “living a religious life” is very important. On that same question, the number falls to 57 percent of white women and 43 percent of white men.

I understand that during times of turmoil, which is living in America. Black women endure much more than any other group causing them to turn to their faith to get through. Black women, across education and income levels, say living a religious life is a greater priority than being married or having children, and this call to faith either surpasses or pulls even with having a career as a life goal, the survey shows.

If you are from the African American culture you more than likely would have grown up with gospel music in your background or maybe as your foundation. This more than likely included a mother or grandmother who insisted on all-day church on Sundays and Bible school in the summers. It is inextricably woven into our culture giving us the sense that devotion and faith in God is somehow more strongly connects due to our slave ancestor’s survival of the institution.

Stacey Floyd-Thomas, an associate professor of ethics and society at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, says “Black women have been the most mistreated and scandalized group in U.S. society and culture as they wrestle both individually and collectively with the triple jeopardy of racism, sexism and classism.” To this I agree!

For roughly a quarter of black women who responded to the survey, religion plays a less-than-primary role in their lives; a scant 2 percent of them said it is “not at all” important. To that point Sikivu Hutchinson who describes herself as an atheist makes this point: “What has religiosity and belief in supernatural beings really achieved for African Americans in the 21st century — and in particular African American women, given our low socioeconomic position?”

Looking back on her childhood, Hutchinson wonders: “Why would children be compelled to profess belief, especially when they look around them and see that the world is overpopulated with adult believers flaunting their immorality?” Hutchinson contends that perhaps there aren’t more black women grappling with that answer because there is little in their community that supports a different perspective.

The article went on to say “for most African American women, absolute trust in a higher power has been a truism for centuries. In follow-up interviews with some of the black women surveyed, there seemed to be little or no angst about their religious beliefs or their role in the church. The women said their focus is on one thing: their personal relationship with God.”

LAW AND ORDER THEME!!!

Ok, here is where I am sure to upset some. First, we were brought to America as slaves and there were two choices; take the Bible or die – by way of the rope or gun. Let me remind you there was no word G-O-D in any African language before the coming of Europeans. In addition, the first registered slave ship was named the “Good Ship Jesus”. The WORD, supposedly given by God, that most so fervently believe was rewritten twenty-eight times with the last revision ordered by the diabolical King James of England who stood to benefit from his rendition. My point here is that maybe we should not take the WORD literally.

I want to make two more points; the image of the deity that hangs on most church walls is that of a blonde haired blue eyed European who could not possibly have come from that region of the world, which was in North Africa. The other point is this: there is a church in most communities on every corner, so I say if that was the answer why is it not working.

Let me close by saying that “I believe in something greater than I and I chose to call it God”. This in the practical sense should be adapted to mean “Good Orderly Direction”. I would respectfully suggest that we and black women in particular, look to what is within to find strength to survive. Lastly it might be a good idea to not be so devoted and blindly follow con artist, or maybe I should say, pimps in the pulpit and you know who they are.

As we have just lived another Black History Month. Let’s get back to family which is your strength! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

http://johntwills.com

 

 


Remember Trayvon Martin

IN THE NAME OF GOD – GIVE THIS FAMILY JUSTICE…

traIt’s been nearly a year since George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old Black young man on his way back to his father’s townhouse. In the weeks following the shooting, the story captured the nation’s attention, culminating with Zimmerman being charged with second-degree murder last April and Zimmerman’s trail set for this summer.

But as the story has receded from the headlines, the legal case has plodded along. Let us not forget the memory of this you man to include the many who fallen victim to people of this ilk. So here is an updated timeline of what you may have missed:

1. Zimmerman has spent over $300,000 in donations over the last year and is desperate for more funds to finance his defense. Zimmerman has “spent more than $125,000″ on living expenses — not including security — over the last year. His lawyer acknowledged that “Zimmerman’s personal spending may seem exorbitant.” Zimmerman is considering asking the court to declare him “indigent, meaning the public would have to pay for Zimmerman’s defense.” Zimmerman was also sued by a security company for unpaid bills. [Orlando Sentinel, 1/20/2013; Miami Herald, 12/27/12]

2. The trial has been set for June 10. Zimmerman recently asked for a delay of the trial until November but a judge denied his request. Zimmerman’s lawyer says it is “physically impossible for us to be prepared” for trial at that time. A separate proceeding, essentially a mini-trial, to determine whether Zimmerman is immune from prosecution due to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, is scheduled for April 22. [Orlando Sentinel, 2/5/13; Headline News, 2/13/13]

3. New forensic analysis “casts doubt on Zimmerman’s timeline on the night he shot and killed the unarmed teen.” The analysis was done by “Michael Knox, a retired Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office detective and crime scene investigator.” According to Knox, “based on the times and distances Zimmerman said he covered, Zimmerman would have still been on the phone with Sanford police when he claims he was attacked by Martin.” Knox says that other aspects of Zimmerman’s story, like the claim Martin was leaning over him at the time the shot was fired, are supported by forensic evidence. [News 4 Jacksonville, 2/10/13]

4. Zimmerman has gained 105 pounds. [Orlando Sentinel, 1/20/2013]

5. The defense team acquired Trayvon Martin’s school records. According to Zimmerman’s lawyers “some information in Trayvon Martin’s file could be relevant in the defense of George Zimmerman.” State prosecutors and the Martin family attorney opposed Zimmerman’s efforts to acquire the records arguing “because Zimmerman did not know Trayvon before the Feb. 26 shooting, the teen’s past was not a factor in the case.” [Orlando Sentinel, 1/16/13]

6. Zimmerman is suing NBC News. In the suit, Zimmerman claims NBC unfairly portrayed him as a “racist and predatory villain.” [ABC News, 12/6/12]

7. The judged denied Zimmerman’s request to be removed from GPS tracking. [Fox Orlando, 12/11/12]

8. Trayvon Martin would have turned 18 on February 5. [Huffington Post, 2/5/13]

A heavy and cruel hand has been laid upon us. As people, we feel ourselves to be not only deeply injured, but grossly misunderstood. Our white country-men do not know us. They are strangers to our character, ignorant of our capacity; oblivious to our history and progress, and are misinformed as to the principles and ideas that control and guide us, as a people. The great mass of American citizens estimates us as being a characterless and purposeless people; and hence we hold up our heads, if at all, against the withering influence of a nation’s scorn and contempt.

—- Frederick Douglass, in a statement on behalf of delegates to the National Colored Convention held in Rohester, New York, in July 1853. [Now what has changed]

My prayers and sympathy go out to this family. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective!!!


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