Thursday, February 22, 2007

Your Word is Truth


The Bible tells us that the world lies in darkness and cannot receive the spirit of truth. Sooo true. How many times has my head simply reeled when I hear someone doing a job of Scripture twisting! Especially when they're indoctrinated!How many times have I seen court trials or reality shows or even those times when I see something in person (Am not always in front of the tube) only to hear someone give a version of what supposedly happen. Like looking at Anna Nicole's trial and then hearing on the news how it went. I'm like: "Wait, were we watching the same program?" This is not just a matter of taste or of people not "getting" some particular issue or point? Sometimes it is -- no one is perfect and I and other folks can miss stuff-- but often it's just human issues coming in to cloud stuff up.But other kinds of deceptions pop up.

A very cynical friend of mine said, "if it's advertised on TV, it's not true, and it's on tv in order to make money." She included in that list of untruth: mammograms, commercials, etc. Hey it's good to be suspicious of mammograms, headache relievers, sleep aids, ritalin, etc. I mean, "Aren't there other cures out there? Aren't there other procedures?" God has made man upright, The Preacher says, but man has sought out many inventions. Perhaps the thermogram is better than mammos, perhaps not living a stressed life and drinking more water is better than all those over-the-counter or prescribed medicines.

Anyways, lately..there was this big advertising push to tell every woman about human papilloma virus that causes cervical cancer. I, of course, grew suspicious. Partly because mention was not made that HPV was also an STD. Next thing I hear: the makers of the drug were lobbying Congress to make vaccinating young girls with the anti-HPV vaccine mandatory! Ah life! But of course, that's why they were telling us all that lovely news about the virus and scaring us silly. Not because they want to save our lives so much...but because they wanted our money.

When we see a documentary talking about a specific disease we Christians must remind ourselves that the drug company is probably behind the documentary. The drug companies live on our fear. Ciba-Geigy, for instance, are the only company that makes Ritalin. They did a great job of getting parents, teachers and doctors to know about ADD-ADHD. Especially teachers. Why? Because they had to make you know about this "illness" -- an illness that only seems to affect school issues mind you-- that could only be cured by ONLY their medicine. So the search to cure ADD is now over with because well, the one medicine exists to cure it. There's a new film out there about Chronic Illness...and yes, you guessed was made by the folks at Centocor, the folks who make the medicine.

Remember, too, that most drugs are researched by sick people who have seen advertisements for a particular drug...then they ask their doctors to prescribe it for them.


Another aspect of truth is how the definition of words change. There was a time when the word whore meant someone who had sex for money. But now it also means a girl who sleeps around. And yet, from the way it's used, the definition of sleeps around also comes into the mix. And it often means a girl who sleeps around more than the one who is calling her a whore.

Humans and their need to be self-righteous! Humans and their need to be good in their own eyes! So if a girl has two boyfriends a year and -- ten boyfriends in twenty-years...not to mention a few sexual dates and those friends with benefits, she feels quite right in saying that she is not a whore but that someone else who had three boyfriends in the space of three months is a whore. I would be funny if it weren't so scary and creepy.

It reminds me of the Book of Hosea where God tells the prophet Hosea to marry two women. One of the women represents Israel and the other represents Judah. Both women, however, are pretty whorish and Hosea thinks their infighting about who is a better wife is laughable.

Another word is "born-again." Jesus said anyone who believes in him must be born-again of the spirit. So why do certain Christians not like the phrase? Because to them it means a person who reads and believes the Bible.

Folks, in an age of media stuff we must learn not to be deceived. We must learn to discern. C S Lewis said it better in his fiction spec-fic books: Those who are the most educated are likely to be the ones most deceived.

Step Up Bring It

Wow, Lately I've really been understanding the meaning of the phrase: "step up" and "bring it."First, on I LOVE NEW YORK! I LOOOOOVED Rico. But he was so laid back. If you want to win the prize, you've got to step up. Then there was AMERICAN IDOL. What's with some of those folks? Are they aiming for the prize or just trying to kinda get in."Bring" all you have. You can't be laid back. You have to go all out.

Now, as a Christians, sometimes we have to not strive...we have to rest in the finished work of God. But at the same time, we have to push violently into the kingdom because the kingdom is not for the faint.If you want the healing given to us through the blood of Jesus to manifest in your life, if you want the gift of the holy spirit, if you want to receive a great reward in heaven, you've got to step up. Too many of us are satisfied with skin of our teeth salvation and with status-quo Christianity.

Don't you want to heal the sick? Raise the Dead? Then folks...READ YOUR BIBLE. BELIEVE IT. REST IN GOD'S FINISHED WORK. That's what you're called to do. The big work, Jesus said, is to only believe in HIS WORDS. That is how we rest. That is how we strive.

In all these areas: the problem of deception and the problem of being a lax powerless Christian, there is one answer: THE WORD OF GOD. Read it. Every day. Meditate on it. Believe it. Trust it. Use its definitions!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

But do we really want it?

I'm getting so upset about all this Anna Nicole thing. It's tough seeing someone going self-destructive in the public realm. But we often see this, don't we? Michael Jackson, Anna Nicole, others. We wonder about them.

Right now, though, I just keep getting annoyed at the way judgmental Christians are weighing Anna's worth as a celebrity. Christians, people, are not supposed to be judgemental!!!! None of us are good or perfect.

The thing that has been running through my head, though, is the cruelty of litigation. Folks, if you're in a lawsuit, get out! If you are tempted to be in a lawsuit, think twice! Litigation takes you from your path! It is a demonic distraction. And the human body is not made to be stressed day-in day-out year-in year-out by this kind of thing. I take Anna as an example of what celebrity does. I take her as an example of what fame does to people. I take her as an example of what long-standing mean-spirited litigation does to a human soul.

Lots of sad lessons learned here.

Deceitful Bible Study

The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?
Most Christians will agree with Jeremiah’s statement that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, and yet...even so, we often think we know our own hearts.
The Word of God states that the Holy Spirit came that the thoughts of many will be revealed.
We can often see when the thoughts of our hearts are evil, but when we read the Bible with self-serving interpretations – especially those interpretations which other Christians also falsely believe– that we are being deceitful and falling into Scripture Twisting.

One of the greatest delusions in Christendom occurs in the way we read into Bible stories things that are simply not there. Our human carnal and fleshly mind "sees" what simply isn’t there. Because our denomination, our preachers, our own mindset "understand" these verses in one way, we don’t really read what the Bible says.

Throughout the generations, false teaching has built upon false teaching and even now we Christians are allowing those false teachings to veil God’s words from us. The funny thing is that one really sees how attached people are to these false teachings when one tries to reason them out of their misguided selfish interpretations.

Often if a verse in the Bible conflicts with a reader’s life-style, the reader is faced with four choices.
(A) Believe that the Bible is the True Word of God and agree that the Biblical verse disagrees with her lifestyle but live unaffected by the Biblical prohibition.
(B) Believe that the Bible is the True Word of God and agree that the verse disagrees with her lifestyle and change her lifestyle.
(C) Believe that the Bible is the True Word of God but that the common interpretation of the Biblical verse prohibiting her lifestyle is the wrong interpretation and is being used by rigid judgmental people to make other people feel guilty.
(D) Believe that the Bible is not the Word of God at all but only a collection of sayings by wise but misguided people.

Racism, sexism, denominational doctrine, all contribute to these false "understandings" of Scripture passages:

For instance RACISM was responsible – IS STILL RESPONSIBLE– for some mis-interpretations:
I have heard many white Baptist ministers preach against interracial marriage when there is nothing in the Bible against it.
A subtle anti-semitism is seen in the Roman Catholic understanding of the Bookf of the Revelation. In Roman Catholic paintings the woman crowned with twelve stars who escapes into the desert represents the Virgin Mary. It is not. The woman represents Israel. And the Roman Catholic notion that the Roman Catholic church is God's first Church is also wrong because the Christian church first consisted of many home churches made up of Jewish and Gentile believers.

Many preachers preach as if the problems between the Jews and the Arabs came about because Ishmael was born. First let’s begin with the very strange assumption that all Arabs are descended from Ishmael. Before Ishmael’s birth, Syria, Egypt, and countless cultures existed. Did these cultures simply disappear and get swallowed up by Ishmael’s descendants? But one can argue that Abraham had other children (Keturah’s children) and grand-children (Esau and the Edomites) who also turned against the Jews. In fact, Esau’s descendants and Ishmael’s slowly merge and it is perhaps the prophecy of Esau’s enmity against Israel that is the major cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

SEXISM is also responsible for folks reading things into Scripture that just isn’t there. Not only sexism but, I dare say, prurience and male wishfulfillment. The interpretations of many stories would be vastly different if we allowed the influence of women preachers more often.

Male preachers have preaches as if the story of Esther is a romantic love story. Why? Because Esther is obedient and beautiful. Many preachers preach about Esther as if she is their true love. When they do this, I can only think they’re in some masturbatory dream and I consider them almost as bad as Xerxes who was nothing more than a rich powerful shallow man who wanted an obedient submissive wife he could show off. Esther was chosen for "such a time as this" because having lost her parents and been raised by her Uncle, she was not the type to challenge anyone. I have no doubt that, unlike Vashti, Esther would have removed her veil and let all the drunken princes of the kingdom look upon her. A perfect trophy wife whose needs are unmet, she marries a man who sees her once a month if that – and who has other lovely women in his harem to deal with. Christian preachers have turned her into a fantasy figure, not the tragic living sacrifice that she is.

Sometimes sexism and racism work together to create misreadings. Sometimes they are even joined to a kind of favortism. Consider the way preachers treat Hagar, Delilah, and Job’s wife.
Hagar is a married woman who is divorced and sent out into the desert with her small child to die because the first wife says in a very racist manner, "Divorce her! I don’t want this slave woman’s child to be heir with my son." I have yet to hear a sermon which addresses Sarah’s racism. Why not? Because many preachers have a childlike attitude that turns some Bible characters into sacred cows who never do wrong, and scapegoats who are always wrong. In this way, although ministers are against divorce and Hagar is a married woman, they are unable to identify with her and see her only as an uppity slave. (They forget that she is a slave who was probably given to Sarah because of Sarah’s and Abram’s lie to the Pharoah – something that would make me not respect Sarah much either. ) In the Bible Ishmael is shown as being a decent fellow. The one possibly questionable act he does –when he was a little kid, mind you– was teasing baby Isaac. And this word is translated as mocking in The King James Version of the Bible. But in other translations it is translated as playing with. Sarah could have been angry because her son was being teased but she would have been just as angry that her son was playing on an equal footing with a half-brother she considered racially and socially beneath him. But ministers never question this.

What ministers do to Job’s wife is equally obnoxious. Just as they –being men– completely ignore Hagar’s pain, they also ignore the pain of Job’s wife. Because they consider Job a prophet, they consider her comment to him, "Curse God and die" as an insult to a prophet. I often want to say to them, "Wake up and smell the coffee, guys. I know men are always ignoring women, but get real here. The woman has lost all her children in a single day, has lost all her property, and is preparing to see the death of her beloved husband!" Male preachers, show their utter lack of understanding of grief by their insistence on thinking Mrs Job was trying to get rid of her husband. Folks, she lost her children. It is very possible she is talking about both of them committing suicide and just giving up on trusting a God who has destroyed them. Which is understandable. T D Jakes even goes so far as to say that when Job is blessed in the end, God gets rid of Job’s wife and gives him a new wife so he can have new kids. But, where in the Bible does it say that? And truly if God did such a thing, it would show that he was concerned only with caring for a man’s pain and not for a woman’s.

As for Delilah, the carnality of preachers, their dislike of "impure races" and their need to be on the side of the favorite is very evident here. True, Delilah is a betrayer. But why do so many preachers want to see her as a prostitute? And why do they see her as a Philistine? This is all misreading, and second-hand readings. Nowhere does it say Delilah is a prostitute or a Philistine. She could be a simple Israelite country girl, or a simple Philistine farmer’s daughter, who gets caught up in powers greater than she can handle. Actually, her name seems more an Israelite name than a Phillistine one. The preachers often forget that the Philistines were threatening to kill her parents. Hey, if one has a choice between betraying one’s lover or betraying one’s parents, what would one do? But there is such a xenophobic mentality in the Christian church, and such a dislike of the "foreign tainted woman" that we can't help but slip in our own racism and sexism when interpreting this story. As in the case of Job’s wife, we have never experienced Delilah’s situation. And yet we feel free to judge these people.

Lord Jesus, you said, "If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the pit." Jeremiah tells us our heart is deceitful. Help me to see and read what the Holy Spirit and your prophets have written. I want to live an honest life. Amen.

Monday, February 05, 2007


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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Christian and Black

Sometimes, as in my forthcoming novel Wind Follower, all things work together wonderfully. Sometimes I'm pretty conflicted. I mean: Am I a Christian or am I black? Of course the two shouldn't be opposed to each other. But many African-Americans find it problematic to be both Christian and black. Especially because of the history of white Christian slaveholders. Many Blacks have become Muslims. Which is weird because Islamic Slavery existed before the atlantic slave trade...and still exists along with racism in many Islamic countries. Indeed, when people talk about slavery, they often talk as if it ONLY existed in the US and ignore what is happening in Sudan and other places.

But back to me.

When I think of myself as a black woman, I want to talk about Justice ... and the modern folks in Christianity want to talk about other issues. Although Christianity is about justice, and mercy and grace, and equality. I often find myself with strange bedfellows. Such as victims of cruelty and discrimination who may not be Christians, and who may hate Christians. Of course, on the other hand...often the folks who said they were Christians were affected by some other philosophy, religion, or world mindset. For instance, nowhere in Christianity is racism affirmed. Quite the opposite. And if we think of the Crusaders, they picked up their idea of "holy war" from the Islamic idea of holy war. We Christians never cared much for a holy kingdom on earth. But you know what I mean.

When I think of myself as a Christian, I remember that evil is in everyone and I can't take sides...although I really, really, really want to. What to do?

I'm very pleased with Wind Follower. In that book (coming June!) I show that sexuality is healing, that racism exists, that there are issues of injustice. It comes from the part of me that is very black, and very Christian, and very woman, and very screwed up. It's a lovely, lovely, book. I'm hoping the rest of my works will be as balanced, and as lovely, and as evangelical.

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