Monday, March 3, 2014

Son of God

I started this post over a year ago and never finished it. I'm posting it in its unfinished form with the original date.


I went to see Son of God opening weekend. I don't claim to be the most studied Christian, in fact I'm learning more about God, the Bible, and my relationship with God everyday.  There are certain aspects of the movie that bothered me. I could be incorrect in something I'm about to say, so I welcome comments and corrections - I thrive on learning and personal development. On the surface the movie was good. No denying that; however, I question the accuracy and interpretation of the Bible for the big screen. Here are a few things that caught my attention:

1.      The Purpose of the Messiah - the opening scenes of the movie explain how the people need and messiah and a savior to free them from Roman rule. WHAT!?!? I thought Jesus was born in the flesh to save us from our inherent sinful nature and that was His purpose. John 3:16-17 states "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." John 3:16 is one of the most popular scriptures, how did Hollywood get this wrong?!

2.      Jesus is Still White - most of the supporting characters were obviously of middle eastern decent, or at least appeared that way. But the character of Jesus was clearly European and straight pearly white teeth. Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea. Judea is currently know as the West Bank - a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, forming the bulk of the Palestinian territories. In other words, no where near Europe. Jesus is portrayed by Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado. Can Hollywood let Jesus be non-white? Please?

No Mention of the Resurrection - Jesus predicts his betrayal and death, but I don't remember a mention of his resurrection 


Opportunit​ies for Miracles

I was having the debate about whether people are born gay or choose to be gay. Someone made the point that “why would God make you gay?” and my rebuttal with the fact that people are born with other afflictions and predispositions that they have no control over, like birth defects, chronic illnesses, alcoholism, and mental illness. Some of which the Christian community consider to be some form of spiritual attack.
Fast forward to Sunday’s service, which was about Extreme Faith and the scripture was John 9:1-7:

1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

Like most, I’ve heard and read this story several times, but what stuck with me this time was “this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” WOW! That just clicked for me. Basically Jesus is telling us that it doesn’t matter how it came to be, and placing blame won’t fix the problem. We’re focusing on the wrong things because what matters is that through our faith in God even the blind from birth can be healed. Every affliction and attack is another opportunity to see a miracle of God.

We spend so much time trying to figure out why things happen and it clearly says it here. Whenever we struggle and overcome it’s just another opportunity for us to glorify His name because the works of God have been displayed in us. I encourage everyone to look for opportunities for miracles so that we can see our faith and His works manifested in our lies.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Praying For Closed Doors

Originally published on SingleBlackMale

These days most people are praying for doors to be opened. Whether it is in their professional life, family life, personal life or relationships, people are looking for and asking God for an abundance of opportunities to get them out of their current circumstances. If you hate your job, you pray to get an offer from a better company with better pay and benefits. If the family is behind on the mortgage, you pray for God to make a way to avoid foreclosure and eviction. If you car sucks and you’re broke, you pray for an unbelievable deal on a good car. If a friend is going though something, you pray for their healing and deliverance. In essence we are praying for options. We want to have the choice to get out of our current situation. No one wants to be stuck and be a bystander in their own life. We want control. I’m definitely a fan of having options, except in one area: relationships.

Coming out of high school, into college I was the one woman type dude. When I found someone I liked I was 100% full steam ahead. I didn’t want to talk to anyone else, kick it with anyone else, hang out with anyone else, chill with anyone else – and this was all before we were even official. I would be dedicated to earning her time and attention. Then, I stepped on the college campus – women everywhere. Short ones, tall ones, big ones, small ones – it was almost a page out of a Dr. Seuss book. There was something for everyone. There were options, too many options. When I dated, I started to always wonder, “what if?” I could have date lined up and get a “what you doing?” text from someone else and start questioning if I was missing out on something better. Sometimes it was so bad that if I was on the date and got a text, I might try to wrap it up early so I could see “what’s up.” Sad I know. All the options were a distraction and dating multiple women was a headache – and I wasn’t the best at multitasking. Don’t be fooled, it was the same for the females; they had their pick at school too. There were plenty of times I asked a girl out and she would already have plans with someone else.  Like I said, there were options.

Fast forward pass graduation and we enter the real world. No incoming freshmen girls every year and depending on the size of the city you’re in, the dating pool may be pretty small and stagnant. But old habits die hard. There’s definitely less options, but they’re still there. New ones walk down the aisle at church, show up for happy hour at Applebee’s, and shop at the mall. Old ones still text out of the blue, bump into you at Wal-Mart, and give you that beautiful smile that you originally fell for and soon you’re back to wondering “what if?”

These days I don’t need or want that distraction. These days I’m constantly praying for gifts of discernment, recognition, and closed doors. That’s right, closed doors. I want to be wise enough to recognize and pursue a quality woman – that’s the work I have to put in. But I need help with the distractions. I’m actually asking for and wanting God to close doors that lead to dead ends or would be a distraction to my current situation. I want to date a woman, one, singular. I want to meet her, court her, get to know her and follow through to see where the situation goes. I don’t want to be multitasking women, especially since I’m still not good at it. I want to be 100% in again, I want to give it a good try, un-jaded by my past. I want to have a singular focus on one woman to see if it could work out. If it doesn’t that’s fine too, I should have learned something from it.

So obviously these closed doors could be dead end distractions, I’m sure some of you reading this agree. Then there are those that are reading that question that you may just be wasting time on the wrong person if you don’t explore other options. I understand the dilemma, but that’s where your maturity and faith comes in. You have to trust that the person you’re with is the one God is meant for you to be with at the moment (not sexually though, God doesn’t like that). Whether it’s for a season or a lifetime there should be something to gain from the experience and pray for wisdom throughout the experience.

After a lot of attempted multitasking, I’m ready to leave the college ways alone and date in the singular. I encourage the other men out there to do there same. Distractions are just that, distractions. Focus on the goal, what’s sitting in front of you.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Fight or Flight: The Break Up Reflex

Orginally published on SingleBlackMale

My break up – was over sex and religion. We’d had the conversation several times before - even before we got together, but we kept going back to the bedroom.  I started feeling really convicted over the sex. The last time I approached her about it she knew I was serious (for the moment), she said it was fine and she wouldn’t leave – that she understood, that would be OK. Within 3 days, things got rough and we broke up. She said the only reason a man stops sleeping with a woman is either he is cheating, had something (STI), or religion. Her final words were, “This is not what I signed up for. I don’t want to come between you and God.”  - She literally gave me an ultimatum between sex and God. I chose my God. So here I am reflecting on past relationships.

The survival fight-or-flight instinct is an automatic reaction that occurs in response to a harmful attack or threat to survival. It’s a really cool theory; it protects us from being hurt - and I think it also applies to relationships. I won’t claim to be a relationship expert, but I have experienced my fair share of them, and when they are ending you have two options: Either you fight for the relationship, or you fly and walk away from it.

We’ve all been through relationships and breakups. It’s a part of life. Most of us will have more failed relationships than successful ones. We have to go through a few Miss RightNows before we find our queens. Failed relationships teach us a lot – what we will and won’t put up with and what we do and don’t like. They are a learning experience and we should hope not to repeat the same mistakes. But what’s really important is why we break up. Last time I was dumped – after the raw emotions subsided, I took some time to think about why the relationship ended. When people break up I believe the reasons fit into two main categories: things you are willing to change and those you can’t.  Based on the reason you can decide rather to fight – and fix the problem, or fly – because the situation is beyond you’re control.

As a man, my natural tendency is to fight, regardless of the reason of the breakup. It’s the “how dare you dump me” reflex. There’s absolutely no reason behind that other than male ego and pride. However, in reality there are only certain things that are worth fighting for – the things you are willing to change and are worth changing. The worthiness of those changes is based on your commitment to the situation. If your girl tells you she needs more attention, needs you to listen, or needs a commitment – those are things you can change, if you wanted to. She’s crying out for you. More than likely she doesn’t want to end it; she just wants you to step up.

Now if she starts talking about personality traits, your appearance, your kids, or your faith – there’s only so much you can do about those things. You could try to be a different person and change your personality – be nicer, kinder, funnier, meaner, etc.  You could lose weight, dress differently, and grow hair. Kids - I hope you wouldn’t disown your off spring over a woman, but I’ve seen that done too. And faith? I’m Christian and I refuse to compromise on that, but if your woman gives you an ultimatum between her and your faith that’s a choice you have to make on your own. I chose my God.

So you can choose to fight or fly and your choice will hopefully protect you. And if the situation ends, make sure you learned something from it. There’s no reason for us to repeat mistakes.