Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hip-Hop, Idolatry & The Church Pt. 21 ~ Sex Toys & The Gospel

Ephesians 5:11-12 11-And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12-For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret


Like my friends on Sesame Street taught me a long time ago...one of these things belong here and one of these things do not...

The nations top selling gospel music artist, Dr. Marvin Sapp recently hooked up with business mogul and star of "The Real Housewives Of ATL", Kandi Burress to produce a song called "Prayed Up" which seems to have taken the I-tunes, gospel music world by storm. 

Well, if that were all there was to the story, that would be the end of it. However, the problem is that it seems that two individuals have come together to "praise the Lord" that have two diametrically opposing lifestyles and understandings of God and godly standards all together. 

One one hand there is this:
"I wanna thank @Kandi for sharing her heart through song in a different genre and asking me to be apart of that process..."(Dr. Marvin Sapp)
Dr. Marvin Sapp
Pastor Dr. Marvin(I guess a little gospel is better than no gospel) Sapp, pastor, gospel singer, formerly of the gospel group Commissioned, one that generally has a good reputation as it pertains to lifestyle and belief system. One could clearly call him a Christian by the fruit that he bears and his confession of faith and purity of lifestyle.

Then on the other hand there is this:
"I knew when I decided to do it that I would be criticized. That's to be expected,"..."I am honest about who I am. My great grandfather and my grandfather were Bishops in The Church of God Holiness. I believe in God but I have always struggled with the rules of the church, just like a lot of people." (Ms. Kandi Burress)
Kandi Burress, daughter of a bishop, entrepreneur, secular singer, secular record producer and secular song writer, formerly of the secular group Xscape, never been married, one child and currently lives with a man to whom she is not married ie: SHACKIN'-UP or what can be called "playin' house". One more thing, as you know, Kandi, also owns an internet company that sells, of all things, items geared to enhance one's sexual performance and or pleasure. These things are often called "sex toys".

Controversy & Criticism, Separating The Issues: 
"I took the saying that we say" ("stay prayed up") "and made my testimony with it"
In an impromptu interview on Am 1690, WVON Chicago on Thursday Feb. 21st, Ms. Burress explained her surprise at the recent criticism, primarily from the church, over the fact that she endorses prayer, and claims a spiritual life while she continues in her sins. In the interview Kandi endorsed writing and singing her new gospel single "Prayed Up" as expanding her influence by using her "worldliness" to give her the ability to "reach" more people than those who are less "worldly" or that just sing gospel. In other words her "worldliness" becomes the power of her witness, not the holiness or the power of God. 


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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Understanding The Fallout & Consequences Of Sexual Abuse

If you've been sexually abused or victimized or are trying to overcome the burden of clergy or church related sexual abuse, call I Am My Brother's Keeper Christian Advocacy Council (IMBKCAC) at (800)827-7279 or email us at Imbkcac@gmail.com for a confidential assessment of your situation and prayer. We know that there is a Balm in Gilead. 


Surprising as it may seem, advocating on behalf of victims of  sexual abuse can be a challenging task. Educating the public that there is a problem and that sexual abuse has a significant and ongoing consequence is more than half the battle. Why? It is because victims of sexual abuse appear to be and function like everyone else. They are Doctors, Lawyers, Dentists, Pastors, Teachers, Professors, Bus Drivers, Deacons, Politicians, Business Owners and almost anything else you can name in society. They are religious, non-religious and even atheists. They are gay, they are straight, they are even celibate. They are the highly educated, they are self-driven, they are the educationally illiterate and the most slothful. they are children and in many cases grown folk who have trusted individuals even to their own hurt. There are no distinguishing marks, characteristics or boundaries by which their experience can be known, distinguished or determined. They are those who don't fit the "mold" whatever that "mold" is or might be.   

Distinguishing who they are or who has been abused is one thing. Assessing the damages associated with the abuse is another. For example, recently, I had a conversation with an attorney who has a substantial practice dealing with recovery from auto accidents and product negligence. When I explained a certain situation relating to victims needs as a result of sexual abuse, the first thing they asked was what were the damages? When I explained the mental and emotional trauma and the unwanted sexual advances and the crime in general, the attorney was still hard pressed to see the "damages" that would result in an award. You see, even though this person was trained in legal issues, in their mind, in order for their to be a recovery, there had to be an ongoing physical or visible damage in order to make the claim that one has been harmed. 

Sexual Abuse, "Damages" Not Readily Seen

Fact: "Less than 30% of sex crimes are reported"

Here is a listing of familiar names...
Oprah Winfrey, 
Queen Latifah,
Donnie McClurkin 
Suzanne Somers, 

Unless one knew their stories, one would hardly associate any of these people with sexual abuse of any kind because they are the "beautiful people" as the world accounts it. They are popular, successful, rich and famous. Certainly they have no problems, or at least not common problems right? Yet all of them have experienced abuse or some form of sexual crime perpetrated against them. All of them have felt at the end of their lives at a certain point in their life, prayed, and asked why this horrible crime of sexual abuse was done to them. All of them have dealt with feelings, inclinations, and emotions that they didn't ask for, and had to work their way through. Some of them, turned to promiscuity, some turned to homosexuality, some became religious, spiritual, and even highly versed in secular matters. Many others handle this sort of abuse in many different ways. Thank God, that all of these people survived, but stop and ask yourself for a minute, how many didn't make it? Yes, these have all survived, and become highly successful, but what they went through was nothing to envy by anyone not having their experience. To suggest that they hadn't been "damaged" by the actions of their aggressor would be an insult to any intelligent human being and especially to any Christian in touch with Christian moral values in view and in light of the fact that rape is a crime. 

Stigmas 

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Hadiya Pendleton...Greater Than Tragedy


We stop to mourn the loss of  a bright and beautiful teenager who's untimely death unfortunately represents a reality for many of our families and today's youth. Ms. Hadiya Pendleton, like so many youth, was doing what she was supposed to be doing when tragedy came and sought her out and took her young life. 




Changing The Culture
Chicago has suffered over 43 homicides this year and most of those have been among Black youth. This is a tragedy repeated over and over in our city streets. It simply must stop. 



I have heard that many sociologists believe that when something is believed for about a 25 year duration of time (a generation by many accounts) that there is a paradigm shift in the culture itself so far as beliefs and subsequent behaviors are concerned. The Black community has been subject to the message of "no snitching" and "silence" for so long that there is a new standard of morality that believes that people should simply endure the abuse of criminals in the name of being "Black" and remain silent. 

Let it be clear, people that hurt, harm and endanger your family, neighborhoods, and communities don't care about YOU. They care less about your well being no matter how well you know them or their family. Like Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, they are PUNKS and further, Community Terrorists, that need to be placed in jail or taken off the streets As we will note, there is something that we must do as  church to redeem these before they passed the point of no return. 

Community Hero
Some years ago, I developed the Community Hero program.  Community hero is designed to do one thing, combat the message and image that fighting for our community and turning in criminals is a bad thing and makes one a "snitch". Riding the neighborhood of community terrorists makes you a HERO, not a snitch. You are a HERO for fighting for what is right and sharing the information necessary to liberate your family and community. 



The "no snitch" message has been successful because it was first delivered in 2004 by the gang and drug sales culture through hip-hop music and the hip-hop culture. This is why it has such a stronghold on our youth and on our streets. This message has existed for years based on mistrust of the government and authority. 

The problem is that authorities left plenty of evidence for why the community can't trust them. The "war on drugs" we all know now was no more than a war on Blacks...and that is simply the ugly fact...That so called war, destroyed the family for multiple generations in the Black community removing the men and we can all see the results. So YES...there is a distrust of authority that cannot go overlooked and should be addressed if the intent is to overcome the problem and renew this generation.  

The Community Hero  message needs to be delivered to children first and needs to continue to be perpetuated so that our youth can be affirmed that doing the right thing for others, is the right thing for them as well. 


Responsibility & Accountability

In addition, authorities, have an obligation to protect those who come forth with information. As we mentioned, the business of crime is what it is. A business and there are both clients and managers of it. However, as community advocates we must strive to make our police departments tow the line, no matter how difficult or touchy it may be. Yes it takes some "in your face' conversations in order to help the community as a whole. That we must be committed to do. 

The Sleeping & Self Serving Church


Thank God that we can have a "good time" in fellowship and service with the Lord. However, if we want our neighborhoods delivered of crime and violence, the institution of the church must first become involved and engaged in what is going on in the neighborhoods. Unfortunately, in many of these crime ridden neighborhoods, the church is a sleeping, money collecting giant. Much of the crime occurs wight in the church neighborhood. Some stick their head out to prop up a tent for a few days, feed a few folk every now and then, or may offer clothes or direct towards shelter and bill pay, but what about the more enduring and substantive issues?


A Real Gospel Centered Moral Message 
Rather than giving them what they are trying to rid themselves of, like more hip-hop music and worldly personas, what about changing the minds hearts, and attitudes of the individuals most likely to perpetrate crime and violence and subsequently spend their life in prison or tied to the system? It is certainly more convenient to pass them along and allow the same government, that we distrust, to effect change, but what are we really doing? Beyond Sunday AM,  is the church engaging and challenging the community, advocating for better services, speaking to our young men encouraging and teaching them to be Fathers and speaking to our young ladies supporting them that all is not lost, that there still is  a bright hope for the future? Are we challenging political leaders or simply making as many friends with politicians as we possibly can? 

No, challenging and holding folk accountable, is not profitable monetarily. It won;t make the church overflow with members either. However, it is rewarding to see lives change for the better, but it takes some laborers.   It takes some individuals dedicated to the cause, willing to deal with the same ignorance that once entrapped themselves. BUT it is worth it! Lives will be saved and communities can change as a result.  

Conclusion
Someone along the way could possibly have been the catalyst that saved, if not Hadiya, countless other young ladies and men. Being the one that is in touch with the community may stop some young person or aged person for that matter, from doing something as stupid as shooting in a crowd of people killing and taking an innocent life. That is foolishness, stupidity and WE, the truly empowered church cannot rest. We must do something about what we face and believe me, we will. 

Please pray for Hadiya's family and for the many other countless lives that have been left to suffer in the wake of this modern crime spree. This young lady was much greater than any tragedy and I believe that in her death, she will live on as a motivating force for those of us left to do more than what we have done. 

Pray that those who know who did this will be a HERO and come forward with information to help this family heal. It is time for a change, and it must begin with someone, it may as well be with YOU! 

We believe God can turn around any situation. I still yet trust that he will.

Blessed!      

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