Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I Hate The Word "Gangsta" & Here Is Why

I like words. In the lexicon that is English, there are so many words that by themselves are useless. However, when combined with other words they become something greater. They become a tool for good or evil. Many times they are used for good, like waking people up to threats, empowering them to face that threat, and giving them that forward thought that they’ll need to continue on. Other times they are used to tear down and destroy. They are used to incriminate the guilty or insinuate guilt. Even worse, they are used to divide people, to manipulate entire nations, bringing them to a quick demise, a sudden end by words that are not a correct reflection of reality. These are the words that I hate and avoid.

In today’s modern vernacular, there are words that didn’t previously exist in the afore mentioned lexicon. However, due to their popularity, they have quickly become, or perceived to be, “normal” everyday words. These words will not be found in proper dictionaries such as tend to carry historically respectable names like Oxford, Webster, or Britannica. These words, these slang words are only found on the internet. More specifically on websites like urbandictionary.com, where any Joe Schmoe or Suzie Schmoe, as the case may be, can provide a definition. That being the case it gives those words the same credibility as an article found on Wikipedia. On Wikipedia I found an article stating that Steve Urkel (a fictional television character from the ‘90s sitcom Family Matters as portrayed by Jaleel White) is the current and 44th President of the United States of America. Enough said.

As I stated before, I like words. I like catch phrases, epitaphs, and different and various euphemisms. There is a word that is used that I dislike. It’s not that I hate the word in and of itself. I hate that “urban” meaning the word. This word is “gangsta”. I hate it, utterly despise it, can not stand it. Sure there was a time when I used it to my own amusement and in some cases seriously. However, as a Christian, as a man of evolved understanding, as someone who once was a child with childish thinking but is now an adult having put away childish things, especially that childish thinking, I’ve come to passionately dislike that word and it’s urban meaning. So let’s go through the number’s here:

gangster. Noun: a violent, brutal person who is often a member of an organized gang -- see HOODLUM - Student Thesaurus

gangster. gang•ster. noun: a member of a gang of criminals : RACKETEER - gang•ster•ism /-stschwa-secondarystressriz-schwam/ noun -Merriam-Webster

gang•ster (gngstr) n. 1. A member of an organized group of criminals; a racketeer. 2. A member of a gang of delinquents. gangster•dom n. gangster•ism n. -The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

It all gets pretty redundant after a while. It doesn’t take a genius to see where the term “gangsta” came from. Today people who would take upon themselves the term gangsta are delusional. Many of the “gangstas” I’ve ran into were usually kids, from preteens to the older teenagers (those whose predisposition is to seek an identity). They start them out young much like communist who start their programming with children. This is obviously done for nefarious reasons. The thing that made me dislike the term is the fact that this is promoted as something good to be. This is promoted like is something to be proud of, adored, worshipped. The truth is it is not. Since when has it become acceptable to be proud of one’s sins? Murder, recreational drug distribution, hating people because they are from the north end of town and you are from the south end...this makes no sense to me! What makes it worse is the entertainment industry. They make movies such as Scarface, New Jack City, and more recently, American Gangster and people flock to these in droves. I understand that it is story telling. I understand that these things are taken from real life situations. I even understand the term “art imitating life”. The problem is when life begins to mimic art.

This is where the brunt of my whole problem with the word lies. Recently I read a facebook post about Samuel Whittemore, who at 80 years old killed 3 British Soldiers on April 19, 1775. He was shot, bayoneted, beaten, and left for dead, but recovered and lived to see 98 years of age. My first response in my mind to put on the post was this: “An 80 year old man did that…and still lived 19 years? Dude was GANGSTA!” Then I thought about it. Why would I say that!?! Needless to say, I put something else, because I will not glorify all the things “gangsta”, “gangster”, “g” (or any other variation of the word) stands for.

By they way, many of these people on the music side of the Entertainment Industry, namely rappers, come from well to do homes. Many of them did not rise from the various ghettos around America like they claim to have done so in their music. Many of them come from good homes, well to do families full of professionals such as doctors and lawyers. They went to good schools, gained education from quality institutions, and now get paid to portray a lifestyle for which , many of you are willing to use your EBT cards to emulate. I wish I was stretching the truth here, but sadly, I’m not. So go ahead, point your hat the wrong direction, leave your belt at home, buy your 4 year old Air Jordan’s, and dye your hair the brightest shade of pink on the spectrum, then stand up in public and tell everyone how much swag you currently possess. Then realize how much of a fool you are for living within the bounds of the Entertainment Industry’s “hive mind”. Or…wake up to reality.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Disturbing Dream

I had a disturbing dream. So disturbing that as I sit and type this, right now, I can still feel the fear of it all. It’s been 12 hours since I awoke from that horrifying experience.

I found myself standing in a parking lot. Perhaps I was in parking lot of the apartment complex where I grew up. I’m dressed in my security guard uniform. It’s dark out. I can see just enough. Is it dusk? Or has a dark reddish cloud settled upon everything. I'm not sure. Suddenly I look towards the place my mom’s apartment should have been. Something...no,...someone is charging me. This is the biggest man I have ever seen in my life.

He makes no sound. No grunts, nothing. The only thing that made me aware of his presence was the ground as it trembled beneath my feet, in tune with every step he took towards me. As he drew near me he reached behind his head and produced an ax or a tomahawk of some sort. He came at me with one purpose and that was to get to me.

I was so startled, I managed a yelp. I'm glad I still had the faculties to reach for my pistol. In that instant, I didn’t even know if it was there. Now that I think about it, I don’t even know if the gun would have fired or if the bullets would have even slowed him down. He got closer, closer, and closer still.

I awoke speaking in tongues. I believed it to be a cry for mercy or help from God, the only one I KNOW that can help in such a situation. I’m so relieved that I woke up. I’m equally relieved that it was just a dream. Or was it? I looked at my alarm clock. I had been asleep for approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours. While I don’t know what the dream meant, I am certain that I don’t want to have it again. My only concern right now is what does that dream mean?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Reflecting On Spring Conference 2012

Let me first start by saying that I am here by the grace and mercy of God. I thank God the Father and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for their provisions and the opportunity to even come here. Like so many I could have left and been doing my own thing. Yet, God is merciful and I owe Him so much. I owe it to Him to stay and to fulfill my reasonable service.

Getting Started

I was going to drive my own car but I had some troubles with it that prevented that. It seems my car needed some repairs, which I already knew of. So I ended up riding with someone else which is perfectly fine. All the money I had for gas, I took it and gave it to them. At first it seemed like we were all going to miss another Conference, but in the end, here we are. On the way I was so amazed at how it all worked out that we could all go, that I had to make a post about it on Google +. I could feel in my spirit that God was congruent with my decision to get there regardless of the cost. I thanked Him then and there while we were on the road.

The first night was like a struggle for me. I felt like I was holding back or like I should make myself feel a certain way. Of course we do not live life by our feelings. So I ignored them and decided to just get in. and let what happen, happen. Rev Olsen preached the first night and the message was so very encouraging. Immediately I began to review my life, its direction, and my decisions both past and present. I looked on at my personal relationships I’d formed over the years. I looked on with regret at the ones I did not form. I can make an abundance of excuses but in the end, the fault is mine and the past cannot be redone. I definitely plan to form more relationships, better relationships in the coming years.

My Ministry

My main concern in this conference is my ministry. Where is it going? I feel like it could be so much better. I feel like things could be so different for me. I should be pastoring a work right now! Yet, I’m not. Why? I know why but I’m not going into detail here. The short answer is, "me". I am the reason that I am where I am and only I can change that. I feel like I’ve put my ministry on the shelf. I have allowed the lack of finances, a lack of an education, and other personal devices to come in and choke out my ministry. If I am indeed the gardener, it is high time to get some weeds and stones out of the way so that my ministry can begin to produce fruit.
So starting right now, I’m changing things. This is me making a difference in the world. I’m making a difference by overcoming the obstacles that are in my way. I can overcome them and have done so already because my master has already overcome.

1 John 4:4, "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."

Interpreting The Skit

The Wednesday morning conference service featured a skit. As it stands, I am a fan of situational comedies. The skit was very funny but the lesson within dealt directly with real life situations. As we live our lives for God, things happen that wear on us. These things are little, subtle. They won’t occur all at once, but little by little. Bit by bit. In this manner, the enemy of our soul manages to strip away our armor leaving us defenseless. That armor which is given to us by God so that we may protect ourselves against those things that would come against us and destroy us. As each scene went on and ended, the soldier found himself being de-armed until finally he was completely defenseless. Once he was defenseless, he was attacked by many obstacles. Doubt, circumventing questions, money problems (the need for more or the want for more), social networking, video games, success in endeavors other than that of God, all of these things attacked him.

The soldier realized that he was not completely unarmed. He still had prayer. It wasn’t long before he reacquired his shield of faith, and his sword which is the Word of God, that he was able to fight and defeat some of these enemies. It wasn’t much longer after that before he defeated everyone and regained the helmet of salvation and the other pieces of armor necessary for survival.
In my own life, I see that I cannot change the past. I can’t make people like me nor can I make them love me. What I can do is go to war. I can put my armor on and fight. God is the one who I must please. If I can improve my relationship with Him, coupled with doing what I am supposed to do (developing habits of prayer, studying to show myself approved, a workman unto God, soul winning) everything will fall into place. By faith, prayer, bible reading/study, doing what is right, being right before God and man, I can regain my power. I can establish myself as a man of God. I can make my calling and election sure.

Removing Barriers

Tonight’s service was different. It was the second night that someone did not get to preach. I suspect that particular minister didn’t mind, because the Holy Ghost is the order of the service. Tonight He had his way. Tonight I tore down barriers that I had allowed to be in my heart and mind. I realize that I was being very pessimistic and allowing the enemy of my soul to lie to me. I will not do that again. I’m going to be positive, keep looking up and pressing forward in my life to God.
I trust God. I believe in Him. I have faith in Him. I know the things He has done for me and I know that I my service to him is only reasonable.

Over Too Soon

We finally, albeit quickly, reached the last service. At first it did not look like anyone was going to preach again, but finally the song service came down. I do not know what the last song the choir sang was, but it seemed . . . "not ready". Perhaps it is because I never heard the song before, I don’t know. I just did not like it. It’s not that it was a bad song, I just think the choir needs to practice it a little more . . .maybe a lot more.

Then the Reverend was called upon to preach. Even he admitted he did not expect to preach that night. Looking back on the service and the content of the message, it was probably best that he did preach. This was the summary message, the one to send us home.

Jude 1:12-13, "These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; (13) Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever."

Revelation 3:1-6, "And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. (2) Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. (3) Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. (4) Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. (5) He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. (6) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."

The above verses are what Rev Kekel covered in his message entitled: "Hate The Garment". I wish I had the memory to put everything I heard back together for you, sadly, I do not. What I do know is we do not have to walk around in stained garments. We do not have to be those clouds without water, trees without fruit, waves of foam, or wandering stars. We can come to Jesus Christ and through #1 Faith, #2 The Blood of Jesus, and #3 a Strong Resolve, keep clean our garments and overcome in our lives for God. There is no need to be a hypocrite oppressed by our pride, hatred, jealously, and et cetera. All of these things can be done away with by faith in the Lamb of God. He is an overcomer. THE overcomer. It is because He overcame that we are able to over come. 1 John 4:4, "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."