Not Doctrinally But Culturally

The last two days have been an emotional whirlwind and a revelatory experience. The Church of Christ in America might not be fully identified with Evangelicalism doctrinally, but it is culturally. This was a hard and even embarrassing revelation for me to embrace. What is happening in America regarding race, racism, white supremacy culture, and white supremacist action is beyond disturbing. Related to race relations in America, I live in a constant state of outrage. It does not mean I am out of control or off-balance, but as a Black Christian preacher, husband, father, educator and more, I remain concerned.

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Churches of Christ: A Call to Prophetic Fire

Will the Church Speak?
As Churches of Christ, how do we collectively respond to the terrorism and hypocrisy that cuts through racial lines with tremendous force? We witnessed terrorism, insurrection, desecration, and chaos around and inside the State Capitol building on January 6, 2021. Where is the prophetic fire of the church? It does not have to first be a message to the world; where is the message to the flock? How is the man of God within Churches of Christ systemically helping members understand these times from a deeply coherent biblical discourse? I am not too fond of the phraseology, but we hear a lot about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the secular world. However, know assuredly that the radical concept of equity is Biblical. About David, the Bible says, “…David reigned over all Israel. And David administered justice and equity to all his people” (2 Samuel 8:15 ESV).

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Dat Holy Spirit Life

A 2020 Biblical Youth Investigation
By: Zion Saheli, Dream Hudson, Jason X. Heard, Khyla Gaston, Aaron Featherstone,
Hannah Jefferson, Samari Nash, & (Dr. Ammar Saheli, Class Teacher)

Framework
This essay, written by a collection of Northern California Christian youth during the COVID-19 – year 2020 pandemic, is designed to provide a brief, yet intimate look at the connections and inner-workings of the Holy Spirit. The Christian youth connected to this essay engaged in a seven-month study of the Holy Spirit and they are sharing their results with you. Enjoy! A special word of thanks to all the participating youth and the parents that made it possible for them to attend and engage.

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We Are Still Fighting

According to Shelby Steele, “Black America has been confronted with a new problem: the shock of freedom.” I am not impressed with any of the political gangbanging of the conservative Right, progressives, or liberal Left. Read the rest of this entry

19 Years: Ministry Reflection

It was on this day, 19 years ago, that I started pastoring at the West Oakland Church of Christ. It is beyond my comprehension as to why God selected me for the role and vocation. From birth to age 30, I was raised and groomed at the Uptown Church of Christ (San Francisco), where my father also served as an elder.

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Hip-Hop and the Creative Influence of a Postmodern Spirituality

AmmarI have not written a narrative in a few months and I thought my next piece would be a personal summation, synthesis, critical reflection, and coming to grips with the nomination of President Trump, but the energy for such a discourse has waned within me. What I previously wrote about him in Elections & the Biblical Text will have to suffice. As an aside however, the shoving of Prime Minister, Dusko Markovic at the NATO Summit is shameful and speaks to a broader issue of climate. While I waited for a spark to get back to writing, angst turned to patience for this literary project. For me writing is medicine, healing, sharing, manifested love, and social justice toward a critical consciousness. I refuse to write until the motivated fire is fully ignited, and then I cannot stop until absolute resolve is reached. The 2017 Kendrick Lamar album DAMN., brings me to this narrative and critical reflection. We will ultimately use the album as a scaffold to juxtapose and assess postmodern influences on a biblical worldview and spiritual motif. Read the rest of this entry

The Divided American Crime Scene

AmmarAs I jumped in my car Sunday morning (7/17/16), headed to preach and teach a word, I turned XM Satellite Radio to CNN or Fox News, hearing the grim report that three additional police officers had been slain in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. After spending all day in church services, meetings, and delivering a sermon regarding faith and its necessary role in the face of racism, acts of injustice in America, and the general struggles of life, it was time to trek back home. Once again I turned on Fox News or CNN and two polarizing quotes were being magnified; one from President Barack Obama and the other from Republican Presidential candidate Mr. Donald Trump. Read the rest of this entry

Police Encounters #6: The Story I Said I Would Never Write

AmmarI never thought I would share this episode in written form, and who knows, by the time I am done I might delete it. It’s embarrassing and humiliating, but might bring validation and/or understanding to someone or a community. Based upon the back-to-back killings of Alton Sterling (7/5/16) and Philando Castile (7/6/16), I am left bewildered and dazed. At this current time my personal anger and outrage has escaped, replaced by trauma-induced dissociation, despair, and momentary hopelessness. See, as a Black man they told me if I did not move or flinch, comply and kept my hands raised, I would live. Tell that to Philando Castile, his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds, and his 4-year old daughter who witnessed the shooting, bleeding, and death of a father and partner. Read the rest of this entry

The Unshakeable Fabric of a Preacher

pitts3Bro. Dorris Pitts was the model example of what it meant and means to be a Christian, minister, preacher, and friend. He typifies The Unshakeable Fabric of a Preacher. From the moment Dorris Pitts asked me to be the preacher of the congregation, my life has been qualitatively and radically changed. Through his uncanny ability at being a walking inspiration, he ignited a biblical spark for exegesis and Christian living that continues to burn within my soul. Many of the current California Bay Area preachers were trained and mentored by Bro. Pitts. Men such as Joe C. Pitts, Willie Brown, Sr., Sammy L. Jones Sr., Dr. Carl Brinkley, Lee Henderson, James Walker Sr., Solomon (Teddy) Jones, Greg Brinkley, Chris Brinkley, and more. Because of the tremendous impact of Dorris Pitts — all of these men continue to be passionate preachers of the gospel.
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The Vital Importance of Self-Care for Educators

Working in the trenches of public education is a very esoteric experience and rhythm to many outside our profession. Regardless of your position or role in this vocation, there are some things that you experience on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis that many in society struggle to understand and or believe. Because of this reality, the importance of self-care is pivotal. As practitioners in public education, it is essential that we find ways to engage in self-care because our work is relentless, unending, fast-paced, and sometimes un-reciprocal and emotionally painful. Read the rest of this entry

Mesmerizing: It Is Clear To Me Now

Of all the symbols, images, sayings, and announcements on June 26, 2015; the day the Supreme Court of America ruled same-sex marriage legal across the nation, the illuminated caption of the White House in Gay Pride colored-lights captured and gripped my psyche the most. All of this should be expected. I am actually surprised at the Christians who are surprised by the ruling. I have no expectation for the Legislative, Judicial, or Executive governmental branches of America to operate under or uphold a biblical ethos or motif. That is the pure work of the church.

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Two Wings: Race, America, and the Church

Ammar

America has reached a point where the subliminal veil of pervasive injustice has been categorically removed and a bright light is now shining on its powerful and suppressive essence. The erroneous thought of living in a post-racial America is truly a façade. This reality, though intellectually denied and refuted through a lens of privilege, is now forcing all of humanity, at least those who elect to be privy to and abreast of National and International events of racial trauma, to make choices, espouse a position, or retreat behind the Eurocentric hegemonic walls of superiority, colorblindness, supremacy, imperialism, and racism.
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You Are To Blame!

We have been on a wild presidential ride for the past four years, and the journey will continue through the next few days, weeks, or even months as counts finalize and court proceedings cease. Regardless of the final count, it seems clear, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will occupy the White House and lead the USA for the next four years. For some, this new reality is deeply anxiety-provoking and frightening, and for others, it is a non-issue, only more of the same, the essence of political power-play. For others, it is a massive sigh-of-relief while they look forward to a brighter American future. 

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Forgiveness and Modern-Day Lynching

Edited on 10/9/19 Read the rest of this entry

Made In America

Made In America: Influences of The Prince of the Power of the Air

Observing the culture and climate of American and global maneuverings over this year has forced me into more perspicuous thoughts and reflection. The recent assassination of Nipsy Hussle pushed me to the brink of this raw and brash narrative. As my latest book, Eerie Silence: Race/Racism Explored Across Educational, Theological, and Justice Continuums Amidst America and Beyond, writing is therapeutic and Dr. James Taylor described my project as a force of thought. This is my first essay since Eerie Silence, and it is time for expression. Read the rest of this entry

An Open Letter: Justice for Botham Shem Jean and his Family

September 15, 2018

This Open Letter letter is primarily for but not limited to:

Mike Rawlings, Dallas Mayor
Brandon Birmingham (292), Dallas Judge
Renee Hall, Dallas Police Chief
Dallas Police Department
T.C. Broadnax, Dallas City Manager
Dallas News Media
Texas Ranger Division
Faith Johnson, Dallas District Attorney
Those who act in silence


An Open Letter: Justice for Botham Shem Jean and his Family

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Failed…

Failed: President Trump and the Leadership Principle Debacle

18363488-18363488Observationally, at least in California, buses and other service vehicles must stop at railroad crossings regardless of a train approaching or not. They also stop regardless of having passengers aboard or not. In addition to stopping, they also open their entrance door once they stop. I learned that opening the door is required so the vehicle operator can listen for a train, despite the crossing rails not being activated or lowered.
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