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.
I 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
As 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
I 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
Bro. 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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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
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.
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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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
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
Failed: President Trump and the Leadership Principle Debacle
Observationally, 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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Finding Your Position on the Racialized Battlefield: A Brief Examination of Racism, Silence, Fragility, Resistance, and Justice Read the rest of this entry
I haven’t watched the videos of the two most recent officer involved shootings. I won’t watch them. Why? Because I have already lived them. This will unfortunately forever be a real part of my life and I can recite how the story will go for each family with my eyes closed in my sleep. Kill an unarmed black man, march, rally, don’t charge the officers, repeat. Read the rest of this entry