Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hip-Hop & 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

Less Talk & More Action

f60d23c2-845f-4ed7-a6fa-d4e7e76b5a64I 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

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

A Mother Like No Other

13466201_10209400454199030_4316481728389443895_nI was awakened around 6am this morning (6/25/16), to the gentle shaking and rumbling of my bed, generated by the tears and secret cry of my wife. The mother of my wife and her siblings, Sis. Nellie Jean Jones (most often known to many as Sis. Jones), was funeralized, buried, and celebrated in grand fashion yesterday. I can hear my wife right now downstairs, still gently crying and arranging flowers, before she heads to the gym. For my own healing and as a tribute to the blessed life of Sis. Jones, it is vital to my soul that I document a word about this multifaceted wife, mother, matriarch, and Christian spirit. On this June 25th day of 2016, it is calm outside. The sun is shining perfectly, the breeze only blows as needed, and it all seems serene. The current climate and atmospheric texture is one of peace. Read the rest of this entry

Born Into Church or Birthed Into Christ?

147318731The title above is a bit paradoxical, but based upon explanation it should be clear. Some know church but they do not know Christ and what it means to live for Him. Many people are aware of the medical delivery room, but they have failed to connect to or understand the critically necessary spiritual delivery room of Christ. The Bible and time period connected to biblical epochs spans three dispensations: Patriarchal (Adam to Moses), Mosaic (Moses to Jesus), and church-age (resurrection of Christ through the end of time). Through each time period God had a special relationship with His creation. During the patriarchal and Mosaic covenants, there was no real God-choice involved for the people. Being the people of God has always been based on His sovereignty and election, but the church-age process is qualitatively different from the other two. The question stated above is, born into the church or birthed into Christ? Read the rest of this entry

The Called vs. The Chosen

tonyaBy the age of 25 I began experiencing tragedy after tragedy.  By age 37, I had already experienced the death of a child, the death of a sibling, and the death of a mother in law. This had me constantly wondering what would happen next. One day my husband said something to me that hit me like a ton of bricks.  He said, “Some of us are chosen.” This resonated with me in a very bone chilling fashion because it caused me to think, “Am I chosen?”  If I was chosen, then exactly for what had I been chosen. Matthew 22:14 says, “Many are called few are chosen.” Read the rest of this entry

Police Encounters #5: No Words Spoken

handsupFor Police Encounters #5 I will focus on a time when I was about 22 years of age. During that time (1993) I was living in East Oakland on 55th and Scoville. This particular encounter was quick, but remains perplexing and most haunting. During this season of life I lifted weights and worked out five times a week, Monday-Friday. Diego’s Power Alley Gym was a classic, popular, and intimate East Oakland spot, so that is where I worked out while I lived in the East. Additionally the owner is a pillar of Oakland and was simply a good influence to be around. The gym was on Foothill, just a few blocks from my house and it was easy for me to get there on foot. I could simply put on my workout gear, walk to the gym, hit the iron, and walk home. 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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Is Punishment Still the Name of the Game?

Ammar 1In the sphere of public education, if we are not careful the disciplinary measures we apply to students can be more out of a mindset of punishment, as opposed to a form of discipline that aims to help students engage in a holistic process to learn from their mistakes, misbehaviors, or even blatantly flagrant actions. Managing discipline is hard because through the process of applying, determining, or giving out a consequence, it is often triangulated with pressure from all sides for a perfect outcome. When at the admin level the decision must be acceptable for the teacher, student, family, and maybe even district office folks. When the discipline is at the classroom level the outcome must be acceptable to the student, family, fellow-teachers, and school admin. Through it all, the world of discipline requires a certain level of finesse, tough skin, deep cultural understanding and responsiveness, love, and patience. Read the rest of this entry