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

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

Shapen In Iniquity

Cosmically we find ourselves in a very perplexing condition. There are so many elements of life where people are seeking an explanation for the evil and dark things that occur locally and globally. We wonder why bad conditions can be absorbed by the perceivably good. Without an anchored faith in Christ, the earthly world in which we live could only be understood as an ultimate platform of injustice. But through the grace of God, He has an answer. Not everyone is willing to embrace His solutionary scheme, but He has a justice and redemption plan for humanity. 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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Have You Had Your Wilderness Experience?

Have you been going through the same thing for a while, which leaves you constantly feeling as if there is no way out?  Maybe you feel like you are in the movie Ground Hogs Day and you are constantly waking up only to find that you are in the same scene in life.  If so, then you are having a wilderness experience. Read the rest of this entry

Two Wings: Race, America, and 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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The Judas Factor Revisited

Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, 15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him. Read the rest of this entry

Adding Religion Back to Christian Spirituality

“If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:26-27). Read the rest of this entry

Bulletproof: A Look at Ferguson and America


The Ferguson tension and grand jury verdict, concerning the Darren Wilson killing of Michael Brown Jr., has left me with complex emotions and responses. Clearly this is not the first encounter of its kind, yet the enigmatic circumstances remain. Considering the fact that I have lived through this experience with my wife and family, as her unarmed brother was gunned down by two Oakland Police Officers in a cold dark alley on November 8, 2010, the Ferguson dynamics are all too familiar. My wife has not been able to watch proceedings or engage in dialogue with me over the verdict or Ferguson fallout, because it is a mere replay of emotionally painful injustice.

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Police Encounters #4: What a Night

I am really compelled to write about a different encounter that occurred when I was around 22, but I will stick with the current order as previously suggested.

During Police Encounters #4 I was not married (I was engaged to my wife), and I still lived at 1858 McAllister street.  During the time of this incident I was approximately 27 or 28 years of age and I worked as a therapist and substance abuse counselor for the Westside Community Mental Health, Youth Awareness Program.  My three core co-workers were Ben Bautista, Yehiel Yisrael, and the famous singer Lenny Williams. Read the rest of this entry