Only One Way Out

Of this, there is no question
Of this, there is no doubt
When it comes to leaving this life
There’s only one way out

You can try the newest therapy
You can chant, and scream and shout
Use all the herbs and spices
There’s still only one way out

You can cry and plead for mercy
You can pray, petition, shout
But like those who left before you
There is only one way out

So, get in line like all the others
Who discovered what life’s about
Either Heaven or hell await you
And there’s only one way out

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, Hebrews 9:27

Abortion not medical care

I think we must define what medical care really means. In my training as a physician and surgeon, medical care involves treating or preventing an illness. Sometimes that involves providing medicines and surgery. Sometimes it involves counseling and counseling and medications. That is what I was taught as medical care.

Cosmetic surgery is not medical care unless it is done for the purpose of fixing the maimed body or focused on restructuring a body deformed at birth.

Abortion is not medical care. There is no need for abortion. There are desires for abortion. Women rarely choose to abort their babies for medical reasons. The cases of rape, incest or the risk of the mother are an exception to the rule. Few are done for these three exceptions.

My friend and colleague Dr. Cami Wheeler reminded me of several things about this issue. Her words are italicized below.

Not always, but all too often, the convenience of the father who financially, practically, emotionally, relationally or otherwise abandons the newly mother-to-be is as large or larger a factor in women choosing abortion, or in their being pressured into abortion by lovers or parents/family or friends. A woman aborting against the will of the man who impregnated her is rare. It takes two to make a baby and guilt is the burden of both parents when abortion occurs.

Women I know personally are scarred and bearing the loss, the pain and the shame of abortion. The man who started by pressuring them into sex then pressured them into having the abortion are socially left unscathed. (By the way, we didn’t have the term “date rape” back then. This side of #metoo many of those men would be prosecutable.)

I believe as long as we in the Church lay the guilt & blame & shame solely at the feet of women, we are adding fuel to the fire of the, “My body. My choice.” argument. Men and women having sex produce a pregnancy/baby together. Men and women choosing convenience, selfishness, economics etc. over the life of their baby is the way they choose together to abort a child. Those of us of faith should work to place some of this burden on his back and counteract the narrative that it was only her choice.

And all too often, churchy people contribute even more to the choosing of abortion because they’d rather their daughter kill their grandchild than face their church friends with an unwanted pregnancy. Or they give their daughter the idea that it would be better to kill her baby in her womb that for her to face their wrath, disappointment and shame. So, she makes the choice for abortion to hide from them the fact that she’s been having sex. We’d have far less abortion if churchy people had more grace for their daughters and greater expectations of their sons who need to step up.

I deeply believe Titus 3:5-6 that his lovingkindness, grace and mercy are what lead us to repentance so that instead of pointing a blaming finger in the direction of women, we must point to Him and His love again and again as we exhort men and women to choose life for their baby and more so to choose Life in Him.

I agree with Dr. Wheeler. In spite of the chants, My Body, My Choice it is all too often not her body, but that of the pimps, handlers and dealers. It is the choices of men and women who profit in pornography.

I wonder if the woman who was flung at the feet of Jesus for being caught in the very act of adultery, actually may have had a pimp or had possibly aborted her child to ‘stay in business’. John 8:3-11

Abortion is not medical care any more than a face-lift or gender re-assignment. This is about the desire to murder in the name of freedom of choice. This is as selfish as the decision not to get vaccinated against a deadly disease, even though this decision will impact the lives of my children, my family and community.

Abortion is not medical care. It is murder under the guise of personal choice. As sin always is, personal choice. This choice is made under duress, threat, shame and convenience. We all who throw stones must realize that as a society and especially as a church, we must drop the stones in our hands. For all of us are guilty either as individuals, or culturally.

The Best Enemy is Jesus

The best enemy to have is Jesus. That is because Jesus treats anyone who considers Him an enemy as someone who needs forgiveness, tolerance and mercy. Jesus reaches out, does not strike out at those who want to do Him harm.

We need to be good enemies. We need to pray for those who abuse, accuse and disrespect us. We must have tender compassion, not passionate reaction to criticism and rejection.

Learn to a good enemy. Love those who hate you. That is what our Lord did.

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
Luke 6:27 KJV

For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
Romans 5:10 KJV

First A Dry Cough

First a dry cough
Then a wet sneeze
And without even knowing
I had spread the disease

A low grade slight fever
A subtle quick chill
And without realizing
Someone is killed

It’s my body my civil right
My personal choice
For this I will fight
Won’t silence my voice

Don’t try to persuade
I have personal reasons
If someone dies with me
It is our time and our season

Achoo and God bless you
I spit out that snot
I refuse the vaccine
I am afraid of the shot

Washing hands wearing mask
I will attempt to comply
But injection with needles
Please, don’t even try

Whores Convicts and Queers

Whores Convicts and Queers
Conmen Fraudsters and Fiends
The very people Jesus draws near
The same folk I still demean

Not that Christ accepts the behavior
Nor does He claim them as good
But He still wants to be their Savior
Something I’ve not understood

How can the Holy Redeemer?
The Perfect Lamb, the Divive
Invite these misfits these sinners
Into the same heaven as mine?

How can He overlook and forgive?
Why allow such evil and sin
He answered, I lowered the standard
To give you a chance to get in

The Holy Spirit’s quiet response
If I only chose those who deserve
You wouldn’t be on the list either
Heaven is for sinners reserved

Sinners who surrendered repented
These are the ones welcome here
They have rejected their earthly lifestyle
No longer whores or convicts ot queer

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
1 Corinthians 6:9‭-‬11 KJV

Back Door Mentality

Carter G. Woodson, the father of Black History Month states in his book The Miseducation of the American Negro ‘That if you teach a man to use the back door long enough, when he gets to a place where there is no back door, he will create one.’

I remember this as though it is a current event. The Africans are sitting in the back of the room just next to the back doors. There is a front door, but it is easiest to enter through these back doors. What I cannot understand is why the Africans are taking seats that are furthest away from the stage and podium which is the front of the room?

All of the missionaries, including me, take seats at the front of the room, near the stage and podium. We do so because it is natural as leaders and missionaries to sit, stand and speak up in the front. I get it because I, like them am an American missionary in Africa. Unlike them, however I see the subtleties. Why are the Africans naturally inclined to sit at the back of the room? That is the advantage of my African American experience. I understand ‘Back Door Mentality’

When thinking about the back door, I approached one of the African doctors with whom I had worked for several years. He was sitting near the back door. His wife and 3 adolescent children were seated with him. They were waiting for the worship service to begin. I asked him, why he and his family were seated at the back door. His response was, ‘the white people are seated up front.’ I then asked him, ‘what if the white people sat in the back?’ He didn’t miss a beat and said, ‘we would sit outside’.

A white missionary colleague of mine recently stated how easy it was for him to get along with the Africans with whom he has worked for the past twenty years. Essentially, he said there seemed to be a natural affinity to get along with his African friends and co-workers. They did not seem to take offense when speaking on a variety of issues. However, he stated that he is careful not to discuss issues with his fellow citizens of color in America because he was fearful of offending them. It implies that Africans are less easily offended than men and women of African descent. Suffice it to say, if that is what he is thinking, he is wrong. More importantly that statement itself is offensive.

Living as a powerful minority as a white person in Africa with a less powerful majority of black people will always put the more powerful white person at a distinct advantage. The person of power has what the less powerful desire and need. Then again, moving back to America living as a powerful majority white person, who rarely if ever interacts with a less powerful minority of black people completes the illusion that somehow the African is less easily offended. Nothing could be further from the truth.

No doubt things have changed over the 30 plus years of my time in Africa and there are many more Africans who are walking through the front door and taking a seat at the front podium on the stage. However, the significance of my story is that when you are a powerful majority, those who depend upon you are less inclined to tell you when you offend them. They would rather go through the back door and sit on the back seat.

The African descendants in America have essentially gotten over being fearful of offending white people. It took a lot of blood, death, bombings, rapes, kidnappings, a civil war and continuing civil strife to do so. But to assume that approaching this minority population on sensitive issues will cause an offense is of itself, offensive. There is no knee jerk response to having a white person in our midst. In fact, we are more accustomed to white people in our midst than white people are accustomed to us in their neighborhoods and schools. We are actually slow to take offense because we actually depend upon the services offered.

Africans have always been Africans. African Americans have continuously morphed from being chattel, like cows and pigs, to colored, to Negro, nigra, black and now African American. There are several sub-categories of being colored, mulatto, octoroon and quadroon to mention a few of the more subtle, less divisive or derogatory terms. These sub-categories were determined by how many times the slave masters had raped and enslaved the children of the enslaved African women who gave birth. This latest iteration was the result of seeking our own identity and to stop using the back door.

Africans have always had an identity of who they were and are. They identify as tribes and communities. African Americans have had to redefine ourselves to fit the political and social climate as it evolves.

An African who is dependent upon the majority culture and has learned to accept its generosity is very much disinclined to make that culture feel offended. They become an amalgam of who they know they are by tribal distinction and who they can become by education and opportunity. Americans of African descent have to defend even our citizenship, by constantly being challenged at voting rights and civil rights. We actually have many things about which we should take offense. But to assume we will do so, is offensive. It seems no matter how much we obey the rules, comply with the laws, play the game fairly, we will be seen as offensive to the majority culture just because we kneel at a ball game.

The final word is this. Jesus states in Matthew 5:23 that if we believe our brother has anything against us, we must seek reconciliation with him before Jesus will be inclined to even consider our prayer. That is, if we feel that our brother is offended, we must seek him out, not avoid him. Avoiding conflict is not the way to avoid conflict. The issues remain and until we meet them head on, we will present to the world a distorted body of the Christ we claim to serve.

Speak in love. Be slow to take offense. That is how we move onwards as the body of Christ.

The Right Enemy

We need the right enemy. That is what shapes the current crisis of guns in America. We have the wrong enemy. We have a lot of ammunition and a lot of weapons. We are in search of the wrong enemy, so we turn these lethal instruments on ourselves.

The collateral damage we have caused in Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan by pursuing revenge, oil and other corporate and government secret agendas did not suffice. A drone fires at a funeral, or wedding or other community gathering, indiscriminately killing dozens or more to eliminate what we perceive as a single threat. That threat was not the enemy that stalks us in our malls and city streets. Our military had a successful hit, but it is still not enough. We don’t lower our flags to half mast, or even acknowledge that we have done harm. We return to our late-night news and comedy as though nothing has happened. We bring our troops home and pretend it was a bad, very bad dream. We chose the wrong enemies.

There was a time when deep physical hunger ravaged our country. We have long defeated starvation. We still have deep pockets of hunger and undernourishment. But those pockets are literally overshadowed, hidden behind the massive girth of obesity in our nation. We have unsafe water in many municipalities with lead and other contaminants. The lead contaminates the brains of these urbanites, causing irreversible damage to their intellect and emotions. While in rural America, methane, fertilizer runoffs and rare earth elements are deep within the ground-water used to cook, clean and drink. Cancers of the blood stream and soft tissues are expected and accepted. We are saturated with pleasure, but live in a drought of discontentment, depression and disillusion. These are the enemies that depress, and oppress us.

We have more than enough enemies. We just have not trained the right weapons or used the right tactics to defeat these foes of the fabric of our society.

We continue to delude ourselves that ‘the other, and those people’ are our enemies. In fact, we are our own worst enemy. Until we resolve to not indulge ourselves in the pleasures of blaming them, or him, and confess our sin of selfishness and pride, we will continue to experience the mass killings. Corporate greed and personal indulgence feed the real enemy in our midst. Drug overdoses, sexual exploitation of pornography and child abuse are just the symbols of our wrong choices.

We have lived by the sword in unresolved, unlawful, and expensive conflict overseas. Now we die by the sword in our own land. The guns may silence overseas, thousands of miles away. But we hear them every night in our cities, and every day of week at our places of work and worship. The nightmare we have visited upon others is our daily reality. We must defeat the right enemy. That enemy is our own sin.

Matthew 26: 52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him. “For all who draw the sword will die by the sword.

Already a Threat

I had not yawned
Nor opened eyes yet
The day not even started
I am already a threat

I paused to get up
Had not really slept
Still laying in bed
I am already a threat

Showered and shaved
My face is still wet
Brushed teeth, fully dressed
I am already a threat

Take a bus, walk or drive
One thing’s a sure bet
Once skin and face are seen
I am already a threat

Will I make it back home?
My fear and my fret
Guilty, by color
I am already a threat

Turn Invisible Moo into Meat

Only the Creator can do it
Only He can perform this feat
Make something from absolute nothing
Turn invisible moo into meat

We can season and stir lightly
We can cook at just the right heat
Only He makes void become substance
Turn invisible moo into meat

He doesn’t stop with one item
From cucumbers to red beet
Put oink, swish and cluck on the menu
Turn invisible moo into meat

Evolutionists will shout and laugh at you
Their theories are lies and deceit
Black cow eats green grass, get white milk
Because God turns invisible moo into meat

Genesis 1:1-3
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

Hebrews 11:3
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

When One is Violated: We Are All Violated

Martin Luther King said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

This violence has not touched me directly. It involves those people, and it is committed by those other people. I don’t have to worry about it because I don’t live over there, I don’t look like them nor do I behave like them. I am safe. I live in a stable community. I have my doors locked, alarms on and when it is all said and done, I am a god-fearing man with a gun within easy reach.

We watch and listen in horror and amazement, yet once again as a member of the majority population violates without remorse members of a minority population. It is revolting to most of our senses and our idea of civility and our supposed sense of unity.

Benjamin Franklin said “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”

We can either continue on this pretend reality of the American dream or come to the truth this dream continues to be a nightmare for a significant portion of our fellow citizens. When one of ‘them’ is violated, I am violated. This continued violence is continuing to shred the fabric of our society. We trust each other less. We don’t trust our government, our churches, our neighbors and even some family members. It will continue to destroy us as long as we hide behind our supposed secure spaces the bolts and locks on our doors and our personal retirement portfolios.

It will destroy our children and our children’s children. We ignore the violation of others at our own peril.

To that end, the Nazarene Narrative will work with the churches of Philadelphia region to sponsor a walk for peace this Spring 2021. We are asking all denominations, all ethnicities, all like minded citizens to join us. The date will be announced soon. In addition, Tasker Street Missionary Baptist Church will sponsor the 4th Gun-Buy-Back event during that same week.